Not me. Not this time.

HappyBirthdayMy Love

I have never been the one to mess with. I have either always knew the rule or researched it enough to know whether my stance on the matter was right or wrong. Health/ dental insurance don’t mess with me.  I know my contract in and out. I know what I am “entitled to”.

“But Dacia, you’re a millennial, you’re not entitled to anything!

I am a ten year Army veteran. I have earned my health and dental plans. (But really they are my husband’s work’s so shut up. Yes I have ‘earned’ them)

So let me tell you women something. You do not have to agree with what they tell you.

You don’t have to go along because you don’t know any better

You can learn negative and detrimental things of you own past that bring to light something you held at high regard.

You can learn that ‘”protection” might not have actually saved you from the danger of your own family.

You can learn that after 32 years of existence, what you thought you had built your own foundation  on was a lie or was kept a secret from you, in hopes that it would go away.

I feel ashamed and defensive. I feel like I am owed the truth on the matter before I go chiseling at the details.

I feel that being so comfortably removed from the situation has, yes, saved me from the physical hurt that others have experienced but also left the remaining victims silent in their recovery, personal remorse, and unable to anonymously share their side of the story.

Ladies- You are not alone. Many have felt this pain. It is not my story to tell, but if you can help others by stepping up, then maybe it’s worth it.

It is time that you have felt this validation. That YOU know that you are loved despite the things that happened to you.

I grew up so far removed. My memories are locked in the photos I own. I try to apply principles to my own little family that has very different dynamics.

If you can please help me to understand why women lay so vulnerable to men;   not allowing their own voices to be heard. Why do you place your husband above the love of your children? Then I may be able to sleep tonight.

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Six Fact Sunday

So it’s Saturday, but most will wake up to this post so here it goes.

In March I will begin a very intense writing challenge which will limit my time here with you all. So the compromise is that I will aim at doing one very structured post.

Since this is the first, this week will simply be about me. Six things you probably do not already know about me.

  1. I can say “Hello. How are you. I am good. I am tired.” in six different languages. Enough to make a person otherwise isolated smile at my attempt at relating. These six languages include English, Spanish, French, Arabic, Russian, and Swahili (my personal favorite). The funny thing is, if you have watched the movie Lion King, you know far more Swahili than you think. Simba= Lion. Rafiki= Monkey. Hakunah Matata really means “No worries”. lol Isn’t that fun?!!? In the hospital where I work, there are many African immagrants and they typically speak French or Swahili. When you say hello in their native language their faces light up. It’s so fun.
  2. I once turned in a human jaw bone belonging to a 200 year old Native American man to the coroner’s office. This is a looong story for another time.
  3. I once physically took two children from their home and placed them into protective custody. This is a sad and frustrating story of a young woman mentally unfit to care for her own kids. I would not be in the least bit surprised if they never made back to her. Sweetest kids ever and I was 6 months pregnant and managed to hold it together. Ugh.
  4. I once served someone divorce papers. Very awkward, but he was expecting them.
  5. I have only been a writer for two years. This is how long I have been working on my current novel. I get stuck on character interactions in difficult situations.
  6. Coffee means sooooo much to me. I can go without it, but there is a sense of calm and security it brings me that If it came down to my health or coffee, I would have to make a few compromises.  Sometimes I drink decaf if I get a late night craving because it is far more about the taste and experience than the caffeine involve. I would just consider that a perk at this point.

So now you know a little about me. Want more 6 facts? What subjects would you like to see? Later posts might include:

“Six Facts About Civilian Life After the Military”

“Six Facts About Solo Parenting”

“Six Facts About Sleep Deprivation”

Lawd I think I have my month planned out. Cheers!!


There is still time to enter into the Give-Away!

How do I enter???

First- Follow my blog by clicking the “+Follow” button at the bottom right side of your screen.

Reblog your favorite Britestfyrefly post on your own page and link it back to me so I know who you are.
Share the link to one of your favorite posts on Facebook and tag me.
Email the link to your favorite post to a few people and CC me.
You may share as much as you want. Each link shared will get you an entry into the drawing which will happen Live on Facebook on February 28th and be posted and shared later that day.

Good luck everyone and Thank you all for all of your support through the last couple of years. A writer is nothing without readers 😀

Hey Jude…

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Some weekends I get a sudden burst of energy and use crafts as an outlet. Here are a couple more, but this is a new one that speaks far louder to me than the simple words shadowed by the shelf.

