If Anyone Asks…

If anyone asks…

Segmented Flash Fiction

Photo by Sam Manns on Unsplash

“But if anyone asks, tell them we’re fine” were the last words she said to me. Even when we had had an argument, I still thought that we’d be together at the end. I can’t believe that she’s gone. I used to think it didn’t matter if I didn’t see her for a few days, I knew I’d see her soon, but now, that won’t happen. It can’t happen… ever. No matter what I do, I can never go back. If only I hadn’t run out on her. If only I hadn’t had to work. Then maybe she wouldn’t be dead. Maybe she wouldn’t have left me. I miss her so much. I know we were just friends, nothing more, but she was my best friend. She knew the real me, not the mask that I put on for everyone else to see. I thought at first, that she was just like the others, but when it came down to it, she just really got me. She knew what I was thinking, even before I said anything. I couldn’t say that she always knew what was best for me, but most of the time she did. And now, she’s gone.


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Family

Family

When blood isn’t thicker than water

I’ve been thinking a lot about family lately. I have been lucky enough to be born into a family full of love. I couldn’t ask for better parents and grandparents, but there are so many people who aren’t this lucky.

The woman I am privileged to be able to call my sister, was not born into the same family as me. She is a sister to me in everything except blood. She was born to parents who were not only unloving, but were downright abusive, and she bore the scars of that beginning long after she cut off contact with them.

When she came into our family, she almost had to try and relearn what a true family was like. She would constantly apologise, just in case anything she said might lead to one of us hating her (her words, not mine). The scars of that upbringing left her with some serious issues, which she fought for years to overcome, and while she was able to cross some major obstacles, I am sad to say that she lost the fight in October last year.

I still find it hard to believe that it’s been almost nine months since she passed. However, in that time of reflection, I have come to realise that the definition of the word ‘family’ is flawed.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word ‘family’ as:

1. A group consisting of two parents and their children living together as a unit.

2. All the descendants of a common ancestor.

In my recent experiences, I can say definitively that I have family that falls into neither of these two groups. In the days after the death of my sister, when I was having to deal with official paperworks and management of the estate, when I was having to organise the funeral and then, afterwards, in the time when all goes quiet and everyone else goes back to their ordinary lives, I found a ‘family’ of people that rallied around me. People across the globe, in different time zones, whom I had never met in person, made the effort to send me messages, tokens, and to check in on me to make sure that I was ok.

In contrast, the only people from my biological family to get in touch, have been my uncle, aunt, and one of my cousins. I have a large extended family, and the fact that not one of them has even spoken to me this year, unless they have wanted something, is a fact that I find very hard to stomach.

It is for this reason that I have decided to add another sub point to the dictionary definition of the word family:

3. A group of people (not related by blood) that behave in a close, loving, and caring way towards each other.

It’s not the perfect definition, I know, but for now, it must do. I have come to realise that family may be found in all shapes and sizes, and I am so grateful for my ‘family’, that have laughed and cried and hugged me, who have talked with me late into the night; who have listened to every stupid thought going on in my head.

I don’t know where I would be without you.

I love you all, and you mean the world to me.


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Oh Lord, What Now?!

Oh Lord, What Now?!

The Serial Drama Of A Teenage Christian

Photo by ian dooley on Unsplash

“Your childhood years are the best of your life. Not having to worry about anything or do anything you don’t want to. No cares in the world, you young ones”, that’s what Gramps always says.

Sometimes I think adults don’t have a clue what they’re talking about. Carefree! I’ve never been so care(full)! I mean, let’s look at it methodically, as if we’re checking things off a list!!

CLOTHES! – I’m always the odd one out cause mum can’t afford the designer stuff. I try my best and cut the labels out of the most embarrassing things, but it’s still not good enough. Even the school uniform is wrong, and my shoes look like something that’s just stepped out of the eighties. It’s no wonder really that Sarah Jane Castelthwaight takes the mickey out of me.

BODY – I look like a cross between Frankenstein and the Incredible Hulk! Mum always says “You look fine”, and “You’re beautiful” – Yeah RIGHT! My body began developing at the tender age of nine. How do you explain to nine year old boys that the lumps on your chest are those things adult women have – all you end up with is comments like “Hey everyone, Andie’s got (hushed voice) BOOBIES!!” and then the sniggering goes up! And how do you explain that you can’t go swimming with the rest of the school, even though you’re the ONLY one not going, because you’re cursed with being a ‘woman’. I can’t fit into any of my clothes! It’s unbelievable what I have to go through and Grandad thinks I have it easy?!?! Not likely!!

