FWF Kellie Elmore: B Is For Bum

English: Three drug addicts seen smoking a hug...

English: Three drug addicts seen smoking a huge amount of crack cocaine, in a downtown eastside alley, in Vancouver BC Canada. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“When you get into a tight place you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” Harriet Beecher Stowe

“Bitches,” Anna growled underneath her breath, what the fuck do they know? These stupid clichéd words were written on a huge, dumb banner in bright red, thick letters right when you walked into the room. A bare room with folding chairs, a typical support group, she was there for what they called “Substance Abuse.” Yeah, you know, weed, coke, meth, snow, uppers and downers and whatever shit she could find to snort up her nose or inject into her spidery veins.

She had gone to court appointed meetings from jail, not like she had a choice, she had gotten busted, “possession of illegal drugs.” Big deal. She only had two more “meetings” to go to get her out of prison and then she would be free. These fools knew nothing. They didn’t even know that right here in the audience she was high.  Hopefully, if she was careful, she could score coke after the meeting but that was tricky.

What did these rich, entitled “group leaders” know about suffering and pain? They stood up there beaming, wearing their matching navy skirts and blazers and talking to us like we were a lower species. Oh sure, they said they had gone through the program too. Really? Maybe they used coke twice or three times at a party  and got busted or hooked and their CFO husbands had found out so they went to some private, fancy, swimming pool facility in a secluded area in the Berkshires or San Diego where it is warm.

They were probably in for  two weeks, paid the fine and out. Simple, easy, if you have money and a really good lawyer. That stupid banner was not for people like me, it was for people like them. Didn’t they get it? The world is divided into those who have and those who have not. My wicked step-mother is one of those kind of people, she lives in the land of entitlement, in a suburb in a big mansion, except there’s no room for her stepdaughter, you know, me the drug addict.

She and my daddy can have five martinis plus and smoke cigarettes but I’m not allowed to sleepover, damn hypocrites with their “own” children now. You know what? You don’t always learn when you are “in a tight place.” Got that? It’s not FOR everyone.  Me? I’ve been pushed into a lot of tight places in my life, gray, dusty, tiny, urine smelling corners and what did I learn? I learned to get out of that space and find another. That’s it. Some people like tiny spaces, especially those whose daddy don’t love them any more.

There you have it twinkle-toes. “Tides don’t always turn” and maybe I don’t want  this tide to turn. Face it, my daddy and I used to be so close, and now he doesn’t even talk to me. She made him like that, I know it. He doesn’t want anything to do with me now, the wicked witch of the north changed him and now I’m trash. So, you see that corner I’m in? Once I get out, I’m hitching a ride to NYC, to live in the streets with my fellow bums, to get drunk every single day with beer and cheap box wine and at night score drugs until I’m dead and gone. You think I want to be alive? Hell no.

When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.

Harriet Beecher Stowe

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/h/harrietbee126390.html#CjQDWIeOXQhWKejR.99

When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.

Harriet Beecher Stowe

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/h/harrietbee126390.html#CjQDWIeOXQhWKejR.99

Plinky Prompt: For Tomorrow, We Die.

Unidentified family, October 1951

Unidentified family, October 1951 (Photo credit: Center for Jewish History, NYC)

  • …for tomorrow we die. The world is ending tomorrow! Tell us about your last dinner — the food, your dining companions, the setting, the conversation. See all answers
  • For tomorrow, we die
  • Dining companions? Setting? Conversation?
    Be serious.
    I wouldn’t move from my living room, food would be ordered in from wherever my family wanted, loads of it. My (adult) children would be with my husband and me, our dog would be in my lap, my mother would be with us. We would not talk about the end of the world but the memories we had. We would talk about the good times, the happy times and we would not be looking at any clock. Let the world end when it does, we are holding on to each other, some hold hands, others hug. We eat good comfort food, milk shakes, champagne, anything our hearts desired. No limit. Nothing fancy, nothing different, just a lot more of it. Now is the time to coax those less inclined to talk to share their feelings, to show emotion. Maybe they would, maybe they wouldn’t. You can’t change people you just have to accept them the way they are.
    No fights, no domineering, just balance. Love, kindness, support, appreciation. To have had what we did have, together. We close our eyes together and fall asleep. We give our thanks for what was. We have no control over tomorrow.

