Daily Prompt: Competition

Okay, so this “daily” prompt might be a couple of days late…whoops.

It would be wrong of me to lie and say I always let the kids I babysit win when I play games with them. In fact, I’m the most competitive around those little buggers. I look at it this way…

A three year old is beating me in Candyland?! That’s bogus! Even though Candyland doesn’t require much more skill than being about to pick up a card and move your player, I don’t like to contribute it to luck. Those kids honestly know the secret to that game. Every time I’m within four spaces of the end I pull up the plum card that sends me practically back to the start. The three year olds? They’ll be losing the whole game and at the last minute draw the only card that can shoot them passed every obstacle in the game to the Lollipop Princess (or whatever) and they swoop in for the win! It’s outrageous. 

Little kids also like to just…make up rules. I’ve seen people go along with every rule a kid has made but not me. I’m way too competitive to let this little snot come in here and think she can just make up a rule about how she gets to move forward five spaces and I have to move backwards…it ain’t happening. I’m going to reply with a rule that sends her falling back to the start as I sprint towards the finish line. Some may say, “But, Emily…that’s not fair to the child…”

False.

As a future teacher, I was taught that being fair is about giving everyone what they need. If one kid needs a step stool to see over the fence but another does not, then so be it, one gets a step stool and one does not. The fairness comes in when they are both able to see over the fence into the neighbors yard, not the means in getting them to the required height to do so.

So, as I see it, if these little game winning monsters are beating me, they do not need any extra help in order for the game to be fair.

And plus, they usually skip extra spaces when they count out their turn anyways and I let it slide…

A Word A Week: Action

Over my spring break my roommate and I, Hannah, visited my aunt and uncle out in California. They live on top of a mountain in Paso Robles on Adelaida Springs Ranch and started a vineyard to eventually produce Rangeland Wines (I’m not typically a fan of red wine but I must admit…every night I was there I had a glass…or two). They were kind enough to open their home to us for a few days as we spent hours roaming their land and playing with their animals. Arrow, my aunt’s dog is big into fetch. That guy will run for days.

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Arrow would run after whatever it is you decided to throw for him, bring it back, drop it way too far away from you to reach and then just stare at it in hopes of getting another short fetch out of the deal. I must admit, sometimes I really did not feel like playing fetch. Sometimes, I did not want to reach over and exert enough force to throw his toy far enough away to keep him occupied. After all, he was quick. As I found myself trying to ignore him I would at first tell myself (and him) that I simply did not feel like it and I absolutely was not going to do it, however, he is a very determined dog. He would stare for hours if he had to and he’s so freaking cute I always caved and ended up throwing him his toy. No matter where we were, Arrow was sure to follow with his mouth wrapped around a stick or toy.Image

On our first walk alone around the ranch, Hannah and I ended up picking up Arrow and his friend. For the whole walk we did not know the other dogs name so I just started calling her Lucy. It turns out, Lucy was not her name, and since I lied to myself the whole time I can no longer even think of her correct name…

Regardless of Lucy’s real name, she was just as quick as Arrow and just as eager to play with us. They would run side by side and race to the toy. They stayed close to one another and if there was ever a doubt about their whereabouts a quick yell of Arrow’s name and they were both soon back by our sides. I’m not exaggerating when I say they did everything together. I’ve never seen two dogs play fetch with the same object before, but they managed to do it well….

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Perfect fetching form if you ask me.

After a long walk we laid in the grass by a fallen long. The dogs at first were still exploring, but they eventually set their toy down to join us in some relaxation.

ImageDon’t let their calm exteriors fool you, these dogs were always ready for action.

ps-How gorgeous is my aunt and uncle’s backyard?

Buoy vs. Tugboat

Last year I wrote a poem inspired by a friend of mine and the kind of relationship I perceive us as having.

I titled it, “Buoy.” Here it is:

I can’t be your buoy.
Treading water tires me out and it’s hard enough to keep myself afloat.
So, I’m sorry, but I can’t be your lifejacket.
I will hug you tight.
I will motivate.
And support.
And cheer you up.
I will be the hand who throws you across the wavy water and lets you skip for a while,
But I can’t be your buoy.
I get seasick if I’m on the water too long and your pain already makes me stomach stale.
I’ll be the water that let’s you float for a few minutes but I cannot be your buoy.
If you leap, my arms are not big enough to inflate before you hit the ground.
i’ll be the voice that sings you to sleep so your brain can have a break,
But I cannot be your life’s soundtrack.
If you’ve been keeping track,
I’ve stopped the razor from slipping your skin plenty of times.
Times where I was the hand that skipped you across the wavy water you call your life.
I want you to have the will to live like you’ve never had before.
I can’t be your buoy.
I’m tired from treading so much of your water and it’s hard enough to keep myself afloat.
So, please…
It’s time that you learn how to swim on your own.
No one can spend their life on a blow up raft,
Eventually, It’s going to catch a leak, deflate, and sink.
You say that’s what you want: you’re already drowning.
You said it yourself, it’s impossible to make a rock float on it’s own,
Sooner or later it’s going to sink.
I’ve been making you skip for a while but the farther I’ve ever skipped a rock is three bounces and I’ve already given you more than that.
You’re the rock I skipped the longest.
I can’t be your buoy.
I’m not strong enough to not sink with you
And it’s hard enough to keep myself afloat.

 

Last night at my weekly slam poetry meeting we had a writing work shop. We worked on a few prompts but one of them was, “It was typical…” This prompt led me to create something that actually referred back to my buoy poem. It was completely unintentional and I’ve never really created a “series” of poems before, but it was pretty cool to me.

Here’s the second poem:

It was typical,
The scrunched brows,
Wrinkled nose,
And side glance that just screamed,
“Please pity me.
Pretty please see me struggling.
I’m juggling so many problems…
Ones I can’t control.”
Even though she can.
Even though her hands hold the ability to change her grasp around life’s throat, 
Her brain is struggling for air.
I once was her buoy.
Now, I’m her tugboat.
She’s afloat but barely moving.
It’s typical,
The self loathing
And droaning tone of disappointment.
Her presence is heavy and to me,
I’d rather be alone,
But through the phone I can tell by her tone she’s done something stupid.
I’m not the one that will save her but I can certainly try.

St. Patty’s Day

It’s around 12:30am on St. Patty’s day and I’m currently laying in bed watching one of my cats get entangled in my blinds. Outside those blinds, just passed the window, are numerous people engaging in a night out at the bar to celebrate this “holiday.” Inside, it’s quiet. I just turned my music off in hopes of falling asleep soon(ish) because I have a long day of work tomorrow. The whole apartment is dark and the door is locked but by the sounds of the streets outside, I’m not going to be sleeping any time soon. There are many screaming people and in the last hour or so I’ve heard three ambulances drive by.

It’s rather scary to me. One of my friends works at a pizza shop not too far from a popular bar that has a tent set up for this weekend. She said there was an incredible amount of staggering drunks that came in demanding hot pizza and whatever other food sounded like it would fill their stomachs. She also said a good amount of these people came from the beer tent…and they left because a bunch of people started puking. I guarantee at least two of those puking people will claim they had “such an amazing night” but they “can’t even remember” what they did. It’s odd to me: having fun you can’t remember. I’ve heard that drinking increases the risk of depression and anxiety, which are two things that I really hope to live without, so it strikes me funny that people still engage in way too many beers and an excessive amount of shots for…fun. Blech.

Now, back to the people outside… 

There is one guy downstairs, in particular, who keeps screaming slurs of drunken fighting words in the middle of the street and all I can make out is “fucking…I wasn’t trying to…fucking…fuck…ahhhh.” I’ve watched, creepily, through my blinds for a second or two just to see what all the commotion was about. He’s had multiple friends try and calm him down and every time I think they succeed, a minute or two later, he’s yelling again. His arms flail and he even ripped his shirt off over his head…which is silly because it’s quite cold outside, but I’m sure he’s got enough liquid courage in him to keep him warm by this point. On his last rampage his keys fell out of his pocket and he has yet to pick them up. For now, they will sit on the sidewalk until he leaves his current state of wasted.

Today I woke up, went to work and, honestly, forgot it was even St. Patty’s day until the consumer I work with was wearing all green. I came home and took a decently long nap. I was tired due to the lack of sleep I’ve gotten the previous couple of nights and struggled all day with keeping my eyes open. I’m currently at a point in my life that being awake at work outweighs going to the bar and getting hammered with a bunch of loud drunk people. I’ve partaken in that scene before and it was fun at the time, but now I can’t stomach the thought of another terrible hang over. It takes so much effort to get drunk enough to not be bothered by other drunk people. I’d rather just avoid the situation all together. 

Besides, I’m rather comfortable in my sweats and sweatshirt. My bed and fuzzy blanket are very inviting as well.

You.