HAIR – What type are you? Look Andie’s got rats tails! My hair has always been a problem. It’s got a mind of it’s own. When I want it straight, it goes curly, when I want it curly, it goes straight! It’s not even a decent colour (mousy browny blonde – eek!), but I’m too young for having it coloured and straighteners are a no no! Everyone else seems to have this perfect hair, and I’m stuck with… THIS!

MAKE UP! – Mum won’t let me wear any at all. She thinks I’m too young. Meanwhile, I’m not too young to get a face so full of spots that ‘Pizza Face’ would be wasted on me! Still, Mum’s know best! REALLY! My lips are too thin, my eyebrows are so bushy and thick that they look like one giant fuzzy caterpillar, yet I’m “too young” to pluck them.

This is only the beginning of the list of things I’m too young to do!!

Let’s digress a moment and list them, shall we?

Pluck my eyebrows – Solo fuzzy caterpillarville here I come!!

Wear make up – “Pizza Face Andie!”

Shave my legs – I look like a Gorilla!

Wear tampons – Well, this is one I don’t listen to! She hasn’t found my secret stash yet!

High heels – Yeah, cause EVERYONE loves a shorty!

So many more, but I’d run out of time if I listed them all. Mums think they know best “I’ve been there –I know how you feel” – No you don’t!! If you did then you’d let me do all these things that I’m “too young” for! She still thinks I’m a kid! That I’m not out of the playing with Barbie dolls phase! OooK! Whatever, Mother!

Anyway, back to my first list, where was I?

BOYS – “You’re too young to be going on dates, why don’t you just be friends??” YES, that’s what I’ve been doing wrong – I should be dressed in trackie bums running around, getting all muddy playing footy with the lads! I’m sure she’d LOVE that!! Then in a few months time, she’ll be asking why everyone else is paired off, and I’m going solo to all the discos – Oh, wait – another thing I’m too young for! The only discos I’m allowed to go to are the ones arranged by the local church.

HOMEWORK – Well, I wish I WAS too young for this one, but no such luck!! Mum makes sure it’s all done and checked within an hour of my getting it home from school, which is ok in summer, but in winter it means no going out at all, cause guess what?!

GOING OUT AFTER DARK – TOO YOUNG!! I have a strict curfew of ‘When it gets dark’ – Now we’ve had some fights about this one cause mum’s and my idea of dark is very different!!

RELIGION – Yes, we’re Christians – and yes, Mum makes me go to Church. And yes, it’s not even a sedate church – it’s one of those happy clappy ones! I don’t mind about church really, it’s just.. do they have to be so loud about it? Of course, I get teased about that too. Sometimes I hate parents!

BULLYING – Or general teasing or arguing with someone – it all amounts to the same in mum’s book. Her response – “try to ignore it dear – it’ll blow over and you’ll be friends before you know it”. Yeah! Right!

SCHOOL – Reports, parent’s evenings – all the same! I HATE them!! Mum loves them, cause she gets to find out exactly how I’m doing academically, which obviously starts off not only taunts at school about how mum looks, but also flaming rows about how I’m not working hard enough. I’m working as hard as I can! Maybe I’m just not a genius and you should give me a break huh?

FRIENDS – Now here’s an interesting argument – my one and only friend is a goth! You can imagine how much mum likes that! “She’s so… BLACK – why can’t she wear anything lighter?” which sparks off my telling her that she’s a good friend and so it shouldn’t matter what she looks like, which makes mum say “Of course it doesn’t matter – as long as she’s a good friend – it’s just such a shame she wears such unattractive things – I mean that skull t-shirt…” Even my friends have to act/dress a certain way and even then it’s not good enough!

All in all, you can see that my life is not the piece of cake that Grandad thinks it is! Childhood may have been like that in his day, but times have changed and being young now, with parents that haven’t moved on is HELL! And not only that – I’m living it, so I know! Don’t let them fool you into thinking that being young is great – true, you have your life ahead of you, but it’s AHEAD of you – you have to go through the shitty parts first! And they ain’t great – believe me!!


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

The Curtains Fall

The Curtains Fall

A Poem Without Rhyme

Photo by DJ Paine on Unsplash

A quiet girl,
She sits in a corner,
Always on the outside,
Never daring to join in any games.
Yet on Tuesday nights,
She transforms,
Quiet and shy by day,
By night she is,
A fairy princess,
An exotic dancer,
A mysterious mermaid.
When she reads the script,
And receives her part,
She transforms,
She metamorphosizes
Into the part.
She doesn’t play the character,
She is the character.
She tells her story,
Of an amazing adventure,
And when it’s over,
She hears the thunderous applause.
She is brought back to reality,
She looks around,
And smiles nervously.
The people look on,
And continue to clap,
Not knowing that the girl,
Is retreating inside.
Then she sees a waterfall of red velvet.
The curtains have fallen,
In more ways than one…


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Marble Fairy

Marble Fairy

A Poem For The Broken

Photo by Jeff Finley on Unsplash

Fairies dancing in the marble,
Ruby flames encased in glass.
Passion never to be free,
These poor fairies just can’t be.
Though they try and make the pass,
They’ll never fly throughout the grass.

