Not yet strong enough

We all feel overwhelmed sometimes

We all feel overwhelmed sometimes

Tears welled in Mary’s eyes as she said, “I’m  feeling out of control, George.  I seem to be surrounded by chaos, and I can’t seem to find any space away from it.  I feel like I can’t think and I can’t breathe.”

“What do you want me to do about it?” George snapped.  “I mean, you’re the one that always banging on about how we are responsible for our own feelings, and all that other crap!”

“I didn’t ask you to do anything about it!  I was just trying to explain to you where I’m at right now.”

“Maybe if you kept your nose out of other people’s business you wouldn’t be so stressed.”

“Forget I said anything!”

As Mary walked away, the tears spilled down her cheeks.  Maybe George is right, she thought. 

A familiar feeling rose in her stomach and she immediately recognised she had two choices.  She could continue that line of thought, following it up with how stupid she was, and how she always got involved in other people’s business, and how she should know better by now.  Eventually, Mary knew, this mental pathway would lead her to the assumption that the world would be a better place without her in it.

The alternative, Mary was aware, would be to distract herself and focus on actively doing something, or thinking about something, totally unrelated to this conversation.  Perhaps she could read a book, write a letter, phone a friend, go for a walk, or play a computer game – anything that would interrupt her current thought process.  The end result would be that Mary would realise this conversation was just a moment in time.  Mary knew she would eventually realise that the feelings she felt were real, but that they would pass in time, and she would be able to accept that everyone feels overwhelmed at times, because it is just a normal part of being human.  Somewhere in the back of her mind, Mary was aware that by focusing on the bigger picture, or on her end goals, things would settle and calm once more.

Unfortunately, although Mary knew the choice was there, she was not yet strong enough to make the decision and consciously choose her actions to fight the inevitable downward spiral.

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Human, just like you

You make fun of how I look

Of how I speak and move

You laugh out loud, make snide remarks

My ‘stupidness’ to prove

 

You tell your friends to come and see

This freak you say I am

Nudge, nudge, wink, wink, it’s jokes all ‘round

Wishing me to scram

 

My silence seems to egg you on

As you laugh even harder

You don’t see the pain you cause me

With your tongue that’s ever sharper

 

And yet you wonder why it is

I withdraw and pull away

Not joining your frivolity

As you turn on other prey

 

Your disrespect and meanness

Cannot be clothed or cloaked

Put simply, you’re a bully

And that’s no laughing joke

 

So, next time that you see me

Consider what you do

And know that while I’m different

I’m human, just like you

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It Pays to Check the Fine Print

The view might be nice, but a surprise is waiting

The view might be nice, but a surprise is waiting

With Uni in full-swing and a seemingly endless number of essay assignments to do, switching from academic writing to creative writing has been becoming more difficult.  To help get my brain out of academic mode, I went in search of some story prompts I can use as warm-up exercises before working on my main fiction work.

During my search, I discovered a great little eBook at Creative Writing Now called 30 Days of Inspiration: A Month’s Worth of Writing Ideas.

Now, I am probably not going to be posting a story every day for 30 days, but I thought this would be a great resource for the purpose of warming up my brain and redirecting it from an academic focus.  As a bonus, there might be some more regular posting on Writing From The Ashes.

So, here is today’s effort…

Prompt: Your character moves into a new apartment. On the surface, the place seemed ideal, but his/her first night there, your character discovers a terrible problem with the place that he/she didn’t take into account…

“Oh, wow Sally!  This is amazing!  Look at that view!”

“I know, Jan.  It was  a great find, wasn’t  it?  Thanks for coming over and helping me move in.  I would still be unloading boxes if you hadn’t been here.”

“No problem.  Besides, this view is definitely worth it, along with the beer and pizza, of course.”

Sally laughed.  She knew Jan was probably only half-joking about the beer and pizza because Jan would do anything if food was a reward.  In fact, Jan had turned her love of food into a very profitable lifestyle as The Food Guru – although Sally still wasn’t exactly sure what the work involved, other than eating lots of food.

“Look,” Jan exclaimed.  “You can see the Bridge from here!  I’d just live out here on the balcony, if I were you, Sal.  Maybe you should set up a little bar and barbie at the end there?  Imagine sitting here eating…”

“Enough with the food-talk, Jan.  You’re making my tummy hurt.  Where is that pizza anyway?  It should have been here by now.”

Jan glanced at her watch.  Sally was right, the pizza should have arrived half an hour ago. 

“It’s certainly not like James to have his deliveries running late.  You did give him this address, didn’t you Jan?  You didn’t accidentally give him yours, or my old one?”

“Of course, I gave him the right address.  I’ll give him a call and find out what’s going on.  I’m sure there must be a good reason it’s not here.”

“Well, I hope you have service on your phone, Jan,” Sally said.  “When I first came to view the place I noticed there was no mobile service here.  The realtor said it has something to do with this particular building.  I didn’t worry about it too much because I was getting a landline connected anyway.  The problem right now, of course, is that it’s not connected yet.”

“Nope, no service,” said Jan.  “I’ll just go down to the street and call then.  Coming with?”

Sally tried not to groan as she stood up.  Her body ached all over from the day’s heavy lifting.  “Sure, why not?” she said.

