Ring of Armor

The term “lucky charm” brings to mind a delicious cereal with mini marshmallows and an all-too-happy leprechaun on the front of the box. A lucky charm for most, though, is something they might keep with them to grant an extra vote of confidence and help navigate through life’s tricky obstacles. My blessed token that I deem as my lucky charm is my great grandmother’s ring. My ring has been passed down to my grandmother, my mother, and then me. It has a rounded blue jewel in the middle and tiny white diamonds surrounding it. 

 

Luck has always been something that I believe in. Not in the form of cereal, but in the ways of there being some sort of fate involved in our daily lives. My mom finally presented me with the ring when I turned 21. For years and years, she would refuse to let me have this precious ring because of the tradition to officially receive it on my 21st birthday. I drooled over it for years and struggled to give it back, when my mom would let me borrow it on special occasions. (If you’re picturing me as the creepy dude in The Lord of the Rings, you’re about right). After treasuring this ring on my mom’s hand for so long, it was finally mine. 

 

This beloved ring is more to me than just a fancy accessory, though. It is a part of me and my family. When I put it on, I feel as though my great-grandmother and grandmother are still with me, watching over my life, making sure that I am okay. This ring is not only an heirloom, but one of my most valued possessions. Wearing it calms my mind into believing the world isn’t so terrifying and gives me enough confidence to believe I can handle more than I know. It gives me a way to trust in something greater, as if it has a magical power to bring me good luck.  

 

Believing in luck, and in my lucky charm, lets me feel better about this sometimes-scary world. This mental shield gives me courage on a daily basis. My ring is that one possession that makes my heart stop if I don’t know where it is. It provides my own, possibly imaginary, and invisible protection against any challenges in my life. 

 

 

A Letter to the Sky

By Shelby Imes

It’s been a while since we’ve last seen each other.

Well, since I last saw you.  

I never look up anymore,  

I only look

down at my toes when I walk or

loathingly through a mirror  

swigging a potion of self-hatred and narcissism,  

And shrinking in on myself.  

I stopped looking at you, sky,  

Because you’re so much bigger than me

And small people just don’t understand.  

They don’t look forward and see that beneath you,  

Everyone is the same.  

They don’t look up and see how you are steadfast,

That you always watch  

Without contempt or judgement,  

And that you remain though we neglect you.  

That even without people you would still be there

To watch the soil beneath us.

 

Realizing now that I have nothing to lose,

Because if you, sky, can watch the world with loving eyes and softer touch

then so can I.

Philtatos  

i find i am a vessel 

poorly made and filled with memories 

waiting to speak and make real what i have witnessed. 

for i am the god of missing aches, of fingertips outstretched, 

and the spaces between stars.  

 

i have seen the dawning and the dusk, 

i have known the tide as it swept across your shore, 

but of you, none. 

i have missed you. i will miss you 

like the night, for you could only be the sun, brilliant, warm, and golden. 

 

could yet war be won for the wanting of you, i would have slayed  

all stood before, an Achilles without his Patroclus,  

wild, and ruinous.  

 

for i am the god of missing loves 

And mine has yet to clasp their hand in mine. 

 

Philtatos, most beloved, 

i wait for you. 

Starting Today, I Love Myself

by Brooke Blaney

Starting since forever,

To the end of my life,

A certain truth

Remaining with me always;

The only one I can depend on

Is you, myself.

No one else can handle so much,

Going on with me no matter what.

 

Today I know the pain is from me.

Offering too much to others,

Destructive people, destructive thoughts,

Aching when I’m alone with you, myself.

Your value meaning nothing to me.

 

I promise you, starting today, I’ll stop making you:

 

Love people who hurt you,

Overthink feeling alone,

Value yourself based on the words of others, and

Echo those terrible memories.

 

Myself, I promise you from now on,

Your value will not depend on others,

Seeing and remembering evils will not hurt you,

Earning love from men will not be a priority, and

Love will replace self-guilt and shame.

Forever, I will learn to love myself.

Jake

By: Corinne Jenkins

I don’t deserve you, 

I don’t deserve the way you look at me, 

Or the way you put me first. 

I don’t deserve how you handle me at my best, 

And especially at my worst. 

I don’t deserve the nights you stay awake for me, 

When you know you’ll have to get up at dawn, 

As you patiently listen to me go on and on. 

I don’t deserve the countless visits, 

Or the thoughtful gifts, 

And the way your family treats me like their own, 

You make me feel as if I’ll never be alone. 

But you always convince me 

That I do deserve all this 

Because you are my home. 

You are the reason I get up in the morning, 

The reason my heart sings, 

Lifting me up in thankful prayer, 

You hold my heart to the world and make me care. 

You’ve treated me so well 

That I assume I don’t deserve you at all 

Even under this beautiful love spell. 

