There’s so much content running through my brain as well as content already contained. I’d like to invite you, dear reader, into my world of Busted Flip Flops. We’ll explore observations of life, musings about becoming Mom, Cherry Pearl the snorting pug, weird dreams, recipes, movies, ’80’s nostalgia, picking up strays (the furry and the non), and unfeigned poetry. Watch for weekly upcoming posts as these beach reads begin to build and form like, well, a castle in the sand...
One of the first realizations that I was stepping (pun intended) into the corporate, professional world this past September was that I had to place these somewhat foreign objects on my feet everyday. Calf straining, toe-crunching, sweat breeding objects. No flip flops allowed. Ouch.
I was so nervous those first few weeks. Ten minutes before start time there I was in the parking lot fiddling maniacally with the straps of a pair of heels I bought at a second-hand store. The rubber inserts were peeling off and I had to constantly reattach them.
My work clothes consisted of a few outfits from said thrift store and a sprinkling hodgepodge of items I put together from my own closet. Items I hoped did not show too much back or leg, or resembled a wardrobe from Gilligan’s Island/Punky Brewster/The O.C.
Surely these people knew I was a fraud. I’m a writer, a beach bum, a stay-at-home Mom. A girl who sometimes doesn’t get out of her jammies until late afternoon. A girl who loves flip flops so much she fashioned a blog after them.
I staggered across the parking lot hoping I didn’t look drunk. Like a fawn trying to get her footing after being in the cozy sheltered womb.
I smiled as I passed my business casual-clad coworkers. Hiding my grimace from the pain of the shoes, the claustrophobia of the underwear. Hoping I at least looked the part.
Four months have passed. I still stagger from time to time. Ok, often.
And I still drive to work in flip flops.
But I am not alone. There are others who suffer from flip flop separation. We slip our heels and toe-covering flats off while sitting at our desk. Our foot-coverings of choice stashed on the floor boards of our cars, waiting to be reunited.
We may work in heels, but we walk in flip flops.
I left my heart here
to drown in the sorrowful ache
that a steady rain of your absence
Like a bloated sponge
unable to hold one more drop
yet it does
The heart is a willful thing
it lets go but doesn’t forget
the sound of the rain pelting
and the sheer joy of the moment it ceases
and the release of some part of that ache
Every time you come back
and we embrace.
My writing muscle has kind of atrophied. Who was it that said there is no such thing as writer’s block? Was it Stephen King? Sylvia Plath? Oprah? When I first heard that I thought, “Bullshit”. But it only took me about 12 hours of off-and-on pondering to realize how freaking true it is.
It’s not that we don’t have anything to say. It’s that we have so much to say we don’t know where to begin or how to collect our thoughts. So we are incapacitated by this.
Kind of like I feel now.
I’ve had a few people encourage me to get back into writing. Because they are awesome supporters. And I have been pretty much off the grid for a while. I’ll explain the reason behind that at a later date. Maybe.
How I’ve missed typing these keys onto WordPress. But there’s so much pressure to be “perfect”. To say something that truly matters and inspires and is up to my own self-imposed standards. But what it boils down to at this point is that I just keep writing. Because when I stop it is not good.
It’s like a bubble is stuck in my throat. A block in my brain. And all I fantasize about at work is creating some form of art. I even daydream of coloring in a coloring book because at least then I would be doing something artsy. Even at the elementary level.
I even thought about writing at work. Like I used to do at every other job I ever had. Scribbled poems on the back of movie ticket paper. The outline of a story on a spare photo packet envelope. A line or two on a napkin at lunch break.
It doesn’t matter what you do for a living. The artist in you has to get out in some way or another. I remember writing poems at my very first job as a telemarketer in between cold calls. I even recited some of them to my stoned and bored coworkers. My fuzzy memory says they were impressed.
So here I am. Working out my writer’s muscle. I don’t want to block myself in. So maybe I’ll call it “writer’s cube”. Because at least then there is 3D space with which to create, fill, play.
Something happened when I was ten that I will never forget. This image has stuck with me for thirty years.
I had a brief encounter with fame if you want to call it that. I was one of three singers who recorded a local Nashville television show’s opening.
