Late Lines

It took all day to come up with lines for #3lineThursday. I saved them so I could run them by my husband before submission and then I woke up Friday morning. My first thought as I opened my eyes was,  Oh no! I forgot to submit my lines!!! What a horrible way to wake up.

Anyway, I will post them here even though I missed the deadline.

 

Photo by: Julie Jensen

Photo by: Julie Jensen

 

 

Hungry, they devoured numbers and set their sights on power

And though they rose and reigned on lofty thrones

They saw no beauty, forever veiled behind their pride

 

 

#OCDweek – My #OCD Story

ocd-awareness-week

Please bear with me as I have never really written down my whole OCD story before, so it may be a bit of a jumble. I’ll try my best. Please also know that I am sharing some very personal things, some of which I have not shared before. If you know me in person and don’t think you can handle knowing these things please, don’t read on.

My OCD started to show itself in my early teens, 14ish I think. My very first obsession was thinking that the water I was drinking was poisoned (only bottled water). The thought just occurred to me one day. It didn’t strike me as odd; it was a perfectly reasonable possibility. To make myself feel better I had to take the first sip and spit it in the sink. One was good for a while, then two, then three. Three was the magic number. It wasn’t a problem at first, then I had to do it when I was out at picnics. I was able to compromise with myself and just pour it out rather than have to spit it out, but I was still “randomly” pouring out perfectly good water. I would usually try to go somewhere out-of-the-way, to do it when no one was looking.

Then, my nighttime routine started. First check the stove, then front door, then back door, stove again, front, back, stove. wait…stove again. This could vary from night to night how many times and in what order. I just had to do it until it felt right.

Then, the intrusive thoughts started. These thoughts came out of nowhere. Horrible things I would never EVER actually do. I was so confused when my first inappropriate sexual thought came. I was just reaching puberty (late bloomer). I didn’t understand these thoughts or feelings. I was horrified. To make the thoughts go away I would repeat over and over (in my head) Jesus saves, Jesus saves. I felt like an awful person. There must be something wrong with me. I am disgusting.

One day when I was doing dishes (I was washing , my sister was drying)  I picked up a steak knife and an image of me stabling my sister entered my head. I dropped the knife and washed a dish instead while chanting Jesus saves in my head. Those thoughts came every time I washed or dried dishes. I began to hate dishes. I would do them really fast, which would cause me not to clean them well and I would get in trouble. My mom just thought I was being a normal teen who hated chores. I never told her. She still doesn’t know.

Thoughts of my family getting hurt continued with fear of fire, gas leaks, and deaths caused by me. My compulsions ranged from the noticeable ones, like checking or gathering clothes in piles by the door for emergencies, to inward ones,  like praying specific prayers before bed, making sure I covered each problem and each person and if I forgot something or started to fall asleep, I had to start all over again.

I never told my mother any of these things. She saw some of the things I did, but she would just tell me to stop or yell at me. Like when I became afraid of touch for no reason and would react when people hugged me at church, she would scold me for being rude. I became obsessed with germs getting in my cup at meal time and would cover my drink with a napkin; it wasn’t a problem until I knocked my milk over during dinner because I was rushing to get it covered when someone started talking. Lunch time at school was a nightmare, all my friends so close to me, breathing near my food.

I became depressed. I didn’t even notice it, I just was who I was. When I was 16 my mother made me go to counseling, but she didn’t know why I was depressed because I never told her anything that went on in my head. And I didn’t realize that those things were the reason I was depressed. The first counselor didn’t work out. She actually made things worse although, looking back, it wasn’t her fault. She didn’t know what I was dealing with because I never told her. My second counselor was great. I still never shared any of the thoughts or things I did,  but she respected my space and helped me through my depression. By 17 I met my (future) husband and with the help of the counselor and his support I got a lot better and she released me from counseling.

But my OCD was still there. I continued to have new fears as the seasons in my life changed. New apartment, marriage, kids. My husband saw my “quirks” but I never told him the thoughts. (Luckily, moving out of my parent’s house  stopped the sexual and murderous thoughts.) After my second son was born I started getting really depressed again. My stress levels were through the roof and I started having panic attacks. I became obsessed with thoughts that my kids were going to die and it would be all my fault. It had to do with any decision I had to make. For instance, I reach for a glass in the cupboard, the first one will cause my son’s head to be chopped off, the next one would be my husband’s death, then the next one would cause my mother’s death. I would have to try to find the one that would be safe for everyone. This would happen with everything. Grocery shopping was awful. There was no such thing as making a quick trip because I had to find all the safe items.

