The Apple Cart

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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

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27 thoughts on “The Apple Cart

  1. I’m so glad you linked back to this post because it is gorgeous. It makes me want to send a copy of The Four Agreements to your family though…that’s kind of a tip over the apple cart and give them oranges kind of move and totally not my place, but I still want to do it. You are awesome. Have you ever read that book?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have not read The Four Agreements but I definitely need to. I did read 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and the family edition and found it to be incredibly helpful. I wanted to get copies for my family but thought it would not be well-received.

      Thank you. When I wrote it, because it was a free writing exercise I didn’t know it was going to end up there. I knew that my sister’s visit was bothering me. And I guess I never came back to tell everyone that yes, I was confronted with a bunch of apples and expectant looks. Maybe I’ll do a follow up… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent post…love the apple metaphor. I think you did just fine. Sometimes people need to upset the apple cart or have it upset. You did what YOU needed to do and what was right for YOU and your family. I don’t like family expectations; they often turn into large elephants in the room. You rock, Kat! 🙂

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    1. Gee, thanks! One of my sisters just tried to get me to fix that apple cart just yesterday. She doesn’t like how things are and I clearly got the message that she would like me to take charge and fix things. OH darn. 🙂

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      1. Sometimes I think family can be the worst when it comes to standing by you in these situations. It may be because they feel more invested and freer to tell you what they really think. It certainly can tear relationships apart.

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      2. Another issue is that they get wrapped up in themselves and forget the reason. More than once they have actually told me that I don’t know how hard this is———uhmm yes, I do.

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  3. I won’t even try to suggest that I know what you are going through, because I don’t. But, I can say that I love your metaphor and am convinced that you will get through it. Not unscathed, but better for it! God Bless you and your family!!

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  4. Oh Kat, I love your apples. What a superb piece of writing, it just worked brilliantly. I am very sorry you have to suffer for those lost apples, but you know what is right for you and yours, and they need to do some work if the want to get back into the orchard.

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    1. Thanks. I was surprised when the apples showed up and then stayed in the post. 🙂 Most of the time I have accepted it all but then a sister comes to town and it stings a bit.

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  5. Make yourself a pie with the remaining apples, build a table with the scraps of wood you have left from the cart, and let them decide whether they’re going to join you with the new beginning or continue to mope about what’s gone. Maybe someday they’ll realize the pie and the table are just as good, if not better, than the cart.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Intriguing. Your metaphor is beautiful. Reminds me of the Mary Englebright quote: “Life is just a chair of bowlies.” At the end of the day we are all bruised, battered apples searching for a soft place to land. All my best.

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  7. I loved it. I think sometimes we have to burn our bridges to commit wholeheartedly to our future. Often when we change people greet us with, ‘Change back’ yet that doesn’t mean we should. My motto would be salvage and celebrate what you can and let go of the rest. Easier to say than do I know but you can’t live your life in the rear view mirror.

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      1. Hmmm..get some wood, some instructions, print out how you feel and how to rebuild the cart. Make them read it and tell them to help you start building. If not let the pile of wood sit on the floor until they do. You are not the only one responsible for fixing this.

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      2. That’s sort of where we are at. I’m dealing with a strong breed of stubborn. It bothers me at times but for the most part I focus on my kids, my husband, my grandson and best friends and let the rest do whatever they want or not do it. 🙂

        Liked by 3 people

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