Flash Fiction: Soldiers

SoldiersPeeking out from the hotel room, I could see stretches of soldiers for miles lining the streets. How is it, I wondered, that a day to celebrate liberation and freedom from oppression and military rule, is centered on a parade starring the people who oppressed us in the first place?

Why were the streets flooded with children and parents waving flags and eating cakes celebrating?

Couldn’t anyone else see what was wrong with this picture?

 

Welcome to the Winter Quarter with a new series of flash fiction coming your way!brought to us by the beautiful Red of the M3 blog and Flash in the Pan

The word for this flash is SOLDIER with a word limit of 75.  This flash comes in precisely at 75.

hashtag with #getpublished #flashfiction @RedmundPro

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Flash in the Pan: Gun

gunI didn’t care, anymore.

I spent years caring.

Years of empty smiles and dried up tears.

Years of hopeful and dark emotions I kept buried under a beautiful home decorated with the right balance of throw pillows, original art, and the sporadic finger print showing off our perfectly imperfect kids.

I cared so much.

Yet nobody else did.

The gun felt right.

A short burst of energy to bring to life the deadened world I live in.

Even for a moment.

A second.

Long enough to live.

To feel.

To finally exist as a shining light after an invisible life.

 

Welcome to the Winter Quarter with a new series of flash fiction coming your way! brought to us by the beautiful Red of the M3 blog and Flash in the Pan

The word for this flash is GUN with a word limit of 100.  This flash comes in precisely at 100.

hashtag with #getpublished #flashfiction @RedmundPro

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Flash in the Pan: Car

damn carAlways in the damn car.

The moment traffic would stiffen to a dead stop or seconds after we passed “No gas for 100 miles” signs on endless road trips to visit her parents in the middle of god-forsaken nowhere she would dredge up topics that should be dead and buried.

Why couldn’t she leave it alone?

She never did.

And probably never will.

A steam-powered train of accusations, interrogations, and bitter jabs at a life she despised but I refused to give up.

Tears and sobs always followed icy glares and biting commentary.

My life.

Life in the damn car.

 

 

Welcome to the Winter Quarter with a new series of flash fiction coming your way! brought to us by the beautiful Red of the M3 blog and Flash in the Pan

The word for this flash is CAR with a word limit of 100.  This hot flash comes in at 100, with the magic word applied twice.

hashtag with #getpublished #flashfiction @RedmundPro

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Flash Fiction: Marble

 

marbleThe light and dark swirls in the marble distracted her from the truth she was hiding from.  Her husband towered above her in his black suit, the ice cold stare emanating from his eyes slicing into her and destroying any sense of safety and security she thought she had in the beautiful home they built together.   What was undeniable in her moment of terror was that the fear she ran from before would never leave her.

It popped its evil head up in new homes with new husbands.

The cycle was irrefutable.

The clarity of the moment.

Love shouldn’t hurt.

Welcome to the Winter Quarter with a new series of flash fiction coming your way! brought to us by the beautiful Red of the M3 blog and Flash in the Pan

The word for this flash is MARBLE with a word limit of 100.  This hot flash comes in at 100.

hashtag with #getpublished #flashfiction @RedmundPro

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Flash Fiction: Tools

Empty auditorium

I wasn’t ready.

Not even close.

The expansive auditorium that seemed to unfold in front of me was a blinding truth that even with all the tools and hours of preparation, I couldn’t make it.

I wouldn’t make it.

Deep in my gut I knew there was always going to be someone better.

Stronger.

Smarter.

More rehearsed, talented and driven.

Perhaps my truth is I am failure waiting to happen.

Taking the first step of a journey doomed to end poorly is impossible.

I didn’t know if I would move forward.

All I knew I was that I wasn’t ready

 

 

Welcome to the Winter Quarter with a new series of flash fiction coming your way! brought to us by the beautiful Red of the M3 blog and Flash in the Pan

The word for this flash is TOOLS with a word limit of 100.  This hot flash comes in at 100.

hashtag with #getpublished #flashfiction @RedmundPro

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I am enough. I have to be

Love NinjaLately there is all this chatter on Facebook and in the blog-os-phere about single parents and how we should celebrate them.

Recognize them for all the exhaustion that comes with it.  You know…shit falls through and nobody comes to your rescue.

Not that parenting in a couple isn’t hard…but doing it on your own is way more work.

And normally, I blow through that shit until someone pisses me off–and then I rant and rave and move on with my life.

Because what else is there?

But today, I feel the single-parenting bug of exhaustion.

Multiplied by a million.

An afternoon spent in the E.R. with one kid bleeding obscenely from the face and the other two being kids pretty much sucked my will to live.

