About Me

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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/

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

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Inner Dialogue

I’m not entirely sure what a ‘hackle’ is, but anytime the words “your mother” come out of the mouth of Carol, my Disney-esque stepmother, mine rise to the occasion.  I can feel them, right there on the back of my neck.

“What kind of cancer did your mother have?  Do you remember?”

I froze in the midst of setting the table for our oh-so-festive-family-4th.  Shit.  I looked around the quiet room.  My husband was outside at the grill, my dad was nowhere to be found.  My stepsister was texting like a madwoman – something I never thought I’d see.  And Carol was lying on the sofa, lost in her own delusions where having conversations such as this were a casual thing that held no cause for the kind of discomfort that sends  one running for the Immodium AD. 

There are times when my smart-assyness is more appropriate than others.  This wasn’t one of those times.  The best thing to do is answer quickly, and steer her on to a new subject.  


Truly what I wanted to say in my typical biting manner was I barely know, being we weren’t allowed to ever see ‘our mother’ during those years when she was sick.  What kind of cancer did she have?  You.  You were her cancer.

Silence may be golden, but sometimes it’s just a sharp chunk of tarnish and rust.

Then came more questions.  Of course, she only ever asks me these things.  Never my brother, and never in front of him.  My parents divorced when I was one, he was five.  Shortly after, we landed at my dad’s when he married Carol.  From that moment on, my mother had to fight for every day she ever had with us.  It wasn’t ever my dad wearing the pants in this new marriage, and thirty-five years later Carol still keeps a skirt on him. 

Twisted little mind-benders, like we weren’t allowed to spend Mother’s Day with her, because it was “too close to your sister’s birthday.”  But Father’s Day we were sent over.  If ‘wtf’ had been a popular phrase back then, it’d have been the most consistent slang to ever come out of my mouth. 

So, any little tidbit we knew about Mom’s illness was scavenged for, as if we were attic mice eavesdropping whenever we could on the Big People.  Not that my brother and I bonded in any way over this.  He had precious little use for his little sister, now as much as then. 

I wonder why Curious Carol is now asking about my mom.  She’s had some health problems as of late, coincidentally in her stomach.  I wonder if she sees the irony in that as I do.  Wouldn’t be the first time that karma has come home to roost with her. 

It’s funny that someone just commented to me that I seem happy, grounded.  Content with who I am. 

Guess this blows that theory all to hell.  I’m not walking around carrying this anger every minute of the day anymore, but do have my moments.  I’m allowed.  Survivors are afforded certain rights that others may not understand. 

Cancer comes in many forms.

My name is Kymberlie, and I am a survivor.

ABBA - The Winner Takes It All
© Kymberlie Ingalls, August 4, 2011