  • *I hope whoever this photo belongs to will somehow find their way to my blog
  • so I can help to reunite them.

Listen: Soft, Quieter Voices Need To Be Heard Too

Guy Fawkes 2006

Guy Fawkes 2006 (Photo credit: Max xx)

My friend’s voice is soft, she is not a leader but a follower, I have no problem with this but some of my more straight-shooter, take control friends might. They have dominant voices, sit in attendance at board meetings, screaming, making a loud fuss about things that are important to them. Quiet people can’t or won’t do that but they still have their opinions. Louder people yell sometimes so that they don’t hear the soft voices in the background because nobody wants to speak over them.

Why should they? When they start to softly voice their concerns sometimes they feel berated. “Anyone who is scared to stand up for what they believe in is a scaredy-cat” loosely paraphrased someone said. Exhibit A. That, my friend, is a judgment, name calling.  Softer voices have opinions too but are not as equipped as some of the more confident, take charge people to talk at meetings, to make a fuss but their opinions, sometimes silently, count too. They also vote. Some people shy away from conflict, this is not a judgment call, I would call it a style.

Where am I in all this? Straight down the middle like a true Libra. Balancing each side, over and over again. Quietly. Making a huge fuss when it is important to me.  Family. Family. Family.

When my daughter was young she hid behind me and if she was shy or afraid, she would place her arms in the air in front of me and say “Up, Up” and I would lift her up and feel her body instantly relaxing against mine. Our son, the first-born,always bossed people around, he still does.  Our daughter had planned her birthday parties years in advance and stuck to each theme, always wanted to see her cake beforehand and read the last page of every book before she decided to read it. Our son loved the element of surprise, he had to be the good guy and I was always the bad guy and left rooms always trying to have the last word, saying “No more conversations, no new conversations.” Two adult children, two very different styles. I love them equally.

It took me a long time for me to find my voice, as a second child with an older sister who was very strong and bossy, (Some other people would call it overbearing.) When I was young I was shy, bashful so I can truly understand both sides. As soon as my sister went to college I found my voice and it was dramatic and beautiful and real.

Listen. Try silencing your voice and make people feel safe and don’t criticize them automatically for their fear or reluctance, I know you do it, you know it too. Not everyone is like you, though, the world is not made of people as strong as you. They need their own voices to be heard, in their own way. Sometimes with care, sometimes written, or spoken in whispers to friends who are willing to take the time to listen and not judge.

Whether you outright say it or not, people feel your judgment straight from your body to theirs, not all judgment is verbal, of course. You can feel it from someone’s eyes  or body language.  I will not judge you for hushed tones like a sleepy mouse, I will applaud you if anxiety  enabled you to speak softly about it in the first place.  We’re all just different in how we express things. Let’s try to play together, without judgment or criticism. The point is, everyone, in their own way, is entitled to be heard.

candle, candle in glass

candle, candle in glass (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dedicated to my good friend, D.E.G.

for getting the conversation started.

(credit to above named photographers)

Yellow Magic Madness # 36 The Little Yellow House On The Corner

"Where there is love there is life."

“Where there is love there is life.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tonight, my little yellow house is quiet. my dog is in her bed snuggled happily in her blankets; she looks like an angel when she is asleep. Other times she is the most difficult, stubborn, strong and crazy dog I’ve ever seen. I rescued her from the shelter, I saw her curled in a little red ball, asleep. We have had four trainers, books, gadgets, leashes, collars, any equipment you can imagine and she defies them all. Not that I would want to buy a dog from a breeder (though I am giving it serious thought for the first time) with the money we have spent we could have purchased a purebred, maybe two. This dog is wild, charming and adorable, sometimes we think she is part dingo. I love her to pieces.

My husband is already asleep, he has to get up very early on weekdays to trudge into the city to a job he really doesn’t like but at least it pays the bills. I am trying to focus on my kids coming home soon to visit; these three people are my treasures in life and there is not a day I take them for granted.

