Time Capsule: “Juxtaposition”

“Clothing, in some ways, can make a person.”


Juxtaposition – two objects placed close together, revealing a stark contrast between the two objects. Black and white. Short and tall. They’re very clearly opposite when they’re put next to one another.


Yesterday I went out with a few friends, and – I don’t know if you’ve ever watched Parks and Recreation but – we had a Treat Yo Self day. We went shopping. I bought some new shoes, new pants, new shirts. We had dinner at Copeland’s, which is a pretty fancy place. I had a drink; we had some laughs; I ate some tasty chicken parmesan; and then we each had some cheesecake. It was a great day.

But I realized when buying my new clothes, in some way it always makes me feel like a different person. Weird that clothes can have that effect on people. And now that I’ve heard Jane Greenwood in person – the most amazing costumer ever – and we’ve been studying her in class, I see it ever more clearly.


Back when I was a sophomore in college, I had the pleasure of living with my best friend of the time. He was a psychology major, and I was a theatre major. He loved to test social norms. I loved to play a part. One day, when we were meeting a mutual friend’s father, we decided to trade clothes for a one-day experiment. It was fun to learn the effects our outer change had had on others, as well as the feelings it created within us.















All that to say, clothing, in some ways, can make a person. What a cool concept. We had become our opposites for a day, simply by dressing differently.

Time Capsule: “We Are The Champions!”

“What good does it do to dwell on the dark memories?”

Ever look back on your life and wonder, How many people have I been?

No? Maybe it’s just me, because I’m watching so much Doctor Who lately…

At this point in my life, I’m feeling that I’m in my ninth incarnation – or something roundabout the ninth. What I mean – and I think I’ve written about this before – is that there’s something in me that’s crystallized, and then there’s something in me that’s constantly changing, evolving, devolving, relearning, and then adapting again – over and over again. Research backs this up, but it’s amazing how much of my own life I’ve forgotten.

It’s astounding how much we forget, as humans. (Surely, I’m not alone in my horrible memory.) And yet I know I’m not the same person I was only five years ago, let alone seven years ago.


Recently I came across this photo on my Facebook homepage, and it took me by surprise:


This wall stands in my high school, and every member of the newspaper staff of which I had been a part during my time as a student there signed this mural before graduating. It was the EDGE, and they were my family during a rough patch in my life. Amazing that I forgot about this mural until it popped up on my newsfeed. The EDGE was a team; the EDGE was a place of acceptance – most importantly, a place of sincerity and encouragement. And I will cherish it forever.


I left my house rather early (6:58 a.m.) this morning in order to make it to school on time, to go to Lipscomb University with the EDGE Staff. I made it to school at 7:15! No one was on the bus, and they were supposed to be. . . I made my way to Room 38, our headquarters! There I saw the best people I know on this earth, the closest friends I could have, and the best role model out of all of my years in high school. We went to the bus as planned. Things were pretty bland on the way up to Nashville, but I listened to Ingrid Michaelsen with Winton, took a personality color test, and heated up the windows with my hand. (Unusual, I know, but I’m unnaturally hot.)

Lipscomb University! Last year we sat in the very front of the auditorium, but this year we sat audience right. Things were going pretty slowly, but that was expected. The announcers hadn’t made it to what we actually cared about just yet – the awards. A speaker-woman from the FCC talked on and on about her career and the importance of our generation in journalism. Honestly, she had some good points. Too bad I can’t exactly name the specifics. . . Anywho, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one annoyed that the guy giving awards wouldn’t stick to one topic. He hopped from Newspaper, Broadcasting, and Literary Magazines to Yearbook. Torture, really. (Sort of like this post.)

In the individual awards, Winton and I won First Place for Merrick & Esteban!!! (That was a comic series we created revolving around a haberdasher bird and a party duck.) But guess what! The EDGE newspaper as a whole this year received Best Overall Newspaper! We’re an All-Tennessee newspaper! Ha! Not second place anymore! Woot! I’ll tell you, the whole waiting process was horrible for my heart, but when I heard “EDGE” come from the man’s mouth, I jumped in my seat and chill bumps sprouted all over my body.

