Dancing Makes Everything Better

 

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Image: Pixabay – Geralt

Despite my heavy love for rock and metal, I am an excellent dancer. I was born in 1973, so my ears were blessed with everything from the Bee Gees to The Cars to Dokken to Slayer.

 

And I can dance to all of it. Because dancing makes everything better. If you’re in a bad mood or feeling down, I challenge you to put on any song you like and dance to it. How could you be bummed out and dance at the same time?

You can’t! There is no way someone could be sad or mad or upset or depressed while dancing. It goes against the theory of dancing relativity. Okay, so that theory doesn’t exist, but if it did, my statement would be the basis.

You cannot be sad while dancing.

The first time I danced to anything was in my crib as a baby when I wouldn’t stop crying. My grandmother told me I was wailing and wailing and she had two choices: smother me or soothe me. She took the little Fisher Price music box on the dresser, wound it up and threw it in my crib.

I stopped crying and started kicking my feet and smiling.

So I guess the first time I danced was before I could walk. And I still love it. Every day on my way back and forth to work I have the radio turned up loud and sing and dance in my seat to get through my grueling one hour commute (two hour round trip).

Even when I used to drink and go to bars, I always made sure I was at a bar that had a working jukebox or a live band because the music made it better.

Music is life. Dancing is a close second.

I’m still writing the NaNoWriMo 2017 novel.

Keep on keepin’ on friends! What are you working on this month?

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/dancing/

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Memorize… what?

 

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Image: Pixabay – Giralt

So, in 1996 I had a stroke (brought on by taking too much Ultram) and was dead for about somewhere between 20 minutes and two hours… my six-year-old daughter found me, and after the EMT’s showed up and worked on me for nearly 30 minutes, I regained a pulse. I also gained some brain damage. After a week long hospital stay and two weeks of grueling occupational therapy, I was sent to live with my mother because I couldn’t be trusted to take care of my children.

Everone was afraid I’d start dinner and burn the house down because I forgot the stove was on or even worse, have the baby in the bathtub, get distracted by the phone or my reflection and let my baby drown because, ‘what baby?’ Or maybe I’d drive to the store with the kids, forget I went there with kids, leave the kids there and then think I lived in Oklahoma on a llama farm or something.

My short term memory was shattered. People have compared me to Drew Barry’s character in Fifty First Dates which was cute until I actually saw the movie and I wasn’t as amused as most people.

“Jesus Christ, I’m not that f**king bad,” I’d snap in annoyance. I was finally able to watch the whole movie about a year ago and laugh at most of it.

My long term memory was fine. My memory about grade school, getting picked on, and my abusive cheating husband at the time were all grooved in my brain like a brand new tire tread. I still remembered I was married (miserably), that I had four kids and amazingly every word to any song I ever heard prior to 1996. But it ended there.

I couldn’t remember anything new. I couldn’t remember that I told my mom a story (from my long term memory) every twenty minutes. I couldn’t remember that I just ate or just drank coffee or just smoked a cigarette. I couldn’t remember that the bedroom I occupied at my parents’ house was mine; my old bedroom – my childhood bedroom – was the back bedroom and now my little brother had that one. How the hell did I get downgraded to the oversized closet with a bed?

Oh right… I hadn’t lived at home since 1990. I had no clout there. I was the dysfunctional eldest daughter; the oldest sibling who could never quite get her shit together… ever. And now I was back like the beer stain everyone thought was permanently scrubbed from the carpet.

I moved out of my parents and got my kids back in 1999, and while I had great intentions and did my best, it all fell apart in two years and then I was back in a new level of hell with less kids and more drama.

Fast forward to 2017, twenty-one years later, and I can honestly say while keeping weird lists, writing down directions to a place less than five miles away, writing down on my hand where I parked the car and other things that I should remember, it is a little less daunting, but still embarrassing.

“No, it isn’t a tattoo. It is directions to my car in the parking lot.”

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http://www.wowwhatwhy.com

There are even times I am talking to someone and the thoughts I have in my head are disappearing as I am trying to convey them. I’ll be mid-sentence and just wrap it up because I literally forgot what I wanted to say.

:(I have tried Ginko Biloba, changing my diet, more sleep, and lots and lots of brain puzzles.  Every day I do word searches and even play my own ‘memory games’ in an effort to make my brain stronger, but honestly, all I can really ever do is memorize lyrics to songs.

