August Scrawls

Writing Prompt: August Scrawls Day 11

My brain is spinning
Calculating the angles
Avoiding changes

Evading the work
To grow spiritually
Requires great effort

Difficult changes
Mental and emotional
Feed spiritual

Fill and grow the soul
Awakened from dormancy
I’m becoming me

Writing Prompts: August Scrawls Days 9 & 10

I sit here, authentically inauthentic, questioning my automatic resistance to the process of becoming my truest self.

I think it’s called, “being human.”

August Scrawls:

Day 9 – authentic

Day 10 – automatic

Writing Prompts: Skylark Challenge & August Scrawls

I struggled with yesterday’s August scrawls word. So, I decided to try my hand at this week’s Skylark Challenge. That wasn’t any easier. Please, be gentle in your critiques.


“Get OFF of me!” Harlow angrily shook off the hands of her captors. “I’m coming, I’m coming.” With her hands cuffed behind her back, the officer firmly placed his hand on the crown of her head, in order to protect her from hitting her head as she was being placed in the car. The car pulled away from the curb on its way back to The East Portland Precinct.

Detective Ameen walked up, rummaging through Harlow’s knapsack. He pulled out a small, labelless jar, containing a deep purple fluid. Unscrewing the lid, he sniffed. The color drained from his face, leaving it pale from the acrid scent, wafting from the jar.

“This smells like poison! What is it?” He demande in a strained voice, still reacting to the sharp, pungent smell of the liquid, as he forcefully placed it on the table, just out of her reach.

“Be CAREFUL with that!” she commanded. “I don’t want the jar shattered. It’s Gouache paint and expensive to replace.”

“You’re in no position to tell me what to do,” Detective Ameen reminded. “Now, what else do we have here?” He wondered aloud as he continued to rifle through her bag. He pulled out a heavy paper notebook with sketches and paintings. There were also some posters with a Guy Fawkes silhouette, the emblem of Anonymous.

“So, we have an antisocial anarchist on our hands here,” Ameen erroneously concluded.

With an angrily defensive tone in her voice, Harlow replied, “I’m not antisocial. I’m not mentally ill! I am anti-government. It’s all corrupt. That’s just my opinion. I haven’t actually broken the law. Those posters were commissioned…anonymously.”

“Haven’t broken the law? Are you serious? You were picked up because you matched the description we received about someone who vandalized a new construction site with graffiti,” Ameen contemptuously explained. “Then, lo and behold, here you come with tagging supplies in your backpack.”

“Are you KIDDING me!?!? You’re kidding me, right?” NONE of the ART supplies in my bag are used for street art. Your forensics people should be able to tell you that, just by looking. Besides, do you see any spray cans or evidence of spray paint?” She paused for a breath and was confronted with his silence. “I didn’t think so. Now, let me go or charge me. If you charge me, let me make my phone call and get me my juvie public defender, because, I’m not saying another word.”

Quietly, Ameen turned and left the room, bag in hand. Calling over the officer who had brought her in, he handed the bag over, with instructions to log the bag and all its contents into evidence.

He entered the room behind the one way glass, with a grin.

“What are you grinning about?” his partner inquired.

“I’m grinning because this is a colossal waste of time…and we all know it, even her. I’m grinning because she’s smart, spunky, AND very talented. I’m grinning because I’m going to make sure she chooses the right path.”

At that moment, an Attorney from the the Youth, Rights, & Justice office arrived. “Hello. I’m Genice Abrams. I’m here on behalf of Harlow Belgarde. May I please see her?”

“Wait. How did you know she was here?” Ameen incredulously asked.

“My office got a call from the group home she resides at. Apparently, she had been waiting outside the store for her cohort. The store has a policy against bags and backpacks being brought in. Her friend saw her being put in a squad car and rushed to the home and tell the house mother.”

“I see. So, her friend can vouch for her and verify her location just before she was picked up?”

“Absolutely! He’s out there, giving his statement, now.”

“Ok. This way.” Ameen escorted Genice to the interrogation room, trying not to notice how attractive she was. Opening the door, he allowed Genice to enter the room first.

“Who are you?” Harlow inquired, suspicion evident in her voice.

“Hello, Harlow. I’m Genice Abrams from the Youth Rights & Justice Attorneys office. We’re going to get you out of here and on your way, in no time.”

“Huh,” Harlow huffed with skepticism, “I’ll believe that when I see it. Hey! I also want my bag and art supplies back.”

“All in good time. I promise.” Genice turned, looking expectantly at Detective Ameen. Caught staring, his face flushed a little darkly. “Ahem. Right this way.”

The three of them filed out of the room and went through the process of getting Harlow released and her possessions returned.

“Hey. Kid.” Ameen called Harlow over. “I want you to know I think you’re very talented. I have a friend in the art community, I want to introduce you to. Here’s my card. Call me tomorrow and we’ll set it up.”

He turned to Genice, “Please take my card, if you need to follow up or have any questions.”

“Oh. I will.”

She turned, placed her hand on Harlow’s shoulder and walked out.

Ameen wondered if he’d ever see either of them again.


Skylark Challenge 151: Poison, Scent, Fluid, Shattered, Pale
August Scrawls Day 8: antisocial

Writing Prompt: August Scrawls Day 5

Faith Exploration

The shopkeeper looked up from the book she’d been perusing, The Christian Witch’s Handbook: Solitary Practitioner’s Edition by H. Fuller Hutchinson. It was a familiar sight she beheld: A younger woman, perhaps in her late 20’s or early 30’s, with a furtive demeanor and brightly curious eyes.

