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I grow ice on my back,
No choice in the matter.
In the summer,
When it’s warm
And the sunlight covers my skin
Like a heated blanket,
I don’t notice it.
When I walk with friends
On sunny days,
Our laughs infecting the air,
Our smiles filling the empty gaps,
It becomes mere water—
Just mixing with the sweat
Brought on by the bright day.

It’s when the winter comes
That it becomes noticeable.
Like a dagger in my skin,
The ice sends strikes of
Up my spine.
The cold days
Leave for ice to thrive.
I try to ignore it,
Never asking for help,
Never asking if people feel the same,
Never asking why I hate myself.
Ice is like a virus
I will forever have,
Enjoying my tainted mind.

By the time winter’s halfway through,
It has numbed my skin.
I no longer feel the pain—
No longer frustrated,
Just tired.
It pins me to my bed,
Makes my muscles ache,
Makes my mind go silent,
Makes my motivation wander away.
Just tired.
The sun doesn’t reach me
In my room.
But the bed is warmer than
The real world,
And my dreams are like
A constant summer,
One with friends every day.

When the days get longer,
The sun is out more.
The air heats up,
Filling my lungs with hope.
I cough and sputter at the
Feeling of spring
Flowing through my veins.
The light floods my frozen blood,
And my friends’ voices run
Like drugs though my body.

The thing about the ice
I grow on my back
Is that I know it will go away.
I know life will get better.
I know I’ll be happy again,
But, just like before,
I know it’ll always be there,
And winters will never change.


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Kathi Badertscher, PhD

Director of Graduate Programs at the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy
Kathi Badertscher, PhD, is Director of Graduate Programs at the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Dr. Badertscher teaches a variety of BA, MA, and doctoral courses, including Applying Ethics in Philanthropy and History of Philanthropy. She has participated in several Teaching Vonnegut workshops and is a member of the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library. Dr. Badertscher has been a guest speaker on ethics in philanthropy, including at the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners – Indianapolis Council; Association of Fundraising Professionals – Indiana Chapter; and Zhou Enlai School of Government, Nankai University, Tianjin, China. In 2019 she received IUPUI Office for Women, Women’s Leadership Award for Newcomer Faculty. In 2019 and 2020 she received the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, Graduate Teaching Award.
Dr. Badertscher’s publications include “Fundraising for Advocacy and Social Change,” co-authored with Shariq Siddiqui in Achieving Excellence in Fundraising, 5th ed., 2022; “Insulin at 100: Indianapolis, Toronto, Woods Hole, and the ‘Insulin Road,’ co-authored with Christopher Rutty, Pharmacy in History (2020); and three articles in the Indiana Magazine of History: “A New Wishard Is on the Way,” “Evaline Holliday and the Work of Community Service,” and “Social Networks in Indianapolis during the Progressive Era.” Her chapters on social welfare history will appear in three upcoming edited volumes on the history of philanthropy, including “The Legacy of Edna Henry and Her Contributions to the IU School of Social Work,” Women at Indiana University: Views of the Past and the Future, edited by Andrea Walton, Indiana University Press, 2022 (forthcoming). Dr. Badertscher is also the Philanthropy and Nonprofits Consulting Editor for the forthcoming Digital Encyclopedia of Indianapolis, edited by David J. Bodenhamer and Elizabeth Van Allen, Indiana University Press, 2021. Dr. Badertscher is an active volunteer in the Indianapolis community. At present, she is a Coburn Place Safe Haven Board Member and a Children’s Bureau/Families First Brand and Marketing Advisor. Dr. Badertscher holds the MA in History from Indiana University and the MA and PhD in philanthropic studies from the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

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