Writing 101, Day 19
Today is a free writing day. Write at least four-hundred words, and once you start typing, don’t stop. No self-editing, no trash-talking, and no second guessing: just go. Bonus points if you tackle an idea you’ve been playing with but think is too silly to post about.
I don’t like to dwell on the difficulties of the last few years and I certainly don’t want to let them define me or my life. I feel like I have periods where things just sail along and the problems I face are so incredibly normal. I fall into a false sense of security and at times, I convince myself that- hey, this is getting easier….cool! And then bam! Something as simple as- say, a sister coming to visit knocks me flat on my ass and I find myself to be an anxious mess. I feel myself closing in on myself, shutting up shop, hanging out the ‘Closed’ sign. Over and out. All it takes is me talking about this blog and why I write it. I see it in their eyes.
Things have not been easy for me with my siblings or parents the past few years. While I try to be very patient with my parents, I am at my wit’s end with everyone. They weren’t there when I needed them most. I own this. I know it’s my own personal hangup, expectations, and problem. Not theirs. They know how I feel. We’ve all said our pieces.
I upset the apple cart a few years back and this was a major issue. See, I am the first born, which means my role in the family is that of peacemaker- not apple cart upsetter extraordinaire! My family likes to do things the way they do things. They do not welcome change. I introduced change beyond their wildest imagination. And to make matters worse, I refused to pick up the apples. If anything, I guess I kept throwing them and kicking them all over the place, which is totally out of character for me. In my eyes, it appeared that they all stood there looking at the apples and then back at me. Waiting. It really felt like (and to this day feels like) they didn’t care why I knocked that cart over. They just wanted me to pick up the damn apples and get back to the job of being the keeper of peace.
Except that I had smashed up the apple cart. There was no going back. They just haven’ t realized it yet. When I was kicking and smashing up those apples, I was asking, begging, screaming for something from them that they either weren’t able to or did not want to give. (They wanted those apples, whole, unblemished and in that cart.)
So I have spent the good part of a year strolling along and picking up an apple here and there. I toss it up in the air a few times and think about all the things I can do with it; sometimes I even consider the discarded remains of the cart. Invariably I end up facing the same family members who have dug in their heels and like my 4 year old grandson who only wants what he wants, they stare at me full of expectation- I read it in their eyes, their behavior- find the cart and put the apples back. (Remember, they don’t know that it’s demolished.) It doesn’t occur to them that maybe they could pick up an apple or two, find the cart and help me. It’s all up to me- surrounded by apples- some smashed, maybe some shiny and juicy ready to be eaten and that pile of broken pieces of wood.
And here’s the thing they don’t get. I can pick up all those apples and I can repair the cart. It will never be the same cart again. The cracks might not show at first glance but they will be there. And those apples? Some will have the skin broken, some will be broken in two, some will hide bruises beneath the surface and maybe some will remain untouched. Maybe. But probably not.