Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Hello.. I'm not here anymore.

If you've come to my Blogger blog, I'd like to redirect you to my new WordPress blog. Now would be a good time to update your readers and blog rolls and such. Some of you newer readers will probably already be over at the new site, because you have my domain saved instead of my Blogger url. Good for you. For those of you old timer, loyal fans (*snicker*).. you'll need to update. I'm still working on getting everything set up over there.. so be patient with me.

Thank you!

Embellished Truth and Polite Fiction
has moved!

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Lacey Blanket

Darla leaned back against the wall as she sat on the dusty attic floor, wiping the perspiration from her forehead with the back of her hand. She held back tears as she gazed at the murky sunlight timidly spilling through the little round window and mingling with the dust and cobwebs. It must have been at least two decades since anyone had been in Grandma's attic. She wished she could have been up here under happier circumstances, that she could have sorted through these things with Grandma instead of doing it alone. She struggled against the sting of regret as it threatened to drag her down again.

Darla remembered playing in this attic as a child. She's spent many an hour digging in the large trunks and peeking in boxes, hunting for little treasures from her Grandmothers life. Mementos and heirlooms and trinkets filled the space waiting to delight and entertain her. The attic was messy and cluttered, as it always had been, and probably not the safest place for a child to play. But it became a second home to Darla. It was her hiding place, her refuge. As she'd grown her visits changed from treasure hunts, dress-up sessions, and tea parties to quiet time and contemplative moments spent scribbling in a notebook or drawing on a sketch pad.

Tears rolled down her cheeks and dripped from her chin to her chest as the memories washed over her, dissipating in the sweat that was once again accumulating on her skin. The weight of it all was matched only by the heat of the Wisconson summer, and Darla decided it was time to take a break. She pulled herself up off the floor and brushed the dust off her pants as she headed to the narrow staircase that lead down into the turn-of-the-century Midwest farm house.

Coming here from her California home was like a time warp, a real life twilight zone. The stark contrast between the hustle and bustle of her life in the Bay Area and this quiet piece of country in Excelsior still came as a shock to her. From the fast-paced, every man for himself attitude in California to the outskirts of town with little more to offer in amenities than the abundant hospitality and friendly smiles.

Finishing her descent from the second floor to the first now, Darla entered the large kitchen in the back of the house. She paused at the kitchen sink for a moment, gazing out the window at a garden now overgrown with weeds. As much as she loved it, Grandma just couldn't keep up with tending the little plot after she'd fallen ill in late June. Darla felt a twinge of guilt at not coming sooner, but she had been laid up herself because of morning sickness.

She let out a sigh as she poured a glass of lemonade and pondered the irony of it. Sickness. Sickness had kept them apart as one life began and another drew to an end. Her heart ached over the separation and the realization that this woman, who'd been such a precious part of her life, would never meet this unborn child. Exhaustion set in and Darla sipped her lemonade as she stepped out onto the shady wrap-around porch and seated herself in Grandma's swing.

A rapid fire flashing of memories raced through her mind. She could replay nearly her whole life in snapshots of her and her grandmother in that swing together. Right up to days before Grandma's passing when they had lounged there together on a breezy afternoon. Her grandmother snoozing peacefully in the swing under her favorite blanket. A pale blue blanket, edged in lace. A lacey blanket that still sat, folded neatly, at one end of the seat.

A light breeze struggled against the oppressive heat of the day and Darla layed down on the swing, resting her head on the blanket. She let the lingering scent of her grandmother's perfume comfort and lull her to sleep as the condensation rolled down the sides of her glass mimicking the tears on her cheeks.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

My Darling Joella..

