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Kymberlie Ingalls is native to the Bay Area in California. She is a pioneer in blogging, having self-published online since 1997. Her style is loose, experimental, and a journey in stream of consciousness. Works include personal essay, prose, short fictional stories, and a memoir in progress. Thank you for taking a moment of your time to visit. Beware of the occasional falling opinions. For editing services: http://www.rainfallpress.com/

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Bells Of Christmas

“And in despair I bowed my head.  There is no peace on earth,’ I said. ‘for hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth, good will to men.’ “

Scrooge won this year.  He gimped into my Christmas and threw Santa’s fat jolly butt down the hill like it was a game of Elf Bowling and he was going for a strike.

I’ve been looking for the spirit this year, but found only empty nooks and dry crannies – nothing to grab and shake me as a cat would a tree ornament.  Even my own cats don’t seem as excited this year to see the pine branches and curly ribbons they so love to nibble on.  My little ginger Georgie knows we’re feeling down this year, though, because when I looked beneath the twinkling tree the other night, there was her prized teddy bear that she’d placed underneath as an offering.  Like a child, she often uses her toys to make statements when her meows aren’t being understood.

Even my annual toy drive was only a momentary glimpse of joy.  We had a bigger haul than usual; to see homespun generosity alive and well firsthand in this shitbucket of an economy gave a shot of hope – but like anything else that comes in a needle, it was just a temporary fix.  When people find out I organize these drives and gush their admiration, I often feel a nagging of guilt because it feels like it’s more for my benefit than the kids’.  Atoning for past sins and using the imagined Cindy Lou Who smiles to melt my own inner Grinch. 

Hearing the gruff, young Marine Seargent’s speech to his recruits just made me droop more than an empty stocking on a dark, cold mantle.  “We do this every year because we are the best of the best, and we have to look out for our fellow brothers and sisters.  We do this because every f&*%ing kid deserves a goddamn Christmas.” 

While my family tends to bring more doom and gloom to the holiday than a dreary rain that never turns white, this year it’s almost record-breaking.  Finding the strength to tell my father that I deserved a better holiday was one of the hardest hills I’ve ever climbed.  The knockdown-drag-outs with my brother were to be expected when we were younger, but I’d carried with me the hope that someday he’d grow up and realize that Dad’s holidays are numbered and when he goes, so does any semblance of a family.  Those wishes have been tossed out like a generic gift that nobody has a use for.  “I won’t be there if she is.”  Hearing my brother’s words, secondhand, broke my heart.  He’s fortysomething now, and I wish I could snip the tiny thread that keeps me tied to him, but there’s a knot that only tightens with determination stoked by anger. 

I saw my father cry today.  Maybe now my brother will get it.


As for gifts, Father Time finally shook his fist and claimed that battle.  To me, a gift should be given with genuine appreciation, not because the Retail Gods said it’s the right thing to do.  Mom took such joy in choosing each item that came wrapped with a love that had no price tag.  It was in my older years that cynicism crept in; out of convenience Grandma took me shopping for my own gifts.  Gone was the element of surprise that brought the warmth of holiday embers.

My husband has always spoiled me with love and packages wrapped painstakingly with detail right down to the pretty little bows – just like Mom.  This year, with both of us being overrun by mundane tasks and a hectic schedule, not to mention a shell-shocked budget, we found ourselves limited to Amazon and having to place orders side by side last night on our laptops without any Secret Santa merriment whatsoever.  Gone are the shopping excursions and the extra little things that we carefully selected like elves on a mission.  Funny how you miss the crowds when you’re not amongst them in the once-glittering shopping malls.  By the end of the evening, my spirit lay in pieces like shards of colored Christmas glass, and it seemed his wasn’t dancing a holiday jig either. 

The month of December was once filled with tinsel and pine, a card-sending list longer than my leg, the scent of anticipated cookies bursting from the oven, and a house full of party-goers to remind me why it’s the most wonderful time of all. 

This year the frost is in my veins and my heart is a chunk of peppermint ice that shows no sign of melting.  I tried to put on a good front for my husband so as not to depress him even more, but have failed miserably.  Like a bad sitcom, It’s A Wonderful Life scenarios are an endless marquee in my never-silent head as I ponder how much better off he’d be if he’d never gotten involved with the likes of me.  He feels he's failed as the knight in armor, the provider, as our money has disipated, much as Christmas magic becomes just another cold winter day, and our business has suffered the same fate as many trying to make their way through this trying time.  I don’t feel I’ve been the rock that he needs to rest upon in this weary journey he’s suffered.  He claims otherwise, but my own insecurities trample all over his words and run away like an elf gone to the dark side. 

