Category Archives: Non-Fiction

My Ugly Necklace – A Reflection


Necklace

Every day, I wear an ugly necklace. It’s a sterling raven skull slung on top of a cog by a short chain and a leather cord; and I made it myself.

I used to think that “those people” who wore punk, Goth, or other counter-cultural styles were all looking for attention. I had them all pretty well pegged. Their choices in style echoed silent screams of insecurity.

“What does it take to get your love and attention?”

“Will you love me no matter what I do, no matter what I look like?”

“Stay away. I will not be betrayed by love again.”

I thought I had it all figured out and chose for myself the most culturally bland and accommodating styles so as not to likewise appear so insecure. I made myself plain and ordinary, an ‘all things to all men’ kind of man.

Then something happened. What happened is a long story, involving the amazing providence of God in healing my heart. The short of it is that my own insecurities were unveiled and I learned that I too was trying to project something that I wasn’t. Instead of projecting my insecurities, and in truth my dislike for myself, I hid them behind a cloak of Average. Instead of crying out, I blended in.

But that event revealed something in me. I am not average or typical; none of us are. I was made for more than that. The necklace I wear represents that part of me that I feared, dismissed, and disliked for so long, that part of me I had to make peace with, that part where my strength truly lies.

I still think it’s a rather ugly necklace. It even takes effort for me to choose to wear it some days. And that is the point. It makes a statement. Not to those around me who see it, but to me. Whenever someone looks at my collar funny, whenever I look in the mirror, whenever I feel the pendent against chest, I remember. I remember that I’m not who I once wanted to be. I am stronger than that man, I am made unique and for a purpose, a purpose that transcends cultural expectations.

Not every punk is trying to tell you something, or trying to be something they are not. Sometimes they are just trying to remind themselves that they are Loved for who they are, and that who they are is so much more than Average.

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Me and the Jedi Mind trick…


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I almost died.  Until about 20 minutes ago an 8 foot metal cased, pull down, projector screen hung in our office area between two desk stations.  The left side of the projector decided to free itself from its mooring and came crashing down directly beside me, upsetting my coffee cup and putting a sizable dent in the microwave and stack of papers next to me.

Nearly died may be an exaggeration, but had my head been a foot to the left I would certainly be at the emergency room right now, and yet I’m only just now starting to feel upset about it.  Just another example of my peculiar blessing/curse and what I really want to write about here.

Most scientists have social quirks, but most of those quirks make them less compatible with normal society.  I myself have a rather significant quirk Continue reading


What I wish I knew before Grad school #3


Your project will probably fail.

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While discussing projects with my mentor some time ago, he shocked me by disclosing that typically the most arduous and hi-risk projects are given to the most inexperienced and least likely to succeed, i.e. graduate students.  Why?  Because the alternative is to give those projects to post-docs who have a lot more riding on their success in the lab.  Apparently, as Grad-students we  can ‘afford’ to fail…

Failure and risk are Continue reading


What I wish I knew before Graduate School #2


Do NOT Choose Your Favorite Mentor

In Graduate school the PI (Principal Investigator) that you work under is also your career Mentor. Now, don’t confuse a ‘career’ mentor with a ‘personal’ mentor. A career mentor guides and directs you on how to achieve your career goals, a personal mentor helps you develop as an individual, and guides you in navigating life. If you are in Graduate school you have probably abandoned the advice of your personal mentor, and should already know that choosing ‘best’ PI/ Career Mentor is the most important choice you will make in Graduate school. Continue reading


What I wish I knew before Grad School #1


Graduate students are a valuable commodity.

When I naively walked into my first rotation as a graduate student in a real lab, I believed that I was simply a nuisance, an obligation of higher scientists to perpetuate the cycle of science careers with fresh minds. Continue reading


What I wish I knew before Grad School


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I thought I would share some thoughts on what graduate school in science is really like.  I’m nearing the completion of my thesis in molecular biology and feel the need to pass along the little bits of wisdom I’ve gleaned along the way.  Now understand, science is a cruel mistress.  Seriously.

Much of what I say may sound negative and even downright depressing, and that’s because it is.  If you are a nascent graduate student, please take my words with a grain of salt.  I love what I do and wouldn’t change my path or the choices I’ve made despite the challenges.  Research is really fun and has a strange addictive quality that keeps you slogging through the sometimes long droughts of struggle and negative data.  It is a unique career for unique individuals.

I hope that the things I share can make your road easier, and lessen the inherent struggle that is known as graduate school.

Each nugget will follow in its own post.


God as the ‘Not-Dot’


In this discussion I want to share with you my layman’s attempt to understand the Christian God in the very simplest of terms.  Taking the most infinitely complex thing and trying to simplify it is, admittedly, a little ridiculous.  However, I am a reductionist by nature and sometimes ridiculous things cannot be helped.

Let’s begin with a simple Venn Diagram.  Draw a circle and label it ‘God’ on the inside and ‘Not-God’ on the outside. This may seem like a simple start, but if you think carefully about it, we’ve already run into two considerable problems. Continue reading


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Theo Taylor

Theo Taylor is a writer, fitness freak and college student who has been published by Thought Catalog, Asimov's and Aphelion. He writes star spanning science fiction and monster filled high fantasy. His debut novel ROGUE COSMOS will release in August, 2015. If he's not reading or writing, check the gym. He's almost always in the gym.

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