Future|Catapult

I keep telling myself it’s been four long

years, when in reality, they flew by faster than I

could keep up with.

Catapulted into the reality of the future and

adulthood, a full-time job, no more classes, no summer

break and yet, I feel a sense of calm and tranquility. Along

with a sense of accomplishment and pride in all that I’ve achieved

throughout my years of schooling.

Keeping up grades, juggling a part-time job, friend groups, roommates, and

every other stepping stone leading me to the diploma I can finally say I

hold in my hand.

There I was, walking across the stage. Eight thousand audience members – family

members and friends, fellow graduates – all looking at my outstretched arm. Shaking

hands, raising fists in excitement and glee, taking hold of that piece of paper worth

much more than what it looks like.

And I smiled, to myself, for the rest of the day, because now I can say,

“I did it.”

 

Future? Adulthood? The real world?

I am ready for you – for all of it.

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No|Qualm

“No qualms about it.”

A phrase comes to my mind,

the one and only, when I see or

hear, the word, qualm.

But when I begin to really think about it,

there are many that I have – and less often than not,

I don’t have any about something.

Uneasy,

doubt, worry or

fear.

These are common feelings of the everyday

me, and I think, the everyday you, and you, and

most human beings. Racked with guilt, and self-doubt

there’s punishment for every possible not-so-saintly

action. But I want to redefine the phrase:

Have qualms about it – they make you human.

Fatherhood|Temporary

“father” is a word, a relationship, that is earned,

not given. and just as it can be given at the moment

the sperm enters the egg, it can be taken away if that parent

begins to show signs of being temporary – not earning

the title of “father.”

There’s a massive difference between a parent who is there,

for all the heartbreaks and teenage problems, the

meeting of a new boyfriend or the start of a new job.

events that may seem small, but build into a life that not

every parent earns the right to be a part of.

If showing up to the graduation and the wedding, or

attending family holiday’s together is your definition of

parent – then you are in no way deserving of that title.

period.

I’ve seen my fair share of amazing parents, my mother

being one of them, but unfortunately I’ve also experienced

the hurt and guilt that comes with the loss of a relationship

due to a necessary divorce.

In my lifetime, my father came and went – but most

memories are clouded by the times he left – and, while not once

did I have to question whether or not a step parent, a coach,

or other male figure in my life would be there for me, I constantly

questioned whether or not I could trust my biological father to

pick me up from CCD at age six or off the side of the road when I’d

broken down at age nineteen.

I look around, in a constant search for the relationship a

daughter should have with her father, but I’m always left

empty-handed. And at the end of the day, when asked who’s fault it is,

I firmly say it was his, because I’m smart enough to realize that he’s

content being a temporary father – and I have no interest in coddling

the ego of a man who thinks he deserves even that title in my life.

 

Chocolate|Bitter

I greedily rummaged through

cupboards at age four –

searching for a cure to my

sweet-tooth in what seemed an

endless void of black, empty darkness.

 

Then I saw the light

reflected off a shiny corner of

aluminum candy wrapper,

tucked behind a bag of Dominos flour

and that orange box of… something.

 

Climbing on the paint peeling

pink stool living in the corner I

reached back, being forced onto tip-toes

before finally reaching the

half-eaten candy bar.

 

Anxiously pulling the bar

toward me, and quickly

unwrapping what was left –

feeling the anticipation in my

grumbling, empty stomach.

 

But then I took that first,

unsatisfying taste, only to

experience my first lesson in

bitter.

 

And I’ll never forget the

taste on those four year old

taste buds – sharp, biting, and

nowhere as sweet as my naive

self thought it would be.

Comfort|Lifestyle

Rain pours down in sheets,

soaking blue jeans and a once warm,

comfortable sweater. Grudgingly, I

climb into my pickup truck and dread the

hour ride stretched out menacingly before me.

