Life as Lessons, My Short Stories

Looking back…is key to moving forward

It was the fall of 1995 and I was sixteen years old. I wasn’t a particularly bad child, nor was I particularly good. I sort of teetered on the verge of both identities most of my childhood and into my late twenties. I stumbled here and excelled there. I made my parents proud and I caused them heartache. I suppose I was a normal kid, simply trying to figure it all out.

However, due to my wild side and my distaste for rules and regulations of any kind, that infringed upon all I felt I was entitled to experience, I simply disregarded them  consequences be damned. Resulting directly from my parent’s inability to tame their free-spirited daughter, I spent many, many hours sitting slouched in the corner chair of our family’s dinning room table, while my father spoke at me.

Sometimes he screamed, sometimes his cruel distaste came out calmly. Most times regardless of their presentation I was truly convinced it didn’t even really matter if I was sitting there or not. Convinced he liked the sound of his voice and the reiteration of his words of disappointments, frustrations and what he must have deemed my anointing of his fatherly wisdom.

I can honestly say I don’t recall much of what was said at our “come to Jesus”  meetings but one night in the middle of  one his “usual speeches”. One that I am sure I could recite forward and backward, he spoke a sentence that has stuck with me my entire life. Oddly, too for at the time it wasn’t relative or applicable to whatever typical teenage offense I must have committed. Yet as the words came out of his mouth they seemed to grab my attention as if a record that had been playing endlessly suddenly scratched and all motion in the room came to an abrupt halt. I was so keenly aware of the disruption from the deviation of his usual banter it felt as time in that moment suddenly stopped.

I was suddenly aware of the coldness outside and how the room smelled of musty heat as it whispered out from our old furnace on its first use of the season. Its knocks and ticks amplified my bated breath as I waited for what was about to come. Normally I would use the radiating heat passing through the baseboard along the wall beside me to play one of the many made up games I had invented over the years to pass the time stuck at the table with him.

I would prop my feet up on them and for the most part of “our” conversations, I would stare down at the whole in my  wool socks and play peekaboo with my toe. Tapping it against the register and testing myself as to how long I could keep it pressed flat against it before the heat became intolerable. Not a highly exciting game but a useful distraction I was normally thankful to have to occupy the minutes that turned into hours of my father’s typically very long-winded rants.

I would eventually tire of that and give up on inflicting any further burns to my toe and then move my attention to again counting the owls that adorned the wallpaper my mother just had to have.

At one time over the course of these one-sided conversations with “Joe” (that is my father’s name) I had counted 347 but I was willing to double even triple check my work in a single session if cut anytime off my sentence. Or enhanced my ability to tune him out, surely lessening the sting of his verbal lashings.

“Sarah, Sarah you better be listening young lady!” A strictly rhetorical question as he never really wanted to hear anyone other than himself.

“Sarah, I am telling you now baby!” “There are a lot of things I don’t know, but there is one thing, that I promise you can bet the farm on.”

This would usually be the time I began daydreaming of my horse and riding out in the fields on a warm summer day. Free and wild under a perfectly clear blue sky nothing but silence and the wind would I be forced to hear.

However, tonight was different and his words cut like a knife through the perfectly painted canvas in my mind and sharply brought me right back to that small kitchen. In actuality it wasn’t a small room at all, but he had a way of making the walls feel as if they were closing in on me with every endless tick of his watch.

He had a way about him in these memories of mine that cause me only to remember the room possessing a single light that hung from the ceiling overhead and swayed ever so slightly back and forth dependent on force of his voice.

The bulb always dim and stained yellow from the constant stream of pollution rising up from the Marlboro Red he lit every three to four minutes. Smoke so thick at times I could taste nothing else even after brushing my teeth for bed after each time all was said and done.

Sarah, one day you’re going to stop right in the middle of your everyday life and if you continue living the way you have been, my ears slightly perked as what could I possibly be doing now that will permanently affect me and the life I will have years from now, I thought to myself?

Reviewing quickly the true severity of my offenses. I made decent grades. I was on the Varsity Soccer Team. I had no criminal record, never been in any “real” trouble and besides breaking his curfew or skipping a few classes , even stealing a few bucks when it was left lying around, what could he possible deem me labeled in his eyes for life?

