The Road to Bitterness

I used to work for a very sad, lonely, bitter woman. You could almost taste anger in the air around you when she walked into the building, and the days were always longer and more difficult when she hung around the office. She didn’t come around a lot, thank goodness, as she had more than one business she ran, & preferred to spend most of her time at the other place.

While I worked for her, I knew some of her story…how she’d lost her husband to cancer the year I graduated high school, and that this was the reason she was so isolated from others. 

But, I could never really wrap my mind around how much his death had affected her, & how she’d let it change her so.

Not until this year’s changes in my own life started affecting me.

You see…

I finally figured out, that when M lost her husband, her whole life came to a screeching halt. 

Because she couldn’t bear to let it move forward. 

He was her everything. He was her balance, her other side to her life’s coin. She was the saver, the conservative, the grounded, down-to-earth realist…while he was the spender, the dreamer, the up-in-the-clouds risk-taker. He lifted her up from the doldrums, and she brought him back to reality.  They worked together, really, really well, but apart, they spun out of control in opposite directions.

And once he was gone…she ground to a halt. And resented that the world around her kept spinning.

She took it as a personal attack, a total offensive affront, that life didn’t just stop out of respect for his death.

As the years kept flowing past, she refused to acknowledge the truth, & held fast. Hoarding things, trying to fill the hole he left behind with stuff, even though it never worked, she kept at it, & still tries to this day, clinging to the past. Bitter & angry, isolated from the people who would’ve helped her move through her loss.

But she didn’t want to.

Without her Balance, she lost her Passion, her Reason to move forward with the rest of the world.

And so, she moved into Bitterness, and remains there to this day.

My story is different than hers, in that I haven’t lost my life-partner to death.

But, I have lost some of the same Balance…some of my Passion…and my Reason to move forward every day. 

My family, my children, have all scattered  into the winds to live their own lives. Natural, and expected, true, and I knew this day was coming. My caretaking days have always been numbered. Children are not meant to live with their parents for their whole lives.  They are, however, meant to grow up, become independent, move out, seek lives of their own, & leave their parents behind.

This, is right, and good, and natural.

However, this also means that I need to search for a new Balance. A new Passion. A new Reason to get out of bed, to move forward with the world…

Or I risk becoming like M…

I can feel the bitterness seeping into me, some days…

I can sense myself becoming short with others, isolating myself from the world, because I can’t bear to witness their happiness, as I sit outside it, alone, and chafed with the cold of that loneliness.

I’m not angry, yet, that they’re happy…truly, I’m not.

But I envy what I do not have, & I can envision a future where I could hate them for it…if I allowed myself to take that road.

This…

This – terrifies me. That I could become such a hateful thing. 

This is not who I am.

I am a woman who loves.

I am a woman who is a Caretaker.

It has always been one of the deepest purposes of my life. To help others. To take care of those I love.

And to contemplate the possibility that I could actually become so bitter towards others for simply being happy ?

I can’t let this happen.

This – is why I need to leave this place.

I need a fresh start.

All I have here anymore is my job.

And, even though I still love what I do…

It’s not enough.

It’s not enough to get me out of bed every morning, because my job is not my Passion.  It’s not my Balance. And it’s not my Reason.

It’s not enough to keep me from the Bitterness…

And that’s frightening.

This is why I’m making my plan. My one-year plan is to save enough money so that I can move. I will sell the house in which I currently live, & I am going to move to another part of the country for that fresh start. 

I know that it will be scary, starting over at my age. At 47, it’s not always easy to start afresh with the job market, but I have skills that I can take with me to, hopefully, help with that. I have worked in my market for 17 years, & have earned the respect of lenders & realtors alike for my work ethic & skills. And, if I have to start somewhere else at ground level, so be it. I’m humble enough to know that “dirt don’t hurt”.

I just have to get there…

And that means getting off the Road to Bitterness, and on to the Road of Acceptance.

I accept that this is where I am right now.

I accept that my life has changed.

And I accept that I will continue to change every day from here on out because I will it. 

I do NOT accept bitterness.

I do NOT accept stagnation.

I have to continue to free myself from the things which are holding me down, or my wings will never lift me off the ground.  

Fearless #FamChallenge

Beloved Nephew and I are doing a writing challenge for a little while, to get the creative forces moving. This is my first installment.

*******************†********************

I’ve found myself wishing lately that I could live my life fearlessly, as I used to be able to…

To not have to worry about things constantly, to feel the constriction of anxiety wrapping itself around my chest and throat.

To be able to simply get up and go when I want to, where I want to, without fretting about how I’m going to get there, is it going to be crowded and dangerous, will I get lost, what if something does happen, then what?

I used to be able to live like that.

I sit here, shaking my head and ruefully laughing under my breath, remembering how crazy it seems now…

On a whim, I would pack up my daughters, toss overnight bags in my car, and we would drive 12 hours to Iowa.

