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Martha's Daily Writing

I Hope You Were Joking

Text conversation between best friends Brooke and Sam:

Brooke: Hey, Sam! Do you want to go to the beach today?

Sam: Sorry, girl. I’d love to, but I’m at a family reunion. We’re 3 hours away. 😦

Brooke: Aw, man! I haven’t seen you in weeks! Summer’s almost over. 😦

Sam: I know! I wish I could leave.

*Several seconds later*

Sam: …You know, I could just ask my sister if she’ll let me take her car. I’ll pay gas money.

Brooke: Really?! Do you think she’d let you do that? She’d have to go home with your parents then.

Sam: Oh, yeah. She probably wouldn’t be cool with that.

Brooke: Doesn’t she owe you a favor, though? You DID convince Ray to ask her out.

Sam: You’re right. But still. This would be asking a HUGE favor.

Brooke: Yeah, but it’s worth a try.

Sam: Okay. I’ll text you back after I ask her.

Phone call between Sam and her sister Jess:

Sam: *Calls Jess and eagerly waits for her to answer*

Jess: Ugh. What do you want, freak?

Sam: Uh…I was wondering…

Jess: What?

Sam: Could I borrow your car?

Jess: *Serious voice* To go where?

Sam: To go home?

Jess: WHAT?! *Laughs loudly* You’re joking, right?

Sam: No. I just want to hang out with Brooke.

Jess: So I’m assuming you want me to go home with Mom and Dad?

Sam: I know it sucks! I’m sorry! But just this one time! Please?!

Jess: No!

Sam: Come on! I got Ray to ask you out. You owe me.

Jess: I’ll do you a favor sometime, but I’m not letting you take my car. *hangs up phone*

 

A few seconds later, Jess texts Sam.

Jess: I really hope you were joking.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/joke/

 

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Who’s the Man?

“Hey…Kim. Will you…d-dance w-with me?” Kyle hesitated, standing about two feet away from her.

Kim cast her blue eyes down at his short black hair, raising her eyebrows in surprise and confusion. Kyle raised his almond eyes to meet hers, though it was difficult for him to avoid looking at her bosom. Fourteen was that awkward age when boys were either a head taller or a head shorter than girls. Though, in Kyle’s case, he only stood up to her waist.

“Who are you?” Kim asked

Oh, crap! Kyle thought. Of course, she doesn’t know who I am! I’m a freakin’ nerd!

Hurt and embarrassed, Kyle backed away.

“I’m…Kyle,” he answered quietly. “We’re in…math class together?”

Why did you say that like a question, Idiot?! Kyle’s head screamed. She’s gonna laugh at you! You don’t stand a chance!

“Oh,” Kim responded awkwardly.

“I’m…really sorry. Are you with someone? I’ll go,” Kyle stammered.

“No. Um…I’m not…with anyone,” Kim replied. “I just moved here. I’m sorry. I don’t know anyone.”

“You came here alone?” Kyle questioned curiously.

She is new here, he remembered. Didn’t she start school, like, a week ago? How does she still not know anyone?

Kyle stepped a few inches closer to her, mesmerized by her beauty. Her long red dress flowed around her slender body gracefully. Kyle’s mind swirled with mixed emotions—relief that she still didn’t know anyone, but dread that she might become one of the popular girls.

“Yes. I know. It’s…a little weird,” Kim laughed, flipping her hair back and shyly looking away.

“No. It’s fine. I just…thought you met people,” Kyle replied.

Good. You didn’t tell her she’s pretty. So she might not think you’re a creep.

“So…I guess I’ll start over. My name’s Kyle. Welcome to Jameson Middle School,” Kyle said, stretching his arm out for a handshake.

Weirdo. Who gives formal introductions in middle school?

“Haha! Hi, Kyle. My name’s Kim. Nice to meet you,” Kim laughed.

That’s great! She’s playing along!

“Nice to meet you, too, Kim,” Kyle laughed, straightening his tie.

“So…What about that dance?” Kim asked.

“Right…”

Kim took her shoes off and put them against the cafeteria wall. Then she kneeled down, wrapped her arms around Kyle’s stomach, and stared into his eyes. There they were, blue eyes meeting chestnut brown. Kyle couldn’t believe it. He didn’t know what he was doing, but she did.

“Put your arms around me,” Kim said.

“Sorry…I”

“Let me help you.”

Kim took Kyle’s arms and put them around her neck.

“Now you look like you’re a little taller than me,” Kim joked.

Kyle laughed. “Thanks for letting me be the man.”

Kyle spun Kim, dipped her down, and gently pulled her back into his arms.

