A single mother's discovery of who she is and who she is not, never had been and never will be... Her very personal insight on her past, present, and future, on her children, her ex, and those around her. And the realization that she is more than okay with who she really is.
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I AM THE LOCK...
... I AM THE KEY
A collection by Diana Murdock
All Rights Reserved
Copyright © 2012 Diana Murdock
This book may not be reproduced, transmitted, or stored in whole or in part by any means, including graphic electronic, or mechanical without the express written consent of the publisher except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. Your support of author rights is appreciated.
WHEN I FOUND ME, I FOUND MY MUSE
A SIGH...THE PERIOD AT THE END OF MY THOUGHT
WHEN SAVING THEM IS NO LONGER AN OPTION
THE DAY I BECAME A WRITER
MY LIFE IS ONE BIG –ISH
THE BLAME GAME – HUMAN NATURE OR JUST AN EXCUSE?
IT'S MORE THAN A HUG...IT'S LIFE
PRISONER OF MY PAST
TO FORGIVE AND FORGET - EASIER SAID THAN DONE
I AM NOW, TRULY, AN ORPHAN
IT SOUNDS AS BAD AS IT FEELS
THE NEW TRADITION
WHY SHOULD WE GIVE THANKS ONLY ON THANKSGIVING?
MY THREE-STRIKE RULE - THE ONE TIME I BROKE IT
HEY! CAN YOU LET ME IN? IT'S KIND OF COLD OUT HERE!
WHO IS THE BETTER HALF? ME OR ME?
A NASTY THAT CAN’T BE CURED WITH PENICILLIN
OKAY, I GIVE UP
FENG SHUI – IT’S NOT JUST FOR ROOMS ANYMORE
A MAN'S ROLE IN A WOMAN'S WORLD
PLEASE DON’T CLOSE YOUR EYES, BECAUSE I CAN’T SEE YOUR SOUL
CHANGE DOESN'T HAVE TO BE PAINFUL
AN OPEN LETTER TO MY SON
PROMISES, PROMISES, PROMISES...
GIRL POWER - TOTALLY REAL, TOTALLY RAW
“What?” His eyebrows shot up as he leaned toward me just a little. “Twenty years?”
He blinked once. Then twice.
My jaw went slack, realizing what I had just revealed.
Then he sat back hard in his chair, shaking his head. “You need to be kissed. You need to be kissed."
I noticed he wasn’t offering his services to remedy the situation. He merely stared, digesting my confession.
Two decades is a long time to go without being kissed. I mean, really kissed. I was embarrassed, wondering if I was even capable of kissing that way again. I swiped at a tear that started to form, hoping he didn’t notice.
So this was it. This is what I had become. A closed-off, passionless excuse of a woman. How could I have let it get to this point? For that matter, at exactly what point did it get to this point? Did my softer edges sharpen during those first years of raising my children when laundry, cleaning, and cooking, had to fit somewhere between the hours of my day job? Maybe it was during the years after that when I took on the additional roles of taxi driver, gardener, and all around super mom.
Sexy lingerie was shoved aside to make room for baggy t-shirts and sweat pants. Practical shoes took the place of fun, strappy sandals. No one knew how long my hair really was since it spent most days tucked up underneath a baseball cap, mainly to hide the fact that I hadn’t had a chance to touch up the roots.
Somewhere between the “I do” and the “I don’t want to do this anymore,” I had lost myself. I lost the ability to tilt my face to the sun and soak in all of its goodness. I lost my creativity and the ability to laugh. Not that I didn’t have the opportunities - I just didn’t have the energy for it.
Worst of all, I had forgotten to write, something I had done since I was a little girl. My dream journal was buried under stacks of paper and magazines, never experiencing the touch of a pen to its pages - because I had forgotten to dream.
And like anything in this world, if it is neglected, it will die.
And die I did. A thousand times.
On the outside I was Wonder Woman and Martha Stewart rolled into one. I wanted to be that person. I wanted to be the perfect wife and mother. I tried. I tried really hard. Books on how to knit and sew and quilt and make candles for Christmas lined the shelves. Cookbooks for pasta, vegetables, barbecuing, and even sushi were lined up neatly in the kitchen. Playing at the park or going to the beach were regular activities.
