Thankfulness, Day 24

I had a thought yesterday that I had meant to include in my list of thankfulness, but what I have to say requires a bit more than just a blurb in passing.

When I was a child, I was impatient, self-centered and at times, a little devil-spawn. No one else even knew. Because by the time I reached kindergarten (well, actually pre-school), I had been trained. Of course, the only people who knew I was a little hellian were my parents.

I am incredibly lucky that I have both parents, and they are together, they are both healthy and they are patient people. My mother is supportive, she makes excellent food and has taught me several things which only mothers can do. My father is proud (and proud of me), he works incredibly hard to provide for my siblings still living at home and has taught me multiple things which only fathers can teach daughters. Growing up, my siblings and I were always introduced to crowds as “the cross between a hillbilly and a polak.” My father’s family is the stereotypical country folk, coming from West Virginia, Virginia and Southern Ohio. There’s a twang in their voices, and they are red-skinned from work outside. My mother’s family is a very stereotypical Russo-Polish family, even though we’ve been in America for two generations. We love food, we thrive on familial support and don’t seem to mind the cold. We ate pierogies before they were cool, and all of us are pale skinned with dark hair (except my sister, who is oddly blonde, but we love her anyway). Both sides of my family are infamous for their hotheadedness and quick tempers. 

My mother has a teacher’s aid certificate, but chooses to farm. I don’t mind, because I help her till up the yard and thusly get to have some of the food. My father works for the biggest newspaper in the midwest, and I get to tour the factory and inevitably just end up covered in ink. They’ve been together for an incredibly long time, they married while he was still in service to our country (he got married in his dress uniform and helped make/decorate the cake). I was born just after Operation: Desert Storm, when my dad came back from Kuwait/Iraq/The Persian Gulf, where he cooked and drove a tank on occasion. He doesn’t talk about it, but I am proud of him regardless. War cannot have been easy.

I put my parents through the ringer as a kid. I was never a “bad kid”, and in fact, that’s probably why I was such a hell raiser. But the thing is, I always knew they loved me. And they still do. My mom and I talk every day, my dad and I are basically the same person in different genders and time frames. For a long while, that’s why we didn’t get along (I mean, two people with bad tempers and the ability to lash out quickly don’t make for a fun time all the time). But once I grew up and actually tried to take responsibility (and otherwise acted like an adult), we got along splendidly. My parents are such wonderful people. 

So on this day, if it isn’t obvious at all, I am thankful for my parents. Without them, I would not be the me that I am now. I love you, mom and dad. Thanks for always being there-even when I didn’t deserve it.

Thankfulness, Day 23

It’s hard to believe that today is the one week mark until December, December is actually one of my favorite months. So much going on, so much happiness. But we’re not there yet, so let’s keep on, shall we?

Today I am thankful for warm food on cold day. I have the blessed opportunity to have access to warm food, and a way to make it. I have access to heat, to comfort. I work hard for my gifts, and so far it’s all paid off. 

I am thankful for little furry animals that make my day brighter. Although my heart has a special place for kittens, our fat little puppy is a nice reminder that sometimes fur makes a difference.

I am thankful for cheap entertainment. Board games went out of popularity a while back, but call me old fashioned, I happen to like the feel of dice and cards in my hands.

I am thankful for shooting stars. For wishes and dreams that make life worth living. I saw one today. I made my wish and now to add in the hard work to make it come true.

I am thankful for good timing and the positivity of other people. Sometimes it’s just spooky how people just seem to know you need to speak with them.

I am thankful for cleanliness. I’m not the neatest person in the world, but I do have an appreciation for a well cleaned room.

I am thankful for the past which made me who I am, the present for always being here, and the future for all it will be.

I am thankful for my spine: it always backs me up. 

And I am thankful for my readers, who see fit to humor me no matter which direction I go with my thoughts. Thank you.

Critique Piece, Chapter 9

Hello all, I need some critiques on this passage. It’s for my NaNoWriMo novel. In the scene, I am killing off a secondary villain as well as my protagonist. Any thoughts you have would be lovely and appreciated. Sorry about the formatting, I can’t seem to get it the way I want it, so it’s just the way it is.
He held her by the jaw, his hands surprisingly warm, as the knife tenderly kissed her cheek. She screamed once more , the gag preventing her full volume but she’d really just wanted him to stop at any rate. He kept going, pressing the blade into the softest part of her face. It felt like white hot acid were being drawn across her cheek, the warmth of her blood flowing into the fabric securing her mouth and collecting. There was nothing she could do but scream, and yet it did nothing. Each swipe of his hand tore more of her humanity away than it did skin and Katerina was replaced with a trapped animal, fighting desperately for her right to live.
Tears pooled in her eyes, those which escaped mixing with the blood and just when she thought it could get no worse, he stopped. The pocket from which his knife came held one other metallic item which he traded the knife for. He opened the little mirror and showed her what he had done. She could just barely make out the two humps at the top and from the way his sickening grin was plastered over his pale face, she could only assume that the rest of the injury was a heart. He seemed like the sort of twisted person who would delight in the sick satisfaction of making his mark on all he came across. It seemed much smaller than it had felt, and she supposed she had the gag to thank.Her eyes moved to the other individual and as her worst nightmares came alive, her eyes gushed once more. The man from her dreams rocked back on his heels, noticing the direction her eyes had ventured. “Yes. It’s him. Would you like to say hello?”

