Purely Me

Composed 3/17/14
Description: This week, WordPress’ Weekly Challenge is called “Power of Names.”  Therefore, the challenge is to write something about what our name means to us, how we were named, etc.

I have always had an interest in this topic (and there was a Daily Prompt about it some time ago), so it’s not surprising that I’ve already written a poem about what my name means to me. Of course, while it would be easy to re-post that same poem, I hate reblogging the same poem multiple times, and I feel like there is more to say about the topic.

My name was chosen through group consensus; though, the greatest credit goes to my grandpa. My mom liked a few similar names, like Karen and Caroline, but everyone else in the family hated them. They also wanted a name that was not already in the family (a plan that ultimately backfired), so that was an added complication. After much debate my grandpa finally said, “How about Kathleen?” And everyone stepped back and said, “Yeah, that sounds good.” And that’s how I was named.

Meanwhile, my middle name was simply a small derivative from my mother’s maiden name. I recently discovered that when you put my whole name together it ultimately translates to “purity brook oak wood” — a pure brook running through the woods.  So unbeknownst to them my parents gave a very elfish name to very hobbity girl! Though, I do love my name because of this meaning.

I’ve always believed that names can go two ways: your name is either fitting or ironic. I’ve always struggled to decide where I fit on this continuum. With all this in mind, here is a poem about this struggle.

I am a pure brook
Sweeping though the
Hills, trees, valleys
Of the expansive woods
But even unchanging
My name changes meanings

My life began with
My name embraced
I bubbled and babbled
Brightly in the sunshine
My water as clear as the
Sky above me

But as I drifted down the hill
My course brought me into the thick shade
Of the forests’ dark center
Sticks and darkness muddled me
And I became
Uncertain
Of my first name
Of purity
So I drudged along in the mud
Feeling a misfit to my own name
An imposter

But as the trees became more sparse
And sunlight filtered in
I realized that purity
Was less a restriction
And more an aim

So I let it inspire me
And I swept through the forest
With fervor
As sticks and mud and leaves fell in
Others flew out as I swept the corners
And even some debris that I acquired
I kept
Because some debris
Some flowers, rocks, and leaves
Made me more beautiful
Than a pure brook
Running through the woods

The Phone Call

Composed 8/5/13
Description: Inspired by this week’s Weekly Writing Challenge: I Remember.  The prompt was this: “Set a countdown timer for 10 minutes, choose one of the writing prompts below, and just start writing. Whatever you do, don’t stop for ten minutes. Keep your fingers typing. Write what you remember.” The prompts following were Earliest, Happiest, Worst, or Freestyle memory.  Because I have already written about my first memory,  I chose the other one that came most naturally:  the worst.

What was I doing? I don’t know. I was in the family room; I know that. It was my safe haven. I was surrounded by colorful paper, markers, paint, glue sticks, scissors – just in case I got inspired. My laptop was there as well, right in front of me on the little table in front of the TV. I was probably exploring the Internet or doing homework at the time.

Whatever I was doing, I was doing it without a care in the world.

The phone rang. I didn’t pay much mind to it. Mom would get it. I was so oblivious. I did not even pay attention the conversation taking place a few rooms away. I had no idea of its significance.

Mom called me a few minutes later. I stood, and we met at the end of the family room by the garage door. She looked at me. Something was off. The words she said next would shake up my whole life; they were the words of nightmares, the ones everyone hopes to never hear. She said those words to me.

“The doctor called. They found something on the MRI.”

I froze. The MRI. The seizure I had in the church bathroom a few weeks ago. But… that was all just a dream now. The MRI had been an afterthought. “Just covering my butt,” our doctor said. I thought the seizure was a fluke – just exhaustion after a late band competition. My brain was fine, I thought. I was so convinced of that I didn’t even entertain the possibility of…

Two seconds later tears were running down my face. Sniffs were starting. I was holding in sobs.

Mom, in a similar state, hugged me. I’m not sure now of her exact words, but the sentiment was this: I’m scared too, but we’ll get through this.