My Awakening.

Today I'm linking up with the Red Dress Club! Here's today's prompt, courtesy of Katie / @Ksluiter:

Hemingway was famous for his super sparse writing. He used almost only dialogue in many of his works. Write a piece in which you use ONLY dialogue. (I'm bending the rules because, well, I can.)

"Let's go someplace where we can talk," Jessie said as I got into her car.

"What about P.J.'s? I'm seriously craving an iced mocha," I suggested.

"Nah, I was thinking of someplace quieter. I just really need to tell you something," she said.

"Okay. Well, wherever you wanna go is fine, you're the one driving," I said, as I reached over to switch on the radio. I started humming along with Dave Matthews.

"So how are you? Are you going back up to school next week?" she asked.

"Yes! I'm so ready. I'm sick of talking to my shrink, sick of thinking about it all, and I really just want to get back to normal. Whatever that is. You know?"

"You're not going to hurt yourself again, are you? Because I gotta tell ya, that scared the shit out of me Erin. You just can't do that," Jessie said. "It's fucked up."

"Honestly, I can't promise I won't do it again 'cause I still think about it. It's like the urges come on so suddenly sometimes and I can't stop myself. Nobody gets it. But the Prozac and Klonopin are helping," I added.

"I'm worried about you. I mean, you're my friend and I love you and I don't know what I would've done if I'd been the one to find you with blood everywhere," she said as she pulled her car into a spot at The Point on the Lakefront. Then she turned off the music.

My stomach lurched. The Point was where people went to make out. I saw a few other cars, most of them with foggy windows. I leaned the side of my head on the glass and looked out at the waves. Jessie took the keys out of the ignition and tossed them into the cup holder. It got quiet. My stomach gurgled and I clamped my hands down over it instinctively.

"I'm not sure how to say this," she began. "We've been friends for a long time and I don't want to lose that. But lately..." she trailed off. "Lately I've been thinking about you. Like, a lot." She stopped and took a deep breath, then exhaled.

"I've got feelings for you," she blurted out.

"Feelings? What kind of feelings?" I asked, staring hard at the whitecaps, blurring the edges of her in my peripheral vision.

"Why can't you look at me? Can you look at me, please?" she asked.

Reluctantly I lifted my head and slowly shifted to face her.

"I'm in love with you," she said simply. "I just am."

"So you're telling me this now. When you know about Lauren, my dad, and everything I've been dealing with. You know I have feelings for her and I'm a mess dealing with all that crap, plus the cutting, my parents. And you do this now?"

"I know, I know. But I had to tell you. I had to get it out," she said, shrugging her shoulders.

I sighed and rubbed my temples.

"What do you want me to say, Jessie?" I asked. "I'm sorry I don't feel that way about you. And even though I don't really know who I am or what this thing with Lauren is all about, I know my heart belongs to her for now. I may be a freakin' train wreck, but I know that much."

"So why can't you just look me in the eye and say it?" she asked.

"You know I'm terrible about the eye contact. Get off my case," I snapped. "Besides, this is the last thing I need right now. I'm not trying to hurt your feelings or anything, but I just can't deal."

I began unraveling. Looking out at the waves, I thought of Edna Pontellier. I longed to be in the Gulf, giving up, handing myself over to the rough waves. Salty, swirling water sucking me under, drifting down into the dark, cool deep. It would be so much easier.

"Jessie, I'm sorry. I really am. But can you please just take me home?" I plead.

Inwardly, I'm stuffing down the sudden overwhelming desire to cut myself, to offer up my blood to some unknown God.


You Have No Power Over Me.

Today I'm pouring my heart out with Shell.

A girl I went to high school with once accused me of sleeping with our writing teacher in order to get straight A's in the class. I'll just wait here while you pick your jaw up off the floor. We were juniors at the time (do I really need to say that I was still very much a virgin then?). She did it in front of a large group of our classmates in room 15, the one with the steep step up to the basketball court. At first it was all slow motion and foggy, like I'd heard her wrong. But the mean look on her face and the quivering anger in her voice indicated otherwise. I couldn't stand everyone staring at me, mouths agape, as a heavy blanket of silence fell over the room. So I ran out, called my mom in tears and asked her to come and get me. I'd been shamed, somehow turned into a small child again; yet I hadn't done anything wrong. My grades sucked in everything else, but writing? That was my one true thing. I earned those A's, and it wasn't by hopping into my teacher's bed.

I didn't stand up for myself. I didn't confront her. I ran away. As is my tendency.

Later on as a freshman in college, my peer review group in one of my classes informed me that I "used too many big words." Our professor had asked us to to read each other's work and give critiques. I was completely crushed. And I took it personally, which I shouldn't have. Perhaps my sensitive nature got the better of me. As it tends to do.

I'm a writer, people. It's what I do. I'm a sculptor of words. I mold and shape them, manipulate them. Give them depth, breadth and feeling, make them convey what I want. It's me, who I am at my core. It's why I'm shy, why I'm not a banker or a doctor or an actress. Besides, I'm terrible at math, science, and public speaking. This girl just wants to write.

Old habits die hard; I've let these things live and thrive in my memory, pervade my entire existence, belittle me, convince me I have no real talent. I realized after reading Julie's post over at Dutch Being Me yesterday that I'm just beginning to respect myself (long overdue). Did that high school girl think I couldn't have just one thing to myself? Everyone else has a niche, why not me?
Writing is mine. I claim it now.
I. Am. A. Writer.
No one can take that from me.

And now for a cheesy blast from the past.
"You have no power over me."

Labyrinth, 1986, starring David Bowie & Jennifer Connelly


Blissdom, here I come!

As if this space isn't already selfish enough about me, I thought I'd copy Crayon Wrangler and write a special post dedicated to Blissdom, the upcoming conference I'm attending. Just so we can get the initial awkwardness over with, I'm going to introduce myself here and get all the small talk out of the way. Mmmmm'kay?

I'm Erin & this is me with my kiddos. Yes they are twins. No, they are not identical. Yes, I knew I was having twins. No, twins do not run in our family.

No, these little darlings are not coming with me.
This conference is about me, not my kids.

I'm a nervous conference newbie. Although I know my roommates pretty well (@elainea & @birdonthestreet), Blissdom is big, the Opryland Hotel is huge, and I'm feeling very, very small. I'm grateful for the Blissdom column I've created in Tweetdeck so I can easily "meet" and "see" everyone beforehand and try to match names and faces with blog titles, etc. But please forgive me if I confuse you with someone else or call you by the wrong name.

I'm going to Nashville to learn how to be a better writer and blogger. I'm a sponge just dying to absorb absolutely everything I can. I'm going so I can meet other people who want similar things and network with them. We will learn from each other, too.

I tend to be shy. I love to laugh and I giggle a lot when I'm anxious. I have to fight the urge to go hide in a corner. I'm terrible at starting up conversations. But next week I am going to stuff all my insecurities so I can get the most out of the conference, out of you, and out of myself. I don't want to waste those three precious days worrying about the kids, the dog, and whether or not the house is on fire; this is my time. And you know what? I am fun, damn it. So let's hang out and have a blast!

Blissdom is my gift to myself: it's for me, about me. Because I'm worth it.

What about you? If you're not going to Blissdom, what have you done for yourself lately?

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