“Take a sad song, and make it better…” Most everyone is familiar with the song “Hey, Jude” by The Beetles. In this one line sits many devastating stories of my life, some of which I have shared with you in earlier posts, and others maybe not.

My Willow Tree collection started accidentally. During my first deployment, my very best friend sent me two friends holding hands (second from the left). This is now my memorial for her as she was taken from this world only weeks later.

My second Willow Tree statue (center) was a gift from my husband for Christmas when I was pregnant with our little guy and our first child. I usually have to tell my husband what to get me for Christmas, but this was completely on his own and seeing as how Sami’s statue held such a strong position in my heart, it only made sense that our growing family sit right there with it. Its present position on the shelf is very important, as we walk through this life together, the rest of the world happens around us. The puppy to the right of center is our family pup, and trial child, Watson. The little boy angel to the left of center presents the 3 little people that we never got to meet.

I purchased the sisters statue (second from the right) because of everyone in this world, my sister has always been a support and friend. My cheerleader and sounding board. (Love you!)

The last two of my collection were recent gifts also from my mister. The far left is the little boy and his mama and the far right, a little girl and her mama.

I’ve had many sad songs play in my life, but turning them into something so incredibly beautiful has been a welcomed journey.

 

 

Special Delivery

With the expectation of having this little girl in the next few months, it has caused me to rethink everything that happened with my previous delivery. If you want to know all the details of my experience in the birth of Jude; minus the gross, dive right in.

When I think back to the birth of my son I have very few good memories of the experience. Not just because the entire experience was extremely unpleasant, but because the quality of the memories have deteriorated over time. What should have been the most magical moment of my life was over shadowed by a series of poor choices and a veil of self-preservation.

My husband and I lived in Colorado Springs with our beagle, Watson. Due to a slight rise in my blood pressure, it was recommended by my midwife to induce labor and deliver a couple of days before my due date. I was relieved to have the end in sight. I was a miserable pregnant person. Even though the entire pregnancy was fairly easy and my list of symptoms were so short: tired, heartburn, mild back pain and irritability; I hated almost every minute that I served host to my son. I was beyond ready for his arrival.

We had arranged for Watson to stay with a friend of mine until we were settled back in with our new addition. As I was getting him ready, I felt as if I had peed my pants a little. I turned to my husband and told him to go ahead and grab the bags.

“Either I peed myself or my water broke. I’m not sure.” I was pretty sure that I had not peed my pants. It had never happened to me before, but as a precaution I went to the bathroom to empty my bladder. When I was done, I walked out and felt it again. As an adult, I would like to think I would recognize the difference between the movement of liquid from my urethra or otherwise. So I called the triage line and tried my best to explain the situation.

“Are you sure? Was there a big gush of fluid? Is it sweet smelling?” I was sure the nurse assisting me had been through this plenty of times. “If it was your water, you would know.”

“No, it was just a little and I didn’t really sniff it.” What a weirdo asking me what my potential pee smelled like.

He reassured me that there was no rush and to come at my regular time. I grabbed the dog, yelled an “I love you” to the mister and headed out the door. No sooner than Watson jumped into the truck, but I felt a huge gush of water. I took the dog out of the truck and went back inside.

“Honey, you might as well come drop the dog off with me. My water definitely broke and we’re probably not coming home tonight.” I helped the best I could with loading my bag, baby’s bag, and dog into the truck. I sent text messages to close friends and family to let them know what was about to go down. As I stared out the window watching headlights pass in the dark, I wondered how bad contractions were really going to be because I had felt nothing in the way of movement.

Going to the hospital immediately was my first mistake. I might have a completely different story to tell had I stayed home and waited for labor to start, but I was told by the military facility to come in if my water broke. As a soldier, I really did not feel like I had a choice in the matter. Had I disobeyed the doctors, I could have been punished.

We arrived and spent an hour and a half in a triage room waiting for them to test a swab of my water. Upon confirmation we waited another forty-five minutes for shift change to finish before they assigned us a room. I was hooked up to a monitor and IVs and checked for dilation. I was only dilated one centimeter. The decision was made to start a medication to begin contractions that would help progress labor. I endured nine hours of hard contractions that would taper off, while my husband tried to sleep. After the standing dosage of medication was exceeded, the doctor came in to check my progress. I was only 2 centimeters and the medication was not helping at all. The decision was made to up the dosage and continue labor but I could not. I requested an epidural.

