I learned something fascinating the other morning.

My guy and I, in our typical Sunday fashion, began watching his how-to-make videos as we normally do. We watched how to make a dresser (tryna save some dough), how ultrasonic cutters work (not sure if that is really what you call them), and then decided to look up why our water had been coming out of the faucet cloudy, but then randomly settles into normal appearing water within a minute or so (we learned it’s pressure in relation to the cold). But with this last curiosity on our water – a random question popped into my mind… how are bubbles made underwater with rapid movement, if there is no air?

My guy who is quite the geek (<3), began to explain it to me. Yes, he confirmed, bubbles could be made underwater with no air (propellers, duh). However, my brain quickly rationalized, well, since there is so much rapid movement underwater from all the sea life and our own machinery, why doesn’t the ocean tops appear to always have bubbles popping at their surface? (Air rises to the surface, right?)

Ok, I am going to try to spare you the entirety of the scientific details, however, my guy actually couldn’t explain that part either. So we watched 2 more videos on this, and my guy mansplained these concepts to me in more layman’s terms (after he quickly grasped it from the videos – and I did not). Apparently the bubbles underwater created aren’t air, they’re steam, from boiling (ummm, hold up… what?). He went on to teach that steam isn’t heat related, per say, but rather pressure related. Adjusting the temperature is the tool used to change the water’s pressure in relation to the given atmosphere that the water is in. If too much pressure (heat) is applied in say, our atmosphere, that is what makes water start to boil. However, if one were to apply a vacuum to our atmosphere of the water at room temperature, the same thing happens. Basically, we learned, water can “boil” even at room temperature given the correct pressure/vacuum/atmosphere combination (WTF?!?). When a vacuum is applied, water will quickly morph into steam, thus creating “steam bubbles.” (i.e. boiling). However, with regard to my question underwater, because it’s a steam bubble and not an air bubble, the bubble “pops” and morphs back into water relatively quickly due to the surrounding stabilizing pressure. (Thus, it never reaches the surface). I’m sorry, but this is fucking fascinating. So when I move my hand underwater incredibly fast, I am not actually creating air bubbles, I am literally boiling water on the backside of my hand by the vacuum pressure now created with the movement. For my bigger geek readers (and you may already know this), if you release a drop of water into space (which has fiercely freezing temperatures), and due to space’s severe vacuum pressured atmosphere, water will boil. (Seriously, though! I read it here.)

While I may not have all the facts entirely accurate… I was astonished. WATER CAN BOIL AT FREEZING TEMPERATURES??? CAROL, ARE YOU FUCKING SHITTING ME? Clearly, This was mind-boggling to me. I always had equated boiling water to heat. What is this chaos of knowledge found in science??

This type of learning both terrifies and excites me. Terrifies, because I feel like some foundational aspect to which I understood my world has been completely turned upside down. I imagine it’s what those guys back in the day felt like when we found out the world was actually round and not flat (sorry to all you flat earth peeps – it’s just ludicrous you’d believe that – but seeing how your belief doesn’t directly harm any others – well,  rock on with your bad [and erroneous] selves.) But, this learning also excites me. Somewhere in this newly gleaned knowledge is a clue to how the world operates – how we can apply this to our life…

So here’s what I got…

We all exist in different pressure vessels, and are subject to “boiling” at seemingly various times.

For this analogy, I equate a life boiling to a soul that breaks. Cracks. Shatters. Is undone. Experiences the “dark night of the soul.” Or perhaps, just experiences a radical shift in perspective. Regardless of the experience, we morph. We change. We are altered. Basically, we turn to steam – we boil.

Additionally, we all also have various atmospheric pressures we exist in.

For some, their atmospheric pressure may be high, and consist of increasing heat – trials, hardships, injustices. You may have been raised in a very wanting home, no parents present, no support. However, so much searing pain creates an atmosphere of change. Perhaps it’s the overdose on heroin that you survived. Perhaps it’s the relationship with your father you destroyed. Maybe it’s the abusive relationship you haven’t had the courage to leave. Perhaps it’s the last fight you had with your child that severed the relationship completely. Regardless, you’ve reached a boiling point. You’re different.

Some of us exist in more of a vacuum atmosphere. Maybe you’re someone who had everything you needed in life – a supportive family, money, education – but you just continuously feel empty. Maybe you finally have that great job, but you feel your soul is being sucked dry. All it takes in this state is one more day on the job to suck out the energy, one more monotonous routine day at home that inhales your being, one more void-of-any-reality conversation with that superficial friend. You’ve vacuumed all that truly means anything to you, out of your life. And you’re reaching your boiling point. Something’s about to shift. You’re about to change states.

Now here’s the kicker. Both are boiling points. Both examples, although wildly different “atmosphere’s,” reach a breaking, or boiling, point. This is the human condition. And while I may not relate to an exact experience of being raped, I can relate to the human condition of feeling taken advantage of by someone I thought I could trust, or experiencing a direct violation of my will (such as when some authority figure grabbed my ass uninvited). I know that boiling point. I know that breaking point. While I may be breaking inside from depression at a meaningless job, you may be breaking inside from an addiction to drugs and or alcohol from what you feel is a meaningless existence. We both feel meaningless. We both break. We both boil.

I know this analogy has me second guessing my possible previously held judgements about other’s situations or their lives all together.

Honestly, I may have looked at that valley girl (er, do we even really still call them that??) with so much judgement and satisfaction as tears streamed down her face from her snooty friends all blackmailing her. However, she just learned betrayal. She just reached a boiling point in her given atmosphere. I know that. I know betrayal. I know that boiling point.

Who am I to judge the crack addict that had so much pressure to belong, feel alleviated from the heated pain – they just learned depression and now feel meaningless in this world. What difference does it make that my depression and meaningless was reached by giving too much of my soul away to a job that didn’t care? We both reached our boiling points in our given atmospheres. We both are experiencing the exact same thing, although completely different.

So perhaps the next time you make some snap judgement about someone’s given situation, “Oh, they have it all, they have no idea what it’s like to…, they shouldn’t complain…” then you can step back and realize, careful, they may just be in a different atmosphere… but they are absolutely still subject to their given boiling points. And on the flip side, perhaps you feel gutted about a situation, but you’re prone to think, “Oh, but I don’t have it as bad as…, I shouldn’t complain since…” No… if you’re breaking, you’re breaking. If you’re boiling, your boiling – it doesn’t make it any less justified just because you’re comparing yourself to someone else’s atmosphere…

So what of all this? Well, love. Let us give grace to everyone’s given atmosphere. Let us shed compassion to another’s boiling point. Just because it’s not our boiling point, doesn’t mean it’s not boiling, breaking, changing them entirely. All we know is they are undergoing a huge life state change. Perhaps we can get to know them better or dive deeper, ask questions, and find out what created this change in pressure to activate their huge life alteration.

Let’s be the surrounding atmosphere that they find themselves in, attempting to stabilize them in their change.


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