Moxie Monday (Taking Down a Wall)

Occasionally, there are crystal moments of clarity when I know who I am, when I feel the power of me churning just below the surface. I can see Who my power comes from and I feel as though I am gently clasped in God’s love. I recognize the purpose of my life is before me and that I will never be alone as I pursue it.

The walls are coming down

I’ve spent a lot of time building walls around my heart. I’ve been hurt; my heart has been trampled. I’ve been told I was worthless and that I wouldn’t succeed in anything I wanted. I was told that I didn’t have the skills I needed to accomplish my goals. I’ve been taught to fulfill other people’s needs. I was taught that my value is solely in what I can do for others.

It doesn’t help that in today’s society we are taught that women are only as good as their beauty. If they are thin, pretty and stylish, they have value. I am none of those things and so to some, I’m not of any worth.

Operating with those erroneous beliefs, I make poor decisions for myself. I’m not saying that I’m sorry that I have four children, or that I don’t want to be a stay-at-home-mom. I’m talking about things that are internal, and almost undefinable. My self-talk is extremely destructive.

And there are the things that people have told me.

                “You’re ugly. You’re like a cross between…”

                “You’re kind of fat…”

                “No husband wants a fat wife, Lori.”

                “Why don’t you be more supportive of your husband?” (While I was going to school, had a two month old baby and working from home.)

                “You’re a slob.”

                “You look like a man.”

                “What have you done all day? The house is a mess.”

                “Why would anyone want to hear you play?” (When I said I would play my flute for a function.)

                “You can’t be a writer/editor you don’t have your degree. You don’t know what you’re doing.”

                “You’d be a better person if you had graduated from BYU.”

And there are many, many others.

All of these things made me build up walls so that I wouldn’t get hurt. I remember when, as a child, I was told that I was not a pretty girl and that my head was too big. That person said it with such certainty that I couldn’t deny it. I felt myself lay another brick on the wall, mortar it in place, and harden myself. “Now I know,” I thought. “I won’t ever think I’m pretty again.” The bricks kept the tears from falling.

There was a time before the bricks, when things could touch me. Beauty would envelop my soul. Music was something that was potent to my senses. I loved it. I could feel it vibrating though my being. But as the wall grew, the bricks dulled the feeling. I was killing off a part of myself and I was being numbed to peace and beauty.

The pain of being constantly belittled was worse than I could bear and the wall got taller. I began to love the bricks, putting more and more in place. I believed that I could endure anything.

But there is a problem. Things still seep into my heart on occasion and because of the bricks, I can’t let them out. I have ignored it for the most part, but I am aware that the bricks are not totally effective.

There are other ways of dealing with it…

I rarely let anyone in to know the real me and I lie a lot about my life and how good it is. And when I do let someone in, I have horrible anxiety. I am certain that they’re not going to like me; I’m not worth liking. It’s safer to just move through life than to try to make and keep intimate friends. I keep real friends from loving me at the core of who I am.

I lead an empty life.

Until now…the walls are coming down.

I can’t keep going like this. This weekend, I had a day trip with the group. I had an experience in a graveyard that changed the way I view things. This weekend I also heard music that made me cry simply because of the beauty. I haven’t done that since I was in high school and it felt wonderful.

I walk through tall black gate and enter an old graveyard. Trouble haunts my mind. “What am I going to do? We’re not going to make it. My life is falling apart and I’m helpless against it.”

Sweet breezes stir the grasses growing between the headstones. Birds sing a repeating song high in the trees. An unseen gate creaks on its ancient hinges. I continue to walk up the stony path surrounded by the long since dead, secretly envying their peaceful rest.

Suddenly the breezes still. The bird’s song ends and a whisper rises from the ground.

“Part of your purpose is to enjoy these things, to listen to happiness in the song of birds, the feel of the grass swaying against your skirt, and smell the fragrant breeze. You were put here to take in these things to drink deeply of life, because those are the dreams of your final rest. Make friends, laugh, play, sing and dance. Troubles always end, but life, real life, all of the important things, love, beauty, fun and joy, all of these things will last if you pay attention and receive them.” Peace enters my soul as I realize the truthfulness in those words.

All is once again left to the birds and the swaying grasses. And I am left feeling grateful, aware of my beating heart.

Glenwood Cemetary

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Fragment Friday um yeah its late sorry.

Well hey Y’all I know its Saturday and not Friday and that fragment and Saturday do not begin with the same letter. I am sorry I did not get this done yesterday. I have been working on this story for a while and it is well special for a lot of reasons. Despite the lateness of it I hope you enjoy it. And yes although I have been working on it forever it is still a little rough. Until next time peace out homies.

Emily pushed open the sun bleached wooden door of the bookstore, the delicious musty scent enveloped her immediately. She loved the smell, it reminded her of her grandma’s house. Her grandma had a room that had been floor to ceiling books and Emily had spent many happy days of her childhood in the center of that floor surrounded by a mountain of books. Drinking in the details of every adventure and savoring the flavor of every character. Then cancer came and stole her grandma from her.

Since then Emily had kept reading to escape the harsh reality of her life. Mr. Lindon’s bookstore had allowed her a small amount of happiness amid the chaos.

