Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Indie Ink Challenge: vengeance or justice or whatever

I had so much fun last week that I signed up for the Indie Ink Writing Challenges again.  This week I challenged Flaming NYX (whose response is here) and my challenge - Write about a time in your life when you were wronged and justice was not served (can be fiction or nonfiction) - came from Dafeenah.  This is a fictional character and her world that I've been slowly building as I try to figure out exactly what's going on with her and her story to tell.  Figured I could use it for this week's prompt.

I was awoken with a hard shove and my brother hovering over me as he grinned down at me and said, "Morning Cady."

"Oh my god.  Are you a farmer?" I groaned, throwing my blanket over my head.  

The hint was lost on Sean, who laughed as he pulled my blanket away and said, "It's nearly eight and you've got things to do."

"I'm not doing anything.  I'm going to curl up in a ball and wait for the humiliation of last night to pass."

"So, I'll see you again in ten years?"

I glared at him as I sat up and pulled my knees to my chest.  "Maybe if you'd let me-"

"-You know the rules, kiddo.  You don't use your abilities to harm innocent people."  Before I could protest and explain exactly how not innocent Lucian Devane was, my brother held up his hand and said, "Breakfast and then school work."

"You're on my list."

"Considering how long that list is after all these years, I'm not too worried," he said with a pat on the head.  Yeah, if he couldn't kick my ass in less time than it would take for me to even make a move, I would totally kill him.  

I stood up, stretched out, and pulled the shade of my room open.  The sunlight filtered into the room from the alley between my building and another and as I opened the window, glancing in both directions and looking for anyone suspicious wandering around on the streets, the city's familiar noises inundated me.  There was something comforting in the sounds of the city - I felt safe.  Well, as safe as someone like I could, considering the trendy thing as of late was attempts on my life.

I picked up my phone, deleted the texts from Lucian without looking, and made my way down the short hall to what passed for our kitchen, living room, and library.  I licked my lips as I inhaled the smell of bacon and hurried to the table.  My brother could be a hard ass about trying to maintain some semblance of normal in our life.  Usually, it drove me nuts.  We weren't normal - or I wasn't and he was guilty by association - and I saw no need to pretend.  It wasn't like I was going to live a long life with a husband and the two-point-five kiddies . 

But, even though I would swallow a bullet before admitting it, I looked forward to the fact that my brother and I usually ate at least one meal together.  We could be in the middle of a debacle of epic proportions, but we would find time to just sit, eat, and talk.  He told me it kept us from forgetting why we were doing all of this.  And while I rarely bought into the yay-world Kool-Aide, I liked spending a few quiet moments with my brother where the topic of discussion wasn't the end of the world or our impending demise.

I shoved a piece of bacon into my mouth, grimaced and nearly spit it out, "Is this fake bacon?"

"Tofurkey bacon strips."

"I used to love you," I said, plopping down into my chair dramatically.

"It's better for you."

"Dude, you woke me up after the worst night of my life--"

"--that's a bit of an exaggeration considering I've witnessed much worse."

I picked up another strip of vegetarian devil food and pointed it in my brother's direction.  I said, "That's different.  It doesn't count when you're not sure you'll survive the night - you let things slide."

"I thought it was sweet."

"That's because you're a sap."

"Cady, Lucian likes you.  There is nothing wrong with that."

"He sang a song to me in front of a crowded bar.  A really bad song.  A Barry Manilow song."

"You inspire greatness," Sean replied with a laugh.

I glared at him and said, "Maybe if we were like, fifty, that might be sweet, but I'm seventeen.  I don't want a guy to serenade me with an easy listening, cheesy ballad and definitely not in a room full of people.   I have a reputation to uphold."

"A legend in your own mind."

"Seriously, you are on my list."

Sean  shook his head and stared at me until I met his gaze before he replied, "I know you don't trust people easily and with good reason, but Lucian seems harmless and it might be good for you to socialize with someone your own age."

"He wears pleather pants and furry coats.  If that's not a sign of evil, I don't know what is."

"Do yourself a favor.  Let this go and put the guy out of his misery.  He looked devastated when you ignored him for the remainder of the evening."

"That could've been solved if you let me punch him in the face."


"Maybe a one-way ticket to ancient Roman times?"

"You don't use..."