The two women walked into the elevator and pressed the button for the ground floor.  As the doors opened and they walked into the foyer, they were surprised to see nothing but steel.  The whole ground floor had been surrounded by floor-to-ceiling solid steel walls.  There were no doors or other signs of an exit.

“What are you two misfits doing?  Turn around slowly with your hands in the air!”

Sally yelped in surprise at the deep voice behind her.  As she turned, she saw Jan had lost all colour from her face.  

“Hold it right there.”

Two large men were standing in front of Sally and Jan.  One was holding a weapon of some sort, possibly a gun, although Sally could not see it clearly.  Was this some kind of robbery?

“Do you have some identification,” the older of the two men asked.

Sally hesitated.  What was going on here?  She hadn’t brought her handbag with her, because Jan was only going to the street to make a phone call.  What had they inadvertently walked into.

“Are you deaf?  I asked if you have any identification.”

“N..n..not on me,” Sally stuttered.  “We were just coming down to make a phone call.  I didn’t bring my bag.”

“Phone call?  You must be the new tenant then?”

“Y..y..yes.”

“No one gets in or out of here after 10pm, didn’t they tell you?”

“What?” Sally and Jan said in unison.

“Damn that real estate!  Look,” the younger man said as he put his weapon away and walked toward the women, “there’s a refuge on the first two floors of this place, and as an extra security measure, the whole building shuts down at 10pm.  No one in, and no one out.  The doors are locked and the steel security shutters are closed.  Sorry ladies, you’ll have to wait until morning to make that phone call.  I can’t believe they didn’t tell you.”

“It was probably in the fine print,” the older man said.

Sally was dumbfounded.  She wasn’t sure she could believe her ears.  Was this guy for real?  Although, he seemed real enough.  Surely the realtor would have filled her in on something this important, wouldn’t he? 

“But we need food,” Jan said.  “We’ve been moving furniture and boxes all day, and now we’re starving.  How do we get some food?  We ordered pizza, but obviously that’s not gonna get through those doors.  Is there some kind of cafeteria or something in this building?  How do people get food?”

Sally wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry.  

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Let’s try that again…

Let's try that again...

Let’s try that again…

I have written a number of blog posts over the last couple of weeks – and then sent them to the trash folder.

This probably seems like strange behaviour, but life has been such a whirlwind of late, and I have experienced and learnt so many different things, and found my life moving in a whole new direction, that what I was writing seemed not only irrelevant, but also inappropriate.  A number of factors have led to my decision to censor my recent writing, as well as consider the future of Writing From The Ashes.

In some respects, it is almost like I have come full circle, ending up four years in the past, to a time when I had to watch every word I wrote about my personal journey.  There are some major differences between then and now – particularly my reasons for censorship – but the end result is much the same.  At this point I am not sure how this dilemma will be resolved, but I will continue to explore my options.

For now, the focus of Writing From The Ashes will be creative writing – this again indicates a full circle back to the blog’s original purpose, as an outlet for fictional bits and pieces.

So, back to work…

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Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Actions speak louder than words

Actions speak louder than words

Actions really do speak louder than words.

Most of us probably know someone who always says the ‘right’ things, but unfortunately what they do never seems to match what they say.

Unfortunately, some of us also feel this way about organisations and ‘professionals’ that are supposedly trying to help us.

Personally, I visited many counsellors over a twenty-year period who, although they said they were there to help, their actions indicated that they were only prepared to help me if I lived my life in the way they wanted.  It was not until I was 38 that I found a counsellor whose actions and words reflected the same intention of genuine assistance.

Ironically, it was not until I started working with that counsellor that I understood the disparity between my own words and actions – I was saying I wanted to heal and move on, and yet I was allowing other people (counsellors) to tell me what I should and shouldn’t do with my life instead of being responsible for it myself.  For years I wished someone would see me, the real me, and know how much pain I was in, how difficult I found living,  and somehow make it all better – make me normal.  What I came to realise is, not only was it impossible for anyone else to know what was happening inside me, the only person who could make things better was me.

No one was going to stand up for me.  No one had a magic wand that would make me stop thinking so little of myself.  No one was going to ‘make’ me happy.  No one could really help me – except me.

So, while I was saying I wanted to be happy, that I didn’t want to keep living the way I was, that I wanted to be normal, that I wanted the pain to go away etc, all of my actions were compounding the issues that I was trying to recover from.  The more I wanted someone else to fix me, the more frustrated I became when they couldn’t see I needed to be fixed, so the more angry and badly behaved I got, and the more pain I felt… and on it went, in a never-ending cycle.

The journey has been long and rough since I made the commitment to myself to help myself get better.  Every new step seemed like it was the hardest thing I had ever done – being open, being vulnerable, asking directly for what I wanted or needed, speaking out, confronting people when they hurt or offend me, taking time for myself and not feeling guilty about it – all of these things seemed impossible at first.  All of them terrified me and made me think the world would end if I dared stand up, or speak out, or ask someone for emotional support.  I felt like I had to fight for every breath and every step along the way.

The crazy thing is, the more my actions said, “I matter,  my feelings are important, my needs are important,  I deserve to be happy” etc the more other people seemed to recognise I was hurting.

The more I allowed my mind to acknowledge the truth, the more truthful my actions became.

 

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