Yes, on a whim.

We would make pit stops at the various “scenic stops” along the way, play, take pictures, get out of the car for a few minutes, chase each other around like hooligans…then back into the car, and down the road we’d go.

We always stayed with family at the other end, even if it was on a couch, or in a sleeping bag on the floor, but it didn’t matter to me, or to the girls, we all loved the away time, & getting to see Gramma, the aunts, uncles & cousins.

Visiting, I called it.

Escaping…is a little more accurate.

Luckily, gas was much cheaper back then, & my girls were happy little travelers, loving our “road trips”.  They ate healthy food from relatives with as much gusto as the junk food from gas stations. And would help clean up any mess they made with our stay before we left again.

Irresponsible, some would call it.

Free-spirited, others would say.

Young…is the terminology I use.

But, I’m not so young, anymore.

Still… I live alone now… And my weekends belong to just me once again. 

Maybe I need to “plan” a Fearless Weekend… And get the Hell out of Dodge.

Get in my pickup, pack an overnight bag, and drive…somewhere…other than here.

Hmm…

*wanders off humming to self and grinning from ear to ear*

Opposable #FlashFiction

“You’ll write what I want you to write, and that’s that, goddammit!”

Moira flinched as a meaty hand slammed the table in front of her, punctuating the sentence with a slap.

“No,” she breathed firmly, “I won’t. I’m not a smut writer, and I won’t start just because you’re threatening me. I write what I want, and kidnapping me won’t matter, you fucktard. You’ll never get what you want from me. Sick bastard.”

Moira could hear him grinding his teeth as he growled under his breath at her refusal, but she refused to cave in to his sicko demands.

She’d been here for just over 3 nights now, or 4 days…she couldn’t really tell. She knew she was underground in some kind of bomb shelter, since she could smell the musty, mildewy smell of old water on concrete, but he’d fixed the place up…almost nice.

Creepily so.

The walls were covered with faux wood panels, that had pictures and paintings hanging from them, to add some semblance of “windows”, even to having curtains hung around a few. It was – homey – and macabre, all at the same time.

The table at which she was now seated was real wood, a deep butcher’s block kitchen- style surface, ready to seat at least 6 people, but currently only holding her and an old manual typewriter, a fresh ream of paper, & a cup full of freshly sharpened Number 2 pencils.

Exactly like she’d told Author’s Gazette last month when she’d done that article about her writing habits, & her quirks about liking to have pencils on hand for the odd note-taking, twirling, putting up her hair in a bun when really getting serious, & chewing on the erasers when she got stuck on plot points.

“Alright. Well, you’ll stay here until you write what I want, then.”

************

“Are you going to write it yet?”

“No, go to hell, asshole.”

“Supper’s on the table.”

“Carrots and cheese sticks again?”

“Bologna tomorrow. You know you get meat once a week.”

“Fuck off”

“Write it.”

“Die.”

****************

“Maybe…maybe if I just… No, I can’t.  But…then he’d let me leave, right? Yeah, sure, after all this time…he’d just let me go. What, it’s been how long? How many weeks, months…ohh…god…so long…he’s never going to let me go…”

***********************

“Write it”

“Never”

“WRITE IT!! I’LL FUCKING KILL YOU!”

“THEN JUST DO IT ALREADY!”

“no”

“Then die”

“You first”

*************************

“Crunch…crunch….crunch…..”

“carrots all gone…hehe hehe…”

********

“OH GOD! What did you do!!”

The blood dripped from the table, smeared along the walls, spelling out “Never” before slumping into an indecipherable scrawl near the bed where the dead woman lay. All her fingers bitten off, strewn about on the floor and tabletop.

“No, dammit! I never got my story!”

He flipped her over onto her back, furious, noticing as he did so, that she was smiling, with her own thumb, firmly wedged in her own mouth and throat.

Well…it was an opposable thumb, after all.


The First Night

The quality of the sound is different, somehow.

The sound of the absolute silence of my house, for this, the first night of me officially living alone.

OnlySon moved out on Monday.

And EldestDaughter left with her horde today.

I’ve had days & nights on my own before, sure. Plenty of them. OnlySon went practically every weekend to his father’s house. I’ve had summers without the kids since the divorce.

It’s not like I’ve never had the house to myself…

But it’s never been this official.

And a part of me feels as though I’ve been set adrift. 

Unmoored, I am not sure which direction I’m headed in now.

I no longer have children to raise.

I have no spouse or SO to share with or answer to.

Some might think this is a reason to celebrate, to cut loose & go all “Yay Me” all over the place.

But, that means…they don’t really understand who I am at my core.

I am a caretaker.

I like and thrive on having people I care about around me to share my life with, be they children, an SO, Chosen Family, you know…loved ones.

When I’m alone… 

There’s no one to care for.

And there’s no one here who cares for me…so…

What’s the sense in staying?

Time to figure out how to get gone.