“Turtles atop Mill Mountain,” at Mill Mountain Wildflower Gardens, Roanoke, Virginia
Elmwood Park Gardens, Roanoke, Virginia (07/01/2017)
A young girl steps up onto a diving board. She is wearing a faded pink one-piece that fits three years’ too small. She tugs at the wedgie and takes another step forward. The board shakes. Slow steps, baby steps, keep your eyes down so you do not slip. She feels as though the board is getting narrower and narrower the further out she goes.
Finally, she reaches the end. Her toes wrap over the edge, gripping to keep steady as the board continues to wobble. Her eyes are now fixed on the water. The white and blue bottom tile pattern is distorted through the ever-moving surface. Already, she is thinking of how it will feel at the bottom: the pressure against her ears and hair over her eyes. Fearing the icy plunge, she pauses and cherishes the warmth from the sun that is still kissing her dry backside. Her fluffy white towel is draped over the beach chair assembled nearby: neatly folded and left out by her mother.
She reconsiders, but soon realizes that it would be more frightening for her to walk backwards where she can no longer see. There is no way for her to retreat, no way for her to change her mind.
The only way back to that towel is forward and forward means jumping. Up, then down. The little girl pushes all thoughts out of her head and as a result that hesitation is now gone. Giving it up, she closes her eyes and leaps forward.
Over the years, I developed the belief that it is better to apologize in order to avoid argument rather than invite conflict. Even if a problem has nothing to do with me, I’ll apologize anyways.
I do not like drama. I do not like conflict. Any shakes in my serenity and security immediately have me retreating to “fix, fix, fix” until the problem is no longer of concern. In some situations that call for debate or argument, I chose the easier, less confrontational route. I go to great lengths to convince myself that a problem is my fault when really, it’s not. And following my conversations with many other women of a similar age, I am finding this isn’t uncommon. I back off too easily. I think we back off too easily.
I feel as though professors in the humanities set different expectations for their graduating students than other professors in the more quantitative, analytic fields such as science, math, and business.
The next time I see them, I do not expect them to ask about that first well-paying job or if I’m self-supporting living on my own. I am more prepared to be asked whether I have published a novel, founded a successful non-profit, or led a protest against an oppressive patriarchal force in society.
A few weeks ago I attended a writing conference at Hollins University in Roanoke, VA. It was a day of going back and forth between rooms to juggle topics such as effectively writing in romantic elements, discussing copyright laws, and brainstorming the best methods of editing.
The topic of discussion that stuck with me the most related to the southern gothic genre. What makes a piece southern gothic? What defines a southern gothic work from another work that just includes gothic elements or allusions to the south?
Usually when someone decides to make a fitness goal, their first thoughts are what needs to happen at the gym and what cannot happen in their kitchen. I have found through my personal experience that the biggest changes I needed to make were in the grocery store. This is understandable, considering that is where it all starts.
In order to best keep track of what goes into my mouth, I need to first watch what I let into my shopping basket.
The image on this post is that of the bathing suit I purchased for an upcoming vacation to Myrtle Beach.
Nice, right? You can’t really see the full ordeal while it’s off a model, but it has cut outs on the sides and a low cut for cleavage (a little on the friskier side for my 34D size). It is also somewhat cheeky.
I have decided to dedicate myself to a healthier diet and exercise schedule as a way to prepare for said beach vacation. March forecasts may not predict sweltering temperatures that scream beach days, but I will be getting into that bathing suit either way. I don’t care if it’s raining all week. I don’t care if it’s snowing. Come hell or highwater, I will wear the friggen thing under my clothes.
Long story short, a bunch of academic well-to-do writers told me if I ever wanted a shot at publishing anything, I needed to start a blog.