The Diary, Chapter One

She flopped on the bed and laid still for just a moment. She pulled one leg under the other and stared up at the ceiling.

“Thank goodness today is over,” she mumbled under her breath as she rolled over to grab her journal and pen out of the nightstand drawer. Before she knew it, she was scrabbling desperately on the page.

Dear Diary,

Ha! How lame does that sound? Like I’m some teenager from the 80’s writing love notes in a book. No. We aren’t going to be doing that in this book. I guess I shouldn’t start each entry with that moving forward.

Anyway… Tonight I feel like I’m bottling. Everyone always says ‘I always hold everything in for so long until I break!’ and I don’t want to break, so I just need to get this shit out. I can’t breathe because I have so much anxiety taunting me inside of my head. I wanna be the person that uses their art for decompression. So here are these words.

Being written in order to sooth a soul that currently sits unsettled.

How can you claim to love someone if you continue to relapse back to the thing that tore you apart?

How aren’t we enough to make you stop?

I try to understand. I try to be empathetic to the fact that not everyone is raised with all of the advantages that I was. I try to sympathize with what has been overcome. But sometimes

It’s just not enough.

Your claims get countered every time you relapse. I lose trust in you every time I hear the latest stunt you’ve pulled. I hear. It makes me sick. It makes me angry. It makes me lose hope.

You have no idea the impacts of your actions, even to this day.

I was once a child distraught with heartache and resentment and misunderstanding. But now I’m an adult with disdain, apprehension, but most importantly, disappointment.

I can’t trust you.

It’s been seventeen years.

And you still don’t have your shit together.

And I’m just supposed to believe you’re telling me the truth?

Like I said, I was once that child. But I’m not that child anymore.

The Beginning of The End

I lift her head up into my hands. My fingers line the jaw of her crying face.

“I’m sorry,” I whisper.

She turns her head quickly and I put my hands back in my lap. There are no words that I can say that will bring her any comfort.

Oh, how I love this sweet, sweet woman. Her voice is gentle and melodic, and her hair falls down past the middle of her back. She may not be a man’s first choice at the bar, but she stole my heart the second I saw her. She was wearing a green dress with brown boots and danced around the bar like she wasn’t bothered one bit that all eyes were on her. I know this because I specifically remember telling my buddy Joe that I was going to marry the dancing girl in the green dress someday. 

Now look where we are.

“It’s been three days. C’mon-“

She stretches out on the couch and lays facing the wall, her back to me.

I feel a hint of anger well up inside of me.When is this going to end? We can’t keep going like this… “Okay, well I’m going to go out to the garage and work on the car. I’ll be in to check on you in a bit.” I pause for a second before stepping away, hoping she will move or say something. Anything.

But she doesn’t move and she doesn’t make a sound.

There was a time in my life when this kind of empty silence would fill me with rage, but that was the old me. After the death of my father when I was twenty-one, I came to understand that there are some pains that can only be expressed by shutting down. I watched both my sister and mother go through the same thing. The thing is, it makes the people around you so unsure of what they can do to help you. I know there really isn’t anything anyone can do to stop the pain, but I can’t handle being shut out when my purpose as a husband is to be my wife’s crying shoulder.

I keep one of our wedding pictures hanging above my desk out in the garage. I reach out and touch where our hands meet in the photo.

The best day of my life.

With the most amazing woman I’ve ever known.

 

What on earth am I going to do to fix this?

Alexander’s Alaska

My name is Alexander. I don’t go by Alex because it doubles as a female’s name and that bothers me.

I am 24 years old, but I feel a lot older. I’ve been alone for a long while and I don’t see that changing any time soon.

I got out of high school and didn’t know where my place in society was. I didn’t belong anywhere within the traditional realm of life. I didn’t want to join the military because I didn’t care to fight in the name of a government. I didn’t go to college because I didn’t know what to pursue and the price of school is way more than what a degree is actually worth. I didn’t want get a job because I thought that there is more to life than slaving at a nine-to-five job just to barely pay the bills. 

So I left.

I went off the grid.

I gathered every penny I had saved, bought a plane ticket, and moved to Alaska. I bought ten acres of land south of the Yukon River and started a new life. When I first got there, all I did was cut down trees. I cut for days. I had a tarp tied to a tree that I slept under, and when the sun rose in the mornings I had already been up for a few hours. I got to Alaska in late July, so it was still in the mid-70s during the day time.

I had a small cottage built by the time the temperatures got too low to sleep under my tarp. It took a lot of work and was lonesome to do solo, but it is something that I still feel immense pride in accomplishing. 

I’ve been here just over a year, and I’ve basically got life in the wilderness put on a daily schedule. The routine is monotonous, but there are always things that must be done.

Now I sit here with this pen in my hand knowing that no one will ever read my writing. It takes a great deal of effort to swallow the loneliness that I feel on my worst days, but most of the time I interact with Mother Nature and spend time appreciating our great earth.