I was already on burn-out mode when the day started.

I was already tired and stressed.

And as the day passed, I was more than annoyed with the fighting.

And frustrated with the rough-housing the always ends with tears.

And closing my eyes and counting to a million when yet another cup of water splattered across the house, turning the hard floors of the main room into a slippery accident waiting to happen.

By 12:30 we were at the park.

By 1:15 we were at the local hospital.

By 4:30 we were home, armed with a pizza and the blissful idea of pizza and movies.

And silence.

And of course that didn’t happen.

There were more tears and spills and tempers.

And I was my only Plan B.

Again.

Today was a long day.

I can tell this is the vibe of the weekend.

The energy in the house is off-kilter.

And it’s only Friday.

I’ve entered into a phase of parenting where I’m wishing away my present to be so far in the future I can get a break.

A place where I’m not the only one who can fix shit and wipe butts and make food and clean up.

I’m ready for a place when I’m their Plan B instead of their rope of survival.

And it isn’t because I don’t love my kids more than life itself or want to do and be everything and everyone to them.

But it is because I’m tired.

There is this show on Showtime called Shameless and the lead is this girl Fiona who basically holds the world together.  When people try to help, she pushes them off and says she can do it on her own…afraid that the second she lets in help, she might get used to it and when that person ups and leaves…she’s back in square 1 of holding the world together.

I feel like Fiona.

Today I probably could have used some help.

Three kids in the E.R. for hours is beyond.

Beyond what?

Just beyond.

Sitting there with one kid bleeding to the point I just threw away the clothes she and I were wearing away and the other two stuck in this childhood purgatory of wanting to behave but not sure how to hold it together for so long in a stupid E.R. is just Beyond.

But – why did I do it that way?

The same reason every other single mother I know pulls her life together ALONE, rarely asking for help, the same reason Fiona doesn’t ask for it.

It isn’t worth it.

Help is fleeting.

There really isn’t anyone who you can depend on but you.

Calls, when you  make them, are either filled with excuses, pity or guilt.

So – you learn early on not to make them.

You figure out how to do it on your own.

Things around the house that need fixing or moving or whatever are pushed to the side or covered with a picture because if you can’t do it…it just doesn’t get done.

You don’t ask for help.

You learn to do it on your own or suck it up and deal with it being undone.  Or done poorly.

And you move on.

People have asked, “What about their dad?”

Yeah.

What about him?

The person who I have the least amount of trust in on the planet?

When shit hits the fan, I let it fly.

I don’t ask for anyone’s help. Especially his.

I guess the moral of the single-parenting story is that all us single mammas do it all.

And it is exhausting.

But the true sacrifice is that as single parents we understand that it is us and our kids.

Period.

We don’t trust anyone else.

Because, like Fiona, we know that nobody sticks around.

And the more help we accept, the harder it is to get back on our feet when we are left alone again.

So, we don’t ask.

We just do.

Even when it’s only Friday.

Or only Monday.

Or whenever.

Tomorrow is the same.

Us.

Alone.

Making shit happen.

Through exhaustion.

and blood loss.

Frustration.

and need.

We just do it.

But, I guess it makes the victories bigger when we see them and the smiles and the laughter that brighten the good days just that much sweeter.

I wouldn’t change much in my life.

I wouldn’t trade the exhaustion for help.

Because I know the help won’t last.

And I know the exhaustion will pass as well.

This isn’t the life I chose.

I didn’t choose to be a divorced mother of two toddlers and a newborn at 30.

I didn’t choose to be abandoned by nearly every person who I trusted and believed would “always be there” as the divorce got dirty and my life seemed to melt into a puddle.

I didn’t choose.

But, now I am.

I choose to be a single parent who doesn’t ask for help.

I welcome the offers from my parents because I know my kids love them more than I think they love me (darn those Grandparents taking the glory), and even then,  I don’t reach out on days like today.

It isn’t worth it.

I just do it.

And hope I don’t fuck things up too royally in the process.

Because, in the end, all I’ve got is me.

And even when I feel like me isn’t enough.

I have to trust I am.

Because I am Plan A,  Plan B and Plan C.

I’m all I got.

I’m all they have.

I am a single parent.

I am enough.

Posted in children, divorce, family, motherhood, Women | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Make Sure They Fit

plate spinningYesterday I had this mind-blowing meeting with this random dude I met at a college fair.  He is well-beyond intelligent and an explosion of ideas, passion, projects and thoughts.  In fact, he is one person who can out-think me and think-around me and over-think me.

And that’s saying a lot.