At some point there stopped being a “safe” option. Someone would die no matter what I chose, including me. So, to save my family, I would pick the one that killed me. Of course it didn’t actually kill me. So a logical person would conclude that my family wouldn’t die either, but it doesn’t work like that when you have OCD. (Keep in mind that I still had no idea that’s what I had) So that became my new “normal”. I would have to “sacrifice myself” 50-100 times a day. It was exhausting. My depression and stress was at it’s all time high. I had no energy, and I felt physically sick all the time.

The pinnacle moment when I realized something wasn’t right was about two years ago. I was hanging up laundry (we have drying racks in our hallway) and I have to hang the clothes on the “right” rungs. I went to hang up a shirt but there was no safe rung and there was no sacrifice rung. I had to chose between my kids’ deaths or my husband’s. I started to panic. My husband was in the other room and heard me. When he came out, he took one look at my petrified face and knew what was going on. He grabbed the clothes and pulled me away from the rack and held me tight while I cried and tried to breath again. When I calmed down my whole body got tired and cold and I had to lay down while he finished the laundry. That was not normal. Something was wrong.

Several months later I finally got help and reached out to a counselor. When the label OCD was thrown out there I was stunned. Wasn’t OCD when you counted and straitened and organized and washed your hands ’til they bled? That wasn’t me. But as I researched it and learned more about it, some of the things I read made me stop and show my husband saying, “Woah. That’s me.”

If I was educated in exactly what OCD was, I could have sought help earlier. #OCDweek is a great way to spread awareness so that those suffering can finally put a name to it and get help.

So that’s my OCD story. It’s a scary disorder full of fear, doubt, and dread. It is time-consuming, stressful, and tiring. It is not just the need to have your books in alphabetical order or your house clean and tidy. It is not a joke.

Help spread the word. Consider sharing your OCD story. Let your voice be heard.

 

Conversations with a 3 year old – Fire Safety

Fire hydrant 114 CC2.0 Photo by Barb

Fire hydrant 114 CC2.0 Photo by Barb

“Mom, look what I made!” He holds up a play dough creation from a play dough mold.

“Oh, a fire hydrant.”

“Fire hydrant?”

“See, a fireman hooks up his hose here and then points it at the house and puts the fire out with the water.”

“But the house will burn all down.”

“Well hopefully he puts the fire out before that happens.”

“Yeah, but then we will have to clean up our house because it will be all wet and I don’t want to do that.”

“well then, lets not set our house on fire.”

“Yeah, let’s not,” he says shaking his head.

Conversations with a 6 year old – Freaky Science

SCIENCE CC2.0 Photo by Chase Elliott Clark

SCIENCE CC2.0 Photo by Chase Elliott Clark

 

Son#1: “Mommy, I learned in school that your skin has little, tiny holes in it.”

Me: “Mhmm”

Son #1: “Did you know that?”

Me: “Yes I did.”

Son#1: “It kinda freaked me out. Actually, half the science freaks me out!”

Conversations with a 6 year old: “Bullies”

Photo from Google Images

Photo from Google Images

 

Son #1: “Dad, some girls were being mean to me and called me names at school.”

Daddy: “Oh?”

Son#1: “Yeah! They called me sugarbuns! And G called me cupcake! I’m not going to be her friend anymore because she called me cupcake!”

Six Word Stories: The Challenge, No. 4

Check out the top #sixwordstories for last week’s challenge. After you’re done, take a look at this week’s challenge. Writing a story in six words is harder than it sounds.

A Hopelessly Wandering Mind

It’s that time of the week again, to announce this week’s winners and set a new challenge. Once again, dozens of entries have come to me over the past seven days, all of them brilliant in their own way. The following are just the ones that appealed to me most at the time I read them in the frame of mind in which I found myself at the time, which is I think the only way in which we can ever judge fiction. But, hey, that might just be me…

Anyway, here are the runners up for last week’s prompt of murder:

An “accidental” overdose – my revenge complete. (D.S. McKnight)

With poisoned lips, she kissed him. (Real Momma Ramblings)

Her murder, an accident she planned. (HumaAq)

And this week’s winner:

Everyday, he cradled his wife’s murderer. (Ruminations of an Overthinker)

So there it is, four more great winners among…

View original post 64 more words

Paving Paradise

Post-tornado Mayflower, Arkansas. CC2.0 photo by Carol von Canon.