Now grown up, but trapped behind,
The screen and glass of daily grind.
This poor fairy’s a reflection of me,
Or at least the child I used to be.
Never will I see or find,
The innocence that left me blind.

The gentle trust that now I hate,
This I left upon the gate,
Upon the brink, the cusp, the peak
That youth, was not theirs to take
And now I see I’m second rate,
And always just a little late.

And though I wish it was not so,
I now see that she must go.
The fairy pattering against the glass
That I thought was second class,
I now can really, truly see
Is now the inner child-like me.


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Nurses Are People Too

Nurses Are People Too

A perfect example of how NOT to treat your NHS staff

Photo by Luis Melendez on Unsplash

My Aunt went to hospital today with a suspected blood clot in her leg. I took her to the doctor in the morning because she’s been suffering with severe pain when she’s still and when she’s walking. In the end, four physicians examined her, and they decided that it could be arthritis, or it could be a blood clot, and there was no way to be sure without her having a blood test and possibly a scan.

I had an appointment in the afternoon, so my Mum took her to the hospital, where she had a blood test which showed a positive result, so they ordered a scan.

My Mum got home a little under an hour ago, and what she told me made me so angry. My Aunt was treated well, and the scan showed no blood clot. She was discharged and is now home safe, but while they were at the hospital, another woman was there with her son. He was in his late teens/early twenties, my Mum thinks. Anyway, the nurse called him in, and said that they would call the Mum when they were done.

At this point, the woman started cursing and swearing, using all kinds of vile language, insisting that she had to come in, too. This was all directed towards the nurse who was trying to help her son. The names that she was called, made my Mum feel sick and upset my Aunt a lot.

In this country, we have a National Health Service. Free healthcare, that many countries don’t have. They aren’t paid nearly enough for the job that they do, and to have to deal with this abuse is just absolutely disgusting, and that woman should be ashamed of herself. I know that worry can make people behave unreasonably, but there is no excuse for the sort of abuse my Mother heard.

It scares me the way some people seem to think that they can treat people. This woman, if the nurse was to actually speak to her in the way she was spoken to would be up in arms and would probably make a complaint, so why is it ok for her to treat someone else in that way? What happened to “treat others how you would like to be treated”?

As someone who has dealt with hospital staff in a number of situations, I can say that I know they’re not perfect, far from it, but they are only human, and as humans, they deserve just as much respect as anyone else.

So, the next time you’re at a hospital, give the nurses a smile. They work hard, looking after our loved ones at a time when we can’t, and they deserve our respect and just a little bit of common decency.


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Einstein Was NOT A Racist

Einstein was NOT a racist

The Insanity Of A Politically Correct Society

“A fountain pen on an open journal” by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

In the news that came up on my feed today, there was an article about Einstein, and how his journals, when published would show him to be a racist. This is both ludicrous and untrue.

The passages in question include his observations on the Chinese people, and Columbo. Now, I belong to neither of those subsets, but when reading these passages, it is clear that he is not saying that they deserve segregation, or fewer human rights than any other people. These are his observations. They are his view. His opinion, and he is fully entitled to them. They were written in 1922, before ‘racism’ became the thing that it is today.

Einstein did an awful lot for the African American population, to shine a light on the segregation there. He believed in equal rights, and thought that all people deserved to be treated as human beings.

I’m not, in any way, trying to downplay the suffering of people who have endured racism, but the comments made by Einstein, and lets not forget, that these were in his PRIVATE journals, not intended to be seen by anyone else, were merely observations, similar to the ones that we make when we label people chavs, toffs, nerds, gangstas, etc. I know these names are not based on race, but the impact on the people can be the same.

When we think about Einstein now, do we let a few words (that weren’t meant for public viewing), written when he was a young man, colour our view of him and the things he achieved in his life?

This is what happens when we have a society so obsessed with political correctness that it distorts all other views we have of what we see and hear.

If we are all going to be judged by what we have written privately, then I don’t know about you, but I would be worried.


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

“You Don’t Look Ill”

“You don’t look ill”

The Painful Truth Of Living With An Invisible Illness

Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash

I see the looks people give me. The comments they make. “You don’t look ill” they say, when I give yet another excuse as to why I can’t go and do the thing. I feel the comments just as easily as if they had slapped me on the face. They can’t understand how someone of my age, that looks like me can have a chronic condition that prevents me from doing things.

