The Sledgehammer

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Weaving down the windy road in the cold darkness of a winter morning was becoming increasingly difficult for Shayla. “Was it always this dark?” she asked herself. “I have never felt so alienated from myself or confused in my life. How on earth did I get here?”

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Every day seemed the same, with only a new mix of pressure and uncertainty. Her old beloved truck seemed to want to jump into the dark waters of the ice laden river. Did it have a mind of its own; or was Shayla losing her mind? Dark feelings of foreboding were becoming more and more prevalent in her mind. She felt like she was having a surreptitious affair with a black hooded creature who had far too much control over her inner thought. Ignoring his conspicuous presence was becoming increasingly difficult. the hooded creature was becoming more and more visible.

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Her life up until now had been a wonderful mix of love and anticipation. Shayla’s surging energy always buoyed her through some of the most difficult moments in life and because of this, those moments had always been fleeting. Boundless mental energy and desire, were ingredients she had always taken for granted. Until now.

Shayla had prided herself on having a firm moral compass and a good deal of common sense. Situations weren’t black and white but, they certainly were rarely grey ~ her steadfast assuredness in herself led her to believe that she could easily negotiate order from chaos. Confidence had been present from an early age and without realizing it, she had depended heavily on her uninhibited personality and desire to solve most problems.

She knew right from wrong. She’d made good choices in her early years and never found herself in situations where she felt at sea ~ perhaps her unwavering sense of justice had been a defence mechanism, but it had fared her well. When uncomfortable circumstances arose, she depended upon her mother’s unquavering advice which included remaining loyal and dedicated to your own sense of reality. Her younger self would have found it difficult to understand the #MeToo movement because she didn’t believe that any of that type of chaos could ever happen to her. When bullied and grabbed by the scruff of her neck at a part time job, her response was to go directly to the boss and insist she was quitting. Done deal. I’m out of here. He gave her a raise and told her she would never have to work with Brian ever again. Brian stayed away.

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She drove her own car at sixteen and never did anything that she didn’t want to do. Her headstrong belief that she would just punch a boy in the eye if he ever tried anything on her, was almost comical. In grade school, she had seen a young child being bullied by a much older boy and had intervened saying ~ “You leave him alone!” When he did not capitulate, she had jumped on his back and dragged him off the younger child. Much taller and stronger Jeff, punched her in the nose and made it bleed. He had taunted her and said, “Ha Ha. Now I’ve made your nose bleed.” She had swung hard and made a futile attempt to make his nose bleed. All she received were a few more knocks, but Jeff’s ego was bruised. Jeff may have been a bigger and much stronger adversary, but, he was no match for Shayla’s tenacity. He shrunk with embarrassment and there was silence from the small group of spectators.

Years later a similar engagement of honour would occur when Shayla grabbed a grown man from behind and shook his shoulders, before he could proceed to pummel a massive bouncer in a bar. When the tormentor angrily turned to hit her in front of a growing number of onlookers she yelled, “Oh Great! Way to go. Now you’re gone take out the waittress. What is the matter with all of you lot just standing there gawking while Grege gets his teeth knocked in. You bunch of wimps! It stopped right then and there.

She remembers yelling “Get the Bully out the Door!” As the bouncer lay in a heap on the floor. Trouble was this time, it was the bouncer who felt embarrassed ~ the bully had beat a hasty retreat. Later an onlooker approached her and said with disbelief that she couldn’t believe that Shayla hadn’t been hit. She had an exaggerated sense of her passionate sense of justice.

Oh the vanity and self assurance of youth. The feeling deep inside that says, “I’m invincible. I’m strong. ” but, using a sledgehammer to do the work of a hammer can be a costly endeavour ~ and it eventually it may catch up with you.

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Stay tuned for Part II.

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