But I crank the new album I downloaded and watch

time and trees fly by until I reach the exit, and

pull off the highway – following back roads to a

familiar driveway where I’m greeted by the

aroma of many cheeses and freshly cooked

bacon. Sizzling together in the oven, waiting for me to

consume greedily. Soon I’m sitting on our

usual blue couch. Netflix loading, I pull you close, a

heaping bowl of your homemade Mac & Cheese in my lap.

Waiting impatiently for The Shining to cover the screen.

Wiggling into a comfortable position, in sweatpants and an

over sized flamingo T-shirt, I’m mesmerized by the

comfort and familiarity I’ve found of in this

lifestyle we’ve created – together.

Commence|Panicked

Cool sweat trickles down the small of my

back. Hands trembling with both nerves and

anxious anticipation. Four years of stressful nights and

exams. Of papers and papers and papers. Of early

morning classes and late night study sessions. All

culminating, building, creeping to a breaking point and a

single piece of paper.

Standing in line, money in hand and a future being

prepared to be handed over on an almost weightless

degree. Excitement, eager anticipation, nerves – I’m

overwhelmed. Panicked.

And then your name appears on my phones screen and

allows me to let out a long-held breathe. Everything will be

OK. Everything is a little less scary.

Commencement.

Graduation.

Real life.

I type out a simple response: I miss you too,

with the realization flowing over me.

I’m ready.

Speaking|None

It’s funny how words can both inspire and stump you. They can challenge you or comfort you. It’s as if one word, holds the power of all words, and in that power the writer can choose whether they will find strength or weakness. 

I was five years old when I began to write, it happened before I had uttered my first words. My parents worried, teachers asked questions. I had become an anomaly, creating doubt in the adults around me. Why wouldn’t I talk? Could I?

“What’s wrong with her?”

I never knew, never found out, hell, I never asked. I grew up hearing stories of the days I sat in my room scribbling the ink out of pen after pen, the floor scattered with crumbled mistakes and eraser shavings. I recall the feeling of utter freedom while locking myself in my room, on a blue and white checkered comforter, leaning against my pink pillows. Knees bent, eyes focused, I distinctly remember loosing myself and forgetting all the senses around me.

Engaged. In a new world entirely, not my own, but someone else’s. Someone I had created with the pen and paper held before me.

Entranced. Under the spell of words and phrases and pages. Pages. What was in my head had to be let out, unleashed onto the unsuspecting world.

Ecstasy. I felt it after each finished piece. To this day I chase the feeling of satisfaction after filling yet another journal, finishing yet another page, closing the book on yet another world I’d created all on my own.

At a certain age it became a choice – my desire to speak had dissolved – anything that needed to be said could be written and I knew:

 I was none other than a writer.

 

 

 

Control|Dominance

maybe it depends on your worldview,

and your life up until the point where you look

at the word written on a black board in white

crumbling chalk and notice your view is

vastly different than that of your peers.

they raise their hands one by one and answer

the question of what is control, and what does it

mean and your mind wanders instantly to the relationship

between your mother and father.

the answers roll in:

certainty. stability, confidence. power. influence

and suddenly the teacher is pointing at you and you feel

your mouth dry up, your breathing quicken and your pulse

jumping out of your wrist because to you control is

force. hurt. no way out. submissive.

but when you gain your voice you realize his control isn’t

on her alone. it’s on you. because your memory jumps to him

and all the negativity surrounding him.

triggered.

by white words crumbling on a black chalkboard, realizing

it is not as simple as black and white.

 

Chasing the Rising Sun

Waking to frigid summer

air licking toes

sticking out from my

worn, white comforter.

Absentmindedly rolling

over, sleepy seeds crusting

freshly opened eyes,

searching for the source

of a surprisingly cool

summer morning.

Sheer curtains tickling

the thin layer of blonde

hair along my arm while

gentle sun kisses

sunburnt cheeks.

Through freshly paint

speckled windows

the birds sing – my senses

awakening

I see shadows dapple

black pavement and grassy lawns

of a neighborhood

chasing the rising sun.

