Tuesday, March 1, 2011

My Space

I sit on the soft carpet and play with the light colors in the fringe. I’m not supposed to, but I like to pull single threads up and see what color I get. Make a little pile of carpety threads.

This is my space. My world. Mine alone. Earlier, I thought I had dance class but I guess Miss Sewell is sick or something. Weird. Feels like she’d never get sick. But that’s okay. For once I don’t have to be anywhere. I can just play. Right here. All by myself. I’m not supposed to close the door but I did. So I can be alone. I like alone.

It’s quiet in here. Just the sounds of me.

No sounds from the bright curtains handmade when I was a baby, made to look like the walls of a circus tent. Bright red and yellow and green.

No sounds from the rough brick walls painted pink. No sounds from the collectibles on the high shelves. The ceramic ballerinas and music boxes.

No sounds from my bed, piled with Cabbage Patch Dolls and stuffed animals being guarded by Pink Baby.

No sounds from my Barbie house. It’s really a shelf that my Aunt Karen wallpapered and put furniture in. But it’s the coolest Barbie house of my friends. They all have Barbie’s Dream Home, but my house is 4 stories high.

No sounds from the shelf with my plastic baskets of toys.

No sounds from my basket of ribbons or the animals painted on my mirror.

No sounds from my pink leggings or my sweatshirt with ballet shoes on it.

Just the sounds of me. My breath. The swish of my ponytail.

I spread out in the middle of the floor and set up my She-Ra and He-Man dolls through the carpet, pretending it’s grass. Cootie Bugs surround them eager to play too. I pull out my Barbie car, a light blue ’57 Chevy Convertible I’d begged Santa for for Christmas. It’s really for Barbies but I think She-Ra wants to drive. Christmas Kermit and Lamby come too.

I get up to pull down the Little People house when my mom pokes her head in my room. She looks at all my toys everywhere. Looks at me like I must be crazy.

“Clean it up.”

*Humph*

I pick up each toy and place it in its right basket. I have lots of toys. My relatives call me spoiled. It’s just my mom likes to buy stuff. So I have lots of toys. Soon they’re all in their right baskets, colorfully separated and organized on the shelf. Everything is where it goes.

I pick a book, The Nutcracker, and sit on the floor to read, squishing the carpet between my bare toes. I love this book because of the pretty illustrations (illustrations is one of my favorite words) but the story is good too. I want to be Clara one day in the ballet. But Clara in the book is just a doll.

My mom comes back in. Surveys the room with a keen eye. Making sure it’s perfect.

It’s not.

Christmas Kermit’s santa hat must have fallen off his head. It sits on the floor, bright red, like blood staining the light floor. In a moment I know.

I stop thinking. Stop feeling. Stop making noise in case that will make it all over.

It gets very loud. She’s loud. The room is loud. She rages through my room, pulls down the toy shelf, the baskets flying everywhere, toys everywhere.  She grabs Christmas Kermit’s santa hat and stuffs it in my mouth, holds my nose closed. For too long I can’t breath.

I don’t know when she lets go. I cough. Cry. Cough. Shiver. Cough. Tears soak my sweatshirt with the ballet shoes on it. Wet ballet shoes. Shivering.

“Clean it up.”

It’s not really my space. Not really.


This was a post for The Red Dress Club's memoir prompt: A Room of Your Own. Think of a room from your past.  It can be any type of room at all. Take a mental picture of that room. What happened there?  What is it like?  What is the atmosphere there?  What are the smells, the sounds, the sights?  How does it feel? Now reveal that snapshot to your reader.

This was really difficult to write, but once it got going, I couldn't stop it. Thanks so much for reading. 

42 comments mean you love me:

Shnerfle said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Oh sweetheart, that was so brave and so raw and so powerful and so wonderful and I am so proud of you. xoxo

Lemons Don't Make Lemonade said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

this was wonderful.

It made me really emotional.

Cristina said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

oh, so intense! I felt like I was right there, wanting the quiet and not knowing until the end why.

Megan (Best of Fates) said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I don't even know what to say.

Perfectly written.

