The Damaged’s Epiphany!

ouchDriving down the road all alone, the radio drumming silently in the background, the rain slamming against the glass of the windshield… it creates the perfect environment for self reflection, huh?

I guess I used to feel like Father Time was as blind to my existence as I was to his–ah, youth–and while I’ve been paying attention to Father Time for quite some time now, it wasn’t until quite recently that I spotted Father Time noticing me back. It doesn’t feel like he’s knocking on Death’s door and pointing his wrinkled finger my direction, but he did pause in the crowd of souls, looked me in the eyes and winked. This has gotten me to thinking a little more often than I once did about what I have/n’t done with my life.

Damaged… I think I’ll always be damaged. I’m not the only one out there. My best friend is one of the Damaged as well. One of the results of being damaged is that I seem to have difficulty in completing stories. Let’s be honest, it’s more than stories. However, the thing pressing harder on my mind is writing.

I’ve never completed a single story I started.

So, what’s my hang-up? Fear of failure, fear of success? These two things haven’t really made a lot of sense to me and didn’t feel like either were my personal hang-up. These are the two usual suspects though… aren’t they? So, I keep examining these two fears trying to figure out which is mine, cause if I know what it is I might be able to step down a path to fixing myself.

Today, for whatever reason, I had an epiphany! It’s not really either.

I don’t want to be defined by my mistakes.

Yep! That’s the thought that smashed it’s way through the calm of my afternoon drive to my kids’ school. I had no idea I even felt this way until today. Childhood taught me that people simply will not recognize my efforts let alone my successes; I will only be seen for my failures and mistakes.

Wait! Huh? What does that mean? Come on self, explain this one.

Here is a seemingly simplistic childhood memory, yet in it’s simplicity it screams it’s complexity. A young child makes a spur of the moment choice to surprise mom and dad by cleaning the living room without being asked. The child simply wants to do something to please the parents. The child works hard, in her/his perception of things, and waits excitedly for the parents to come notice. In walks dad or mom. The child exclaims ta-da! then waits for the parent to be pleased.

“You missed a spot,” the parent responds pointing to an itty-bitty fleck of something on the carpet, then leaves the room.

When you grow up feeling that no matter how hard you try to do something positive, others will only notice the negative and you begin to feel that there is no point to even trying. That feeling will become worse. It divides itself, finds places to implant and grow, divide again and send its spawn off to other places in your soul to spread it’s infestation.

I don’t want to be seen for my mistakes. Failure does come into play but it is not a fear of failure. Everyone will fail. There isn’t a single perfect person out there and we will all fail at something, sometime. That’s okay. This is different. It has warped itself so many times. Being seen for my mistakes is just the beginning. It’s the top layer of the many issues that suffering a childhood of neglect, emotional abuse and bullying causes.

Another issue: All I can see are my own mistakes. There’s layer two. Thanks to the top layer, this is my second layer. Nothing is ever positive. Everyone in my life can tell me different, but it is so painful to never feel like I can ever do anything right. There’s always a mistake. There will always be a fleck on the carpet that I missed. My cookies will always be too dry, too crumbly, or too… something. My meals will never be good enough. I love to crochet, but that will never, ever be good enough either.

My writing will always be mediocre. Worse than mediocre. A 4th grade child would be able to write better than I can. I have no talent, no skill and zero ability to ever be good enough at anything… so why finish?

Why start? Well, writing is an addiction. It always has been and probably always will be. I think about writing constantly. I think about characters, plots, stories, worlds, words, sentences, even grammar!

The thing that sucks about this epiphany is I don’t know that it’ll help a single thing. So I know a little more now what the problem is. Great! But, I worry I could be permanently damaged. Hopefully Father Time will be kind and give me just a little less attention for a bit longer.

I won’t give up! I’ll keep trying because I love what I do. I just wish I could see and believe what I see in myself the way others around me do.