Auditions were conducted at my friend Karen’s house after a big wig heard her singing in the living room at dinner there one evening. He thought she would be perfect to accompany the intro to “Thursday’s Child,” a magazine type show highlighting the very organization helping endangered children. They asked if she had any friends who could sing.
My brother and I went to her 70’s style split-level house with the creepy animated clown head in the kitchen and sang for a couple old guys in suits and ties.
We made the cut.
Two weeks later we were excused from school and recording into a real microphone on the highest floor of a prestigious downtown Nashville building. For a one minute song we were there all day. They changed the lead adult guy twice. I liked the first one best but for whatever reason he got the shaft and they brought in a guy whose voice was more boring than 4th grade math class.
But by day’s end they had what they wanted and three weeks after that I got a real check in the mail FOR SINGING A TELEVISION THEME SONG.
Funny how I don’t tell a lot of people about this. It is one of my favorite and best accomplishments of all time. But let me tell you what happened after we finished recording and were starving.
Our parents took us to McDonald’s. That was our nutritional reward. Now if you catch me at McDonald’s I am either severely low on cash, time, or oxygen. But to us in the early 80’s it was a major reward.
While eating my skinny, salty fries I noticed a man sitting alone across from us. He looked homeless and was drinking coffee out of the quintessential McD’s coffee cup. He wasn’t so much as staring at me, my brother, my parents, Karen, and her dad, but rather glancing from time to time just enough to make me uncomfortable. At some point in our recording after-glow conversation and fast food binge-fest I noticed the homeless guy crying. Crying. There was this look on his face of regret. And even though I was only ten I knew exactly why he was crying.
Thirty years later I can still see the remorse on his tear-stained, weathered face. He had a family somewhere. And somewhere along the way he screwed up. He saw all of us laughing together and we reminded him of what he could have had. Or perhaps did have for a time and for whatever reason did not anymore. He was regretful. I know in that moment he was sorry for whatever it was he did.
I have never forgotten that man. I have never forgotten that overflow of emotion he felt just being a bystander at a fast food restaurant.
I think I understand him now even more than I did when he was right in front of me.
We have all done things which have made us hang in the web of regret. But somewhere along the way we have to find out how to break free and ultimately forgive ourselves. I hope that man eventually found his closure, his peace.
I know through his tears he was truly sorry. I didn’t know what to do back then but now I would at least give him a nod to let him know he is not alone.
We parted days ago but it seems like years already I ride the bumpy white gravel trail near my home that reminds me of our solitary bike ride last week on the Panhandle You wanted to cross the no entry point I said no I wanted to take a photo of the military threat level sign you said don't be stupid We listened to Pink Floyd when we were teenagers saw them in concert after a truck bed ride down the streets of downtown Nashville high on rock n roll Now I listen to them and my heart sings cries We had one huge fight our entire sibling hood A letter sent to my house ended the feud and I made the call Now it seems unbelievable after all the laughs you gave me at the Cape Laughter I needed at the most crucial time of my life It was like we were ten fifteen twenty again Momma's brother is gone from this earth I cried with her in the bathroom of a seafood restaurant days after he passed We embraced by the sink and our hands smelled like that coconut soap there You don't love the beach like I do but it will always remind me of you Brothers and sisters always a time and place Take care of yourself so we can cry with laughter again.
I just renewed my domain name and blog site. This means I have been WordPress blogging for a whole year. Happy first birthday Busted Flip Flops!
These flip flops have been seriously busted lately. I haven’t written all month. Certain instances and situations have occurred which have kept me away. But I was never truly away. Not in the spiritual sense anyway.
It actually feels weird to sit here and write. How I have missed it. I am feeling a little rusty like my bicycle chain. But I can still pedal. Although a little creakily at first.
There are so many things I want to write about but for now I just want to say thank you to all my readers. I have enjoyed your presence and comments and inspiration. I have enjoyed reading and connecting with my favorite bloggers and entering into this WordPress world that has so many times brought sunshine to my flippity flop walk on the rocky beach.
So cheers to this first birthday! Let us raise a glass. Savor the sweetness of the written word and let it permeate a moment and blossom into its full-bodied flavor. And walk along side me for another year, busted flip flop to busted Croc (or your footwear of choice).