March 19, 2018
EP. 104 — The Whirlpool Galaxy
Coping with tremendous grief from a recent tragedy, an astrophysics researcher talks to Geth about black holes, extraterrestrial life and the fate of humanity.
This episode is brought to you by Mack Weldon (www.mackweldon.com code: BEAUTIFUL), Your Mechanic (www.yourmechanic.com/STORIES), Stamps.com (www.stamps.com code: BEAUTIFUL), and Talkspace (www.talkspace.com/beautiful).
104 — The Whirlpool Galaxy
[00:00:59] CHRIS: Hello to all my other half guard players. It’s Beautiful Anonymous one hour, one phone call, no names, no holds barred.
[00:01:09] THEME MUSIC: I’d rather go one-on-one. I think it’ll be more fun. And I’ll get to know you, and you’ll get to know me.
[00:01:23] CHRIS: Hello, everybody, welcome to Beautiful Anonymous, the podcast where I get to talk to people on the phone. You all get to listen to other people’s lives, the secrets and intricacies, sometimes exciting, sometimes boring, but always very human. Beautiful Anonymous. I love that I get to do this. Thank you guys for supporting it.
[00:01:43] [AD BREAK]
[00:02:43] CHRIS: Okay. Last week’s episode heard from a caller who was organizing a wedding and also preparing for gallbladder surgery. People enjoyed it. People sympathized. Empathized with that caller. Also, I want to say we had the Ron Paul’s baby follow up. It was our two year anniversary of the show, followed up with the first caller. And universally, people online in that Beautiful Anonymous Facebook group agreed. Ron Paul’s baby really funny this year, killed it. People glad to hear you’re doing well. And I tell you, I dropped the ball on the second one a year ago. I dropped the ball, put Ron Paul’s baby in bad spot. People didn’t like that second episode. Third one, everybody’s loving. Ron Paul’s baby is back, baby. Baby is back, baby. Also want to let you guys know March 31st is less than two weeks from today. That’s when this pay wall system starts up. I’ve been mentioning this on the show. Anything older than six months will now be behind a paywall. You know, that’s something a lot. You’ve heard a lot of the Earwolf, hosts grumbling about it. I just want encourage. Remember, it’s March 31st. So anything older than six months that you want for free, that you want to keep, the old episodes that you love? Go download them now. Download them, and keep them. I am telling you, go take them all for free. Put them on a hard drive if you want them. There ain’t no problem with that. In the meantime, Stitcher Premium is where they’re going to be housed.
[00:04:04] [AD BREAK]
[00:04:28] CHRIS: All right. This episode that we’ve got coming up for you guys, this one is intense. This one is very intense. I want to warn you guys about that now. It’s it it is tense and it is grim, but it is also full of hope. And the caller is someone who who who who has been through a lot and who who is still pursuing dreams and still pursuing big goals, but who has clearly been through trauma. I think a lot of you guys are going to listen to this one. I’m just going to I’m just going to say this upfront. I don’t pry in the course of this call. Some of you maybe are going to wish I did for the sake of entertainment value. I will just ask you. Remember that I think for for myself, who loves this podcast, a lot of the people love it, just remember: it is entertainment. But it is entertainment based in humanity, and in the in the moments where I didn’t pry, understand that I was I was just trying to be a respectful and kind human being who has his own comfort zone and who respects the limits of others. So this one’s tough, it’s intense, but it’s also really fascinating, really gripping stuff. One of those calls that I couldn’t stop thinking about for many, many days and weeks after we recorded it, but one that I’m absolutely thankful and grateful that I was able to have. I think you guys are gonna get a lot out of it. Enjoy listening. And I’ll see you soon.
[00:05:56] PHONE ROBOT: Thank you for calling Beautiful Anonymous. A beeping noise will indicate when you are on the show with the host. [Beep]
[00:06:04] CALLER: Hello.
[00:06:05] CHRIS: Hello.
[00:06:06] CALLER: Hi.
[00:06:09] CHRIS: How’s it going?
[00:06:10] CALLER: Is this Chris?
[00:06:11] CHRIS: It is. Yeah, it is.
[00:06:13] CALLER: Oh. Oh, wow. Okay. I’m I’m okay. I just got out of the women’s self-defense class and am skipping a research meeting to talk to you. So.
[00:06:26] CHRIS: Wow. I just got out of a martial arts class myself.
[00:06:31] CALLER: Oh, really, what what are you taking?
[00:06:33] CHRIS: I’m back in my Brazilian jiu jitsu game. I used to do jiu jitsu. I’m gonna to —
[00:06:37] CALLER: Oh, nice.
[00:06:38] CHRIS: Doing Brazilian jiu jitsu again, getting my —
[00:06:42] CALLER: Oh, cool
[00:06:43] CHRIS: — ass handed to me.
[00:06:46] CALLER: Yeah, we do. We do lots of Brazilian jiu jitsu for, like. He calls it, like our professor, calls it like the the nonviolent methods. And then and then he also gives us like violent tools, I guess, for self-defense. So, yeah.
[00:07:01] CHRIS: Wow. Yeah, that’s intense. I for I actually I go to a very good gym, a pretty legendary gym. And I, uh, you know, you spar at the end of every class. And I was rolling with a young lady today, and she really whooped me good. And then I later found out that she’s currently a fighter in the UFC. I was earlier today fighting a —
[00:07:22] CALLER: Oh, wow.
[00:07:23] CHRIS: — UFC fighter.
[00:07:25] CALLER: Well, that’s pretty cool. Good job.
[00:07:29] CHRIS: I mean, it’s cool now to talk about it. It wasn’t cool when I was being completely brutalized, completely brutalized.
[00:07:35] CALLER: Yeah.
[00:07:36] CHRIS: But that’s OK. These things happen.
[00:07:41] CALLER: Yeah.
[00:07:42] CHRIS: Yeah, so, you’re skipping a meeting?
[00:07:47] CALLER: Yep. Skipping my research group meeting.
[00:07:50] CHRIS: What kind of research? What kind of research do you do?
[00:07:54] CALLER: I astrophysics or like more specifically, galaxy evolution.
[00:07:59] CHRIS: What? Ha ha. Huh? Huh?
[00:08:02] CALLER: Yeah. Well so this is so I guess. So how I describe the field to people when I give like public talks about my research, I usually start out by saying like that I use the universe as a time machine to tell the story of how galaxies have evolved over the past 8 billion years. That’s like my one, you know, five-second pitch.
[00:08:26] CHRIS: Wow. Well, I’m watching the Crown on Netflix, so I’m pretty cool, too.
[00:08:34] CALLER: Nice.
[00:08:34] CHRIS: Wow. How do you get into that? How do you give in to Galaxy Evolution?
[00:08:39] CALLER: Well, so it’s kind of been like a long, like nontraditional and non-linear path, actually. Because the first time I went to school, actually, I became a nurse. And then while I was working as a nurse to like distract myself, I started reading like popular science books and came across Stephen Hawking and stuff. And I realized that, like, this was like my actual passion in life. So I decided to go back to school and study. So I’m actually an undergraduate in physics, but I’m in this astrophysics research group and next year I’ll go off to grad school for astrophysics. But basically, I just went to one of the professors who is doing the most interesting research in my department. And just like bugged him a bunch until he finally had room in his research group. And so, like, he used to work at one of the world’s largest telescopes and his old boss still works there. And so she does research in the field of galaxy evolution. And so that’s how I I came across it. But it’s — and then I’ve been involved in other other types of research, too. But Galaxy Evolution is definitely the one that I’m going to study in grad school and for the rest of my life. So, yeah.
