Words: Coffee Talk*

If we were having a cup of coffee right now I would tell you my husband is cooking Chicken Parmesan for dinner tonight. I’d say I love it when he cooks because I’m not much into cooking and it sometimes turns me stale.

If we were having coffee right now I would tell you how my book is progressing. I’d say I had a major meltdown at 3 a.m. one night and tore apart the book Writing and Selling Your Memoir because I hated that it made me feel incapable of the task. I’d share the following snippet of writing I have since come up with.

Mom told me the first time she laid eyes on Dad, he was the most macho guy she had ever seen. He dazzled her with his black hair and green eyes. And that mustache! She knew at once he would be the man she would marry. When I asked how she could be so certain, she said, “I just knew.”

Mom and Dad were married in a friend’s living room in January, 1970. Mom wore a short gray dress with long sleeves. Their wedding photo revealed a terrifying, joyous occasion. Mom’s broad smile and stylish cropped hair, so typical of brides, clashed with Daddy’s restricted grin. A clock on the mantel behind them evoked a curious omen. Doomed or eternal? Mom and Dad’s marriage was both. They wore the prospects on their fingers-Mom with a gold band, Daddy with none.

Six months later, my big sister was born.

If we were having coffee right now, I would look in your eyes, hopeful I can write this book.

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Drum Coffee is great.

If we were having coffee, I would ask how your world is going.

*Response to Day Eleven of Everyday Inspiration

 

 

 

Words: On Childhood*

I should have written a diary. Forgive me for fearing my sisters might find it, which is not to say I had little ability at hiding keepsakes of my inner world. Rather, it is that I excelled at disguising my world. This tactic evolved gracefully, slowly. By adulthood, infused in a concealed version of life, my secrets remained hidden, especially from myself. For this, I must ask my own forgiveness.

It is easy to look back at childhood and see the triumphant casualties of my family, memories emblazoned with red. The pendulum swing through the years leaves me yearning for the moods wedged between childhood’s climactic and sullen moments. How difficult it is to dredge up the gray-timeless hours spent adhering stickers on notebooks, building forts, reading Snoopy, and chasing boys. I want to see the tomcat fumble in the dark. Summer days spread before me like an ocean of time. I rejoiced piecemeal discoveries festooned with tinsel and dust. I want to feel her smallness, expand into the world with thin arms, listen to footsteps with greater importance than my own.

There, I might find recourse in laughter, or perhaps on the duct-taped seat of a bicycle I pedaled nowhere and home again. I would smell anew the lilacs of spring. Time diffuses spirit. Diaries capture it. Maybe, just maybe, mine will visit once again in the walls of my written story.IMG_3465

 

*In response to Day 3 of the 20 Day Challenge One word prompt: Secret

Joyeux Noël!

Christmas is here! Let me drink, let me sing. The ring of Joyeux Noël elicits a smile to my face. The simple beauty of the word joie sends a fleet of champagne bubbles to my head, while Noël sings along to my unique and badly rendered version of dreams and miracles.

It is a holiday for celebration, a season of grace, a time to sing.

I, myself, am not a singer. My voice falls flat, like the fat opera singer in a red sequined dress who has tripped over her gown and landed on big old bosoms.

That’s me. Flat and graceless. Applause?

One year ago, my fall came from PTSD. The experience and trauma of childhood emotional abuse was triggered in full regalia. Without pulling apart the dress sequin by sequin, let me just say I was afraid-afraid of the audience, afraid of my past, afraid of my identity, and afraid of the future.

Over the course of this year, I worked to pick up the shards of self and put them together, to face my demons and shove them over the cliff. It has been a clumsy act, but…

Courage is a gift. I used it.

Hope is a gift. I used it.

Voice is a freedom. I used it.

Understanding is effort. I worked at it.

Compassion is a gift. I allowed it.

Forgiveness is a gift. I gave it.

Mercy is a grace. I’m really, really trying.

Love is abundant. I’ll take it. (Thank you.)

…Christmas lasted all year.

Today, I am grateful. Grateful to have the delivery of gifts when I needed them. Grateful to have a heart who still laughs and loves. Grateful for the people who were on my side and by my side throughout the torment. Grateful to move forward with confidence. Grateful I am me.

And I am grateful for you, my lovely audience.

I hope this Christmas season brightens you with peace, nourishes you with love, and inspires you to sing. The best gifts in life are free, like you, my friends. I raise a glass to each and every one of you. Joyeux Noël!

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Words: The Scar on My Face

A one inch scar sweeps out from my lower lip. It is a solitary line of residue from a mountain bike wreck, a scurry to the E.R., a thick, deep pain, a bag of frozen peas pressed to my face. It is a permanent mark of one failed attempt, a dash from one moment to the next, a crash course in physics, an alteration.

One year passed before the wound tempered without a peppered assault of tingling nerves. One year of sag-stitched smiles before necessary muscles regained proper composure. One year for the trench to deepen. One year for a repaired version of myself.

To me, the scar is not a reminder of what occurred, rather it is evidence of what didn’t: a minor concussion-not brain injury, a temporary setback-not debilitation, a chance- not closure.

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Life is a series of dashes, failed attempts, and alterations. Deep, meaningful lines carve into our blood, bones, and soul. Temporary numbness masks the compositions we are ill prepared to see, and time, our fairest friend, reveals everything we are meant to be.

Photo: My Beautiful Life

Photo Challenge: Connected

My daughter Sophie and I spent a summer night playing folf in the woods. Not only did we benefit from an entertaining night of terrible disc throwing, we glorified our spirits in the wisdom of the forest.

Pattee Canyon Recreation Area- Missoula, Montana