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Inspiration through Deprivation

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Of letting yourself go…in a bad way

Life is one amazing journey. Through the troubles, surprises, and successes we learn more about ourselves than any time prior to the now. So why, through these amazing experiences, is one still capable of letting all the success and pleasant surprises go, only to stand once again amongst a fist full of troubles? To be in the center of letting yourself go…in a bad way.

We have our goals and dreams in life that we pursue. All with flickers of hope that spawn creativity and inspiration. Though while through such we experience moments of despair and willingness to give up hope, once drove us to limits we’d never experienced. I write this post because I have a friend, remaining anonymous, who is an aspiring actor. He spent decent money to get himself in shape, amazing head-shots, and willingly gave time to local theater and independent film projects attempting to make his name. Day and night he worked, sometimes until five in the morning when he’d call to ask me if a certain sentence made sense or to simply feel out my emotional response to a reading. Most were amazing, others needed only slight improvement, but he continued to work. He followed his dream with a determination that I envied myself. His dream also brought him to the west coast, Los Angeles in particular.

I met up with him today, though he seemed busy. He just got off work and wished to do some manscaping before his boyfriend got home for the night. Always handsome, and always a good friend, I still blushed as he stripped to nothing to begin the process of trimming his chest and pubes. But as he did so, I noticed a great change in him. He no longer had a six-pack, which he bragged about constantly in the past. His hair wasn’t done, and his room in his apartment, which is in a great location by the way, was in near shambles. I turned away from him as the sight of an ass appeared and began looking around his apartment. There at his desk were old playbills, framed, on the wall, action shots of him on stage, and a notebook nearly opened with the amount of bills and unopened envelopes stuffed inside. Scattered around his desk were nearly fifteen 24oz. cans of Coors Lite and plates littered with Pizza Hut to-go packets of cheese and crushed pepper.

I began identifying a man that turned into a different version of himself. A man who became so obsessed with his boyfriend’s life he forgot what he was doing, and where he was going. I eventually touched on it with him after he showered and dressed a bit. He informed me that though his boyfriend made great money, his own bills were going untouched as the server position he held barely covered his half of the rent.

“I spend my days as a housewife then go into work around five,” he told me.

“Well,” I said looking specifically at the beer cans and the dirty plates, “not a very good one.” We laughed before he offered me a glass of beer which I happily accepted. It was a good time getting to meet up with him, reminiscing and finding out more of what’s happening in each others lives; both fallen in love, both happier than ever, and the part I didn’t tell him, both letting go of ourselves.

I found it true, and this incident proves none the other, that often advice to others is intended for the giver’s ear. Maybe we’ve seen ourselves in a similar situation, or currently are, but some tidbit of said suggestions can apply to one’s own life. I drove home from my visit with three hours to think about what happened to him and look at myself as well. I knew I always had a love for long drives, alone. It provides just enough distraction so as not to go off on a ridiculous tangent, but also enough quiet to provide the mind with an atmosphere conducive to self-reflection.

Change for the better takes longer than changes for the worse, it’s designed that way. Everyday conscious action reinforced with positive change results in a habit or thought pattern that will stand firm even when beginning to drift. Each day is a new day, each minute a new minute, taking advantage of this will yield greater results within ourselves. Finding a buddy to help along this journey is a great route as well, even if it is a blog or video blog.

Goals, determination, and clear understanding of our dreams will pull us from the times we begin to slide, if only we remind ourselves of them, then take action to achieve them. Letting go happens but it’s up to us to not let it happen and change the patterns that sneak their way into our lives affecting them as such.  Remember you are you, people love you for it, you should love you for it too.

 

 

I am an Army Man

The memorial day parade is about to begin! Looking out of my bedroom window I see  there are no firetrucks lining up in front of my house. I’m used to watching them polish the bells on the front, and I think of myself crying, tied to the front of one; as my dad always says that’s where I should be when I cry. Buttoning the last button to the jean jacket my mom bought me at the thrift store, with patches from the navy, I smile because I’m going to look just like the army men that fire their rifles.  I could almost pass as a real army man! Minus the navy patches.  Looking to the right I see the balloon carts coming around; which means the parade is almost here! I’m missing a hat, but I know I have my camouflage hat hanging in the closet. Looking in the mirror, I know I don’t quite look like the army men that fire their rifles, but I put the hat on. They wear their camouflage and their boots. Boots! and gloves! My dad’s army boots are just in the attic, I’ll get them, and I have my black winter gloves; they will pass as Army issued!

Though the boots let my feet slide around in them, I proudly lace them up. Now I have everything that I need to stand at the side and collect as many shells as I can, before my brother gets them all. Whenever we play army he always wins because he has more shells than I do, so he kills me before I even have a chance! I’m going to get him in the next round! I can hear the bands playing so I grab the plastic American flag I got for free two days ago and walk out the front door to join my family. The band walks by with thuds from the drum that course through my chest, then the fire trucks! All so awesome and loud! Next I hope to see what I have been waiting for. I hear them. Their boots make a sound much like my boots made clambering down the stairs. I can’t wait! I hope it’s them! Here they come! It is them! The army guys!

“lept…lept…lept, rye lept” I hear the first man demand. They all follow his every word! So serious they walk by, but I get the most excited! I wave my flag. I know I’m going to be them one day. I want to hug them all! Their little kids, my age, have to stay home while they fight the war in the gulf. The gulf war is big, and I try to follow everything that’s going on, but that’s tough work for me. I smile, no I grin, no, I stretch my lips as far as they will go across the width of my face because, well; these guys are awesome! (Seriously this part brings tears to my eyes…ugh!)