I clinched the fists inside my yellow turtle neck sweater and stuck my head as low as it would go into the stretched out neck, as whatever was coming couldn’t be good. Particularly, nervous and I would have sworn I had heard the worst of the worst from that man many times over.

“I’m telling you now baby, you keep living like your living, floating here and there, you’re going to grow up and be one unhappy little girl… Sarah…and then of course he did one of his big dramatic and long-winded pauses, which are always followed up by the light of a smoke. A sure indication of something he considered important looming just inside his mouth. Perched on the tip of his tongue just waiting for the smoke to his ears eloquently lure it out. Trapping his words within and highlighting their definitive presence. Words frozen and suspended in the breath of smoke in which he exhaled them upon.

He continued “One day you’re going to want to pack up your toys and run home.” “But baby you’ll have created a life in which there is no road home nor anyone even there who could save you from it!” “The toys you will then call yours will no longer neatly fit in the toy chest if in fact you even for once tried to clean up your mess.” “For regardless, they won’t be the kind of toys you are able to simply leave when you’ve become bored with them, abandoning them out in the rain for the next girl to come along and find.” “They will be yours for life and you will be miserable every day of yours because of them.” “Mark my words little girl, mark my words.”

I just sat there, for the first time I had no quick interjection of why he was surely wrong! Nor could I conjure up any deep sigh indicating in my teenage way that he had no idea what he was talking about. No snide comment to shoot just as fast back to him acknowledging I even retained his thoughts. I had nothing.

I just sat there stunned and baffled. Clueless as to what he said meant for sure. However, for some reason they felt unshakable and the smoke they hung on seemed to cling and engulf my clothes, my hair and my soul.

My father and I would have many more kitchen table torture sessions before I moved out and finally became an “adult”.

As to what specifically was said in any of them before that day or after I wouldn’t and couldn’t swear to any true content of it now.

However, that single profession. The one that came out of nowhere and held no relevance to the events at hand, seeming to steam from my father’s well of actual insight and intuition scared me.

For something about those words and chance of whatever they meant actually holding some bit truth about me and my life to come was a premonition not easily brushed off.

As if it, as if he had subconsciously sealed my fate. A fate that although I didn’t understand it then, Left me with an uncomfortable awareness, one in which I didn’t like the way it felt to fit before I even had a chance to experience it. The finality of his imposed sentence on what began as  a seemingly ordinary chilly fall day is one that to this day has never left me.

The only clarity I have found after the passing of many years is the shocking and absolute truth in the perfect reflection of his words as in fact despite his unexplained warning did in fact become my life.

TO BE CONTINUED ~ Stay turned as the epiphany is IMPORTANT

Life as Loss

The Moon and Death….

Is it possible to love someone and when they die, we do as well? Then I ask, is it a worst fate to die in reality or figuratively , as dead is the only word strong enough to accurately depict the hollows of one’s heart after knowing true loss. For it is those of us that are forced to be both living without life and dying without death. For in the moment the one we have loved all our lives leaves we became shattered. The only comfort I am convinced I may ever know again is by breaking all the pieces of life that within me remain?

Shards of dreams, splinters of love, remnants of hope, and of unraveled  threads of faith, all unrecognizable. For without my brother nothing appears to resemble its previous form.

For the morning I learned Joe was gone, I could no longer relate to another living person. I could not speak nor have compassion  for those who didn’t sit as I sat, and even if they had known grief I judged that as well. Unable to relate to anyone or anything I had always known as my truth.  So I  identified only with the destruction, despair and devastation. I was safe within the disheveled life that had become my existence and I was constantly seeking new avenues in which I could perpetuate my time there, to avoid the inevitable.

To put away my sadness and let him go was an idea for too long I was simply unwilling to entertain. However, the risk of putting it back together, knowing it at anytime could once again break. That has been a fate for me worse than death.

I don’t profess to have any answers anymore to things I once knew or even wanted to learn, but I am certain another loss would be more than my heart could bear.

So I sit, content within, alongside and drowning in my sorrow, I relish the tears I still cry for him, For although gone now, they prove yes, yes, see, see he once was here!

I have refused to accept my brother’s death so rather I  accepted and found my only comfort and connection to him in the massive pile of broken stagnate life . Heart-wrenching has become my identity and one I cannot let go of. Perhaps, it is the last one I will have in which he will still be a part of rather than a memory or picture in a frame.