It seems the one thing people tell me about “me” is that my brain spins.  Constantly.  They laugh and joke and comment they need to be careful what they say because I’ll take it and deconstruct it to levels that change the meaning and the purpose of the original statement. Or what they say I take and twirl into new places before they have a chance to process the first thing that pops out of my mouth.

And, on many levels, that’s true.

My mind moves in overdrive. Something I hadn’t really thought of much before people started to call me out on it a few months ago.

But my brain works on fast forward.

Constantly.

I don’t think.

I quadruple think.  And the thinking makes me distracted and lately it makes me agitated and overwhelmed.

So, sitting down with someone who overwhelmed my brain before I had a chance to overwhelm it actually felt good.

There were moments when he hit so close to home I had to fight back some tears.

But, I needed someone to out-think me.

And the moral of story was quite simple.

“You’re in the middle of a dozen projects. You have another dozen on the back burner.  They are all good opportunities.  But, how do they fit?”

He continued on,

“You aren’t working toward anything. All your pieces need to culminate in something.  And I can tell you don’t know what that is,”

He then said explained I needed to eliminate.  Make  time commitments to eliminate.  Make time commitments and restraints to try new and test dark waters.  He said I would never move past where I was because I needed to re-frame who I was, my potential and my purpose.

And he’s right.

I’m restless.

Yet, I’m exhausted.

I’m spinning my own wheels.

And in a futile attempt of finding balance and finding some sort of inner peace, and maybe even some purpose,  I’ve been feeding my energies into other people- which leads to drama and relationships that I know are toxic, but are safer than dealing with the insecurities and unknown potentials I’m hiding in my cluttered brain.

The yogic side of me just says to breathe and live through the moment. Enjoy the present. BE present.  In this state of contentment and openness, the opportunities and the people I need will come because I will be open to them.

And, I believe it to some point.

But the practical, real-day, me knows I need a plan.  I need to be working toward something bigger than me.  Bigger than the piece of shit jobs I take on to barely pay the bills.  Bigger than the half-assed relationships and wasted hours of people drama that fill my day.

Living in the moment gets me through the day.  But, I need to live holistically so I can raise my three little kidlets with a bit of confidence that I’m building a secure foundation for us to live off of.

And up to this point, I’ve failed.

Failed grossly.

I need to look at my life obtusely without fear.

Even the college fair dude yesterday said, “I know you’re still living in fear.  You’re afraid of doing anything differently that you are now because letting go of this might mean you go back to where you were almost 3 years ago.  I know you don’t want to go back there.”

He also said, “Until you let go of that fear, every choice you make will be clouded in fear.  You will forever live in fear.  You won’t get ahead.”

And he is right.

Every step I take in every moment of the day is a result of me living in fear and living to survive for a long time.

I don’t want to go back to where I was almost 3 years ago.  And every day I feel like I am a sneeze away from returning there.

In many aspects I’ve moved on.  New jobs, new home, new friends and support systems.

But.

The fear I was so sure I had shed is hugging me closer than ever.

Thus, as I move on, I am collecting.

Hoarding.

Jobs.

People.

Ideas.

Work.

Not willing to let go of anymore.  Afraid that if I let it go, I won’t ever have access to it again.

The things I have been willing to release are long gone.

But, the things I have picked up over the last few years are things I can’t seem to let go of.

And as I collect and refuse to let go, I’m now allowing the time or the space for new.

And until the fear is gone, I know I need to continue to let go and make space for things that I don’t take on in a state of fear.

So, I return to the idea of looking at everything I am doing and the projects I am working toward and the people and relationships I am feeding my energies into – I ask….

“Are they feeding into the bigger picture?”

“Do they fit together, even abstractly, in my bigger picture?”

And I think that it is time for some honest assessment.

Some self-truths.

And some more cleaning out of closets.

Elimination.

Of things.

Of projects.

And perhaps most difficultly,

Of people.

I need to re-embrace the idea of less.

Less will give me room to live and breathe.

And focus.

Let the spinning of my brain continue to spin on what is important.

And necessary.

And on what fits.

And leave behind some of the bullshit I’ve collected or refused to release because of fear.

But, I know the pieces I have collected and have spinning like plates on the tip of a dozen pencils aren’t pieces that are leading me anywhere.

They are bogging me down.

And may explain the exhaustion and the restlessness.

I’m moving without purpose.

It’s time to let the spinning plates comes crashing down.

Leaving the broken pieces for forgotten.  Perhaps suffering some minors cuts in the process, surely leading to tears and more fear and the suffering that seems to come hand in hand with loss.

But.

It is  time.

One deep breath at a time.

Learning  to live in the present to be prepare for the future.

Picking up the pieces that fit.

Posted in adulthood, balance, Burn-out, Fear, identity | Tagged , | 1 Comment