Having decades of experience, she innately understood that the young woman wanted the shopkeeper to be aware of her presence, but didn’t want direct attention.

“Welcome. Feel free to explore. I’ll be here if you have any questions.”

The young woman flashed an uncomfortable smile of acknowledgement. Then meandered down a wall aisle of books the shopkeeper knew to be for the curious and those seeking to learn about the various paths and practices. This aisle also contained all the basic ritual items one would need or want if they were just starting out.

She observed the young woman thumb through a couple of books, then put them back. Next she looked at the tools for ritual and practice. Her confusion was clear as she picked up both a dual edged dagger and a single edged knife seemingly more suited to using in the kitchen. She grabbed one of each and approached the counter where the shopkeeper stood.

“Will you help me understand the difference between these two knives?” She pleaded, overwhelm evident on her face and in her voice, as she carefully rested both blades on the counter.

“Certainly dear, I’m quite pleased to do so. The smaller blade has sharp a edge on each side and ends in a sharp point. The handle is has a hand guard between the handle, called a hilt, and the blade. It’s commonly known as a dagger. It is always used as a ceremonial or ritual tool and never actually cuts anything physical, it is strictly used for ritual. It is called an athame.

The second one here is a bolline. It’s also ceremonial, however, it’s also more of a practical tool, much like a kitchen knife. Notice the single edge blade and lack of a hilt.

Do you have any other questions?” the shopkeeper inquired.

The young woman tentatively replied, “Well, you see, I’m a Christian and even though I know church tradition considers witchcraft and paganism sins and heresy, I’ve come to believe some of the practices actually honor and serve God’s purpose of loving the world.”

Suddenly the shopkeeper understood there had been a divine and mystical reason for her to have chosen the book she’d been perusing just before the young woman came in.

“You know,” she began to explain, “There are Christian Witches. Here, perhaps this book can help you on your path.”

“Thank you sooo much,” the young woman exclaimed. “I was so confused and kind of scared when I came in today. You have been so kind and helpful. I’ll take the book and wait to decide which blade I’ll need. How much do I owe you?”

“I am always happy to help. Let me know how else I can help once you’ve read the book. That will be $15.”

As she placed the book in a bag, she grabbed her business card, inserted it in the front cover. Then handed it to the young woman, who left the shop with a more confident and purposeful demeanor than she had entered with.

The shopkeeper smiled to herself, mentally saying a prayer of gratitude for the encounter and that the young woman finds the path for her.

Writing Prompt: August Scrawls Day 4

You captured my attention.
You stopped my heart.
You put my mind under arrest.
You consumed my emotions.

Then, you walked away, leaving the cage open.

Still, I remain your prisoner.

August Scrawls Day 4 Word: Arrest

Crazy

You’re not crazy. You’re pain is not a pathology. Your pain makes sense…You’re a human being with unmet needs.
Now This Op-Ed video about depression

Crazy.

“She’s just crazy. I’m done.”

“That’s just crazy talk.”

“How crazy is that?”

“What are you, crazy?”

Crazy.

How often do we throw that word around? We use it as a throwaway label for people and situations we don’t have the time, energy, or inclination to try and understand. It’s mostly a word which people who consider themselves as “normal” use to explain away and dismiss the abnormal.

Guess what? It’s ableism.

What is Ableism? According to The Urban Dictionary, “Ableism is the discrimination or prejudice against people who have disabilities. Ableism can take the form of ideas and assumptions, stereotypes, attitudes and practices, physical barriers in the environment, or larger scale oppression. It is oftentimes unintentional and most people are completely unaware of the impact of their words or actions.”

This definition isn’t only about physical disabilities, it also counts for those experiencing mental health issues due to atypical brain structure and neurochemistry.

Bipolar Disorder
Borderline Personality Disorder
PTSD
Anxiety disorders
Addiction
Compulsive Behavior disorders
ADHD
Asperger’s
Autism Spectrum Disorder (high functioning)

These are but a few examples of things which people with non-neurotypical brains and brain chemistry experience.

Crazy

It is a word which holds a strong stigma. The thought of being “crazy” often causes people not to seek help for symptoms and behaviors which make them feel mentally and emotionally out of control. They don’t want to be labeled as “crazy.” WE don’t want to be labeled and dismissed as being “crazy.” We don’t want to be treated as defective or dismissed because having atypical brains makes us “less than.”

I say “WE” because I have a Bipolar brain which has been affected by ongoing and varied trauma experiences. Four and a half years ago, I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, Type 2, and PTSD. Around the same time, my youngest child was educationally identified as having “High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder.” Recently she received the official diagnosis of Autism AND ADHD.

These things cause us to think, react, and act differently than those who have neurotypical brains. We aren’t “crazy,” we aren’t disabled. We are neurodiverse and differently abled.

The thing about the word, “crazy” is that it’s such an inherent part of our American vernacular that even those of us who have been affected and marginalized by the term frequently use it ourselves.

I’m not going to “go off the deep end” (another phrase often used instead of “crazy”) and call out everyone, every time I hear the word used. However, I will start with myself and maybe those closest to me. I haven’t figured out what to say instead, but, I’m working on it. I’ll keep you posted.

Maybe you’ll think about it the next time you hear or use the word.

In case you’re wondering, the August Scrawls Day 3 word is “atypical.”