A brief story: The Argument (rough)

He adjusted his tie. Dad always tied it too tight. Especially when he was wrought with worry. He coughed when the pressure released itself from his Adam’s apple.

Such a peculiar term, he thought. He opened his mouth and faced the passenger seat as if he were to process that thought into words, but his mouth dried. And in his forgetfulness, he sighed a very sad sigh. His shoulders slumped heavily and he readjusted his grip to the steering wheel of their very old but very loved Ford Focus.

Light stung his eyes in his awful posture, so he lowered the visor. The CD sleeve still held all of their favorite albums and even a couple of burned mixes. Taking the disc most decorated with pastel sharpie, he shoved it into the aftermarket player in the ash-covered dash.

“Ooh La La” by the Faces boomed from the old speakers. The very first song. The most important song. It reminded him to never leave angry, but he did anyway. The silence after their argument was deafening. Maybe this will drown it out, he hoped.

I love this song, she thought while staring out the window and hummed. Her clenched, interloping fingers loosened as the wave of the song’s chorus softened her anger. She sat in the passenger seat, in silence with her twin who was dressed, “to the nines.”

Arguments between them were rare. They were twins after all.  They knew each other more than anyone else. However few, their arguments were vicious. Mostly because neither wanted to believe that they didn’t agree to something — that the other couldn’t understand one’s reasoning. This argument was just that.

She felt compelled to apologize and make amends. The day was dreary enough. The fog was so thick it clung to the windows like wisps of cotton candy. The buildings and traffic lights barely pierced its veil once within a certain distance. It was like something from a bad horror movie using too much dry ice.

She turned to her brother with a shabby smile and asked, “Why so gloomy?”

Startled, he slammed the brakes and jerked his sight to the passenger seat. His sister’s grin faded like fog in the sunlight and an unexplainable wind pushed the remaining funeral programs from the seat to the floorboard.

His chest heaved as his breath caught up with him, panting as the papers all flipped to the picture of him and his sister.

 

 

Dedicated to Depression

Good Evening, Love. I hope you’re well; fitted with sunshine and a belly full of love.

I have been plagued with the ever saggy-eyed, lifeless friend Insomnia tonight. As you probably know, creative types are creatures of the night, which is where Insomnia lives. What a life it is to be chained to a brick of mud; painting our own sight with the tap-tap-tapping of plastic squares on a machine. I wouldn’t change any of it.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my history of depression. It seems to be another well acquainted confidant of the night. I can remember having dark, self-loathing thoughts as a child. I don’t know if it was a learned thing, or a gift for being born on a rainy, December Thursday.

You see, I should really dedicate most of my published works (including this blog) to my dear depression. Who better to be the most in tune with their feelings (and so out of tune with everything else)? Whenever I feel a little defeated or some sort of discouragement, I remind myself of a moment that was so crucial and pivotal. The key turning point that pushed me in the direction that inevitably lead me to this keyboard… and you.

I have always hated popcorn or decorated plaster ceilings. The house I was living in at the time had lazy swoops like someone was in a hurry to fill an order. I remember this, because I spent about an hour staring at it from the peel and stick flooring of the bathroom. I had lost any happiness that existed in my life and I was ridiculing myself for not having the courage to end the rest of it. I had no drive, no ambition to do so. I had thought myself a burden to everyone I knew. I had sought love from other people to fill a void, only to be rejected and turned away. Why was I so hard to love? I certainly didn’t deserve any of it, but someone could have been generous. Someone could have taken pity on me and donated a bit of their love, because I certainly didn’t have any for myself.

I lied there; hopeless and a dry well for tears. An unlovable coward who hid her agenda from her father who was just three rooms away. Something strange happened, though.

“No one is here.” A phrase that I had repeated to myself over and over. Initially a thought that I was lonely and no one cared. But somehow, the tone in my head changed.

No one is here.

No one is here.

No one is here.

I am the only one. I am here. No one else is here.

A revelation pushed me up from that awful green flooring. It straightened my spine and I pulled myself up from the edge of the sink, staring at my puffy, blue eyes. I must’ve stood there, examining my reflection for several minutes.