Josh stumbled forward and caught sight of Katerina. Recognition didn’t cross his drunken face, but something else did.She’d seen it briefly the night she’d left the house in the care of Natalia and Ianna. 

“Shall I put her out of her misery, Alexander?” Josh’s voice slurred the words together, but they were unmistakable. Alexander, the man from her dream, looked back at him and moved out of the direct line. He took a moment in his move to pull down Katerina’s gag. He motioned for her to make her plea. She took a deep breath, steadied her nerves as best she could and watched Alexander remove himself from between them.

“I will not beg for my life from this pig. From either of you. Just do it.” Her cheek squelched with the injury, the pain from which screamed at her to stop. “I want to know why.” She swallowed the fluid in her mouth, the bitterness of bile, rusty pennies and saliva causing her to force it all down.

“You don’t even know who you are do you?” Alexander chuckled. “You’re the most crucial part of this plan and you haven’t even got an idea why. It’s a shame about all that, really. But someone should have told you before now. This is a task far more important than you.” His attention turned to Josh. “You will take the gun in your hand and you will use it on your useless self. Now.”

Josh’s face went blank, as though he felt nothing, knew nothing. He pulled a black object from his waistband and without hesitation put it to his head and pulled the trigger. He dropped to the ground and was no more. Katerina, although incredibly glad she would never be accosted by this man from her past again, found herself unable to do anything more than stare at the large hole where his head had been intact just moments before. He was bleeding out all over the dead leaves and she couldn’t find a reason to be sad about it. Alexander walked over and picked up the gun, waving it around.

“Now. It looks like we have business to discuss in private, then. You were born into a warring faction, you are the last living, direct descendent of the purest line of monarchs.” He waited for understanding to cross her face, but when it didn’t, he let out an exasperated sigh. “I can’t explain our entire history! You really should have pushed harder with those lunars to tell you about who you were, who your parents were. But you won’t have the chance now, I suppose. Really too bad about it, but I guess that’s the way destiny is sometimes. Anyway, the whole thing boils down to you have to die so that we can survive. As I said, nothing personal.” Alexander raised the gun to her chest, and offered one last time. “Any last words?”

“I hope you’re happy with yourself.” She began slowly. “Because in the end, I’ll be there, waiting for you when you least expect it.”

“I’m sorry, my dear, but I’m afraid you’ll already be dead.” The sound of the bullet never really registered with Katerina, as she closed her eyes, shock already taking over. There was a gurgle of blood before her body went limp. The bullet had gone straight into her heart. Alexander was pleased with his handiwork. He cut the bonds away, wanting the chance to gloat over her dead body. “Now I have the power. And you are just a casualty of war. You weren’t worthy of all that could have been yours anyway.” Alexander backed away and disappeared into the darkness.

Thankfulness, Day 22

Yesterday I left you all, and myself, with the thought that the sun will rise again. Normally, the husband and I wake up with the sun. Its rays come into our room and we are greeted by it. As I sit here and work on some homework and what nots, I’m looking out the window to our balcony and watching the clouds. Today is the kind of clear that makes everything seem so crisp. The clouds are huge cotton candy, the sky itself is the blue you read about. There are pockets of sunshine which dance on the puddles from the rain last night. 

  At night, even though I live in the city and it’s hard to see, I know there are millions and billions of stars. Planets gleaming down at me, comets, asterods and space debris. The blackened sky is velvet, the way I always knew it would be. The moon is up there too, a disc of bright hope, drawing everyone in waves. The clouds disappear gradually so that you really feel like if you try hard enough, you could see all the way to the edge of the universe.

  Isn’t that one of the first things you imagine? Being up there, amongst the ancestors and balls of gas? What’s out there? Are we alone? And so you begin to plan a way to find out.

Today, I am thankful for dreams. Not necessarily the kind you have in REM, but the kind that allows your imagination to run freely. The kind you get in trouble for having while you’re supposed to be focused on the task at hand. The kind that gives you fuel when you’ve forgotten why it is you struggle through the day. You give yourself into them, and you find yourself remembering the way you used to feel when your dreams were simple.

