Day 105


Bailey Stover

Post-it Notes are kind of awesome. Today is June 30.

Simply because I was cold and couldn’t get comfortable in my own bed, my day started around 9:30 a.m., which was a nice change of pace. I wandered aimlessly around my house because my brain still wasn’t awake but my body didn’t want to be in a horizontal position anymore. The sky was grey but not stormy yet, even though I knew the forecast predicted rain later in the day.

When my mind at last came alive, I tugged on a sweatshirt, grabbed my book and headed out to the living room. In theory I planned on reading the entirety of What The Eyes Don’t See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City by Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha today. In reality, however, I knew I likely would have neither the time nor energy to finish the book in one sitting. What The Eyes Don’t See is the first person account of the author’s experience working to uncover and expose the Flint, Michigan water crisis through her research on blood-lead levels in affected children. My description does not do the book justice since it also focuses on the immigrant experience, bureaucracy, political red tape, scandals and cover-ups for the sake of profit and self-preservation.

My mom gave me my two bound books of copies of “The Rock” today. Photo by Bailey Stover

Dr. Hanna-Attisha’s story is compelling, well-written, engaging and filled to the brim with passion as well as thorough research and context. As she describes her work and the struggles she faced dealing with the water crisis, she periodically includes well-time, relevant anecdotes and memories from her childhood and history. Despite her medical knowledge, her style of writing does not alienate readers and instead draws them into the story and struggles alongside her. I felt invigorated, anxious, angry and ready to fight for justice as I read, allowing the story and its emotions to consume me.

On more than one occasion, I interrupted my family members as they were going about their days to inform them we could all die of lead poisoning, the government is evil and humanity is terrible. To be fair, none of those statements is entirely true, and the first one is highly unlikely, but I needed the people around me to be as outraged as I was. How could the people and organizations elected and created to protect us (the average American citizen) do such an abhorrent, negligent job, at times going so far as to misinform the public and refuse to take action even when confronted with logical, data-driven information demanding immediate policy and public health changes? 

Over the past few years, I’ve fallen in love with journalistic nonfiction. I’ve read novels about the fast food industry, racism and the American criminal justice system, North Korea, the college entrance process and the struggles of high-achieving students. Each one was captivating and motivating in its own way. Through the stories, I’ve begun to see where my passion for journalism may take me in the future, at least in some capacity. I am excited to tell true, important, difficult and complex stories, and hopefully in the process I can make people think and do a little good in the world.

The sky was beautiful tonight as the last bits of light faded away. Photo by Bailey Stover.

I took a break from reading in the afternoon to watch Veronica Mars with my brother. After a few episodes, though, I decided to get back to my book. I continued reading until around 9:30 p.m. I took a break to make sure I was all set to select my move-in time tomorrow morning, which I hope will be a smooth process. I’m planning on getting up early so I can have my pick of slots and move in as early as possible. I also chatted with a few of my old teachers and my mom’s former colleagues when they arrived at our house for a socially-distanced book group, though for the most part I left them alone and stayed inside reading on my own. 

When the teachers left, I helped my mom move our cars back to their usual parking spots. Then, with her help, I completed a scholarship application for the Chancellor’s Leadership Class. I’m an eleventh hour gal for sure because I put off doing and submitting the application until two and a half hours before the deadline. I doubt I’ll get it because I’m certain I’m not the person with the greatest financial need, but I thought I’d at least put my name and case in to see if luck is on my side.

Tomorrow I’m signing up for a move-in time and have a dentist appointment, which means I’ll be going out into the world. I’m both excited to leave the house because I’m going stir crazy and a little nervous because I’m sure I won’t be able to wear a mask when I’m having my teeth examined. To make my grandpa happy and satisfy his sweet tooth, I’m also pretty sure my mom and I will be making apple fritters tomorrow, depending on both our schedules. Either way, I’m going to need a good night’s sleep so I can get up before the crack of 9 a.m. and secure my ideal move-in slot.

“Leaders must be close enough to relate to others but far enough ahead to motivate them.” ― John C. Maxwell

How did you spend your 105th day of social distancing? Let us know in the comments below.