[00:09:59] CHRIS: I say this lovingly. I am obsessed with Marvel Comics and once had the Star Wars encyclopedia memorized. I say this with love. You’re a nerd. You’re a super nerd, huh?
[00:10:10] CALLER: Yeah, I’m definitely a super nerd, for sure.
[00:10:12] CHRIS: You hang out with the nerdiest people on the planet.
[00:10:16] CALLER: Yeah. Yeah. Uh-Huh. Definitely.
[00:10:20] CHRIS: That’s —
[00:10:20: CALLER: I felt like awkward in most situations, but like that’s a place where I’m actually like, socially graceful. So, it’s pretty nice.
[00:10:27] CHRIS: Yeah. Wow. So what are some things about the evolution of the galaxy that the layman doesn’t quite know?
[00:10:35] CALLER: I think a lots of laymen probably don’t really know about the field in general, but so like for my research specifically, which was recently published.
[00:10:52] CHRIS: Congrats.
[10:52] CALLER: What we did is we we — thank you. Yeah. What we did is we studied galaxies that live in what we call galaxy clusters. So galaxy clusters are just kind of what it sounds like, thousands of galaxies that all orbit each other. They’re all gravitationally bound and we compare them to galaxies that are basically all alone to see if the different environments cause changes in their evolution. So that’s what I specifically study. But it’s actually a pretty broad field. You can study like the co-evolution of like black holes and galaxies. Then, you know, there’s just like tons of different topics that people study.
[00:11:35] CHRIS: OK, now.
[00:11:37] CALLER: Yeah.
[00:11:38] CHRIS: First up, is the Milky Way part of a cluster, or are we standing on our own?
[00:11:43] CALLER: We’re kind of we’re part of a super cluster actually —
[00:11:46] CHRIS: A super cluster.
[00:11:47] CALLER: The Virgo super cluster. So it’s just like really like there’s, you know, clusters and then groups and there’s. And, yeah, they’re all orbiting each other. So. Yeah.
[00:11:57] CHRIS: Wow. I just knew about us.
[00:11:59] CALLER: Yeah.
[00:11:59] CHRIS: And the Andromeda Galaxy. And I thought I was smart just because I knew about the Andromeda Galaxy. Just because I knew the name of the next galaxy.
[00:12:07] CALLER: Yeah. No. Yeah, no. That’s pretty good. I would say lots of laymen don’t know about Andromeda, so.
[00:12:13] CHRIS: Now do you guys —
[00:12:13] CALLER: Did you know we’ll be —
[00:12:15] CHRIS: Oh, wait. You go.
[00:12:16] CALLER: Oh, sorry. What were you —
[00:12:17] CHRIS: You go for it. You go for it.
[00:12:19] CALLER: Oh, I was going to say, did you know we’re gonna be colliding with Andromeda?
[00:12:22] CHRIS: No.
[00:12:23] CALLER: Like, yeah. The Milky Way and Andromeda are like, you know, flying towards each other and they’re gonna collide. But not for like five billion years.
[00:12:32] CHRIS: Oh, then I’m not going to worry about it then. I’m not going to sweat that.
[00:12:35] CALLER: Yeah.
[00:12:36] CHRIS: Humanity, we will have global warmed ourselves right off the face of the earth well, before that happens, right?
[00:12:42] CALLER: Oh, yeah, probably.
[00:12:43] CHRIS: Is there a chance that global warming means we’re all dead in like six years?
[00:12:49] CALLER: I’m not a climate scientist. I don’t think it would happen that quickly. I don’t think so. But soonish, just not that soon.
[00:12:59] CHRIS: Scientists kind of generally accept yeah, no. We’re killing the earth like global warming is real and we kill it. We’re killing. Humanity is gonna die eventually cause of how we’re behaving. That’s like not even a thing people debate in the scientific world anymore, right?
[00:13:13] CALLER: Oh, yeah. Definitely not. It’s not it’s not a debate. It’s it’s happening. Actually, one of my professors. He was an astrophysicist. And then he switched to climate science, actually, because it disturbed him so much. So, yeah.
[00:13:27] CHRIS: We’re just not doing anything about it. We’re just, like, oh, yeah. No, we all know that. Anyway, let’s throw our plastic in the ocean.
[00:13:34] CALLER: Mm-hmm.
[00:13:35] CHRIS: Just fine with the.
[00:13:37] CALLER: It’s literally insane.
[00:13:39] CHRIS: Now, let me ask you. I know one of the big questions that’s on everybody’s mind. Do we really even know what black holes do?
[00:13:47] CALLER: What they do? I mean.
[00:13:50] CHRIS: What happening, what really happens if you fly into a black hole?
[00:13:52] CALLER: So I don’t I don’t know that much about that. I know. I’ve heard that you get like spaghetti-fied.
[00:13:59] CHRIS: What?
[00:14:02] CALLER: You like — yeah, exactly what it sounds like. You just like get like elongated. Yeah, I don’t I don’t know that much about that. I’m not as good as Neil deGrasse Tyson yet. But that’s a question you could ask him for sure. I think he definitely answers that a lot. But yes, spaghetti-fication where you just like get elongated. It’s I don’t yeah. I don’t know too much about black holes, though.
[00:14:28] CHRIS: Wow. So you just focus mostly on the galaxies. I would think black holes. OK. I’m just gonna be dumb. I’m just going to be dumb and ask all the dummy questions that all me and all the other dummies want to ask, is that OK?
[00:14:42] CALLER: Yeah. That’s fine.
[00:14:43] CHRIS: OK. So here’s my first question. Yo, are aliens real? There are aliens, right?
[00:14:49] CALLER: I mean, I think so, statistically. I mean, it just it would almost be crazier if there weren’t aliens. So I definitely think there’s aliens for sure,
[00:15:00] CHRIS: Cause you’re someone who knows about these. Is it an infinite amount of galaxies? Infinite galaxies, right?
[00:15:06] CALLER: I mean. Yeah, I would just. Yeah. We we can’t even see we can’t even see how many galaxies there are. And so there’s like billions that we know about and then there’s there’s stuff even beyond the observable universe you know. So yeah there’s billions of galaxies. Yeah. So. And each of those galaxies have, you know, billions of stars and each of those stars we’re finding out have planets. And then many of those planets are habitable. And then if you also take into account that, you know, life could exist in another form, then how, you know, it doesn’t have to be carbon based life necessarily. So it seems pretty statistically impossible for there to not be life.
[00:15:51] CHRIS: Man, this is blowing my mind.
[00:15:53] CALLER: Pretty crazy stuff.
[00:15:56] CHRIS: I’m pretty psyched you called.
[00:15:56] CALLER: Yeah, I love thinking about it.
[00:15:58] CHRIS: Now when when you say we can see billions of other galaxies, this is not like we see photographs taken by ultra powerful telescopes, right? Is it? It’s like you can track like magnetic pulses and star gravity fields and stuff like that.
[00:16:13] CALLER: Well, so yeah, it would be through images. But we also we have telescopes that see in the radio and radio waves in X-ray and gamma rays and in optical. I study optical. I’ve also had some experiences with gamma ray telescopes, but.
[00:16:32] CHRIS: Like the incredible hulk.
[00:16:32] CALLER: Yeah. So you can see galaxies in and across the whole electromagnetic spectrum. Yeah.
[00:16:39] CHRIS: So you can just see you can look at a magnetic spectrum and just see. And what are you physically seeing? You’re seeing. You seeing dots, you’re seeing disruptions or you’re seeing actual images of galaxies.