"...use my abilities on the innocent, blah, blah, blah.  I maintain that Lucian is not innocent.  He offended me."


"Go ahead and tell me that I'm ridiculous, but you weren't the one who had a billion eyes fixated on her as some dooface in bedazzled sunglasses sang her 'Can't Smile Without You.'  It wasn't even in tune."

My brother dropped his napkin on the table, folded his arms, and gave me the look that said I was being a brat and needed to shape up.  Looks like that never boded well, usually ending with me in the gym for hours on end as he grilled me on my fighting moves.  "What the hell are we doing all this for if you're never gonna let yourself have a life?"

"Not this again.  I don't have enough caffeine in my system for this talk.  I didn't know you were so Team Lucian."

"I don't give a crap about Lucian.  This is about you and how you create situations where nothing pleases you and no one can get in.  It's your way of protecting yourself, and I get it, but I don't like it."

I rolled my eyes and huffed hard enough to blow the bangs up on my forehead.  "I want justice."

"For bad karaoke?"

"My life in general, but I guess Lucian's sad attempts at singing are a good place to start.  You know I can't go back in there, right?  Like ever again?"

"Too bad you work there."

"Clyde will never let me hear the end of this."

Sean stood up and kissed the top of my head.  "You'll survive.  You always do."

"Can I at least egg Lucian's car?"


"Spit in his drinks?"


"Make him watch a day's worth of MTV reality TV shows?"

Sean laughed.  "Sure.  Vengeance will be yours."

"Okay then.  I guess I can muster up the good will to forgive Lucian.  I'll text him later and as long as there is no more singing, I'll tolerate his existence."

"That's very magnanimous of you.  Now finish up your breakfast and try to stay out of trouble while I work today."

I nodded and watched my brother gather his wallet and coat and head to the door.  He did a quick sweep of the hallway before turning back to me and motioning to the locks, like I didn't know the drill after all these years.  I nodded again, otherwise we'd be there all day, and he shot me a quick wave before shutting the door behind him. 

I grabbed another piece of not-quite-bacon and walked the short distance to lock up the door, my mind wandering to thoughts of Lucian, his insane wardrobe and bad singing.  I wanted to hate him for it.   A part of me did - I was not a girl who liked to stand out in a crowd - but this sick girly part of me was almost fond of him for his inane bravery.  It wasn't every guy that was willing to humiliate himself for a girl he barely knew.  

He was still going to pay.  

And it gave me an excuse to watch the 16 and Pregnant marathon without having to worry about my own broken psyche.  Win-win, really.

Wishcasting on health

My day began with a root canal.  Never the way one wants to begin the day, but at least the pain in my tooth is gone (one hopes - mouth is still numb so jury is out).  It's a lovely day, I'm in a good space with my writing this week, and the temporary assistant I trained last week is doing a great job, which takes some burden off me.

The best?  It's wishcasting wednesday.  If you're unfamiliar, it's "...a safe haven for wishes, a fertile field in which to plant wish seeds and have them witnessed and tended lovingly. It’s a place where magic begins."

This week Jamie asks us:

courtesy of we heart it

I don't think this one is any surprise to anyone who reads my journal.  It's my ongoing journey/battle/whatever-you-call-it with my weight and getting to a place where I'm healthy and happy.  I wish to lose weight, get in shape, and take the steps I need to in order to insure my health as best as I can.  I have two parents who died fairly young - my father died of cancer when I was little and my mother had a heart attack two years ago.  So far, I've lost 75lbs, removed soda from my diet for 91 days (and counting!  I almost succumbed this weekend, but decided the feeling of not having it was worth more than the craving), and have been slowly getting back on track with tracking my calories.

What I need to do now is step it up and add exercise back into my routine.  It's about restructuring my time and priorities.  I really want this, but I've realized that I have to put the work in for it to actually pay off.  That means, setting aside an hour at least four days a week for working out.  It's worth it.  I just have to get myself motivated.