(This has been hard for me to share, but I doubt I’m the only one out there that has been hurt this way, and I’m sharing this publicly with hopes that someone will someday stumble upon it and know that they aren’t alone.)

 

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Wishing on a Star

wishingstar

“Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight.” I paused and opened my bedroom window. The night breeze caressed my hair with those warm, end-of-summer scents. With my eyes scrunched closed, I jabbed my finger out the window at the sparkling sky, opened my eyes and focused hard on one of the glittering spots I was pointing to. “I wish I may, I wish I might have this wish I wish tonight.”

Drawing my chest tight, I held my breath as I offered my wish to the cosmos.

I wish with every fiber of my being that I’ll meet a guy that’s right for me; Looks aren’t really important, but slightly curly hair would be cute but what is important is he needs to be caring, sensitive, and gentle. It’d be great if he likes reading. Most important though is that I can bring him to my grandma and he’ll treat her as the angel she is. I want my life to change. Star bright, this is my wish tonight.

I blew at the sky like I was blowing out birthday candles as I sent my wish into the air. I crawled into bed, tugged my ragged teddy into my arms and stared at my winking wishing star until I fell asleep. As I watched the sky, I had started feeling silly for making a star wish. Only little kids wished on stars, right? What I couldn’t  have known was that my sixteenth birthday wish would  irrevocably change my life.

 

 

Family! (Fictional)

familytree“I’m your brother,” his voice dripped with venom even as his eyes pleaded for understanding, sympathy, and forgiveness once again, “you can’t turn your back on me, Laura.” His shoulders strained with the rage that was boiling under the surface.

“Okay, we share genetics. What does that have to do with me laying down on the ground every time you need a mat?” I watch his reaction closely. My brother wasn’t use to little sissy standing up to him. All my childhood he walked on me to get what he wanted. I might as well have not existed unless my existence benefited him. The people we called parents were of no help. For whatever reason they had chosen. In stories and movies mommies and daddies didn’t chose between their children, there weren’t supposed to be favorites.

I leaned in life that if it’s in a story or a movie it’s probably because it never really happens and someone knew that people wished it were true. Guess what… parents do make a choice and do have favorites. I wasn’t the favorite.

He stepped forward, oozing threat, his nose inches from mine. I stared him down, not acknowledging his challenge, not accepting it but not giving in to him, either. I kept my arms loose at my side, fingers relaxed.

“You cannot walk away. I am family.” He no longer pleaded with his eyes. His look now said, “give me what I want or you’ll be sorry.”

“I can and I am.”

His stance weakened and he stepped back. “Family doesn’t…”

“Why do you think you can call yourself my family?” I interrupted. His mouth hung open a moment then his teeth snapped closed. “You think because we shared biological parents, because we’re genetically linked, that it makes us family? Really?”

I waited a moment for a response but I think for the first time I had shocked him into silence.

“Tommy, family is something much deeper than simple genetics. Family is all the things that you will never, ever be to me. Family is loyalty, trust, commitment, integrity, love, protection and… and…” I inhaled deeply. He’d never get it. “Families are not born. Families are made. You had the chance to be family but you are not. I refuse to be your mat any longer. I refuse to be hurt by you, over and over again and tell myself it’s okay because your “family”. You may be a part of my biological tree but it ends there. Don’t come around ever again.”

I turned away from him knowing that to give him my back might give him my life, but I knew he needed to see that I was strong. I walked across the street and as my friends stepped out of the shadows, they moved around me, hugging me close and I knew I was with my family now. He wouldn’t have hurt me this time because my family was there to help me stand if I needed them. This family didn’t share a drop of my blood but their roots ran deeper than any family tree did.

Families are made, even the ones that are first born out of blood.

(Fictional- Writing Prompt: What is family?)

Where is my backbone?!

I  have a rubber spine. I swear! Learning how to inject some steel hasn’t gone as easily as I thought it would. What happened as I got set up to sit and NaNo away?

