The Daily Me (Journal) Memories 2 – 01/04/17

Today’s prompt comes from Journaling Your Way Home via Writing Our Way Home, in which Kaspa has asked us to write a memory from the timeline of our life that we wrote Sunday. (Note: this is taken from an e-book which I purchased as part of this e-course. If you’d like to join in, you can purchase the course at the Journaling Your Way Home address above)

No Happy Ever Afters For Me

Shortly after my sister kicked me out of her place in Greensboro, NC in the late Summer of 1985, I returned to Virginia, stayed with my Aunt for a while and got a job at the ice cream store she worked in. There, I met two female missionaries from the Mormon Church. Before long, I started attending, had moved into my own apartment and was doing pretty well for myself. Suddenly, for no reason that I was told, the female missionaries were recalled and two male missionaries showed up. One of them was this tall, linebacker of a guy with dark-hair and sapphire blue eyes. He was very charismatic and I fell head-over-hills for him. His name was David from Modesto CA and like me, he was a convert to the Church. Over the course of six months, we got to know one another well. I even cooked dinner for him and his companion a few times. Sometimes, they would stop by the ice cream store, get my keys and hang out at my apartment while I worked (I know they were watching tv, which was against the rules).

David liked to play practical jokes on people and he played quite a few on me. One night, I came home from work to find sticky notes all over my walls and the inserts from magazines tossed haphazardly around the room (that was his companion’s thing). Another night, I came home and it looked like I had been robbed. Every piece of furniture was gone, except that it wasn’t. I had a very tiny room that I used as my bedroom and they had stuffed every stick of furniture, books, dishes, etc. into that little room. They couldn’t fit the sofa in there so they just propped it up at the door. Another night, I came home to find the inside of my house, down the staircase and the tree outside my apartment building toilet-papered. Sometimes he would call me late at night, just to tell me ‘sorry, wrong number’ repeatedly. I knew it was him. I would recognize his voice anywhere.

But the worst joke he pulled on me was at dinner one night. I had cooked him and his companion a three course meal. Salad; pot roast with potatoes, carrots and peas; and a homemade banana cream pie for desert. I had slaved over all of it all day, especially the pie – supposedly David’s favorite. It was my first time making pie crust and meringue and it had come out perfectly. We’d eaten the meal and I’d put the pie in the fridge and gone to the bathroom. When I came out, BAM! Banana cream pie in the face, followed by laughter, and David and his companion running away. You’d think that I would have hated David, but I didn’t. I only loved him more.

After about six months, word began to spread about David and his companion spending too much time at one woman’s apartment. No, it wasn’t mine. It was a mutual friend of ours. She ran interference for he and I, allowing him to call me on the phone at night and opening her apartment up for us to hang out, supervised. She had no idea he was spending so much time at my apartment and neither of us told her, nor did the companion. Anyway, the Church elders decided to split the two missionaries up and send them to other locations. An elderly couple took their place.

On the night David left, he called me and asked me to marry him. Of course, I said yes. He still had a year to serve as a missionary, but he said he would call his sister back in CA and make arrangements for me to go live with her until his service was up. I told our mutual friend, but she wouldn’t believe me. Then I received a letter from him a week later, expressing the same thing. She finally believed me. The sister thing fell through, but he told me to start making preparations to have a Temple wedding. That meant I had to get baptized in the Church, take the required classes and get a Temple recommendation. I did all of those things for him. Our mutual friend and her two sisters even went with me to the Temple. It was all happening so fast. I’d gotten the Temple recommendation on my first try, went through the Temple and was all set to marry that handsome, charismatic man from California. We talked three times a week by phone and wrote letters nearly every day. I knew he was the one.

David still had five months left of his mission, but he was no longer enjoying it. He stole the mission car, drove all the way to Covington VA from Richmond VA and held up at our mutual friend’s apartment. He called me from there, said he was leaving his mission and going back home. I asked about the wedding and he said we’d have to plan it by phone. I didn’t even get to see him before they sent him back to CA. When he arrived back in CA, he still called me frequently for the first couple of weeks. Then silence. He didn’t call and didn’t return mine. He eventually told our mutual friend that he had left the Church and no longer wanted to marry me. I got the news from her, not him. I was never given any further explanation and never heard from him again.

This was supposed to be my fairy tale wedding, my happy ever after. I couldn’t understand why he didn’t want me. What had I done? I was heart broken and fell into the only comforting arms around – Andy’s. The guy I had dated while living with my sister. Four months later, I was pregnant, married to him and living in Burlington NC. Completely unhappy and definitely no fairy tale. A dark tale, perhaps. But that’s for another memory.

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The Daily Me (Journal) Familiar Memory – 01/03/17

Today’s prompt comes via Writing Our Way Home, as part of the email section of the course Journaling Your Way Home. (Note: If you’d like to join in, you can purchase the course at the Journaling Your Way Home address above to receive both the e-book and the emails)

“Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.”
~E. L. Doctorow

Start with a familiar memory. Re-enter it. Live it again. Let go into fantasy if you like. Go where the writing takes you.

You know how you can smell something and it takes you back in time to a memory? I did that this morning. I was refiling my humidifier and suddenly smelt salt water. It made no sense. There’s nothing salty about the mist from the humidifier, but there it was anyway. Salt water. My mind instantly drifted back in time to the mid-to-late 90s when I was attending Hollins College and my friend Claire and I would take Spring Break trips to Nags Head. Suddenly, I was there again – walking along the sandy shore, listening to the Ocean breathing, and feeling the cool salt water on my face. I felt her calling me, enticing me to join her, to be one with her. She has that effect on me, lulling me into a state of complete bliss.