[00:16:51] CALLER: Yeah. So in the optical, which is optical light is just, you know, the light we can see with our eyes. You know, you see galaxies just like the pictures from Hubble, for example. And actually my research, uses used Hubble Space Telescope to take images of galaxies that were 8 billion light years away. So in even in my research, we use the images from Hubble to determine, you know, the size of these galaxies and the brightness of the galaxies. And then we also use other techniques to determine the elements that are in those galaxies, like how much hydrogen there is and how much carbon and iron and stuff like that.
[00:17:30] CHRIS: Wow. So you have —
[00:17:31] CALLER: But then in the. Oh, I’m sorry. What were you going to say?
[00:17:35] CHRIS: No, you go, you go. I’m interrupting cause I’m excited. You go. Finish your thought.
[00:17:37] CALLER: Oh, okay. Well, then in like x ray, x ray and gamma ray. You can see it’s not they’re not as highly rated like x ray is not as highly resolved as as what like optical pictures. But you still see like you can see like spiral structures and stuff like that. And then gamma ray, it’s mostly just counting how many photon gamma ray photons are coming out of of usually actually gamma rays, you don’t really study galaxies that much except the supermassive black holes inside the galaxies, which I haven’t done that. When I studied gamma ray stuff with a NASA internship, I studied like the collision of black holes and and dense stars. So.
[00:18:25] CHRIS: Are there other dimensions? Like a multi-verse. Is that even so? Is that even a part of what you do? You just gave such a smart answer. I thought maybe you would know. I might just like the X-men too much.
[00:18:41] CALLER: I like X-men, too.
[00:18:43] CHRIS: Oh, that’s maybe the least surprising thing.
[00:18:47] CALLER: Yeah, I am definitely a nerd, so.
[00:18:51] CHRIS: Me, too. Me, too.
[00:18:54] CALLER: Yeah. But I don’t know much about that, having gone in so like that much theoretical astrophysics. I’m mostly like an observational person, which just means that I like take data of like the actual universe and then decide what it means. And I compare it to a to, for example, series that we have and models and stuff. But yeah, I don’t know. I have heard about the multiverse theory. But it’s I believe it would be hard to prove or disprove. So it’s kind of it’s beyond our current technological capabilities to prove whether there’s a multiverse, I think. So.
[00:19:34] CHRIS: Wow.
[00:19:34] CALLER: But it’s like it’s definitely a possibility.
[00:19:36] CHRIS: So, might there might be a days of future past like to bring it back to the X-men. OK, here’s a good here’s a question that I think might be on people’s mind. So you’re deep in this world. From your perspective. Because I tell you, I still go back and forth, even though I’m a liberal heathen. You’re somebody who studies astrophysics. Do you think the universe is random or is there a creator, in your opinion?
[00:20:05] CALLER: That’s a really deep question, huh?
[00:20:07] CHRIS: Yeah, that’s what we do here. That’s what we do on this show, deep.
[00:20:12] CALLER: Yeah. I have gotten that. So I kind of think it’s I. I don’t know. That’s actually. I’m in a weird place in my life to answer that question, actually. And it’s something that I definitely have been thinking a lot about because recently. Because probably like over a year ago, I felt like there was some like order in the universe or there was some like like fate or something or like, you know, like I felt like the universe was kind of on my side. And then recently it feels more random. So I don’t know. So, I don’t think I’m prepared to answer that question yet. To something that I definitely think about a lot.
[00:20:53] CHRIS: And I think
[00:20:54] CALLER: But yeah, I think people —
[00:20:55] CHRIS: One thing I’m always surprised about is from what I’ve read, it sounds like scientists actually a lot of scientists do actually think pretty hard about about this. You know, we have this perception of scientists as I am a man of science. Religion is something I reject. But it sounds like in your field, it actually does loop around. And people do have to ponder this more often than we think.
[00:21:16] CALLER: Yeah, definitely. You know, science is here to talk about the things that we can prove, the things we can, you know, touch and observe and. And so, you know, religion and a creator, that’s just something that, you know, science science is not there because to to prove or disprove that it’s something that, you know, is unprovable. It’s something, you know, based on faith. So but I definitely do think scientists do get philosophical at times. So you do get into pretty deep discussions, which in rooms full of scientists, so.
[00:21:49] CHRIS: Yeah, That sounds intense. It’s Elon Musk cool?
[00:21:52] CALLER: Yeah.
[00:21:53] CHRIS: Is Elon Musk cool?
[00:21:55] CALLER: He seems pretty cool, right? He just —
[00:21:58] CHRIS: Launching rockets.
[00:21:59] CALLER: Sent a rocket into space.
[00:22:00] CHRIS: Yeah, this guy’s launching his own rockets.
[00:22:01] CALLER: The huge rocket, and then yeah. And then he landed. He landed them simultaneously. That was pretty cool. I think he could have sent something more useful than one of his cars into space, though, but.
[00:22:10] CHRIS: Yeah.
[00:22:13] CALLER: But I can —
[00:22:13] CHRIS: Yes. I wish he would hurry up and make those magnet trains.
[00:22:15] CALLER: Yeah, that would be pretty cool, huh?
[00:22:17] CHRIS: Yeah. Now, hold on a second. Because I have to imagine as I’m like putting some puzzle pieces together, most of the people you’re around have been angling to do this their whole lives, right? It is pretty rare for someone to live a whole life, become a nurse and then get into astrophysics. I would imagine most of the people you’re around are like kids who were going to like camps for this stuff when they were like 12 and 13. Right.
[00:22:43] CALLER: Yes. Yes, that is absolutely true. Yeah.
[00:22:47] CHRIS: Wow. What’s so what’s the deal?
[00:22:51] CALLER: Yeah, I am definitely —
[00:22:51] CHRIS: Yeah, what’s the deal here? There’s a deal.
[00:22:55] CALLER: What’s the deal?
[00:22:55] CHRIS: There’s definite, right? Am I wrong? That’s not you don’t just —
[00:23:00] CALLER: No.
[00:23:00] CHRIS: All of a sudden, you get into what you’re to galaxy evolution and gamma ray photon mapping. After living an entire other life, there’s just it’s that’s not like that’s that’s not like a midlife crisis move. That’s not like me being like, oh, I’m going I should sign back back up for jiu jitsu, like, oh, I should just abandon my whole life to become an astrophysicist. That’s not.
[00:23:25] [TAPE REEL AUDIO] CHRIS: [music transition] We’re laughing, we’re joking. Hey, what was Gethard talking about in the intro? Get so grim and sad, well, you’re just gonna have to wait and see. We’ll get to that soon.
[00:23:46] [AD BREAK]
[00:26:39] CHRIS: [music transition] Thank you again to all of our advertisers. We’re going to go ahead and get back to the phone call.
[00:26:45] CHRIS: That’s not like me being like, oh, I’m good. I should sign back up for jiu jitsu. Like, Oh, I should just abandon my whole life to become an astrophysicist. That’s not.
[00:26:56] CALLER: Yeah, it was pretty it was pretty crazy that I did that. So I am like 30. So I’m almost young enough to where I can, like, pass as an undergrad. Like people my whole life, I’ve always thought I was younger than I actually was. Like when I was a nurse, for example, people would be like, you know, get this 15 year old away from me. I’m not letting a child do medical procedures on me. I was, like, it’s okay, you know, I’m 20. But so. So I almost fit in. But yeah, it is weird being like a 30 year old undergrad at a university full of, you know, 20. Most of my cohort is like 20, 22. And also, I grew up. And I think the reason it took me so long to find my passion, to find astrophysics, is because I grew up in this really small rural town. And actually physics wasn’t even offered in my high school. And so when I was like. And I also grew up really poor, too. And so when I graduated high school, I just I wanted I wanted to. You know, I did want to make like a positive impact on my community, but I also needed to get out of poverty. So I just picked, you know, a job that I could do both of those things and a job that I had seen people in my town do you know?