Here was how it played out:

Knock, knock, knock. I just put my headphones on and loaded my playlist, so I glanced at the door thinking I must have been hearing things (or hopefully a ghost). I waited. Please, please tell me that wasn’t the door.

Knock, knock, knock, knock, knock, knock.

“Come in.” Knock, knock, knock, knock, knock. “Come in!”

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Damaged

What happens to the mind once it’s been damaged for a length of time? Is recovery possible? Is the person that was still there?

Damaged.

I think I’m damaged. I shutter when I hear “potential”. Oh sure, I had potential. Heard it all the time growing up. “She has so much potential, if only…”

My birthday is coming up soon. 40 is sneaking up quick. Since childhood I have wanted to be a writer. I dreamed up story after story. I lived to create. It was my favorite activity.

Potential.

A young child doesn’t understand the depths of potential. I’m not entirely sure my teen daughter yet understands the depth of potential. It can mean everything or nothing. As a young child I was dragged to parent/teacher conferences year after year and listened to the teacher complain to my parents about my wasted potential. I didn’t understand what the teachers were talking about, yet I knew it wasn’t good. I hung my head with shame, sat trembling in the cold, hard wood chairs that plague all schools, and listened not to the words my teacher was speaking but to the tone in which she spoke. Disappointment. Frustration. Concern.

I don’t know who my teachers felt these things for when these things were expressed to my parents. Today, as a woman with five children of her own, I hope the teacher’s disappointment was meant for my parents and not me.

Who the teacher meant her disappointment for doesn’t matter. What mattered was what I felt in my heart and soul.

I was a failure. Potential in the tone that my teachers voiced must have meant I was no good. That’s what potential was. Potential was another word for “nothing.”

Yep. Damaged. It would take a novelette at least to replay all the events of childhood that explains the damage that was done to me at the hands of others. I don’t want to write that story. I lived it. No one else should have to live it, not even vicariously.

I need to be repaired. I think that I’ve done some repairing already. It’s not enough though. Not yet.

I hate potential.

Tuesday Prompt: Playing with words

Today seems to be a day of played on words for me.

I can’t remember all of the moments but one moment was a text from my husband. He said, “you wanna see a big c@!k?”

Naturally, I was curious and said sure. The following picture yes what I got:

image

A Big...

Hahaha. Yep, that’s a big one alright.

Then tonight I finished reading, to my three sons, the last two chapters of The Anybodies. One son commented about the author and whether or not the author was a woman or man.

I had realized I was calling the author a woman when in fact I didn’t know.

I explained and my son asked what the author’s name was, again.
N. E. Bode.

My nine year old son repeated the authors name, the book title then started laughing with glee. He instantly got it.

The almost eleven year old took a bit more explaining before he got it, but eventually he was groaning and laughing with us.

I my children! I love sharing stories with them.

Well it got me to thinking about playing with words. It could make a fun writing experience.

Our Prompt: Try to come up with a word to play with and have fun writing with it.

Hmm. Holy man? Brick of cheese? Hehe.

Sunday Prompt: Civilized?

One of the few things I remember from my 10th grade year history class was a movie we watched in class and the verbal report I had to write on my opinion regarding civilization as presented by the movie.

What movie? Ah umm *blush*. I was a horrible student. I barely paid attention to the class let alone the movie.

I remember something about a man trying to introduce Christianity to a (maybe) African tribe?

Anyway, I was listening to an old song that I haven’t heard in years. The name of the song is Mr. Wendal by Arrested Development.

There is a line in the song, “uncivilized we call him, but I just saw him eat off the food we waste.”

This line, for whatever reason, jogged my memory of the movie in class and the report that followed.

Civilized, are we? What is civilization? And like Arrested Development questions, “who are we to judge?”

Today’s prompt: Imagine a situation that could result in our sophisticated society suddenly being thrust into a de-civilization. (Based upon your own ideals.)

Now toss your character to the wolves and see how she/he survives/behaves/reacts.