I am both a daughter and a parent. Sometimes it is hard to be in the middle, worrying both about my mom and my kids. You never know what the right thing to do is, you just try to do the best you can but sometimes it feels like a juggling act, no one is completely satisfied. We try to do the best that we can, that’s all we know how to do. I love my children so much, they ARE my world, I would do anything for them, instead of them, because of them. I not only love them but I like them as well. They are good, outstanding people, smart, kind, caring and adaptable which was never my strong suit but even I have changed. My husband and I always said I need 24 -48 hours to get used to change, and no one knows me like he does. I adore this man with whom I’ve been married for twenty-five years.

The night air is still, sky is black, I feel comforted. The air is different at night then it is during the day. My little yellow house stands underneath a vast sky of darkness. I can think more, be more peaceful, write, breathe in the evening. It’s at night when I don’t have to focus on anything else that makes me feel good, and at peace with myself. Life isn’t as complicated as I make it, I realize that at night, I need to remember that during the day.

Listening to crickets, the room is warm, I think back to old times, simpler times but I wouldn’t go back again. I love who I am today,  older, more appreciative and more at peace with myself. Grateful. I know what is important, I don’t need anything else in life.

Haiku Heights: Bats

Bats

Bats (Photo credit: fatedsnowfox)

Bat

Bat (Photo credit: Lee Carson)

English: Echolocating bats adjust their vocali...

English: Echolocating bats adjust their vocalizations to catch insects against a changing environmental background. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wretched, beady-eyed

evil destruction, black wings

touch my hair, spit, scream.

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

*Birds, I squealed, look, dad

clinging, high pitch, flying, close

Go to mom, lock door!

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

*When I was four or five, there were bats in our apartment which was on the top floor. My father shooed my mom and me into the bedroom while he would take care of them. Armed with a towel or two he played hero while my mother and I hid. He told us to come out when it was safe. I remember sitting on his shoulders as he took me around to reassure me. Around the corner I remember squealing quite happily:” Look, Daddy, Birdie.” Sure enough there was one bat left. Again, we locked ourselves in the room until this bat too was swatted out of our sixth floor window. To this day, I am absolutely terrified of bats. I can barely look at them (even the photos in this post) and if one flew near my head I would most likely scream, fall to the floor and faint. Happily.I have a terribly phobia of bats now.

When my daughter was little and we went to the zoo, she took my hands and led me away to protect me from seeing the bats. I have never forgotten that and I never will. Thank you, sweetheart.

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

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Yellow Magic Madness # 19 Sun

I’ve been so fortunate to be able to spend a few days with my daughter at a pool, basking in the sun. Look how the sun reflects he ripples of the water and on this woman’s legs. You don’t actually need to see “YELLOW” for it to make you happy.

15/52 blue

15/52 blue (Photo credit: Scarleth White)

Plinky Prompt: A Sensation, Taste, Smell, Music That Transports You to Childhood

  • Capturing the Viennese Waltz

    Capturing the Viennese Waltz (Photo credit: flickr-rickr)

    Tell us about a sensation — a taste, a smell, a piece of music — that transports you back to childhood. See all answers

 

 

  • Viennese Music Brings Me Back
  • My father, when he was alive and happy, would always blast the stereo in the living room playing Viennese music/waltzes. I remember as a teenager when I would come off the elevator, which was down a long hallway, and hear that music that practically deafened me. It was so embarrassing to me. Once, I forgot my key so I rang the doorbell repeatedly for him to open the door. Nothing. I started banging on the door with my fists, getting angry and frustrated and just wanting to go inside. Finally, I think my mother heard me and opened the door. Every time now, as an adult, I hear a Viennese waltz, Der Fledermaus or the Blue Danube, I wish with all my heart, that my father was still alive, playing music loudly, him whistling happily and me, just watching, grinning and appreciating him. Just one more time would be enough but I’ve lost that chance forever.

  • http://youtu.be/Wa9fo5qcyeI

 

The show must go on (Carry on Tuesday)

parents

parents (Photo credit: Mystic Lens)

I never said we were an unhappy family, it’s all a matter of perspective. After all, to the people in our homeland, India, we lived “the American dream.” My younger brother and I were born in India, we lived with our parents and grandparents together in one room. We knew no different, the only thing we knew is eventually we were going to “Merica” but we had no idea what that meant. My brother and I just assumed it was a neighborhood nearby.