Every day I look at you.. and I am amazed. I am amazed and frustrated, and envious and terrified. I fear my heart may burst with all of the emotions you evoke. Everything in your world is beautiful and funny and exciting. You run at life head on, with no fear, pushing your limits and eager for your next adventure or challenge. I hope and pray that no one ever scares you enough to shatter that courage. But if that does happen, I pray that you may find your voice and speak out against the wrongs done to you.. that you may pick yourself up, put yourself back together, and bravely move forward.
When you climb on furniture or run down the driveway to the street, I want to pull you back, to hold you tight, and protect you. I want to hold you back, to keep you to myself, just as you are. I might go so far as to point out that no one else is doing such things, and wonder what put the idea in your little head? But I know it doesn't matter to you. What those around you are doing is of little consequence, you truly march to your own beat. The world is your playground and everything in it is a new experience waiting to be devoured. And I smile knowing you have a mind of your own and you will go your own way, forge a new path. I admire your ingenuity and creativity.
Many parents have plans or hopes for their children, ideas about who they'd like them to be or how they'd like them to turn out. But I'm not out to mold you or shape you into who I want you to be. I want you to be you! And I delight in learning more about you each day. Your growing vocabulary and your new found ways of communicating surprise me everyday, and my heart aches as I watch you grow up right before my eyes. I can't wait to see the young woman you become! Watching you discover yourself and who you are is a privilege I wouldn't trade for anything in the world. I realize you won't always want me along for that ride, and that's okay. You are your own person, don't ever let anyone tell you differently. But please know that I will always be here to catch you when you fall and help you get back on your feet.
As you lavish your innocent love and affection on those close to you, I am in awe of how freely you dispense it. I yearn with every ounce of my being to protect you from ever having someone break your trust, betray you, or take advantage of your love.. perverting and twisting it and turning it to pain. But I know that I can't always be there to watch over you and I just hope that, over the years, you can trust me enough to be open and understand that I love you, no matter what. I will be here with an open heart, a welcoming shoulder, and a willing ear. If you ever need to fall apart, I promise to help put you back together.
Your laughter is like music. I step out on the porch in the morning, greeted by the sound of hundreds of birds chirping and chattering, and I can't help but think of you and your darling giggle. Like a lilting melody, sweet and precious. It warms my heart and makes me dizzy and euphoric, I can't help but stop and smile and laugh right along with you. The way you spin and dance and sing songs in your own tongue may not draw an audience but it is enough to make me wish I could dance and sing with you. But grown-ups have little knowledge or understanding of your world. To be so tiny again and free from the weight of adult responsibility upon you seems unfathomable at times. It is so beautiful to watch. The magic and mystery of childhood still fresh and new. You make me want to be a child again and I do my best not to intrude on your world, preserving it and protecting it from mine. Adulthood and maturity come soon enough and I want you to enjoy your carefree innocence for as long as you desire.
And then come the rare delicious moments when our worlds collide and mingle. Catching fireflies together as the sun sinks low in the sky, sitting in a tent in the backyard just because, tea parties and baby dolls and painting our nails on the back porch. They remind me that our bond is growing, they show me we are connected, and I will treasure those moments always.
Watching you play and interact with your siblings is breathtaking. The adoration and curiosity is palpable when you are with them. The way you watch them and communicate with them reminds me that this is the very definition of family. Our bonds are still new and seemingly unbreakable, I pray that they stay that way. This kind of love is what all families should be made of.
The more I get to know you, the more I adore and admire who you are. Your bold and courageous spirit astounds me and I love the way you delight in every new thing in your world! Ever eager to learn new things and explore new ideas, I thrill at the thought of knowing who you are when you are grown. It makes me want to be more like you.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Never Let Go - Part 8

This time, packing and preparing for a move was much more peaceful. Sara didn't hear from Matt for the duration of that time.. She was a bit unnerved by it, to be honest. Part of her felt a little guilty for just dumping him the way she did and she had to fight the urge to call him up, apologize, and beg him to take her back.. But still, there was that underlying hesitation. She was also afraid. A shiver would run through her any time she imagined herself with him again. No. No more. The days leading up to her departure were tense and she was always looking over her shoulder, always expecting him to somehow sneak up on her.. not knowing what she would do if he did, not trusting herself.

Luckily, no one was ever there.

Sara's move went smoothly, perfectly really. She got settled into her apartment in Chicago quickly, and enjoyed her new job as an apprentice in a local theater. It was only about a month before she found an opportunity to audition for a big role and was accepted. Her heart soared as her dreams finally started to take flight. She missed the beautiful Elizabethan Theater in Ashland, but was thrilled to be on to bigger and brighter venues. She immersed herself in the escape of playing a part and becoming someone else. What a blissful break from her own life and her own troubles!

And then the phone calls started. Sara didn't know how Matt managed to find her number, but he did. He'd call at night and cry over the phone, begging for her to come back. Plead into the answering machine for her to let him come to Chicago. He'd remind her of how good things were before she left and longed to understand why she waited until things had improved to leave him. After a few weeks of that, she changed her number. But she felt awful. After all, he'd changed, right? Why didn't she give him another chance?

She began to feel as if she was the one who was screwed up, she was the one who was wrong. Apparently, she could only be happy if things were bad. Apparently, she just couldn't find it in her to love him unless he was being manipulative and abusive. What is wrong with me? she wondered.

She missed him. She missed him terribly. And she fought the urge to give in and fly back to Ashland.

A few more weeks went by without the phone calls and the ache finally began to subside. Sara was finally able to open her eyes and see just how much power Matt had over her. But still, she didn't hate him. She had little reason to at this point.. she'd managed to get out before things got worse. What might have happened had she stayed? What would the next offense be?

She reminded herself of this as she walked down this Chicago street to the theater on a brisk fall morning. Sure, she missed him. But the sadness of being homesick and wanting to be in his arms again paled in comparison to the relief she felt at being smart enough and brave enough to stand up and walk away.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Can we be honest for a minute here?