[00:28:14] CHRIS: Right, right.
[00:28:15] CALLER: So that’s basically how I became a nurse and then working as a nurse. And it was just really it was a really stressful job. I have a lot of respect for nurses. It has to be one of the hardest jobs ever. But the I I couldn’t really handle the emotional strain of it. And so I was like, oh, I’ll start reading, you know. Then I found physics and then went back to school. Yeah. It’s it’s a pretty crazy story because, you know, it would have been probably more logical to go back just like nurse practitioner school or something than to start as a freshman physics, you know, do that for four years. I mean, now I recently got accepted into graduate school. So that’s going to be another five, so.
[00:28:57] CHRIS: Yeah.
[00:28:57] CALLER: But I I really love it so.
[00:29:00] CHRIS: That’s awesome. It sounds like it sounds like based on your background, maybe like you needed to make some really practical choices coming out of the gate. But then once you get.
[00:29:10] CALLER: Yeah.
[00:29:10] CHRIS: Once you do that for a while and you find your footing and you’ve had a job for a while, now you can go do something that’s like a little bit more of a. Like not in the field, but in your life experience, like a little bit more of like a dreamer situation, like chasing the more dream one.
[00:29:26] CALLER: Yeah, exactly. Definitely. Yeah, I had to be like very possible at first, but once like all of my basic needs were taken care of and I wasn’t in like survival mode anymore. I started thinking about, okay, what do I actually want to do with my life? And also, actually, I was one of the main reasons that I did it, too, was because I thought I was going to become a mother. And I was trying to think about what type of mother I wanted to be. And I knew that I wanted, you know, my child to follow their passions. And I thought, you know, the best way to show them, you know, that that’s something you should do is to do it myself. So I just I wanted to be like an inspirational person for my son.
[00:30:12] CHRIS: Wow. Now, if I’m prying too much, tell me the buzz off, but you said you said you were going to become a mother. Are you a mother?
[00:30:26] CALLER: So, OK, so this is going to be a difficult question to answer. So I am. So I can say this sentence there like very specific ways and this is the way that I’m able to say it that I’ve worked with with my therapist. So I’m a widow and I’m a bereaved mother.
[00:30:48] CHRIS: Oh, I’m so sorry.
[00:30:50] CALLER: Thank you. Yeah. So I’m a bereaved mother, so that’s like a question. It’s it’s hard to answer, you know, like I still feel like I’m a mother, but also, you know. You know. So like, yeah, I’m a bereaved mother. That’s how I can say it.
[00:31:12] CHRIS: Wow. Well, you know how however much you’d like to talk about that, I’m happy to talk. But I also know that when tragedies happen, it might not be something you’d like to talk about. So I leave that up to you.
[00:31:26] CALLER: Okay. Yeah. I’m open to talk about it. But yeah, it was it was a tragedy. And I’m not able like I’m not able to talk about certain things still. The like, actually, so I work at an observatory and the. And this tragedy happened over a little bit over a year ago. Just a little bit over a year now. And this summer. So this summer, it was like, you know, it had been about six months and. And so I went and worked up at the observatory. One of the people I worked with hadn’t heard what happened, even though it was like on the news and everything. But he somehow didn’t know. And he asked me, you know, how are the boys doing? And I I wasn’t prepared for that. I I assumed he must have found out somehow. And I just I kind of freaked out. I just started saying, “Um,” actually like probably for a couple whole minutes and pacing back and forth. And then I just like for the first time and like the last time I said it out loud. And then, like, my vision started like blackening and like restricting kind of. So I, like, went to my room. We were in like the astronomer’s residence. So I went to my room and I actually like passed out. So.
[00:32:42] CHRIS: Wow.
[00:32:43] CALLER: I told my therapist about, you know, that happening. And she. And I told her, you know, I’m worried. I’m about to go to graduate school, like at my current university. Everybody knows what happened to me. So. And so they basically they don’t talk to me about it, but they know because they know. So nobody asks me, like, you know, questions like that. So but going off to grad school, you know, it’s expected that people in grad school, you know, start to have families and stuff. So these questions are going to start to come up. So I’ve been trying to work on how do I how do I tell people this? You know, cause often, you know, one of the things that, you know, made me faint I think was was the shock in his face. Me kind of made me go into shock again. And also, it’s just it’s just a hard thing to say out loud just because one of my coping mechanisms is actually pretending it didn’t happen. And so —
[00:33:38] CHRIS: Yeah.
[00:33:39] CALLER: When you say it out loud, it kind of makes it feel real, which I know that it is. But also at the same time, I kind of don’t know that it is. I can’t really explain it too well. But grief is a very weird thing.
[00:33:51] CHRIS: Of course. No, of course. Everyone handles things differently, and it sounds like it was something that, you know, really traumatic. And, you know, we’re living in a world where people talk about, you know, the effects of post-trauma. More and more so.
[00:34:10] CALLER: Yeah,
[00:34:11] CHRIS: Yeah.
[00:34:12] CALLER: I have. I was actually also like witness to the event.
[00:34:16] CHRIS: Oh, no.
[00:34:17] CALLER: So I. Yeah, I have PTSD as well. And like complicated grief. And I don’t know what all the things are. But yeah, PTSD is a huge part of it.
[00:34:31] CHRIS: Yeah. Yeah. I mean I can’t imagine. I can’t imagine. My heart goes out to you. I’m very sorry.
[00:34:38] CALLER: Thank you. Yeah, I appreciate that.
[00:34:40] CHRIS: I mean, I would I would have to imagine that, you know. Currently pursuing a field that’s all about, you know, finding out how order comes out of chaos is probably not a coincidence. I would imagine that there’s something that must be very appealing to that right now.
[00:35:02] CALLER: Yeah, definitely. Yeah, my my research has been one of the main things to get me through this year. It’s been like it’s like a distraction. I think I’ve always used like learning as a distraction or as like a coping mechanism. Like when I was like young, I loved school because it was it was basically a distraction from my tumultuous childhood. And then, like I said, it was nursing. To distract myself from this difficult job, I would, you know, read books. And now my research is is like, a great distraction for me. It helps me, you know, well I get to leave. I kind of get to leave the planet and also the galaxy, like other galaxies and almost like time to really get to escape time a little bit, too, so. Oh yeah.
[00:35:54] CHRIS: Yeah. I mean that is a. That is. I have to say, like, when you when you’re dealing with when you’re dealing with something that’s that’s really unfathomable and brutal, I would imagine being able to escape the space time continuum itself is a pretty useful coping mechanism.
[00:36:13] CALLER: Yeah.
[00:36:14] CHRIS: I also understand why it might. it now there’s its shine some light on why my question my my flippant question about if God is real. Why why you said, you know, it’s a lot more layered then and then. Then we’re thinking about it right now. I understand that a little bit more as well.
[00:36:35] CALLER: Yeah. I used to feel it. I felt so lucky I had I literally had, you know, the perfect life. And for that to happen, it felt like the universe had to align, you know, like the you know, the way I met my husband. You know, had my son, like, it just felt like we felt so lucky. And then for something like this to happen, it just completely it just makes no sense, is it makes it. It’s really unbelievable. Really like if I think about all the things that happen. It’s completely unbelievable to the point where I almost feel like I’m I’m watching a movie and all of these things are happening to this woman and she has no control over it. Like it kind of. So I guess it’s called disassociation. Yeah. And it just doesn’t feel real. Maybe. Yeah. I guess that’s a another coping mechanism that might not be healthy for the long term. But it’s gotten me. It’s kept me alive for a year at least. So.