“Well, height aside, it was pretty manly of you to approach a complete stranger and ask her to dance. And that dancing just now…”

“Well, technically, we weren’t strangers. I knew your name before you met me.”

“Stop being a smart ass!” Kim giggled.

“Haha sorry. That’s just how I am.”

Kyle spun Kim again. This time, she twirled into him.

“So you weren’t creeped out?” Kyle asked.

“Well…I would usually be creeped out,” she said. “But something about the way you asked me to dance with you made you seem more innocent.”

“Oh. Well, I’m glad I didn’t scare you off. In what way did I seem more innocent?”

“You were…shy.”

“Yeah…I’m awkward and nerdy. I’m white and nerdy.”

“I like white and nerdy,” Kim stated.

“Good,” Kyle whispered.

An awkward silence fell over their conversation. They swayed with their arms around each other. Then Kim lifted her head off of Kyle’s shoulder and gazed into his eyes.

“Was that a Weird Al reference?” she asked.

“Took you awhile,” Kyle teased, thrilled that she heard of him.

“I have some of his albums on my phone. Do you want to go to the park and listen to them with me?”

“Are you…asking me on a date?”

“Yeah. I guess I am,” Kim flirted.

“Aw! I guess you get the man card now!” Kyle laughed.

“Well…you’ll get it back.”

“When?” Kyle asked.

“In a few years when you’re taller than me.”

Kim pulled away quickly, stood all the way up, looked down at Kyle, and giggled. Kyle just laughed.

I’m going to be her man, he promised himself.

Confessions about Writers with Anxiety

Even for those of us who love to write, having anxiety can make it very difficult. Writing our thoughts can bring about a sense of shame…the thought of I must be crazy.

Yet, the process of putting words on paper seems necessary for sanity as well as survival.

Here are some confessions about writers with anxiety:

1. Even though we absolutely love writing, there are days when we can’t write a thing. Those days sometimes feel like the end of the world.

With so many things going on in life, all of those events add chaos to our minds. Like fuel is necessary for a car, energy is necessary for our minds to decode our thoughts. Just as we use a lot of fuel when we drive, we use a lot of mental and emotional energy to write. Sooner or later, we lose that energy. Sometimes we fear that we’ll never get it back again.

2. We don’t always finish what we try to write.

It’s not always easy to know when and how to end a piece of writing. Sometimes we feel that we say too much. Sometimes we feel that nothing we write makes sense. So we stop in the middle of a story. We might even rip up what we started.

While writing an essay for school, we may fail to turn it in on time or possibly have a panic attack on the due date. The thought of I’m not good enough can creep up on us. We can write something profound and honest (even great) and still hate it so much that we pretend it never existed. Although we know that this does have to do with anxiety and that we’re not “terrible”, it doesn’t make us feel any better.

3. We avoid writing about things that don’t interest us.

We love to write about what we love. Just the same, we hate writing about what we hate.

We could love writing about bands, but not politicians. We could love writing about actors, but not athletes.

Like children picking the yucky vegetables out of the good food, we separate the boring topics from our writing subjects.

4. We freak out over grammar and punctuation.

This is a big one for us. No matter how good the content is, we feel that one grammatical or punctuation error will make us look “stupid” to our readers.

5. We love positive affirmations.

Like anyone struggling with something, compliments like “Good job” and “I really like how you…” can encourage us to keep writing our way through anxiety. When we feel so ashamed of our own thoughts and way of conveying them, compliments help us feel like we’re not as crazy as we think we are…or that being crazy isn’t such a bad thing.

6. Writing helps us understand life and love.

For us, writing is a sincere attempt at connecting with the world. It is a way to be understood and promote understanding. It is a way to free ourselves from a hurricane of emotions.

Like runners completing laps, we love ourselves for having enough courage and patience to write. Like runners’ high, we get writers’ high. In these moments, we love life. We love other people. We love ourselves.

7. We wouldn’t know what to do without writing.

In spite of all of the challenges that come with writing, we value the outcome for our mental state. We love knowing that we can write positive thoughts and read them over and over again.

16 Things I Learned in 2016 (Part 2)

9. By reflecting on the year, we can recognize how our lives transform.

10. We can discover new things about ourselves and the world in a short amount of time.

11. We don’t have to abide by “every” rule of society.

12. A volunteer position might not be paid, but it’s still valuable. It can lead us to a paid job.

13. It’s okay to be moody every once in awhile. It makes us human.

14. It’s okay to burn a few bridges. We can always build new ones.

15. One positive thing about being clumsy is that you can eventually laugh it off.

16. The end of one year brings great anticipation for the next one.

 

It’s been awhile since I wrote for this blog. So I thought that since 2016 is coming to a close, I would end it by writing a list of things I learned. Throughout this list, you will find words that are linked to the Daily Prompts. Enjoy!

