Daddy’s Little Girl? Nah, not me.

Scrolling any social media you are bound to come across a link that says “10 Things a Daddy’s Girl Will Tell You” or “13 Things All Little Girls Want Their Dad to Know”.  I’ve read all of these lists and usually they are so far off base from what my relationship is with my dad.  Growing up I always envied my friends who called their dad their best friend.  I looked at fictional characters on T.V. and in books that had impressive heart to heart conversations with their dad while throwing a football around in the backyard.  I always assumed it was just a fantasy made up by the media and there was no such thing as daddy’s little girl.  I also thought that it was because I was overly girly and my military dad didn’t like the pink, the glitter, and all the Barbie dolls.

I have recently come to terms that I’m not daddy’s little girl and I never will be.  But that isn’t said with a sad tone.  My dad is strong, stubborn, smart, and extremely unique.  He will never want to throw a football around on Sunday afternoon or even watch a Sunday football game.  He doesn’t want to sit around, talk, and drink a beer with me or anyone.  He won’t go out for lunch spontaneously.  And because of this, he is amazing.  I see now that I am a lot more like my dad than I ever wanted to admit.  My little sister is basically a mini Chuck.  She shares his need for never changing routines, use of articulate language, joy for simplicity in life, and sees home as the only means for comfort.  I tend to never do the same thing twice and I can talk and talk and have never said anything. I enjoy spoiling myself and others and I want to adventure all over the place.  So how is it that I am just like my dad exactly? Well, I’m still trying to figure it out.  All I know is that we are both stubborn and sort of bad with communication – not a good mix.  We have different ideas on how things should be done even though either way it will get done.  I have finally grown up and I realize now that we both like to be right – but usually never agree on what the right way is.

I’m not daddy’s little girl because for me that would just be weird.  If you knew my dad you would understand why.  He’s not going to read fairy tales (he tends to believe in only the reality of things), he isn’t going to learn how to braid hair (he thinks hair should be simple, not excessively displayed and adding twelve sparkly clips is a no-no), and he isn’t going to have a spontaneous snowball fight while shoveling the driveway (the point is to clear the snow away, not make a bigger mess; also he hates snow).  Overall, my dad is a pretty funny dude and I’m glad he’s my dad.

It’s better to be different anyways.  Who wants to be just any old daddy’s little girl? I’m Chuck’s daughter and there are only two people in the world who can say that.  We’re pretty elite.  So here is my list of 10 things I want my dad to know.

  1. Every speech you gave about the dangers of driving is filed away in my head. Every day I become a more cautious driver because I hear you in my head telling me countless stories from your long history with driving.  So everytime we get in a car together you don’t have to repeat the lectures.  I got it the first time around but I’ll listen quietly because I know it makes you feel better.
  2. I might not say much but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to talk. Sometimes I’m just not ready to talk. We don’t have much to say to each other but that’s not for lack of trying.  Communication is not our strong suit so sometimes I just want to sit in peaceful quiet with you rather than engage in a raging argument.
  3. Thank you. Thank you for feeding me, clothing me, and giving me a great home to live in for the last 22 years. You work tirelessly every day to give me what I need.  You’re always there when I really need you.
  4. I’m sorry for all the pointless arguments I picked with you. I’m also sorry that the gray hairs on your head are probably a result of my stubborn need to argue for no reason.  But to be fair, I learned how to argue from you.  I am stubborn and stand up for what I believe in because you showed me how to never stop going after what I want.
  5. You have shown me how to stand up for myself in a mature and reasonable way. I might be hot headed sometimes (just like you) but you have shown me how to handle situations with grace and integrity. I respect your determination and I am a stronger woman because of you.
  6. I’m really glad you showed me the importance of small details. I may have gotten frustrated with you on more than one occasion for making us spend extra time on these small details but it has paid off. I know I can’t just ignore something little and expect it to get better.  I know that it is better in the long run to pay attention to the small details.  I still don’t know why we have to clean every bit of paper out of the paper shredder but I’ll do it and that qualifies as a small detail, right?
  7. I’m sorry I leave the lights on a lot. I think I’m getting better or at least I am trying to be better. Remember when I was nine and you said every time I left a light on I owed you a nickel? I’m really glad you didn’t collect on that.
  8. You have shown me that the world doesn’t revolve around me. You taught me how to be humble. I don’t always need to be the center of attention and I don’t always need to be right.  Let me tell you – that one took many long years to acknowledge.
  9. I forgive you for not always understanding. I left hair ties on the bathroom counters, went through my blue eye shadow phase, refused to wear a winter coat to school, talked back to you, argued about doing chores, cried for no reason, painted my nails to get out of yard work, and ate the last cookie. Those teenage years were rough on both of us and we still butt heads constantly.  I know now you didn’t understand and were probably afraid of me at times (I would have been afraid of me too, Dad).  Now that I’m older, I appreciate you even more for putting up with me when I was a little brat.
  10. I won’t ever be your little girl. But I will be a grown, smart, independent, classy, grateful woman who you call your daughter. And there is nothing else I would rather be.  So it’s okay that you don’t want to sit outside and drink a beer.