[00:37:37] CHRIS: Right. And I mean. You’ve you’ve mentioned a few times that you’re you’re seeing a therapist who clearly I would imagine the aim of that is to help you through this and help keep an eye on that. And I think that something like disassociation, I’m no expert, but I would imagine that’s something that’s natural and expected. And that sounds like you have, you know, such a good head on your shoulders and such a mind for logic. And I’m sure that as that runs its course, it’s it’s something you’re keeping your eye on. So that’s nice. It’s good.
[00:38:10] CALLER: Yeah. Thank you. Yeah.
[00:38:12] CHRIS: Helping you. Do you have to have like I mean you you had mentioned that your childhood was a you know, it’s you you didn’t have much. And sometimes I know that that can lead to chaotic home lives. Do you do you have other family who’s helping you through the situation?
[00:38:32] CALLER: So that so this is so the story does get worse.
[00:38:37] CHRIS: Oh, no.
[00:38:38] CALLER: Actually, so.
[00:38:39] CHRIS: I really know how to pick the right topics. I know I really I’m really picking.
[00:38:42] CALLER: I know. It’s.
[00:38:44] CHRIS: I’m really picking the winner questions that is this this round. I could have still been. Five minutes ago, I was asking you if Elon Musk is cool and now I keep putting my foot in it. I apologize.
[00:38:56] CALLER: Oh, no, it’s fine. Well, so nine months before the tragedy, my dad died and he was the person I was closest to growing up. But I also I have a very big family. Like I have seven brothers and sisters, but five of them are much older than me, like they’re in their 50s. And so, like my core family growing up was like my mom and my dad and my younger brother and my younger sister. And so like after the tragedy happened, I couldn’t afford to live in the house I was living in with my family. So I moved in with my mom and I. It’s kind of a long story. So basically, I found out, well, basically, I started suspecting that my brother was stealing from me. And so I confronted him about it. And I also confronted my mom and my sister about it. And they were like, no. You know, that’s not happening. You’re paranoid right now because you know, of everything you went through. And I was like, okay, yeah, I guess it wouldn’t make sense, but. So I guess the day that it all happened was so me and my brother were under my husband’s name for our cell phone bills. And so when everything happened, we had to get a new one. We had to get new cell phones. And so his girlfriend suggested that we just go under her name. So I was like, okay. So they set up my cell phone under her name. I don’t remember why I didn’t do it under my own name. I wasn’t really functioning at that point in time. So. And then. So the first month that the bill was do, my brother asked me to pay it. And I was like, oh, actually, I was thinking, you know, he owes me five over five thousand dollars. So I was like, you know, maybe you can start paying my cell phone bill. Like, it’s just 70 bucks a month. That’s a pretty slow payback plan. And I could really use it right now. And he, like, didn’t respond. And then the next day, my phone, they turned off my phone. And so I went to my mom and sister and asked them to, like, advocate for me that I wasn’t really in a place to, like, defend myself and that, you know, they knew he owed me all this money and that he should just pay it. And they were like, no, we’re not gonna do that. And and I’m I’m not the type of person to, like, yell at people like I. I never yell. I’m a very reserved person. But at the time, I was having a really hard time with my, you know, regulating my emotions. And so I was really mad. And so I started yelling at them like kind of at the top of my lungs. And so they left and they went to my brother’s house. And a few days later. So this is actually the first time I had been alone since the worst day. And so, you know, I was alone for the first time. But anyways, a few days later, my mom sent me a Facebook message because my phone was off and tells me that I need to leave her apartment and find a new place to live by 5:00 p.m. and it was already noon. So I called my my nephew, who’s like around my age. So he’s more of like a cousin. And he came and picked me up and I found my own apartment and everything. And so I was like living my own apartment. And one night, I had actually drinks too much wine, which I don’t do that frequently, but I had to drink wine. And I had remembered that. I knew that my mom and my brother were really bad with technology and that they were always asking me to change their passwords and stuff. And so I’m ashamed to say that I like on the first try hacks like not hacked, but I just like, remembered their passwords. So I logged into their Facebook and I read all of the messages between my mom and my brother and my sisters since the worst day. And in those messages I found out that not only did my brother steal a thousand dollars from me to pay his rent, my sister was also stealing from me. And my mom knew about it and was helping them hide it from me. So. I haven’t talked to them for almost for like 10 months now, probably so. Yeah. I kind of, you know, also lost. That’s I think another reason why why I feel pretty disassociated or like maybe my life’s not real because, you know, I kind of I don’t feel grounded. I don’t have, you know, most of my family. And then I you know, I don’t have the most important people, my husband and my son, but also to make things worse. They didn’t stop with that. They so like I had mentioned, I have a really large family. And they they started contacting everyone in my family, telling them that they did everything they could to help me. But I was this angry person now, and I was going crazy. And I didn’t know what was real. And I was making things up. And they were like gaslighting me, basically. But going to all of my older brothers and sisters and all of my cousins, and instead of, like contacting me and being like, oh, you know, we heard you’re going through a hard time. Like all of those people just kind of listened to them and believed it. Even though all of the things they were saying about me were just not something I would do ever. And, you know, so. But I do have a couple of supportive family members, like one of my older brothers and one of my older sisters have been very supportive. And then one to a couple of my cousins have been very supportive. But the majority of my family have been have made this terrible, unimaginable situation even worse. So, yeah.
[00:44:55] CHRIS: Wow. I mean. I’m going to say something that sometimes I think. Like I say this as someone who’s trying to be supportive and a shoulder to lean on right now. Sometimes I find it helpful when people just don’t sugarcoat it. It’s like I don’t know that I’ve ever heard from someone who has taken as many haymakers as you have, let alone in such a short period of time. And I just want to say, you know, we got twenty three minutes that I want this on record now. The fact that you’re on the phone with me, the fact that you’re someone who’s, you know, pursuing lofty goals when all this has gone on is such a victory and such an inspiring thing. And I know everybody listening right now. I can’t imagine I can’t imagine having to deal with any of this, let alone all of this. And I think it’s just really bad ass that you’re taking all those punches and that you’re still standing. I really do.
[00:46:03] CALLER: Thank you. Thank you very much.
[00:46:08] [TAPE REEL AUDIO] CHRIS: [music transition] I think that’s a sentiment everybody out there agrees with. I also think this is an episode where everybody’s probably taking stock of their own life and might need a little break. And we have breaks built on this show and then we’ll be back to finish off a very special phone call.
[00:46:26] [AD BREAK]
[00:47:53] CHRIS: [music transition] Thanks again to all of our advertisers who help us put this show out into the world. Now let’s finish off the phone call.
[00:48:01] CHRIS: And I think it’s just really bad ass that you’re taking all those punches and that you’re still standing. I really do.
[00:48:08] CALLER: Thank you. Thank you very much. Yeah. Honestly, with my family, because with the tragedy, you know, my obviously the my biggest emotion was like, you know, depression and sadness. I don’t know. Actually, those words don’t even describe it to be honest. But —
[00:48:27] CHRIS: Yeah I of course.
