Clogged | Rebekah Manley

On my bedroom shelf, three bottles of perfume are ready for a new home. One lost its top, the second is clogged, and the third—if you ask me—is just being stubborn! Yet, I look at them sitting there and it’s as if they are saying, “Yeah we are here. Whatcha gonna do about it?”

Okay, that’s only the sassy one. The other two can’t figure out why I haven’t used them in over a year.

Inaccurate! I’ve attempted to use them. Every once in a while—in my rush to leave the house—I forget the difficulty this trio poses, pick them up, and attempt to spray. Annoyed, I think to myself…okay what am I doing wrong? These “should” be able to work. There must be another way!

For the clogged bottle I try to loosen the top, hoping that I’ll just dab the fragrance on my wrist. Surely, that’ll work! NOPE… In a moment of weakness, I try my teeth (don’t judge). Not. Even. Budging. You get the idea.

After much trial and error, today’s the day. I’m ready to relinquish them to my apartment’s “free” community table. I know they have a lot to offer… (but, as I write this, I realize that might be a lie). All I can hope for is that someone comes along ready to help and give them new life. But, if they stay the way they are—in their dysfunctional state—they will continue to fall short of the lives they were meant to live. And, offer continued frustration.

Oh boy. And suddenly, we’re not just talking about body spray anymore. *Gulp*

Suffering from heart amnesia, I have at least one “clogged” loved one I keep returning to. I reach for them– longing for a spray of that sweetness I know they have on the inside. Instead, over and over and over, I’m met with inaccessibility. Each time, I ask myself- Why did you think it would be different, dear Bekah? I cling to their words claiming to care and rationalize– if they could just…

But isn’t this on me? I never want to give up on anyone; especially a family member! But how do I train myself to not reach for them with any expectations?

Do you have someone in your life who’s consistently unable to meet you where you need them? Perhaps they offered goodness in the past and you were able to reciprocate, but now the unhealthy dynamic won’t budge?

I encourage you (and myself) to offer them up in a way that doesn’t leave you in inevitable disappointment and frustration. And if you figure out that best way, will you please let me know?

I find that the serenity prayer often helps me find clarity, maybe it’ll grant you the same solace:

God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.


©2022 Rebekah Manley
All rights reserved



Rebekah Manley…

runs the Texas Center for the Book. She has an MFA in Children’s Literature from Hollins University and her first book, Alexandra and the Awful, Awkward, No Fun, Truly Bad Dates: A Picture Book Parody for Adults debuted in 2020. This fall marks the 7th birthday for her blog, Brave Tutu! This September, she’s launching her company, Love, Bekah LLC. Its mission is to create witty and heartful products for women navigating heartbreak.

Website / Blog


Sitting on a Miracle | Rebekah Manley

One, two, buckle my shoe

Three, four, shut the door

Five, six, pick up sticks

Seven, eight, lay them straight

Nine, ten, big fat hen!

Circa my age three, my Great Grandmother Lucille taught me this rhyme and how to pump my legs to use our backyard swingset. This Thanksgiving offered a full-circle moment to that earliest memory, as thoughts of her, my Papa and Great Aunt Rosalie surrounded me in their Iowa hometown.

Macedonia boasts one restaurant, a bird museum and a pottery shop (both open by appointment only). In the company of dear cousins, corn and cows, I had a lot of space to simply rest and reflect. Naturally, I spent hours at the historic park just down the street from the yellow farmhouse our family built in 1911.

Channeling Grandma Lucille, I pumped my legs and rose up and down– gaining perspective and peace. With gratitude, I contemplated the last year– and how I wanted to step forward into another. I released pieces no longer serving me; letting them fall as the trees surrendered their leaves to the wind.

Before my last day, I noticed the word “miracle” imprinted in the faded blue rubber of the swing’s seat. I know this brand was not a coincidence. Precious family time mixed with quiet moments of thought and palpable memories of early learning gave me strength. Just the strength I needed to surrender what I can’t control and feel loved and assured on this journey.

I love the steady elevation gain that comes from leaning back and whooshing my legs through the air:

Up.

Down.

And up again.

The breeze brushes my hair.

And perspective grants liberation.

Repeatedly, I’ve gained simple freedom by putting Grandma Lucille’s skills to use throughout my life. Undoubtedly, my Smith family’s stubborn strength pushes me to the higher places I want to live.

My mini-Macedonia miracle offered catharsis. Therefore, I keep these swing-set stories close as we enter the highs and lows of this next season. My inclusive faith drives who I am, my writing and how I see the world. I often enjoy considering the fuzzy farm animals present for Christ’s birth and the unconditional love he represents in my life. Unknowingly, a baby lamb might have sat in the same hay that kept him warm. I relish the simplicity and take that in as– much of life simply doesn’t make sense. And perspective won’t be rushed. I’m grateful for moments like the Macedonia park that help me remember, through the rise and fall of it all, odds are, we are sitting on some kind of miraculous.

What about you? What ways are you sitting on a miracle of sorts during this season? I encourage you to pump your legs and “three, four, shut the door” in order to fly free and greet fresh ups and, even, downs. Know you are not alone and I wish we could sit side by side on swings and discuss how you are feeling pushed onward into this next season.


©2022 Rebekah Manley
All rights reserved



Rebekah Manley…

runs the Texas Center for the Book. She has an MFA in Children’s Literature from Hollins University and her first book, Alexandra and the Awful, Awkward, No Fun, Truly Bad Dates: A Picture Book Parody for Adults debuted in 2020. This fall marks the 7th birthday for her blog, Brave Tutu! This September, she’s launching her company, Love, Bekah LLC. Its mission is to create witty and heartful products for women navigating heartbreak.

Website / Blog