Sunday, January 15, 2017

100 days of 100 words, day 10: spanking


It only happened one time and it was because I walked around the block.  I had not broken the rule ("Don't cross the street"), but had apparently broken the spirit of the law by getting so far away and, even worse, I took my little sister with me.

I remember looking at the floor, blood rushing to my head, and thinking the four-year-old version of:  What the fuck are you doing?, while little sister looked on, sucking her thumb, big eyes, probably horrified but also likely feeling schadenfreude since she entered the world convinced that I always got preferential treatment.

Monday, January 9, 2017

100 days of 100 words, day 9: Carolyn's grandma

Carolyn's Grandma

Carolyn's grandma played aggressive Yahtzee and she played for money.  She gave me and Carolyn a dixie cup of starter change.  She would re-roll all 5 dice, sometimes twice, and still win almost every time.  She got large straights right out of the cup and Yahtzees on the second roll.  How, in this game of chance?  Carolyn's grandma believed that she would get what she needed and she got it.  While I was counting my 2s and fretting over my upper-level bonus, she seemed to direct the dice as she wanted.  Carolyn's grandma took all my change that summer and it was worth it.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

100 days of 100 words, day 8: anxiety


Not worry about a test, nervousness regarding social situations, tension related to a busy task list, or anything else related to actual real-world events.  

It is untethered.  There is no referent.

Suddenly, tension washes over of my whole body like rolling heat lightning so that I want to jump out of my skin, heart first.  I thrash my limbs, I scream quietly.  I know that it will pass.

I also know that it will return, sometimes preceded by the thought that it hasn't happened in a while, or that this would be a bad time for it.  There is no problem to trace back to and solve.  It is a fact of my life.

Monday, January 2, 2017

100 days of 100 words, day 7: perfect moment

Perfect Moment

After a day of being not girlfriend, student, daughter, or sister, but just a girl in cut-offs and boots clearing camp pathways with a chainsaw, now tucked into a sleeping bag, blistered, battered, exhausted--but strong--on the top bunk, face turned to a window covered only with a thin screen to keep out bugs; chatter below and behind me, but me just watching tree limbs thrashed by occasional gusts which also blew the hair off my face and seeing the moon rise, it seemed, right out of the crook of a tree and thinking:  this is enough.

Friday, December 30, 2016

100 days of 100 words, day 6: bad strategy

Bad Strategy

As a teenager, I heard that people who best survived a car crash were those who were completely relaxed.  I took this to heart.  Scrunched down in my seat (un-seatbelted, of course), unable to see what was happening,  I went completely limp.  You could say that it worked: I survived adolescence.  But then, I was never in a crash.

Unfortunately, my Raggedy Ann strategy leaked into my life.  I didn't crumple, but neither did I look to see what was coming.  Or steer.  What good is it merely to survive?  Buffeted by outside forces, driven by self-interested others, I land here and open one eye.  Is the ride over?

Friday, December 16, 2016

100 days of 100 words, day 5: sleep


In high school, when I was babysitting, I just wanted to lie down next to the kiddies after story time.  I would make it to 9:00, 11:00 I was drifting off and promising myself that I would leap up when the door rattled and somehow convince the parents I had been on high alert the whole time.

The worst part of having a roommate in college was the sleep need discrepancy.  And all-nighters?    I tried.  But at some point I would start seeing double and then I would fall asleep on top of my books.  

When I was a counselor at Girls' State, I drank endless glasses of Diet Coke trying to keep on top of the schedule.  Then, one night after the girls were asleep, I sat down at the edge of my bed and woke up the next morning, feet still flat on the floor, staring up at the glowing fluorescents.  

Monday, December 12, 2016

100 days of 100 words, day 4: best friend

Best Friends

I've had two, of a certain kind.

The first one arrived in the traditional form, 12-year-old girl, in my class.  She knew everything about me.  At 14 I told her my final, biggest secret, and I said that I felt like my soul was naked.  Then Carolyn moved away, thousands of miles. In the beginning, we exchanged fevered letters, endlessly proclaiming out status as each others' best friend, ever, but eventually the letters thinned.  Now I can't find her.

The second one surprised me.  I was an adult, married, and used to living without a best friend, without that kind of best friend anyway.  Then I met a man older than my parents to whom I could tell all my secrets.

[yes, this is horrible.  But I'm doing something...anything]