HOJO Orange

“I don’t believe in being serious about anything. I think life is too serious to be taken seriously.”
—Ray Bradbury, WD

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“Ellie, Porter, behave yourselves. We’re all going to get a turn don’t worry,” I coaxed the children out of their arm wrestle to decide who would get to sit in the chair first, “Remember, this is a family photo so we’re all going to be in it.”

Who was I kidding, they didn’t care that eventually we would all be sliding back into the oversized orange armchair that caused jaws to drop and eyes to widen the minute we pulled into the Howard Johnson parking lot. No matter what it was we were doing, they always had to fight to be the first ones to do it.

Kids.

“We have to unpack before we can do anything,” my husbands bad-cop voice filled the room, silencing the rambunctious eight and five year olds for a few seconds.

Room 205. Filled with memories and couples retreats, this would be the first time taking the kids with us – a true test of our patience. Across the road lies the Mystic Aquarium and Old Mystic Village, down the road a few miles is Mystic Seaport and downtown Mystic with the infamous drawbridge ice cream parlor and another few miles from there is the Nature Center – but what really had caught everyone’s attention was sitting in the hotel parking lot.

One king sized bed filled the center of the room, and of course, as soon as the clothes were neatly set in piles to be put in drawers, Porter had found his way up and managed to jump over it’s entire surface – destroying any semblance of organization I thought I had created. At least Ellie, while not helping with the unpacking as her dad had warned her to, was busy fidgeting with the jammed sliding glass door.

“I can’t get it,” she muttered, arms folded, head down and a big pout on her face.

Then behind her came daddy’s big, strong super hero arms. Chuckling, he moved the metal bar holding the door open – the same bar he’d always forgotten about on our many trips to this exact room. The moment it slid open the tiniest crack she shot out, climbing on the worn, green plastic armchair, her little fingers wrapped around the wrought iron rail.

“Be careful,” I scolded with worry from the bedside where I stood re-folding the mess Porter had made.

After roughly ten minutes of mayhem, the room was organized and unpacked to my liking and both Ellie and Porter had grabbed the only two keys to the room and run down the hall toward the double doors, impatiently waiting for us to catch up and lead them out the sidewalk and around the corner to the orange monument that is Howard Johnson’s Giant Chair.

Scrambling up the two steps, elbows banging and screeching laughter filling the parking lot, the two made it into the seat in record time. Their faces were beaming as their little legs flailed and their butts slid back, revealing that the chair was just as long as Porter’s legs and much longer than Ellie’s who got her height (or lack of it) from me.

Holding my husbands hand I couldn’t help but laugh at the giddiness brought by such an everyday piece of furniture – granted, a larger than life every day piece of furniture.

“Come ON guys,” the kids yelled in unison.

“Get up here you slow pokes,” Porter added, never passing up an opportunity to comment on our slowness because you’re old as he so lovingly put it.

The air was dry and warm, not quite spring anymore and not yet summer, the breeze was refreshing and the sun warmed my pale arms which stuck out from my short sleeve shirt. Ellie and Porter’s blonde hair reflected in the sunlight and their blue eyes shone with anticipation of another family photo.

Just then a young couple, the must have been in their late teens, walked by and offered their photography skills. Pulling out the red camera, I handed it to them with a smile, thanking them for their patience ahead of time – I knew how these family photos went.

“I call mommy’s lap,” Ellie yelled over Porter.

“Fine I wanted to sit on daddy’s anyway,” He retorted with his tongue sticking out.

Shaking my head I climbed up, my husband following, and we leaned back as far as we could. Butts down, backs against the set and feet sticking over the edge (mine only slightly).

Ellie quickly climbed into my lap and Porter, scrambling over the both of us, causing groans and eye-rolls from Ellie and I (the more sophisticated of the family) settled in his fathers.

“Ok everyone,” the dark haired teenager instructed, “Smile and say HOJO.”

Then, with a snap, a flash, and only one pair of bunny ears behind my head, yet another family memory was captured.