You

Dad used to have us hold fence post while he drove them in the ground…it hurt like hell and if we let go he would get so frustrated. This may or may not sound bad, I don’t ask myself those questions… between testing spark plugs physically, and digging up grease traps and septic tanks and plumbing the house, all while you’re maybe 10 maybe 12?
Being told not to tell people
“We live in the basement.” (An unfinished basement that dad never built a house with)
And “we got these shoes from the dump.” (A roadside dump where magically, books and shoes or jackets would appear)

Things blur together…
He was good at dreams but terrible, terrible at execution…everything took two years and a summer…it didn’t matter what it was.

My favorite was selling produce
I got to go to the farmers markets
I got to pick out items
I remember when they were still hopping and you could get hamburgers
And food…
Every day I would set up the produce stand on the side of the road at 6am

People would stop and ask me about school or want their kids to ask me why I did it…
I would just use some prepared statement about bread on the table…

My point being
Whatever was right and wrong with my father,
I learned
I’ve always learned
I remember our house eaten by termites
I remember going to every church on the mountain and accidentally going to a snake handling church and watching his face catch up to what all that entailed…
I recall conversations that were twisted…

You learn from bad situations and bad Mgr’s and bad business and unfortunate Outcomes ….

You learn what you don’t want
You learn what you don’t want to be
That’s largely half the battle tho
Move to what you want
Say no to what you don’t

You learn how to plan ahead
Rather than break when things fall apart

I still struggle
But I’m trying

I’ve worked every day that I can remember for as long as I can remember
It’s the only thing I know
It is incredibly hard for me not to work

Now, there’s a growing strand of people
That can’t work more than 5 hours at most

In what world do we not have to work everyday

Even at marriage
Even at life
It’s work
It’s all work

It all moves forward
I’ve been terrified most of my life
Whether it was being on the side of the road during tornadoes
Or driving paper routes during tornadoes

Managing 87 employees
Firing people
Faking it

We talk a lot about how religion “holds the south back.”
Anything can hold you back
That’s just life…
My poetry and art could hold me back
My moods
My work ethic
You have to have balance

17 year old men stormed beaches
Fought wars
Died

The only thing I know
Is that life must be faced
I have to face it
I’ve been terrified most of my life
And everything I’ve ever done I’ve done before I was ready

And I learned it on the ground
I messed up a lot
But I’m still here
I’m right here
And my life
Goes forwards
Face your life
Its pain
Its joy
Its quiet

You don’t get a redo
We are here until we are not
This isn’t a dress rehearsal
This is it
You’re not waiting for a big goal
Your life is largely
The small insignificant habits
That you think are getting you to the large goal

We change
As we grow and live and that’s ok

Let yourself live
And keep going
Keep going

Things hurt
I had to figure out what I could live with
I knew my father had poor ideas about women and marriage and god
He was terrified
So I just sat with him
We talked about work
We talked about the Atlanta braves
Listening to the ball games on the radio
And when he died I dealt with it

I still have things pop up and I have to look at it again
Such is this essay

You are the author of your life
You decide
You
You can decide
Always

Decide
And
Move forward

-E

One thought on “You

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