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Kansas City MO 64131





Cindy Maddera

I picked up the box containing my creativity candle so that I could dust around it. It has been sitting on my desk ever since I bought it. In the box. It has been this way for months. I ran the dust rag over the top of the box while frowning. The candle has been added to the ever growing list of things I should be using that are now sitting, gathering dust. An image of my bicycle in the garage pops up behind my closed eyelids. The bright blue paint is dulled with a thick layer of dust. Cobwebs rest in the spokes. The tires are droopy. I am filled with instant guilt and disappointment. I should be riding that bike. I want to ride that bike. My brain is really good about using time as a sabotage. It reminds me of the hill that starts at sixty third street and peaks around fifty eight. This is my slowest section and the place where I feel the weakest. 

Why is there always a voice in your head telling you that you can't?

The candle falls into a category that I generally reserve for colored pencils, crayons and notebooks of any kind. I still have not sharpened that pretty blue pencil. Though I will admit that I tried to sharpen it, but it was too big for the mechanical sharpener at work. I like the look of a brand new pack of crayons or colored pencils, all lined up with sharp points. Blank white pages in a notebook are like clean sheets on a bed. The candle is like that. Right now the wick is still white without scorch. The wax is unmelted. The decorative picture on the outside is still in one piece. There's something soothing about the perfectness of all of those colored pencils before points have been dulled and pages smeared with ink. Same goes for that creativity candle. It's not like I believe that burning a 'special' candle is going to make me become more creative or even more prolific. 

All of that soothing perfectness is a mask. It hides the fear of messing up. If I use that pencil, the tip will get dull and fragile. I will be left with broken pencils. My handwriting will make the blank page ugly. If I don't use those things, I can not ruin them. The beautiful words on that candle with not melt away. If I don't ride my bike, I can't feel my weakness. I can't feel like I am ruined.  I am a little embarrassed to admit this hesitant side of me. I am the girl who stands too close to the edge of the cliff in order to capture an image. I am the girl who flies down Troost on a scooter, weaving in out of traffic. I take risks. I leap.

Michael has adopted "get back in the car Cindy" as his warning phrase for whenever he sees me doing something slightly dangerous that makes him nervous. It came from our trip to the Dakotas with Talaura. We were pulled over to the side of the road, watching a large heard of bison come down the road. I was hanging out the car to get pictures. Suddenly the pace of the bison picked up to a trot, but I stayed where I was. A few minutes later, we were watching the video that Talaura had taken of it all and you can clearly hear Michael say "get in the car Cindy" when the bison picked up speed. This made us laugh and laugh, mostly because it's funny but also because we all know Michael can't stop me from being slightly dangerous. I've been making my loved ones nervous my whole damn life. Even Chris, who near the end, confessed that he worried about me because I think I can do things I shouldn't really do. 

Like continue to ride a scooter with a bald tire. 

I am fearless, yet here I am admitting to all of you that I am not always fearless. What harm could I get into by sitting still and writing or even coloring a picture? Okay, there's some danger in setting the house on fire with a burning candle. But how often does that really happen? There's no risk involved in using a crayon or filling a page with ink. 

I hesitate with the safe stuff.