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.kymberlieingalls.com/p/editing-services.html

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Footprints On a Ledge


Take your memories when you go, but leave no footprint behind.

Take a walk with me. 
I’m not a hiker, actually.  Nor am I a biker, a wanderer, or an adventurist.  You won’t find me out in the woods, unless it’s hugging fast to a curve along the paved road.  I stumble enough through life, despite my destined path, to go taking a header into a cold river in the middle of nowhere.  I will live vicariously through the minds of Cheryl Strayed and Bill Bryson, hikers of two famous trails on opposite ends of our America. 

Even when I was young, the only need I ever had to go far from here was because home was a place I was afraid to be.  In 44 years, I have stayed because like any other dysfunction, home is what I know.  Fear and sadness and anger are familiar rooms to lock myself away in.  The sun is a cloud that darkens my every step, causing me to return until I can feel safe again in the moon’s light.

Safety, like happiness, is a fleeting fall of rain; I know that it exists, enough to keep moving forward in search of it, but the canyons in between are hard to navigate without the proper gear.  Things like strength, courage, and motivation are in short supply.  I’ve been using them instinctively, not keeping track of my inventory, and the problem I’m finding is having no idea where I am on my map.  These resources haven’t only been a part of my own survival, but I’ve been foolish enough to share them along the way. 

Perhaps I’ve given away too much.
Somehow I have fallen down onto a ledge, and I don’t know how to climb back from it.  There is further to fall, which isn’t abating my fear of heights any.  What’s happened is that I let myself be pushed here. I have let people push me further and further until my confidence gave way like sliding rocks.  Now I’m stranded and either too blind to see the hands reaching out to me or delusional enough to believe they exist. 

We’re wandering now, and I’m not supposed to do that.  I’m supposed to stay focused, eye on the mountain peak, and all that crap.  They say to name my emotions, like bread crumbs to leave behind as proof that I made a journey. 
How can I leave no footprint behind me when I need proof that I have lived? 

The better question is who am I proving myself to? 

The nearest star is 4.5 light years away.  That’s 26 trillion miles.  There are more galaxies in the universe than there are grains of sand on the earth.

That’s pretty big.

And we are very small.

 
I feel as though I’ve traveled 26 trillion miles, and have collected many stars along the way like stones in my pocket.  Some have lit the path ahead, many have burned to the touch but I held them tightly anyway.  Silly me.  The thing is, with all of those stars inside of me, I am not so small.  My soul strives to be bigger than that which contains it. 

This isn’t what I set about writing today.  I wanted to exorcise my anger, to let the wind take it from me, but when I began to scribble one word after another, it wasn’t the footprint I wanted to leave behind today.  And I do want to prove to myself that I have lived, because this day will become forgotten like all of the others.  It will remain, however, a lost letter unless I figure out how to rescue myself from this ledge. 
What I think is so intimidating about climbing mountains is that we’re only supposed to find satisfaction when we reach the top, when we stand with arms outstretched to a blue sky and proclaim victory. 

I don’t know why I have to take on every day as if it were a mountain. 
This cliff, too, is like home to me.  It’s what I know.  Today I am tired, but tomorrow perhaps I will take hold of my fear and sadness and anger and I will tie them together with knots of strength, courage and motivation. 

If I let it be known that I was here, then maybe the next person who tumbles onto the same ledge will know they weren’t the only one who fell along the way.

We didn’t even get to Mount Katahdin.
Another mountain, Bill?  How many do you need to see?

 

 

© September 2, 2015

Quotes:  A Walk In the Woods / Bill Bryce

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Lost Stars


 

… but are we all lost stars trying to light up the dark?

It’s like I’m in denial that I’m never going to see him again.  Then it’s a thunderous boom; I’m never going to see him again.  Anthony was a candle in the window to much of my life.  What others avoided seeing, he never ran from.  In fact, he came with his hand reaching outward. 
Always. 
 
Today I have lost one of the greater loves of my life.  Anthony was a light that guided me through the darkness I’ve become so familiar with.  He knows things that no other soul ever has.  In all of that knowledge, there wasn’t an ounce of judgment. 

