Welcome to my online portfolio!

I'm a writer living in St. Petersburg, Florida. I was raised in rural Maryland, just north of Baltimore City.

Here you'll find short stories, sample articles, and publication links.

I'm also found on: Pexels, a free stock photo sharing site, Redbubble, an indie artist hub, and YouTube, the largest internet video sharing website.

Sunday, June 30, 2024

New Short True Story -- Thanksgiving Photo

 Being July in t-minus 1.5 hours, I thought it would be the most perfect time to write a story about Thanksgiving, the most popular autumn holiday in the United States. 


Just kidding. We all know that's Halloween.

No, actually, I haven't written a story about my mother / my upbringing in quite a while, as I'm trying to get away from the whole "my parents abused me Waah waaah waah" mindset and look at things from a more balanced point of view. If I drag my mother's name and reputation through the mud, I'm no better than her, except for the fact that my stories are real and her stories are only real to her, insider her head, to help her push a narrative that constantly reaffirms her status as victim. 


Remember, the only way to lie effectively is to wholeheartedly believe the lies you're making up as you make them. 

That being said, I still need to get over some of the right BS I went through as a child. If I end up with horrendous dementia later in life, point to the chronic stress of my childhood as the cause. This next story is written to the best of my poor memory and if I find the embarrassing photo from my teenage years, I'll post it. I don't think words can do it justice, but I did my best...


Thanksgiving Photo

There’s a photograph of me that used to sit in some album from Thanksgiving in the late 1990s. The photo is a joke, as I stand at the stove in the small kitchen, holding a turkey baster over a plastic package of deli-wrapped lunchmeat as it sat unassuming in a cake pan. I wore my long-sleeved cotton theatre tee-shirt and had very short, thick brown hair. My skin was pale and my edges were rounded. I didn’t look like a girl; I didn’t look like anything really.


It's a bad photo. I wish I could look back at my teenage days and say: “Wow, I was so young and pretty!” No, no, nope, at the time, I was blundering through my days as a misshapen glob.


At the time, I found my mother complicated. It was only the two of us. I had quit going to my father’s house and playing family with his second go-around by the time the year’s Thanksgiving rolled around. I had enough of being the butt of all of their jokes, and the other incidents weren’t yet ones I could cope with on a conscious level. Besides, being carted off to my father’s second wife’s, moderately populated, extended family to some unknown-to-me location in the state every-other holiday wasn’t really my definition of fun or comfortable. No one knew my name, who I was, or why I was there. My father just stuck me in a room with other children under 18 with no introduction and told me to figure it out. Long story short, out of the twenty-or-so times this happened, I never did.


My mother’s family lived in Florida and we were over a thousand miles away from them. She told me stories about these distant relatives, about who they were and what they did. I had a hard time keeping the branches of the tree straight, as I had few faces in my memory to match with the many names. She grew up with these people, but now that entire community was only a piece of the past.


My father’s mother, my grandmother, lived on the property next door, about a mile walk from our front door. The last time I saw her was probably a year before, where she came to a show we were putting on at the high school. I recognized her instantly and she didn’t know what to do. She looked at me blankly, knowing I was her granddaughter, but seemingly annoyed that she had been caught in the same school lobby as me. Instead of doing what she probably wanted me to do, take her ticket, pretend I didn’t know her, and cry about it later, I took the opposite approach. A loud and bubbly “hello!” escaped my mouth and I gave her a hug that wasn’t returned. She wore the same perfume she had when she watched me after elementary school or during the summer. Then, in that moment, I said something excitedly to the tune of: “it’s nice to see you!” with all the genuine feeling of a Magic 8 Ball.


I didn’t really care to see her at that moment; however, pulling her into a hug and spouting some happy words seemed like the right thing to do at the time. It must have looked crazy to any outsider, seeing a grandmother not have any nice words or loving actions displayed to their granddaughter. I imagine any onlooker wondering what awful thing I did to make her hate me so much.  


Or maybe my family was just known as a mean family; I could see as much.


Being Thanksgiving and with no family to speak of, there was no way I could ask my mother to cook us a turkey, though she had offered, also knowing it wouldn’t make any sense to do so. I told her that the bare minimum was fine, sandwiches were more than I felt I deserved. She would have agreed, though with context added.


I thought the photo would be funny, a comical moment captioned: “Haha lunchmeat,” and I’m sure my mother felt the same. I had no idea how sad it would look all these years later.


As for my mother, she was very stressed out at the time and I, too, was a complete basket case. We’re a lot alike, both incredibly dorky, and we both think we’re so cool and so smart. However, some of our differences could hold oceans between them. 


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About Me

               My biggest inspiration for writing is David Sedaris. I listened to his 2004 essay collection: “Dress Your Family in Corduroy ...