Tuesday, September 18, 2018

How I Became a Vengeful, Psycho Killer

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Dava never expected to find herself staring down the wrong end of a revolver in the prologue (or is it chapter one?) of a heart-pounding psychological thriller. But now that she has, there’s just enough time for an obligatory flashback to reflect on just how she got here before the gun goes off.

How I Became a Vengeful, Psycho Killer is a suspenseful, sexy, self-aware thriller that knows the rules and plays by them all; with a surprise ending even the genre archetypes who populate this story don’t see coming. Sex, secrets, stalking, obsession, jealousy, mystery, and murder all converge on the life of 18-year-old Dava and everyone’s a suspect. Her not-so-loyal family, her so-called friends, her dangerously-jealous boyfriend, the intriguing femme fatale, and a fling from the wrong side of the tracks. But will she survive and make it to those two glorious words “the” and “end” to tell her own tale or will the epilogue hold a darkly satisfying twist?

Monday, May 21, 2018

Diligent Drowning

Sometimes, there are those that succumb to this something we just can’t put a finger on, even though we’ve seen subtle signs of its chronic companionship for so long. Unable to speak its name either out of ignorance or avoidance or undulating uncertainty. Until one night we bolt, wide-eyed and woke. Finally, fully aware of what was witnessed and ultimately, all it adds up to be. Sadly, suddenly sure, that there is nothing we can say or secure or summon to save them from this self-imposed swell. 

So we watch as those we love slide into a series of unstable relationships where they choose to be devalued and dominated, but don’t dare depart, because they know, on their own, they are unable to keep it together. Because this something surges suddenly and severely, sucking away their serenity and sense of self-centering.

For this, they cohere to these calamities with cult-like commitment. Taking on traits and truths of their treasured tyrants. Trying to maintain what might be lost, with one last lunge at loyalty, if only for a moment.

Drinking and smoking...medicinally...alone, in those wee hours where hypergraphia takes hold, strangling and stifling the voice, forcing forward words which do not pair well with what previously so prominently marked their manner. And yet, we’ve garnered glimpses of these symptoms consistently, whether willing to admit it or not. Not knowing quite what to make of them. 

But now this new something stampedes forth, flowing from the fingertips in a run-on race, speeding on without edits or second thoughts as to what the consequences of actually publishing might mean.

An all-in on entirely too much every time. Arguments, thoughts, ideals and intimacies. Intimacies confused and conflated with intellectual encounters to better their beginnings begun in bedrooms as one-night noncommittals brought on by imbalanced behaviors and bad judgment that now must take root as relationships rather than retreating to the realm of repeated rebounds they would rightfully be relegated to if only reexamined against the risky route life regularly runs.

Putting it all on people too soon precious and passionately proclaimed partners, if not for life, at least for now because they manage the mania and malaise that cannot be maintained alone. So power and viewpoints and mind remaking are relinquished into their domineering hands in exchange for intense direction, leading to sharp, sudden pivots on platforms and politics and personal preferences, perceived by those with long shared histories as we take pause and pose the question, “What exactly is going on here?!?”

An answer which we likely already know but until recently were just unable to pinpoint...or face.

As we watch the wayward veer from their core course previously set by an inner compass that pointed toward the harbor of a heart that held hope and humanity. 

Watching the bobbing above and below the surface of the undiagnosed as they defiantly look directly into our eyes before again, deliberately diving out of sight, sequestered and reclusive, slurping their survival from the false security of a bubble about to burst. Taking up residence with whatever awaits in the abyss...so appealing, it apparently calls to that core, corrupting the compass with a magnetic north nowhere near up.

Seeing them occasionally surface, sucking for air, defying their drowning. So we reach for them with firm hand attempting assistance that is swiftly accused of attack. Slapped and bitten before they disappear again to be snagged and sunken until whatever has grabbed hold this go-round releases. Hopefully, before the beauty of what we once knew them to be is completely waterlogged...washed away...never to be seen again.

And there they’ll lie, lifeless, battered on the beach, as we wait with watchful eye for just one more resurrection. But these repeated rescues and resuscitations by those currently closer than we, are wearing thin. And the attention grabbing just before deliberate drowning is drawing on deafness to this one particular vocal tone as we tend toward tuning it out, at last tiring of the the tidal to and fro. As those of us not blood relation feel that fondness draining fast from our hearts as we head up to healthier, higher ground escaping the again incoming surf with its relentless riptides, tempting us to be towed back into the tempest.