Where the hell is that angel anyway?  I’ve been ringing bells all over the place, he must not want his wings too badly. 

There’s always next year.  One can’t suffer despair without having lost hope first, but with all losses come a healing.  Even a broken candy cane tastes just as sweet on the tongue. 

Sometimes a ringing bell just takes longer to be heard.

“Then pealed the bells more loud and deep.  The wrong shall fail, the right prevail, with peace on earth, good will to men…”

© Kymberlie Ingalls, December 20, 2011

Lyrics based on the poem “I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day” / Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Talking Turkey

“I’m being followed by a moon shadow, leaping and hopping on a moon shadow… If I ever lose my hands,  lose my plow, lose my land, I won’t have to work no more…”
I’m trying hard to be thankful today.. for something.  I’m not picky.  Like a clinging vine, I’ll latch on to anything if it’ll get me through the holiday. 
I have all of my limbs.  I guess that’s a good thing.  As useless as my leg has become, I must be a pretty big person to forgive it like this.  The determination to distract myself from the pain has become something of a challenge, and who doesn’t love a good challenge?  It’s like my own personal Sunday crossword puzzle, except it’s every day. 
That’s an awful lot of fun for just one person to have every day.
I’m thankful for the elusion of sleep – apparently I am at my creative best!  Churning out words of prim and prose; it’s a wonder I haven’t been awarded the Nobel Prize of Insomnia.  Gonna have to look in to that, because if it’s not an award yet, it should be.  Putting it on my mental list right now.
Ah, yes, and I’m thankful for my ‘to-do’ list.  Without it I wouldn’t have too much to think about at night, therefore I’d destroy my creative streak with all that sleep.  Can’t have that if I’m going to go for that prize.  The idea of 'Occupying' my mattress is an appealing one, minus the tent though.
I’ve spent much time this year reflecting on the loss of certain friends.  My BFF of 32 years dumped me this past spring.  Another friend tossed me over after accusing me of some petty crime regarding his new girlfriend.  I am thankful to see the light, however.  I’ve been looking at it all wrong!  I no longer have to deal with her daily catastrophes and his snippy, snarky outlook on life. 
Which in turn has had great influence on my health – my blood pressure has gotten back down to normal range.  My heart no longer wants to push through my chest like a clown bursting from a cannon.  My blood doesn’t race like an Indy car gunning for that milk jug in Victory Lane.

Yes, things have sure quieted down some in my topsy-turvy world. 
I am thankful for the economy taking a dive because I’d long forgotten the value of a dollar.  I see the error now because what ‘new math’ has shown me is that the dollar no longer has any value.  Whew!  Just think, if I were out there spending it freely like I used to, I’d be doing it all wrong!
And how could I not be indebted to my family for strengthening my mental and physical prowess?  I’ve become so quick on my feet, literally and figuratively, I could take on anyone in this big, bad world.  Sparring, jabbing, kicking and let’s not forget the wit I have sharpened on the holiday carving knife – just before it’s plunged into the nearest back.
I coulda been a contendah.

Figures – my husband wants to put a damper on this great pity dance of mine.  Coming up behind me as I write, singing dumb love songs as he leans in for a kiss.  Taking my hand and wanting to take me home, away from the rest of the world, where our fuzzy family awaits us.  He’ll probably want to build a fire, talk to me about my day and his, and generally pester me with a hug as I walk by. 
Okay, I’ve laid the turkey out on the table.  I’ve gobbled and whined and dined.  Time to put it all away for another year as I welcome friends to my home for Christmas visits and appreciate the roof over our head, while we still have one.  I’ll see my charity bucket fill with the kindness of strangers, as they give in my drive to provide toys for those who truly have nothing to smile about. 
Gratitude really shouldn’t be saved up to be worn like a Girl Scout badge one day out of the year.  It’s something to strive for, but it takes work.  It should be constant, like a sunrise. 
How could I not be thankful when I know that gift-giving season is coming?  And there is no greater gift than something shiny from my favorite gadget store.
Not that that’s a hint or anything. 
Happy holidays, and thanks for reading all throughout the year.
“if I ever lose my eyes,  I won’t have to cry no more… “

© Kymberlie Ingalls, November 23, 2011
Lyrics:  Moon Shadow / Cat Stevens
 Video Clips:  Moon Shadow / Cat Stevens
Movie: On The Waterfront
Indianapolis 500, 2011 Victory Lane footage

Friday, November 4, 2011


I am missing a lot of things today.

