Once upon a time I could sleep for days. Anymore my internal clock goes off around seven, and on a rainy Sunday I was annoyed to be awake. It would be bliss to sleep the day away. I could still feel the remnants of the sun and activity on my skin and in my muscles as I stood and stretched. My hips and thighs felt tight, and I could feel the heat in my shoulders and face from the sun. I walked to my mirror and pulled aside the shoulder of my t-shirt to see how bad the damage was – just a little red, it would be gone by the next day I noted, relieved.
It was a quiet morning, with no notifications from my phone to distract me, and putting on a sweatshirt I wandered out to the kitchen to make a cup of coffee. As I waited for the keurig to do it’s thing, I debated what to do with the day in front of me, keeping the impending rain in mind. A roast sounded amazing, and I needed to do some shopping. I knew I was running low on make up and body lotion, but I definitely am not ready to venture to the mall for the body lotion. I opted to take my coffee back into my room and order what I could online.
I live for quiet Sunday mornings. It’s probably my favorite day of the week, when I have nearly all my weekly obligations met and I have some freedom to do what’s left at my leisure. I generally use this day to stay home and attend to anything there that I had missed during the hectic week, but since I haven’t been home much here recently, much less in the city limits, I had a couple errands to run. As I sat, still in pajamas and coffee in hand, I checked the weather to see when the rain was supposed to start. It looked like I had enough time to shower and ready myself for the public, so I got to it. Turning up the radio and making my bed, choosing what to wear. . .
I live a rather sedate life, as you can see. But it hasn’t always been without it’s excitement and drama, and if you’ve been reading awhile you know this. I’ve worked really hard for these quiet Sunday mornings. It may seem an odd statement, but it’s absolutely true.
Today’s quote reminded me how far I’ve come.
“I believe that if one always looks at the skies, one would end up with wings.” – Gustave Flaubert
As a little girl, probably about Chase’s age, my dad got these cups at a garage sale. Hard plastic with a little handle, almost like a kids coffee cup. I don’t remember the picture on the cup, but there was also a quote – “reach for the stars and you’ll touch the sky.” Even at such a young age, words intrigued me. And that quote especially hit me because the thought had never occurred to me – like, if you aim high there’s nothing you can’t accomplish. I absolutely adored that cup and used it every chance I could.
Turns out it was just the beginning of the theme of my life. Keep pushing, keep going, conquer, and achieve. Never give up, don’t stop, beat the odds, so on and so forth.
Gustave spoke to that little girl today, the one who just discovered that hope and determination get you so, so far.
I grew up in a tumultuous home, and when I left there I fell right into more tumult almost immediately, having a child young and having to work my way up from absolutely nothing. I’ll tell anyone who will listen how I came to the town where I now live at the age of 20 with nothing but a box of books and a bag of clothes, no license, job, car, or home of my own. This month makes fifteen years exactly when I left my home an hour and a half away from here, with Matthew almost done growing inside me and the box and bag. In fifteen years I’ve had him and now Chase, held five jobs, owned four cars and moved 8 times. I went from a beat up Buick to a rather nice Buick, from an apartment to a house, more than tripled my initial income, built my credit up to where I can purchase a home if I were to choose to with little to no issues. . . I’ve worked really, really hard. There were times I was working two week stretches without a day off, where I was sleeping a mere 6 hours a night so I could keep up with the household stuff and still work to keep a roof over our heads. I’ve robbed Peter to pay Paul, I’ve cried from being so bone tired I could barely see straight, all while dealing with some inner demons that would make many fold the hand they were given and give up.
In case you haven’t gotten my point here, I’m very proud of what I’ve done and who I’ve become. And I greatly appreciate the peace that my life now holds, I appreciate the leisure and the tranquility. I appreciate that I can now sit on my floor on a Sunday afternoon and write instead of being stuck at work, I appreciate the food I can afford to buy and cook, I appreciate the roof over my head, and that I only have to listen to my now 14 year old son moving around and yelling at his video games over my head instead of the sounds of fighting neighbors and hooligan kids that aren’t mine.
But I still push myself to do better and be better.
As a little girl I looked around at my life, and noted how my friends homes looked and sounded and knew my home life wasn’t ‘normal.’ I knew I was growing up different than a lot of people around me, and I knew I wanted better. I knew I didn’t want to continue the cycle of alcoholism and poverty. I knew I wanted to be and do more. And that little plastic coffee cup was the beginning of me wondering. . . “Just what exactly can I do?”
Gustave nailed it. I looked towards the sky, I reached for the stars, I grew wings, and I’m working my way up. I’m not quite there yet, but I’m getting goddamn close. And it feels so, so good to be here, this far, and know that the only place I can go is up. There are setbacks and obstacles still. But they’re fewer and farther between, and the setbacks don’t bring me as far back as they used to. It’s more of a stumble than a step backwards anymore. Truthfully, I could even stay put, I’m pretty content here. I’m comfortable. But once upon a time a little eight year old girl read some words on a cup that put stars in her eyes, and she has never settled since.
Happy Sunday, folks. Never settle for less than what you want, and what you deserve. The sky is the limit.