So for three years I have sat, up alone almost every night. For endless hours I sit clutching on to my pile of pain. Sickly almost enjoying it more when the world is quiet and asleep dreaming of things I confess no longer matter to me and I can cry and scream and hurt without reveling my pain, and causing others to feel helpless for no one could fix this. No one but Joe.

One night I asked Joe just as the loneliness I craved began to take over after I had put the children to bed. I asked him why night had such an almost magical way about it. Able to amplify the deepest of our scars, Scars that in the sunshine we can not see but at night the pleasure of their pain becomes an almost secret longing.  I purposed a foolish question out loud. Joe does there exist a secret agreement between the moon and death? Did they make a pact unknown to the living?

The moon promising some nights to stay hidden as if lost from the sky, giving death the ability to quietly, under the veil of night creep in through the window and rob from the world a soul. In my case a soul who’s equal I will never find again. Then once death has taken what he had no right touch, it would be the moon’s turn to take the stage. For the moon knows as best that inconsolable pain doesn’t not allow the grieving to sleep.

Rising with purpose directly over my house of sorrow. Shining so brightly, another reminder one in a sea of millions of what I once saw as something beautiful matters no more. For everything including the moon is but another way in which the world cruelly mocks me as it spins on and on. Forgetting or simply refusing to acknowledge my pain, I no longer care which. Yet every rotation ensures the moon will come once again to play its part.

Magnifying and illuminating the million prisms caused from the broken pieces of my life and my pain. Dancing and floating. Dancing without care or concern, all over my heap of hurt, that I have for so long refused to hurdle.

Mesmerized by the reflections of such carefree movement. Captivated I sit alone, and stare, I forget about the moon and death and the question I have asked. All I can do is sit. Sit and think…repeating over and over within my head, screams  of the ache in my resentment… believing ….. I will never dance again.

A heart is made from two angels working together

Two facing mirrors crabb Robinson love true human love ie two hearts like two correspondent concave mirrors having a common focus. By sweet thoughts & sympathies

Two mirrors imply mutual influence contributing and accepting love

Interchange of energies a cycle of influence

From sun to moon to earth and back again to the moon

Stuck on the moon

A communion of energies each serving to evoke a response in the other

The ability of the moonlight to cast a sudden charm over a known and familiar landscape

The minds ability to exert its own influence

A balance Bayern activity and passivity receiving and giving.

Destiny of nations lines 16-17

Avoid mere painful copying

Would produce masks only not forms breathing life

The idea that puts the form together cannot itself be the form

It is above form and is its essence

The glance the exponents of the indwelling power

Abstract notions into a picture language

Which is itself nothing but an abstraction from objects Of the sense

Symbol is characterized by a translucence of the special in the individual of of the general in the especial if the universal in the general

the eternal through and in the temporal

The other are empty echoes sloping orchard or hill side pasture field seen in transparent lake below

Veils the blaze of the sun. Apt emblem so ritual reality that shines through all created things

Invisible realities or spiritual objects

A world of reflective resonances

Endless reduplication

God whose eternal language is audible not to the corporeal ear but to our inner sense of reason

The divine voice speaking through natural forms

If the child becomes attuned to spiritual reality inherent in the physical world he she needs will be moulded by the universal teacher

By giving to the child’s spirit god will also make it ask

Silent icicles quietly shinning to the quiet moon

Opens with a muted motionless balmy atmosphere

Be loved like nature

Lines 49 -86. A harmonious world of resonances and reverberations

Gentle Maid who likes to roam there

Imitative lisp natures play mate

Did glitter in the yellow moon beam

In silence listening like a devout child

Now beneath the stars

With momentary stars of my own birth

Fair constellated foam now a tranquil sea

Life as Lessons

Right or Wrong matters little to our AWARENESS OF CHOICE!

Today I borrowed words my past….written 11/2010

The children need me…I need them…my hands are tied and with tears rolling down my face, I knew the only option I had was to go back to Michigan…. fearing the admission of all that implied and would once again bring back into my life. I hated myself only 3 months ago for leaving and now I hated myself for going back. I was conflicted at the heart of the details in both my choices. However, perhaps it is never really that we make a right or a wrong choice but that we should all marvel in the simplicity of the gift in having a choice to make. A fork in the road placed at our feet and when we look down either path the road and the destination seem unclear and uncertain. Yet…what I fear MOST above the correctness in my ultimate choice and of turning either left or right is that I NEVER KNEW I HAD THE OPTION TO TURN!