Aside from the usual; my keys, my sunglasses... my mind. 

I miss the shopping days of my youth.  Pouring over the makeup counter, experimenting with Royal Purples, Sweet Sixteen Pinks, and Apache Earth Browns.  The first eye shadow my mom ever bought me was Robin’s Egg Blue.  I was thirteen years old, and it was accompanied by my first pair of wedge heels and Strawberry Kiss lip gloss.  Colors to brighten my drab world.  As I grew older, my friends and I would admire all of the rich textures of the name brands, and end up scraping our pennies together for the copycat pencils, powders and lipsticks.  While I applied these things with hope of beauty, the mask was really to cover my lack of confidence. 

I miss, too, the days of buying music - holding it in my hands, versus a digital click.  Rasputin’s was the place to find me.  At eighteen, nineteen years old, back when we had this thing called ‘record albums,’ I dove head-first into the clearance section (100 albums / $20!) – without that deal I wouldn’t ever have discovered the warm soul of Otis Redding, the horrible pop of most of the Jackson family, the revolution of John Lennon, the intimacy of Tchaikovsky, the B-sides of my favorite artists.  I was fearless in my exploration.  I miss falling in love.

Just as I miss falling for a new movie hero, or a character in a favorite book.  The Electric Horseman has been on my mind today.  My heroes have always been cowboys, and when Robert Redford stumbled over the words to his leading lady “Hey?  I keep wantin’ to thank ya, but then I keep wonderin' what for…” … I have spent decades searching for that “what for.”

I miss my friends.  As we age, they’re falling more and more by the wayside.  While we wander around this middle-aged territory, most seem to be afraid of what they think about it all, so it’s easier to hide behind ‘responsibilities’ and other such walls.  My husband thinks he is a rock and an island unto himself.  We’re different that way.  I need to reach out and touch people, even when I don’t want to be touched. 

My friend Carolyn’s been trying to tell me something today.  I know because I heard my Carolyn song twice while my iPod was on shuffle.  I have an idea of what her message is, because it’s been rolling around my head for about a week now. 

Last week a new friend came into my life, and he may not be around for long so there is a strong voice telling me to appreciate Bill while he’s here.  Bill has made the decision to end his life, because his health and personal issues have worn him down.  Every day since I’ve become acquainted with him, though, he finds a reason to pull through.  What surprises me is that he pulls through the night as well.  I’ll bet that it’s at three in the morning when the sun has set long behind him and isn’t going to rise again for a good long while that his grip on hope loosens just a little bit more.  It’s only been a week, but I already know that I’m going to miss him when the night comes that he slipped off the ledge.  Like with anything or anyone else, the caring comes in letting go.  To accept, not to judge. 

I haven’t been able to let go of Carolyn in my mind, in the three and a half years she’s been gone.  Her death blindsided me in many ways, but in my search for closure I have found a stronger voice in my writing, in my actions.

So, while I try to age gracefully, and move along with the times, I have simplified my look in going with the basics.  No longer is my face decorated with wild colors, I don’t polka-dot or stripe my nails like I did.  My wardrobe is basically dark, with just splatters of color here and there.  My friends never have time to breathe, much less work on developing a friendship, so I’m learning to be my own lunch date.  I no longer have the time to play with music; staying with what I know, and finding it difficult to even keep up with that. 

When I hear about shooting stars and see them crossing my path, I know she’s speaking to me.  There’s a bittersweet comfort in the crisp fall air or when rain is on the way.  It’s Carolyn coloring my world, and reminding me to let others do the same.  While I work to infuse my gray insights into my words, I have to let go of those thoughts as soon as I write them down, let others find their colors in them. 

They say a rainbow has seven colors.  The truth is there are a million in-between shades.  Bill is one in my million, so was Carolyn, and while there are many others like them, none are faceless in the crowd.   

Tomorrow is my day off.  While my trips to the record store have fallen to the past, I think a cozy day with the kitties, a blanket, a bowl of homemade soup and a dusty album on my turntable seems just about the right way to color my day. 

© Kymberlie Ingalls

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Time keeps on slipping into the future.