I love you, Dad. Happy Veteran’s Day.

Because I’m fed up with the system.

There comes a time when every life goes off course. In this desperate moment you must choose your direction. Will you fight to stay on the path while others tell you who you are? Or will you label yourself? Will you be honored by your choice? Or will you embrace your new path? Each morning you choose to move forward or to simply give up.  ~HG Adler

As I am scouring the internet and picking my brain trying to pick one very specific topic related to literary studies to write an 8-10 page paper I don’t want to write, I just keep thinking about quotes like the above quote.  I have a bunch of quotes saved from authors, musicians, and artists that I have collected over the years.  They are written in various notebooks, saved on my computer, jotted on pieces of paper then stuffed in jacket pockets and old purses.  I heard most of them first on One Tree Hill, like Adler’s and somehow I haven’t forgotten them.  It’s one thing to be in love with a television show and you can judge me and tell me it is all made up and the characters are exactly that – characters, not real people.  But it’s something entirely different to look past the tragedy and the drama and the cast and just appreciate all the important little messages the producers and writers were sending us.  Everyone needs reminders about the little things in life but why not look at the whole picture.  I think it’s important to be able to step back from life and evaluate the things that might not be good for you.  How do you end something that you once needed so badly to survive?  Everything happens for a reason.  Cliche? Maybe.  But I’m realizing more and more that it’s true.

So as I sit here trying to come up with a topic to write a ten page paper that I honestly don’t care about I am saying enough is enough.  I’m putting my foot down and saying I’m not writing a paper for a grade.  I’m not going to fall victim to this system that says I have to do research in a specific way and I must have at least two books on my works cited page and check in points throughout the semester to make sure I’m writing correctly.  If the rules were to pick any topic on anything in the world then I am writing about something off the books, my life.  I get that this is all just a part of teaching me all the great things about literature and research but is this really the way? Is this the only way we can find to teach students and encourage them to write?  I refuse to write about a tired old piece of literature that once had such beautiful meaning and purpose but has now been dissected so many times that there is nothing left for anyone to enjoy the work anymore.

Senior year was fun.  All the stressing and trying to be perfect.  Always trying to impress the teacher and out do my classmates.  Not this time – this is senior year: round two.  And it’s going to be a whole lot more interesting.  I’m an English major because well I didn’t want to be an education major anymore.  But it is also the fastest way for me to get a degree and leave college behind forever.  I’m ready to write about the things I want to write about.  Not the things you think I should be writing about.  I hope my fellow classmates enjoy running around after the school system.  I’m taking myself out of the race and starting my own trek into what I hope can be the future of education – students actually learning by doing what they love and having a purpose other than their GPA.

let us catch up quickly

Hello strangers!! It has been entirely too long since I’ve written on here.  It was a lot easier to keep up with my blog when I was in school and didn’t have a job and family obligations keeping me busy.  I basically work a full time job while still trying to write (which I hate to admit hasn’t happened in a while), keep up with my family and friends, and be a twenty something enjoying her summer.  I recently realized that there was no point in calling myself a writer unless I actually write and put that first in my life.  SO…here I am, proving that I am a writer and I can do this.  It’s hard when you’re so passionate about something but it isn’t a top priority in your life because you have other adult responsibilities.  What is the point in life if you don’t make time to do the things that make you happy?

I basically could have written an entire collection of novels about just my summer but I’ll save most of that for my memoirs when I’m an aged writer.  Quick notes: made new friends, fell in love with Anna Kendrick, went to a wine party (#freewine), got blood drawn for the first time, and my hair is lighter.

