Self-care.

For whatever reason, when it comes to going through with things that will make me a better me, I tend to flake. I pick up newsletters to find events and workshops – spiritual, financial, creative, professional – and don’t go (except for last Sunday. Thanks, Jenn and Cindy, for entertaining my ideas). I buy body scrubs and hair masks and books on self-care and then give them away or throw them in a drawer. I lie awake at night and promise myself and all the stars that I will not go back to a toxic friendship or relationship, and guess what I do? When I really think about it, it’s because I have a love/hate relationship with myself and hate wins 98% of the time. I sabotage my happiness. But that’s a subject for another time. Point is, I go out of my way to put others first and encourage everyone to take care of themselves but don’t always give myself the same attention.

Yesterday, however, I stopped by the RIC Graduate Studies Open House. I registered for the event about two weeks ago and really had no intention of going. I can still apply to the Creative Writing certificate program without attending this awkward-ass, fake-ass event, was my justification. I had some questions, though, and something urged me to go. Mostly, I really want to do this program. So I put on my big girl trousers and attended, and I’m glad I did. My questions were answered and I met staff and even bumped into students I know. It got me excited and thinking about my future, something I had put on hold. It made the possibility of one day applying for an MFA program real.

The application deadline is March 1st, meaning I don’t have much time. I plan on revisiting and revising some stories I already have, and creating new ones from scratch. I had started a post a few days ago on memories that I have, but I think they can be fleshed out individually, played around with, and made into longer stories. Below are three memories. Feel free to write in the comments if there’s anything that stands out, or if you have any new ideas/requests that I can work on. It’s crunch time, people, and I need all the help I can get!

Memory #1: I wouldn’t be able to tell you who broke the piñata or the madness that ensued, but I do remember holding the prize I’d caught with absolute delight: a blue-haired troll doll, belly ugly and distended. What a gift! Before I could open my mouth to call my father over to share in my joy, a long-nailed hand came into view and snatched the box from my hands. I was so startled, it took my breath away. No words were exchanged and the woman who is now a faceless memory walked off with my troll. I just stood there, arms outstretched, wondering what I’d done wrong. I couldn’t have been older than five.

Memory #2: I was around six when my father took me for a bike ride in Lincoln Woods. For whatever reason, our journey brought us to a tiny, muddy lake with a tree strewn across it. He tested the tree’s sturdiness with his left, sneakered foot. He hoisted my bike over his shoulder and said, “ojo.” Watch. With a quick one two three he walked over the trunk, safely to the other side. He beckoned me over. I had every intention of following his steps, but I noticed another branch, partly submerged in the mud as well. I made the decision, and stepped on it. It gave way underneath my weight, and into the mud I went. I flailed in fear, since I couldn’t swim and didn’t know what monsters lurked beneath. I called to my father for help. For a solid five seconds he didn’t react. He just watched me, and I’ll never forget his expression. I haven’t been able to erase the look of disappointment from his face ever since.

Memory #3: I had just turned seven. I was sitting on the floor against the wall of my grandmother’s kitchen. The dark, red carpet felt sticky underneath my palms. I watched, quiet and unnoticed, as my sister Alexandra wept. I had never seen her – or anyone – cry like that before. My sister Gricel rushed into the kitchen and ran into Alex, holding her tight. Tears fell from their faces and I, too, began to cry. It was the first and last time I ever saw them hug.

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