Fire Fail

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As the sun set on a cool, crisp Sunday evening and the early stars began to pop into view, I knew the evening would be wasted without a big fire.  Now being a fairly traditional wife, I don’t build the fires.  Bret does that. However, I was a faithful Pioneer Girl in the 70’s and know darn well how to build a fire. And on this particular evening, Bret was 30,000 feet up in the air somewhere between Chicago and Portland.  No problem.  I gather my twigs and grab some wood off the pile, and I build.  A couple hours later, I light that puppy.  The twigs are ablazing and I’m blowing soft and steady, already slipping towards my trance-like thoughts.  And then… epic fail.  My sad little fire dies, and my trance is broken.  And then my heart begins to talk to my brain.

“You suck.”  That’s what I hear first.  “You can’t do this stuff because you are stupid.  You get these romantic ideas, and your ideas are doomed to failure.  Because that’s what you do.  You fail.”  Then I float to Nemo (because that movie has something to say for almost any occasion), “No you can’t, you think you can do these things but you can’t, Nemo!

Yes – this is actually how I talk to myself.  A lot.  Almost every day. No – not almost.  Every day. There is not one sentence in that train of thoughts that I can imagine uttering to another human being, but with myself, I just let it fly.  What the heck?  I know better.  I have learned this lesson over and over again, but sticking w/ my Nemo theme, “I forget things almost instantly.  It runs in the family…well, I think it does.”

So as I stood over my sad, smoldering fire pit, I decided to step back and look at my words as if they were a script typed on paper. I felt a little sick, and I decided to flip the switch.  I stopped pouting, donned the headlamp to forage in the dark for double the kindling, and remember the DRY wood behind the shed (oh, yeah).  Low and behold, one of the best fires I have ever sat next to was roaring happily away in about 5 minutes.

And then – the almost-full-silver moon began to rise.  And my little girl came out for a snuggle.  My 15 year old son arrived next, ditching his computer game.  He sat with me for almost an hour and we had one of those conversations you simply cannot plan, one that I will not forget.  Talks like that come about when it is quiet, and the sky is still, and it’s 50 degrees, and the stars are out, and because there is FIRE. I would have missed it all.

I cannot count the number of moments that I have lost in the last year alone because I believed the awful things I said to myself.  Those shameful, secret internal conversations make me a quitter.  They keep me scared and continuously anxious, and I’m sick of it.  I honestly don’t know how to stop the words from running through my head, but I am starting to believe that I have a choice of what to do with them when they arrive.  

2 thoughts on “Fire Fail

  1. I love this. It hits close to home for me, a serial self-beater-upper (is that a word?).

    You absolutely have a choice. We all do. I don’t think that voice every really goes away, but the more I’ve trained myself to ignore it, the quieter it’s gotten. And the more evidence I’ve managed to collect to prove it wrong.

    Allow me to propose a new phrase for next time you feel the urge to say something cruel to yourself:

    You rock, AlyHinkie!


  2. i have been writing about this exact. Same. Thing. (Minus the beautiful campfire moment that doesn’t happen in these parts in January) stay tuned. You might feel a little déjà vu..


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