  1. Instead of fleeing from difficult tasks, following through with them until completion can lead to a sense of accomplishment.
  2. Sometimes, it’s easy to feel like we’re missing something we long for in life. But out of the blue, we could find a treasure that we never knew we wanted in the first place.
  3. When life gets overwhelming, there will always be someone and/or something to help us calm down.
  4. If we listen close enough, we can hear good parts of the past echo in the present.
  5. Our loved ones help us fix the broken pieces in our lives. By doing so, they help construct our future.
  6. Even when we can’t see it or believe it, someone else is uplifted by our enthusiasm.
  7. A sincere compliment can positively affect someone more than we know.
  8. Sometimes, we don’t know when we’re fishing for the wrong things.

 

 

The Reality of Promises

Sometimes, promises can be scary. Why? Because they can be broken at any time. Some of them can be broken unintentionally. They can be broken by circumstances that are out of our control.

“I promise to love you forever” is broken when a breakup occurs.

“I promise to be here for you forever” is broken when death occurs.

Of course, most people understand that the promise to be here for someone forever really means “while I’m alive”. But when little kids hear this from their parents, they don’t understand.

With adults, relationships and marriages are at stake. Emotions run high in the honeymoon phase. They can continue to run high for months, years, decades. But what if the flame dims, and no one tries to rekindle it? What if emotions change and conflict with each other? What if so many tragedies happen in two people’s lives that they end up divided by hate or emotional detachment? What happens when cheating occurs?

Okay, these are really negative hypothetical scenarios–things we don’t want to even think about. But they’re reality. We see these promises being broken far too often. Hate, abandonment, divorce…all without warning.

The word “promise” holds a lot of weight. There’s A LOT at stake. I wonder…Are we too loose with our promises?

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/promises/

When I first heard about the adult coloring trend, I thought, Seriously? Coloring?! That’s so childish! How would an ‘adult’ coloring book make it any different?

But after doing the same things all the time, I realized that I needed a new hobby. So I decided to find out more about the coloring hype. Every so often, friends would post Facebook statuses about how relaxing it was and how much it relieved their anxiety. Some of them posted pictures of their own beautiful designs. I was captivated.

I began to think, This is nice. Maybe coloring will actually be a good hobby for me.

So I bought a few designs from the Book Store application on my iPad. It took a long time to color them, but I was pleased with the results.

Here are five ways that coloring currently helps me:

1. It distracts me from my problems.

Like many people, I often find myself freaking out about issues that I can’t control. My mind drifts toward the negative. But as I look at the designs in adult coloring books, I imagine how beautiful they can become. When I color, I calm down. All I think about is how awesome a design could look if I just keep coloring.

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2. It serves as a form of exposure therapy.

Coloring challenges my anxiety by requiring me to decide which colors to use and keep track of the time I spend on designs.

Making decisions was always a big weakness for me. I would constantly change my mind and waste SO much time trying to settle on something. The more I color, the easier it becomes to choose the shades and patterns that I desire. The improvement of decision-making also makes it easier for me to monitor my time and move on to new tasks with ease and contentment.

image

3. It fuels my inspiration for writing.

Coloring inspires vision. Because I love to write, I always need to have a vision and a way to express it through words. As I color different designs, I develop different story ideas. For instance, if I color a city, I could think of a story about a city I’ve never seen before. Coloring can also give me an idea of what genre I want to write. The contrast of different designs helps me diversify stories and words to use for imagery.

image

4. It helps me find hope in change.

It’s only human to feel like giving up when we don’t feel that we’re making any progress with a task. With coloring, you can visually see progress every second you move your hand.

Every time I take a break from coloring, the design looks different. The closer I come to completing the design, the more it starts to look like something. This observation of change is a principle that I currently apply to difficult and/or monotonous tasks, like cleaning my room and filling out job applications. Productivity is more apparent and pleasurable.

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5. It helps me envision the future.

While coloring inspires vision for stories, it also inspires vision for the future. When there’s nothing to do, nothing to see, and all of the negative thoughts surfacing in the mind, it can be easy to think that there is no future. That’s pretty depressing, right? It gets to the point where you wonder, What’s the point?

When I color, I see what I never saw before. I feel peace, which is generally a rare feeling for me. The more beauty I see and peace I feel, the more I start to think about positive things for the future–a good marriage, healthy children, a nice house, emotional stability, etc.

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Done Pretending

Mike kicked the soccer ball so hard that it landed in the yard six houses away. Not guilt-ridden in the least, he turned back to look at Anthony’s shocked face.

