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.

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