“As Far As I Can Throw You”

Photography by Shaun Liriano

He threw her.  Just threw her with full force like you chuck a football through a field. He threw her. She flew through the air.

I always knew I could fly, she said.

For the first time there was someone he could trust with his life and he wanted to show her that he cared.  He wanted to show her that she was special.  He wanted to show her that he’d be “mush” without her.

I trust you about as far as I can throw you, he said.

Then he threw her.  He hurled her body and watched it spiral through the air. His love poured out of the sweat that beaded on her forehead.  His faith sprouted wings in her back.  His hope stripped her naked and replaced her bland clothing with an aerodynamic super suit colorful enough to match her vibrant personality.

At first, she was afraid. Fretfully, she gathered herself and tried to get her bearings.  She tried to get used to being in the company of birds, high branches, and jet planes approaching their landings. She screamed in excitement.  No one seemed alarmed that she was up there.  They expected her to be in the sky.  It was as if she didn’t belong on the ground and everyone knew it.

He didn’t look at her though. Once he threw her he didn’t wonder if she could take flight.  He BELIEVED she could. So he obliviously kicked a ball through a field and watched it roll on. He read an article from time to time. He viewed television shows at leisure. He felt the warmth of an onlookers admiring glance. He chugged along knowing she was soaring through the sky for the first time.

Isn’t he wondering if I am okay?  How does he know a larger creature hasn’t consumed me?  Hasn’t he thought about my loneliness? Sometimes it’s cold up here.  I don’t know anyone up here.  Sometimes I’m scared.  I’ve never flown before.  I’ve never been thrown before.  At first it was fun but where is he?  What is he doing?

Her fear ignited a fire so fierce it singed her beautiful wings. It incinerated her custom costume.  It sent her flailing through the sky clumsily…falling.

She landed in a bed of roses.  The thorns, long and sharp, pierced her skin and her blood mixed with the crimson red of the rose petals.  Her body naked and covered in ashes and blood writhed in pain.

She screamed out in horror, “My love! Where are you?  Why didn’t you fly with me?  Why did you leave me all alone?”

Silence.  She waited in the cold.  Naked. Vulnerable.

All the while, he returned to the field of her original launch every day after breakfast.  He wondered why she never returned. He assumed she must be enjoying the clean air, the ascension.

Why didn’t she ever try to throw me?

He felt her absence but he also felt her presence.

-By: Shaun Liriano

*Dedicated to my muse.

My life is part humor, part roses, part thorns.

~Bret Michaels

 

 

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It’s Not That Serious

I am a jokester. I love to have fun and I am extremely extroverted.

However, I am very sensitive to criticism. 

The latter takes away from the former if you don’t say to yourself every once in awhile ,”It’s not that serious.”

I am often guilty of getting offended by that phrase. My husband gets beat up about it the most:

What do you mean you’re not hungry? Wait…so what you’re saying is my food is wack?? I’m a wack food maker??? I can’t toast bread???? WHERE HAVE YOU EATEN TODAY????? WHY DID YOU MARRY A REMEDIAL FOOD PREPARER?????? “

His response: “It’s not that serious, Shaun.”

“WHAT?!!”

My guns are cocked, knives drawn, and ready for war. He said something harmless to calm my ass down. My interpretation was, “Your feelings aren’t a serious matter for me.”

The division is established.

Two days later we decide that was a stupid fight to have about dinner.

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The chicken vegetable stir fry I made the other day. They picked the vegetables out -_-

The point is…my WHOLE life would be different if I chose to abide by “It’s not that serious” at the right times. People are just people.
“Mistakes are what make people human.”-Tip in the movie Home (Yes my children have brain washed me.)

I am DEEPLY ENGULFED in this great book I got on clearance at Target two days ago.

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You’re loving my fresh wash, set, and wrap lol

Year of Yes is absolutely freaking awesome. The message is self explanatory but I am in love with the way Shonda Rhimes writes. The detail and the color is so inviting you feel like you know her personally. I could completely relate to her take on the “working mother.”

I work 11 hour shifts 4 days a week plus overtime. My 2 year old is in an early childhood private program. My step daughter is in her first year of kindergarten. The class parties, fundraisers, meetings, and at home learning we do to supplement is a lot. Factor in cleaning,  laundry, and an occasional meal and there are days when I get 3-4 hours of consecutive sleep. But! You know what…

It’s not that serious.

Also, I’m lucky. My husband helps. Not like, helps a little bit. No he helps A LOT.

I conducted a business call with a dancer performing in my upcoming poetry showcase tonight. I was on a lunch break and she had her infant climbing into the phone. We both shared that we sometimes video chat our husbands. The kids video chat. We text at stop signs. Simple things have to be scheduled. Everything has to be rescheduled. But!
It’s not that serious. We get it done.

I would like to complain less and comply more.

Good t-shirt idea.

Note to self.

Complain less and comply more.