I am grateful not only that I have awareness of the chances in my life but also the wisdom to see the bends in the road… for how sad are those who continue in the same direction for fear of making the “wrong” turn or worse even still those who didn’t even notice the option to veer from their lives’ paths and assume the direction they started has to and will be the direction in which their journey will come to its end.

I have now been “home”/in Michigan for a week. Seven days, which included a major holiday, my 32nd birthday and 2 moves. I have laughed lovingly in the presence of those I had missed dearly, I have relished in the simplicity of nothing more than smelling my son’s hair as he falls asleep or singing in the car with my daughter after discovering that we both loved the new song playing on the radio. I have been welcomed with love and that makes going anywhere worth it….. and if only life was that easy in this place. ( I say this place) as I have found it to be something completely different just a thousand short miles and one right turn down the road. Of course, taking into account that I was different as well as my surroundings but being “away” certainly fostered an awakening from the humdrum and monotony of dysfunction that had always made changing unlikely.

I was alone for the first time and for the first time I wasn’t for I realized I had myself a comfort that had gone undiscovered for far too many years. I met people who were honest, genuine and kind-heart souls and some days I thought the universe was giving me to much as it seemed to place one amazing spirit after another in my path and bringing people into my life that when we met, I felt destined to be with them and no where other than in that moment.

Those days are memories now, words in my stories,warmth to my soul but nonetheless they are past. I am back to what I knew before I left, before I risked it all, before I danced in the Georgia Rain….. and it is a tremendous reality check as well as a bit discouraging to return and find everything exactly as it was when I left…as it had always been. I had always been different but now I am truly changed and being “home” feels as if I am putting on a pair of shoes that are 3 sizes to small or a shirt in which the sleeves are 6 inches too short. For at one point in my life both the shoes and that shirt would have been a perfect fit but I have now outgrown them. Funny, that it is so acceptable and implied that we will grow out of our shoes and our clothing and they will undoubtedly be replaced with new yet when we transfer that to our lives, our souls, our dreams, our hopes, and our desires we are discouraged by others: by society, by those we once chose but have now become our obligation, even by our own thoughts for just because we are adults, or just because we felt something briefly s decade ago, or thought we wanted to be the person we were becoming until we did… my point is ~ WE NEVER ALLOW OURSELVES TO EXPECT THAT WE WOULD OUTGROW THOSE CHOICES JUST AS EASILY AS OUR OLD SNEAKERS.  ~ and to that I say growth is good, perhaps it is the main objective to living…for when we grow, we change, when we change, we become better and when we know better we do better and when we do better…… WE ARE LIVING OUR BEST LIVES AND THE ONLY REMARKABLE ACCOMPLISHMENT THAT ONE SHOULD AIM AND CHASE AFTER DAILY IS LIVE..TO BE ALIVE… RATHER THAN MERELY SAFELY EXISTING!

So, as my first week “back” ends, I am honestly no more sure of what choice was right or which was wrong, maybe they were both wrong??? and then again equally as possible I am RIGHT where I am MEANT to be whether dumb luck or true intuition and faith, I don’t care because as long as I can say and with confidence I AM LIVING.. then I can not wait to see what the next turn in the road brings to my life!

Life as Lessons, Life as Loss, Life as Love

Flip it and Reverse it….

“It is not the messenger, nor their words…its the meaning of the collective without the influence of our subconscious mind.” seh

This morning I woke up to a message sent through Facebook in an attempt to hurt me, written by someone who needed to inflict that pain as she foolishly trying to make herself hurt less. I must admit at first I was hurt, I felt defensive and the angry desire to fire back. In most situations I try daily to live my life without ego or the need to be right and prove another wrong and, well you get the idea. However, this particular girl is to me as Kryptonite is to Superman. Every interaction is a fight to the hurt the other more to prove things that in reality and in my soul never needed to be addressed in the first place. So after the last play is made from both sides, regardless of the win…I feel almost dirty and ashamed for having even engaged in the battle. Ultimately, I end up “pissed that I am pissed.”