I wish to find the motivation to push me forward on my continued journey to lose weight and get healthy.  I want to remember to reward the small steps in the right direction (which is why I know exactly how many days I've avoided any soda!) and not be so hard on myself when I fall down.  I need to believe that I can do it and that I deserve to do it.  I wish for my mind to catch up with what my body wants from me.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Happy Wishcasting

It's Wishcasting Wednesday.  It's been a crazy day - work has gotten insane within one week - and I'm exhausted, but I wanted to make sure to do my weekly wishcasting.  I'll state ahead of time to all my fellow wishcasters:  as you wish for yourself, so I truly wish for you also.  I'll try to read each post individually, but it probably won't be until tomorrow - just an extra day of good vibes coming your way.

Today Jamie asks:

I'm wishing to find time to write more.  To stop feeling guilty when I choose time alone to write over hanging out with people - my friends and family understand, but I still feel like I'm being horrible if I want to write.  I want to stop censoring myself before I even begin out of fear of it not being good enough.  I wish to simply free myself to write, whatever comes to mind, simply let it flow and make the time for it.

Is This How the World Ends?

This is my first week participating in the Indie Ink Writing Challenges.  I challenged Wendryn and my challenge - the day you became unable to read or write - came from Katri.  The prompt was hard and interesting at the same time and it forced me to go outside my comfort zone. 

Nothing like this had ever happened before, at least not in any history that had been recorded. Maybe eons ago, a tribe of people woke up and their drawings on cave walls looked like gibberish, but as far as the world was concerned, this anomaly was never-seen-before-obviously-the-end-of-times-or-probably-just-dumb-luck. It wasn’t every day that the collective human race woke up one morning unable to read or write. Didn’t matter the language or your how smart you were – reading and writing was like advanced Physics for a liberal arts major.

“They’re saying it’s got to be a solar flare and everything should be fine in forty-eight hours,” one friend offered.

“I heard it’s permanent,” another said.

“Do you think we’ll forget how to talk next?” someone asked.

No one had a clue what was happening. The world was suddenly thrown into the type of chaos that was never accounted for in those History Channel apocalypse specials. It seemed that our teachers were right all those years they harped on us about learning how to read and write – it was important. After all, if you couldn’t read that “dead end” sign as you barreled down the road, you were screwed.

I flipped through the various television stations, intermittently stopping on the latest “breaking news” broadcast regarding “the Illiteracy Plague” running amuck around the world. It seemed the general consensus at the moment was that no one had any idea what was happening. Scientists couldn’t figure out a reason why an entire species would randomly wake up like this and they offered up hypotheses that ranged from massive-spread strokes to alien weapon. I couldn’t really blame them for the ridiculous. None of this made sense.

Last night I had been able to read. Last night, I had written in my journal before turning off the light and going to sleep. Routine acts that I took for granted until this morning when I couldn’t do either of those things. I tried. I ignored what my roommate told me and the news was broadcasting. I thought that I would be different. I was always the class bookworm and, after years of being used as derogatory term, it made me special.  It meant that I was immune.

Except I wasn't.  I was yet another victim of the Illiteracy Plague.  I opened one of my favorite books and while I remembered the sentences, the words were unfamiliar. I couldn’t pick out words or sound them out and the pages jumbled together in a big mess of ink. I tried to write down a thought as it flittered through my head, but as much as I tried, a wall had gone up in my brain that I couldn’t get around. I knew what I wanted to say, remembered being able to do it, but had no idea how to get it back. I wanted my abilities back. I wondered if this was how some people lived every day and felt guilty for the assumptions I made about these people I didn’t know. I panicked and tried to bargain with God – just let me be able to read again and I’ll go to church every week. I became angry that no one seemed to know why this was happening or for how long and then it faded away to a dull sort of indifference.

I stared at the bookcases lining the walls and pictured never being able to read the words again or to get lost in imaginary worlds and cheer on fictional characters. It probably wouldn’t be the end of the world – despite how much we whine, we’re a pretty tough species – and humans would adapt, but things would always feel inadequate. I clung to the hope that it was temporary as some people were suggesting as I made mental lists of how much would change. How would I do my job? How would things get done? How would I learn new things? How, how, how?

This new world, temporary or not, was foreign and terrifying. I grieved for the comfort of what I knew as I turned the television off and shut my eyes. It will be okay. Everything will be okay. Life will be okay.

Except I wasn’t sure I believed that. Not yet, anyway.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

time for another wishcast...

This morning I found out that my co-worker has to go out immediately on bed rest for the remainder of her pregnancy so the temporary assistant game begins sooner than expected (she wasn't planning to come back after she has her baby).  I'll miss her at the office, but as I told her this morning when I talked to her, the most important thing is her and her baby and not to even worry about this place.