It’s hard to believe in just over three weeks I’ll be headed back to school and fairly soon after will be able to call myself a college graduate.  I look back and think how far I have come and how much I have changed because of the drastic decisions I made last year.  Even just in these last few months I feel like I have a firmer grasp on who I really am and where I am going more so than I did at the beginning of the summer.  I am making plans for my future and seriously thinking about what the real adult world will be like post-graduation in May.  In less than a year I will be officially done with school!  It’s crazy to think I will have spent 18 years in school.  My entire life has basically been school – what will it be like to never be a student again? Out into the real world I will go! It’s terrifying but also extremely exciting.  Anything can happen and I can literally create a life for myself.  That is the most exciting part.  I don’t have to let anyone else dictate my life.  Opinions are considered and valued but at the end of the day I will be who I am and do what I want.

I’ve been feeling a little rebellious and adventurous these last few weeks and I want to do something exciting.  I’m thinking I am in need of a vacation after working as much as I have this summer.  More coming soon – thanks for reading again and all of your support!

Hugs,

J

Mother’s Day

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I certainly owe my life to this woman.  She has selflessly raised me into the person I am today and I try my best each day to make her proud.  She has taught me how to live a gracious live, to be kind to others, and to find the place in this world that is calling for me.  This Mother’s Day is one of the hardest we have ever had.  Her mother, my grandma, is missing from our lives.  But she is still in our hearts and I know she is watching over us.  Life can be cruel and hard and sometimes it might seem useless but with a mother like mine I know that everything is going to be alright.  Things will work out in the end as they are supposed to be.  I love you, Mom.

I know this is a short post and I don’t really know what I want to say.  There is so much I want to say that I think for now I am going to keep my thoughts as my own and I’ll share at some point.  I don’t want to regret not saying anything but I also don’t want to regret saying something I am unsure of.  I hope all of the mothers out there had a lovely day today and continue celebrating your awesomeness.

School is cool…well, it used to be…

Today was the last day of classes.  It seems completely insane that the semester has finally come to a close.  This has been without a doubt the hardest and seemingly longest semester of my entire college career.  Maybe it’s because everything was new; a major, a minor, courses, materials, and teachers that I wasn’t familiar with.  And honestly, I’m still not familiar or completely comfortable with any of it.  I knew what to expect going into any education class.  I knew what the layout of the textbook would look like.  I knew all of the teachers and a good portion of my classmates.  I knew what quality of work was expected and I knew what questions to ask.  I haven’t bonded with any English or business professors, I have made just a few class acquaintances (but I’m still feel like I am on the outside), and it’s hard to know what is expected from your work when you don’t know the difference between perfect and sloppy.  I have no idea what questions to ask because I don’t know what I am missing or what I am confused on since I am mostly just floating around it all rather than in the nucleus.  There are a lot less creative projects and more essays and tests.  I have never been a great test taker and although it sounds like a lazy excuse I just don’t learn that way.  I like to play with things and create things.  You could lecture me for days and I am still not going to understand it as well as if you would let me do it and learn it along with you.  The best parts of this semester were when I was able to write freely and creatively.  I don’t want to write research essays.  I don’t want to study and memorize terms for a macroeconomics examination.  Somehow, I just don’t see how any of this is valuable or useful in real life.  It has to matter, right?  Otherwise people wouldn’t still be flocking into colleges.  I have become a sort of cynic this semester.  I feel a little bit like a hippie because all I want to do is roam around with a notebook and a pen to see different things and have fun.  I used to love school.  I got excited about school supplies, spent hours doing my homework neatly, and thoroughly enjoyed learning new information.  Last year I slowly started to fall away from it and I tried to convince myself I wasn’t losing my passion for school but I was.  And now it’s basically gone.  I have no motivation to do anything school related.  I want to read the books I want to read.  I want to write all day long.  I want to go see something I have never seen before.  Last semester when I was finishing my education classes and everyone was getting excited about student teaching next year I realized there was no way I belonged there.  I still wanted to be with the students but I didn’t want to be their teacher.  I wanted to have freedom to work with children on my terms and on their terms.  Shouldn’t kids be learning more than just these “core essential topics” that are said to be needed?  I wanted to explore and learn with them and show them the things that I find exciting.  But I was in no way excited about being a student teacher, doing certification exams, following strict education laws, and selling my soul to this system.  I am not usually outspoken about things like this.  I feel like I am putting it all on the line here and it is actually really refreshing.  When people used to say “college isn’t for me” or “I’m not a school person” I thought how can you not go to college?  Don’t get me wrong, I am glad I did go to college and that I have the parents who pushed me to succeed but am ready for it to end now.  Next year I will be a fifth year senior and I am so conflicted.  I’ll have one more year to get everything I can out of the college experience and I’ll be here with my best friend, but I so don’t want to do classes anymore.  I’m sick of living a lie.  People change, their interests alter, and their passions evolve.  I used to love school and now I don’t.  I used to hate working out and now I love it.  I used to follow people but now I am leading.  I don’t need anyone to follow me. I am perfectly fine walking out into that big, scary world on my own.  But I am done living this lie.  School isn’t for me.  Not anymore.  I love learning, always have.  I just don’t love school.  I don’t feel like anyone cares here and I don’t feel like they actually want me to learn things that will transfer to the world outside this school.  So I guess all I am trying to say is don’t go to school if it isn’t for you.  Or wait a year.  Take a year and see things and figure out what life is really about.  Because when you are a part of a college campus and it is all you live and breathe day after day you forget about the real world.  Your world is classes and no one knows anything that is going on outside the perimeter of school.  It’s a sad and fake little world inside these walls.  And I’m racing up the wall, ready to climb out.  One year to go until freedom.  I’ll have to get the glitter out to make everything more sparkly next year.