Post-tornado Mayflower, Arkansas. CC2.0 photo by Carol von Canon.

 

 

Two little girls
tender feet
giggles echo through the trees

Tag! You’re it!

Crackles and pops
the girls dance around the falling ash
campfire light aglow on sun burnt faces

Bike rides and sword fights
falls and bruises
marshmallow wishes under the stars

Summers were once magical
when time seemed to stop
preserving memories in its humid haze

But childhood comes to a screeching halt
as adulthood comes crashing down
like a wrecking ball

Paradise laying crumpled on the grass
forgotten memories scattered
on once sacred ground

Soon to be discarded
paved over
glass and steel to take it’s place

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Written for WarmUp Wednesday!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shattered

This story got an honorable mention over at Cracked Flash! Cracked Flash is a new flash fiction contest (this was their third week) and this was my first time entering. The judge’s comments are posted below the story.

For this contest we were given an opening line for our prompt. We were allowed to modify it however we wanted as long as it was still recognizable.

Our Prompt: The crunch of broken glass underfoot was her only warning that she wasn’t alone.

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Shattered

The crunch of broken glass had been her only warning that she hadn’t been alone. As she looked down at her porcelain heart, now laying shattered on the ground, she noticed it was not as empty as she once thought. Among the shards broken memories lay, forgotten moments tucked away in the deepest hollows. A long glance. Kind words. Laughter in the break room. Common interests shared. Inside jokes. Nights out amongst other colleagues. Long conversations between cubical barriers. She was surprised to see all these scenes play before her eyes, disappearing one by one.

She wept.

Why had she never noticed these things before? Hindsight is 20/20 they say. The crystal clear images continued to show her what she had taken for granted. Regret began to fill the void in her love starved chest, hardening, a lump of coal. Skin grew over the wound, tears sealing her flesh, leaving a scar, a reminder of what she could have had. She shut the spell book and threw it at the useless pile on the ground, cursing herself. What had she done? Who had she become?

As the last memory showed his face she fell to the floor, begging him to stay. The image denied her and faded away, leaving her empty.

It was over.

Reluctantly she swept the broken pieces of who she once was under the carpet, crushing them underfoot.

She would never be the same again.

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Judges Thoughts

Si: “I really enjoyed the evocative and descriptive writing style in this story–there’s a distinct feel of regret and past mistakes that is shown very effectively in that first paragraph, before it’s stated that this is what the character feels. I especially loved the line “Skin grew over the wound, tears sealing her flesh, leaving a scar, a reminder of what she could have had.” The hints of a disastrous spell or decision–something tragic that had passed, that the main character must move on from–very well done. The memories gives me just enough hints to want to know what the story was–what had happened. Loved the way the porcelain heart is used as a focus and a metaphor for the character.”

RinThe feeling of grief and regret in this is powerful and well written. I liked the imagery of a heart as a lump of coal, but my favorite line was ‘Among the shards broken memories lay, forgotten moments tucked away in the deepest hollows.’ It has a beautiful sound to it. I also liked the line of sweeping pieces of herself under a carpet and crushing them. It felt familiar, we’ve all had moments that we wish we’d have lived in more or paid attention to in hindsight. The spell book was a curiosity, I wondered if it were like some magical looking glass or if she had used it for some horrible thing that caused her situation. I would have liked to know more about her story, it sounds like an interesting one.”

Summer Quest

This story got an Honorable Mention over at The Angry Hourglass. The picture below was our inspiration. Scroll to the bottom to see what our judge, Brian S Creek, had to say.

 

photo courtesy Ashwin Rao

photo courtesy Ashwin Rao

Dear Mom,

I feel trapped in a box here. I don’t know who I am or who I want to be. I need some time away. So, I’ve joined a carnival to be the Tea Cup Ride attendant. I know what you’re thinking. “How can you find yourself, chained to a ride in the hot sun?” But I need a change of scenery. I’ve told you I want to travel. Twelve cities in three months! I need variety and this town, population 1200, just isn’t cutting it. I will be back in time for school. That is unless I meet a cute guy and elope.

Chill Mom, that was a joke.

I love you.

See you in September.

Love, Joni

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Judges thoughts: “Caitlin played with the format and only used one third of the allowed word count but it all works brilliantly. My favourite thing was the outside-the-box take on the prompt, using the cup to represent the carnival ride.”