 

That’s it. I mean, yes, I remember other things. But I have to work really hard at it. But I don’t have to work so hard to remember music. Never music.

Maybe I should sing everything I want to remember.

Take nothing for granted my friends.

Do you have any tricks to remember stuff or are you like an elephant?

Peace and love to you all.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/memorize/

Inhabit The Mind

 

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Image: MysticArtDesign – Pixabay

So, I have always been an overthinker. Even when I was about six or seven and attended the awful Sullivan elementary school in Philadelphia (a lot of schools in Philly look more like prisons) confined to gloomy hallways and blinding classrooms, my mind was racing. It was dark and freaking gruesome like some medieval castle from a Dracula movie. All the kids were brats, the teachers were mean and that one time I threw up my recess Original Flavor Slim Jim in my favorite phonics book just about did it for me.

And let’s not forget about the clown pajamas Halloween costume.

Somewhere along the way, I started to fret about this crap. Like, weird thoughts would just get in my mind and then they’d kind of just hang around like vagrant inhabitants of an abandoned building. There was a time when I thought if I dropped the milk cap on the floor that it was better for it to land open side down so dust wouldn’t get in the inside. You know, because mounds of dust fall from the air in split seconds just to cake the inside of milk caps.

I felt like a weirdo since I was small but since it was the ’70s, there was nothing that could or would be done about it. We weren’t rich, we didn’t live in New York City and mostly, no one noticed that I was weird. I just felt weird.

That is probably the number one reason I started writing… to get rid of the weirdness. Despite all my writing over the years (I once locked myself inside my apartment for a weekend with cigarettes, liquor, and a computer to write out one hundred and thirty poems in less than 48 hours) I have only been officially published once – one stinking poem. All my stuff gets rejected. Maybe it isn’t good enough, maybe it is too weird, maybe it just ‘isn’t a good fit.’

I don’t know.

Then, like yesterday into today, I get down on myself when those icky, negative thoughts of self-doubt inhabit my mind. Ugh. I cry and yell at myself. “Why am I wasting my time? I am just not good enough.”

I submitted a piece for an anthology about shame and it got rejected. Everything I submit gets rejected. Do I need to add a whole bunch of fluffy bullshit to my prose to get people interested? Do I need to be fake? I don’t want to be fake… being fake led me down a drunken path and I’m not doing it.

Anyway, since it was rejected, I will submit it somewhere else and see where it goes. And if it goes nowhere a couple more times, I’ll just post it here and let you all read it. I also submitted a query for the novel so I am waiting on word from that publisher.

Happy Friday everyone! Today is your day to shine.

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/inhabit/

Creating Chaos

 

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Image: Pixabay

 

Creating Chaos: A Personal Essay

Chaos was my sidekick since I was about four years old. I was always pushing the envelope in disturbing ways from shoving an eraser up my nose when I was seven to putting toothpaste on my eyelids when I was nine… I was one of those “What would happen if…” kids.

Later, it was me coasting down my grandmother’s driveway and into the garage on roller skates. There was a half-inch lip where the concrete floor of the garage raised above the driveway. I coasted down; watching the lip draw closer I thought, “I’m not lifting my feet. I want to see what happens when my skates hit that lip.” (Even as I write this over thirty years later, I am shaking my head – what the hell is wrong with you, girl) Needless to say, I hit the lip, went airborne and landed on my knees and face – and I had boo-boo’s to prove it.

I cried and wailed… my grandmother came running. “What happened?” I told her my story of pain and even at ten years old, I embellished it, peppering in imaginary details to make it sound more dramatic.

My grandmother was not buying any of it. “Well, what did you think was going to happen, you stupid ass? Get up. Brush yourself off and go get a Popsicle.” I did just that and when I saw my friends later, I told them my embellished Daredevil story of self-inflicted boo-boo’s and how I must have been cruising down the driveway doing at least twenty miles an hour!

It was the last time I cried over physical pain, but it was not the last time I intentionally created chaos to get attention. Later in life, I found emotional ways to create chaos and keep the drama flowing in my life. “Hey, over here! I am a human trainwreck but I’m cute so come and love me!”