I deceived them, all of them. “How do you do it?” I was often asked. I would just shrug and smile. If I were to answer them, I would have said, “Miserably.” But I never said a word.
I may have fooled them, but I didn’t fool me. I knew that by not being who I really was, by not being filled with my own joy, I had nothing to offer. I might as well have been a bot.
When I finally hit the tipping point, I prioritized. I wanted me back. I threw out the how-to books, the knitting needles, and found a nice home for the upright piano that mocked me every time I would pass it.
And then I looked for me. I wasn’t hard to find, for as I was looking in, the woman I searched for was looking out, and when we met after so many years, it was magic.
After that, I wrote. And I wrote. And I tipped my face towards the sun and soaked up all the goodness that its warmth offered.
And still...I write...I have found my muse.
We all do it. Or rather don’t do it. We don’t always say what we think. You know what I’m talking about. We’re on the verge of saying something, but then we cover our thoughts with sighs and forced smiles.
We put on that façade because...sometimes it’s just easier. Easier to slip out of the conversation unnoticed. Explanations usually only complicate the situation, opening the door to more discussion and blatant exposure of our soul. We are called on to answer questions that sometimes catch us off guard, tricking us into revealing more than we had ever intended. With everything so transparent, we are up for scrutiny with emotional poking and prodding and curious interrogation.
So, instead we come up with pretty words, smoke-screen phrases, trick-of-the-light diversions that lead our companions down one alleyway, while we’re running like hell the down the other, looking for the nearest dumpster or empty doorway to hide in until the perceived threat passes.
Or maybe that’s just me.
Okay, so I tend to hide sometimes. Even when my heart screams yes, my mind slaps me upside the head and says, “Are you nuts? What are you thinking?” For years the tides of emotion in my house began and ended with me, and for some unknown reason, my emotions were law. Me. My emotions. As if I had any expertise in that field. Go figure.
So, to maintain a steady stream, I dubbed myself the dam keeper. And it became a way of life. But it doesn’t serve me anymore, and now I’m working on my letter of resignation.
As part of my “rehab,” I do let loose. There are playgrounds I let the Wild Child run amuck, giving only a brief show of concern when the Wild Child gets too...wild. But some neighborhoods are dark and silent, familiar, yet...not. I tend to explore those with a bit more caution, making sure each step is solid before moving on. But the Wild Child is always there, egging me to run through those streets barefoot. Some days she’s so much fun to follow, and I lose track of myself. Carefree one moment, waking up the next with such an emotional hangover, thinking...Yikes! Did I actually do that?
Ah, but we’re all works in progress, and I'm certainly no exception. I would even claim that none of us are the same as we were one, five, or ten years ago. Shedding behaviors that are counterproductive – just like ridding our closets of the clothes that don’t fit us well anymore – is key, and huge to our growth.
It may be hard to part with that comfortable pair of sweatpants, but, baby, if it doesn’t look good, if it’s worn out and tired looking? Yeah. Just give it to the Wild Child. She’ll know exactly what to do with it.
“You’ll be all right. I know you will,” I whispered, but even as the words slipped past my lips, I knew it was a lie. I didn’t know if she would be all right and the uncertainty plagued my thoughts, even as I slept.
Each time she called, her words would peel layers of my heart away, leaving it raw and exposed, and inviting a whole new intensity of pain. We sat on opposite ends of the phone, each of us suffering in our own way. She desperately reached out. I desperately pulled back. Yet overcome with guilt, I would offer CPR, breathing life into her and willing my heart to beat for two. Later, exhausted and torn, I would hang up, praying my efforts would sustain her life force for one more day.
The months passed, coated in stormy grayness, with the bullets of her despair pelting onto my shoulders, until it was too much effort to stand up straight. I would drag my feet underneath me, forcing my body to go through the motions, attempting without much success to allow myself the smallest bit of joy. Those days were long, and I went under more often than not.
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