i might be a cliche in twenty years

it’s a classic story, forever retold
live life like a song on the radio
dance in the rain with a man
wear your heart on your sleeve
love and your heart will grow
it’s a life lived through clichés

is it so much to ask that i want more
i will live a life of freedom,
new experiences will be all mine
the world will look back on my life
and see only my story

i connect with the earth, the sun
i am myself, an original creation
they all say i’m a young copy of her
but i’m just a young version of myself

i am no one’s mini me
writers don’t just put words on paper
they write their lives to unique perfections

teach me to avoid clichés
but eventually someone copies it

and before you know it everything is a cliché

I might be crazy, but all the best writers are . . .

Some people think I just sat down one day and decided I was going to be a writer.  But it doesn’t work like that.  First I had to fall in love with the art of writing and storytelling.  Then I had to go out into the world, meet people, and do things.  Writers write what they know and I only know what I have done and what I have thought.  Writers decide life is important enough, strange enough, funny enough, and inspirational enough that they are going to write it down.  Sometimes I sit and write a whole bunch of nothing for hours and when I look up it is dark outside and I realize I have forgotten to eat dinner.  There might only be one or two good sentences in those four pages of nonsense but that’s more than I had when I started.  Some of the best stories start with random sentences born from nonsense.  Sometimes I stare at my computer screen or notebook and I think how will I ever publish anything because I have nothing to write about (the infamous writer’s block).  That usually goes away because in about ten minutes I have tripped over air or said something quirky to myself as if I’m a comedian.  I have small issues that I can blow up if I feel like it and sometimes I am a mess (physically or emotionally) and sometimes I am a crazy person.  Sometimes I laugh like a hyena.  Sometimes I laugh so hard I cry and I can’t breathe and I basically turn into a YouTube worthy disaster zone.  I get random hiccups that literally take my breath away and cause my life to flash before my eyes (did I mention I’m dramatic sometimes?)  Speaking of life flashing before your eyes, have you ever sneezed while driving? Basically the scariest moment ever, right? Wrong.  Scariest moment ever is driving the car while my mom sneezes in the passenger seat (I love you, Mom, but your sneeze is deafening and terrifying).  My sister is a goon and I could write several very large books about all of her shenanigans.  One time she made me laugh while I had lemonade in my mouth and I spit it all over her.  She used to try to teach me how to do cartwheels every summer.  I could never do it because I was afraid of throwing myself towards the ground- what if I broke my arm!?  We used to swim in the pool with our feet crossed pretending to be mermaids.  I have met some very odd people in my lifetime.  One time a man came into Wegmans when I had my long hair all the way down my back and offered to buy my hair.  How is one supposed to answer that?  I think I can talk in an accent a lot better than I actually can and I’m sorry to all the British people I have probably offended in my lifetime.  Hugs from my dad are precious moments and that is something I have taken my sweet time learning (I guess I’m sort of stubborn just like he is).  I used to feel like a rebel when I chewed gum with my braces (then I immediately spit it out for fear it would get stuck in my braces and my mom would have to take me to the orthodontist…and there would be yelling…and probably tears…) No one can snap their fingers as well as my mom (don’t try, you’ll lose).  I used to sit on my little sister because it was fun to trap her but now she’s stronger than I am and can just pick me up (actually I’m scared of her).  Speaking of Kellie’s muscles-maybe you’d like to hear about the time she did pull-ups at the fair at the Marine tent and all the men stood in awe that a little second grade girl could do more pull ups than the 25 year old men walking by.  I guarantee she could still show up the marines in pull-ups today.  I’m telling you-she’s strong, don’t make her mad.  She’s basically my mom’s security guard so take this as your warning.  I have a serious anxiety attack if I don’t have my Pandora ring on my finger.  I feel naked, and I just hold my finger like it might fall off if my ring isn’t there.  That would be pretty terrifying if that happened.  I love the color pink and maybe it’s childish but if there is glitter involved you can bet it will be all over my face in .25 seconds.  One time my sister ran into the wall in our living room so hard it shook the entire house.  She also walked right into a metal clothing rack at Kohl’s once.  