“We are so customed to disguise ourselves to others that, in the end, we become disguised to ourselves.”

Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch

At the start of this past decade, my family as I knew it, disintegrated. Mental health crises ravaged my immediate family nearly taking the life of one, while another ran away — I left my college class one evening to help file an Operation Quickfind. I had moved home the previous Fall, and stopped my undergraduate studies — in fact I failed out, a fact I am only now ready to discuss. I was hoping to regroup…


In 1936, the propaganda film, Reefer Madness (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhQlcMHhF3w) was released. It discussed the “new drug menace” of Marijuana, referring to it as a “violent narcotic.” The following year the Marijuana Tax Act was passed by Congress that set out to criminalize possession and use. In the 1936 film, a man can be seen encouraging others to invest in “compulsory education on the subject of narcotics in general” to “lay the foundation to demand by law” criminalization because “it is only through enlightenment” in understanding it’s danger that Marijuana use could be addressed in our community. Of course, this association of…


This Thanksgiving feels like a game of freeze-tag gone wrong. In the few days I ever get off of work throughout the year, I always look forward to being with friends and family. But today, it’s just me and Lady. I hung my Christmas decorations up earlier than normal because I needed the joy in my daily life visually representing what Christmas sparks within me. One less stocking to hang though, because my parrot, dear sweet Liberty passed away in May due to old age.

A quick aside about him — I never imagined to have a parrot, but rescued…

Ashley Vanorny

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