Where I Am Today

The story of a young man seeking to find his place in the world. 

by: Rebecca Taylor

I want to start by telling you to never give up, no matter what anyone tells you. The people who tell you that you cannot accomplish something are either pessimistic, jealous, afraid for you or are too caught up in their preconceived ideas to realize that maybe you’re onto something. That something could be wonderful, or new or imaginative or that you’re so passionate about that the thought of abandoning it is enough to bring you to tears and make you feel like the entire universe has stopped spinning around you. There are more people than I can count who told me that I shouldn’t make changes to clothing designs or that there was something wrong with me for having my very unique style. The truth is there is nothing wrong with me. I’m just a guy who had a vision, one that was unheard of at the time.

For a long time, I had to wear hand me downs because my family didn’t have much money. I was in high school when I got my first real break. All boys and girls had to do sewing projects in home economics class. We were given material and told to come up with an idea of what we wanted to make. I decided that I wanted to come up with a really cool t-shirt and I did. To be honest, it didn’t look that good because my ability to use the sewing machine was very poor but I still liked what I had come up with and I told myself that one day I was going to get it right. Instead of using my birthday money to go to the store and buy clothes, I went to thrift stores and bought different items that I liked but that needed my own personal touch. I’d take designs from one shirt and add them to another. Some people just gave me funny looks, some of them told me I was crazy and should be doing other things like trying out for the basketball team. I played sports but that didn’t give me the same sort of thrill as wearing really cool clothes did and that I’d found a way to afford those clothes and give them my own touch made me proud. Some of the other students even tried to bully me because I was different. Fortunately, I’ve never been the quiet sort and I managed to get my message across that they weren’t the ones wearing the clothes so why did they care.

I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I got out of high school. The idea of being a clothing designer never crossed my mind because I’d been given so much flack about my own clothes from so many people. There were some though who applauded my passion and I fed off of the good energy and tried not to dwell on the bad too much, even though it much more frequent than the good. I got a job working in a sporting goods store selling. I got to choose the clothing that I wanted to wear in that store and I used my creativity and much improved sewing skills to come up with some interesting work duds. I often incorporated a sports theme into the design. A co-worker asked if I’d make him a few shirts that he could wear to work. I was only too happy to oblige. This was my first sale and it got me thinking that other people might wear my designs, so I put together a few other shirts. My boss gave me permission to sell them in the store. He was skeptical but willing to give me a try. I felt determined to prove to him that the clothing I liked to wear could become a trend. In time the shirts sold and I made others. I began to experiment with the designs, having a clientele enhanced my passion and my desire to push my limits even further.  One day I attended a corporate event with my girlfriend and saw someone wearing one of my shirts with their suit coat, I was amazed.  I realized that I had created something that couldn’t be bought in most stores. Without trying, I’d created a blend of luxury clothing and streetwear. That moment, I knew I wanted to give everyone a chance to buy my clothing. That led me to where I am today, starting my own clothing company. I couldn’t be happier knowing that I never gave up and that what started out as making clothing for me, turned into so much more. I know it is cliché to say a dream come true, but that’s really what this is, one wilder that I could ever have imagined.

Volunteers

by: Rebecca Taylor

Volunteers are special people,

Always there to help

Keep things going smoothly

Extra hands, hearts, and ideas

Making others smile and laugh

Take time out to do for others

Creating self fulfillment

Something money can’t buy

Sometimes hidden behind the scenes

Other times in plain sight

Willing to give a helping hand

Hard working, caring, appreciated, amazing

Thank you for all you do.

When I Die

When I die I don’t want a monument with my face on it. I don’t want a party, with all of my friends mourning/ celebrating my death and all the lousy things they remember about me. I want silence.

I want the world to spin faster, and I want people to be too preoccupied with their lives to remember I’m gone.

Okay, I’m lying.

But still, sometimes I feel that way.

