A Memoir of My Voice

A few years ago, after Shaun was born (or maybe before Shaun was born), I started a blog called Letters to Shaun. It still exists, but I haven’t made a post in such a long time. Because I can never commit to writing projects that span more than a couple of pages. Because I lose sight of the projects. Rarely do I ever outline posts or, for that matter, stories. Everything is on whim. Whatever comes to mind as I clickety-clack on my laptop. As much as I lied to myself then, there was a lot of anger towards Jeanna after our separation. (I can’t call it a divorce since we were never married; calling it a break up seems juvenile.) A lot of this anger and resentment spilled into the letters. As much as I tried to cover it up. As much as I tried to say that the decision was mutual. I still blamed her for the breaking up a family that I longed for. In the long haul, I abandoned the project as I do most projects and continued focusing only on this blog. And even this gets ignored from time to time.

I go weeks without a post. I’m sure there exists a month without an entry. Spur-of-the-moment ideas grab me and I write. Several of these don’t get posted. For instance, I intended the Valentine’s Day entry for the second of February—the day after my realization. Even though the words existed in my head, they never poured out in a manner that I found worthy for a reader’s eyes. I suppose it’s as the saying goes: We are our greatest critics. I just want days where I’m not so hard on myself.

Since middle school, teachers told me I had a gift for coupling words into sentences, into paragraphs. They instructed me to work on my voice. To write the way I speak to others. In college, I honed in on my skill. I made my decision before picking up my college application. My hobbies led me to major in English. I imagined living in a house that doubled as a library—my own personal library. I saw a desk with a computer and a typewriter. (I typed my earliest essays on a typewriter, much to the professors’ surprise and dismay.) I lost myself in books and essays on the craft. And still, nothing hushed the voice that leaned against the back of my mind. “You’re not good enough. This is not good enough.”

Words poured and poured and I hit backspace each time. I yanked the sheet out of the typewriter, balled it up and tossed into the trash can, missing it each time. I spent hours late at night staring at my essays and just thinking I missed something. The ones turned in were shit. Second guessing myself led to rambling pieces which I shamefully turned in.

I started writing short stories. I started a LiveJournal blog. Every day, I wrote. Not caring about the style. Not caring for the run-ons or fragment sentences. Not caring for punctuation (something I’m still terrible at). I dotted my prose, these fragmented thoughts, with ellipses. I plagued each post with vernacular and clichés (No one instructed me to avoid them, yet).

I started reading other people’s blogs. I read online stories. Poorly crafted pieces that stretched for a few pages or for volumes. I tried writing poems, working on the scrawled pieces from my adolescence. But each time, I returned to prose. I learned sentence structure. What to avoid. How to punctuate for effect, and not for grammatical purposes. And still. The longer pieces eluded me.

Abby, a friend of mine, noted my habit of jumping from one blog to another. She called me the gypsy blogger, never staying with a blog host for more than a couple of months. I married WordPress while having a love affair with Blogger. (I cheated on LiveJournal with MySpace, who was a passing fancy.) Tumblr came later, though it didn’t please me the way the others had. I mended my relationship with WordPress, later buying a URL to signify my commitment to the blog host site.

And still, the style and purpose of this blog has changed violently over the years while remaining the same. I tried other projects. A Book Hunter’s Journal ended when I made this my full-time blog. I ended letters to Shaun when I saw what it did to me. How unhealthy I became remembering moments of happiness with Jeanna. There have been a slew of porn blogs. None of which caught on. There was one on Tumblr, Fuck Yeah Amateurs. I gave that up after receiving several complaints. Complaints made with good reason. I passed the blog along to another group deviants and made my peace with the disgruntled girls by purging every post and starting from zero. (Maybe there’s a post in this, but this is not the time or place for it.)

And here I sit, staring at my screen and narrating my thoughts. Remembering my history. Trying to recall my junior high self who brimmed with potential. Trying not to have the image of emptying a can of Coke into a glass and watching the fizz rise. Staring as it overflows the cup before it bubbles down until you forgot it was there in the first place.

Because that’s not the life I want to lead. Where potential just bubbles down and dissolves with the rest of me. It’s a frightening thought.