 

But that’s just it, 

Because I do deserve your love,  

And kindness, 

Every bit. 

And you deserve mine, 

I’ve gone through my life 

Thinking just the opposite. 

And I do hope this will last for a long time, 

As I’ve explained through semi-rhyme. 

You’ve shown me what I am worthy of, 

By giving me what I deserve, 

Through love. 

Like Blue Planet Meets Parks and Rec 

If I could be in a TV show, any TV show, I think I would have to admit to the world the not-so-secret love of mine for BBC (British Broadcasting Channel) nature documentaries. Traveling around the world to explore the last reaches of the wild places on Earth is everything that I want to do in life. Unfortunately, I lack the gentle British accent and soothing tones of David Attenborough so I think any of my viewers would be ultimately disappointed, but to stand on the African Rift Mountains and discuss the ever-changing Savannah would be worth the low ratings. At least to me; I can’t speak for the BBC and their budgetary needs.

The ultimate pinnacle of amazing nature documentaries that I would insert myself into would be BBC’s Blue Planet. I have no scuba training, no ability to hold massive, waterproof cameras steady underwater, nor the stomach for long boat trips, but to swim stretched out next to a blue whale, to look into her eye and know that she was here before I was born, and will be here long after, would change my life I think. So Blue Planet 3, hit me up if you need a relatively unskilled 21-year-old to join your crew.

However, if I were to write my own TV show and there were no limits, I would do something different than nature docs. I would cast an all minority cast. We would have scripts that used words like bisexual, feminist, and Black Lives Matter in meaningful ways that add to the larger discourse instead of being the butt of jokes. Inside the actual plot, I would have to admit that deep down I’m a romantic. I want the struggle of Captain America (because if he isn’t a closeted bisexual man in love with his best friend and punching people along the way I’m a hat), meets the surety of a Law and Order episode (because they always get the bad guys, right?), meets the queer romance of Below her Mouth (it ends happy okay) all wrapped up together and packaged into easily binge-able and funny 30-minute episodes. I want Parks and Recreation but even more liberal and queer, and with more fight scenes so maybe what I really want to write is 30-Rock meets 300?  

Jokes aside, if I were ever given the opportunity to write a TV show I would want to make a character that I could have seen myself in as a younger girl. Growing up it would have changed my life to see someone who looked like me, who loved like me, and who had the aspirations of a future shaped just like mine. In today’s world getting to tell stories like this are difficult as producers refuse to pay for anything that isn’t guaranteed to make money and sell advertising space. Which is why we have the third remake of Spider Man in my lifetime happening now, and why the Big Bang Theory spin-off, Young Sheldon, even exists. But, if one day this mishmash of shows is on a 9pm ECT on Wednesday nights, I would pay for cable to watch it every week and boosts its ratings, which is a lot of dedication okay? Cable is expensive, and Netflix exists.

The Sassy Best Friend

The time: 11pm on a crisp fall evening in the late 00s. 

The place: A quirky studio apartment on the upper east side of Manhattan. 

The situation: It’s been three days and the bland but beautiful bachelorette whose name is “Jess” or “Hannah” or “Sarah” or something hasn’t heard back from Bradley, a rich hunk she met at the bar last week.   

 “Is it me?” bland girl asks, clutching her pillow while writhing on her couch in desperation.  

 “Well, he was wearing a ring…” She ponders.  

 Suddenly, a hand appears and smacks some sense into the generic woman.  

 “He’s married, dumbass! Now get showered and put on that sparkly red thing in the closet. We’re going out tonight, and both of us are going to get hit on by large men with defined jaw lines and no attachments.” 

 Who does this iron hand and crude tongue belong to?  

 I’ll give you a hint: she’s been played by legends: Zooey Deschanel, Lisa Kudrow, Christina Applegate, and, of course, Judy Greer.  

 She’s usually clad in some sort of ostentatious blouse, and always ready to party. She’s fiercely loyal to fashion and friendship. She has an inappropriate past which produces fitting anecdotes for the precise times when you need advice. You spilled wine on your dress? No problem. This girl’s spilled blood on her dress when she was enlisted in the IDF; she’s a stain-removal pro.  

 The teaser trailers are where she truly shines; her comedic timing and unrivaled wit break apart the whiny protagonist’s ramblings. Yet despite her memorability, she’s always conveniently left off of the promo poster, but, you always remember her.  

 You guessed it: she’s the sassy best friend 

 I know enough about myself to say that I check all of the boxes: I’m quirky, stylish, judgmental, and dang iconic. It doesn’t matter what story I’m in because I’m always the one kicking ass and taking names. Some call it conceit; I call it taking care of business.  

 If you’re ever in need of a sassy best friend, just shout your most pressing issue into the void and I’ll be right there to give you a backhand and a ride to the club.  

The Heart and Soul of James Madison University