[00:48:29] CALLER: It’s really hard to do things with those types of emotions. Like a lot of the time, I laid in a dark room on a couch. You know, I did a lot of that. So but when everything happened with my family, I I got angry and and anger. The thing about anger is it’s a very energizing emotion. So I just try. I just tried to take the anger and point it towards something positive. And I was like, okay. Like, I don’t know what they’re trying to do to me, but they clearly don’t want what’s best for me. So I’m just going to try to, you know, do what’s best for me. And somehow that spites them. That shouldn’t spite your family, you know, just, you know, to do something positive for yourself. But I feel I honestly feel like me succeeding in something, you know, somehow spites them. So that’s when I’m choosing to do with this anger that I have for what they’ve done. So, yeah.
[00:49:31] CHRIS: Yeah. And that’s not like you. That’s not a thing you need to even explain or apologize for even that much. Like you’re allowed to get angry. You know, whatever. I mean —
[00:49:43] CALLER: Yeah.
[00:49:44] CHRIS: Whatever happened, you referred to it multiple times as the worst day. And sounds like there’s no one who would debate that, even not knowing the facts in the matter. You’re allowed to get angry. Sometimes putting your fist through a fucking wall is one of the most productive things you can do. And you’re you’re allowed to do that. You don’t have to apologize for that. And it’s
[00:50:05] CALLER: Thank you.
[00:50:06] CHRIS: It’s making me pissed off, too, because because you’re you’re you’re you know, you’re family members that reached out and tried to sort of do this smear campaign, say, oh, you’re so angry even if you were being paranoid, which you were not yet. I feel like anyone who heard that their rational response should be like, yeah, of course. Let’s step in and help. Yeah. Oh, really? She’s angry. You don’t say. You don’t say. That’s.
[00:50:31] CALLER: Yeah, that’s yeah. That’s what my older brother like. That’s basically what he told me. I went and visited him because we weren’t close before just cause he’s so much older than me. And him and my dad didn’t have the best relationship. So but he yeah I went down there and he’s like, honestly, I don’t know how he’s like, I was expecting you to go and do crazy things. And I’m like, I’m actually, like, shocked that you haven’t done anything crazy. He’s like, when I invited you into my home, I was like, okay. She might break all of the dishes in my kitchen. And I and I would just hug her if she did that, you know, so.
[00:51:04] CHRIS: Yeah.
[00:51:06] CALLER: You know, it it’s very nice to have people like that who know, you know, say things like that. And then, my my closest the people who some of the people who have helped me the most were actually like my childhood best friends who actually hadn’t talked to you and probably like almost 10 years. But then this happened and they all, like, came up and they’ve been super supportive. But, yeah, my you know, one of my childhood best friends, she said the same thing. She was just like on it because she was there a lot with when I was living with my mom and she was watching like my family try to guilt me into like paying their rent and stuff because the tragedy was, you know, it was on the news. And somebody made it gofundme, and it made it made like twenty thousand dollars. So they were looking at, you know, looking at that and saying like, oh, she can take care of all of us now not realizing that that’s not a lot to live off of.
[00:52:01] CHRIS: No.
[00:52:01] CALLER: When you are incapable of working for, you know, I haven’t been able to work the past year. So.
[00:52:06] CHRIS: Yeah.
[00:52:08] CALLER: Yeah. So. Oh, but anyway, back to my friend. Yeah, she was around and they were like guilting me a lot about the rent and stuff like that. And she was just like, I can’t believe you haven’t, like, freaked out on them. Like, how are you staying so calm? And I was like, what are you talking about? And she was like, they’re literally guilting you like every chance they get. They’re telling you about their problems when you’re the one who actually has problems. It’s only been, you know, a month or two since everything happened. So, it was really good to have her perspective. And actually my therapist, too. Because if it wasn’t for my my best friend and my therapist, I don’t know that I would have seen what they were —
[00:52:44] CHRIS: Yeah.
[00:52:45] CALLER: — doing to me. I think I would’ve, you know, ran out of money, and I wouldn’t have been able to pursue school, which is the only thing keeping me alive right now.
[00:52:53] CHRIS: So thank God for that. I was just gonna say you got nothing to apologize for. Whatever you’ve been through. Again, just you know, just based on what you’ve told us, just just just referring to it as the. Every time you see the tragedy, it’s like pulls my heart out of my chest. Right there, most people are going to wind up, you know, flipping out or on drugs or in prison and you’re someone strong enough, that’s like, fuck it, I’ll become an astrophysicist. That’s that’s a demonstration of a strength that most people could not summon. And it sounds to me like it’s for the best that your family has has, you know, has moved on from your life because you are you have every right to to be in the gutter if you wanted to. And no one should judge you for that, let alone the fact that you’re —
[00:53:47] CALLER: Thank you.
[00:53:47] CHRIS: Viewing photon blips on gamma rays so that you can track galaxy evolution. So whoever, whoever, whoever is giving you a hard time in any way, I say fuck them.
[00:54:00] CALLER: Thank you. That’s really nice to hear. I’m, like, crying and laughing at the same time. I don’t know how that’s happening, but.
[00:54:07] CHRIS: Welcome to Beautiful Anonymous. Welcome to Beautiful Anonymous.
[00:54:13] CALLER: Yeah. Thank you. Yeah. Because before I like, you know, logged into their Facebooks, I was, you know, sitting alone in my apartment, which was a pretty sad experience. But. And I was just thinking like, OK, be logical. What’s going on? Did your family really, you know, steal from you after this happens? Like that that doesn’t seem like that doesn’t seem real. Maybe I am being paranoid. Maybe I am crazy. Now, that actually makes more sense than them stealing from me. So I started feeling really guilty and, you know, I was thinking of apologizing to them. But then I needed data. So I checked their Facebook and and then it was undeniable. And, you know, I have the proof. And that’s the other funny thing is I have this proof, but I’m not like sending it around, you know, doing a smear campaign like they did against me, like.
[00:55:06] CHRIS: You’re bigger than that.
[00:55:07] CALLER: It’s just it’s crazy.
[00:55:08] CHRIS: You took screengrabs, though, right? I hope you took some screen grabs.
[00:55:12] CALLER: Oh, yes, I took screen grabs because I knew I know myself and I know that eventually it’s already happened. I start to feel guilty and sad for them. And then and that’s when I, you know.
[00:55:52] CHRIS: No, no.
[00:55:25] CALLER: Would normally let him back in my life. So I just read the screenshots and then I’m like, oh, yeah, this is never happening. Because also they’ve they’ve sent me. They’ve also sent me terrible emails like, you know, to me, like my mom told me that I was dishonoring my husband and my son with my life and what I was doing. And that’s literally like the worst thing you could say to me.
[00:55:53] CHRIS: Yeah.
[00:55:54] CALLER: Like and I know she knows that. She knows that that’s the worst thing you could say to me. So, you know, reading that email I reading stuff like that and reading the things they were saying to each other about me when I was going through what I was going through, I just I had to take screenshots just so I would have a reminder, like these people cannot be in my life.
[00:56:16] CHRIS: Yeah. And the next time when your siblings or cousins says, you know, I heard all this crap about you. You can say, oh, yeah, let me attach a file to an email. Check this out. Whose side are you on now?
[00:56:26] CALLER: Yeah.
[00:56:27] CHRIS: Yeah. I mean, I am so sorry.
[00:56:34] CALLER: Thank you.
[00:56:36] CHRIS: I’m so sorry. What’s your favorite what’s your favorite galaxy that you found?
[00:56:40] CALLER: My favorite galaxy?
[00:56:41] CHRIS: You got a favorite galaxy?
[00:56:42] CALLER: Yeah, so up at the observatory, I operate this telescope and the public is welcome to come up and look through my telescope. It’s not my telescope. It’s our university telescope, but and so it’s my favorite galaxy to show to people. It’s called the Whirlpool Galaxy or m51. It’s a really pretty, like, spiral galaxy.