Maybe I never liked that song because I never tried to understand it.  Hatred is bred of ignorance, after all.  One of the things I love about music is how a song I’ve been hearing for thirty years suddenly smacks with sense. 

Time is a tricky thing.  Plays tricks on my mind, like my mind isn’t already a magician’s haven of illusion.  I’m a champion at illusions.. disillusions. 

Epiphanies are a tricky thing too. 

I’ve been thinking lately about what it’s like to be me in the world.  Because it was getting boring thinking about all that fluffy stuff like which Kardashian sister was the latest to get married.  I wonder if the words I write, if the things I do, make a difference to anyone. 

I’m going to write anyway – it’s not to impress others, it’s just what I do.  But it’s in the morning and the door to my ego opens just long enough for my inner self to peek out for a glimpse, an answer.  A ray of insight to knock me upside the head for shit’s sake.

I wonder what it will take for me to believe the people who tell me I matter?  That’s what it’s like to be me in this big, fat world.  A fool who believes everything I want to hear but the court spectres keep me from seeing it as truth. 

Welcome to my pity party.

Author’s Note - Do you believe in karmic irony?  I responded to the ad below, something I rarely ever do.  Just as I sat reveling in my self-pity, I received an reply that I honestly didn't think would come, and could see the grasping at the crazy straws in his few words.  Kites passing each other in the night.  These are the moments that keep me writing – trying to harness the power of words in the storm surrounding me.  I’d like to share the exchange with you now:

Actual Craigslist posting:
So I was just wondering… (41, m4w, San Jose South)
If anyone wanted a real friend. I'm not look for FWB or NSA sex. Just a friend.
Nope I'm not married or in a relationship and I'm not gay. I have served my time and just want a true friend like me. Well not exactly like me you can be different I don't care just be true.  I know what I want and its a friend, just. a friend. So if you would like to have a Friend just a friend please reply. I read and reply to a lot of posts here so some of you might notice at the end of this post who I am. I'm just a man looking for somone that's looking for me. Thanks for reading. XOXO. BILL

Hi, Bill - thought I'd give this a shot, though typically I'm the one posting, not replying.  I'm way out in the east bay, and I always post for chat and online buddies.  I'm not in the habit of meeting offline anymore (respect to my husband) so that could be a deal breaker for you.  But, thought I'd toss the idea out to you.  Game?

Nope not a deal breaker at all. We do not have to meet. I just like to talk. And like I said in the post not looking for any kind of relationship other than friends.  And I'm in san diego right now. Might move here so email texting or chat is perfect.  Real as in I'm tired of being taken advantage of. I have a really big heart and it keeps getting beat up. That's why I'm done with relationships.  I use my real name on my emails because it is public info. So anyone can look me up and see if I'm a jail bird. (Sorry can't spell)  I am a real person with real feelings and yes I do cry and I don't feel like less of a man because.  XOXO.  BILL

So, what has you uprooting and heading south?  I'm a Bay Area native myself, lived in the same town pretty much all of my 40 years, but can't say I'm happy with that.  Some day, though.  Timing is everything.

Well I have issues, phisical and mental. (Not crazy just suicidal) so I'm trying to find a reason for me. Excuse me if I am to forward. Like I said I'm real and I'm not hidding anymore. I really hate my life right now.  That might be a deal breaker for you.  Check mate!  XOXO.   BILL

Few things are a deal breaker for me - hate to break it to you, Chess Man, but suicidal ain't necessarily one of them.  I'm going to be honest with you (and this coming from someone who worked with a crisis line at one point) - if you're looking for someone to talk you out of a panic, I'm not it.  But if you just need an ear, I can do that.  Your move.

An ear is exactly what I need. There is no talking me down, sorry.  See I am a dibetic with major complications and I will be losing body parts soon. Not sure I can handle that. So I'm taking some me time down here to try and figure it out.  Talking has been seeming to help.  I was married twice and have a kid from that (not mine but I claim her) and we still stay in touch from time to time. I married her mother twice.  And that was my only marriage. Now my other daughter the 23 year old won't talk to me. Mad because I sold a truck she did not want. After it was gone she changed her mind and I'm the bad guy now. 41 years old and I've been with 5 women my whole life. And some how I manage to screw it up. Thus the just friends thing. So with my shitty life right now and my leg getting ready to fall off I'm just not fu#*ing happy any more. So here I am.  XOXO.   BILL