We met over two decades ago, when I was dating a rabid football fan.  I despise football, but had a bet going just to poke fun at this guy’s amped up rant.  I called in repeatedly to the local radio station asking for the score.  Finally came “I have to know… why don’t you just check the tv?”  I didn’t have one at the time.  When the end came, and the DJ asked why I was so interested for someone who hated the sport, I explained that a dinner was at stake.  His reply; “Girl, if this were a couple of points difference, I’d say you win a Big Mac.  If it were even a ten point spread, he should buy you a dinner at Denny’s.  But with this score, brother oughta be flying you to Milan for dinner with breakfast in Paris!” 

It was a year later that we actually met.  I won a contest to be a DJ for a day.  Anthony was the hosting jock, and I carried my nerves on my sleeve when I walked into the studio.  I didn’t realize it was the same guy until months later.  He gave me a quick tutorial of the mechanics, and then switched on the microphone.  I knew it was my voice, but I never figured out how I managed to speak.  But I did.  A couple of hours in, me still shaking in my heels, someone called in requesting a song from a daughter to her father.  I began to rattle off all the fitting titles I knew and he stared at me, eyes wide.  Twenty years after that night, he said it only confirmed what he saw when I spoke my first words; “You were a natural.  I watched it, and everybody heard it.” 

Anthony encouraged me to follow that dream, and I did.  Like a butterfly who at last believed she had wings, I fell in love with the power of reaching people through music.  Of stirring the same feelings I found in the notes of a song.  It was a quietly turbulent time in my life.  I was the wallpaper that nobody noticed in a full room.  Many midnights I walked from the pizza place I worked at to the station, spent hours at his side or in a production room somewhere writing bad poetry about the lovesickness I was beginning to feel toward this tall, vivacious man as he bounced off of the walls, sometimes literally, making up silly words to songs he played – and he just happened to be married.  He would give me rides home across town in his beat up van but never let on if he knew of my schoolgirl feelings.  He instead gave me wings, and as I flew he migrated away when the station was sold. 

It was sixteen years later that we reconnected.  Anthony was no longer married, but I was.  He had gone into ministry, and I saw the natural fit.  We met, and we reminisced about the industry and then I asked a question that had burning inside of me for half of my life.  “Christians claim there is a peace at the end, that you go into God’s kingdom rejoicing in this Heaven that was promised.  Where was that peace when my mother died?”  Anthony didn’t try to sell me the Bible, he simply looked at me with his kind brown eyes, and took my pale hand in his dark ones, and said “There is no proof.  That’s why it’s called faith.”

He was the only person I’ve ever allowed to talk to me about God.  He accepted that we didn’t share beliefs.  Over egg rolls or pancakes or as he snuck a shrimp from my plate, I often said “You know the Bible is just a work of fiction created by man, right?” just to see the fire in his eyes as he launched into a sermon.  He wasn’t correcting me, he was simply being Anthony. 

I was a believer in Anthony. 

And he was a believer in me.  I was just beginning to find myself as a writer, and again he reached out his hand as I took each step.  He didn’t pull me along, rather he gave me balance.  I trusted him when he said my courage was contagious. 

Then one day Anthony had cancer. 
Everything changed, and I was afraid.  As he began his descent, I began to slip away.  Self defense; by now I should be a martial arts master.  Even in the distance between our visits, I sent random texts of “I love you.  Be strong, but you don’t need to be with me.”  “I will play that card one day.  I love you too.”

It was one night at 3am, when I often sought him out to calm my fears as Roger and the whole rest of the world was asleep, thoughts gone unspoken for so many years fell out between us.  “Now’s a good time for confession.   A girl shouldn’t be left to wonder all of her life.”  “We were good not to kiss and tell.  If you remember correctly, my wife was already thinking I was having an affair with you.”  “You never wanted me…” I remembered the girlish verses I’d scribbled on heart-decorated notepads. 
“That you noticed.”   One month later, he is gone.

We’d never once kissed.  It occurs to me today in his dementia that he’d imagined we had.  I find comfort in that, even if fleeting.  An unrequited love, not so unseen after all but instead a butterfly.  Our friendship had wings.
I don’t know now who I’m going to reach out to in the middle of the night.  That’s the biggest loss.  And the hugs.  The world seems lonelier after just one day without Anthony in it.  I went about my day as any other Wednesday, there’s just one less person to tell about it.  One very important person.

There is no moral to this fable, no lesson to teach.  No feeling thankful that he is out of pain because I’m selfish, and I want him back here on this Earth. 
This is just me.  Incredibly, irreparably sad. 