You are complex but easy. You stay to yourself. I don’t know how you do it…all the internal conversations at once. You’re always trying to remember something and you’re beginning to learn that writing things down helps. You still forget. The trains of thought move too fast for you, but then again, you’ve never enjoyed the idea of wait time. You were always the first to answer. The teacher’s go-to because they knew you knew the answer and when no one else was paying attention you let the awkward silence eat away at your core. You hated core subjects. They were always too simple but the work load was perfect: homework you were able to bullshit. You’re not lazy, you just get bored easily…it’s the Aries in you. You thinking answers have too many anchors and you’re okay with quoting Andrea Gibson because her words are placed to gently next to each other but they come packing quite the punch with every tongue to teeth sound. Your favorite passed time is creating. Creation is always changing, like your mind that can’t be tied down by the present situation. You are going home just to be faceless. Those makeup girls at the mall don’t pester you anymore, they don’t spritz you with perfume, they just make room for you to walk by. You’re not interested in wearing a mask. You know you are different in the best way you can be. You know difference are what allowed there to be enough swings on the playground because some kids were too busy on the monkey bars. You’ve never had enough upper body strength to enjoy swinging from your wrists. You know monkeys are intelligent and their tails are strong. Your tales of foreign travel make you strong. You know you grew too fast for Farmington Hills leaving stretched marks of courage on your palms and dust on your bedroom shelves. You built yourself. You screwed in every skewed conclusion you’ve ever come to. You healed every cut into story length scars and you covered yourself in cotton colors that suited your mood. You used to prefer blue but now it’s purple. But some days…it’s orange. You are indecisive and selfish but you have the kindest soul. 

Loss

Recently I’ve come to realize that one of the purest emotions that can be captured on film (in my opinion) is not so simply described in words. When someone is feeling the weight of a loss their whole entire body shows it when their words cannot even escape their throats. In some cases, you can only see it on film if you’ve felt it in person. If you’ve been there- love one abandoned earth too soon -unless you really have gone without the familiar warmth of your best friend’s hand or your son’s arms wrapping around your neck, you never can really understand the emotion in the picture.

I can’t even begin to describe the feeling of a loss. They can be simple. I can mourn the loss of my favorite sweatpants that can’t be found (seriously, I’ve looked everywhere) or I can deteriorate in the loss of that huge championship game, but…those are just things. Describing a loss gets much more complicated when you’re talking about a person.

A father can lose a child at the mall. That loss is mixed, mostly, with fear.

A girl can lose her beloved boyfriend who seemed to love her too fully for what she could give. That loss is accompanied by guilt and self doubt.

A mother can lose her son to war as if it’s more important than a relationship with the one who gave him life. That loss…now, that loss I can’t seem to fathom. That’s a loss that has to come with such overwhelming helplessness. That’s a loss that’s impossible to feel unless you’ve been there.

I’ve seen it on someone’s face. I’ve witnessed fallen shoulders that only indicate fallen hearts and lost hope and when you lose hope, you tend to lose everything else. Without hope, happiness becomes impossible and that creates a lost soul. As soon as you lose your head, your mind is sure to follow.

I’ve lost myself before, from time to time. When I was younger my mom would find me buried in blankets of negativity and return me to the positivity I grew up with. Once, a girlfriend found my heart before I showed it to her only to return me single from my lost state of “in a relationship.” I’ve watched friends get lost in pills for a night they don’t remember because not remembering is better than feeling their amount of pain.

It’s painful: loss.

You never know just how to prepare.

It’s unavoidable.

It can be big.

It can be small.

But regardless, loss is relatively unexplainable.

A Word A Week Challenge: Dance

On a typical day in my apartment the music is playing over the surround sound speakers in the living room, someone may or may not be sitting in a chair or lounging on the couch. Someone else is probably stumbling around the kitchen drying to create some delicious tasting treat.

While all of these things can be happening (along with many more including cat watching, cleaning, and napping), my roommate is always, always, always dancing.

Her dance usually consists of a kind of shuffle where her feet alternate going forward…then backwards…then forward all over again. This shuffle is then accompanied by a clapping that typically does not go to the beat of the song, but it works in a strange, off beat way. 

On this particular day Hannah fancied twirling every part of her body in a different way.Image

This was a few weeks ago, but if I can recall correctly, we were in the middle of cleaning our apartment. Cleaning, in our apartment, is either a quick 5 minute power clean, or an all day type of thing. This picture was taken during an all day, never stop, hit every room with a cleaning tornado type of day. This was obviously during one of her many dancing breaks. I can’t complain at the lack of cleaning because I, myself, took the time to whip out my camera, climb on a chair, and take a few shots of our cleaning progress (along with the dance session).

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She will forever be my roommate.