[00:57:08] CHRIS: That’s cool.
[00:57:08] CALLER: It looks kind of like a whirlpool, I guess. And it’s like there’s another galaxy actually right next to it that’s a much smaller galaxy. And they’re in the process of like a merger like or at least they’re sharing they’re gravitationally interacting. And I think they have like this they’re sharing matter between them because of the gravity, the gravitational force and everything. So, yeah, it’s just really pretty. You should look it up. Hubble has some has taken some really pretty images of it.
[00:57:39] CHRIS: Tell you what, if you. I mean, you are clearly someone who has earned the right to be in denial and hide out and you have picked the absolute best choice of academic study, if you need to just zone out and go somewhere else.
[00:57:58] CALLER: Sorry. What was that?
[00:58:00] CHRIS: I said.
[00:58:00] CALLER: You broke up for a second.
[00:58:02] CHRIS: I mean, you’ve you’ve you’ve earned the right you have earned the right to just be in denial and try to just like put your brain somewhere else. And you have picked the perfect course of study for that, huh? Just hearing you decide.
[00:58:11] CALLER: I know, yeah.
[00:58:12] CHRIS: We just Googled m51. We’re looking at that Whirlpool galaxy right now. It’s beautiful. It’s all purpley and blue, purpley and blue. I like that.
[00:58:25] CALLER: Yeah, it’s really pretty.
[00:58:25] CHRIS: That’s my there’s my academic assessment. It’s purpley and blue. That’s what I got to offer.
[00:58:32] CALLER: All of the purpley and blue parts are areas where active star formation that’s happening. So that just means a bunch of baby stars are being born. So
[00:58:41] CHRIS: Yeah.
[00:58:43] CALLER: Sounds cute, but it’s actually pretty violent so.
[00:58:46] CHRIS: Sounds cute, but it’s actually pretty violent. It somehow feels like a summation of our experience over the past forty eight minutes. It started off awfully cute and then it became a maelstrom. We got about 12 minutes left and I’m here for you, whatever you want to talk about.
[00:59:11] CALLER: OK. I’m not sure what should we talk about?
[00:59:18] CHRIS: I don’t know if you have any more stuff you want to get off your chest. You can do that. I can ask you more about the stars. I can ask you other dumb questions. It sounds like we both like the X-Men. I can do that. I am here for you.
[00:59:31] CALLER: Have you watched the Black Panther yet?
[00:59:33] CHRIS: I’m going tonight. I got tickets in an hour and forty six minutes.
[00:59:38] CALLER: Awesome. Yeah, it’s it’s it’s probably the best movie ever.
[00:59:43] CHRIS: Can’t wait. Tell you too. I went and picked up the tickets early because I knew is gonna be packed out. Two tickets left in the front row. Got them for me and Hallie. I don’t even care because I know that’s going to be packed out theater that’s flipping out. I sit in the front row. Hurt my neck for that.
[01:00:02] CALLER: Yeah, yeah, it’s worth it. You have to see it. Yeah.
[01:00:05] CHRIS: Can’t wait. We can’t wait. See, you’re a comic book nerd, too.
[01:00:10] CALLER: I never like read. I guess I never read comic books, actually, so I’m ashamed to say. But I’ve watched the movie since I was, like, little. So.
[01:00:20] CHRIS: Most people are ashamed to say that they do read the comics. Most people are faced with that shame every day.
[01:00:29] CALLER: Yeah, I guess when you hang out with nerds all day that you know your shame is different than the general population.
[01:00:37] CHRIS: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. You get bullied for not reading comics.
[01:00:43] CALLER: Yeah.
[01:00:45] CHRIS: Do you like the piece you like the people in your program or is it type of thing where part of what appeal is like, you must be a loner right now. Stick your head in a telescope and not talk to anybody.
[01:00:55] CALLER: Well, so, yeah, I actually I love all of the people I work with. They’ve been they’ve been actually through this whole this whole tragedy. They’ve been very, very supportive. Like, obviously. So I was going to school. I was taking like physics classes and classical mechanics and electricity and magnetism when the worst day happened. And so I obviously had to drop out of my classes. And I thought that that meant that I was going to have to wait an entire year for those classes to come back around again. So it was going to like delay my graduation by a year. But my professor at the time, you know, was super supportive and she offered to let me take the class independently and finish it within a year. And so like by summertime, I was able to like because when you experience a trauma, you you can’t really focus very well. You can’t. Like, I couldn’t read things and comprehend them at first. And so it took a while for my brain to be able to, like, read things and comprehend them again. And so but by summer, I was able to do that. So like over the summer, I, you know, finished those classes so that I could take, you know, the year this year of classes, which is quantum mechanics. And and then also like my research advisor. You know, I’ve known him for like three years now or I guess four years now. And so they haven’t really been like emotionally supportive. But I think it’s because they know that’s not really their place kind of. Like my recent you know, my relationships with them are very professional. So but he did tell me one day he’s like, you know, I want this. He’s like, I tried to put myself in your shoes. And I just imagined that you just have no stability in your life right now. So I want you to know, like, you have stability here. Nothing. Nothing changed here. Like you’re still.
[1:02:49] CHRIS: That’s beautiful.
[1:02:49] CALLER: The lead researcher of my research group. And like this can be your stability. And so that’s kind of what it’s what it’s been. That’s really exactly what I needed. And so they’ve. And then, you know, multiple for many. All of the professors in the department, like this year, you know, I had a new professor who I hadn’t met before. And I was like, okay, how do I tell him what I’ve been through? And that I might need you know, I might need a day off here and there, you know? But actually, my professor from last year, she already told my professor for this year, told him, you know, like this student is going through this. So she might need like extra
[1:03:30] CHRIS: Yeah.
[1:03:30] CALLER: Help. And so actually, on the one year anniversary, I emailed him, I was like, I can’t I can’t come to school this week. Like, I’m really messed up. Can I, like, turn my homework in later? And he’s like, yeah, turn it in whenever you want and let me know. It was like anything else you need. So they’ve been like, very supportive.
[1:03:47] CHRIS: That’s great.
[1:03:48] CALLER: Also my university. Yeah. The university paid for the funeral and they helped organize it. So yeah, they were just like all of the science departments, the head of the departments all pitched in to help pay for for the the location and the catering and everything for the funeral. So I’m actually overwhelmed by the support I received. Like when everything happened with my family, my my therapist actually asked me one time, like, how so? Like, have you given up on humanity? And, you know, at first I was like, I think so maybe, you know, that’s what was going on in my head. I was thinking about my family and everything. But then I’m you know, if you think about all of the complete strangers who have helped me, it’s been it’s been overwhelming like they’ve been.
[1:04:38] CHRIS: Yeah.
[1:04:39] CALLER: I tell them that they’re the little lights in my my darkest place. Like one woman even she started to go. She read a story about me that was in my university’s magazine about this NASA internship that I did. And she wanted to help me keep going through school. So she actually set up a separate gofundme just to help fund my schooling. And now me and her are like best friends.
[01:05:07] CHRIS: That’s great.
[1:05:08] CALLER: And then it’s like I’ve actually became friends with lots of other widows and other bereaved mothers, which is obviously not a way that you want to start a friendship. But I’m really glad I have all of those people. And like I said before, like the gofundme made $20,000. Like that was all, you know, a lot of strangers and people that I don’t even know like donated to that. So.
[1:05:31] CHRIS: Yeah.
[1:05:32] CALLER: People really do come together and help support people through tragedy. And that that’s really helped keep my view of humanity at least neutral, but probably leaning towards the positive, even though.