It was only me. No one else pulled me up from the floor. No one else was staring back in my reflection. No one else that I had to face when I woke up in the morning. What the hell was I doing? Why was I destroying the only thing I had left? The only thing I ever really had. It was mine. It was me. Only me.

I realized that it wasn’t cowardice that kept me from leaving this Earth. It was me. The one who was fighting to survive. The one who knew I had so much more to do than letting that darkness consume me. Letting it win.

“I like your freckles,” I said to myself with a slight giggle. I felt awkward saying something kind to myself. After the years of critiquing and criticizing every single little thing, I wanted to reject it. But I couldn’t. It was the one phrase that was going to save me.

I turned the knob to the door, went to the kitchen and made dinner for my dad. A few months later, I took an offer to move out of the state with my employer. I needed to leave. I was stuck in a dismal bubble where doors to leave didn’t often appear. I found a really old copy of Charlee while I packed up boxes from my childhood. I ran into Mrs. Fritts later that day. The Universe spoke. So, I left to rehabilitate. To rebuild myself in a city that was going through its own revival. I wrote my novel and finished the first draft before my dad passed. I published a few months later.

So, I’ll say this with a wince. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you, sweet Depression. I should dedicate it all to you. But I owe it all to my relentless, brave, courageous, wild Spirit.

So, you want to be a writer…

Hey! So, you want to be a writer! Fantastic! Go you, you Wordy-Wordsmith-Wendy, you! Not only are you talented in the art of typing or jiggling a stick around on a piece of paper, but you create elaborate pictures in someone’s mind and take them on amazing, heart-wrenching adventures! Hooray for no commercials! You and the Thesaurus are in a long-term, heavily involved relationship and everyone knows it. Congratulations!

But hold up, you hopeless romantic day-dreamer! Sure, you have fallen in love with a writing career and have often fantasize being stuck in a mahogany study, filled with walls of your favorite authors (and maybe a few of your own pieces on display). Possibly including an antique type writer, a bubble pipe, tweed coat, and horn-rimmed glasses to profoundly state your chosen profession. Nerd <3! I’m sure that novel is going to be a best seller one day, but to obtain things of this magnitude, have you thought about all the logistics? Have you thought about the hard work, long hours, and what it will take to force yourself to write every day, even when you’re eyes start to cross at 6,000 words? Editing can be a rough process. Can you do it yourself, or are you emotionally stable enough to pay someone else to critique you? Be honest. Do you know what genre you’re aiming for? Do you know what a beta reader is? What about your marketing skills?

The truth is: The writing is probably the easiest part. Especially if writing is a natural talent for you. It won’t be easy if you’re an introvert. You’ll have to learn how to market not just your work, but yourself as an author. Unfortunately, it’s all a business. You have to sell your art to people. Even if you only ever dream to just write purely for the  entertainment of others. If you wish to publish, you have to determine if you and your work should go through traditional publishing, or self publish. Either way, you’re going to suffer through a lot of rejection, criticism, and disappointment. Be prepared, my darlings.

All of those things only make you a better writer, though. Never take critiques personally. Accept and build upon them to make your work better; to make you better at what you love to do. No one ever writes their first piece and have it fly off the shelves the instant it prints on a page. You will struggle, and you will need to keep your expectations low.

Do not let this discourage you. EVER. I will promise you this: When you receive your first amazing review from a complete stranger, you will instantly feel that validation high. And you will want to keep striving. It will be a glorious rainbow built on coffee, lack of sleep, stress, and your fantasmical talent. It is totally worth every single bit.

Keep going. Strive on, you nerdiful pencil artists. Happy New Year! XO

Bizarre Prosperity

I don’t know how to describe the past two years, honestly. The title of this blog is all that I could come up with. It’s true, I haven’t been doing so well with the upkeep of this author blog, but that’s because my life has been evolving so dramatically since April of last year. I have grown so much as a person (as told by my previous blog). I have been dragged through the mud quite a bit, but I can tell you that my viewpoint has shifted since shedding that old skin and rising into a phoenix. Whenever I get shoved back down, I have my moment of self pity, but it is quickly over taken by thoughts of progress. Looking for every possible route or every possible outcome from that moment forward. There’s that word. Forward.

