Amanda's View: Public and personal

By Amanda Knox

In my columns I walk a fine line between the public and the personal. I seek to strike the right balance between exploring universal thoughts and grounding those thoughts in the real circumstances of my life that inspire them. That’s how my brain works. Context is the diving board from which I launch into analytical thought.

At least, that’s the goal. Sometimes I struggle to fully develop the thought. Writing is hard! Sometimes I struggle to convey the necessary circumstances of the context. For instance, it can be intimidating to address wrongful convictions issues because so much of the fundamental material of that experience, legal and personal, needs explicit explaining. Other times, like with an inside joke, the backstory leading up to a thought is convoluted with layers of history that my audience would have to be “in on” to appreciate. Usually, though, the problem of context is measuring the appropriate weight of personal exposure for public consumption.

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Amanda's View: Inappropriate pain

By Amanda Knox

The pain started Sunday when I was on a plane for five hours. It was a dull ache across my lower back, like I had been punched in the kidneys the day before. A few days later, the dull ache was accompanied by stabbing pain in my abdomen, especially on my right side. It hurt to hinge at the waist, sit up or down, get into a car, carry a bag over my shoulder. It hurt to laugh.

The least uncomfortable position was to lay prone on my back, which I did. I lay in bed in the middle of the day, alert but weary, willing the pain to go away. Despite the fact that my partner was there to care for me, my anxiety spiked. The pain made me feel estranged from the functional world of people uninterrupted by pain.

I cried. It took a lot of talking to get me through what felt like a baby panic attack. The problem was, though the situation of being nursed by my partner for a kidney infection was as far away as you could get from the isolation of imprisonment, the feeling of physical pain triggered the memory of existential pain. 

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Amanda's View: Run-away

By Amanda Knox

I grew up with two mutt dogs—a chummy, runt named Ralph and his fretful, dominant sister, Britta. They always escaped from the backyard when we were away at school. It didn’t matter that we walked them everyday or that our backyard was bigger than our house or that they had plenty of food and water and each other to entertain. It wasn’t enough. It was like Ralphy and Britta just had this itch to be elsewhere.

I was an easy kid back then, my mom tells me. I put myself to bed early. I played nice and fair with other kids. I ate what was put in front of me. I did well in school, even if I didn’t do all my homework. I never felt the need to act out or object or rebel because everything seemed good and abundant and I never felt measured up against anyone else. There was nothing I could think to change, within me or without. I was just happy, and happy to just be.

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