So we retreat, resigned to the reality of what is, knowing that it can be no different, despite our desires and well wishes for these wave-worn willful, until they see for themselves it’s time to come ashore. To actually set foot in the sand and see someone about this something that cycles like the tides with its highs and lows and loves and losses.

Because what can you do with someone drowning determinedly?
After repeated rescue, what of those who successively slink right back into the surf? 
When are we willing to allow them their wish, slowly surrendering as they succumb to sea lost at the end of a far-too-long farewell?
Is it even our choice?

Follow me on Instagram and Twitter @TheLauraBecker

Monday, May 14, 2018

Not-Necessarily-Mothers Day Weekend

Just below screaming!
Outright, unreserved laughter brought on by truths. The type that tend toward both the beautiful and bungled and in some cases bare-it-all ballsy, shared about ourselves. Those long untold tales that lie in our rearviews on not-so-straight roads to the women we’ve become.

Baring to one another the intimate uglies, so deeply furrowed by our far-gone failures, fears, and forefathers that despite their being done with, they have scarred below the surface. And although we are no longer internally bleeding from the battles and blunders gone by, they no longer fit the out-front fa├žades and hard-fought foundations of our current lives. And yet, they are so permanently and profoundly a part of these people, that there is need to share them in the closest of confidences over cocktails and coffee tables. Narratives of juvenility no longer needed nor tolerated, held tenderly by those with whom we have the truest of trusts.

Women who span 11 years in age, but not in spirit. Who hear one another with open hearts and healing hugs. Who hold our stomachs after too much laughter, but never our tongues because the truth flows where it will. Wondering and wincing at the underlying similarities, although not complete sameness of the tales told. Finding funny in our failings as we identify ourselves in someone else’s story, when for so long we thought that maybe we were the only ones.

The much needed recharging with those further off on a daily basis than we may like, even when they are, on some occasions, just a few feet away. And yet, the absence breeds a fondness for friends like no other. And although we may speak sparingly, when we find the treasured time, the love we feel for these fearless few is never stingy. It is lavished with an abundance and attitude only dished to those dearest.

And as the weekend winds through arrivals and arrangements to dressups and dinners and returns and retreats into robes around the fireplace, just before heading off to bed, there is a late-night proposal and ponderment of slumber party parlor tricks from girlhoods gone by leading to ridiculous revelations that bring further sidesplitting screams before slipping into shortened sleep…because we have lasted into the wee witching hours attempting to suck every last bit of marrow from the bones we have picked from our petulant pasts that persist in providing all manner of entertainment before bagging up our booty and saying our goodbyes. Sending our hearts out with one another to wander this world in good company, until next time, when we will again toast to one another, in all that we were. All that we are. And all that we are yet to become. We women of the Not-Necessarily-Mothers Day weekends.

Monday, May 7, 2018

The Truth, The Whole Truth, And Nothing But The Truth...So Help Us God

Information is not truth. Do not be confused. The two are not interchangeable.

A bunch of information cobbled together does not make truth, but it can lead us there. It can point the way. But we have to go.

Knowing where to find the truth is nothing. It does nothing. It gets us nowhere. Truth takes action. We actually have to go there. All in. All of the way.

Truth is a place. A complete state all its own. And once we go there, there’s no going back to exactly where we were before. Ever.

But just because we made it there, doesn’t mean we’ll stay.

The truth has consequences. It always does. It is truth and consequences. Despite what people may try to tell us, there is no “or” about it.

Once we reach the truth. Someone will come after us. There’s no avoiding it. They always do.

No matter what it is. Denying what we claim. Shouting us down. Discrediting us. Sabotaging us. Outright lying about us. Assassinating our character. And in some cases, they will even, literally, assassinate us. All in an attempt to keep the falsehood afloat.

Because although the truth is a good place, it is not a safe place.