The room was so dark. I had no sense of the time. Getting the epidural dropped my blood pressure so dramatically that I nearly passed out. I was exhausted and getting nowhere fast, but I could finally sleep. I do not remember talking to my husband much. I remember that he was always there but he was never at my side as we were just waiting for the party to start. They would check me three more times over five hours with little to report.

After eighteen hours, I developed a fever and started throwing up. My contractions were irregular and I had only progressed to 4 centimeters, not nearly. My husband was watching the second period of a hockey game when the doctor came in. He informed us that I had developed an infection in my amniotic fluid. It was making me sick and my son was having a hard time. I had not progressed despite the aggressive amount of medication and the next step was to conduct an emergency caesarian section and just be done with it. He did not look or sound sorry. He was very matter of fact.

I began to cry. Everything seemed so cold and my body was tired. My husband stood up, smiled at me, clapped his hands and said, “Yeah, let’s do this!” This only made me cry more.

“Can we just talk about this? This is not what I wanted.”

“Hun, the doctor said the baby is getting sick. It’s almost over. That and so is the game. If the Pittsburgh Penguins win, we can name our son Sydney Crosby Arnold.”

I did not want to joke. I wanted everything to be over. Having been in the medical field for a decade, I had assisted in caesarian births. I knew what and how things happened. I knew that I would not feel anything but my body would be jerked and pulled and torn open to make way for this little person into the world. My husband was handed operating room garb, and I was laid flat on my back, and given additional medication and continuous oxygen. I could not control my body. My arms shook and all I could feel was cold. They insisted my husband wait until they got me onto the operating table before he could join me.

They moved me from the portable hospital bed to the operating table. I was not able to assist in moving my own body. They raised a curtain at my chest; this would keep me from seeing the surgery. My arms were spread straight out to either side and restrained to the table. I continued to shake uncontrollably. I remember the anesthesiologist talking to me; maybe about what he was doing or what was going on. All I wanted to do was sleep; only then I could relax enough to stop shaking. My husband entered the room and was directed to sit next to my head, so as to not see over the curtain.

“Pens won, Honey.” His voice smiled but I did not see his face. I might have said something back that was not nice. I knew he was joking but I was more or less angry that he disturbed my rest.

I laid there for what seemed like hours; my body being forcefully pulled this way and that. I envisioned what it looked like, I wish I did not know what was happening. I began to wonder if I would ever hear him cry and was getting anxious.

“Hey, Dad.” The doctor beckoned my husband on the forbidden side of the curtain and then I was alone; waiting.

Finally a screech. A Wail. A CRY! He was here. They bought him over for me to see, but I did not. I could see him but I do not own this memory any more. I cannot remember what it was like to see my very first child for the very first time. And just like that he was whisked away again, because of the infection, he required antibiotics and monitoring.

Alone. My husband had stayed with my son because at the time, this was the most important thing. After more tugging and pulling, they transferred me back to the hospital bed, somehow I was dressed. They must have helped me. I had no feeling in the lower half of my body, and I continued to shake.

They wheeled him in, and huddled over my boy. My husband close behind. He was perfect and healthy, but I could not stop shaking enough to hold him. Another hour would pass as I attempted to hold a drink to my own mouth without spilling. Finally, when I was steady enough to accomplish that task, I asked for him. He had been alive for nearly two hours before I touched him for the first time.

Looking back now, I should have waited until I was in labor to go to the hospital. I should not have had any internal exams until well into having regular contractions as this is what introduced the infection. I should not have been given medications to progress my labor and allowed to labor on my own; this caused me to have severe contractions but nothing more. If I had not been given the medication to progress labor, I would not have required an epidural for the extreme pain which rendered the previous medication useless and stopped all progression. If I had known better, I would not have required a caesarian section surgery to deliver my son. I would have gotten to hold him right away and possibly even remember the first time I ever laid eyes on my perfect boy.

With my daughter due in a couple of months, I realize that this will be the last time I carry and deliver a child. I has become increasingly important to me that I do not relive the vague horror of my son’s birth. Though I am happy that he is here and would go through it again, I have learned far too much to let something so avoidable happen again.