Well, aren't we a pair.  I'm diabetic too - type II at the moment.  And I have other issues as well (mental and physical - ha) regarding mobility.  My grandmother was diabetic, and lost her leg and part of her foot.  Not in the effort of talking you down from a ledge - you're a grown up and that's your decision to make - and not to preach to ya either, but the human nature is to adapt.. somehow.  But I do understand because it's a fear always in the back of my mind.  Once I shove out the thought that my clock is ticking at a rather rapid pace.  I give myself a couple of years, and that has nothing to do with diabetes or suicide.  Just a premonition.  But this isn't about me.  Would it interest you to know that I'm a writer, and I shit you not - I was just in the midst of proclaiming my self-imposed pity party when you declared your suicidal intent to me?  How's that for a karmic chess move?

Ok now I'm speachless. See this is what I keep seeing all the time and I think this is starting to scare me more & more.  How is it that you reply to my post? I'm not sure if you beleave in divine entervention or not, but ever since I have been prepairing for this real stupid idea of mine I keep meeting people like you. And its really starting to make me a beleaver again.  Get this, everytime and I meen everytime I start getting down I see somone in a wheelchair or some kind of physical problem and my first thought is, see your being selfish. You said your a writer right?  XOXO.   BILL

I am indeed a writer.  You're not being selfish - the thing is, there's always going to be someone worse off than you.  You're going to be, at some point, the 'worse off' for someone else.  The importance is the acceptance that it's okay to be selfish sometimes.  It's okay to have a pity party.  My problems at hand are thankfully not as bad as past issues, and right now you're my 'worse off,' but it's still okay for me to feel the weight of the world even if it's just for a moment over something .. or nothing.  I do believe that everything happens for a reason.  Nothing is random.  Just wanna say, you're growing on me already, Bill.  Hope you decide to stick around and that I'll get to wander on this crazy-weird journey with you.
 ~ Kymberlie

This is what it’s like for me to be in the world. 

“In the middle of the night the world turns with all its might.  In the middle of the night we keep sending all these kites until a little light gets through…”

© Kymberlie Ingalls, October 19, 2011
Lyrics:  Fly Like An Eagle / The Steve Miller Band
          The Kite Song / Patti Griffin

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembrance Of Hope

There is something to be said for the open road on a quiet, starry night when the winds whisper and the radio serenades me. 

Right now my husband and I are somewhere on the edge of Nevada and Utah as we embark on a much-needed trip to the homeland of cheese curds and football fanatics.  It’s Grandma’s 90th birthday and it’ll be a fair family occasion.  Wisconsin is a beautiful change of scenery with its lakes and green woods. 

Many are asking why we elected to drive rather than fly.  One friend understood, lamenting that he loved the drive home to the south when he visits, but also likes the idea of arriving in one afternoon on a plane.  Thankfully, Roger and I share a love of road trips, so the decision to drive even with the high price tag at the gas pump.  It’s an especially difficult decision as business owners to take the extra time, but watching my husband enjoy himself behind the wheel of our truck tells me it was the right thing to do. 

That, and he flat out refused to fly with me.  I tend to get a little uptight around planes, and this wasn’t the weekend to be getting into skirmishes with airport security. 

Our nation is in a horrible place today with its politics and economy, but we are still free to drive our broke asses across the country and take in every touristy sight along the way.  We are free to speak out about the injustices around us, free to spend our money foolishly while complaining about our government doing the very same.  We are free to support or rally against our military that has been at war since the nightmare that attacked New York City ten years ago in September. 

Yes, it really has been ten years.  The Kennedy assassination of my generation.  Waking to the news that would alter our freewheeling ways forever.  As with the Japanese and the African American races before them, Middle-Easterners became the new enemy to the American public right here on our own land – their home.  Families were ripped apart by death and enlisting soldiers; flags and yellow ribbons splashed across our nation in a sudden patriotic rainbow. 

We all came together as a family that day for those who died, and for those who survived. As all families have their dysfunction, we are in such a state now.  Wishes of peace, and of war, have separated us into battle camps here at home.  This mess we’re in is destroying us – it’s like being on a speeding train that’s going to derail and we have no means to stop it in time.  Sometimes I hear the screeching of the wheels on the steel rails in my sleep. 