So, often we are tempted to seek shelter in a little white lie. Sometimes to save feelings, but most often to save ourselves. And if we are not careful, because that shade is always shifting, eventually not providing the coverage we initially sought, we can roll right through dishonesty to the cool cover of outright deceit where venomous and vengeful dangers lurk in the darkness. Hiding from the truth as well. Concealed in the corners of that cavernous cover. And as we recede into those alcoves, hiding further from the light, they are there, unseen, waiting to strike. And in some cases, eat us alive. Still ending in death. A death with no purpose. Unseen in the shadows. Wasted and worthless. Food to feed the falsehoods and embolden and enable the benefactors of these dark deceits.

And there is always a benefactor. Someone who benefits from the lie. And we have all benefited from a lie. Do not fool yourself that you haven’t, because then you’re just lying to yourself. And who benefits from that?

The truth is also not easy and it is often uncomfortable. So thoroughly consider what you are leaving behind before going there. Sometimes it is very little. But sometimes it’s a lot. But go. Seek out truth. Because a moment in truth is better than a thousand lifetimes in fear.

But to find truth, we must first know what we are looking for. And there are no shortcuts. We must not be fooled. Truth seekers can be detoured. Reasoned with reasons that are not at all reasonable, taking us down trails far away from the falsehood, but nowhere near the truth. Lost and wandering and wondering how on earth we got where we are. So turned around we are unable to find up from down. In from out. Even right from wrong.

And when we find ourselves lost, we must go back to a very basic place. Taking the tiniest steps in our discernment until there can be no doubt the direction in which we are headed. Pointing ourselves in those tiniest of movements toward good. Not engaging anything that is off track or leads away from the truth to which we are headed.

Truth and gossip are not the same thing. We all have things we are ashamed of. But…
If it is exploiting someone. If it is abusing someone. If it is stealing from someone. If it is about to draw someone into danger…it is no longer gossip and must be told. And the perpetrator will not like it. The people around the perpetrator will not like it. The enablers will not like it. Even the people who may have been fooled will not like it. But speak it anyway. Go there. Stand in the light. If only for a moment. Be there.

Feelings will be hurt. But feelings are not truth. They are personal. And the truth is never personal. There is no such thing as a “personal truth.” There is only perception.

Do not be confused on your way to the truth:

Kind and nice are not the same thing. And only one of them leads to truth.

Peace and pretending all is well are not the same thing. And only one of them leads to truth.

Patience and avoidance are not the same thing. And only one of them leads to truth.

Generosity and buying others admiration, appreciation, silence, or compliance are not the same thing. And only one of them leads to truth.

Faithfulness and blind loyalty are not the same thing. And only one of them leads to truth.

Gentleness and cowardice are not the same thing. And only one of them leads to truth.

Joy and perpetual happiness are not the same thing. And only one of them leads to truth.

Self-control and denial are not the same thing. And only one of them leads to truth.

Loving and liking are not the same thing. And only one of them leads to truth.

Justice and punishment are not the same thing. And only one of them leads to truth.

And once we have arrived at the truth. Once the lies, deceit, hurt, abuse, theft, exploitation, misuse of time or resources, and all other manner of wrongdoing is uncovered. Exposed to bring others to the truth as well…FIX IT. MAKE IT RIGHT.

Otherwise, we were not seeking the truth at all. We were out for revenge. Seeking to shame. To humiliate. To be right. To show them. To knock them down. Or if nothing else to triumphantly tout, “I told you so.”  And we find ourselves out of the light before it has even shone on our faces. Sitting in darkness with suspect motives starting all over again. Lost and given over to our lust for self-satisfaction.

The truth is not self-serving. It is not selfish. But it is self-examining.

When we arrive at the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, we are forced to face ourselves and our own failings if we have any plans to stay there. To take up residence in its radiance.

Asking ourselves questions that start with “am I” so that we may find solid answers in “I am.”

Am I…saying what I mean and meaning what I say?

Am I…doing what I am supposed to be doing?

Am I…seeking and promoting truth in every area of my life?

And when the answers fall short of “I am,” which they will, more often than not…

Asking ourselves one more question. One that will set us back on the path to truth:

Am I…doing all I can to fix it? To make it right?

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The Stars Might Lie But the Numbers Never Do

As we head into another new year, for some reason, it’s suddenly all about counting. Everything! In every area of life! How many? How far? How much? But if we didn’t quantify it, how could we know exactly how much success we were having? And that’s the most important thing, right? And the numbers don’t lie…unless we help them out just a bit.

How many steps in a day?
Just the ones the device actually counted? Or all of them?
Including the ones I faked by swinging my arm?