It’s easy to look at the past with rose colored glasses. To see what you had when you had it and wish you had it back. But the thing is, what you have now, what I have now, is what I was working for then. I didn’t know how hard it would be, I didn’t know what struggles were waiting for me. I didn’t know what great moments I would have. But I know that one day I will look back on the now, smile and shake my head. I can’t see all the messages and signs that the good things and bad things are teaching me. I can’t see where I’m going, I don’t have all the answers. But I know that I have new dreams and they will take me where I need to go. Until then, I just need to work hard and remember the value of dreams.

  

Thankfulness, Day 21

It’s taken me all day to think up a post for today. I feel like I’ve done a lot of great topics already. Did I cover everything? Certainly not. Am I done being thankful? No. And as seems to be my style, a story would benefit.

I can name a dozen ways to explain why I am the way I am. Sagittarian. First born. Cat person. Daughter of the eclipsing moon. INFP. Born-again pagan. College student. Vegetarian. Wife. 

All of those things affect a certain portion of who I am, but it isn’t an entire picture.

Who I am is a legion of people, all crammed inside one body. I am the one who fulfills duties, fulfills roles set out because of the choices that I have made (daughter, wife, sister). I am the one who devoted my life to learning. I am the one who chooses not to eat meat. I am the one who desires the company of a select few in place of being part of the popular crowd (maybe I am a cat). I am the one who looks within, observes more than judges and is left with more questions than answers. One who is born under an eclipse is more likely to be one who is driven by passion and consumed by it (A binary). I am the one who is many.
  Part of the reason I’m having so much trouble finding things to write about is because it is the end of the semester and I just can’t. I know that there is much stress, but it’s more than that. I’m not saying this because I want a bunch of people to reach out and say “You’ve got this.” I’m writing it because I promised to always tell the truth. And to tell only part of the truth is telling a lie. 

I can never tell the full story of my life, because it is not over. I wake up each day a new person, someone I was not the day before. Because I keep fighting to make myself better. And therefore, I am different each day. Not necessarily better or worse. Just different. But the thing is, it’s exceptionally easy to just get caught in the moment, in the same rut that consumes me each time and have to stop. It’s like making your way through the desert because you need to get out, but coming back to the same oasis because you can’t seem to find your way.

I feel like a burden. Like I ask for help more than I am able to give it. I make up for that in my mannerisms or at least I try to. But at the end of the day, my attempts take quite a bit out of me and I am reduced to being the same girl I was in high school: insecure, broken. Last night, I kept my very accepting husband up for a while because I had conviced myself that I wasn’t pulling my weight in our marriage. I was reduced to tears, wondering why it fell to me to be the one who had so many opportunities and advantages, but to be unable to use them.

I am smart. I am confident. I am succeeding in life (as much as I can, anyway). But not one single ounce of that mattered. My life became defined by a series of counter-facts: I am worthless. I am stupid. I am never going to succeed. And it’s a trend that I always feel coming, like a black cloud hanging low. Sometimes I forget words, or replace them with the wrong ones (yesterday I replaced “crutches” with “stilts” and couldn’t remember the word “sandwich”). Sometimes I just go blank-like a robot without emotions. And sometimes it’s like my entire life has been a lie and if I was happy-it surely must have been all pretend. I couldn’t understand why someone with dreams, goals and aspirations could be broken into someone without hope, happiness or inspiration. In the grand scheme of things, surely it wasn’t fair.

And that is what I focused on today. I’m not thankful for the hard times. To be that way would be ridiculous. No one wakes up and says “Oh thank goodness today is a really shitty day. I’ve had far too many good ones.” Instead, I am thankful for small things. A warm cup of coffee with chocolate chip cookie dough creamer. Rain hitting the window. It’s hard for someone like me, with so many binaries (like being introverted, but wanting to make friends/wanting to feel everything deeply, but not wanting to be consumed by feelings) to not get overwhelmed by days like yesterday. But in the end, I have to remember that there is only one truth that doesn’t ever change.

                                  The sun will rise again.

  That quote may be my tattoo quote, with an entire portion of skin dedicated to the most serene sunrise a tattoo artist can make, but we’ll see. The point is, I’m not thankful for bad days, hard days, or even the days which never end and suck you into a thick black depression. I hate those days. But what I am thankful for is the dawn. I am thankful that all things come to an end. And I am thankful that I am there to see the sun rise once more. 

Thankfulness, Day 20

More and more I find it hard to be an extended conversationalist. I write better than I speak some days and when I am at a loss for words, it is truly an off day for me. However, for the first time in far too long, I had a friend date today and I found myself stagnating in coversation. It was by no means anything she did. It was simply that I was so in awe of how amazing the friends I have are. And so, it is for her that this post is dedicated today. I may have taken over the conversation at some point, and I am eternally grateful for your unfailing listening abilities.

