Posts Tagged With: daily prompt

A Challenge Followed by a Challenge

The oddest thing just happened to me here.

I responded to this writing challenge from WordPress by writing about how and why I’m a writer.

I wrote for an hour, then two hours, a beautiful essay that summed up so many disparate but connected parts of my life. The timing of this challenge synced perfectly with a need I had to remind myself why writing tops my daily list of things to do.

I felt energized and excited about writing again.

I saved the draft, then left the room to take a couple of photos to include in the post. (See the above photos? Aren’t they nice?)

When I returned to my computer what I had written had disappeared. Poof. Into thin air. Not on some computer cloud on the ethernet, or internet or web or wherever. Just gone.

Alakazam.

This magical thing I’d created didn’t exist any more.

Sure I could attempt to recreate it. But all creativity and originality aside, the wind had been taken from my sails. (Yes, it’s a cliche’, deal with it.)

But the words, I just can’t summon them again today.

Silly, I know.

I’ll write again. That is what I do.

Why?

Because.

I am a writer.

 

Advertisements
Categories: Books, self-image, Writing | Tags: , , | 21 Comments

All Things Chia

Today’s Daily Prompt from WordPress asked:

“What’s the most dreadful or wonderful experience you’ve ever had as a customer?” 

My post twists the question around somewhat to reply as the one providing the customer service. I’m sorry to have to report that it turned out as rather inept service.

“I’m making a chia cava,” the woman said. “Can you tell me what fabric would work for that?”

“I’m sorry,” I replied. “I’m not sure I heard you right.”

“I’m looking for fabric, for a chia cava,” she said again.

After the tragic and premature death of Fernan...

Chia cava. Chia cava. Chia cava. I repeated in my head. I’m picturing chia plants, chia pets, chia heads. But what’s a cava?

“My hearing isn’t very good, ma’am,” I said apologetically, “could you say that again?”

“Chia cava,” she repeated louder. “Fabric for making a new chia cava.”

She didn’t have an accent, she wasn’t from a foreign country, she could pass as my grandmother and yet I couldn’t tell what she needed.

“Just a second,” I said as looked for the other sales associate to call her over.

“I’ll just find it myself,” the woman said and she walked away toward the stacks of fabric. Exasperation wasn’t exactly the look on her face, but I had clearly failed her.

I explained the misunderstanding to the other sales associate who looked at me like I’d lost my mind.

“Seriously, she said ‘chia cava,’” I whispered to her. It wasn’t a very big fabric shop.

Fabric shop in Hilo, Hawaii

Fabric shop in Hilo, Hawaii. Not, unfortunately, the one I worked at.(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My coworker walked over to the misunderstood and somewhat frustrated customer and started chatting with her. They ran their hands over the bolts of paisley’s, prints, stripes and solids. They took out a bolt or two and spread out the fabric a bit. There were hand gestures I couldn’t quite make out. I still had no clue what a chia cava was. They walked over to another section of the store and talked about some of that fabric.  And again, there was the touching of fabric, more pulling bolts and spreading it out across the top of the other bolts. There was some laughter. Then they walked over to another section and chatted some more.

I stayed busy restocking a few notions while I surreptitiously watched the two of them chat and talk about fabric. When the customer selected the fabric she wanted the two of them walked back to the cutting counter together. I found something to do in another section of the store. Embarrassed at my inability to understand or help, I made myself as scarce as possible.

After measuring the fabric, cutting it, bagging it and collecting the money, my coworker walked to the door with the customer, chatting comfortably. As the door opened they both looked back at me briefly and I hid my face again. I’m not certain but I’m pretty sure I heard chuckling. The customer left with a look of satisfaction clearly on her face.

I stepped out from my hiding place near the notions wall and lifted my hands and shrugged my shoulders to ask, “well?”

“Well, what?” my coworker laughed.

“What is a chia cava and what kind of fabric do you make it from?”

She pulled up a chair behind the counter and sat down.  “See this?” she said, leaning back in the chair and letting the front legs lift off the ground.

“What? The chair?” I said exasperated.

“Yes, the chia,” she replied, dropping the “R” in the word chair.

“A Chair?” I said hitting myself in the forehead with the palm of my hand. “But what’s a chair cava?” I asked, but as I said the two words together out loud I understood. “A chai cava is a chair cover?” I said emphasizing the “R” sound in each word.

English: Chair

“Yup, simple as that,” she said. “She wanted to recover a chair in some new fabric, and if it turns out well, she’ll be back for more fabric.”

I looked at her, stunned and sheepish.

My coworker laughed. “That customer thought you were the strangest, dumbest salesperson she’d ever encountered in her whole life.” She laughed again. “I told her you were really new to the job and didn’t even know how to run the cash register yet.”

Now it was my turn to laugh. I’d been working there for over two years. I thought it better for the customer to think I was silly and inexperienced than for her to feel awkward or embarrassed herself.

I’m sure she told her friends and her husband about the airheaded sales clerk who couldn’t understand simple English. Just as surely as I told my family about the customer who couldn’t make herself understood by a simple sales clerk in a fabric store.

Occasionally when one of my kids says something I can’t quite hear or understand, I’ll throw out the phrase, “you want a chia cava” and get a laugh out of them. Then they’ll repeat themselves very slowly as if I am hard of hearing and dimwitted, laughing at me the whole time.

At least they all get a laugh out of it.

I’m happy to be of service.

Categories: Humor, People | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

“It Takes a Life to Learn How to Live”

Right off the bat let me give credit for my title today to  Jonathan Safran Foer, author of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. There’s some profound wisdom in that book. Those nine words alone speak volumes of truth.