You see, my illnesses don’t mean that I need a wheelchair. They don’t mean that I walk with a limp, or walk in a way that makes it totally obvious that I have an issue. I have *gasp* an invisible illness.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder. Facial Arthromyalgia. Yup! It’s a mouthful. Quite literally, actually. Basically, my jaw joint is messed up. Not broken… I’ve been told that would be a lot easier to fix.

There are no truly accurate statistics for how many people this illness effects. The only statistic I could find that was fully backed up is that it is most common in women of childbearing age. Yes, ladies, another thing we have to worry about.

My jaw has done this odd clicking thing since I was very young. It was always worse when I was chewing food. The dentist talked about actually breaking my jaw and re-setting it (kinda extreme if you ask me), but then decided against it.

I’ve had flare ups, and quiet patches, until I was in my mid-twenties, when my jaw suddenly locked up completely. I couldn’t move it at all. I had severely limited opening, and could barely get a couple of painkillers inside me. After an agonising couple of hours, and a trip to the emergency dentist, it finally released.

That was the start of the illness I now deal with today. I was referred to a specialist, who diagnosed ‘Chronic Arthromyalgia’, gave me some leaflets to read, and bade me goodbye with a cheery wave and a smile far wider than my locked jaw could muster.

I went home. I read the literature. I researched online. TMJD comes in varying degrees of severity; and showing a number of different symptoms. Mine include:

  • Migraines
  • Earache
  • Dizziness
  • Neck and Shoulder Pain
  • Back Pain
  • Severely Limited Opening
  • Clicking and Cracking of the joint
  • Mouth ulcers

It’s really not fun, by any stretch of the imagination.

“What about treatments?” I hear you say. Yup. There are treatments. Operations. Mouth Guards (I have one of these). The problem is that a lot of the issues with my jaw are caused by my clenching the muscles and grinding my teeth at night.

This is a result of a dark shadow commonly known as depression and anxiety. It’s not something I generally talk about. I don’t like the “You don’t look ill” looks, but I dislike the “Poor you” looks more. The problem is that when my mental health is worse, my jaw problems are exacerbated. Unfortunately, it’s a vicious cycle that doesn’t have an end.

All I can do is try to make the best of a bad situation. This is what I do every day. Some days are better than others (but that’s a story for another day). Some days, you wouldn’t have a clue that I’m any different from you, but on other days, I might need to take to the sofa and stay quiet and crochet, because that’s what living with chronic pain does to me.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, that living with any health issue is very hard, and people struggle enough without others making them feel like they are wasting time and attention seeking. There are so many invisible illnesses nowadays. We have no way of telling who is struggling with something, so please, before you make one of those rash comments, just pause for a few moments.

We are all fighting battles that others may know nothing about.

Please don’t judge a person by a label.

Please don’t judge a book by it’s cover.


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Vodka Mists

Vodka Mists

Flash Fiction

Lily rushed back to the caravan. She didn’t want to be late with the milk. She had to look after her two younger sisters. They didn’t understand what was happening. That their mum found happiness in the bottom of a bottle of vodka. She remembered when the look in her mums eyes hadn’t been the glazed reflection of an alcoholic fog. She tried to help as much as she could, but she was only eight. Much too young to be a mother to two kids, let alone look after a mum who dripped with alcohol. She shouted too. Generally at Lily. She was ordered to look after the younger ones. She also cleaned the ‘house’ and cleared up after everyone. She didn’t go to school. She was supposed to — she knew that, but there was always so much to do at home. She cried herself to sleep every night. She always hoped that her mum would come and give her a hug, but by that time, she was always passed out in another oblivious stupor. She didn’t know much about her dad. He’d left them when she was only a year old. Lily could only guess that he couldn’t take her mum’s moods. She didn’t know that she could take them really, but SHE had no choice. She couldn’t turn and run. Not that she’d leave Kimmy and Jamie anyway. Sometimes she hated her parents for giving her this lot in life. But then she looked at her mum, asleep, seemingly peaceful, and a love she couldn’t dispel flooded through her. When she got closer, she knew that it was only the booze, but she liked to think.. Dream.. sometimes, that her mum was normal.

Bubbles

Bubbles

A Poem In Rhyme

Soap and water floats through the air,
Inside, holding who knows what fare.
Could it be fairies, invisible to the eye,
Or maybe a spirit, on its way, trying to fly.

Clear, glassy surfaces
Shimmer and shine.
A distorted reflection,
Let’s hope it’s not mine!

In all sizes these spheres are made.
Though some go pop and won’t make the grade.
Others float up so very high,
Right up there, way up in the sky.

And not one of these is ever the same,
Though some look it, that’s their game.
These playful planets like to fool,
And are often seen in a bath or a pool.

You see, of what I talk, you know
So well, the bubble so often blown
By laughing children on a summer’s day..
Now just watch them find their way…