I am thankful for closed doors. 

Our generation is one that is afraid to make a commitment, to say “no” because that could mean an opportunity lost. Opportunities come infrequently for 20-something college kids and so we keep all feelers out, just in case. But there are benefits to being able to decide and take a stand. When you close a door, you are devoting yorself to the possibility of something better. You are taking the chance that you trust yourself and your decisions enough to make a change. And what is even better is that you’re approving your confidence. 

Not making a choice is making a choice. When you remain neutral, doors will close around you. And those are the worst kinds of closed doors-the missed opportunities. Wouldn’t you much rather have made decisions to stand by (even if they were wrong) than never know if you made a large mistake by not making the mistake? So yes, I most definitely am thankful for closed doors. 

But I’m also thankful for open ones. For example, it was a very large struggle for me to get out of bed this morning. It was warm, comfortable and my bed doesn’t care if I want to be in pajamas all day. But I knew that if I just got out of bed, I would get to enjoy time with my oldest friendship. And I took that chance. I had someone listen to my problems, and I listened. I was introduced to what is now my favorite coffee spot in Columbus and I walked 2 miles today. The thing is, I was scared. I was going somewhere new, somewhere I had never been in order to have our friend date. It would have only been too easy to blow today off and apologize with some lame excuse. But my heart needed a friend and in the end, I gained a great deal today. 

I talked to my friend (it was more like “fellowshipped” but po-tay-to, po-tah-to), found a great coffee shop (where the coffees are delicious, cheap, and named after authors-I had a Jane Austen and the guy made hearts in everyone’s coffee!!!) and faced my fears. All in all, very successful. Because I closed the door on my excuses and opened the one to my possibilities. My heart is full, my day was fantastic.

  

Thankfulness, Day 19

Nineteen is my favorite number. And although there are loads of things which are my favorite, I thought today’s post should be something special. So here goes.

Cool, crisp flowing sweetly

The hum of nature’s course

No one could ever deny the power

Of the unending force.

Maybe I should have done something a little more awesome. Like just come out and yell I FREAKING LOVE WATER.

But then again, maybe that doesn’t quite get it right either.

So today’s post is about water. There’s a quote (not sure who by) that goes something like “All things can be healed with salt water: sweat, tears or the ocean.” I love this quote, because for me, it is the most basic truth. Water is a force to be reckoned with, but it’s also the calmest of calms. It’s transformative and stationary. And water is magickal. As always, I have a story.

Once upon a time, I went to North Myrtle Beach. It was rainy the entire time, but that wasn’t so bad. From the parking garage, I could smell the salt water. It was something I had never before experienced. But my time was only just beginning. The first day we (myself and the group) went out to the ocean’s edge and I took a deep breath before removing my shoes and bolting for the water. It was freezing. But as the human body is a marvel, I acclimated and began to swim. I have a loose interpretation of swimming, as I didn’t go far-maybe 30ft.

It was the second day, when I woke up to see the sun, which led me to the most spiritual experience of my life. It’s my favorite story of all times. It was rainy, the waves were huge and not many people were out. I went (with a buddy) out in to the water, and just let myself drift. I went until I was nearly as far out as the boats and just stopped. My feet could not touch the bottom, the current was moving all around me and I have absolutely no idea how to swim (apart from keeping my head above water). I stopped and just began to breathe. Words cannot describe how it felt to be part of that moment. I sent out a prayer to the universe and just existed. My internal hum matched the roar of the waves and my heart thudded with each crash. I looked at the sky, smelled the salt and reached the closest thing to unadulterated bliss I may ever know. I looked back at the shore and couldn’t see the way people looked at the sea, or the way their hair was done or hear what they were saying. I was so far out that it felt like it was just the ocean and I. In that moment, I understood what life meant, and it really just wasn’t any more complicated than being alive. (Very zen, I know.) It sounds really crazy, but it’s exactly what I thought being religious would feel like. You know, the people always say they felt enraptured and convicted and moved? That’s only eclipsing how I felt in that moment. I went to sleep that night and the sound of the waves filled my ears and as I focused on my breathing, it was like the ocean was inside me too. 

Anyway, the story is much better in person. My point is that I never knew how powerful water could be until I was there, in that moment. And I am surrounded by water all day. Water bottles, water fountains, dishwater, toilet water, all kinds of things. But do I even appreciate it?

I started to after that moment. How many people do not have access to clean water? What kinds of trials do they face? How much water is wasted? How are we at 2015 and there are still people who have to choose between drinking water and taking a bath? I’m sorry the world has let you down. It’s time to rise up. Everyone deserves clean water. Everyone.