At 15 her life was hectic her mother and father were too caught up in their own issues to Mr Lindon's be parents to her or her younger siblings. Emily had become a surrogate mother to the children. Making sure that they were fed, dressed in clean clothes, and in bed at a decent hour. Her mother did give her an allowance weekly and she spent most of that at Mr. Lindon’s.

She had developed a friendship with the kind, man and he had become an adopted grandfather to her. She began wandering through the aisles stopping at this book or that, perusing the covers, titles, and first few pages.

“Is that you Em?” Mr Lindon called out from his tiny office.

“Hey Mr. Lindon yep it’s me. Did anything new come in?”

“Oh yes I have been waiting for you,” he said his bright green eyes twinkling with excitement. He shuffled out of his office and along the ornate mahogany counter, past the antique cash register, to the bookshelf on the far end. “There are a few I set aside for you, but one in particular.”

fairy adventuresEmily made her way to join him and there in his hands was the most beautiful book she had ever seen. The cover was made of dark purple velvet there was silver writing on the front and spine and a silver braided book mark hung between pages that had yellowed with age. Upon closer inspection she saw that the writing on the cover said Fairy Adventures. Emily grew even more excited as she carefully took the book from Mr. Lindon.

“I found this while going through some of my wife’s old things” he said. ”It was her journal of all the adventures she had when she was young. It was never published but I thought you might enjoy it.”

“That would be great Mr. Lindon. I would be honored to read it.” Emily said, carefully fingering the delicate pages.

“Just a warning there are some rules you must follow when reading this book. It can be dangerous.”

“Dangerous?! How so?” She asked.

“Well, it changes things, not just things, everything.”

My Dad

I’m not much of a writer, in fact I usually only write to express my emotions because I really don’t know how to express them any other way. So, with that I felt there was a need to give just a little background on the poem I wrote below.

My mother had me out of wedlock, I didn’t have a father in my life at all, until one day she met a man who she decided she would marry. That man adopted me when I was five years old and has become the only father I ever really knew. Of course I loved him…always did…always will. But as you can expect, my parents had another child and I did have some resentment at one point of feeling he may not love me as much as he loved my sister. Later, I became a teenager, and struggled with my emotions regarding my dad. I said things like “you’re not my dad” and even set out to find my biological father. My dad and I struggled a lot when I was growing up. Sometimes I look back and wonder if he thought I didn’t love him, because I sure didn’t act like it some of the time.

I’m now 37 years old, and my daddy just passed away this March 5th after a long bout of liver cancer. The irony is it was nearly two years to the date of his liver transplant. In October of last year he was officially told the cancer had engulfed his liver and there was nothing else they could do. He was expected to have less than six months. I demoted myself at work and my husband and I dedicated myself to helping my mother care for my father.

The thing many of you may not know about liver cancer is one of the stages one will go through is the loss of their mind. They tend to start acting “drunk” at times. This is due to the toxins in your body no longer being able to be filter correctly, and thus, beginning to poison your brain instead. I really really wanted to be able to express to my dad how much he meant to me. But, as I told you, I don’t express my feelings and emotions well. So, I decided to write him a poem for his 60th birthday that December. However I had to give him the poem early because he started to show signs of his brain deteriorating.

Below is the poem I gave him. It’s not my best, nor do I really care, because it totally expresses the way I felt about him. I don’t expect you to understand some of the lines as they were written specifically for my dad with little tidbits only he understood.

My Dad

By Sarah Cooper

I’ve never been much for words,
Or showing much emotion at all,
But I’d like to tell you a story
That started when I was very small.

I never had a dad you know
But always dreamed I would
It’s something every little girl should have
A special part of their childhood.

I’ll never forget that day
Seeing him come through that door
Somehow I seemed to know
That I would get to see him more.

Eventually he and my mom got married
That special day years ago.
However he didn’t marry just my mom,
He married me too you know.

Shortly after that special day
My name was changed to match his and his new bride.
I remember feeling super special
As we left the building to head outside.

He carried me closely in his arms
And I knew he loved me a bunch
But he quickly passed me off to my mom
Because he spotted a way for a celebration KFC lunch!

Although I now had a daddy,
Growing up wasn’t the fantasy I thought it’d be
I learned my fair share of discipline
And occasionally questioned his love for me.

There were times we’d fight and yell
And I’d say things I didn’t mean
I really don’t think he took my words to heart
I think he chalked it up to me being an irritable teen.

Like any normal parent,
He made his fair share of mistakes
But I was definitely not the perfect child
I know I caused plenty of heartaches.

It wasn’t until I became a parent myself
That I realized the sacrifices he’d made
That despite his imperfections
I’d always been a recipient of the love he displayed.

My dad has always been there,
And has shown what it means to lead.
He always displayed hard work for us
As well as being available for those in need.

Although he may not believe it,
He taught me many important things in life,
Like how a man should provide for his family
And always be there for his wife.

I wish there were words to express
Just how much love I have for him inside
How much I love calling him my dad
And how it fills my heart with pride.

Dad, you showed me how a father
Isn’t blood at all,
A father is a man
Whose daughter sees him as ten feet tall.

You will always be my daddy
And I’ll always be your little girl.

I love you and will love you always!