Author Archives: Britney King

Sometimes you forget…

“Through Compassion and Care we are compelled to random acts of kindness and demonstrations of love.” ― Jean Hamilton-FfordPlay.Create.Succeed.

I wrote this to a friend and thought I’d share the note here…

Hey you,

I was in a restaurant yesterday and an older woman was there with her adult son who was clearly mentally challenged as well as hearing impaired, I believe.

He was having a rather loud “outburst” and you could tell the woman was embarrassed—at the very least aware that her normal was not the majority of the other patrons. People were staring. 

I felt for her and I wanted to say something— to tell her it was ok, to ask others to stop staring—to go and sit with her. At the same time, I also didn’t want to intrude not call more attention to the situation. 

And then a lady wearing an APD Search and Rescue jacket got up from the booth next to mine and went and sat down with her. Suddenly the old woman was smiling and I was teary—and it was just a really beautiful, kind thing to see. 

And it made me think of you and I knew this is a story you would want to hear. 

Mostly, I was glad to witness the goodness of people. 

Because sometimes you forget, you know?

I guess it matters where you look.

Also, I wished I’d been as brave as that woman. 

The both of them. 

B

The pursuit of things and why I write…

 
 
This is a story I didn’t want to, want to tell. Pushing publish on this one feels a little iffy… 
 
And yet…here we go. :) 
 
My early 20’s were what I like to call “the gathering years.” So much time was spent gathering, rushing about. I wanted the house, the furniture, the cars…ALL the things.
 
You’re always in such a hurry my Grandma used to say. A forewarning, if only I’d listened. 
 
By 25 or so I’d finally come to the conclusion that none of those things were really all that important. At least not to the extent that I was trading my life just to have them. 
 
I hadn’t understood this up to that point because as a kid we never had “all the things,” or at times even some of the things, and at others not even a few of the things. 
 
At six, I understood what it was like to sit on a curb at 2 AM wondering exactly where home was now that we no longer had one— the only belongings to call my own being one distraught mother, one sleepy, scared, and equally pissed off little brother, one too wise for her age girl, with just the clothes on their backs, and a bird in a cage.
 
By the age of seven I knew what it was like to sleep in a car—and not for fun— even though I liked to pretend.
 
I knew what it was like to pack up—or not pack up when there wasn’t time— and say goodbye (or not say goodbye, time, again) to everyone and everything you loved with only the belongings which would fit in a tiny hatchback Honda— cramped with sadness, too small for four people, and the few contents of a past life which remained. 
 
I knew what starting over meant. Again and again. I knew what it felt like to have not one but both parents disappear—and in my mind it was because there were never enough of the things. 
 
Later, I would come understand—it was a different sort of thing they were chasing. 
 
But back then I thought that in order never to be in that little girl’s shoes again, well, one had to work hard. And that if you worked hard then  you’d have the things and then people stayed— and that is just what needed to be done. 
 
I thought once you got the things then you’d get to be happy. Just like the families the younger version of myself always wished I’d belonged to. Families that had a home—not a place they’d set up, only to later to flee from. My wannabe families had things and never had to say goodbye. They had enough food, and toys, and pets they’d get to keep long enough to see them to get old. They were the kind of people who didn’t disappear into the night. 
 
Only that wasn’t it…I would later learn. The things weren’t the magic that made it right. I was surprised to find that once I had the things, well, they didn’t bring happiness at all. They were just things.
 
Then I was thirty and that brother who’d always sat next to me on the curb, the one who sometimes took beatings so I didn’t have to, died and I decided I no longer wanted to own (any) of the things—if it meant being owned by them.
 
 A bigger house, newer cars, and so on suddenly became a whole lot less important. Because even as a six year old, with little to my name, there on that curb, at two in the morning, I knew I still had him—and, I realize now, that was what mattered.
 
It wasn’t until I’d planned the funeral, wrote the obit, cleaned out his apartment, disassembled the contents of his life— sorted all of the things that he’d worked really fucking hard for—which sadly turned out not to be a lot that the weight of it sunk in. As I carried the boxes down three flights of stairs and loaded the truck I thought about the unfairness of it all and how much mattered so little if you go to sleep and never wake up. 
 
It was then that I finally understood that having more in actuality often means having less—that is if more comes at the expense of ones freedom. 
 
I realized that I wanted to work for the love of doing so—not for the having of any thing—I wanted the act of the work itself to be the dream—versus working simply for the dream.
 
So I put my two weeks in—and my nose to the grind— and I wrote. 
 
Has that decision, for sure, meant not having all the things I might have had otherwise?
 
Yes. 
 
But it took the deaths of my family members, over the course of a decade, one by one—pretty much everyone lost who knew me for me—for who I was back then—that six year old sitting on the curb clinging to a little boy and a bird cage. 
 
Most now, only see the girl I’ve worked hard to become.
 
It took all of this loss and all of the grief that accompanies it —for me to finally come to terms with the fact that less can be more.
 
Now I know
 
I know that it isn’t the things that matter. 
 
It’s the people. 
 
I know rushing isn’t where it’s at. 
 
And I know that six year olds can be braver and wiser than someone more than three times their age—which is really too bad.
 
Mostly though,  I know that eventually… it all evens out. 

 

The opposite of half-ass. 

I’m pretty sure I use the above quote a lot but— it’s probably my most favorite of them all.