When I die I really want to be there to watch them bury my body. I want to make sure their doing it right, that I’m wearing my favorite jeans and that t-shirt my little sister Kalie made in art class. The one with the uneven pink stripes. I don’t even like pink, but she’d spend a month making it for my birthday, so I don’t want to leave that behind when I go.

I want to hover around in my ghostly form, and watch my mom cooking pasta in the kitchen, my father messing with the car in the garage, and when all of my aunts and uncles and cousins come over to cry over my ugly picture on the mantle, I want to stand off to the side, silently. Because it’s familiar, not being noticed I mean.

I wonder if anyone will even know I’m dead. Or if I’ll have moved too far away from everyone for them to reach me. Maybe someone will find me ‘sleeping’, smelling up the place and finally decide to call the cops or something.

Or maybe I’ll be on a cruise – like that’ll actually happen, but hey, I’m still young so I may learn to love those old people things. I’ll be leaning on the railings, and fall, and because I’m just so damn quiet, no one will realize I’m drowning until they’re miles away. And I can’t swim, so, there’s no way I’m getting back to the boat.

When I die, I want my death to be loud and obnoxious, something I never had the guts to be in life. I want fireworks, and arguments over what flowers to place on my grave, and the satisfaction that every time someone thinks of me, they want to scream – either from the pain of missing me, or frustration, or anger because they hated me so damn much.

I want a 6am parade that wakes up those people next door, the ones who always told me to pick up my pants because they were hanging too low and showing my ass. They know they loved looking at it, those pervs.

And I want thick socks, because they’re probably gonna put me in that part of hell that actually freezes over.

When I die, I’m giving all of my Pokemon cards to Charles, because hes the only one I know who still plays the game. I want my clothes burned so no one can look as good as me, and I want to give my stash of money to my mom so she can finally get her hair done by professionals. My dad can have my phone, because god know he needs something other than his ’90’s flip phone, with half of the buttons no longer working. Everything else I have, they can do what they want with it. I never really cared for it anyway.

And when I die, I want to die peacefully and painlessly.

I don’t want a heart attack, or those weird parasite that you can only get from the Amazon that eat your brains or something. I want to be like those old people who know their going, and kiss their grand kids’ foreheads, hug their children, then fall asleep.

That’s what I want.

Seasons of Patience

by: Rebecca Taylor

The seasons teach us patience

They begin in December with winter

Snow covered cedars make us smile

But the white roads mean we must go slower

And share our paths in order to survive the drive we are making.

Next March brings us the start of Spring

Gentle breezes begin to show a change in wardrobe

But mud puddles grow and slush is ever present

Making us readjust our path to get to the car door.

Summer shows her glowing face in June

School is out and children shout with joy

Extra-long lines of traffic as people clamour to leave the city

Everyone loaded down with hampers and sunscreen for the beach.

Autumn joins us in September

Beautiful leaves decorate the deciduous trees

Nights begin to get cooler

As parents and students look at homework together

Then the cycle begins again.

The Treasures of Spring

by: Rebecca Taylor

I was born in the Four Seasons Antique Shop to my parents Mr. and Mrs. Seasons on a bright sunny day in early June. My parents had been together for twelve years when a light shone down from the sky. They looked at one another and said, “This object symbolizes our dreams and hopes of a future filled with love and family. We will call its name Spring.” This is me, and my antique symbol is a treasure chest. For a long time, I did not comprehend why this represented my personality, but I will tell you more about this later.

First, I would like to tell you about my brothers and sister. The second oldest is my sister Summer, she is symbolized by an a bright amber vase. This makes perfect sense because her heart, like the vase’s opening is always open and willing to explore new possibilities. She may be the one with the hardest job in the family, she is the family confidant, because no matter how busy life or the antique shop becomes, she will always take the time to listen. Even my parents turn to her for advice. My brother Fall, the third child is represented by a hundred year old figurine of an ox. This is because he has amazing inner strength, and keeps going even in the most difficult of circumstances. Winter, the youngest of us four is indicated by an old metal sign that reads, “Where you want to be.” That is completely Winter, of all of us Seasons children, he is the most carefree, the one who has the most friends and is always on the run from one activity to another. Like all families, our sibling personalities sometimes clash, and we have our differences of opinions, but it is certain that once all of the bickering is done, that we will reach middle ground even if we do not agree, we still love each other and will do anything for the others.