Don’t worry, she still has both of her eyes.  I had this pink purse in high school that had pink fringe all over it and it had a long strap and was probably my favorite thing ever.  I have absolutely no idea what happened to that bag (which actually is making me sad right now) but I do remember I used it for everything.  My dad fixed the strap and the zipper more than once and slowly the fringe started to fall off.  The inside had pen marks all over it and there was an incident with lotion exploding but I still loved it.  I really wonder what happened to that bag.  Maybe it got thrown out.  I had a white t-shirt of my mom’s when I was younger that I wore to bed as a nightgown.  It was a WYRK (country radio) shirt and I lived in that thing.  Until one day I noticed it had been missing longer than it usually took for the laundry to be done.  My mother, the woman who raised me, had the nerve to throw it out without consulting me!  I’m still grieving but don’t worry mom, I don’t love you any less.  I have real pajamas now and they don’t have holes in them.  I am a shopaholic.  Just walking into a store is enough of a drug fix for me.  Even if I have no money I still go to the store and try clothes on because I LOVE shopping.  One time my sister mistook my uncle for some random old guy roaming in our backyard.  We retold the story at Christmas and everyone thought it was funny- except my uncle.  I like surprise parties.  Let me elaborate: I love throwing surprise parties.  I thought it would be just as fun to have one for myself (and it was absolutely amazing, I was totally surprised and honored you guys did it for me) but somehow I like the planning and seeing the initial surprisee’s (yes, I think I just made that word up) surprised reaction better than anything.  It’s like when you’re at a wedding and the best part is looking back at the groom when the bride comes down the aisle.  Every girl wants someone to look at her like that.  I am in love with babies.  All babies.  Seriously, if you have a baby, I will probably steal your child and love it forever.  I mean, I always bring them back but I will be more than happy to take him/her off of your hands for a while.  I have an entire board on Pinterest dedicated to Ryan Gosling, because why not?  Someday I am going to actually walk into Gap Kids and have a reason to buy baby clothes instead of just walking around staring at all the cute itty-bitty baby clothes.  One time I dragged Shannon (very much against her will) into Gap Kids to look at baby clothes (for no reason other than baby clothes are extremely adorable) and she detested every moment of it until she saw a darling outfit with ducks all over it.  Then she melted just like me and that was definitely a bonding moment for us.  I still sleep with the teddy bear my mom made for me when I was little.  She has patches on her and has been sewn and re-stuffed but I love her just the same.  Over the years I have found I have either a very high pain tolerance or my inner self just refuses to allow pain to be felt.  Ignore it; it will go away (probably).  I once cut my entire finger open at work and didn’t notice until blood was streaming down my hand minutes later.  Best part of the story: I was sweeping and I cut my hand on the top of the broom.  Like, what?  How does that even happen?  I somehow get the most unusual injuries.  I went through a phase in high school where I painted my nails every single day with different colors and intricate designs.  To the girls I have met in bar bathrooms, we should all get together and publish a book because let me tell you those are some of the most interesting moments.  I have been cooking basically since my mom taught me how to use the oven but somehow at 21 years old I still don’t know how to cut a jalapeno and promptly wash my hands before touching my face.  I really like the name Oliver.  Once in high school as I went to sit down in the lunchroom I slid right on to the floor and had no idea what had happened so I just sat there and laughed for a minute.  As Shannon has pointed out, even if I don’t know the song I will hum along to it basically unknowingly.  It’s a whole brain processing thing-maybe-or maybe I’m just a little weird.  Actually, I’m a lot weird.  And that’s why I am a writer.  Because if you laughed at least once while reading this then I guess I am going somewhere with all of this.  When I read I want to laugh and think and believe in something.  Life is about believing in something.  And more than ever, I believe that all of my beautiful weirdness is my little candle to light this little corner of the world and wherever I end up next.  So basically this is my disclaimer that if you are a part of my life, you will most likely end up in a story of mine at some point.  I love writing about the things and people surrounding me so get close and let’s be crazy and novel worthy and throw a little sparkle around.