How many pounds does the scale read?
With one hand on the counter? Toes hanging off? Heels?
After I’ve reset it to “true zero” because it weighs heavy?
After I’ve thrown it across the bathroom?

What size do I wear?
Well, what size are my fat jeans?
What size are my skinny ones?
What is the average?
Including underwear size, because those are tiny numbers?
What does it matter? Really? On say, a scale of 1-10?

How many calories in a day?
How many carbs?
How many grams of fiber?
How many grams of protein?
How much fat?
How hungry am I now from thinking about all of this?
How many hours until dinner?

What is my heart rate?
How many beats per minute?
How come it says zero?
How come this stupid thing isn’t counting…?
Oh, for the love of…what…?
Why won’t you @#%*ing work?!?
How come that number's suddenly so high?

How many glasses of water have I had today?
How many should I have?
How many can I safely drink in the next hour to catch up without peeing myself?

How much farther?
How many miles?
No? How many minutes because of weather or traffic?
How late are we going to be?
In addition to the amount that we were already late? Or how many later than late?
How many more times do you think they’ll believe it was weather or traffic?

How many likes?
How many views?
How many shares?
How many comments?
How many friends? Actually friends?
How many followers do I have?
How many people, other than me, think that sounds like a cult leader?
How many opportunities have I missed with my face in my phone?

How much does it cost?
How much do I have?
How much do I owe?
How much is enough?
How much, exactly, is more?

How many times have I failed?
How many have I quit?
Gotten back up?
Started over?

How many times have I just stopped counting…for just one day?
Stopped quantifying success?

Just been content?

Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Annual Reddening Of The Face Is A Tradition I Highly Recommend

Running in circles and hurling their halos, the preschoolers pressed on through their presentation. This was their first time performing what we had rehearsed, on the actual stage. A situation my inner voice of experience from so many years of working with small children had warned me against…but I ignored. Because I had planned. Because we had practiced. But mostly because before we even began, I had known and accepted, it would be imperfect.

The previous year, one bare bottom made its debut as a pair of tights suddenly slipped down a backside after intense shaking led to their shucking. I could feel the crimson creep as I snuck up to the stage and secured the spandex once more before they bashed on. The annual reddening of the face is a tradition for those of us who have spent extensive time with your tots. I highly recommend it. And it can be counted on to happen at least once during the holiday season. Why, you ask?

Because children scratch themselves through Jingle Bells.
Songs are sung far softer or louder or more off key than they have ever been.
There is a spontaneous solo about Batman’s odor and Robin’s miraculous ability to lay an egg.
A child loses her first tooth in the middle of a medley and starts screaming, “I’m bleeding!”
All but two of them hold the hand-painted signs for The Twelve Days of Christmas completely upside down.
“Now bring us some frigging pudding!” is shrieked as a demand. Not sung as a fruitful request.
The Christmas tree falls over.
They have to go to the bathroom right before their entrances while wearing the world’s most complicated costumes, even though they just went. And once one has to go…they all have to go.
Cameras on tripods from times gone by get caught up in capes and come crashing down.
Angels pick their noses and hurl their halos and bat their neighbors with wayward wings.
Shepherds shove crooks down their costumes emerging with Captain hook hands or completely disrobe because “olden clothes are itchy.”
Sheep get scared and run off and not a single shepherd goes after them.
We are informed at full volume that “P!U! Frankincense stinks!!!”
One king is feeling generous and passes out all of his gold before making it to the manger.
And when you try to correct this with costumes in the coming years, Myrrh decides he has had enough and makes an exit.
Someone refers to the donkey as an ass and all manner of giggling ensues.
Mary and Joseph get into a marital spat and will have none of an angel’s immediate attempts at mediation.
Everything is an adventure and a distraction and demands to be enjoyed in that very moment.
And Mommies and Daddies are helloed to, no matter how inconvenient or inappropriate because the children spy or at least suspect that they are out there and call to them seeking reassurance.
And the children are loved in their imperfection.

Which is exactly the point. Of it all. The very essence of Christmas itself.

And with crimson faces we are reminded of this, by the children who in that moment are teaching us, rather than the other way around.

Because the annual reddening of the face is a tradition for those of us who have spent extensive time with your tots. One that I highly recommend.