When we were old enough to understand how important the antique shop was to our family and what responsibility meant, our parents promised us all that if we met three conditions, we would be guaranteed an inheritance. Our parents would not disclose what it was but said that it would be worth it. The first condition was that we all display an interest in the family business and take turns running it. This is the easiest of the conditions to meet. Secondly, our parents wanted us to each find our own niche within the antique business, one that we would study and specialize in. I became an appraiser, and after apprenticing at several antique shops in the country, began to work fulltime for my parents. The third condition is the one that I had the difficulty with; we all had to find our hidden purpose. For Summer, this was not so difficult as she is a very open personage, and her purpose was to go out into the community and help others. She is amazing, and people find it easy to get to know her. For me, I’ve never had the best people skills, being too shy to shine in the spotlight. I prefer to be behind the scenes. I do okay with the customers because I know what I am talking about, but when I’m out in a crowd I usually clam up for fear of playing the fool.

One day, when it was my turn to be watching the store, a difficult situation confronted me, that put everything my parents wanted for me at jeopardy. They have many desires in life like wanting to be able to bestow each of us children with our inheritance once we have met their conditions and they are certain that we can live up to their expectations. They dream of us all finding the right person to be able to have our own families and hope that they have taught us well enough to be able to do the right things in life. A man and a child entered through the back door of the shop, which is always kept locked. I heard the door and crouched behind a cupboard in fear because the back door is only used as an emergency exit. The man kept walking around the shop, and pointing out items to the little boy, which would not have been unusual had he entered through the front door, but he had not and I did not know what to do. Eventually they left through the back door just as they entered. I did not understand how they got in, they must have picked the lock; which meant they were not law-abiding citizens, but why bring the child, and why not take anything if that had been the purpose. I relocked the back door, but did not say anything to my parents when they returned, because I was ashamed. I had hid. That night, someone took several antiques from the shop, the police were called and no one knew how they had entered the store. I knew, and I could have prevented it, had I alerted someone to what had happened earlier in the day. Detectives searched to see if they could find any evidence but everything pointed nowhere. I could not look my parents in the face, I felt as guilty as if I had stolen the antiques myself. My parents and Fall were busy readying the shop to reopen, it was going to keep going, a break in would not stop the family from persevering. They were cleaning up my mess. Summer knew something was wrong by the way I had been acting, I had withdrawn from my family in their time of need.

“What’s going on?” she asked one day about a week after the break in.

“Nothing,” I answered but I am not a good liar.

“You’re not yourself, I know everyone’s rattled since the robbery, but your family needs you. Tell me why you’re hiding from everyone.”

“It’s all my fault,” I answered looking at the floor in my bedroom where Summer had confronted me.

“How’s it your fault, it happened at night when everyone was sleeping.”

“A man and little boy came in through the back door on the morning of the theft, I was scared and hid. They must have been checking out the place for that night.”

“You have to tell Mom and Dad. Do you remember anything about the man and boy.”

“A bit, but Mom and Dad will never trust me again.”

“If you tell them what happened, tell them you’re sorry, tell them you were afraid. Fear is nothing to be ashamed of. You just should have said something earlier.”

“I can’t, I’m the only one of us who hasn’t figured out their potential, and now I’ve failed everyone.”

“Don’t let the thief win; if you don’t face this, he’s going to make you feel guilty forever. Telling them won’t be easy and they’ll probably be upset, but that’s just the stress of the situation.”