Posts By Shaun

Shaun vs. the New Bed

So it’s been a long time since Dad let me borrow his computer and type my own post. Well, let’s face it. I’m not technically allowed to type my own posts because in everyone’s mind I’m just this almost-three-year-old ball of awesome. Either way, there a few things that I want to say before typing this post:

  1. Taylor Swift just needs to stop. Listen, girl. I get it. You’re trying to build an empire. Who isn’t these day? But you’re exploding to what my Dad calls Donald Trump/Paris Hilton proportions. And that doesn’t sound like a good thing as Dad considers them as a media whore and a failed politician with a cheap toupee. “This sick beat” has been around longer than I have been alive, Dad tells me. And I’m older than your single I love forcing Dad to dance to with me. So just stop. Also, this whole not streaming your music? That needs to stop, too. Dad is never going to buy me your CD and my tablet doesn’t have Internet connection outside the house. How am I going to listen to you now, girl? Stop sticking it to your fans and get with the program, already. Even this almost-three-year-old knows most of your money comes from merchandise and appearances.
  2. While we’re on the subject of streaming music. Google Play Music All Access (or whatever it’s called) needs a desk top app that we can use on Dad’s laptop. Do you all not know how annoying it is to switch back and forth on tabs to skip a song we don’t like? It’s knackering. It almost makes us want to drop your service and get on Spotify or Pandora One. And neither of those music services compete with yours. So stop being a Tay Swift and give us a desktop app.

Moving on.

I spent Valentine’s with Dad. We did the usual Dad things. We went to Barnes and Noble where he bought me a chocolate milk. I played with the Legos while Dad picked up a couple of books for me. Then we went to Target where Dad rushed away in search for something. When the rest of us caught up with him, he was standing beside something. A box. A largeish box. “This is for you,” he told me as I was taken out of the shopping cart and the box was placed in. We went home after where Dad and grandma spent a large amount of time putting it together. When it was all done, Dad called me into the room.

“Oh wow,” I said as I climbed onto my very own bed. It’s nice having a bed to lie in while I play on the tablet. Only Dad wanted me to sleep on it, too! “What do you mean?!” I protested. “This is my bed,” I told him, patting on the large bed we spent every weekend on. But I’m not one to pass up a new opportunity. So I lay back in my own bed and slept the whole night through without so much as a peep. It’s not as spacious as the bigger bed, but at least I’m not disturbed by Dad’s snoring.

He’s talked about giving me a room of my own, too. But I don’t think either of us are ready for that just yet. We’ll see, though. Oh well, I’m out. Until next time, stay frosty… Yeah. I don’t have a nifty sign off like Dad does.


The Subtle Art of Getting Over It

February started as any other month would. Shaun decided to leave me with just enough room on the bed to fit my profile. I started my usual morning routine. I picked up a book. I read. When Shaun woke up, we played, danced, and ate. He realized that his time was better spent with his cousins, so he abandoned me to my reading while they played in the living room. I flipped through several issues of Batman Eternal, Nailbiter, and a few other titles that haven’t been picked up in months. Jeanna sent me a text asking me to hold on to Shaun for a little while longer and drop him off sometime during the evening. I buried my face in Tess Gerritsen’s Die Again. I drank Kool-Aid in my mom’s room as some banal tween sitcom on Nick played as white noise. I sent texts to Jenny. I replied to texts from coworkers and friends. I scrolled through Tumblr. And as I remember what a perfect month this would be (a month of four even weeks), I realized that it was the first of February. It took me most of the day for it to dawn on me what significance the day once held. Had we been together, it would have marked the twelfth anniversary with Jeanna.

The past two years, I spent the day in a catatonic state. I still mourned the loss of the relationship. There were moments during this three-year road where I thought I healed. I wrote proclamations about my strength. Mistook infatuations for romance. Nothing, however, lasted.

And I don’t think getting here would have been possible without the help of someone like Jenny. And while the strength of letting go came from within, she has been my guide through it all. And it happened the last night she was in Edinburg. That night at the park. Where she and Canaan crawled through the tube at the playground. And I stood at the opposite end. Crawling through tubes isn’t my bag. Especially when wet mulch lines the floor. Claustrophobic and a germaphobe, it didn’t matter. I wanted to stand beside them. Just wanted to hold her hand. I knew what this relationship would entail. I knew the hardships that would follow. And none of it mattered. Not the years spent and lost with Jeanna. Not Selina. Not anything that plagued my mind for all those years past. At that moment, I just wanted to build something with the girl on the other side of the tube.

So on first of the month, after I realized the significance it once held, I smirked into my phone. I opened my book and continued reading after sending a text to Jenny.