Archives For Daily Prompt

The Tenses of Forgiveness

December 21, 2013 — 69 Comments
Daily Prompt: Forgive and Forget?
Share a story where it was very difficult for you to forgive the perpetrator for wronging you, but you did it — you forgave them.

At five I walked myself to school.

I was a “latch key” kid.  Came home after school.  Made myself a snack.  Did my homework amidst the cacophony of five brothers. Horseplay. Arguments. Guitar. Swearing.  Piano.  Fist Fights.

My mother stopped in between jobs. Rushing, rushing, always rushing. The clock ticked 60 brief minutes while she hastened to put a meal on the table before leaving for her night job at 7.

“Mommy, look, look, I got 100 on my math test!” was lost in, “Michael, go to the store – now. I forgot to get rolls for the hamburgers.” By the time I was 13, I was the one putting the dinner on the table, so she could just sit down and eat.  Take a breath.

I was 5th in a family of incredibly bright overachievers.  Everything I did had been done before. Huge successes were not celebrated – they were expected.

The legacy of success. Past, present and future tense.  Living in the shadows of brilliant siblings. Simple past tense.

My eldest brother, 10 years my  senior, was our surrogate father. One year, he coached me to follow in his footsteps as Citywide Spelling Bee Champion. But after winning my school spelling bee, and the Regional, and making in into the coveted Citywide,  I did the unthinkable.

I lost.

My mother only said, on the way home, ”I can’t believe I took a day off from work for that.”

I spent five long years after college in therapy ridding myself of corrosive anger. Five years to forgive her and love her, as I do now. Five years to come to the conclusion we all already know:

She did the best she could.  Simple past tense.

Don’t all parents? Don’t I?

I forgive her. She worked 7 days a week at minimum wage jobs.  Her entire life was devoted to making sure we had food, shelter, clothing. Accolades were luxuries she couldn’t afford.

And today, as the parent of only one child, I forgive her even more. I struggle to balance working as a single mom and raising just one child. She somehow raised 6 of us. How is this even possible? Something had to be sacrificed.

It was my self esteem.

I forgive her.

Every day, I tell my son that he is special. That is smart. Funny. Handsome.

That he matters. To me, and to many people.  I am breaking the cycle. Parenthood is breaking the cycle of error and wanting for our children what was not given to us.

But inherent in the process is new error. Will my life narrative limit my present, and mar his future?

The present. The future. The tenses of forgiveness.

Are my early experience fate? Or a road map to forgiveness?

Each day I make mistakes. I hope, when my son is a man, that he is compassionate when he recalls his childhood. I hope he will see that I did the best I could.

I hope he will forgive me, as I did my mother.

But this is not the simple past tense of forgiveness:  “I forgave her.”

It is the future continuous tense of forgiveness: “I will continue to forgive her.”

I forgive her right now, For every time I doubt myself. Right now, I forgive her, right before I hit “Publish.”

Will they like it? Will it be good enough? Am I good enough? I may never be.

I forgave.

I am forgiving her.

I will continue to forgive.

The tenses of forgiveness. Simple past, past not perfect, past perfect continuous,  present, present continuous, present not perfect.

Future. Future continuous.

Constant. Relentless. Persistent.



Did you forgive someone when it was difficult? Talk to me.  I’m listening. 

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The Jab of a Needle

December 6, 2013 — 45 Comments

Daily Prompt: The sense of touch brings back memories for us.

The jab of a needle.

I have very small veins. Whenever I have to get blood drawn, the phlebotomist always struggles. 

She sticks me. Once. Twice. Thrice.  She jabs. She misses. It HURTS.

“Your veins are just so tiny…let me try the other arm.”

I grow angry.


I’ve done this.  Many times. I know how to tie off. Find my tiny veins.

She looks at me as though I’ve lost my mind. I don’t care.

Your venipuncture skills leave much to be desired. The tourniquet isn’t tight enough.  The needles you chose aren’t small enough.  You’ve not located the vein correctly.

I pull the band around my upper arm tighter, grab the end with my teeth, pull it tight,

Then SLAP SLAP SLAP my above my bicep. HARD.

I’m an expert.

So judge me, professional amateur. You could never judge me as harshly as I’ve judged myself.

That Jab of A Needle.

Whenever I feel it, I am reminded.

It feels like…

I’m  kissing God

The Christmas fireplace with the whole family I never had.

The most magnificent church bells ringing in my soul.

My brain is being massaged by Kafka and Burroughs.

The warm golden sunshine of a perfect life.

All pain melts away and I float on pure bliss.

And once the nod passes, the energy kicks in.

I could outrun a marathon runner.

Discuss literature, politics, extensively.  Especially a good conspiracy theory.

Make my house sparkle.

Listen to Lou Reed. Become Lou Reed. Have a “Perfect Day.”

Feel everything times one hundred. His touch is the touch of a king. I have no inhibitions; my body and mind open like a flower to him. And it goes on forever, because there is no orgasm. It never happens.

I write. I am Bukowski.

I write magnificently:

“Prosper been and planes there had never been and planes to prote words in there skywriting Seing as I’m not b=vrabby, and dontfolw a grop, I;ll g wite lskmudging wy the afafe thosjoje wuf u jt sj ja aflflowed there had never and there skywriting flowed the car, fulls car, fulls car, fulls car, trailing
It was him. One corner.”

It’s not just the jab of a needle.

Every day, at the gym, when I fasten the neoprene sports armband on to listen to music,

tighten it, pull the strap through and fasten the Velcro

I am tying off a vein.

Every day. The feel of a band around my upper arm.