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The first time I ever held him.

 

I Should Not

Yay! Another creative writing class to challenge me. This is a short story I wrote for week one. The assignment was to find a work of art or photograph and use it to create a story. These can be found and referenced that the end of the story as to not spoil anything. I promise this one is not nearly as sad but may pull on the heartstrings of some. Enjoy.

 

I am lost. I am hurt. I can see the blood drying down my leg. I have been hurt worse before on hikes, but for some reason my entire body seemed slow and pained. I need to find help. At the end of the road I can see a house; a white farm house. Surely someone there can help me. I have no idea how this happened. I have never been lost before. I am an expert navigator; ask anyone on my team.

I am a member of a hiking group. I have led some of the most dangerous excursions in the country. In 1956, I led a team of five to the summit of Yosemite’s Half Dome. This was day one of our twenty-six day journey through the Yosemite Valley to Lyell Canyon. Everyone that started, I saw to the end. How is it that I can navigate a wilderness on the sole knowledge of maps, but fail to find my way back home from my own backyard? I have lived here my entire life. I have walked these woods hundreds of times. I have named the trees and the rocks. These woods were my second home; I’d escape here when life was too much.

This morning I woke up to a beautiful sunrise; a mix of pale blue, white, and yellow in the east. The weather was cool and perfect for a hike. I chose the east entrance. Being the mid spring, the trees and underbrush were lush and vibrant green. Had I been anymore unfamiliar, I would not have found it. It took ten feet to find the beaten age old path that I had stomped bare season after season. Smaller than I remember, but it was my path nonetheless. Every year brought new life and a familiar welcome of nature and its beauty. Birds chirped unseen in the canopy of ancient elm and maple trees easily seventy feet above me. The ground was still moist from the morning dew and the smell of raw earth and organic decay filled me with nostalgia; like meeting an old friend for coffee.

I spent what felt like an hour just walking my path; greeting it like an old friend. I began to notice that it was becoming warmer quite quickly. I looked to the canopy to get a bearing of the time. The sun had passed its peak and clouds were threatening to hide it further than the cover of trees. When I brought my gaze down, the forest seemed strange. I felt strange. I turned once, twice, and again. That is all it took. I did not know the direction I had come, nor how long I had walked. Soon the sun would disappear and I would simply have to guess.

My heart began to pound and my breath quickened: panic. I found a space to sit. My hands were shaking; they did not seem like my hands. Had I eaten? Drank? What a rookie mistake to take out your door unprepared for a journey. I knew better. I also knew that no one would come looking for me. No one knew I was out here; another rookie mistake.

I stood up, but too fast. My head became heavy, and my vision narrowed. My legs felt as if they were heavy with mud as I attempted to continue my journey. I must have fell hard.

I awoke to the drizzle of rain and the wet of the earth under me. It was dark by that time and my entire body screamed in painful protest as I pulled myself up. Joints, muscles, even my skin seemed unhappy with my napping place. I sat myself up right to a seated position. Dirt and sticks embedded in my skin from the pressure of lying. Many times I have been scared. This time, it completely consumed me to the point of hysterics. I struggled to wipe away the dirt. I must have hit my left on a rock on the way down; it was still bleeding. I pulled some mud over my wound in hopes to advance the clotting. My skin looked paper thin. I needed to keep moving and find my way out.

Hours more I continued on; slow and painful with each step. The sun was rising again when I reached the clearing. In the morning light, I could make out a dirt road on the horizon. I looked around to see if it was familiar. It was not. I was in a cow pasture. We did not own cows. The Henderson’s owned cows but this could not have been their field.

I reached the road and wanted nothing more than to run, but I could not bring my ragged body to cooperate. It was another mile before I saw the house. Thank goodness.

“MRS. CUNNINGHAM!!” a man shouted bursting from the front porch door. Cunningham was my husband’s name. Had John come here looking for me?

“Mrs. Cunningham, oh my word. Here, let me carry you.” The young man bent down to pull my legs from under me. My body gave way easily but I protested.

“Pardon, me! Where is John? Where is my husband?” I demanded.

“Don’t worry, ma’am. We are going to get you some help. Thank goodness you are alive. Let me get you inside and we will call Trudy. She will be so relieved.” Trudy was my daughter. Why would this man not call my husband? Trudy was still in diapers. Maybe I had bumped my head a little too hard.

