Secondhand

Clothes and toys, recipes and jokes, advice and prejudice: we all have to handle all sorts of hand-me-downs every day. Tell us about some of the meaningful hand-me-downs in your life.


As the youngest child I spent a lot of my time dealing with hand-me-downs. Toys, books, clothes, and even sports seemed to belong to someone else before it came to me. At the time it really annoyed me. I was the only girl amongst my parents children, it didn’t make sense to me how my mother kept happening across used clothing for girls that were conveniently in my size. Of course, I had plenty of older cousins that helped out with her endeavor to keep me clothed in articles that were well past the point of worn.

Being as young as I was I just didn’t understand. Why did my brothers receive new things when I never did? Was it because my parents loved them more than me? Questions filled my brain and stuck in my mind, making me more confused than I had any right to be. Then one day all of that washed away. All pieces of hand-me-downs that were given to me were not merely objects that had previous owners, they had been cared for and loved in such a way that shouldn’t be looked down upon. The objects had lived, had stories of their own. That was beautiful, that was new, and the fact that I could create my own stories to go right along with the previous ones was an incredible feeling.

Once I had realized that, I ended up being happy with the things that I had. I was able to appreciate the value of them, and even to this day I still admire the quality of life found in hand-me-downs. That’s part of the reason I donate the stuff that I have outgrown, because maybe, just maybe, someone will have a place for that material in their own life.

 

~J. Spade

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The One

You’re sitting at a café when a stranger approaches you. This person asks what your name is, and, for some reason, you reply. The stranger nods, “I’ve been looking for you.” What happens next?


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To The Grave

Keeping a secret, while difficult, is not impossible. Secrets are small glimpses into another person’s soul; they happen because you were trusted by that person to help keep a piece of her or him unseen. It’s an act of trust between two or more people, and spilling the so called beans can essentially mean breaking that trust. Reality is harsh, but if you fail to keep a secret that is that big then you might has well have literally thrown your friend under the bus rather than figuratively. The key here is keep your lips sealed to the best of your ability.

As with anything, there are plenty of tips that can help keep a secret remain just that. Some of those tips include:

  • Putting yourself in his or her shoes. Think how you would feel if it was your secret being shared. You wouldn’t want to tell just anyone your secret, so you shouldn’t tell just anyone their secret.
  • Listen to them. Chances are they mentioned at least once that you “can’t tell anyone”. Anyone means anyone. Even if it is someone who doesn’t know them you still shouldn’t let their secret slip. Telling a person who doesn’t know the person is just as bad as telling someone who does know them. It’s a gateway slip, it will undoubtedly lead to future slips. So just don’t do it.
  • Secrets can be soul burdens. If you’re finding a mighty need to tell the secret just to ease the pressure of your soul write it down. Use code-names of course so that if someone happened across it all parties involved would still remain intact. Writing it down is similar to sharing the secret with someone without all the horrible backlash that could result in a loss of friends.
  • Know your limits. There are some people who just can’t keep secrets. If you are one of those people, speak up before the secret is spilled. That way if for some unfortunate reason you were to let it slip later on, then it will not be entirely your fault. You gave fair warning, and they still decided to share their secrets.
  • Understand the difference between secrets that should be kept and secrets that shouldn’t. Sometimes there are people out there who give you a secret that can be harmful: to themselves or to others. If you happen to come across such a secret you will have a lot to contemplate. First you will need to know who you can turn to with this secret, because harmful secrets aren’t always best left swept under the rug.

Those, of course, are just a few of the essential guidelines to follow. There is more to it than that, but knowing the basics helps to lay the groundwork for future tight lips.

~J. Spade

Crying is an Art

Do movies, songs, or other forms of artistic expression easily make you cry? Tell us about a recent tear-jerking experience!

I am a sucker for heart-wrenching angst. Maybe my life is so cut and dry without any drama that I seek it out through forms of artistic expression, because there are moments when I find myself craving a good dramatic movie, book, or song. As for the crying part of this question, that’s a little bit more difficult to answer.

How can I answer that without sounding completely robotic?

Well, I guess the short answer is that I can’t, because no matter how I phrase this following aspect it is going to sound emotionless; maybe in a way that is true though.

I can honestly say that I have never cried because of a movie or a song. I’m more emotional when it comes to the written word, but I still do not cry because of it.