They walk past, but I follow. “lept…lept…lept, rye lept.” my leader demands so I follow him. The parade goes right with the road, but these totally cool guys go straight into the circle, headed towards the American flag. Dodging baton twirlers I too head to the center, though a bit off cadence. I think it was cadence my dad said, I’m such a cadet, I think that’s the word I learned at West point last summer.  My mom follows me as my dad is talking to a few guys outside of the post office. She’s talking to a lady with a camera hanging off of her shoulder and a notepad in hand. I don’t care though, the volleys are about to happen! The men line up as the lead man orders them to follow him.

“Ready,” he instructs. There is a distinct slapping of wood and metal as the totally awesome, I’m going to be them someday, men grab the rifles and bring them to their shoulders.

“Aim,” the commander instructs. People everywhere are covering their ears! What! I can’t wait to hear that sound of gunfire. The men change their stance, spread their legs and bring the butt of the rifle to their shoulders. Not quite sure what they are aiming for I simply just watch them.

“Fire!” The guns go off at different times but so close together it creates a sound I often try to duplicate. I stare. They know how awesome they are, right? I can’t wait to be just like them. It’s going to be so awesome fighting all of the bad guys, and having a gun! Following them to each stop, I have clearly collected more shells then Josh, my brother.

The very next day my mom wakes me with a newspaper in hand. “Look,” she says, “you made the front page.”

I look at the paper and see how awesome I looked standing there, waving my flag just as my role-models came into sight. But then again I’m sad.

“Where are the army guys mom?” I ask. I wanted a picture of them, not me.

“You are the little army guy.” She re-assured me. I smile and look at the picture again. I am an army man, I think.

[Okay, seriously don’t ask me why, but this friggin memory just brought tears to my eyes. Maybe it was the innocence in my thinking, maybe it’s because I never attained that dream. Either way this shit is sad! lol God Bless our Troops!]

Exercise: using the present tense, write an early memory in the first person, before you were ten. Don’t interpret or analyze. – The fiction writer should be able to present a narrative without nudging the reader or in any way explaining what she has written

The Beautiful Blouse

July 4th 2010

A wooden floor rests beneath the feet of a porcelain-faced woman. The dress she wears is from the Victorian age. There are frilly ends to every end she has. There is a large plush to the dress that adds to the elegance. Her back is flat against the wall as if she had been practicing her posture. Her white knuckles and extended arms hold tightly to the front of the armrest in her oak dinner chair. She’s holding on because the ship has tilted so far that she’s now on her back. The sharks head, no body attached, is hardly noticeable at first, though its teeth are resting around the entirety of her neck. As I notice this, the teeth sink slowly and nearly effortlessly into her neck, sprouting a dark purple color into her dress that had been so elegant.

 

The restaurant was brightly colored. The small table I sat at barely fit the four of us. Chad, one of my bosses, looked at me with his dark and serious eyes. His moustache didn’t dare hide any left-overs from his mouth. I could tell from the look in his eyes that he was going to pay. I looked to where the waitress might be, and saw her with his card. If it weren’t for me just knowing it was his, the name would have been written in 100-point font across the front. I quickly stand to my feet and get to her before she begins the process of swiping and validating his card.    I look at her as if she’s mad. I had planned on voiding the entirety of the check so that I wouldn’t have to pay for it, when I realize I don’t have my manager’s card on me.

 

I’m sitting in my mother’s living room, white walls, simplistic, with a boarded up fireplace, and a television on the floor. The television gives off enough light to see that there are clothes strewn about the floor, even though the main lights are off. There on the sofa is my handsome boyfriend curled up presumably sleeping. I call out his name again and again. I soon stand from my chair and approach his location. I can now see that he’s unresponsive and leaning over a toilet. Immediately my senses begin to arouse.

“Are you okay?” I’m asking. “What’s wrong? Babe, are you okay?”

I look up to see that two of his guy friends walk into the room. They are talking, as one sits down on the couch. I stand. When they notice me the one begins to hide a small bottle of something behind him.

“What did he do?” I ask, quickly approaching the one and pulling his arm out from beneath his back. From his hands I grab a bottle of Robitussin.

“What dude? We haven’t robo-tripped in a long time!” The one yells at me. I become infuriated that they would give this to my boyfriend. I point at my boyfriend, but as I look at him he has altered. He is wearing the same white t-shirt, but he’s gained five pounds of body hair, and thirty pounds on his gut. I am disgusted at first. I take him in, then look at his face. But I love him, I rationalize to myself.

 

Now I stand on a boat at sea. It’s only as wide as an airplane. Something terrible has happened, but I am not made privy to it. I begin to fall, as the front of the ship rises skyward. We’re sinking. As we sink a single sharks head falls down from the front of the ship. Everyone is defying gravity and running from the direction of the shark. It’s clearly vicious since it was separated from its body. I land on what once had been a wall when I watch the head bounce twice next to the porcelain faced woman. She’s wearing a blue dress and looking at me very still. She was trying to deter the shark. It looks at her and moves closer through movements similar to if it’s body were still attached. Suddenly from the severed portion of the head a green cocoon wraps around the lady tightly. Her face changes from that of pure surprise to that of defeat. The shark sets his teeth quickly around her throat before I watch the jaw muscles move to quickly squeeze into her neck sending a flood of blood into the beautiful blouse she had worn.

 

Caleb A. Mertz