I am pulled into her foam-green petticoats, swirling around with her, allowing myself to drift further out and under. I feel the pressure as she gently coaxes me to go deeper and deeper. I want to be with her. To become her. To be inexplicably one with her and never resurface. I don’t worry that I am made of flesh and blood. I am also made of water and can, therefore, become water. I watch as schools of fish swim by. They are as curious of me as I am of them. What is a human doing so deep? Is she out of her mind? Surely she will drown, or perhaps she will adapt. I’d like to adapt, grow my own gills so I never have to leave this place. Then I could not only be one with the Ocean, but also one with the dolphins, whales and sharks.

In the distance, I hear a raven cawing and am lifted from the sea. There is a war going on inside of me. A battle between the call of the Ocean and the call of the Raven. To be deep in the sea, or soaring through the air. I want to be with both, but I know that I cannot. I realize it is my dual nature as part Gemini and part Cancer, a cuspie. To be of Air and Water. In my mind, I return to my mountains feeling wholly unsatisfied and wanting.

The Daily Me (Journal) Memories 1 – 01/02/17

Today’s prompt comes from Journaling Your Way Home via Writing Our Way Home, in which Kaspa has asked us to write a memory from the timeline of our life that we wrote yesterday. (Note: this is taken from an e-book which I purchased as part of this e-course. If you’d like to join in, you can purchase the course at the Journaling Your Way Home address above)

Why’d They Choose Me?

Looking back on my childhood, I’ve often wondered why those three boys back in grade school chose me to sexually harass. What was it about me that made them feel it was okay to do that to me? Did they notice something about me that made me easily accessible to their perversions? Was it even about me? Or were they just seeing what all they could get away with? Twelve-year-olds. I still can’t wrap my head around it.

I do know it made me feel dirty, cheap and insignificant. I also felt like I deserved it. I never reported it at school and I never told my parents. Truthfully, I didn’t want anyone to know. It became my own shameful secret, but it wasn’t just mine. Those three boys told plenty of other students and my three best friends knew because they were there when it began. I was only eleven, nearly twelve. They stole my innocence and childhood from me. No child that young should have to know the disgusting, sexual things I knew. I still don’t even know how those boys knew those things. Probably from porn magazines and/or movies.

It didn’t even stop after grade school. Those three boys harassed me all through high school too. I wanted so desperately to tell my 9th grade English teacher what a nasty son she had, but I never did. Who would have believed me over a school teacher’s son? Years on, the other two became local cops. Can you imagine any young woman feeling safe if they’d know the way those two carried on as teenagers? The school teacher’s son was one of the local potheads, not sure where he ended up after high school. I do know that when one of the other two who’d become cops died last year, he was given a hero’s funeral and people all over the area came to praise him. If they’d only known what I knew.

I know that’s when my psychological problems began. I became a bulimic because I wanted to be thin like all the ‘good’ girls in school, the ones who were fawned over but not sexually harassed. I was no longer the happy-go-lucky kid. I became withdrawn, dark, and couldn’t stand to be around people. I wasn’t suicidal, but I did cut myself often to get rid of the pain I felt inside. I still have scars on my thighs. I didn’t want anyone to see what I’d done, so I hid it away. I hid a lot of things in those years.

That Summer of ’79 only confirmed my suspicions that it must have been something about me. That was the summer that my sister’s then-boyfriend backed me into the alcove behind the staircase at home and molested me. It was 4th of July and it was supposed to have been a fun time with family and friends.

Dad was barbecuing in the backyard, mom was making salads in the kitchen, my sister was outside with family and my brother was upstairs. I remember mom had put on some Elvis music. I went through the hallway from the living room headed toward the kitchen. I got to the doorway of the dining room and got pulled into that alcove. I remember Little Sister was playing and J whispered into my ear, “Big sister does. Does little sister?” I can’t even listen to that song anymore without remembering his hands all over me and his tongue down my throat. I hate to think what might have happened if my brother hadn’t come down the stairs. He let me loose and I fled to the backyard. I never told a soul what he did and he acted like nothing had happened when he joined my sister a few minutes later.

I think the shame I felt in those days led me to be promiscuous later on in my life. I was looking for love and acceptance, and I didn’t care what sleazy guy I ended up with to get them. Of course, I never found either and I only hate myself more because of it. I learned self-loathing at the tender age of twelve and it persisted until about three years ago when I decided to be celibate and start loving myself.

 

Memories Come Flooding Back

It never ceases to amaze me where my childhood memories will stem from. First, I should tell you that I have a difficult time remembering my childhood. I had a childhood illness that has made my long-term memory fuzzy. Generally, I remember only bad things because those get repeated over and over again in my head forcing me to remember them. That is part of my mental illness. But every now and again, something will draw out of me childhood memories. I cherish this because it happens so rarely.

Today, after reading Shawn Bird’s poem Rockery, I was able to relive two memories. The first was the many times while out playing with my sister, I would fall down on pine cones and tear up the same place on my knee. While this is a painful memory, it is also a happy one. We lived in a small house in the country surrounded by a pine tree grove. A slim path led from our house through the woods to a neighbor’s house where my sister and I would go to play with the twins who lived there. My sister always ran ahead of me and I tried my best to keep up, but usually ended up stumbling and falling on the pine cones that covered the path. These were simpler and happier times for me before life got too complicated.

The next memory was of the hen and chicks that my paternal grandmother always grew in terracotta pots in the yard. I remember sitting on the porch staring at them and wondering how they could survive our harsh winters. I guess grandmother brought them inside in the winter, but at that time I had no clue. They were just so small and delicate. I remember thinking once that I wished I was a hen and chick, living in those pots and just soaking up the sun and rain. Again, a simpler and happier time in my life.