At an early age I told myself not to cry. Like many people who grew up with the demands of “stop crying” and the notions that “crying is weak” I have learned to suppress my emotions. Now, many years later, it has become quite the problem.

I have friends who are on a mission to find the movie or book to make me lose it. Small displays of emotions make me feel unbalanced. While I have learned to comfort people who need a shoulder to cry on, I still cannot let myself be that vulnerable. It’s quite the wall I have built around me, and I fear that the more I hold off my emotions the higher this wall becomes.

I have aspirations of one day crying during a movie, but I’m hoping it will be in the solitude of my living room and not in some packed movie theater.

~J. Spade

The Find

500 years from now, an archaeologist accidentally stumbles on the ruins of your home, long buried underground. What will she learn about early-21st-century humans by going through (what remains of) your stuff?

It’s amazing how much a person can learn simply by looking at the material items a person possesses. There’s that saying revolving around ‘judging the contents of ones purse’ and it is so very true. A lot of people can be a bit obsessive when it comes to what’s theirs: do not look through their phone contents, their purse contents, or their wallet contents. It’s a matter of privacy in a world that is all too public.

Now saying that, I tend to be more on the border of “take a look at your own risk”. I don’t care if people look through my stuff, it will fall on them if they see something they don’t like.

If 500 years from now someone were to stumble upon the ruins of my home, I think they’d be in for a bit of a shock about how this 21st century girl lived her life. Crammed into a somewhat small living space I have the necessities: a bed, fridge, kettle, and clothes.

No big deal right?

Well, I think the most important thing she would learn about 21st century life is that we were extremely good at Tetris. At least I know I am. I have packed over twenty years of accumulating crap into one room that I still don’t even know how I managed it. My room’s some sort of whacked out version of Mary Poppins’ bag, I have so much junk. 

~J. Spade

Living Again

In a reversal of Big, the Tom Hanks classic from the 80s, your adult self is suddenly locked in the body of a 12-year-old kid. How do you survive your first day back in school?

At the age of twelve I would have been starting my school year in the 7th grade. Which is conveniently the start of a downward spiral for me. I can safely say that having my adult self locked into a twelve year old body would make the seventh grade go a whole lot differently.

First I would speak up, and often. I don’t care what I would speak up about – whether it be answers to questions or just opinions – I would make sure my voice was heard. Of course it would be to a certain extent. No seventh grader would spout off half the stuff I am known to prattle on about, so I would keep that in. For the most part I would just goof off and enjoy being a kid again. I would know that growing up is difficult and happens way too fast. How many times was I told that as a child and yet I laughed it off? No, I would know better at this rate. I would enjoy my year, even though being twelve has its own struggles.

I would take it one day at a time and try not to stress about the small stuff, like I have been prone to do my entire life.

~J. Spade

Nightmare Job

Dreams are made up of so much, but there is also a lot that makes up nightmares. We often hold onto our dreams, and try to push away our nightmares but they are always there. Surfacing at the worst, and most unexpected moments. Living in a nightmarish job would be absolute hell for anyone.

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A World Without

Title: A World Without

Prompt: You wake up one morning to a world without mirrors. How does your life — from your everyday routines to your perception of yourself — change?


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That Fateful Day

Title: That Fateful Day

Prompt: Take the first sentence out of a random page in a novel and use it to create a story.

Sentence: “His laughter followed me out into the night, like velvet rubbing along my spine.” – Club Vampyre, Laurell K Hamilton.


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Story Excerpts

This is something I wrote a few years ago. It was a short paragraph meant to lead into a story and make the reader feel something. I still somewhat like it, and I’m working on getting out of my writer’s block so this might help


The wood felt cool beneath his fingers, and he shuffled his feet in the dirt beneath him. His heart pounded in his throat forcing him to swallow the lump of nerves that came along with it. This was it; this was the big moment that he had been waiting for. He couldn’t blow it, because he knew that there was really no other option left for him. His shoulders shifted as he stretched out his arms in anticipation. The chalked outline helped him to line up his feet as he faced down the demons that stood in the form of a 6’3” pitcher donned in a green jersey. He shucked a breath in through his teeth, his body hunching down into a squat. He was ready. The ball was launched from out of the opposing team’s fingers. He cocked his arms back and swung.