I wish I had someone to share this land with. Someone to talk to. Someone to feel something for. Instead of wallowing in my own stubbornness and insecurity, I cut trees, hunt, and fetch water so that I don’t have to acknowledge just how lonely I am. My soul isn’t fulfilled and it makes me wonder if I messed up somewhere down the road. I never imagined I’d yearn for a life partner, but the singing birds and crunching leaves under my feet no longer sound as comforting as they once did.

The Label I Carry

The whole reason I decided to start therapy was because a coworker told me she was going to start going again. She gave me the name of her therapist and told me to go to her website and check her out. So I did. I immediately requested more info and before the day was over, I was set up for an appointment.

When I was talking about what I wanted out of therapy, I explained to my coworker that I wanted to find out who I was aside from being a MOM. As mothers, we lean so heavily on our label as “mom” and base a lot of our vision of our success on how well we feel like we are providing for our children.

Let me tell you why I think that SUCKS.

In today’s world, it is DAMN HARD to feel an absence of insecurity in what we are doing for our kids. There are so many conflicting ideologies on “what is best” for a child. When we feel the amount of success that we have accomplished is based upon whether or not people agree with our parenting choices, it’s sooo easy to feel like we haven’t accomplished much. As mothers, we can’t please everyone, but you can bet your bottom dollar that we sure do try. 

We are proud to be moms. We love our babies more than anything – it’s why we bend over backwards and dedicate our lives to making sure our children have everything. But that same dedication to our kids can result in a lack of dedication to ourselves. I struggle with this on a daily basis. My entire day is almost solely devoted to providing for my child; so much that I feel like there just isn’t enough hours in the day to focus on myself. I know it feels that way for a lot of moms too, so I think it is important that we are making not only our children and their health a priority, but also our mental and physical health a priority too. You can’t possibly be a good mom if you aren’t feeding your own flame every once in awhile. I think the issue here is that it’s so easy to fall complacent with only being a mom. And for some, that is all they want to be! Which is also totally fine!

But I want to be so much MORE. I want to be someone that is so much more than a mom. I want to love myself aside from the role my child plays in my life (Even though that role is huge!)

I want to indulge in all of life – not just the parts where I am providing for someone else. I want to provide for me, too.  

The Ants

I wandered out to the garden and sat with my back against the fence. I could feel the warm sun beat down on my face, I closed my eyes and soaked in the rays with my head pointed upward. I should do this more often, I thought to myself. I took a deep breath and opened my eyes again.

What a beautiful life this is. I can sit here and feel the warm sun, enjoy the slow breeze, and fill my lungs with clean air. Too often I take for granted the beautiful easiness of nature. It’s slow and quiet, but will continue to exist whether I am taking the time to enjoy it or not. The river will continue to run whether or not its existence is acknowledged.

I looked over at the tree and noticed a trail of ants going up and down its bark. They work so well together, traveling in a line and gathering food for everyone to enjoy. I wish humans existed in this way more. We focus too much on ourselves and making sure that we are doing better than our neighbor. Why do humans flourish in the idea that life is a competition between us and those we are surrounded by?

I’ve never understood how more people in this world don’t care about the well-being of everyone collectively.

There is one earth.

And we all share it.

The ants keep working and I keep watching in admiration.

 

Mending My Crushed Ego

Okay. This almost pains me to write, but I always think it is important to reflect on who we are. So I’ll say it:

I am a jerk sometimes. And I lie to myself so that I don’t feel bad about it.

For some reason, today’s society tries to make us hard, cold individuals that classify all of our feelings as the same. In reality, everyone has their own traumas and experiences that shape their personality and language differently. Since when was it so normal to openly exclaim how much we hate our lives and how we don’t deserve for people to treat us in ways that we don’t like?

Don’t get me wrong.

Yeah, sometimes life just blows. And yes, you shouldn’t let people walk all over you… But for pete’s sake… I’m so sick of seeing everyone try to morph their own feelings and thoughts into the mold that they think that everyone else feels too. Feel your own feelings, take responsibility for the things you do, and do your best not to be a shitty person!

My fiance called me out today. He said, “Nobody can tell you anything! You always go straight into defense mode. Sometimes you’re just plain hard to be friends with. You say things that you shouldn’t, and sometimes you’re just plain mean!”

I opened my mouth to argue, and then I realized… If you argue, you’re proving his point. My mind was totally in the defense mode that he had just accused me of being in all the time. I sat there and pondered his words in silence as I stared at the ground. I was embarrassed- He was right. And the worst thing was… at that moment, I realized I had a shitty way of talking to myself. After I thought about his words, it made me think about how I put myself above others when I think to myself during conversation. For example, he told me, “You always think you’re right about everything.” And I immediately thought to myself, ‘Well I usually am!’

Wow.