When the ceremony ended, we went downstairs to change and talk and be our “wacky” selves like, apparently, journalists are.

Then, it happened. We lost Mrs. Lockhart. Of course our first idea is to do the Dougie and shout random things at passersby and swing. However, I’m assuming someone called the little blonde lady. (Her size won’t matter long in this story.) We made it back to the bus successfully! Then, it was time for lunch at El Rey! Amanda had a Birthday Sombrero placed upon her head, and I ate a Speedy Gonzales. The seniors ate at their own booth with Mrs. Lockhart. When we finished eating, it was time for the real fun:

We strolled our way over to the Lazertag building, and I acted like an idiot the whole walk over. But what’re you gonna do? I’m Milton, they say. For some reason that gives me rights unlike any other. Due to my recent obsession with Sweeney Todd, I used the codename “Sweeney” to slay all of my close friends. Haha!

In the first game there were an assortment of other fictional characters playing as well: Merlin, Watson, Dumbledore, Gandalf, and Sherlock. (Those aren’t the only ones.)

The second game wasn’t an individual effort. We played teams, and the six seniors plus Mrs. Lockhart made up the “Stormtroopers.” You know the sad part? The underclassman called themselves the “Underdogs,” and their team had at least eleven players on it. We beat them down 2618 to 1843! (That’s why Mrs. L’s size doesn’t matter. When it comes to Lazertag, she’s a beast.) In the end, though, I still love them all. We are the champions!


No matter who I’ve been, who I am, or who I will be, the EDGE crew formed in me a sense of celebration and camaraderie. I’m happy to have typed this memory up. Sure, we can work hard, we can panic and get stressed, crumble and cry, but what good does it do to dwell on the dark memories, to fear the worst for the future? I say, celebrate, rejoice. Work hard, and then revel in the hard work with your companions, because without revelry, we’re burying ourselves deep in the misery of our labor.

Time Capsule: “Hawaii Trip – Part One”

“Emotions are so fickle. Moods are so situational.”

Do you ever find that you really want to take out your frustration on everyone around you? That, even if someone were to ask you why you were frustrated, you could not actually put it into words? You simply feel like you’re drowning or on fire, and you want to take someone down with you?

Fortunately, I’m not at that point. Haha!


Tonight I sit alone at the sound board in Stone Theatre, listening to the wonderful cast of Six Women with Brain Death or Expiring Minds Want to Know as they rehearse their music. I’m running the sound board before Tech Week. (I say, “running.” What I mean is, “watching over” before the actual Sound Board Operator arrives.)

The cast is doing wonderful, and we have about thirteen days ’til open. So, I can only imagine how great the show will be by then.

All that to say, I forgot about the time commitment to Theatre, after having been gone for over two years. While away, I missed it. I missed the magic and adventure of it. I forgot the duty, responsibility, and work of it.

Mix that together with classwork – I’m in Stone Theatre all my waking hours, it seems.

Now, there are two responses to this. Either I could decide to be grateful, or I could decide to be bitter.

That’s it. Those are the two options.

I’m currently in a retrospective tango with both bitterness and gratitude.

It reminds me of the first night I spent in Hawaii.


It was 8:30 pm in Hawaii, but back in Tennessee it was 1:30 am. And we had finally arrived at the airport – Mama, Gene, Kayla, Shane, Travis, Isaac, and myself. We accrued our luggage – seven suitcases – from baggage claim. I was cranky after not sleeping for over 36 hours. In the totality of those 36 hours, I hadn’t peed because of my irrational fear of public restrooms. I was bloated, needless to say.

After gathering our luggage together, we went to get a rental car. And it was the rental-car-place’s busiest night, confirmed by one of the employees. My anger was rising while I tried not to pee on myself. After waiting a ridiculous amount of time, all of us climbed into a minivan. Travis, Kayla, and I piled into the backseat with our carry-on luggage, and then Isaac’s baby stroller was piled on top of us.

