The Dream

I had a dream the other night where I was surrounded by people from my community, “the elders” you might say. A contingency approached quite abruptly to inform me that I was late on a payment that I was responsible for as executor of my grandmother’s estate. The payment had been $50, but now that it was late I had to pay $10,000!

“What?!”

Their faces were quite serious.

“Are you crazy?”

“No, you owe us $10,000 and you must pay it immediately!” was their stern reply and I felt them pressing closer as if they might arrest me if I didn’t produce the money right away.

“No!” I screamed back at them. “What, do you think I’m crazy or something? I’m not giving you anything! You can’t control me! You can’t make me do anything! That doesn’t even make sense! What makes you think you can just tell me to do something and I’ll do it? Who are you to tell me what I’m going to do anyway?” And on I went, raving at them, pushing back with all of my might as they tried to press me down.

They seemed confused by my resistance, and the faces of all those surrounding me registered shock–not at the men, but at me! The entire community that stood around watching looked at one another in surprise and I could hear them murmuring, “is this Alice’s grandaughter? Oh my! Alice? Yes! Oh, I just can’t believe it, not Alice’s grandaughter it couldn’t be…”. They were “amazed” that Alice’s grandaughter would “behave” this way!

When I awoke I was tired and could still feel a pressure on my chest, as if I am still being pressed down.  There’s a knot in my throat. It’s a familiar feeling–this pressure… to meet ridiculous expectations, to attain to ridiculous standards and to be someone I’m not.  Maybe it was just a dream.

maybe it wasn’t.

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#Daily Post #disobey

Prisoner in Paradise–a Parable

Once upon a time a peasant girl met a handsome prince who swept her off her feet and carried her away to his magical kingdom to live “happily ever after.” There he provided her with “everything she could ever want”–a gorgeous castle, fancy clothes, servants and chariots. Eventually, she even gave birth to two beautiful children. It seemed the peasant girl, indeed, had “everything”! She was certainly the envy of all the citizens in the kingdom. Yet, deep in her heart, the peasant girl was unhappy and the prince could not understand why.  After all, he had given her “everything.” He offered her more things, but she turned them away. He tried to impress her with his heroic deeds and commendations, but she was unimpressed. With each day, month and year the peasant girl-turned princess became increasingly depressed.

Then, one day, she was gone!

No one in the kingdom could find her. The servants searched her quarters, the children searched the gardens, the prince searched the bedroom. She was nowhere to be found. Suddenly, the maid came rushing in from the kitchen waving a slip of paper. It was a note that read:

Dear Beloved,

When I was a peasant girl I was confined to my father’s house. I had to obey him and abide by his rules. When I became a woman I left my father’s house but was, again, subject to a man’s rule. I have spent my entire life longing to be free. I loved my father and I love my husband. They are both good men who have been good to me, but the person who I long to be can not exist in captivity, even if it looks like paradise! I am more than a daughter, a wife and a mother. I am also a poet, an artist, a speaker, but you’ve never heard my voice! How could you? In this kingdom it is drowned out by so many other sounds… So, I had to get away…to hear the sound of my own voice!

I wonder how many women can relate to the princess in this story? Feeling like a “prisoner in paradise” who can–or should–not complain about a “good” life with a husband and children who love you, but also feeling completely underwhelmed and unfulfilled because you have your own dreams and ambitions that have been set aside for theirs?  I’ve struggled with many of the “safe” choices I’ve made, wondering if I should have taken some risks instead.

But, where does the princess in this story go? She leaves the safety of the kingdom–the protection of her prince and the surety of his purse! She’s on her own without his advice and she’ll have to figure out how to navigate the wilderness all by herself! She dares to venture out after years of pampered, protected and privileged captivity. What does she feel now that she’s gone? Fear? Freedom? Both? Will she succeed or will she fail? Will she hear her own voice or will it be drowned out by a cacophony of sounds she never anticipated? Your/her/our plot thickens!

To be continued…

slipper

 

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#Daily Post #Traditional

Flash fiction: Life’s a Challenge–Face It!

In my Creative Writing class we learned about micro-fiction or “flash” fiction, a genre that takes the “short” in short story very seriously. Micro-fiction really challenges a writer to get his or her point across quickly and creatively. Every word counts. It’s much like poetry, except it’s prose! So, last month I featured Raven’s story.  This month I’m featuring my two boys–there’s only two of them in the class–and they each did a great job with this assignment. First, “She’s Like a Wack-A-Mole Game by Thierry Lundy

Everything was fine between her and I, until she started to give me trouble.  Like a psychiatrist, I tried my best to help her resolve her issues, but this was a frustrating and expensive task.  She became too much like a wack-a-mole game.  It seemed like as soon as I would knock one issue out, another would pop up.  This led to constant visits to the store to buy her things to make her feel better.

Sometimes, I would be overcome with gladness as we rode through the city together.  I would not hear one peep from her.  To me, this was a sign that she was healed.  Filled with hope, I would say to myself, “Maybe she has overcome the wack-a-mole syndrome.”  Then on day this hope of mine quickly vanished.  While riding down the street with her, another mole popped up.  It was a big mole.  Her brakes went out.

She was my first car, a Ford Tempo.  She was my own personal wack-a-mole game.

Ford Tempo

Next is Cory Jackson. He’s kind of a quiet force in the room, but he has a way with words. Since he didn’t have a title for this piece, I’ve chosen to call it “DECISIONS, DECISIONS”

Staring into space, it seemed I watched him contemplate every decision he’s ever made. His rights, his wrongs, the right things he’s left and the things he’s left that he knew was right. Puzzled, but yet still determined to figure out the solution in this life and death situation. As we both stood there aimlessly, I mumbled, “Just pick”.

With a sarcastic smirk he replied, “I can’t, it’s not that easy.”

“What do you mean it’s not that easy? Either pick the right one or the left one, you can’t go wrong with either one.”

“If only it was that simple” he quickly responded.

“Well, it is, so pick or I’ll choose for you.”

“Fine!” he stated, annoyed at the fact that I was rushing him to reach a conclusion, he gracefully stretched out his hand as if he knew all along which one he wanted, then  swiftly pulled it back. “Can’t I get both?”

“Absolutely not!” I responded. “Either pick or we can leave.”

Disappointed, he laughed it off. “Ok fine, I’ll go with the Kyrie 2’s rather than the Kyrie 3’s.

“Alright grab them so I can pay.”

As he grabbed the shoes of his choosing, filled with excitement, relieved his hard work of decision-making had finally payed off, I watched as my younger brother made eye connect with the beautiful patent leather on the Jordan 11’s. Noticing, I quickly shouted, “Don’t you do this!”

Standing there in a daze he looked at me and said, “But what about these?”

I sighed and sat back down. “Just pick.” In that moment I was reminded of the trouble with being a 16 year old boy.

Jordans

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