I created chaos because I had to compartmentalize all the weird, icky and dangerous feelings I had inside that didn’t sit well with me. Being an ACOA besides an alcoholic/addict, I had a double whammy of stunted emotional growth. So when things got chaotic in a way I didn’t understand, I would make them more chaotic by inserting my own melodrama, thereby making sure that all that weird inner shit really did have something to do with me instead of me just being a victim of circumstance.

It took me a long time to realize that most of my chaos was self-created, even after I got sober in 2006. I had a real case of the ‘woe is me’ sniffles until I finally stopped self-sabotaging and realized I truly can be my own worst enemy.

So if you are anything like the old me (who still tries to poke her train wrecked head into my life from time to time) and you are surrounded by chaos more than peace, maybe take a long hard look at the center of it all.

Have an awesome weekend my friends.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/create/

Abuse: A Personal Essay

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Life was ironing out when I met him. I was fourteen, a sophomore in high school (I was one of those lucky kids born in January) and excited about this new chapter in my life. Adjusting to high school was awkward, but I made a couple friends.

Gym class though… ugh.

My parents were fighting a lot because my father was trying to get sober and not having a good go at it. Life was getting uncomfortable which is why when I got to high school, temptation got the best of me.

There were difficult roads I could have traveled to make life easier, but I chose painful roads that made life difficult.

I met a guy who was way too old for me but that’s what I thought I needed – an older boy with a car, who smoked and had a regular job.

A boy who could get me out of my home life of hell.

And he did.

He was a boy who I fell for blindly; the outside cool and handsome, the inside black and miserable.

He scraped me off one level of hell and dropped me in a deeper one.

First it started with my clothes.

Then it was my make up.

After that it was my friends.

Who is he?

Why is he standing so close to you? I saw you touching him.

Why do you smell like sex?

Ridiculous.

Then it got worse.

I wished for a pair of horse blinders to wear.

We were at a red light in his pick up truck one afternoon and there was a guy on the corner. Waiting for the bus I guess?

I made the mistake of looking to my right and as fast as I saw him, I turned away.

Suddenly, the right side of my face was kissing the passenger side glass.

There was a sharp pain in the left side of my head.

“What are you looking at? Do you wanna fuck that guy? Huh? You think he’s cute?”

What?

I was only looking out the window.

I didn’t mean it.

I’m sorry.

He got out of the truck and approached the man. “You like my girl, huh?”

The man seemed confused.

Suddenly, the man was on the ground being pummeled.

These idiots on the street, walking around minding their own business. Didn’t they know what would happen if I looked at them? If they looked at me?

After that, I scanned the roads as far as I could see, looking for people so I could look away when we got close.

They didn’t know, but I knew. I knew the danger we would be in if I looked at you and you looked at me.

The beatings depended on his mood.

I did my best to make sure he was always happy.

The Daily Prompt: Blindly

 

Personal Essay: Victim of Tragedy

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It was a Tuesday.
I never listened to the radio in work – I was more of a compact disc person since I just figured out how to make my own CDs with music I ignorantly downloaded from the Internet.
I met a guy the previous year – also ignorantly on the Internet – which is a story in and of itself. He walked out on me after a disagreement about money and drove his car down to Virginia to see his sister whom he had not seen or spoken to for three years. After two days he had called me to beg for forgiveness; for a home.
Anyway, my co-worker, who was in the business of talking customers into an extra bundle of pizza boxes, yelled from the back office, “An airplane crashed into one of the twin towers!”
My first thought: What are the twin towers? My second thought: That’s what happens when you drink on the job.
I continued to print reports while working on a short story for my creative writing class. It was nice to have a job where I could get things done for me.
It made up for the shitty pay due to my lack of office skills.
My coworker shouted from the back again: “Another plane hit the other tower!”
Okay, so I guess it’s not drunk flying. I turned on the radio and listened to WMMR as Pierre Robert told me what he heard so far.
The phone rang.
It was my boyfriend.
“Airplanes flew into the twin towers,” he breathed.
“I know,”I said. “I just turned on the radio.”
“Oh Jesus, something just flew into the Pentagon.” He screamed.
“Doesn’t your sister work there?”
“Yes. This is unbelievable.” I could hear the panic in his voice as he sipped his 56-ounce refill cup of Pepsi and dragged on his cigarette.
I looked out the door again at the vehicles whizzing by. Did they know what was happening? One of the owners appeared outside, framed in the aluminum door – it was the one with the cane and the pimp daddy suits. He was a large man; Jewish; arrogant.
I didn’t like him.
My boyfriend told me he spoke with his dad. Her promotion carried her to the side of the building that was hit.
I was crying. The arrogant Jew asked me what was wrong. I told him. He asked me to come in his office. He held me and said it was going to be okay; everything was going to be fine and he would take care of me.
Suddenly, I was on my knees, under his desk, between his legs. When he finished, he helped me to my feet, handed me a hundred dollars and a Percocet. He gave me a long, molesting hug and said, “I’m sorry.”
I stared at him right in his eyes – silent and searching like a wounded doe searching the eyes of her hunter.
“Sorry for what?” I finally managed.
“Sorry for your loss,” he said.

