And every time I admit that out loud it seems as though the person I am confessing to has also experienced some form of sexual abuse. As much as it helps to know that I am not alone it hurts to know just how many people out there have had to go through the same thing. I don’t wish this pain on anyone. The guilt. The uncertainty. The shame.
My mind blocked the memory. I drowned it in years of rum, in pain killers, in boys with fancy toys. I drowned it in lies.
But truth as we know, is the strongest of all things.
So the memory was uncovered, years later, exposed like a compound fracture—bone and blood and ichor poking through the skin. It was like I was reliving the trauma all over again. PTSD set in. I was on high alert, agitated, quick on the draw. Untrusting. Unworthy. Victimized. I experienced flashbacks. Nightmares. I continued to lie. To tell myself and everyone around me that I was ok.
Writing would draw out the final truth, for even in fiction, for even in the most fantastical of fantasy novels, lies the depths of human emotion. Writing would expose and explore the darkness I kept inside. I wouldn’t explain myself, not in so many words, not for a few years. I wouldn’t be brave enough, until finally, verse caught a hold in my heart once more. Poetry. I would confess it all in poetry.
I would find my voice as not a victim anymore but rather as a survivor.
You think of me, and maybe you think of glitter and cats and a husband who thinks talking is his American right. But there are deeper levels and layers as there are to any human being, and I can’t keep on pretending I’m nothing more than a good time. Although I am, considering I can literally shoot vodka without blinking, and I’m no longer allowed to be within five hundred feet of McKinney Street in Dallas, but that’s of no concern right now.
Here’s what is:
My soul is fighting something dark.
My definition of “writer” is changing.
I went to Mass today for the first time in a long time.
If your heart is skipping a beat, and you’re concerned that I’m going to start preaching to you, let me calm your fears. I am not the preaching type. I’m the “start crying while smoking after shooting too much vodka and not blinking on a random street in Dallas” type. I’m a good time, remember? But I need to talk about a few things until they termite up my insides, and I drift away like so much dust.
First: the night terrors. I’m not sure if you’ve heard of these things, but they go beyond your usual run-of-the-mill, shit-your-pants nightmare. Your body is literally (the old school version of “literally,” foks) paralyzed, it’s like being both present in your current state while also inhabiting a higher level of consciousness. In these dreams, I can move things with my mind. I see ghosts. I’ve seen demons.
I’ve had sleep issues since I was a child. I’ve also been highly sensitive to paranormal activity. Hence, the vodka shooting. Kidding. But this is like a culmination of all those things. It’s your face in a mirror with your eyes sucked out.
Sure, this stuff has been great fodder for the writer in me, but as the living, breathing being who would like to keep her soul in tact, it’s been scary as hell.
So now my brain is changing, at least the way my brain thinks. As a born and raised Catholic, sometimes you get to that “give me a break” level of reasoning that makes you cut off ties with your religion and faith all in one go. People would try and convince me that I needed God, but see, I’ve always known I’ve never needed anything or anyone other than my laptop and a cup of coffee. So when people would talk about faith and religion and all that gooey goodness that made my writer’s heart want to shrivel up and die, I’d shut my ears off and inwardly laugh at how wrong they’d gotten it.
And let’s take a quick second to point something out: some people do have things all wrong. Some people drink up religion and leave faith scattered in the bottom of their cup like lemon seeds. Some people have turned love into hate and stick a religious sticker on it. I am NOT talking about these particular people.
I am talking about people who love through action and have their inward eye on something I’ve sometimes had trouble seeing. I think about Ferguson and suicide and local little terrors, and I smirk at the thought of God. I’m a writer. I don’t need God, and let’s face it, the whole world seems devoid of a higher power.
But then the dreams come, and I’m a vacuous bag of skin, no bones, and something dark fills me up, breathes into my balloon.
I’m a writer. And I need God. Hard.
You see, my definition of what it means to be a writer is changing, and granted it’s a personal change. But it’s a change that’s severing into my dark, it’s releasing a hot and quiet light. I’m moved by God, by goodness, by a whole and honest heart. I’m moved by the grit and grime of life and a shot glass full of vodka. I’m moved by the higher, the lower and everything in between. But above all, I’m moved by peace, by love, and the knowledge that change doesn’t have to be a dirty word.
I hunch my back and waggle my fingers over the pitcher.
“It’s my own blend of magical herbs and bit of eye of newt.”
“Don’t drink all my tea,” Mother says. She does not look up from her sweepstakes entry forms.
“What are you doing, Ms. Dotty?” My little charge asks.
“Securing my family’s financial future,” Mother replies, “I’m finally on a winning-streak. I’ve won a television set, several free vacations, some gift cards, and a camper. It won’t be long before They show up here with a giant check.”
The child has finished her tea and is done listening. She slams her cup down and runs out the back door, pushing past my father as she does.
“Excuse me,” she says.
My Father does not notice her politeness. His eyes are wet.
“What’s wrong with you?” My Mother asks.
I move to the window to keep an eye on the play structure in the yard.
“Accountant called about our taxes,” my Father says, “we owe.”
“We usually get a refund.”
“Not this year.”
“He says we owe ’cause of your winnings.”
“So, we’ll pay it.”
“Dotty, it’s two thousand dollars.”
There is a pause. The girl is on the swing. I can barely make out the sound of her singing voice.
“Where are we supposed to get that kind of money?” My Mother finally asks.
“I don’t know,” my Dad replies, “maybe we can sell the camper.”