Everything we have worked for has slowly died or withered away.  “Don’t let them win!” has been the battle cry, because the message of the 9/11 attacks was to hurt us financially.  Just like a Texan does, Cowboy George came riding in whooping and hollering, dropping bombs and our money along with them.  As God Bless The USA faded on the radio, and the economy began to tank, we turned on each other.  Now that Osama has gone down, the black guy in charge is back to being Public Enemy #1.

Where is that American bond now?  Where is the brotherly love that gave others hope on that day, the day when our skies were dark and our streets were drowned in destruction?

As the white lines blur past us in the night, I’ll be reflecting on what was lost that morning at summer’s twilight – parents, sons and daughters, hopes and dreams.  I’ll take photos of the factories, the corn fields, the hills, mountains and lakes and mostly I’ll be thankful that I have the freedom to write these words.  I don’t support war, nor do I support our involvement in the affairs of other countries, but our men and women are there whether I agree with the reason or not.  They are far from home and deserve my gratitude. 

Yes, there is something to be said for the open road on a quiet, starry night.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Amongst The Clouds

The Plain White T's - Hey Delilah

Zen moments are often fleeting, and very rare.  Well, maybe not for hippies and stoners (one and the same?) but for those of us with feet firmly planted in the drudgery of a day to day reality, a zen moment could slap us in the face and we’d still not recognize it.

So I’m coming off of an absolute shit day yesterday.  I was the recipients of hollerings and misunderstandings from all directions.  I’m playing doofus-in-the-middle between a flighty television producer and my friend’s mom.  My father has been an old crab lately – if he had a cane he’d be beating people with it just for fun.  Not too bad of an idea, actually, but I digress.  My hip and my betrayal of a leg is casting a cloud of doom on the recovery of my birthday party, prompting me to keep reminding myself how touching it actually was to have fifty people want to come celebrate with me.  I’m trying to block all of the drama queens at the racetrack I work with out of my mind for the paces they’ve put me through as of late.

In a nutshell, it sucked for anyone who has had to live with me this week.  Yes, honey, I mean you.  And it’s why I love you so.

If I were a more positive thinker, I’d remember on these days to keep looking for the silver lining.  But I have no skill for such thoughts – what I am able to manage is to recognize the moment before being slapped again.

I’m having a glorious zen moment and want to share it with the world. 

Wow.  Shove a Coke in my hand and drop me off on the nearest hillside. 

Image DetailToday was a day for my favorite lunch at the Cheesecake Factory of a thai salad with sweetly marinated cucumbers, carrots and sprouts so fresh they walked on the plate without a word of complaint, soft coconut rice noodles on a bed of emerald lettuce with satay chicken with chopped peanuts adorning the top to round it all out.  Serious yum.  And for once I have the time to devour it without the sin of a ticking clock staring me down. 

Josh is whizzing by and taking care of my every need.  “Need more tea?  How’d that salad come out, lovebug?”  Finally, someone appreciates me!

There is a bevy of men serenading me.  For three minutes I was Delilah.  Now I’m watching the movie in my head of Mrs. Jones meeting with her illicit lover at the same time, the same cafĂ©. 

Darryl Hall - Me & Mrs. Jones

In ten minutes I’m going to walk through the cool glass doors and back to the muck.  These fleeting nirvaneous moments don’t come around too often, I’m not even letting the kid across the way having his temper tantrum break the bubble.  Instead, I’m putting up my feet, taking a sip of my Paradise Tea, and smiling a secret smile of And that’s why I don’t have any of those screaming buggers.

I will go back to deleting racist comments and name calling on my video channels.  I will look for the one video to offset the terror of today’s society that reminds me we have a shred of humanity left amongst us.  I will write something that tries to make sense of what I read and watch in the news.

Not too many things are a certainty in this world.  Endings are a certainty.  Beginnings are a bit hazy, but like the crusty sourdough I am diving into an herby wine sauce with, it’s the squishy warm part in the middle that makes it all worth it.  In my moment, there are no calories, there are no clogged arteries – there is just a groovy rhythm and a great view.

© Kymberlie Ingalls, August 25, 2011

Friday, August 12, 2011

Sins Of The Brother

I’d like to say that my brother has hurt me for the last time, but I’d probably be lying.  Not an intentional lie, but a delusional one because if I sat and thought about the future hurts, I’d start crying and there’s no point in short-circuiting my keyboard over someone who’s not worth it.