Somewhere along this road, I realized that the only person who would be holding me back in times like these, was me. I would wallow and induce episodes of self loathing. I was the one making my life miserable. And somehow, I figured it out. It dawned on me that life is honestly too short to short yourself. I want what I want because they mean something to me. I have to put in the work to get it.

About a decade ago, I had dreamed of living in a city where there was always movement. I wanted to be taken in by its current and move with it, breathe with it, thrive. I had spent my early years learning the value of everything I’m given. Everything in a much slower pace where people were complacent on staying right where they were because it never changed. But I didn’t want that. I wanted change. The curious little girl who stood in those woods behind my house and monitored plants and the earth as it changed with the seasons. I understood then that change was inevitable. Change is as inevitable as death. You can’t choose to die. You can’t choose to change. And while others are so happy with shielding their eyes and missing out on change, I craved it.

I have gone back to Kentucky several times since my move back to the South. Probably more so than any year I lived in Michigan. Each time, though it’s comforting to go back to some place that is familiar and you feel love, I don’t really feel like I belong there. Don’t get me wrong, it will always be home, but I feel somewhat like I’ve outgrown it. I worry that I may not ever feel comfortable with the idea of going back permanently. My gypsy spirit kicks into overdrive with the mere thought.

So, here I am. Living in another large city where no one here is from here. I rarely encounter Atlanta natives. Everyone has their own stories of why they are here, in this moment, and it’s all because of change. That must be why it feels more like home.

 

Cup of suckitup

image

We spend the majority of our young life finding friends and wanting to be accepted.

Only for them to eventually die and we end up alone.

Life is too short to be so concerned about the miniscule, high-end standards of enjoyment.

Quitcher  Bitchin.

Damn. Is that so fucking hard?

8 Realities of a Deceased Parent.

Finale
Summer sunset at my childhood home

If you’ve had the luxury of growing up with both parents (and both parents are great people), it’s even harder when life happens and they’re taken away from you. These are our truths, no matter how long it has been (1 month, 1 year, 10 years, et cetera), or how old you were when you lost them.

  1. It will always hurt. Time doesn’t make it easier. The reality of it is, we’ve repeated it to ourselves so much that we’ve just numbed ourselves to it. We will still have outbursts where we miss them so much, we’re inconsolable. After a good crying session, we go back to being numb. Some people may call this acceptance, but it’s still a numbing mechanism.
  2. There will be a piece of our heart missing. There isn’t anything anyone can do to fill it. It’s a permanent fixture. Don’t even try. Either you accept it or you move on.
  3. It may be subtle, but it does change us. Our perspective on life has been altered and we now have to figure out an alternate route. We may act out in odd ways that we didn’t before (good or bad). This is what I like to call a ripple. Some people settle back to similar versions of themselves, others may not.
  4. We will always talk about our parent. Yes, we will have moments that remind us of something. Sometimes it’s a good memory, sometimes it’s a sad one. We may even repeat something we’ve told you before. Understand that this is how we still keep them alive. I’ve mentioned my dad so many times in these posts and I don’t even care if people are tired of it.
  5. Don’t get annoyed. That is the absolute worst thing you could ever do. Don’t you dare get frustrated if we are brave enough to share our moments with you. Don’t whine about how you’ve heard that story before or how many times we’ve said, “I wish you could have met him/her.”
  6. Ask us to share our memories. Helping us to grieve is one of the best things you can do. I love sharing stories about my dad and I love hearing stories about him. It gives me a sense that he’s still around. I even have a playlist created just for him that I like to listen to it on road trips.
  7. Time angers us. To me, I am upset that life still moves on. The electric bill still needs to be paid, the seasons change, you have to go back to work. I didn’t have time to breathe. It also means that I’m further from the last conversation, that last hug & kiss goodbye. I’m also afraid to make any dramatic changes because I know my dad won’t be there to witness them. But life happens. Still.
  8. There are no words of wisdom we can give you. Death is inevitable, so you will soon know of our pain. Everyone grieves differently. I can say, being surrounded by people who loved them just as much as you helps. Being surrounded by people who love you also helps. That’s the best that I’ve got.

I will conclude with a cliche to appreciate everyone in your life. Even the annoying people. The petty stuff is never worth it.