Sharing a little something from my upcoming book, Beyond Bedrock today…

 

The opposite of half-ass. 

 

All I ever wanted

from the beginning

was to love you

in the only way

I knew how.

Which unfortunately

for us both

was all the way.

 

After Winter, Spring.

“I want to do with you what spring does with cherry trees.” ― Pablo Neruda

 

I’m not going to say that a lot of the bad poetry I’ve been sharing here is going to end up in a certain book…

But I’m not going to say it isn’t either. ;)

Below, the latest…

 

After Winter, Spring. 

 

We’re opening the windows,

And the doors of our lives again.

Too long closed—

To keep out the cold.

We shake the dust off and out,

Erase what winter left behind.

Finally, the sun is shining.

And the birds sing once more.

A time for renewal—

I’m certain this is what happiness feels like.

How much better can it get? 

I don’t know…

But lest not forget—

Summer is headed our way, too.

Maybe, it is as they say…

The best is yet to come.

And I wonder…

How ever did we get so lucky?

Not just to have found each other—

But to have survived another winter,

together.

Nineteen. Ready or not.

“Through the blur, I wondered if I was alone or if other parents felt the same way I did – that everything involving our children was painful in some way. The emotions, whether they were joy, sorrow, love or pride, were so deep and sharp that in the end they left you raw, exposed and yes, in pain. The human heart was not designed to beat outside the human body and yet, each child represented just that – a parent’s heart bared, beating forever outside its chest.”  Debra Ginsberg

 

I know it isn’t “fashionable” to profess your love for your (now) adult children.

 

And if this is true, it’s probably definitely off limits to write about it publicly.

 

But, I also know that people we love die. They die at random ages like 29 and 82, before then, and after too. I know that there’s a finality in death— only truly understandable when it happens to someone you love.

 

Mostly, I know there will be a million things that you will have wish you’d had the time and the forethought to say. Words that could sustain a couple of lifetimes. And that sometimes these things haunt you more than you’d like.

 

Which is why I guess I gave up being fashionable a long time ago. :)

 

 

Nineteen. Ready or not.

 

I swear it was just last month that you were born and we were there in the hospital figuring each other out. Six weeks early— and a lifetime too soon.

 

You were teaching me how to be a mother…

 

At fourteen, a baby myself— I remember being equal parts proud and terrified.

 

Ready or not…

 

We were growing up together.

 

I’m almost certain it was just last week that I watched you take your first steps.

 

I was learning to let go, too

 

Ready or not. 

 

And wasn’t it just yesterday you started kindergarten and then moved on to first grade—where your teacher informed me it was time to let you walk into the school by yourself?

 

But it was so big and you seemed so small.

 

She said I needed to learn to let go.

 

You were ready. I was not. 

 

We were growing up together…

 

In reality, though, I know these things didn’t happen last month, last week—and they definitely weren’t yesterday, no matter how fast it all seems to have gone by.

 

That’s the funny thing about time. It’s difficult to measure against love.

 

Somehow, it was almost a year ago now that you walked the stage and straight into the life of an adult.

 

You were ready. I’m pretty sure I was not. 

 

As I watched you take those steps across that stage I realized I’d blinked —and in the meantime we’d both grown up.

 

Ready or not. 

 

Nineteen years…lots has changed—

 

But a few things remain the same…

 

I’m proud of us both.

 

We grew up together.

 

And, as you know, I’m still learning to let go.

 

Ready or not. 

The Dancing Monkey & Other Old Stories…

“It’s funny, you know…when I was a kid I read to escape. Now, I read to find myself. And what magic it is to pick up a book and see yourself there, between the pages. To recognize the common themes of your life laid out before you— never having known they’d been there all along.” ~ Britney King

I’m doing that thing again, the thing I said I wouldn’t ever do again…where I quote myself. Someone asked me the other day during a Q&A where I find the time to read so much and why. The quote above was my answer…and I quite liked it, so I’m sharing. :)

I’m chin deep in the writing process and the story I’m writing has at least seemed more challenging than the others. So, this week because my brain feels rather stretched…I’m going to share an old story…

People have asked why I write here, why I share my life, and the lessons I learn (don’t you like your privacy, they say) — and while I guess there are several reasons, the most prominent one is: for my children, someday.

Once upon a time, I wrote a little story, or rather some really bad poetry about a dancing monkey. I wanted the lesson to be one that my kids could understand at their level, and for it to be something we could discuss.

Because…it isn’t about a dancing monkey at all. ;)

It’s about settling. It’s about comfort zones… it’s about loyalty, among other things.

None of which happen to be things I’m struggling with today, thankfully.

But there’s always tomorrow. :)

The Dancing Monkey.

She’s a cute little monkey, they say.

With her hat on crooked,

Because it only adds to her charm—even the monkey knows that.

“Do a trick!” They shout.

Tricks are all about timing, this, she’s figured out.

“Oh it dances,” They squeal.

“What else can it do?” They ask.

“Dance. Oh. That’s it?”

And suddenly the dancing monkey is no longer enough to hold their attention.

Like everyone who has come before they turn and go elsewhere.

Except the boy, that is. The boy always comes back…

Best of all he pays in peanuts.

Not unlike the patrons the monkey too sometimes wonders if there’s more.

Yet there are the peanuts to consider…

And even a monkey is smart enough to know that she’d really miss the peanuts.

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