“Will you come with me to tell them?” I asked quietly, feeling guilty, nervous about facing my parents and awkward about asking my little sister to come with me.

Summer agreed to help me face what had happened by accompanying me to talk to my parents. They were angrier than I have ever seen them in my life, and they were sad that I hadn’t owned up to what had happened before. The police were called and I had to help generate a profile of the thief and the child. My heart was pumping so fast I thought I was going to pass out. Detectives came back and asked questions of me, and Summer stood by me telling me it wasn’t my fault, that I wasn’t to blame for what had happened. I managed to pull through it, fighting the desire to run away from home and from all of the problems that I was facing. When I was younger Mother and Father always said the one thing they appreciated about my attitude was my calmness, but  I didn’t feel calm, but felt like I had to project it, so I didn’t worry anyone more than they already had been about everything that had been happening.

“We’ve decided that you still have a lot of learning to do about yourself and what it takes to earn a living and your inheritance, Spring. We are not going to give up on our dreams for you,” said my mother one day a few months after the robbery, even though the thief hadn’t been found, and may never be.

I thought about what they said as I worked around the shop one afternoon, after my mother told me this. Something drew me to the treasure trunk that symbolized my birth. It was glowing, something my parents claimed it had done on the day of my conception. I stopped and I touched it, and suddenly the lock undid itself and the trunk opened. I knew then that I had found my place in the world. I knew that I loved the antique business and the work I did appraising interesting articles but something inside me told me that I needed to let myself live, let myself open up, just like the treasure chest that had opened for me, because I was allowing myself to believe in myself again. Somehow, I began to understand more about life, and vowed to discover more. When I looked in the trunk, it overflowed with hand painted signs, with magical words on them like love, hope, and faith. I started looking through all these powerful expressions, taking them all in knowing that they would help me get a new perspective on life, let me open myself up to the outside world.

I let my newfound perception guide me, I spent more time trying to have fun, I tried to be friendlier around the shop, taking time to talk to more people, and not just figure out how much their stuff was worth. My parents and siblings noticed the change in me as did I and six months after the opening of the treasure trunk, my parents gave me the deed to my sixth of the antique shop. I now was part owner in the family business, I was ecstatic, and knew that I could finally put the doubts I had felt about myself since the robbery, behind me, my parents believed in me. I could let myself live in the future, leaving the bad memories of the past behind and taking only the good ones with me into the present.

The Stacey McKellar Rule Book (first three chapters)

by: Rebecca Taylor

Chapter 1

Stacey McKellar’s nail bitten hands shook as she said. “You didn’t.” Outside the dressing room, she could hear the production crew preparing for another busy day of filming. She could smell the pungency of the strong coffee and knew that Graham had used it to get over his hangover. She swallowed to keep the tears that threatened to erupt at bay.

“I made a mistake,” admitted Graham Thomson, “I’ll never do it again.”

“That’s crap,” replied Stacey, “this isn’t elementary school, you can’t just say, oops.” She stomped the heel of her leather shoe, the sound radiating through the small dressing room. “Do you realize you could have killed someone?”

“You’ve got to believe me, Stace, I never meant to drive drunk.”

“How many times do you think someone says that in a day?” She sighed sadly, and wished she had stayed in bed that morning and that the conversation she was now having with her soon to be ex-boyfriend was just a nightmare.

“Too many,” replied Graham his grey eyes not meeting Stacey’s blue ones.

“You’re a star but that doesn’t mean you get to break the law. Just because you didn’t hurt yourself or someone else, doesn’t mean I’m going to forgive you. Does Instantly mean nothing to you?” said Stacey her hands moving rapidly as she spoke. “Just because you -.”

“Stacey, please,” said Graham cutting off her rant. “Just listen to me for a minute. Let me make this up to you.”

“How dare you interrupt me and expect me to listen to you after what you did. You can’t make this better. Even though Andrew and Kara Mathis are characters in my novel doesn’t mean that their story isn’t real. People lose their loved ones all the time to drunk drivers. You’re playing Andrew in the movie, are you feeling nothing?”

