Past

The prompt was Past.

This one is autobiographical.

 

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It weighed upon her like so many rocks, stifling her breath, taking away her ability to think straight.

It wasn’t painful. It was more like breathing in toxic air every time she inhaled.

She inhaled more anxieties. She inhaled more poisonous memories.

Without an acute sense of identity, she was lost. Fallen to the ravages of time not well-spent.

What did she have to show for it? Not much.

A home of strife, burnt to the ground. It was never perfect, but it had been hers.

Her life was like that. She’d never build a better one on broken foundations.

© 2017 Heather Stephens

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Lost

The prompt was Lost. I could have gone a million different ways with this, but I chose this way. I hope it’s coherent and my point comes across clearly. If you’ve read my other posts, my 100-word stories are always a little bit abstract, but I wasn’t sure if this was too abstract. My husband says it’s coherent, and that’s good enough for me. Here you go!

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Basically, she couldn’t find it.

She’d looked for it everywhere. Everywhere. She’d looked for it in Greece. She’d looked for it in France. She’d looked for it at every job she’d held in the past two years, and she’d had too many of those.

Giving up was not an option, so she kept looking. Desperately, fiercely, painstakingly searching for it everywhere she went. In flower shops and cafes, in bookstores and shopping malls.

It wasn’t until much later that she realized she’d been picking up pieces of it all along.

It was up to herself to put it back together.

© 2017 Heather Stephens

Diary

The prompt was Diary.

This is my favorite thing I’ve written. It is very dear to me.

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She didn’t weep as she wrote her miseries onto the paper. Her tragedies were her own, internal, and she had no desire to give them up. Speaking them out loud would set them free, and that would end her.

She held on to those miseries as if they were lifelines. Her regrets were strength. If she could build up a kingdom for a life on top of the ashes of her dreams, she would truly have won.

She didn’t feel like she was winning.

And as she scribbled down her melancholy, she swam in the warm comfort of her struggles.

 

© 2017 Heather Stephens

 

Water

The prompt was “Water”.

Water is always blissful for me. I love being near it. Whether I’m at the beach, looking out on the Pacific Ocean with a thousand other people or I’m walking along a river or I’m gazing at a lake, I find peace always.

Water calms me. If I’m feeling capricious or my mental illnesses are too much to bear, I know I can at least find some semblance of focus.

I love being near water.

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The lake always gave her tranquility.

And it was a gift. Tranquility was something she did not usually possess. Yet as she sat on the shore, a blessed calm passed over her, blanketing her in warm silence.

Her mind, too, was quiet.

So she relished this, away from the pressures of a life gone horribly wrong. A life that could have gone a thousand ways, but had chosen a harsher course.

Still, she had the lake, and all that it gave to her. Strength could be found in its peaceful waters.

Heeding the wisdom of the still water, she survived.

© 2017 Heather Stephens

Spoons

It is said that those with chronic illness or mental illness only have a certain amount of energy with which to do tasks, needful tasks, like personal hygiene and housekeeping. That is why so many with such afflictions either can’t work or perform poorly when working or attending school.

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I personally struggle with several debilitating illnesses and afflictions. Some days I can’t brush my own hair, other days I can’t shower. The sicker I get, the more often these days occur. I need help preparing my food. Some days I can’t even feed myself and I need my husband to spoon my food into my mouth.

It’s too much.

But other days, like today, I am capable. I can write, I can think clearly. These days are gifts and I take advantage of every single one.

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A messy room. A dirty kitchen.

Lessons in tidiness never heeded.

She stepped over the piles of clothes on her way to get a glass of milk.

It had gone sour.

Of all the reasons one might have to keep a house neat, she possessed only two that kept it filthy.

Her mind. Her sorrows.

Should she obtain a way out of the muck that grimed the kitchen countertops, she would feel a new sort of responsibility. To keep it that way. The thought exhausted her.

The burden of freedom. ‘Twas too much to bear.

She resigned to her suffering.

 

© 2017 Heather Stephens

 

To Fly

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Whenever I’d ask her about her hopes and dreams, she’d always say that she wished to fly. But women are not made for the skies. They must be grounded, sincere. That’s what

I

told

her.

She never wanted to hear it. She would brush me off, telling me that I didn’t understand. So

I

told

her

that she would never be happy until she learned to choose happiness. She discarded my advice like it was irrelevant to her. When, finally,

I

told

her

that I wanted to marry her, she laughed. She walked away as if she couldn’t hear me.

 

 

 

©2017 Heather Stephens

Adventure

I can’t find my antidepressants, so I felt I should write this little beam of positivity to try and fake it ’til I make it, so to speak. So it goes. The prompt was “Adventure”.

 

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Where should she go?

She has her whole life ahead of her. Never felt better. Armed with a degree and a car, she can only move up from here. Crippled with debt she may be, but she is young. She can crawl and claw her way out from under the mountain of obligation sitting on top of her.

She just has to figure out what she wants to do with her life. The life that belongs to only she. She, the arbiter of her own destiny.

She’ll find her way, eventually. She’s always had the knack.

Where should she go?

 

© 2017 Heather Stephens

Trust

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Another dollar, another toy.

She was spending as fast as she was earning. Her husband hated it. He knew she thought she was being careful, but the finances just didn’t add up every month like he wanted.

But she was kind. She was determined. She worked so hard and chased her dreams like everyone should. Hard. Unrelenting.

He never mentioned the money. It was hers to do with as she willed. He trusted her, knew that if circumstances should change, she’d adapt.

Mutual trust. Mutual respect. He didn’t have to agree with her choices to love her for making them.

 

© 2016 Heather Stephens

Words

For this prompt, I decided to go autobiographical.

There has never been a time in my life when I didn’t want to be a writer. I wanted to do other things too, but always be a writer. I’m not very good at writing, but I’m passionate about it. I put it here online in the hopes that my voice will be heard. I don’t need to be famous or paid well to love writing. Writing itself is the joy.

 

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It’s always been my dream to be a writer. For many years I have felt that it is important to tell stories and have your voice be heard. That is all I really want. Not money, not fame. Just to be heard.

It’s difficult, however, to defeat the nagging voices that tell you being a wordsmith is not your calling. To struggle with your own mediocrity is painful. Heartbreaking. But the secret to being a writer is having the passion to do it anyway. To keep learning to perfect your craft. To write, even if no one will read it.

 

© 2016 Heather Stephens

Justice

The prompt was “Justice” and I feel like  I believe it doesn’t exist. Life is not fair, but we can find beauty nevertheless.

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She wondered where she stood. What had been done to her was not technically a crime, so there could be no perpetrator. If she felt violated, it was because she was sensitive. If her professor had gone further than he did, it would have been because she led him on. By not taking action to stop him sooner, she revealed that she had been asking for his violent attention.

Where did she stand? What doors would open for her now? Two years from graduating, but a stain on her name before she reached the door. What choice did she have?

 

© 2016 Heather Stephens