*This story is a personal essay based on factual events.

Clown Pajamas Halloween – A True Story

When I was little I wanted to be a lawyer. Then I wanted to be a mechanic. Somewhere in between, I wanted to be a stuffed animal so I could sit on the radiator all day and look out the window with my polyester friends. It turned out I needed more than a love for arguing and gear lube to achieve either occupation.  And the stuffed animals, well, I haven’t figured out how to shapeshift… yet.

It was Halloween 1978 and I was a second grader in this terrible elementary school that looked more like a tuberculosis hospital turned insane asylum than a learning place for children. Back in the day, many schools were tall and intimidating with dark gray and brown stone exterior walls, grates over the windows and a wrought iron fenced school yard – some with pointed tips. I mean, it did seem fallout shelter-esque, though I never noticed the three triangle sign on the building.

So, I was in second grade, autumn was upon us and so was Halloween. Wonder Woman was huge that year and I remember wanting to be Wonder Woman so bad. Nothing else mattered but the Lasso of Truth and the Bracelets of Submission!

il_340x270.657554852_868eWonder Woman Gear – Pinterest

Despite me not having friends in grade school, I had overheard some of the other girls talking about what they would be for Halloween and it was unanimous. Wonder Woman! This was great because… I loved Wonder Woman, too! If nothing, maybe I could get one friend out of this.

I burst through the door after school: “Mom!  I wanna be Wonder Woman for Halloween!” I beamed.

I was going to be something much better my mother told me and my brain rolled with anticipation. What could be better than Wonder Woman? Wonder Woman was the s**t! Nothing nor no one was better than Wonder Woman except Santa Claus who was only better in December!

It turned out that because we were so poor, a Wonder Woman costume was not in the cards for me. My mother told me this while holding a pair of pastel-colored pajamas in yellow and green.

“What are they?” I asked while my stomach flip-flopped like a dying fish.

“It’s a costume.”

“It looks like pajamas,” I corrected her.

“Well, not really. It is a costume. You’re going to be a clown.”

“A what?” My face flushed. “A clown?”

“Yes. A clown.”

I pondered this for a bit since clowns were creepy and maybe that would scare all those little brats at school into submission!

“Okay. Where is the rest of the costume?”

My mother never spared my feelings so instead of hemming and hawing she told me straight up: “There is no rest of the costume.”

The next day I went to school with my costume in a bag like all the other kids and at lunch time changed into my costume just like all the other kids.

“But it’s not even clown colors. Where are the clown shoes? The clown nose? Where is the clown makeup?” the brattiest girl mocked. “Look, everyone, Darlene is wearing pajamas for Halloween!” and all the little brats erupted with laughter.

Dear Lord, please turn me into a dustball right now!

But there I stood, searching my little brain for an answer, an excuse – something to get me out of this 3 x 6 hell.

I told them my mom forgot to pack it, that “my costume was gonna be great but we were in a hurry and I couldn’t miss my bus.”

After they pointed and laughed until the teacher came in to see what was going on, they let me slide, this group of future head cheerleaders and devil women. I went on to eat candy corn and potato chips and get silly little toys that day. However, the humiliation I felt in that coat room followed me for decades along with the “it’s great to be like everyone else” worm that wriggled into my brain.

I’ve since killed that worm, but there were so many moments like this one that shaped who I am today.

Stay tuned.

Got any embarrassing moments? Share in the comments below. 🙂