Friday, May 18, 2012

Heartaches by the Number

Knowing that I was going to title this post “heartache” in some way or another immediately brought to mind an old country classic, one that I sang a few times in my former life as a honky tonk angel, and danced to more times than I could possibly count. So before going deep, I thought I would share this little bit of nostalgia with you. Damn but I love me some Ray Price.


So Monday starts the actual workshop part of the “Your Living Canvas” workshop by the awesome Christy Tomlinson.



I must confess that I got WAY (all the way) behind on the pre-workshop journaling prompts. Mostly because I got stuck on the very first one, which was to talk about a heartache, and how it has shaped me. And here’s the kicker – how it has shaped me in a POSITIVE way.

At first I went generic and did a whole page on just shame in general, because it has been my constant companion since about BIRTH. I may, or may not have posted a picture of that page. Regardless, I post it here again to show my first impression of the assignment.



I have had many heartaches in my life, and although ultimately on the back side of them I’m always better off, I can’t say of one that it “shaped me positively.” Unless being all dented and bruised and tender and scarred is a “positive.”

Heartaches. Before I can pick one, I have to go through them.

Ho hum. Let’s see…My childhood. Disappointing my parents, sometimes not knowing why. Sometimes knowing things they would be disappointed about if they knew, but I kept to myself. This just made me feel like an evil secret-keeper that they SHOULD be disappointed in. Sometimes I confessed to them so I could feel their disappointment, because it was my due. My kitty died. We moved and the kids in school hated me. I went through a phase of kleptomania (disappointing my parents, but at least I knew why). My hamster died. We moved back home. My old friends didn’t like me anymore. Another cat died. I fell in love with a preacher, then a guy with a bar in the back of his car, then a football player. Stayed perpetually inebriated and ended up getting married to someone who was none of the above. Joyfully freed from that relationship through infidelity (the marriage was hell, the infidelity was a God-send…with this perspective, one can deduce that by this time –age 17– I am a pretty fucked up individual, misshapen to say the least).

Between the 1st and 2nd marriages were a slew of relationships gone bad. One, two…no three were big enough to call “heartaches.” And a friend committed suicide. Ahhhhh let’s just stop there. That’s my shaping moment. Damn I would not have thought so…

His name was Brent Lansford Turk. He was very handsome, dark, brooding. This is not him.



Russell Crowe, not really Brent

He and his friends – who were my old school chums – would come through the Sonic Drive-In where I worked most nights, especially weekend nights. I wore a large Bonnie Bell chap-stick like thingie on a rope around my neck and I can’t remember what vulgar joke he always made about it, but it made me laugh and feel like I belonged. At that time in my life, I was 18 and saving up for a divorce I’d have to type and file myself, living with my grandmother, the rest of everyone I knew being in school all day while I went to business school in San Antonio and worked half the night. I NEEDED to belong. I am grateful for the friends I made that dropped by Sonic and took me to all the best parties, to Kicker Palace, or just back home so I wouldn’t have to walk.

Anyway, one night Brent was particularly dark and moody. He’d broken up with his girlfriend, and he’d just been told that a cancer he’d been in remission from was recurring. So a mutual friend and I talked him into going to a dance with us. Afterward I invited our group back to my house (my grandmother was out of town) but while everyone inside was having a good time, Brent was skulking around outside and I went with him. He said –as he had said several times earlier in the night– that he was going to kill himself. I remember wanting to tell him I loved him, not in a mushy romantic way but in a “you matter to me” way, but I was afraid. He ran with a cool crowd and I couldn’t stand the idea of them laughing about my silly expression of love the next day. So I chickened out.

Later that night, back at his own grandparents’ house, he shot himself. The friend that had gone with us to the dance rushed to his house and held him as he died. I did not find this out until several days later, as I got very ill at about the same time as he died. Weird huh?

So how did this shape me? I never let “I love you,” or any other sentiment that needed to be said go unsaid. When I feel the need to express something to someone, gratitude for a gift given years ago that yet AGAIN brings me delight, or just to reach out and touch, I DO. People need to know that they matter, that you care, that what they do makes ripples and waves that go on. I think losing Brent helped show me that.

I have to say, that was a little cathartic. Holy shit. Did not expect that.

Thanks for listening to me ramble. And Brent, if there’s internet in Heaven and you’re a blog-hopper…dude, I love you.

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