My friend Kathy asked me a question a couple of months ago that stopped me cold. I couldn’t come up with a good response. A quick answer wasn’t going to do it this time. I’ve been thinking about it ever since.

And then today on a prompt from WordPress Daily Post the same basic question in a slightly different form, raised its head and accessed that box I’d stuffed into a distant corner of my head. Here’s the question:

“What’s your biggest regret? How would your life have been different if you’d made another decision?”

Here’s my answer:

I regret wasting so much time thinking I wasn’t good enough. 

The kid in the far reaches of the playground, hovering alone, her back turned to all the fun?  Me. I figured I wasn’t good enough to have friends. I didn’t measure up, I wasn’t included. I became afraid, picked on, ridiculed and invisible.

Detour ahead?Invisible feels worse than picked on. Invisible hurts in a hundred different long-lasting ways.

There were other invisible and picked on and outcast kids. I figured that out in my teen years and that was who I gravitated toward. Sometimes that was a good thing, especially when those kids were the nerds, the smart ones, the bookish know-it-alls. I mirrored the behaviors of the kids I hung out with and those had a  profound influence for good.

Sometimes the invisibles were the parking lot crowd, the skip-class-to-do-anything-else group. But at least I was good enough for them. They accepted me in their own angry, we don’t care about you way. I didn’t like myself even more when I spent time with them, but it was better than being alone, usually.

By time I reached college I had a pseudo-self esteem based mostly on my book smarts. But then I found out everyone else was as smart or smarter than I was and I was an invisible, not good enough person again. Just an ant in a crowded hive of excelling ants.

I wasted tons of years thinking I wasn’t a good enough student, girl, wife, mother, housekeeper, employee, friend, daughter, sister, woman, volunteer or person.

What this wasted thinking did was waste a huge portion of my life. I felt sorry for myself instead of looking outside of myself. I caved inward and saw only what I didn’t have instead of all the phenomenal blessings I did have.

I tucked inside myself like a pair of socks rolled up tight sitting in the back corner of a dark drawer. I didn’t give, I didn’t get. I just existed. What a waste.

Skip a decade or so and leave out the sordid details. Finally, somehow, somewhere what I had, who I was began to morph into an okayness. More than that, I began feel worthwhile. I began to feel like I was enough. Me, where I was and what I was doing was good, worthwhile, worthy, wonderful, and of value.

The Lonely Road

(Photo credit: Storm Crypt)

What a long, uphill road I trudged to get there.

I turn around and look back at the path I took to get to today and part of me wants to crumble in to a heap on the ground and weep. I want to cry for the wasted time, the wasted opportunities, the wasted impact I could have had. I want to feel sorry for myself again. But I won’t.

Nope.

That’s an even bigger waste of time. I’m who I am because of the path I’ve taken to get here, which is good enough for me. That’s all that really matters anyway. What do I think? What others think of me isn’t as important as what I think of me.

My conclusion?

I AM good enough.

No regrets.

Not anymore.

Categories: People, Relationships, Wondering | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Don’t Forget to Breathe

Once in a while a writing prompt from WordPress vibrates one of those inner strings. Today’s did.

“What are you putting off? Why?”

Give me an hour or two and I’ll think this one over and write more on the topic. Plus I’ve got a few things I need to take care of.

Seriously.

Okay, I’m back. I didn’t procrastinate quite as long on this as I thought I might.

Here’s what I thought about.

Attending to Flight Attendants

(Photo credit: Felix_Nine)

Y’know on the airplane when the flight attendants do their safety spiel? There’s that part about if the cabin pressure suddenly drops then oxygen masks will drop in front of you. They then tell you that if you’re traveling with young children or a person who requires assistance you should put on your own mask first. Once your oxygen mask is in place then you help others with their oxygen masks.

That goes against every instinct most parents have. Kids always come first, don’t they? Almost always. And if you’re a caregiver, priority number one is the person you care for.

The reason behind these instructions of putting on your own oxygen mask first is simple. In the time it takes for you to help someone else with their mask, you might not get enough oxygen to be coherent or conscious enough to put on your own.

What in the heck does this have to do with what I procrastinate?

My procrastination problem involves neglecting my own needs in favor of almost everyone else’s needs.

Why?

Because I have this drive to make other people feel happy, comfortable, loved, cared for, safe, needed and known.That’s who I am. I feel almost selfish when I take time for myself. It’s always been a paradox to figure out how to meet my own needs while caring for others.

The result of this procrastination of my rest, my food, my exercise, my down time, my mental and spiritual nurturing is burnout, exhaustion, lack of clear thinking, self-pity, depression and ineffective use of time.

Surely there is a solution.

In the past my solution has been to wake up earlier, or stay up later, or both in order to take care of me. Which then eats into my sleep time. After a while, that “solution” has created more of a problem than a help. I’m overly tired, cranky, whiny and not very kind or patient. I start to resent those people I’m wanting to serve. Generosity and niceness fly out the window.

11-08-06_2346.jpg

(Photo credit: drbrain)

I’m not sure I have a solution yet. But the image of an oxygen mask dropped in front of my face keeps popping into my head.

Do you think that’s a clue?

Putting me first makes sense, logically. Implementing that solution requires mental rewiring and emotional redirects.

I’m not so sure I can pull it off. But I need to.

Putting myself first.

Taking care of me.

Me first.

Hmm.

Looks like I have some work to do.

Categories: Family, Mental Health, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , | 7 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: