In Those Moments of Less Than

WordPress Daily Prompt – Substandard

Actual blog post time!

I hate to actually get a little bit personal in a bloggy way but I’ve been wanting to let this load off my shoulders and this prompt is just perfect for it.

Substandard, shoddy, third-rate, below rate, sub-par, crummy, lousy ….

I’m going to go ahead and put a confession out there: I’m insanely and unnecessarily hard on myself.

I’ve gotten better as the years have gone by but there was a point when it was all or nothing and I frequently just opted for nothing as I figured I would never even dream of achieving “all”.

Even now, when I’ve learned to accept compliments and recognize the things I’ve achieved I have moments where I feel like a complete and total failure.

Last night was a complete and total failure night. I ended up sitting on my bed in tears repeating to myself that I was not a failure.

But I felt like one.

I’m a single mom and my daughter is a preteen with an attitude bigger than life. I’m behind in school work. I don’t understand the homework. My house isn’t clean enough. My younger dog seems to have forgotten his training. My older dog is having none of it and is letting everybody know. My load at work has doubled and my stress has tripled (which has snowballed and led to some of the other things).

By the end of Sunday night it was all I could do to simply hold it together and in the end I couldn’t accomplish that either.

I felt completely substandard.

I think it’s easy, especially these days when we have social media to egg on these perfect images of life, to feel that way.

It’s important to remember that everyone struggles, we all have our moments where we feel less than. It’s how we handle them that counts.

Allowing those moments to take over and consume us will only lead down a path of more doubt, more confusion, more self loathing.

Take it from someone who has been there and done that. It’s not fun.

It sounds ridiculous, I thought so at first too, but when I’m having a moment where I feel like a failure I talk myself up. People laugh, “Oh you talk to yourself! Har har!” Damn straight I do. And you know what? It works.

I repeat some of the things I’ve achieved.

Sometimes they’re the simplest of things: I cooked dinner. We have a place to live and food. I have a job.

But sometimes those simple achievements are the ones I really need to appreciate.

Set My Soul on Fire

WordPress Daily Prompt – Lust

Sometimes I find myself imprisoned in my mind.

Nothing frees me faster than a musical release.

I crave it, lust after it.

Every moment builds to it.

When I can finally plug in my headphones,

Or flip on the radio in my car.

Sometimes it’s the soaring guitars of Hendrix,

Or the rough melodies of Morrison.

Sometimes there’s no words at all,

Only melodies and harmonies,

Instruments layered, one on the other.

I let it take me over,

Invoking waves of emotion,

Sparking bouts of inspiration.

To the music I can find strength,

I can find that release,

To satisfy that lust

And set my soul on fire.

I Forgot I Knew You

WordPress Daily Prompt – Hidden

I hid it all at the bottom of a bottle,
Under a shiny round of all my favorite drugs.
I pushed back so far that I completely forgot,
I ever loved your smile.

I buried it by the beach we never got to visit,
Where I forgot I was supposed to hold your hand.
I sat and cried but I never knew what for
While I drew little question marks in the sand

I burned our future before I knew what it was,
And told myself to forget your name.
I took all the pills and drowned them with the cheapest vodka,
Till I laid on the floor and wondered why I was so scared.

And when I woke, covered in cold sweat and fever
I couldn’t remember how I got there
Or what all those tears were for.
Only that something had to change.

I hid it so well
I forgot I knew you at all.

One Tradition

WordPress Daily Prompt – Traditional

I have a feeling settling on me, a changing wind.

I’m far from traditional, I’ve tended to shy from them.

But this feeling is wrecking back and forth in my stomach, churning up a new storm.

I can’t see yet where it’s coming from, I’m not sure yet if I should run.

Perhaps that’s the one tradition I can say I’ll keep …

Or maybe I’ll break this one for once and all.

Harmonize like Nails on a Chalkboard

WordPress Daily Prompt – Harmonize

We filed out of the small club into the cool fall air. My “date”, if he could be called that, was nowhere to be seen. Not that it was a surprise, he had disappeared five minutes into the opening act leaving me standing front and center alone.

Whatever. 

Knowing him, and I did, he’d been hammering back shots for the remainder of the show. It didn’t take long for my phone to start vibrating in my pocket.

“Wheeeerre arrr you?”
“I think the better question is where are you?”
“Wheerrre fuck aree you?” I pressed my temple, this had been a bad idea.
“I’m out front with some of the girls I met in line, would you like to come join us?”
“I by the carr, les go.”
“I don’t want to leave yet.”
“Youu can ge ouut, les go.” One of my newfound friends shot me a side eye as the line clicked silent.

“Is he mad?”
“He’ll be fine.” I found a seat on the base of an old statue and let the cool breeze wash over me. I could close my eyes and almost see myself miles away in a happier place.

My phone began vibrating again. My happy place erupted with an impressive string of curse words put together just so eloquently. If relationships were supposed to be harmonious this one had always been missing it. Not that there was a “relationship” anymore, we’d been broken up for months. This trip was one last piece of unfinished business. I had tried to find a replacement but at the last minute she’d had a work emergency and cancelled. Text after text began scrolling across my screen.

“You sure he’ll be fine?” My new friend inquired again. I let out a sigh and leaned against the statue.
I don’t really give a fuck. “I’ll go check on him. He’s probably just drunk.”

I rounded the corner to find him in exactly the state I imagined, half bent over, clutching my passenger’s side door.

“So, hey.”
“You bitch! Fucking bitch! You fucking whore! Why don’t you just go fuck whoever!? Just go suck their dicks!” A handful of people walking by tried to act like they were ignoring the outburst as he continued the rant. I watched them glance over their shoulders before jumping into their cars and pulling away.
“Yeah, so, what the fuck?!”
“You just, you don’t get it!” I stared at the stars as he squirmed beside the passenger door. “Just unlock the car, let me sit down.”
“No, I’m not letting you in my car. You can sit in the grass.”
“You don’t understand.” I was quickly losing all the patience I had for the man child begging to sit in my car.
“What? What don’t I understand?”
“It’s just, it’s just that my ex cheated on me at a concert.” I stared at the 35 year old man in front of me. “She made out with one of the guys in a band.” If I could have rolled my eyes harder it would have triggered an earthquake.
“You know what? I do know that. I know that and I know it was seven fucking years ago. You can walk home for all I care.”

As I walked away I could hear him following me while mumbling about happy couples and how miserable he was.

“We were so good together.” I whipped around to face him.
“No. No we were not. And if we were you would not have dropped thousands of fucking dollars on prostitutes!” His eyes went wide.
“Oh! Oh! Is that what we’re going to do?! You’re just going to bring up that old shit right here in front of everyone?” His eyes fixed on mine. “I don’t want to fight, ok? I just think we need to take some time and find that harmony again you know?”
“No. Fucking harmony. Get the fuck outta here.”

I Just Want to Play

WordPress Daily Prompt – Gate

Tabitha pressed her small hand against the thick brush that concealed the rusty gate. The rust left dark red marks, like cell bars the color of mud, across the backs of the bright green leaves. The thick air left a layer of slick dew on everything it touched, the leaves were no exception. Tabitha pushed the sticky leaves aside to peer through the old bars.

The other side greeted her with more overgrown vines and rusty, damp leaves. It would have seemed clear to most people passing by that the old plantation house was abandoned but on this day Tabitha swore she heard children playing on the other side of the overgrown gate.

“Hello.” The air swallowed her small voice and returned only silence. Not to be deterred Tabitha grabbed a nearby stick and thrust it through the vines to the opposite side of the gate. Once she was able to wiggle the vines to the side Tabitha could see that the house stood back empty, with boarded windows and vines crawling along the siding. Other than some stray cats and a bird or two the grounds were equally unkept and empty.

There it was again, she tilted her head as the distinct sound of a child laughing floated towards her.

“Hello!” Her voice was stronger this time, bolstered by the certainty that there was someone on the other side of the gate. The laughter stopped abruptly. Tabitha jerked the stick from one side to the other trying to get a better view of who she heard. Still she saw no one. “Don’t go! I just want to play!”

Tabitha leaned closer to the rusty gate and lowered her voice. “I really just want to play, I don’t have any friends.”

“No friends? Me either.” The voice made Tabitha jump. A pair of blue eyes flanked by matted blonde locks stared back at her through the vines. “I’m Zeke.”


For more Tabitha and Zeke story pieces check out Old Wood