Unknown Wonders

The warm sun soaks into her skin

as she lies on the grassy hill above the town.

She stares at a flock of birds

not sure where they are going.

The soft wind blows through her hair

as she rides her bike along the road.

She follows the blacktop obediently

not sure if it will ever end.

The cool rain drops roll down her face

as she walks through the garden

She inspects every leaf and stem

not sure when the flowers will bloom.

The bright moon reflects on her face

as she polishes the grave with silent tears.

She listens to the coyotes in the woods

not sure why they are crying to the moon.

The endless night sky wraps around her body

as she sinks in the foggy air.

She rests her head by the polished stone

not sure of the sun coming tomorrow,

sure of hopelessness and sorrow.

Virginia Mary Lemieux

It is with a heavy heart that I post this.  Recently my grandmother passed away and it brought many tears to my family and I along with everyone who knew my grandmother.  My family asked if I would write and read the eulogy at her funeral and I immediately thought I would never get through it.  My grandpa hugged me and told me I knew my grandma and I could do it better than anyone.  So on Monday I took a deep breath, blinked away the tears momentarily, and spoke words that I somehow put together. Perhaps the best gift she gave us is she taught us how to be strong and Monday was my turn to be strong for my family and say the things they all wanted to say but couldn’t.  I love you, I miss you, grandma.  Nothing will ever be the same now.  Rest peacefully.

Virginia, known to most as Ginger, was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, and friend. She devoted her life to her family and her many passions.  She loved her animals and passed this love on to her children and grandchildren.  Horses, dogs, and cats populated her life all starting with the cocker spaniels her mother raised.  She followed in her mother’s footsteps and raised basset hounds through GinDic’s Bassets.  One of her reigning qualities was her drive to follow her heart and she taught all who knew her to do the same. As a member of the Basset Hound Club of America she connected with many people and gained many lifelong friends.  She will always be remembered as a determined and strong woman filled with kind words and honest advice.  I learned quickly that she knew more than she let on and was always watching and protecting her family.  She never feared others opinions and always showed her truly unique personality.  She was a mentor to many, always willing to give her thoughts.  There are many great memories of my grandma and each of us have our favorites.  We respect her for her intelligence, talents, and confidence.  I will always remember her as a practical woman with a very specific taste.  One year she took me shopping for my birthday and taught me a very important lesson I still look back on to this day.  She taught me that getting something or achieving something in your life should be on your terms whether it is a pair of bedazzled jeans or following a career across the country.  My grandma was also known for her cooking and baking.  She always made sure man and beast were constantly well fed.  There was always an open invitation to her dinner table.  This is a trait she has passed down to us.  We will always graciously open our homes and our hearts for people as my grandma did.  I find it impossible to make dinner just for the people I am expecting because she has taught me to be over prepared and to expect the unexpected.  The kitchen is where a great deal of family memories were made.  All of her children made dinner with her and will always remember the special moments they shared like peeling apples to make homemade apple crisp every fall weekend and spending hours canning and freezing with her.  Another great quality is that my grandma knew people, she could read people, but better yet, she knew herself.  My grandma was truly one of a kind and could never be replaced.  She could never be forgotten because there are parts of her in all of us.  I often find myself thinking “Grandma would say that” or I hear her voice in someone else.  She lives on in the hearts of everyone who knew her.