My question that nobody seems to have an answer for is – how does one determine who’s worth it and who's not?  In my heart, I can’t help but think that if you share blood, share a mother and a father and memories, that makes it worth it.  In my head, I know better.  My husband always says I’m not logical – but in this instance logic dictates that blood is not the magical bonding potion talked of in myths and fairy tales.

None of us ever have enough ties in this world, yet I’ve spent my life tying knots in the fraying binds that keep me tethered to people who don’t want me.  I could write it off and say it’s their loss, but the truth is the loss is mine. 

Loss of time, of energy that may well have been spent elsewhere.  Things happen as they are destined to, however, so no amount of “I could have”s will do me any good.  After so much, it sure gets tiring being the martyr.  I’d throw myself on the cross but it’s already stuck up my brother’s ass. 

From the day I was born Sonny had it out for me, but the thing is I never knew why.  I find it hard to believe that I came out of the womb already offending him, but maybe that’s just how it happened.  It seemed it ran deeper than ordinary sibling discontent, and then the upheaval in our lives began and I have always taken the brunt of it.  I’ve never had the chance to be a ‘little sister,’ because my brother never had the thought to protect me, to nurture me.  There was no spoiling because I was the baby.  Truth be told, I have taken better care of him then he ever has in return.  I’ve been the maternal one – and like most mom figures, I take his shit and give anyway.

Sonny had a way when we were kids of needling me – I’ve never taken kindly to teasing, even today – with just the right pin prick when nobody else was looking, and because I was the hollering wheel, it was me who got the attention alright.  Attention that came in the form of blame from the adults for fighting with my brother.  Just yesterday, someone asked me “what are you two fighting about now?”  It’s not “we” fighting, it’s Sonny fighting me and I just can’t keep trying to figure out why.  It’s time to put a moratorium on this one-sided effort. 

We’ve spent half of our adult lives at war – the childhood battles were only the beginning – the other half at an uneasy peace.  Okay, maybe half is too generous a number; realistically it’d be about 70/30 with the odds not in my favor. 

One low point that stands out to me was the Christmas some years ago when the family spent the morning walking on eggshells so as not to upset the Sonnycart, because his moodiness had become the elephant under the tree the previous few years.  A mildly lame joke on my part was all he needed to have his tantrum and be on his merry way.  I was highly emotional that holiday, thinking the stress was getting to me, so the hurt was more intense as my dad and stepmother threw their usual blame-water on me by the bucketful. 

Shortly after, I suffered a miscarriage, hemorrhaging severely enough to traumatize me for months into the new year.  I hadn’t even known I was pregnant; those invisibly raging hormones had been fueled by the distraught brought on by the family festivities.

To this day, not one of them knows.  Nobody knows that I almost died that night aside from my husband, who was there to hold my hand through his own horror.  They couldn't be trusted with that vulnerable hurt.

My brother has committed sins against me that I have forgiven when most would not.  Don’t misunderstand that I’m claiming to be a saint – nothing could be more untrue, but I don’t ever intentionally hurt him.  Call him out on his crap?  Yes.  Find ways to get him in trouble when we were small?  Sure, but nothing worth this epic civil war. 

Nothing is worth hurting someone I love, despite their misdeeds.  And all I have ever wanted from my big brother is for him to love me.  The night my mother died, I reached out to him like a lamb that didn’t see the slaughter ahead and asked if we could be there for each other like she’d asked us to. 

His silence was the guillotine I didn’t see coming – I was in denial that he could be that cruel, then and now. 

Now he has dropped another blade to slice at my heart, even when my head knew to expect it.  Sonny couldn’t be bothered to drop whatever snit he has manufactured and be a part of my day.  My fortieth anniversary of the day I apparently ruined his life.  More silence that my father weakly tried to cover.  An incomplete family photo to forever mark the occasion.

No matter how proud I’ve ever been, no matter how much I’ve defended him or shielded him from any hurt I could against those who sought to abuse us, this is my reward.  It should have been brother and sister against the world – instead it’s been nothing more than a Jerry Springer stage show.  There was never any competing against the ‘golden son.’  The salt on the cuts is always that he gets away with these things.  Not one person has ever stood to defend me, to shield me.  Like passing a crime on the street, they "don't want to get involved."

It’s a simple choice, really – love me, or hate me.  I’m certainly akin to not being loved, and his choice is a confirmation of this.  But I can’t be the one to try anymore, to do the reaching – it only breaks my back as much as my heart, and I’m already broken enough for this lifetime.

© Kymberlie Ingalls, August 11, 2011