“I know I was stupid, but please, don’t give up on me. Things were going so well between us.” He reached out his hand to touch her shoulder but she took a step backwards. Anger mixed with sadness flashed behind her eyes.

“Were is the operative word here. We’ve got work to do and whatever we could have been is over. Do you have any idea how many times I wanted to bring Mr. & Mrs. Mathis back to life when I was working on the book?” Stacey turned towards the wall and Graham saw her lift her hand to her cheek. He heard her clear her throat before she turned back to face him, “But I couldn’t because there is no backspace key on life, once someone’s dead, you can’t fix it, no matter how hard you try.”  Tears welling up in her eyes Stacey fled Graham’s dressing room. He looked after her stammering apologies.

“Five minutes to filming, Graham,” said a production assistant stopping by the dressing room.

Graham nodded and the production assistant left the room. Extreme emotion overwhelmed him as he took his hand and struck the table with it, spilling hot coffee all over it and himself. He cursed and grabbed a towel to clean up the mess before getting changed into clothing befitting of the character he played – a man devastated by the effects of another man’s drunk driving.

 


Chapter 2

“Stacey, filming’s about to start,” said her sister coming into the bathroom.

“Okay, I just need a minute,” she said splashing water on her face.

“What’s wrong?”

“I don’t have time to talk about it right now.”

“Well you’re not leaving this room until you do.”

“Just because you’re my big sister doesn’t mean that you know what’s best for me.”

“I can tell when something’s wrong and it definitely is right now,” said Lori standing by the bathroom door blocking anyone else from entering.

“Please, Lori, just leave it.”

“No, I won’t leave it, because this morning at the hotel you were one of the happiest people in the world and now you’re not.”

“I told Graham it was over. Now, I’m going to put on some makeup and go out there and watch him be in the movie that I wrote.”

“You don’t have to do that, Stace, we could go back to the hotel and empty all the candy out of the vending machines and watch an incredibly sad movie.” Lori reached out her arms to give Stacey a hug but she pulled away from her sister’s embrace.

“Please don’t, I can’t talk about this right now.”

“You don’t have to be strong all the time.”

“Yes, I do because no one else is going to be strong for me and, I wrote a book that someone wanted to make into a movie. I’m not going to hide. Graham isn’t going to take away the fact that someone thought I’d written something that mattered…”

“No, just every time you watch your masterpiece, he’s going to be in.”

“Yes, he is, but he’s good at acting.”

“Is that you being sincere or a jab at something that happened between the two of you.”

“His onset talent is genuine. His choices in life are crap.”

“And there’s the Stacey McKellar rule book right?”

“Yes, there is. There are some things you just don’t do.”

“And which one of those things did he do?”

“He drove drunk last night. He doesn’t look it now thanks to a ton of coffee, but he did it.”

“And he told you about it?”

“No, I heard him talking to Dan about it. How he woke up with a mega hangover and realized what he had done.”

“Then he didn’t mean to?”

“Does anyone mean to drive drunk, seriously?” asked Stacey pressing down hard on the paper towel holder sending them cascading out of the machine. She furiously tore off a piece and dried her face.

“Hey, sis, don’t get mad at me. I’m here for you.”

“Drunk driving kills people. It’s splashed in everyone’s faces that if you are going to drink, plan ahead. He didn’t.  He got drunk Lori, he didn’t just have one drink, he got hammered. It’s over and I have work to do,” said Stacey rummaging through her purse frantically until she found a half used package of tissues. “

“But the two of you seemed so right together.”

“I thought maybe we had a chance, but he messed that up. Case closed.”

How come her love life looks so easy? She breaks things off, cries, reapplies makeup and gets back to work. Maybe they should sell some of that with her book or the movie ticket.