We drove around in search of our condo. My attitude became worse when I realized we could not find the condo. Gene had somehow confused the directions. We passed the condo three times that night. And once we finally arrived to the condo’s gate, we had no code to open it. We had no idea which condo was ours as we looked through the gate. As opposed to most places in the continental United States, lights on the island are scarce. We could see almost nothing without the assistance of stars.

We waited for another car to drive through the gate, and we followed hard behind them. Yes, we got into the gate illegally.

And then we found a security guard. The guard helped us find our condo, but once we got there, we had no code to get into the house.

Four teens, an eight-month-old, and two adults, who had to deal with their irritable kids, were sitting in a parking lot with no way into the comfort of a condo that they had payed for several in advance.

Gene, reaching his boiling point, said to the security guard, “I guess I’ll go over and pay a thousand dollars for a room tonight at the Hilton.” Gene never yelled; he only ever became highly stern – at least in my memory.

As we drove to the Hilton, pain was setting in. My bladder was about to spill out my body. I kept repeating, “I don’t care where we stay as long as I can pee!”

After Gene left a series of frustrated voicemails for our renters, they finally called us back with all the correct information on how to get into the gate and the condo. Gene was getting frustrated with the valet now; he almost lost his head. But the phone call came at the right moment.

When we got to the condo, before doing anything else, I ran to the bathroom and peed. I don’t remember much between going to the bathroom and laying down on the couch. I didn’t bother unpacking or pulling out the bed before I was out for the night.


All that to say, I look back on these events, and I’m able to laugh at myself. In the moment, though, everything was highly frustrating. I flew off the handle a few times. And the trip was meant to be a vacation. . .

What I glean from this story: Emotions are so fickle. Moods are so situational. Why not choose to be grateful despite the ridiculous stressors of life?

If you’d like to see my first full week as a graduate student, the video is here.

Time Capsule: “Sleep Typing”

“Live in each moment.”

Hello, world!

Do you ever look back on your life and realize that truly you can only get a small glimpse of who you were, that somehow along the way you have become the summation of multiple people, various chapters blending and blurring?

I do.

Then again, somehow along the way, we maintain a central core, a solid medium to which we always return – constancy despite consistency.


Back in the Summer of 2010, I took a trip to Hawaii with my family. We stayed there for eleven days. And, yes, I recorded each and every individual day in blog form. I also took photos. And I took several videos with my Flipshare video camera, eventually compiling them into a single document to gift to my siblings.

Church Photo
Summer 2009 (Little Isaac wasn’t born yet.)

Funny enough, like most things in my life, the files were destroyed before I could burn them to a disk.

Why were they destroyed?

While I was in college, I broke my laptop screen (for the third time) and took my Mac to a store for reparation. When I had the screen replaced, I did not back any of my files up, despite the guy in the blue polo having asked me to do so. Thus, the tangible memories were deleted.

The potential lesson to be learned: Live in each moment, but make sure to mark the good ones – and sometimes even the bad ones.


Fortunately, I did keep the stories. And for the next few blog entries, I will be recalling the days when I went to Hawaii.

[Until then, a quick summary of the Time Capsule: Justin of 2010 loved Doctor Who, Glee, traveling libraries, Pokemon, and staying up late to write.]

Please enjoy this quote from Doctor Who, an alien who sums up the coming-off and putting-on of masks and centrality of character:

“Come on, then. Take mine. Take my memories. But I hope you’ve got a big appetite because I’ve lived a long life and I’ve seen a few things. I walked away from the Last Great Time War. I marked the passing of the Time Lords. I saw the birth of the universe and I watched as time ran out, moment by moment, until nothing remained. No time. No space. Just me. I walked in universes where the laws of physics were devised by the mind of a madman. I’ve watched universes freeze and creations burn. I have seen things you wouldn’t believe. I have lost things you will never understand. And I know things, secrets that must never be told and knowledge that must never be spoken. Knowledge that will make parasite gods blaze. So come on then! Take it! Take it all, baby! Have it! You have it all!”