Until next time…

-Shaun Liriano

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***By the way…I’m doing a follow-up post to the vision board post I did last year. So look for that! Share. Comment. Like.
https://shutyamouthandcallmeugly.com/2015/01/30/vision-boards-and-what-i-think-of-them/

“There’s nothing wrong with being driven. And there’s nothing wrong with putting yourself first to reach your goals. The other stuff still happens.” ~Shonda Rhimes

You Are A Hot Mess! (Introspection piece)

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The other day my family was getting up and ready for the days activities. I watched my fiancée take the last pair of draws from the dresser  (“draws”=underwear.) I felt bad because laundry is one of my chores. We share the household responsibilities. I made a silent oath to head to the laundromat before work.

When I got there, there was a woman with a plastic caddy. It had disinfectant wipes, bleach, detergent,  fabric softener, and dryer sheets. She wiped down the folding table with the wipes. While she waited for her laundry she put a minimal amount of makeup on. When her laundry was completed, it was immaculate. It was drop off service worthy. She smiled with pride and carried her laundry to the car.

I thought to myself, “When did I stop folding panties? When did I start throwing socks into the bag and praying a match would be found?” I used to work retail. I KNOW how to fold clothes. I know how to make them look beautiful with limited wrinkles.

When did I become a hot mess?

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There is a car wash I like to frequent  (when I have some extra cash.) A petite hispanic man is the guy who welcomes you when you come in. He smiles a bright genuine smile with one gold tooth. Then he says, “Hola angel!” He gives you your ticket and he moves quickly and with exuberance. One night I was passing by on the way home. I noticed him getting on his bicycle.

I thought to myself, “Would I be able to be that professional and kind? Could I take such good care of peoples automobiles when I don’t have one of my own?”

When did I become a hot mess?

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On Saturdays I like to go to Zumba class at the gym. It is so much fun! It’s a good way to let loose. My Zumba instructor is fantastic! She looks like Jessica Alba in the movie “Honey.” She has so much energy! She is always smiling. She seems to organically LOVE what she does. She always remembers peoples names. She gets in front of you and dances with you when you are beginning to become exhausted.

I watched her yesterday and thought, “How sensational it must be to get paid to do what you love. What a blessing it is to be able to dance for a living.”

When did I become a hot mess?

I think I know the answer.

I became a hot mess when the innocence of being bedazzled by brilliant simplistic intrinsic happiness was stripped from me. Children are so happy when you get them a 50 cent sticker from the vending machine. They love a new movie or ice cream. It can literally make their day. That was stripped from me. You have to make an effort to regain that. Sometimes you will make the effort and it will go unnoticed. It may seem trivial to others. You have to keep trying. You have to believe that what you say and feel matters but somehow prevent it from defining you. Every interaction is an opportunity to change someone’s life…especially yours.

Today was hard for me. Knowing the amount of effort I invested will put me to sleep (that and Tylenol PM.) 🙂
Seriously though, I think know that effort and the redefinition of innocence will give life some new seasoning. It will make challenges easier to swallow. It will make me less of a hot mess.

By: Shaun Nickens

What the Heaven Are You Looking At?

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Cookie. “
“No honey, Mommy doesn’t have a cookie,”I whisper.
“Cookie.”
“Be a good girl, we’re in church,”I whisper.
“COOKIE!  COOKIE!!!!!!!!!”

My one year old flails herself around screaming to God himself for a cookie that I don’t have. Her big sister looks at me helplessly watching my brown face turn beet red in embarrassment.  Then she sweetly leans in and says, “You have crackers though right?”

The innocence. 

As I fumble through the diaper bag l glance up and see an impatient onlooker two pews ahead of us. She looks over her shoulder every time one of my children or any child says or does anything! 

Bear in mind, we are sitting in the very last row of the church.  Why? It is simply because I remember being young and single with no kids and shaking my head as I watch a parent provide pacifiers, goldfish, handheld electronic games, or anything short of monetarily bribing their children to be quiet during a church service. I always said I would sit in the back when I have kids.
A friend of mine said they once sang the ABC song during a baptism to keep their little one calm during service.  I thought to myself, “I wonder if that will work. ”

Meanwhile, the baby seems to have built an equaliser in her lungs and a microphone in her throat.

COOKIE.COOKIE. COOKIE. COOKIE!!!”

I stayed calm. “They can sense your fear,”I thought.

The lady two pews ahead is still staring. 

“What the hell …heaven. ..is she looking at?!”

This is when you will hear non-believers say the church is full of hypocrisy.  It is because of situations like this. A kid is fighting a nap and you are giving a parent a murder one ice grill (my slang shows my age) instead of being empathetic. A scripture came to mind:

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
~Matthew 19:14

The next time the woman glanced I smiled.  I simultaneously tuned in to the preacher saying,

“Reach into yourself when it is difficult and be your better self always.  Forgive those you’ve trained yourself to forget because of the pain they’ve caused you.”

I chuckled to myself knowing adults have a hard time focussing in church,  let alone children.  I gave the girls a granola bar to share. I kissed them on the foreheads and we snuck out (towards the end) with stealth while another kid had a breakdown over juice. I silently hoped they enjoyed fellowship and hoped they learned something.  I know I did.