“Uh…D-dude…” Anthony stuttered.

“I’m f%$#ing done!”

With that, Mike walked away. He was done with soccer for good. There’s no future in it, he thought. I can’t be like my dad and my brother.

Opening his bedroom door, he looked at the backpack by his computer chair. It was time to hit the books. They were the only things that helped Mike discover what he wanted to do with his life.

As he started reading chapter 4 of his psychology book, he realized…This was the only subject in which he excelled. The thought of helping people with mood disorders, identity crises…that sounded appealing. Right in the middle of his thoughts, he was distracted by his father’s flaming rage.

“MICHAEL PATRICK, GET DOWN HERE!!!” he yelled.

What now?

Dragging himself to the kitchen, Mike rolled his eyes. His eight-year old neighbor’s mother scowled at him.

“Care to explain why you kicked your soccer ball into the Crains’ yard?” his father asked.

Mike shrugged. “I’m done with soccer.”

His neighbor’s mother shook her head and ran her hands down her face, trying hard not to cry.

“Your ball hit my son in the face! His mouth is bleeding! He had to get stitches!”

“You’re done with soccer?” Mike’s dad yelled, walking towards him.

The mother looked up at Mike’s father with her face twisted in disgust.

“Really? MY son was injured, and the bigger problem is that YOUR son is quitting soccer?”

“Yeah, that’s all he cares about,” Mike told her.

“You know what? You guys have issues. I can’t deal with you right now, but I’ll be back.”

The mother left, leaving Mike to defend himself.

“What’s wrong with you?! You have no respect!” he yelled.

“You’re a soccer player! My father played soccer! His father played soccer! My YOUNGEST son is playing soccer! YOU are playing soccer!”

Mike shook his head and let out a loud huff.

“I’m not a soccer player, Dad. I’ve never been good at soccer. I’ve never LIKED soccer. You know, if Mom were here, she’d back me up!”

His father slammed his hand on the table. “Well, she’s gone! She’s not coming back! So get your head out of your a%$ and do what I’m telling you to do!”

“No!” Mike protested. “I’m getting my grades back up! I’m applying for college! I’m gonna be someone! Not some p%$#& who doesn’t care about anyone else’s desires!”

“Yeah, right!” His father laughed. “You’re a failure. You’re not passing half of your classes.”

“Yeah, well…Maybe without soccer, I can change that.”

With that, he walked out the door and slammed it behind him. During his walk to the Crains’ house to apologize, he thought about what his father said.

He was right about my grades, Mike thought. I am failing almost everything. But I’m not gonna take his criticism or let him force me to pretend to be something I’m not. I’m gonna be who I’m supposed to be. That’s what my mom would have wanted.

He wiped a tear from his eye, embarrassed by shattering his masculinity. His mother fought hard to stay alive. She made Mike a fighter, too.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/pretend/

For the Love of Cake

I’ve always loved cake, especially chocolate with sprinkles and colorful frosting.

For my 22nd birthday, my mom gave me a photo album of my life to that point. One of the first photos in the book was from my first birthday. My face was coated in frosting, my mouth wide as I shoved chocolate cake down my throat.

I remember looking at the photo and thinking, Well…This explains a lot.

To this day, when someone says that there’s cake, I dive into giddy bliss and mentally taste the piece before it’s even on my plate. The only difference between now and when I was one is that I’m not quite as messy. No matter how many years go by, though, I will always love cake just as much as I did in that photograph.

Now, as I look at the photo, I wonder…What will my wedding cake look like? Will my future spouse share my love of cake? Will we smear frosting on each other’s faces as a childish act of love? Will our future children also love cake? Will they cherish their cake-shoving days?

I might not know these answers for a long time. But until then, I will eat cake and enjoy every bite.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/cake/

Success on the First Try

The diver stood on the high dive and looked down at the fifteen high school girls sitting on the bleachers. They were all staring at her, some of them shaking their heads in hopes of failure, others giving her a thumbs up in hopes of success.

She lifted her hands to the air, bounced slightly, took a deep breath, and jumped. Midway through the air, she shifted her head to the water and straightened her body, keeping her legs parallel to each other and her toes pointed upward.

When her body descended into the water, there was no pain. No belly flop. It was a perfect dive! She nailed a perfect dive from the high dive, the first girl in the class to succeed on the first try.

Some of the girls on the bleachers waved their hands in the air and cheered; others just stared in silence, dumbfounded. She took a deep breath and smiled, amazed at what she just did.

She swam to the edge of the pool and pulled herself up to the floor. As she stood up, she wondered…If I can do that, what else can I do?

Feeling invincible now, she decided that it was time to find out.

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