 

Stacey watched her movie coming alive from the monitors behind the scenes. Graham knew she was there but he couldn’t see her looking over the script and occasionally giving suggestions to the production assistant. He only played Andrew to the camera, telling the story of a heartbroken young man who was forced to plan a funeral with his sister for their parents because a repeat drunk driver had finally run out of luck. He didn’t see her white knuckles as her pencil hit against her clipboard. She watched him say his lines so perfectly that it hurt her and it was only when her pencil snapped in two and her hand felt the sharpness of the splintered wood that she realized she had been holding it so tight.

“How come they kept letting him back out on the streets?” demanded Andrew as he spoke to a police officer, “where is the justice? You’re supposed to be protecting us.”

Does a line like that mean nothing to you, Graham? Thought Stacey as she watched him deliver it poignantly.

“Cut,” said the director interrupting Stacey’s thoughts a few minutes later, “good work everyone. That’s a wrap for today. See you all tomorrow.”

Chapter 3

Graham returned to his hotel room after the filming. He looked at the mini fridge in his room. He could have used a beer but the thought of it turned his stomach. It was too many of those that had gotten him into this mess with Stacey. She’s a tough woman, and I don’t know if I can win her back. She said it’s over just like the film crew says cut and moves on. I love her, I haven’t told her that yet, but we were becoming something. We had something. I cannot believe that I don’t remember driving last night. He picked up his cell phone and dialed her number. It went straight to voicemail. He listened to her voice and felt anger, not at her but at what he’s done. “I’m sorry,” he said into the phone, “so sorry, I don’t know what else to say.” He hung up but thoughts of what had happened weighed heavy on his heart and mind. She’s right something could have happened but it didn’t so why can’t she just accept that. I was stupid, I was drunk and I made a mistake. I know my lines in the movie and I know what they’re about.

His co-worker Dan walked in while he was lying on the bed staring at the ceiling trying to think of some way to prove to Stacey that he deserved to be loved by her even though he had gone against something that she was passionate about.

“Hey, man, I heard Stacey dumped you. That sucks.”

“My love life is falling apart and all you can say is that sucks. Come on, Dan, help me here. You have a wife, what do you say to her when things are falling apart.”

“Honey, I’m sorry, is usually a good start.”

“Not with Stacey, it isn’t. I said I was sorry. I said I’d never do it again and she called me on it.” I am so stupid. I just wrecked a relationship with a woman I was coming to love.”

“Send her flowers or chocolates with a card, maybe a poem, chicks like that kind of stuff.”

Graham tossed a towel that was lying on the floor at Dan and replied, “Help me, here, you know Stacey. What would your wife think if she knew you called her a chick? Stacey’d have a fit. She’d say it undermined the female gender.”

“My wife would be fine with it. I’ve called her a chick before to her face. She’s cool like that.”

“Stacey’s not one of those girls. She’s strong and stubborn and so darn beautiful, that I don’t know what I’m going to do to keep her in my life.”  She doesn’t believe much in second chances either. She told me early on that if I ever cheated on her, I’d be gone. To her I think this is the same thing.

“Have you thought about a time machine, man, because with that one, I think you’re going to need it.”

“Funny,” answered Graham.

“Well, we could always go out drinking and forget about her.”

“Not for me,” said Graham tossing a pillow at the wall. It knocked a picture off the wall with a thud, “that got me in this mess.”

“Just forget her; if she can’t forgive you, maybe she’s not worth the trouble. You keep throwing things and you’re going to have a bill from the hotel.”

“I don’t think I can forget her, that’s the problem.”

If you would like to learn more about what happens with Stacey and Graham, the complete novella is available for purchase at: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/409220 

Finding Luck

by: Rebecca Taylor

Luck, karma, fate, providence

Call it what you want

Need to find a way to seize it

Don’t wait for it to find you

You can have your lucky charms

Horse shoes, four-leaf clovers and a rabbit’s foot

But what you really need is

Action, make your own luck

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