I'm mentally preparing myself for the game of hope-they-like-this-one-maybe-hire-that-one that goes on.  I've been through this twice before and it always takes my boss about a year (yes, a flipping year) to hire someone and it's not fair to me or the new hire (as I'm so drained by the time the person is hired, I'm not able to train her/him as well as I should).  Here's to hoping for a quick turnaround. 

Bright side:  it's wishcasting wednesday and I get to share my dreams and wishes with all of my lovelies!

Today Jamie asks:

courtesy of We Heart It

I feel like it's horribly self-involved to immediately think of myself.   I already stand up for causes I hold dear - women's issues, environment, gay rights - and try to stay involved as much as possible.  that is a part of how I was raised.  Civics and standing up for what you believe and doing something about it have been ingrained in me since I was little.  Championing causes and volunteering and trying to better my community and world were things both my parents did and I followed their examples.  I'm sure there is always room for improvement on my part - volunteer more!  live a greener life! - but I think I've got this area of things going well.

Taking a stand for myself?  Doing things that will make me better?  Removing people from my life that our toxic?  I'm not good at standing up for myself.  Instead, it's like I wear a neon flashing sign "doormat!"  I wish to work on that.  I wish to stand up to my own inner gremlin voices that tell me I don't deserve good things or all the ways I'm horrible.  I wish to stand up to people who treat me poorly as I don't deserve it.  I wish to stop avoiding doing things that could move me to a better future and version of me because of hurtful words from other people and some silly notion that it's selfish.

After all, how can I help make the world a better place when I'm living in a pit of despair of my own making?

(I'll be making the rounds and try to get to as many blogs as possible today, but just know:  as you wish for yourselves, so I truly wish for all of you!)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

celebrations and new goals...

I have not had a drop of soda in seventy-six days.  76!  That's huge for me.  I had such a terrible addiction to Coke and Cherry 7-Up.  It was insane and unhealthy and there was no real reason for it because I'm one of those people who actually likes water.  But I'm like a  junkie in need of a fix with soda - moderation doesn't work.  I had managed to give up soda for six months at one point, until one day I thought, "it's been long enough, a small diet coke won't hurt me."  It was like a deluge opened and I would have excuse after excuse for not stopping again.  It's a weird addiction to have, but I'm learning that the reasons I want soda are muddled in a mess of things and it's best to avoid it if I can. 

76 days!

I want to take this victory and use it to go into other areas of my life.  It's all about small steps, making small changes, and it's also all about making sure I'm proud of my accomplishments. 

In other news, I am using the WordPress journal I set up awhile ago to join in on a writing adventure with a great group.  It's the Serpentine Road and I know it will be great for unleashing my creativity.  I'm so focused on numbers lately that it's causing me to freeze up.  And it makes me dread writing - I hate feeling like that.  I'm also hoping to do more random writing in this blog as well.  I'm not sure where my block is coming from - life, fear, me - but I'm ready to plow through it.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

knowledge is power

Happy Wishcasting Wednesday!  It's been a busy week and I had a tough therapy session last week (I know this is good in the long run, but I walk out just exhausted in every way).

This week Jamie asks:

courtesy of we heart it

I wish to know myself better.  The past few years have been a journey filled with ups and downs and random zig-zags.  I've felt victorious and strong and a few minutes later completely annhilated.  I've started the process of getting to know myself with therapy, something I probably should have done long ago, but didn't know how to go about while my mother was alive.  My family was Irish Catholic, filled with drinking and repressing pain away, definitely not talking about it.  And happiness?  Well, if you were lucky, but not guaranteed without a lot of suffering. 

Of course, the emotions and questions never went away, just festered...and I'm full of old memories and bad feelings and emotions I was never brave enough, or capable of dealing with before the past few years.

I've learned a lot about myself already.  I've begun to realize that I was the child in a situation without a parent who was rational or capable of being what I needed.  Now, I just want to get to know this person that other people seem to think I am - someone who is smart, funny, and kind.  I never see that in myself.  I want to be able to truly know what I'm feeling and why I'm making the choices I am...I want to stop sabotaging myself out of fear of knowing who I am.