That being told, this morning was no different for as I read her words and the fight began to grow within. I immediately shut out the world . I can no longer feel the sunshine coming in through the curtains. I no longer see the sweet two-year old peacefully dreaming, curled up alongside me. I no longer smell the coffee, which serves as my daily dose each morning of hope and faith of all that lies ahead. I can no longer hear the faint buzz of my husband as he sands his most recent labor of love, restoring an old desk for me to write upon. No! In as instant all the love and light that surrounds me and flows through me is locked up and turned off. I am consumed with the negative energy that has crept inside my room as I slept and lay waiting for me to wake. Energy I have to admit I provided the medium for it to find me.

The next twenty minutes play out as they always do, the same emotions, the same tears the same disgusting casting of stones and wicked words thrown as daggers to each of our hearts. It is while I am in the heat of this most recent war that the sleeping baby awakes, bounds off the bed and while I am to preoccupied with writing words reflecting my heart’s pain to fire back, my daughter grabs my coffee cup from yesterday.  A cup left from my sheer exhaustion and consumption of the writing I have as of late been trying to get done, that I had lazily left upon my nightstand. What does she do? What any two-year old who trying to direct the attention of her mom to her rather than her cellphone, and with purpose and intent slowly dumps the coffee onto the bedroom carpet.

To me in this moment I feel depleted of everything. I have begun another day fighting a war that doesn’t need to be fought but I can’t stop. I have allowed my daughter to wake up not to kisses and smiles but my tears and frustration and her offense being two and loving me.

It is just after I ran downstairs, handing off my daughter to my husband who is in the midst of his own project ( for me) and run out the back door that my phone rings.

I don’t answer because I particularly want to talk to anyone in that moment but because I know in doing so, I will somehow fix the mess of the morning and find the beauty to begin the day again and stay the course. I answer and from the first exchange of words, as I am asked, “what are you doing?” I confess and admit the silly toxic behavior that I had moments before been a willing participant of and admit all that I should be doing.  I reply, “I am in a war of words with Lindsey and overwhelmed with Calley and I am already over this day.”

I hear nothing, so I then say, “what I should be doing is greeting the day with a quiet cup of coffee, kissing and loving on my daughter, tell my husband how thankful I am for his all his hard work he has put into my desk. I should be beyond excited  and feel accomplished about the daily writing and steps I have taken in the past weeks towards my life’s biggest dream. I should be smiling and grateful for it all, for all of it is love and all of it reaffirms the blessings of my life.

The conversation continues and like a tennis match and inspiration and truth is the ball we volley back and forth for the next thirty minutes and at the end she thanks me for always knowing and showing her what is important and how to find and hold on to her inner peace and live from love and not fear and insecurity. I think wow, she gives me more credit than perhaps I deserve for the person I was acting as from the time I got up to the moment I answered the phone was certainly not inspirational, knowledgeable, or enlightening.  Yet, after our conversation and the peace of speaking to a common soul who not with words spoken with the authority of I know better, or for the purpose to correct or redirect. Rather words that reflect the goodness within us individually radiating off our true souls and like a diamond when it catches the sun’s rays it created prisms of light casting off in all directions.

I hang up the phone and I feel remorse for the moment of weakness when I allowed negative energy to take over the day and forsake the beauty of its potential for things I know better and things I can not change regardless of the fight. Reminding myself sometimes fighting the good fight is most successful when we refuse to fight at all. For some wars are require our attention and are  won when we take action, however we must always be equally aware that some are won by refusing to give an issue or a person attention and despite our ego and our pain refraining from any action at all.

I am not perfect nor ever strive to be, but I do try to learn from mistakes and from the situations that don’t feel authentic to my soul or cause me to give in to behaviors I have learned are not conducive to  a healthy, happy or loving life. Each day is a lesson and some days are lessons testing the ones we deem ourselves to have already passed. Sometimes we show ourselves we truly have grown and sometimes we must accept that we still have some work to do.

I hope to have many days filled with many lessons always aware of them all, willingly and readily seeking them and humbly accepting of who I have always been, and who I want to become. Always searching for the inspirations, personal growth and the accumulation of knowledge understanding something have to be learned the hard way. However, there is good in every bad and bad in every good the trick to sort it all out from a place of love and you’ll see your world and yourself in it with all the purpose and beauty that is intended for and is within us all.

“If A,B,C, and D don’t work flip and reverse it!” GAW