I remember.


Talk to me.  I’m listening. 

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The Accidental Tattoo

December 1, 2013 — 62 Comments

Do you have a tattoo? If so, what’s the story behind your ink?

Bloggers and tattoos. What a prompt. You might as well have walked into a roomful of Hell’s Angels and called out, “Anybody got any ink?”

I have several tattoos. The one I am proudest of is my first. It’s tiny butterfly on my left hip. It’s one of those “you can’t really see it unless I’m naked” kind of deals.

I love those tats the most. I’m old school.

My butterfly is special because when I got it, no one had them. Well, maybe bikers, and men in the navy. I was the first chick I knew to rock a tattoo. I’m not going to tell you what year it was, cause I’m sensitive about my age. But let’s just say it was well over 20 years ago.

I was in San Francisco, spending the summer with my college boyfriend. We were expanding our consciousness on some very strong psychedelic chemicals at the time.

Everything we encountered was magnificent in its beauty.  Every detail magnified. Every sound amplified. Every color intensified. Such is the magic of the psychoactive consciousness.

We wandered around the area known as “South of Market,” between Mission street and Market street. A bright red brick building caught our attention.

Ooohhh. So RED. So very red.

We walked inside. We had no idea what it was. But beautifully colored cartoons adorned the walls, and we examined them, climbing up, up, up a flight of stairs. Each brightly colored picture carried us higher up the stairs.

“Ooh, look at that one!”    ” Oohh, that’s so cool!”

When we reached the top of the stairs, we were in a tattoo parlor. The man who ran the place was inked up. EVERYWHERE.  He had wild long hair.

He had a bulldog. Even the dog had a tattoo on its leg.

I wasn’t sure if I imagined that.

“I want one!” I said.  “Cool!” my boyfriend said.

The tattoo artist examined our eyes. “You guys sure? This is permanent.”

“I’m sure.”

But there were so many pretty pictures to choose from.

I want…

I want…

I want…

I looked and looked and saw a little butterfly on the wall.

That one. Where only he can see it.”  Meaning, my boyfriend. Our little secret.

The tattoo artist said, “I know just the place.”

He laid me on my right side.  As he drilled on my left hip, I giggled. It didn’t hurt  (the way the future ones would).  It tickled. It felt sexy. It was just an innocuous little butterfly, after all. I had a giggle fit through the whole tattoo. It was delicious.

Tattoos are addicting, by the way. For me, there’s something about the way it feels to get one…

He put it in just the right place. It peeks out just slightly above my bikini bottom. You can’t see the whole tattoo unless I decide you get to see the whole tattoo.

Afterwards, I stood up. I couldn’t stop looking at it. The tattoo artist said, “Pull your pants up. This is a rough neighborhood.”  He was quite the comedian.

I loved the new addition to my body. When I came back to school in the fall, my friends were awestruck over my little butterfly.

I dropped trou constantly, showing off my ink.

Is it arrogant/weird/pathetic to say that I’m proud that I was the first chick I know to rock a tattoo?

I have to admit it, but I’m a snob when it comes to trends. I can’t stand the idea that every third wealthy pampered housewife where I live has a tattoo. How DARE they! When I lived in New York, in the East Village, a tattoo meant you had an punk attitude, not a Bloomingdale’s account.

The best part of the story: the man who gave me the tattoo? He was none other than Lyle Tuttle. I had no idea at the time, but the man is a Living Legend in the world of ink. And yes, that bulldog DID have a tattoo on its leg.

look closely at the dog's inner left thigh

Lyle and dog – look closely at dog’s left inner thigh

I have other tattoos, but my first is my favorite. It looks really dated compared to the others. The outline is much too thick, in the style of a 25-year-old tattoo. The design is passé.  And not in a cool vintage way. The colors are faded. But I suppose it’s like your eldest child. Your firstborn.

You love all of them, but there’s something about your first.

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Daily Prompt: A Bird, a Plane, You!

You get to choose one superpower. Pick one of these, and explain your choice:


I think I am two warring souls living within one body.

*other soul nods in agreement*  Yes, we are.

There are two of me. They are in constant conflict.

All my life, I’ve saddled the seesaw of contradiction. It hurts my pussy.

On one side: The Mother. The Teacher. The Professional. The Upstanding Citizen. The Good Girl.

On the other side: The Mother Fucker. The Deviant. The Law Breaker.  The Slut. The Bad Girl.

I’d like to make them agree, once and for all, on who I am.

It makes life really difficult when one person shows up where the other is supposed to be.  They never see eye to eye.

Like when I’m with someone and Bad Girl just wants to fuck him/her six ways til Tuesday, and then Good Girl butts her slut-shaming face in and pussy/cock blocks me.

Reminds me that I’m a mom. That I have a business, and a reputation to uphold. That I have too much self respect to screw someone in the parking lot of a restaurant, regardless of how deliciously hot that scenario is.

Or when Good Girl Mom was teaching her son to ride a two wheeler, and I had to keep squashing down nasty-ass Bad Girl’s remarks: “Get those mother fucking training wheels, off, Pussy Boy! Man up! If you fall, you fall, bitch!”

Good Girl goes shopping, and Bad Girl shop lifts. She shouldn’t do that. If she gets caught, it would not bode well for her. She just can’t help it…she’s really good at it.

Good Girl is tutoring a student, and Bad Girl starts explaining to her how to give a really good blow job. Which is not on the curriculum.

I’m bringing these two to couple’s counseling. If they don’t start agreeing on who I am, I’m ditching both of them and coming up with a completely new, third personality.

Now I just need a really good Superhero name.