Normal Isn’t Unique

This is a simple, short story that started as an assignment in a creative writing class and has been a work in progress.  I edit and change it often but the story always says the same thing: be unique.  What is life if we try to be exactly like everyone else? Stand out, be brave, and embrace you because you are the most beautiful person.  Stay sparkly!


All of his ties were folded neatly in the top drawer of his dresser.  On the right side the solid colored ties were arranged in an organized, horizontal pattern. The patterned ties were kept on the left side of the drawer in the same horizontal pattern.  The man had sixteen ties in the drawer all together and each day he took out a different tie to wear to work.  He had a system in place so he could wear each of his ties once without repeating them.  He would wear a solid colored tie, then a patterned tie.  The next day he would wear a colored tie, followed by another colored tie. On Friday he would wear a patterned tie and the next Monday he would wear a colored tie.  He had worn his ties this way for over twenty years without adding any new ties or getting rid of any old ones.  The ties knew when it was their turn to be taken out of the drawer and spend an entire day displayed around the man’s neck.  They looked forward to their day by imagining themselves hanging smooth and proper against the man’s crisp dress shirt.  They liked to discuss their importance and brag about being “the man’s favorite”.  “His mother bought me for him,” one bragged and another chimed in “I was bought for his job interview!”  The ties loved the man and always stayed in the best condition so not to disappoint the man.

One tie was consistently forgotten and never got the chance for his day outside of the drawer.  He had been given to the man fifteen years ago as a joke at an office holiday party.  The tie had been sitting in a drawer for many years after being given to someone who never wore him, and then regifted to the man with all the fancy ties.  The tie thought this was his chance at freedom!  The tie thought he would be worn by a nice man who appreciated his value.  But the man never wore the tie because he was not like the other ties.  He was bright orange with misshaped green dots all over.  The tie felt embarrassed and he could not change his colors no matter how hard he tried.  The man never took him out of the drawer and the other ties never acknowledged him.  They told him he was not a real tie and no one would ever wear him.  He didn’t understand why he had been made with these awful colors if no one wanted him.  He dreamed all day, every day, about the day that he would get to be worn by the man with the fancy ties but he was starting to believe it would never happen.

The man’s nephew, Jimmy, came to spend a few days with his uncle.  Jimmy was so excited- he idolized his uncle and loved watching him put on his fancy suit and ties.  The man thought Jimmy might enjoy picking out the tie so he uncharacteristically broke his routine that morning.  Jimmy admired each tie as if it was made of gold.  “I can pick any tie, uncle?”  The man nodded and Jimmy’s smile spread across his face.  Jimmy ran his hand along all the ties, evaluating each of them carefully.  The orange tie didn’t even bother getting excited.  “Jimmy will never choose me,” the tie thought.  But, then the tie felt five little fingers wrap around him! “I like this one,” Jimmy exclaimed!  The man’s face contorted and he a quickly took the orange tie and placed it back in the drawer.

“That tie is not appropriate for businessmen, Jimmy.”  Jimmy was shocked- he thought it was the most fun tie in his uncle’s drawer.  It was the same color as his favorite dump trunk.

“Have you ever worn that tie?”

“No.  I told you- it isn’t proper to wear to the office.  Now choose a more appropriate tie.”

“I want the orange tie.  I like it.”

“I am not wearing that tie, Jimmy.  I work in a very big office where everyone wears normal ties and if I came in with that tie everyone would stare at me.”  Jimmy didn’t understand why grownups were always trying to look like each other.  He liked being different and he decided if his uncle wouldn’t wear the orange tie, then he would.

When Jimmy’s mother came to pick him up she was met by a unique sight.  Jimmy was dressed in his jeans, blue dinosaur t-shirt, racecar sneakers, and the unwanted orange and green tie.  “Mommy! Look what I have!”  The man shrugged his shoulders and Jimmy’s mother stared at the strange looking tie.

“Why are you wearing this, honey?”  Jimmy saw the same look on his mother’s face that he had seen on his uncle’s face.

“Because I like it, mommy.”  Jimmy smiled down at his tie and walked towards the car shaking his head.  “Silly grownups.”