The man sat me on a chair inside the house and pulled a phone from his pocket.

“Yes, my address is 31 Henderson Way…” The man walked into the other room and lowered his voice. He must have been a Henderson. But this was not a Henderson house that I knew.

“She is asking for her husband so I think she is having an episode.” He kept talking about me like I was not present. Maybe physically but not mentally.

“Mrs. Cunningham, do you know where you are?”

“I’m on Henderson Property in Jefferson County Missouri.”

“Yes.” He spoke into the phone.

“Ma’am, do you know what today is? Or the year?” he directed these ridiculous questions at me.

“I started my walk yesterday morning, Sunday. So today is Monday, March 5th, 1960. Where is John, my husband?” I became frustrated. The man continued to talk into the phone and at that point I was done listening. Soon he returned and handed it to me.

“Hello?”

“Mama! It’s Trudy are you okay?”

“Trudy? Who is this?” It was a grown woman on the phone. I did not know this Trudy. She was not MY Trudy.

“Mama, the ambulance is coming to get you, I will meet them where you are and we will go to the hospital together, okay? I love you, Mom.” The woman was crying. My Trudy. She was grown. My husband, John, had passed away last year. I had forgotten my husband was gone. My daughter had to live with me and take care of me.

“Thank you, Honey. I love you, too. I will see you soon.” Ashamed I handed the young man the phone.

“John died last year from lung cancer.” I told the young man. “The doctor had given him a month; he was gone in a week. Today is May 16th, 2015. You are Nathan, my best friend’s grandson, rest her soul.” I wiped a tear with my cleanest hand and looked down at it. I knew this hand. Old and wrinkled, liver spotted and paper thin. It seemed like in an hour I had lived an entire life and not even known it. My mind was melting away and my body withered along with it.

I started to wish I had not woken up from that spot in the woods where things seemed as they should; changing with the seasons but remaining faithfully familiar. Surely now they will confine me to four walls with eyes always watching.

I should not have woken up.

dementia

Hussey, Tom. (2013, March 30). Reflections, Retrieved from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2301557/Tom-Hussey-Haunting-photos-Alzheimer-s-patients-younger-selves-mirror.html

 

country

Rogriquez, Martin (2015, July 10) Country, Retrieved from http://10-themes.com/406167.html.

I Lost My Best Friend (Christmas 2010)

10301125_10152397267360932_2355302407718459426_nChristmas in Iraq happens about 18 hours before it does back home. Being in a third world country was difficult but I had to try extra hard on holidays to keep it together. In the spirit of Christmas I volunteered for midnight guard duty to allow my soldiers time to contact family. As I prepared for work I opened my lifeline to home; my laptop. My best friend was online and told me about her festivities the next morning. Sam told me that she and Tim were getting a long pretty well while wrapping presents. She also said she was thinking of leaving him. I encouraged her to throw his things on the lawn immediately, but she wanted to wait until after Christmas; for the kids.

Supporting Sam’s relationship with Tim was hard. I knew that she would do what she wanted and that she just needed someone in her corner. I was always there because she was for me. I needed her as much as she needed me. So I bowed down to her decision and said that the 26th is a great day as any. We sent our love across the ocean through the internet. She got back to her wrapping, and I geared up for patrol.

It was only a four hour shift, however my company was not my favorite. A female superior who really had it out for me most of the time. I was lucky that night, though. Perhaps the Christmas spirit reached her, too. We talked about her grown kids and what they were doing for the holidays. I told her about my fiancé and me getting married in less than a month when I would fly home. We were eloping and only my best friend was going to be in attendance to witness. My fiancé and Sam were my circle. The two constants in my life. I needed them both equally. While I was in Iraq, my fiancé was in Afghanistan. Our commands agreed to let us take vacation at the same time. The plan was to fly home together, get married with Sami there, and fly back to finish out our tours overseas in different areas of combat.

The four hour shift came and went with nothing to report. We gave a briefing to the oncoming patrol and we made our way back to the living area. I checked my lifeline and saw that there were quite a few messages on my social media. All very urgent to call so and so. There is an emergency and Sam had told them to call me first.

