Skim Fat Off The Sheep

I’m the trouble starter, punkin’ instigator.
I’m the fear addicted, danger illustrated.
I’m a firestarter, twisted firestarter.

Prodigy, Firestarter

She, the dirty blonde girl no older than six years old, is only a lamb. Her coat is shining with a new sheer as she sits in a paltry living room of a one-story house. Her hands clutch a worn out copy of Mother Goose’s nursery rhymes. Her gray eyes can’t understand the words; not all of them, not yet anyways.

The illustrations told her about Little Boy Blue and The Old Woman Who Lived In A Shoe. She imagines living with the old woman in the rotten, dirty boot. There are so many siblings and they run wild onto an untamed land. Their neighbors are Little Bo Peep and Humpty Dumpty. Before old Humpty fell off the wall and they couldn’t put him back together again.

Her family says, “We are moving.” The ten year-old girl understands all the words and she hides in her room and cries. Sobbing panic and snot drips down onto her chin. She doesn’t want to move a mile away. Her friends don’t live down the alley at the new place. But her parents calm her fears with promises of her own room. They tell her how she can still attend the same school with the classmates she’s known since kindergarten.

The new house isn’t the same. The neighborhood kids are older and they scare her. The girl begins hiding in her room on a white metal daybed. She buries herself back into those words. New friends become deceased authors. She hangs out with them day and night. Her dad stays out late. Her Mama takes her girls out hunting for a cheater. Girls too young to fully understand but old enough to have impressions made. Of course, her father always knew how to leave an impression.

Dad stays enraged when he’s home. He attacks with all kinds of abuse. He forgets to pick up his kids from ballgames. The girl takes a taxi home and the backseat smells like old ashtrays and rancid body odor.

You’re a firestarter, twisted firestarter.
I’m a firestarter, twisted firestarter.
I’m the bitch you hated, filth infatuated.

Cut grass on the hot summer days. Do the dishes. Stay busy with chores because if the girl doesn’t stay out of sight and out of mind, she’ll anger an ugly possessed demon. It hurts to get hit. Summers are dread-filled, fear inducing comas. She empties the bowl of Raisin Bran into the sink and faces a leather strap up and down, up and down, up and down. After this day, the girl knows exactly how rage looks.

She retreats back to those books. They love her. They take her away. She begins creating her own books. Stories kept in Trapper Keepers. Novels begin and her best friend reads every word she writes. Her best friend calls herself the burgeoning author’s “editor.” The girl, still a growing lamb, becomes a bit infected with pride. One person believes in her. One person loves reading her words, and it never mattered that it was her best friend. Because she needed one person’s hope in her talent.

Poetry, short stories, and novels come barreling into the world from the girl’s hands as teenage years fall upon her. The words come with a force and she stops sleeping. The hours are too short for the girl to soak in all the words she wants to read. The dawn surprises her as she sees how she is capable of writing a night away. She starts submitting.

Rejection letter, rejection letter, and finally accepted. Some poetry in a book. She wants to buy the book but there isn’t enough money. But those words that the girl wrote are out there somewhere. They live on. Never dying. They belong to her and whatever pen name she wrote them under.

As the girl becomes a full grown sheep, she follows the herd to college and she stops writing. She never stops reading but she puts aside the grand notion of being a writer. The title of ‘writer’ is held for people from better places than where she’s from. They had better education. They were probably more honed at their craft with superior sentence structure and an elite vocabulary.

What did she know anyway? She knew how to drink, how to have one night stands, and how to swallow excess. Binge the night away. Purge the pain away.

I’m the self inflicted, mind detonator.
Yeah! I’m the one infected, twisted animator.
I’m a firestarter, twisted firestarter.

Our sheep got married and fat. She had a baby. She did everything she was told she should do. Then it came time to shave the fat off our sheep. A biological clock ticked away as she put her hands back on the keyboard and did exactly what she was made to do. She wrote. And she wrote. And she kept writing.

She bought a domain and a website, and she built it from scratch not knowing anything about building websites. She self taught her way in a new world. She built a place for her to put all the words she ever wanted to write. The grown sheared, starving woman let it swallow her whole. She’s been a sheep her whole life and look at her bylines now. Look at her likes. Look at how far our little lamb has come.

She did exactly what she never wanted to do. She sold out. I bet if you could see the woman, sitting in her deep purple bedroom with the trendy italics quote on her wall, you’d say: She is everything those bloggers should be. Hipster Steve Jobs’ computer. Headphones skillfully placed listening to some rare acoustic Indie pop song. And you would be wrong. She ain’t no blogger. Our sheep is a writer.

And we’ve skimmed the fat off this sheep.

She’s a firestarter.

She’s the pain you tasted and you fell head over heels intoxicated with. She did too. Not with you but with dancing. Because when this sheep writes, she glides across the screen like they ain’t never seen.

Skim the fat off. The world has enough people trying to be just like someone else. I’ve read enough of their tales to last me a lifetime. My question is: What’s your real story? Because this is mine.




Rachel E. Bledsoe is a writer and an Appalachian Misfit Mama. She enjoys swimming, long walks on the beach, and Marie Antoinette biographies. She is the sole voice and writer behind The Misfits of a Mountain Mama. You can visit her on Facebook or on Twitter @MisfitMtMama.


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