God, tell us the reason youth is wasted on the young.  It’s hunting season, and the lambs are on the run…
 
 

© Kymberlie Ingalls, July 16th 2014  *  Lyrics:  Lost Stars / Adam Levine

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Read All About It

You’ve got the words to change a nation, but you’re biting your tongue.  If no one ever hears it, how we gonna learn your song?
I wonder if people gave Socrates such shit for his philosophies.  
Someone recently said to me he didn’t understand why anyone would want to blend, to be like everyone else. ‘Sheeple’ was the term Loren used.  I smiled as I pointed out the irony in someone beating his chest as ‘different.’  He sure was blending into the antiestablishment crowd with the trendy term.  Then I tried to explain that for those of us who stand outside of the crowd, it’s not always easy.  Not everyone wants to be the circus freak.  
Not all of us have the choice.
It’s like any other disfigurement; we either hide away from the world or we deal with it, but it’s a lonely life.  He chided me for my “pessimism,” as if it were a soap he could use to scrub his hands clean as he walked away.  He’d wanted instant intimacy – not the kind found between the sheets but the real kind that draws two minds together, because he found me “interesting.”  He couldn’t understand that I need to reach out to others because I’m so tired of the masturbation of my own mind.  
Examination of a life is what makes it worth living.  Otherwise, we walk blindly through with no regard for the days we have lived.  I refuse to leave that legacy behind me.  I love fiercely and trust slowly.  After only a brief effort at a friendship, Loren declared that “it shouldn’t be a challenge, not right from the beginning.  We just have different philosophies of life.  When I like someone, I unguard myself immediately.”  Him, Optimist.  Me, Socrates.  If I’d turned away every challenge I’d ever seen in a person, I would have missed out on some of the most obscenely wondrous experiences.  
I saw this movie today, True Story.  A man is accused of killing his family, and when asked by a reporter if he did it he replied “Sometimes you have to accept the way you look to others to protect what’s more important.  Sometimes the truth isn’t believable.  That doesn’t mean it’s not true.”  People see me as this stubborn walnut that they need to crack, thinking they’ll find something magical inside.  Walnuts are the most complex nut there is.  Look inside one sometime, see how entwined everything is.  
That’s me, the nutty philosopher.    
If Loren needs to see me as uncrackable so that he can move on, I get that.  It doesn’t change who I am at my core, but trying to find the heart of that can wear a girl out.  It’s like the reporter said in return; “I got so wrapped up in trying to tell a great story that I lost sight of my bigger obligation – the truth.”
As I sit in this restaurant with my passion-flavored iced tea, trying to write this meaning of life and eavesdropping on three elderly ladies with their happy hour martinis at the next table over, Irene stopped by to take my plate.
“How’re things?” I asked.
“Things are good!  I feel like I’m ready to take on the world”  Her smile is always bright and fruity, like sweet strawberries against her long, youthful dark hair.  It’s the brown eyes that show her irrepressible spirit. 
“How do you plan to do that?”  
“First, I’ll stop crying.”
“What is making you cry?” 
“My boyfriend and I went through a break up, and I felt like I was being so oppressed, and now I just feel liberated!  I don’t know if that’s the right way to feel or not.”
“It’s right if it’s how you feel.  And I totally get it.  I’m tackling that myself today, actually.”
“Then let’s topple the world together.”
I have thought a lot today about the friendships in my life.  Loren had said “I guess I prefer to keep my world small and simple.  A small crowd of people.”  I never really thought about how big my own universe was until I’d lost so many people in it, but as I look around and see the large crowd still standing, I see my examined life and its rewards. 
As Irene halted at my table again, she eyed my very large, frosty strawberry milkshake that had just arrived. “That looks like the perfect way to tackle the world.  Are you going to take on that whole thing?” she said with a gleam in her smile.  
“I’m going to try.” 
“Do it!  Start with that whipped cream.  And you might want to get to that cherry before it goes rolling off.”
I don’t wake up every morning with the hope for a day full of roses and bluebirds.  I prefer to wait until the sun is settling into its hills to see what the day has brought.  Sometimes it begins with a goodbye, and sometimes it ends with a sweet cherry.  Whatever the in betweens are, they are mine to write down before I forget the flavor of them. 
That is my truth.  My story.  
You’ve got a heart as loud as lions, so why let your voice be tamed?  Put it in all of the papers, they can read all about it, read all about it…
 
 
© April 29, 2015
Lyrics:  Read All About It / Emile Sande