Diary

The prompt was Diary.

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

pexels-photo-108447

 

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

 

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.

 

pexels-photo-227706

 

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

Surprise

The prompt was surprise. Inspired by the terrifying results of the 2016 election, but I don’t think surprise is quite the right word. Shock is definitely apt. Fear as well. I wrote this piece as my reflection on what the election revealed about America and what the violence in the proceeding week set out to prove.

As a disabled LGBT mother to a child that is a WOC, I am scared. What happened on November 8th proved to me that my life doesn’t matter to nearly half of America. And nothing will ever make it right as long as that administration is in office.

America is no longer safe.

 


There are no words for the political horror America has unleashed. People of color are dying. Lesbian, gay, and transgendered people are being assaulted. There is no end in sight for the trauma we have done to ourselves.

America is broken. A flawed, unjust system gave rise to the greatest threat to peace and prosperity, and some celebrate it. The death of the American Dream is imminent.

Many may not survive this. But those that do must maintain their memory, fight for their legacy. The survivors must not simply rebuild what America was, but what it always promised to be.

 

©2016 Heather Stephens

Voice

The prompt was “Voice” and so I am joining mine to fight for justice for all women. In the media, feminists and those who regularly stand for social justice are stereotyped as white women fighting for white women.

I reject the Lena Dunhams and Amy Schumers of the feminist movement. White feminism needs to go.

I am not perfect. I am not the strongest ally. I can’t be because I am white-passing and I don’t face the struggles that so many of my WOC friends face every. single. day. But I can try to empathize, I can prioritize understanding their issues. I join my voice under theirs, but with theirs.

pexels-photo-167528
She stood on the pulpit, megaphone in hand. She stood for black women, dying in private prisons in red states and being mocked for reading comics in blue states. She stood for native women, being shot at routine traffic stops when they dared travel outside tribal lands. She stood for Latina and Asian women, being reduced to sexual fantasy and quota fulfillment.
She stood because she could. She stood to lend her voices to the millions of others demanding justice for the slaughter of so many lives, hopes, and dreams. She stands to silence the indoctrination that still lives on.
© 2016 H.R. Stephens

Just a thought about women.

A man could lay himself down at the end of the day, satisfied that he had achieved all that he set out to do.

A man could be content, knowing that he knows no master but himself.

Can women claim such comforts? May women claim such comforts?

Because it seems to me that women have everything dictated to them: how they should look, what they should wear, how dramatically they may paint their faces before being branded a whore.

For men, freedom lies in the masculinity that gives them their confidence. The future is theirs, ripe for the picking.

Women must climb higher, striving to bypass the low-hanging fruit that men can reach so easily.

Stream of Consciousness – 9/9/2016

This is a stream of consciousness post. It was typed in one sitting, in one go, with no edits. Any italic or bold text was done with CTRL-I or CTRL-B. 

I love my husband more than anything, and the two years I have spent with him mean more to me than the 26 I spent without him. Together we have built a family – even the ugly parts. Financial decisions weight upon us like any other family in the world, but we always pull through and make it work because we have a support system. More importantly, we have each other.

My anxiety is rampant and I never know what to do with my hands. I loathe my body, and there is so much for me to do all the time, even though I don’t even have a job. My mind can be a pretty dark place much of the time, but when he comes in the room, everything is alight with light of knowing that I am loved.

He is raising my daughter as his own, and he has given me a son that is the light of my life. He completes the part of me that wants to be a part of something important. My family is important.

Hopefully, through my writing I am creating something important. Because I feel like my own personal importance will be manifest in the children I raise, the support I give my husband, and the art I create. My writing is the way for me to make something beautiful for people to hold on to, and I hope that is clear. But it may not be. And if it isn’t, I need to work on that. My writing is for the world, not for me alone. For me, it is the act of writing that is my catharsis, not the finished product.

Someday, I’ll feel like I, too, am important.

Stream of Consciousness – 9/4/2016

This is a stream of consciousness post. It was typed in one sitting, in one go, with no edits. Any italic or bold text was done with CTRL-I or CTRL-B. 

 

This is disjointed because I’m distracted but when am I not? Because I am always distracted. I am a mother of two. I am the wife of a glorious man with an intellect far greater than he believes. I am a daughter, I am a sister, I am a beneficiary, I am an account holder, I am a member, I am a participant, I am a…

But when am I Heather?

When am I me? When does it matter whether or not I have wants and needs and hopes and dreams? This is a struggle that is more than likely relateable for millions of moms everywhere, and that is why it is so often dismissed. But my identity is my own and I have the right, the absolute human right, to it. I have the right to display it, demonstrate it, practice it. And so many people would likely tell me to suck it up or stop complaining or to be grateful. To count my blessings that I am alive and my children are beautiful, intelligent creatures and that my husband is the pillar of strength that he is.

And pardon my language, but how fucked is it that I cannot be simultaneously grateful for my family and mounful for my loss of self. Are our senses of self so flimsy that we can shed them in sacrifice gladly and be considered weak for attempting to hold onto them? Because I don’t think that is strength. I don’t think it makes you any better of a parent or a spouse to discard yourself. I think it is entirely possible for me to Me, Mother, Wife simultaneously.

Knowing that it is possible – and I do know it, deep in my core I know it – does not mean that I know how it is possible. I don’t know how to be all those things and still be me. But I won’t give up. Not yet.

Because if I’ve learned one thing from the trials I have been through, it is that life always gets worse before it gets better and the trend always swings back upwards. It is essential that you hold onto that cycle when the path is dark because otherwise you lose your way and I have far too much to lose if I get lost and far too much to gain if I just hold on.

So it goes.