By:Shaun Nickens

 

3 Reasons I Love Being a Parent

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1. I took my 1 year old to a mommy and me “Babies Music and Play” class yesterday morning.  I don’t have her in a traditional daycare so I proactively look for opportunities for her to socialize with other children.  The kids all went into the meeting room and immediately began playing with one another.  When it was time to sing songs, my kid was singing at the top of her lungs. She showed the other children how to play with the toys. She stood in front of the play kitchen and had a full length conversation on the “phone.” She was showing off her vocabulary “Papi”,”mommy”, “hi”, “I’m okay”, “What you doing?” I was so proud! The other mother’s started asking me questions about her age and activities.  I felt instantly privileged to be her mom.

2. Sometimes I’m exhausted.  No, like borderline dead/comatose exhausted.  Like putting your phone in the freezer and your eggs in the bathtub exhausted!   Like putting your window all the way down and your music all the way up so you can drive home safe exhausted.  Yet, I will jump up at any time day or night if I am responsible for doing something for my children.  There is something wonderful about being needed and wanted at the same time. There is something awesome about tiny fingers holding your head and looking into your eyes lovingly and curiously. 

3. Children are raw, open, honest and unapologetic.  They have so many questions.  I love the responsibility of being one of the first people they go to for their answers.  Your four year old wants to know:
“Why do you go to work? ”
“Why do you have to make money? ”
“Why do you have to pay bills?”
“Why do we need heat?”
“Why is it cold?”

You better come up with some great answers for them and for yourself!  Children help you reassess, edit, and improve your life. My sister is 15 years old. She plays music at the highest decibel and dances with the girls until they are all out of breath and she is their she-ro! Kids are simple. They just want attention and uninhibited honest fun and unconditional love. They want you to be yourself which is the opposite of the facade we normally have to display.  Parenting gives you at least one safe place to be yourself.

By: Shaun Nickens

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*Day 10 of the 30 day writing challenge! Tell me why you LOVE being a parent.  Follow us on Twitter @shutyamouthnow
Bless!!

So Sorry

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“Hey Daddy! What’s going on?” I couldn’t hide the excitement in my voice.  I love hearing from my dad.
“Pop’s gone to be with Jesus,”  he said matter of factly.

He never was one for small talk.

All I could think to myself was,  “Jesus who?  Like…THE Jesus? ! Wait-are you trying to romantically say he’s. ..”

I cried. Snot dripped out of my nose.   Broke down right there in the passenger seat of my car.  My partner was at the wheel silent.  He knew what happened from the one sided context clues. When I ended the conversation with my dad, he softly said ,”Babe, I’m so sorry.” I was too.

I was so sorry.

He was 92. Great life.  Proud man. Accomplished.  Veteran.  Disciplined.  I wasted so much time. I procrastinated so much. There were so many things I wanted him to be proud of.  When someone lives that long you have this false sense of mortality. You forget who is truly in charge. You forget your days are numbered.

He was tall, handsome and he only spoke if he had something profound to say. He would always talk about his “good looking family.” He taught us to take care of one another. He absolutely adored his wife!  It was deeper than love. It was what musicians sing about and what artists try to paint. It was what philosophers die trying to define.

I will miss trying to impress you and prove to you that I am as tough as my male cousins.  I will miss trying to help with the family business. I will miss your sweet smile…it was so genuine.  I know I couldn’t keep you here forever.  I know I took you for granted.

I am so sorry. ..
…I didn’t get to say goodbye.  I love you Papa Ben.

By: Shaun Nickens

Imagination

I got home and dinner was ready at the table. The kids were seated nicely. The placemats were set so that the tablecloth wouldn’t get dirty. The house was clean but messy…you know…lived in. The love hit you at the door along with the smell of biscuits. There was yelling but not the “nails on the chalkboard” type. When dinner was done I didn’t have to load the dishwasher. No blaring flat screen to misuse the little time we had to spend with one another. We had quality conversation.  We looked in each other’s eyes. We connected with one another.  He took care of everything.

By the time I came out of my work clothes, my shower was running.  There were lavender scented candles in the room.  The kids were in bed. Their bedtime stories already read. The profits he made for the day were displayed on the laptop.  Our household “to do list” had a few more items checked off of it. He rinsed the day off of me. Covered my skin in a rich lather of mango and cinnamon scented body wash.  I patted my skin dry and moisturized in coconut oil.

The sheets were newly cleaned and had the slight scent of peppermint linen spray. He held me like he had been waiting to be close to me all his life.

He told me every nook and cranny of his day.  He vowed we’d never argue again.  We chuckled at how silly it sounded. We engulfed ourselves in one another.  We planned a new family vacation.  We discussed politics and our plans for the future. He didn’t mind that it was time to get my hair done or that my toenails needed to be painted.  He didn’t mind anything at all. He was so content with being able to make me happy.

It took sometime to get here…
.. this place that could now exist outside of my imagination.

By: Shaun M N

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