Wombat Central said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Just had to comment to offer a hug to that little you. Well written.

Anonymous said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Wow, just wow. Incredibly powerful and disturbing.

Miranda said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I wish I knew if it was okay to curse here.

My first reaction was "HOLY SH..."

That? Was amazing. Painful, but wow. amazing.

Nichole said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Oh, Andy.
I don't know where to begin to tell you what I"m thinking.

Your voice in this piece is impeccable. I love that you parenthetically tell us that you love the word "illustrations." Perfect touch.

You set the scene beautifully, establishing the calm and peacefulness.

Then, you hint at trouble when your mom peeks in...
Then for a brief moment, we fall back into the calm with you and your book, only to be pulled fiercely into her fury.

No child should feel what you felt.
We should all have a space that is just ours.
We should all feel safe and protected.
But you know that.
Much love to you. So much love.

Cheryl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Wow. My stomach is in knots.

I am so sad you didn't have a safe place. I am so sad for the child you.

"Wet ballet shoes. Shivering."

Beautifully written.

C.Mom said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Beautiful....so sorry you had to go through this. Thank you for sharing with us.

Skye said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

This really drew me in... I felt like I was right there with you in your room. I wish I could go back in time and comfort you as a little girl.

Elena @NaynaDub said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Such an intense post. Beautifully written on something so awful you had to endure.

Schwandy (Stephanie) said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

How brave of you to open up about an experience like this. No child should have to grow up like that and carry that type of pain around.
Thank you for sharing.

lex [lexinthecity] said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Wow Andy, this was incredible. The child in me was sitting right there beside you the whole time.
I can't tell you how powerful your words are, I only hope that writing them out offered you some relief, some peace, something.

You are such an amazing person, and such a beautiful writer.

andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Lori- thank you so much, honey! <3 xoxo

Lemons- thanks so much!

Christina- thanks! that's a great compliment. :)

Megan- thank you! I know. what can you say after that? <3 to you.

Wombat- hugs back! thank you!

Anon- thank you! that's exactly what I was going for.

Nichole- oh thank you so much, love! xoxo

Cheryl- thank you! thank you!

C.Mom- thank you!

Skye- your words comfort that little girl now. thanks!

Elena- thank you for reading!

Stephanie- thanks so much for reading!

lex- oh thank you! writing does offer relief. writing and therapy. :) love to you!

Alex@LateEnough said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

My heart hurts. It all seems so unfair because it is unfair. No one deserve what you went through. Even carrying the memories must be so heavy at times.

Every day I think: Thank God I'm a grown-up now.

I imagine you do, too.

TheTraveler said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

A true artist is one who can take the most vile of personal experiences, and turn them into compelling, engaging works, that gracefully prompt the reader/spectator to safely experience the artist's journey.

You my friend, are a true artist.

jerrod said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

You simply amaze me with your words. This one, this heartbreaking one, was simply beautiful. The weight and substance of it...so impressive.

Amazing my friend.

Tracy said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Having experienced a similar yearning for less loud growing up, I sensed where this post was going and wished in vain that it didn't have to go there. Very evocative writing. I'm so sorry that the room wasn't your own.

Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Yuliya said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I am so sorry. I hope writing this is a at least cathartic in some way. *hugs*

Menzies said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I can talk about this in two ways.

One, I can talk about it as a philologist and say that on its literary merits this is an amazing work. The imagery tells us everything you experience, in each of your senses; the rapid cuts between sentences and phrases suggest the horror and suddenness of each of the changes in the scene.

Or two, I can talk about it as someone who knows you and say that something like this - a piece of writing where you are basically laying open your own memories for a fairly indscriminate audience to see - has its own beauty purely because it is such a raw, pulsating quality to it: beneath each word beats your heart.

Really, though, I think the two are inextricably linked - and since the fact that it produced such a splendid text does not erase the fact that it happened in the first place, and for that I am sorry, so very sorry.

*hug*

The mad woman behind the blog said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Yes, amazing and so well written and so incredibly sad.
Very brave of you to share, Thank you.

andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Miranda- so sorry for missing your comment! thank you and of course you can curse on here. I have a mouth like a sailor on death row.