Now, fourteen years later, we live in New Jersey and own a small white house, with black trim. My mother was afraid, she said, “to be perceived as too gaudy.” We have a front yard that is nicely manicured (my father brags to people back home that we have hired a gardener.)  My mother has the flowers, arranged in red, white and blue rows, perfectly, with soldier-like precision.

Everyone seemed to have acclimated to our new life, except me. I’m seventeen years old, did they think it would be easy for me? As in India we had to continue our very traditional ways in New Jersey. “It is expected of us” my parents would tell me and my little brother, Rakesh to carry on our culture with pride. At the same time my younger brother was getting beaten up in the playground each afternoon.  I refused to call him, his Indian name here, so I made up an American name for him in part to annoy my parents and in part to give the kid a chance at surviving elementary school. My parents were furious but I didn’t care, as soon as Rakesh became “Robby”  life got a little easier for him.

If they wanted obedient and silent children than they should have never left India. My brother and I wanted to stay in India when we were children but of course they never asked us how we felt. We knew we had no choice anyway, we always did what our parents told us to do, there was no options. We were never allowed to talk back to our parents, in fact, we were not able to talk at all until we had been spoken to.  Back home we would not even know the concept of talking back to one’s parent’s or anyone’s elder, it was not done, it did not exist.

We are all playing a role, in our new life here, like actors in a play. By the time we landed here I changed my name to “Annie.” My parents could scream but I did not care, I had to live in this society, so yes, I ignored them. I put up a sweet and demure face, I wore my traditional garb at home and changed into my “real” high school clothes quickly in the girls bathroom when I got to school. I changed into short skirts and tight tops. I pulled my long lack hair into a high pony tail and my friends taught me how to put on make up. I had it down to a science in no time. I only feared my parents coming in unexpectedly but I knew that would never happen.

If I had to stay in this country and honor my parents’ wishes I was going to do it on my terms, that is until I turned 18 and then they would have no control over me. I was counting the days until my 18th birthday. Until that day, and ONLY that day, this façade, this show will go on but after that it would stop, immediately. I had circled my birthday on the black and white calendar with a thick, red marker in boundless abandon, this was my secret. I will play the role of dutiful daughter, I will do whatever they tell me to do until my birthday.  The evening of my 18th birthday, I will slowly and quietly pack my things, while my ultra conservative, parents slept, in their separate beds with their overhead fans and ugly, green and white velvet bedspreads with inlaid crystals.

Having planned this for months the night of my birthday I will sneak down the steps and go out the side door. I will tiptoe quietly down the street where Brian, my boyfriend, will be waiting for me in his car. We are leaving together, we are moving to the Village in New York City, Brian has a friend who has an apartment there. If we don’t like it in New York we will go to Boston, or California, wherever we want to go. I will feel free for the first time in my life.

I have to laugh. They named me Ashmita, meaning rock born, hard and strong. What did they expect?

Life is too short to work so hard. (Carry on Tuesday)

English: Throughput Accounting Chart

English: Throughput Accounting Chart (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Oh my God, Mom, Dad, I’m trying, I told you like a hundred times but the only advice you give me is to find something I’m really interested in. I have no idea.  Oprah, every talk show host on television says “Life is too short so love what you do.”  Well, I don’t KNOW what I love to do, not everybody in the world knows, right?  I mean, I can’t be the only one, can I?

Look, you don’t think I’m envious of Jimmy down the street who knew at age nine that he wanted to be a doctor? Sure. But, it was easy for him, his father and mother are both doctors and he just followed them. Besides, there was never any question that he wouldn’t. Jimmy never had a mind of his own. I mean, really. Both his parents are podiatrists, gee, guess what field Jimmy is going to go into? Yup, feet. Dirty, smelly, old feet. Believe me, I’m NOT jealous, geez, why would I be? He’s always been a serious loser. C’mon Mom, you used to say that too, admit it.

Just because I don’t agree with you guys doesn’t mean I am being a “fresh mouth” and I don’t know what TONE you think I am using with you. How about let’s ALL take a deep breath. Okay. Do you think I like living with my parents at age 23? No, I don’t. But, what are you gonna do, are you gonna kick me out? YOU ARE? THAT IS SO MEAN. Oh, not yet but soon. I know the temp jobs I have been working at aren’t stable but like I said, I don’t know what to do and you guys said graduate school is out of the question.