This is not a happy post, by any means. And normally I would reserve such ramblings for my other blog.. but I just felt compelled to throw this out at the risk of vulnerability. So... yeah.

Sometimes, probably once a month, or maybe more like once a week.. well actually more like several times a day, I get overwhelmed.

The money, the kids, the marriage, the house, the thoughts, my brain.. I just want it to stop. I want it to STOP. Stopitstopitstopitstopitstopit.. What I wouldn't give to have a break, a day or two to not think about any of it, some time to just *breathe*. Relax and breathe, worry free.

And these are the moments when thoughts of suicide seep in. Like cold winter air leaking in under a doorway. You can stuff as many towels as you want against that little crack, but it still finds a way in. Yeah.. I said it. Suicide. But, I'm not that kind of girl. Suicide is selfish. And I care too much about my husband, my children, and my family and friends to do such a thing to them. No matter how many times that voice in my head whispers screams sneaks up on me, trying to convince me that I"m not good enough, that they'd all be better off without me, I won't believe it. Shut up. You're not real, and I'm not going to listen to you. And I fall apart a little more wishing I could make that part of me disappear, make it die. I want to die. But I'm not that kind of girl.

I want to make things right, I want to fix the broken things. But there's so many pieces scattered about that I don't know where to begin. I get overwhelmed. The more I look, the more I hunt for a solution, the more I pray and cry out to God, the more lost I feel. I grasp and cling to any shred of hope that comes along, but as soon as I do it dissolves in my hands, slipping through my fingers like water and tears. And I give up because it's too much. I want it to end. I can't do this anymore, you win. But I'm not that kind of girl.

I could spend my time wanting and wishing for better days, praying for things to change and throwing myself into any effort to work towards that goal. But for what? The more I push, the more I try, the farther and farther away that goal gets, the more it eludes me. And I'm tired. Further soon becomes forever and that distance quickly becomes more than a lifetime. A lifetime of frustration and missed moments and memories that should have been mine, that should have been happy. Is it worth it in the end? Is that what I want? No. I fight it. You can't take my happiness, dammit.. I will win. The fight is hard.. and I want to give up. But, I'm not that kind of girl.

I want joy in the simple things. Contentment in spite of the circumstances. We don't ask for much really.. Just time with the children to watch them grow, to teach them, to give them happy memories and positive examples. Not a childhood full of wishes. Wishes for parents who'd play more, who'd smile more, who weren't so crushed by the responsibility and obligation upon them that they're essentially unavailable. Parents who are shackled to mistakes they've made and can't find freedom from. And I fall apart a little more realizing I can't give my children these things and that voice is back, taunting me, You're no good, they'd be better off without you. But I won't listen. Go away. And as badly as I want to be free from all this, I'm not that kind of girl.

Life is out of control. It has been out of control for a long time, and I don't know how to fix it. The more we try to fix it, the more out of control it gets. And while some of the problems along the way were certainly due to our own irresponsibility, that amount pales in comparison to those that are just from 'bad luck'. I don't think that my life is horrible or miserable. It's not. Not at all. And compared to many, we are very rich.. we are privileged. But this isn't a game of comparison or who's better off than who.. It's simply a matter of feeling that my life is passing me by and so much of that feeling is born from something so much deeper than financial problems or having so many children to look after.. because it started so long ago. Can you hear me? Are you even listening? And I'm tired. I'm tired of being on the outside looking in. I'm tired of watching my life pass me by. I don't like sitting on the bank of the river, watching it flow past me.. I want to jump in and swim. I want to swim without feeling like I might drown. I don't like where I'm sitting, it hurts, and I don't want to do it anymore. But I'm not that kind of girl.

Why yes, I am depressed. Thanks for noticing.

Sometimes people seem to have it all together, but in reality they don't. So be careful little mouths, what you say. You don't know what is going on inside another person's mind, another person's heart. There may be a struggle going on so big and so deep that it is beyond your comprehension. And you may say something so small, but it might just be enough. I've had enough.. have you had enough yet? Some of us are very good at hiding our pain and keeping it secret. Why pollute other people's lives with unnecessary sorrow and heartache? It's bad enough we have to carry it, why should anyone else? I want to break free. But, I'm not that kind of girl.

Could I give it to God? Could I just let go and let Him carry my burdens? Yes, I can. Why do you think I'm still alive? How do you think I've made it this far? But it's hard. It's hard to trust Him when things don't ever seem to get better. Please, God. Don't give up on me. And some days? I just want to go outside and scream at the sky Where are You!? But I don't. Because this is life, and I'm living it. And I know where He is.. He's right here with me, carrying me when I'm too weak to stand.

I just wish I could stand on my own more often. I wish I didn't fall so much. Fall down. Fall apart. Fall into darkness.. You're so weak, you're no good. I want to silence the voices. You are so wrong, I won't listen. And I long for the light. But, I'm not that kind of girl. And thank God, for that.
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