How egotistical of me!! I actually thought that exact thought in my head. And I am extremely ashamed to admit it!!! So that is what led me to writing this for you guys today. Because let’s all be honest… We like to think that we are joyful, humble people, but are we really???

Later on in the afternoon, I grabbed him by the shirt and said, “Will you help me? I don’t want to be this nasty person that spews hate and anger, because I don’t think of myself that way.” When I think about qualities to describe myself, I lead myself to believe that I could never behave in such a way. It’s so incredibly hard to manage child rearing, full-time work, household chores and bills, a loving relationship, and making sure your mental health is in tact. I lost sight of my values and got enveloped in the stress of everyday life. I am not quite as great of a person as I sometimes like to think I am, and I can definitely improve. I’m just lucky I have someone that loves me enough to tell me when I’m wrong and willing to help me be the very best version of myself.

Dylan hurt my ego today. And I am sooooo thankful for it!

 

 

 

In the Morning

I wake up in the morning

Feeling like an absolute star

I’m motivated to start the day

And conquer all that lies before me

But then I get out of bed

And start thinking about

All the ways I’ve let myself down

Too clingy

Too chubby

Too shy

Too busy

Too self-conscious

I look in the mirror and 

Run my fingers through my

Wavy long hair

I like the way it falls against my back

And frames my face

I layer on mascara and

Study the freckles

That cover my nose and cheeks

Maybe I am beautiful

Then I begin to realize 

I’m not as bad as I think I am

I don’t give myself enough credit

For I have strength in so many ways

I am fierce

I am determined

I am smart

I am reliable

And I am out of bed today

And that is a feat

That not all can achieve

 

Her Guardian: Chapter 2

I pushed Gabby into the bedroom and closed the door. My heart was racing, but I had to stay calm for her sake. I grabbed the suitcase out of the top of the closet and sat it on the bed. “Here,” I said as I zipped it open. “Put some pajamas and two outfits in here.”

She didn’t move. “Why?”

“Don’t ask me questions right now, just do as I say.” I peeked into the living room. Squint was sitting quietly on the couch with the TV remote in hand. I turned back to Gabby. She was digging through the bottom dresser drawer.

“I will be right back, okay?” I said as I put my hand on the top of her head. She turned around with a t-shirt and pants.

“Does this match?” she asked. I felt a ball form in my throat. I was having her pack a suitcase, yet I had no plan for what to do next. I just knew we couldn’t stay in that house any longer.

“Yes,” I was able to squeak out through my tightened throat. I forced a smile at her as she got up to rummage through the closet.

I had to figure this out. I couldn’t let this man hurt my little sister, and I knew at this point that getting my mom to leave him would be damned near impossible. I tip-toed through the kitchen towards the bathroom where my mom had locked herself inside after Squint pushed her on the ground. I lightly knocked on the door. No answer. I put my ear against the door and listened hard. Nothing.

“Mom?” I whispered.

I heard some shuffling and then the door unlocked. I paused, waiting for her to say something or push the door open. After a few moments, I turned the doorknob and snuck inside.

My mom was sitting against the wall next to the toilet with her arms resting on her knees. Her head was resting on her arms so that I could only see the top of her head. She had the most beautiful, thin blonde hair. It laid perfectly along her shoulders and down her back. She didn’t move, even after I closed the door behind me.

“Mom?” I said.

After a few moments, she looked up. Her eyes were dark. It looked like she was high. “What?” She replied, her voice was scratchy and deep.

“We have to go. We have to get out of here before he hurts us.”

She put her head back on her arms and shrugged. “I can’t leave.”

I took a deep breath and looked around the room. “Mom, Gabby and I cannot stay here. You get that, right? He just threatened to kill all three of us. We have to go.” I pleaded. “Please.” I felt my desperation flow out as smooth as butter. She didn’t move.

I threw up my hands. “Mom!”

Silence filled the room and once again I started to feel my throat get tight. I stood there with my eyes closed, praying the monster inside of her would let her go. I opened the door and snuck back to the bedroom.

“Do you have your things ready to go?” I asked Gabby. She was on her knees looking through a large pile of shoes.

“I don’t know what shoes I should bring. Where are we going?” she asked.

“We’re just gonna go on a little adventure. Everything is going to be okay,” I assured her. I threw a pair of pants and a towel into the suitcase. “Hurry up,” I urged. I grabbed a pillow off of the bunk bed and smashed it into the suitcase. I grabbed Gabby’s arm and pulled her up off the ground. “We have to go now. C’mon.”

We walked through the living room to the front door. Squint hollered, “Where you guys goin?”

I pushed Gabby outside and closed the door behind us.

Read Her Guardian: Chapter One.

Prologue

Thaddeus,

I know you are mad at me. I know that. You have good reason. But I know you better than anyone else, and I know you well enough to know that you are going to be okay.

I had to leave. I can't explain the reasons why, but just know that I did not choose to be this way.

Yours, 

Lana