I have said many times that I don’t want to be an accountant like Dad or a substitute teacher like mom. Dad, please listen and don’t get mad, I flunked every math class I ever took and you know I’ve always switched numbers around in my head, like dyslexia but not with words, with numbers. No, it is so true, my teacher told me it was a real condition. Anyway, I know you have been doing it for forty years and it makes a good salary but Dad, you don’t love what you are doing. Right? I mean honestly? I know you have the responsibility of taking care of the family and feeding us and all that and I admire you for that, but do you really want me to have the same life you have? I mean, really? Life is too short to work so hard that you dread going in every single day. Daddy, I thank you for doing this but I don’t want to do the same thing.

Maybe you can help me figure out what to do? Mom? You too. Please? I know I’m 23 but that doesn’t mean I’m all grown-up. It just means that I’m lost and afraid and older and believe me it makes me feel horrible and stupid. I still need you guys. A lot. It’s nice of you to say that I’m very smart and talented but I don’t feel that way at all, I feel insecure and stupid. So, yes, I would appreciate if we could all sit down and talk about options. Oh that? I knew you wouldn’t really kick me out the door. But, thanks for saying it.”

Carry on Tuesday: Fear not for the future, Weep not for the past

My Grandparents

My Grandparents (Photo credit: protoflux)

“John, you listen up, I’ve been trying to talk to you all morning. Now sit down next to me you old fool and stop teasing me. I’m just having one of my worrying spells. Oh, stop shaking your head back and forth, you old buzzard, you knew I had these spells back when you married me.

What’s it been now, almost 40 years we’ve been together? So long that at night, my breathing slows down to yours, even when that darn snoring of yours wakes me up, why I just push you over and fall back asleep.

We’re old badgers but we’re lucky cause we got grandchildren now.  Stevie’s third child is due in two months, imagine that. Why I still remember when our own babies were born, like it was yesterday. I don’t remember lots of things, but I remember that clear as day. We had two babies running around in those cotton messy diapers, oh my, all the washing and cleaning in the tub.

Do you remember when the kids went to college? Sure, we were proud as can be but I was sad deep down, all the time. I still had their baby photos up all around and I just had to take them down cause they hurt me to see them, all loving and sweet and innocent. I had me a stabbing pain that caught my breath and wouldn’t leave. The kids didn’t seem to need us anymore. All they wanted to do was be with their friends and drink, least that’s what it felt like to me.

We had each other though, so we could talk between us but those weren’t good years. You remember those years? Of course you don’t, you remember nothing. Don’t pinch me old man, I can still laugh at you, I’m your wife, you best remember that.

I do look forward to when the kids visit. Seeing our babies with their babies. People used to tell us how great it was to be Grandparents and they were right. Those grandchildren are pure magic, fat, cuddly babies with sticky faces but I sure hope I’m still alive to see them as teenagers. I’m laughing and shaking my head thinking bout how bad our kids were in their teens and early twenties. Why I’d enjoy our grandchildren acting up to their parents like ours did to us. Wouldn’t you?

How much time left you think we got left, Johnny? Come on what do you think? I know you can’t say for sure, not asking for sure. You KNOW I sometimes think on these things. I got to admit, I’m still a little fearful of the future though I’m not afraid to die. I know you say just don’t think about it but sometimes I  do anyways. I can’t help it. Or what if you die first? I don’t want to sleep in this bed alone and be cold and lonesome. Why, you’d miss me if I was gone too. Who would do your cooking and cleaning up and make the bed look so pretty, just the way you like? I know you wouldn’t say it but I know you’d miss me; I see that little smile there, John, don’t try to hide it.

Now, let’s take each day as it comes, we not look back and weep for it, what good is that gonna do? We had all those times and now our turn is over; it’s time to pass them on to new generations. It’s their turn, let them enjoy it. We’re just jealous is all, because we didn’t appreciate it when we had it and time speeds by us like a quick burst of chilly air.

Take my hand, husband we’re going walk over to our garden now, gonna water the tomatoes, going to pick some of the cucumbers and you can help me with the corn. We’re gonna do it together, old man, and then we’re going to eat dinner, and for dessert I made you your favorite, a blueberry crumble. Why yes I did. We’ll sit on the porch eating our supper, for as long as the good Lord above will let us. I pray that it’s gonna be a really long time.”