[01:05:47] CHRIS: Yeah. Well, I’ll tell you on my end, on a similar note, I will say, you know, I you you mentioned very early that talking about the tragedy can trigger panic attacks and has happened. So I’ve not wanted to pry. I’ve left that up to you. I will say so, not even knowing what happened. I will tell you, this is a I will say a lot of people listen to this podcast. And I know it has not been easy for you to talk about any of this stuff on even this level. But I will say I am positive that there are other people out there right now who have who have lost husbands, who have lost children, who have a lot of trouble processing that. And I have a real strong feeling that your strength in the face of it is helping them right now. So while I.
[1:06:35] CALLER: Thank you.
[1:06:39] CHRIS: While I don’t know personally what you’re going through, I do know the effect this podcast can sometimes have where people take something from it. And I sometimes feel like helping others is one of the greatest ways to get over your own pain in that. I do really hope, you know, that that you’re very strong and there’s people hearing that right now and I’m sure it’s helping them find strength as well.
[01:07:00] CALLER: Thank you. Yeah, that was that was kind of my intention. That’s why I thought I’d call you. Just because I think, you know, the the bereaved mothers and the widows in my life, I know that you know them helping me, you know, it makes them somehow feel better. And so, you know, I’m just trying to, like, pay it forward a little bit. And I’m hoping to hopefully help others who have gone through something similar. Because you really do have you really do have a different perspective. Like when you talk to other people have experienced things like this. It’s. It’s just different talking to somebody who’s experienced it versus someone who hasn’t. So it’s really helpful to be able to have access to people who have been through something like this.
[01:07:50] CHRIS: Yeah, We have about three minutes left. And.
[01:07:54] CALLER: Oh, wow. Really?
[01:07:56] CHRIS: Yeah. This one flew, huh? This one flew.
[01:07:59] CALLER: Yeah.
[01:08:00] CHRIS: Yeah.
[01:08:00] CALLER: I was so nervous. And now I feel so calm, I guess that’s.
[01:08:03] CHRIS: No.
[01:08:05] CALLER: That’s why you’re good at what you do.
[01:08:06] CHRIS: I’m just winging it at the end of the day. I’m just winging it like the rest of us. It is.
[01:08:15] CALLER: So, three minutes. What do we talk about in three minutes?
[01:08:18] CHRIS: I don’t know. I do. I have to say, I just want to reiterate there is something so, you know, not not to be glib, but there is something extremely fascinating and charming about the idea that the world, your world for a year now has just been the fucking worst. And you have managed to sidestep that just a tiny bit by literally focusing on other worlds.
[01:08:45] CALLER: Yeah. Other other galaxies.
[1:08:48] CHRIS: You have had to go live in another galaxy for the past year. That’s that’s how you have to stay safe is actually transport yourself as often as possible to other galaxies to avoid the crushing bullshit of life.
[01:09:03] CALLER: Yes, definitely. I’m pretty mad at Planet Earth right now, so.
[1:09:09] CHRIS: Yeah, I hate your family. I’m not going to lie. Personally, it’s probably inappropriate to say. But, you know, it’s it’s almost like I’ll tell you whatever happened with your son and husband, I can’t imagine. And but I will say that the shittiness of your family after that makes me personally want to start punching people in the face. So, yeah.
[01:09:33] CALLER: Thank you. Yeah, I know. I pondered that.
[01:09:36] CHRIS: Yeah.
[1:09:38] CALLER: Maybe that’s why during the women’s self-defense.
[01:09:40] CHRIS: Yeah. Look at that. What’s your favorite techniques they’ve taught you?
[01:09:44] CALLER: Well. So his favorite take technique is eye gouging.
[1:09:48] CHRIS: Yeah. Hell yeah.
[1:09:49] CALLER: Because apparently it’s very effective for self-defense. So it’s actually like really violent. But I guess that makes sense. But so we haven’t learned much jiu jitsu. So I guess my favorite was I learnt I we learned how to, like, put people in like a strangle hold to where like you could make them pass out and even like if you needed to. You know, you could he told us we could actually even kill people that way, which obviously he said, you know, obviously you only do that if you are fearing for your own life. But actually, most of the time, you just you can like make somebody pass out like that. That’s crazy. I didn’t know it was like so easy. It’s kind of scary, actually.
[1:10:29] CHRIS: Yeah. We learned some of those in jiu jitsu as well. You’ve got 30 seconds left.
[1:10:33] CALLER: What’s your favorite?
[01:10:34] CHRIS: My favorite is let’s see. What do I like? I like the Kimura armbar from bottom half guard. I’ll let anybody who’s a nerd about jiu jitsu flip out that I just said that. Listen, we got about.
[1:10:46] CALLER: Yeah, I don’t know what that means.
[01:10:49] CHRIS: We got 20 seconds left. And from the bottom of my heart, I want to say thank you. I want to say that in the small way that I’m able to I’m I’m proud that I was able before you. And. And I’m sure there are so many people taking strength in your strength right now. I can’t thank you enough for that.
[01:11:04] CALLER: Thank you for talking to me. So I actually feel better now. Yeah. Thank you very much.
[01:11:11] CHRIS: It was an honor. And I’m I’m so happy to hear that I helped in any way.
[01:11:16] CALLER: Yes, definitely you did.
[01:11:17] [RING AUDIO]
[01:11:24] CHRIS: [music transition] Caller, you’re one of the real ones that I’ll always remember backward and forward, and I am certain that I’m going to face adversity over and over again in my life, and I just pray that I can face it with the grace and strength that you have faced your adversity, I mean that so honestly. Thank you for calling sharing your story. I know it wasn’t easy. Thank you to Jared O’Connell and Harry Nelson in the booth. Thanks to the Reverend John Delord, Greta Cohen who helped built this show. Thank you Shell Shack for the music. Want to know more about me? ChrisGeth.com is the Web site. If you like the show, go to Apple podcast. Rate, review, subscribe. It really helps when you do. That’s all the business. I’ll see you next time.
[01:12:21] [AD BREAK]
[01:13:46] PHONE ROBOT: May 25th, 2017, 2:06 a.m.
[01:13:50] CALLER: I grew up really poor in a small rural town. I went to school to be a registered nurse to get myself out of poverty. After I graduated, I met the most interesting person and after a week of knowing him, he went to prison. We fell in love through writing letters to each other, and when he got out, we eventually got married and had a son. When my son was born, I decided to go back to school to pursue my real passion in life, which is astrophysics. And during my final year in astrophysics, my son and husband died in a tragic accident. Now, I don’t know what. This is my husband’s favorite podcast.
[NEXT EPISODE PREVIEW]
[01:14:43] CHRIS: Next time on Beautiful Anonymous, a young man trapped between two distinct cultures tells us his views on both.
[01:14:52] CALLER: I think you could probably tell that I don’t really sound Japanese.
[1:14:57] CHRIS: No.
[1:14:58] CALLER: If I didn’t say that I was.
[01:14:58] CHRIS: Yeah, I mean, when I when you said you were born and raised there and are not the child of expats, I’m actually shocked by that. You sound like you’re from Southern California.
[1:15:08] CALLER: Yeah, I get that a lot. It’s created this really weird dynamic where when I’m hanging out with people that are purely Japanese that went through the whole Japanese educational system, they think that I’m a foreigner. They don’t really see me as Japanese. And when I hang out with people from America or anywhere outside of Japan, they see me as Japanese. So there was a time and I’m still going through it, but I don’t really know what my identity is.
[01:15:40] CHRIS: That’s next time on Beautiful Anonymous.
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