Congratulations to J.R.Hershbergerfor winning this week’s Prompted challenge. If you’d like the chance to have to have your short story published on Tipsy Lit, you can learn how here.
The inspiration taken from The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer should have been broad enough to encourage some very different responses. In case you forgot, this week’s prompt was to write a story with irony as the theme and includes the word ‘dandeliony.’ Be sure you get those links submitted by 9 pm EST so they can be added to tomorrow’s poll.
And in case you’re brand new to the Tipsy Lit contest, you can find the guidelines here.
When I went to college I had to use a fan to sleep through the night because my roommate snored so loud you could hear it all the way in space. It was the only thing that helped drown out the methodical buzz drones coming out of my roommate’s nasal passage.
Anywhere I went: sleepovers, camp trips, hotels, I needed to have a fan in order to sleep. I became hopelessly addicted to white noise.
That year, I came home for the holidays and my mom, being the saint that she is dealing with a woman-child, had outfitted my room with a nice oscillating fan that allowed me to drift off into dreamland sans interruption.
Then on Christmas, I was faced with the greatest dilemma of all time. Do I open the big box or the little box? It had been so long since I gave my mom my list (yes, if you are in college and don’t give your mom a Christmas list, you’re not cool) so I didn’t remember what could possibly be behind the wrapping.
I decided on opening the small box. You know, save the best stuff for last.
When I unwrapped the unassuming, regular shaped box, I was gifted something so beautiful, so serene, and so magnificent, I almost fell off my chair.
My aunt had bought me a white noise machine. And when it turned on, it purred so delicately I almost passed out on the spot.
Like Danny Devito, Kraft Singles, and Fireball nips, good things come in small packages. It was at that moment I realized, my white noise machine was a small Christmas gift from Snooze Heaven.
That’s how I feel about Twitter. Great things come in small packages. You have all these feelings you want to express but you only get 140 characters. Unlike Facebook, you have to condense what you want to say and make it meaningful.
Twitter is my white noise machine, my Danny Devito, my Kraft singles.
Tipsy Lit is no stranger to words. We love words. But it takes a special someone and a lot of wine to be able to concisely express what you want to say within a limit. Especially when you love words.
Here are the five reasons you should follow Tipsy Lit on Twitter:
1. Hashtags are so in right now. It’s like being able to get away with dirty jokes in an inappropriate setting. The hashtag alleviates you of all the pressure normal people have to deal with in everyday life. Want to be sarcastic? Hashtag. Want to not make sense? Hashtag. Want to blame all your problems on alcohol? Hashtag. At Tipsy Lit we’re hashtagging mother truckers, and we want you to join in on the conversation (#ShamelessSelfPromotion)
2. We promote good stuff. We like to give out so much information via the Twittershpere, you will never miss a contest, a link up, or a guest post. Because we’re all so awesome and you need to read this website like a thousand times a day to get all smart and stuff.
3. Birds are dumb. Tweets are technically sounds coming from birds, but birds are dumb and I like to be able to understand what people are saying. That’s why we use words on Twitter. We like to communicate with the people. The people are our friends. Birds are not.
4. You’ll look more intelligent. Not only does following Tipsy Lit scream mature individual, it will also make you look like an elite human when you tell people you’re in a virtual book club that is also like a writer’s workshop and a place to get drunk, remotely. You’re making yourself better, making more friends, and making unfiltered comments about cats and glitter that are widely accepted and encouraged.
5. Everyone needs a Danny Devito. He’s just so fun. Tipsy Lit wants to be your Danny Devito. Let us take you on a Twitter ride and bring you 140 characters of sheer intellect. Or, just follow us, so we can follow you, and maybe we’ll be the ones to get smarter. (#Confusing)
PS – If Danny Devito is out there and reading this, I hope you know that Matilda was an awesome movie, and I still laugh every time I see her glue your hat to your head.
PPS – If you are Kraft Singles and are reading this, I am totally open to free samples, and/or lifetime supplies. Inquire within.
It isn’t too often I have to flag someone in the airport, since customers come and go as quickly as I can say onomatopoeia or think of the perfect sound to imitate the projectile vomit someone may or may not be gifting to everyone on their flight (alcohol or anxiety related, it’s hard to tell).
A few days ago we experienced a supermoon which is pretty much code for bat-shit crazy customers; by the third hour of a quiet shift there was a woman, two and a half drinks in, flying backwards off her barstool like something out of The Hangover.
I’m always careful to watch for signs of drunkenness amongst customers, and this lady hadn’t dropped any hints until she landed on her ass and declared herself a klutz, quickly became “besties” with the patron beside her and starting to cry when she realized she’d missed her flight.
I presented her with a tall glass of water and the playful presumption that she was done.
A lot of anxiety comes along with flying, and sometimes people will chug a pill or two before downing a vodka & cranberry, all in the name of relaxation. Or, you know, face planting on the bar. This makes my job a little – ahem - more interesting.
Next up was Mr. Loudmouth, nothing new in this atmosphere.
“GIN AND TONIC!”
Straining your vocal cords? Fine. Rolling your eyes around like Regan when my coworker delivers your food? Not so fine. Suddenly he had no clue what he’d ordered, and when she repeated herself he asked if it was free.
I presented him with a glass of water as I had the crazy woman, and called him back inside when he attempted to leave without paying, and without his bag. He payed, he didn’t tip, and then he asked for another drink.
“I’m sorry, but I don’t feel comfortable serving you anymore alcohol,” I said.
“You make me feel bad, you saying that,” he said (messily).