I had the very worst thoughts in my head to prepare myself for what was probably something overly dramatized. I put my gear back on and walked to my office. I used a calling card to call a mutual friend of mine and Sam.

“Tim shot and killed Sam, Dacia. Sami is dead.” Her voice broke. I collapsed to the floor sick and weak. My body could not hold the grief. I must have screamed something terrible because night shift workers came running to me. I am sure they asked me, but all I could feel was sick. And then denial. I had to call my friend back; I must have hung up on her. I needed to correct her and tell her there was a mistake. I had just talked to Sam. Someone had given her wrong information. There was no way in the world Sam was gone. She could not be gone.

“No. NO.” I pleaded with her. She was fine. Everything was fine. She was not gone. My friend insisted that she was there when they took Sam off life support.

“Dacia, honey. There was nothing they could have done. He shot her point blank in the temple. I am so sorry, Honey. I am so sorry.” We cried silently for a long time. Occasionally I could mutter the word “no”.

“I have to go now.” I told her. I felt so empty. All the sands of the desert resided in my gut. I did not want to talk. I did not want even breath. I did not want to be alone and I did not want to sleep. I was terrified that her ghost would confront me for not knowing the danger she was in. It was paralyzing. I did not work for three days. I did not eat for longer. I was lost.

Sam left behind six children. They were all in the house when it happened. The oldest heard her mother and Tim arguing. She walked in on them. Tim had Sami by the hair and a gun in his hand. Sam told her daughter to get the baby and take the kids in the basement.

“Call 911.” Sam knew. She knew he was going to kill her. When the children were in the basement, locked in the bathroom, her daughter called 911. Then they heard it. All six of them. They lost their mother forever.

In the days following, those children were everyone’s focus. I poured out everything I could for them, being so far away. My friend assisted in keeping them all together, as they had different fathers. Then suddenly it was understood that I knew everything about the physical abuse leading up to Sam’s murder, and that I did nothing to stop it. The truth is Sam hid it from me. I try to think back over conversations thinking maybe she had hinted. What if she really did tell me and I did not hear her. I was excommunicated from her family. I did not fight it. It was not about me. The focus had to be on those children. Whoever they had to blame for closure, it did not matter. But I never got closure.

My wedding day came and went and before I knew it I was back in that third world country surrounded by dirt and death. The days would drag on and I fell deeper and deeper into depression. I lost more weight than I should have and eventually started passing out. After the third incident I was sent home to be medically tested for a more serious condition. I was ready to go. My soul was tired. I could not handle many more weeks in that depression.

It took me a long time to be able to do anything once I was home. I could not go to certain places or drive down particular roads. I was scared I would bump into someone and they would ask me how I was doing; or accuse me of knowing.

“You might as well have pulled the trigger yourself.” Was sent to me in an email. I would reflect on everything she ever said to me; all the songs she would sing at karaoke should have given it away.

“I was so young, you should have known better than to lean on me…” We would duet this song. That was my part. It was always my part. It will always be my part. To this day, I have never reached out to her family for closure.

Even after the short years it has been, I have come to the conclusion that I lack the emotional capacity to truly hate. I had no energy left to wish any evils on Tim for taking my friend. His sentencing finally came and with much disappointment of mutual friends, he only received a fifteen year term in prison. That very moment I realized that if it were five years or fifty, it would not fill the gaping hole in my heart. I will not draft letters to him about my pain. I will not check on his parole status. I will not look him up when he is out of prison to make him answer for what he did.

I take abuse of all kinds very seriously, now. I listen when people mention their spouses or significant others; maybe I would check the hints Sam tried to give me. I think that she has visited me on occasion but not frequently. This past holiday, at 11:30pm on Christmas Eve my living room television came on by itself, volume turned up, on a channel with static. I knew it was her, but it spooked my husband so bad he could not sleep. I have gradually healed from this great loss, but I have a scar on my heart that is named after her. She will always be there.

 

 

 

Reflection (Required for my assignment. I left it attached this time because I really think it gives insight to the writing.)

I have never taken the time to get this out of my body and onto paper. I have told the story a few times but never so permanently as writing. The story itself seems so cliché of domestic violence, but there was a sense of necessity to tell the story because it truly belonged to me; it was not just something you read in the news that happened to someone else.