Alex- yes that's exactly it. exactly. <3

Z- oh thank you! coming from you, that is a great compliment. <3

jerrod- thanks so much! means a lot. co

Yuliya- thanks, hon. it was. writing always is. writing and therapy! I'm whole now. I am.

Mario- wonderfully put. I appreciate your wonderful feedback and your friendship. thank you so much! xoxo

mad woman- thank you and thanks for reading!

amygrew said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

What an overwhelming piece! I was not expecting the end. Good writing.

@BigFraidyCat (erin) said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

i did cry. the strength to recall and write it NOW is amazing.

TJ said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Holy shit, Andy. This was so beyond powerful. I am in awe of you right now.

Ali said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Really powerful. I could wax eloquent, as so many of your readers have, about the excellent prose here. But I won't, because it's been done already. A more productive use of my time would be building a time machine so I could round house your mum in the back of the head at this very moment.

Jennifer said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

This was a great piece, and even though it was hard for you to write what came out was so so good. What I thought was brilliant was how swiftly it turned bad, almost without warning, snuck in, which is an amazing reality to capture.

Sarah P said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Excuse me for this.

Your mother is a cunt.

Nush said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Hon, what can I say... you are fab and write kick-ass posts. Big hugs!

Oh...and your blog came into my mind when putting this together:
http://ivyblaise.wordpress.com/2011/03/02/an-award-damn-nice/

Dafeenah said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Wow. The emotion. I so applaud your courage for writing this.

andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

amy- thanks! :)

erin- here's a tissue. thanks so much!

TJ- from your lips. thanks! seriously. xo

Ali- let me know when you make said time machine. I would tell 18 year old me to cut her out instead of waiting until I was 27. :)

Jennifer- thank you! sometimes the hardest things to write are the ones that write themselves.

Sarah P- well put. I think so too. haven't spoken to her in years.

Nush- I love ya! and ooh can't wait to go seeeeee

Dafeenah- oh thank you!

Mel said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I am in awe of you, your courage to write about 'your space'. I'm proud to call you my friend. Much love and kindness, Miss Andy. *hugs*

PS. I would like to borrow that time machine Ali mentioned. :)

Mandyland said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

First, I have to tell you that this post? It was so well written. There was foreshadowing, there were tiny details that jumped out. The blood red hat, the rage of your mother, the unthinkable punishment. I just...I don't know what to say.

It makes my heart hurt for the child you.

Victoria KP said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Oh my God. That was unreal--or rather it was SO real that I wish it wasn't. Does that make sense? I was so happy with the little girl having time to play and to get a day off from dance class. And then the end... heart break. Thank you for sharing.

From Tracie said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

This piece is so beautifully written, and also so devastating.

Such a sweet little girl, playing, reading, being everything a child is...and then your mom coming in and destroying that moment, and a little piece of you. My heart breaks.

andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Mel- oh you're so sweet. thank you!

Mandyland- thanks for the wonderful feedback. don't worry. my heart doesn't hurt as much anymore. therapy. :)

Victoria- I do know what you mean. I've often felt many of my memories are quite surreal. thank you for reading!

Tracie- thank you so much. still, I'm a very strong adult. there is always hope. thanks!

The Twin Spin said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Oh. My. God. I went from feeling your young, childish spirit to gripping my stomach and holding back tears. My stomach is still in knots. This was so, so good. Amazing. Probably the one that will haunt me the most. Ohmigod.

Sorry, that was a stream of consciousness comment. Very well done.

Heather said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

At first I thought "Oh, cute, a sweet little memory! :) " But then, all of a sudden "Holly f*cking sh*t!!! NO!"

andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Twin- thanks for your stream of consciousness comment. :) sorry for the haunting.

Heather- yup. that's how it felt to me too.

Satan said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

this is bad to even read.
i'm sorry, hon, that this ever happened to you.
but you evoked the moment absolutely brilliantly.

andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

oh thank you so much, sweetie! <3 to you!

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