I used Kick-Start number eight for this writing. I knew by just remembering where I was, what I was doing, and how I felt at the time that the words would flow onto the screen. The most liberating part was including the physical feelings I had when I found out. I never told anyone the real reason I stopped sleeping and why I did not want to be alone. I never told anyone about feeling of collapsing onto the floor. I really hung up on my friend after she told me. I guess I panicked. I never told anyone how utterly desperate I was for her to be wrong, and how I tried to convince her from Iraq that she did not see what she saw and it was someone else.

This course has taught me quite a bit about my own writing style. It has brought out some strength and exposed some weaknesses that are now hard to ignore. All of the lessons have really boiled down to this one essay. I knew I had to write it one day, I am just thankful that I had the tools to do so. Creative nonfiction has really opened my eyes to a more colorful way of expressing myself daily. Poetry has helped me pull some of the emotion that I normally lack in writing and add depth and better description to my pieces. Playwriting helped me become immersed in dialogue; something else I try to avoid in writing. The short story is where I thrive, have the most fun, and my default genre of writing when I have the choice. Creative writing was the only reason I started going back to school.

I think a memoir holds a special place in literature. I know there are so many stories in my life worth telling. I believe this genre really allows anyone to tell their side of the story, include their heart and soul, and really help people understand what they truly went through. A lot of history can be told through personal experiences.

Below is a link from the local news.

http://www.clarksvilleonline.com/tag/samantha-marie-miller/

A Reflective Walk

This creative writing class has finally given me something to write about. This is a journal entry. The assignment was to use sensory details to describe going for a walk. My thoughts are pretty loud and I make reference to them often. I never noticed how much I argue with myself in order to maintain a positive attitude. Enjoy.

I step out of my door. On this particular day I decide to leave my headphones, dog and child at home and fly solo. I rarely use my front door in favor of the garage on chilly days like this; however this route makes me feel domesticated in my suburban life. Standing in this one spot reminds me of how hard we have worked to live in such a manicured place.  It is not until I reach the end of the porch that the cold wind bites my left cheek and I immediately regret my decision to walk undistracted. I knew it was going to be a long walk but for the purpose of the exercise (pun intended) I walk a bit slower to really soak in and appreciate the location I call home. I know where I am going. I have walked this way dozens of times before. I do feel a tinge of anxiety not having a distraction. I worry about my weight and how well my pants fit. I think that I do not quite look as pregnant as much as I just look fat. I know that I am not the largest woman in the neighborhood and reassure myself that no one is looking at me or thinking anything of the sort.

After two blocks of walking the side streets from my steps, I reach the park; a huge one and a half mile around grassy area that is home to two lakes, a playground and a gravel trail. I typically stay on the sidewalk that surrounds the area, but today I trot over the small patch of grass that separates the two.  The first step onto the crunchy surface reminds me why I stay on the side walk. It is too loud but the path goes closer to the lakes than the side walk and because it is inside the perimeter, it is shorter, and I am cold. The ice has finally melted from the lake allowing the wind to slightly ripple the water. It smells like algae but not an over powering stink. If it was any stronger I have no doubt that someone in the neighborhood would complain to the point of requiring the HOA to take action. Pettier things have happened. The path leads up to the fence surrounding the neighborhood recreation center and pool. I think that in a few months, I will take my son here like we do every summer, only this time my belly will be even more swollen. My thoughts go again to judgmental stares from young women without children. I tell myself that growing another human is beautiful and I should not waste my energy with ignorant people. The path moves passed the parking lot. The grass is gray matching the over cast and temperature. The side walk comes into view which dissects the space. This is an easy choice. I hang a right and walk the smooth path that separates the lakes and a soccer field. I have taken my son to many events on that field. In the heat of the summer, the neighborhood celebrates holidays, watches kid movies on a huge blow up screen, and sometimes they do not need an excuse to set up bounce houses and bring in the food trucks.

My body begins to hurt from the cold so I walk faster home than when I initially started. At this point I do not care what anyone thinks about seeing me walk, though my brain begs for a distraction from the task at hand. It also does not help that my bladder feels like it shrank in the process. Making it a point to be hyper aware of this walk really brought to light my insecurity and anxiety to even step outside. Narrating my life is not anything new; I have done it since I was a kid. Being fully aware of my self-talk makes me realize that I constantly use coping mechanisms that I have been taught in one place or another.