24 August 2018

Published August 22, 2018 by rochellewisoff

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Genre: Realistic Fiction

Word Count: 100


“You’re such a success, Elise.” says Mary. “I’m jealous.”

“You got it all, girlfriend,” Barbara adds. “You’re a published author and an artist? If I could do what you do, I’d truly be happy.”

Her compliment is coupled with a longing gaze at Elise’s recently finished seascape.  

A mixture of pride and something other than joy floods Elise as her admirers kiss her cheek and leave.  She sinks to her knees under the weight of her adult daughter’s scathing words, spewed in anger the night before. Her accusations haunt Elise and reduce her to ash.

“I’m such a failure.” 

132 comments on “24 August 2018

  • Great story. Until the end I was thinking of every artist that does not appreciate their own works as much as others do, but then I got to that last paragraph…. Success and and failure in life can be so much more than artistic/monetary/vocational/status/etc success and failure, with the poorest of the poor being more successful than the richest of the rich in what really counts.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Ah, Rochelle. You’ve really touched a chord here. Nothing hurts and goes straight to your most vulnerable spot like the angry words of an adult child you’ve loved and nourished the best way you know, only to find they have turned on you.

    Really good story.


    • Granonine – i took away exactly what you noted –

      “most vulnerable spot like the angry words of an adult child you’ve loved and nourished the best way you know,
      and HOW maybe not having success there (with dear family – esp children) pulls from any other personal success….

      Liked by 1 person

            • Thanks Rochelle – and joyce Meyer once shared a fun story.
              She said her adult son was complaining to her that she did not do this or that right.
              She said something like, “Son, I am not and cannot be perfect but I am
              A huge improvement over what my parents offered me. You have the same chance – to improve on my parenting.”
              And then she reminded them something about how she loves them soooo much.

              And I think what can take the sting away is to rise above and maybe see where the anger – disappointment – frustration is coming from with the huge reminder that no one is perfect and sometimes grace assuages much! Grace – support and love-
              And then ask how can we rebuild now so we can “make deposits and not mere withdrawals” in our relationship account!


  • Great story, Rochelle. It’s interesting that no amount of external praise or accomplishment can make up for the hole inside us. I remember reading an interview with Madonna where she said she can get a hundred people saying she’s brilliant and one person saying she sucks and she will fixate on the one person. I guess we’re all like that at times.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Josh,

      It’s the human condition I fear. And the other man’s grass is always greener, isn’t it? No one can injure a parent like an adult child. Guilt at what we did or didn’t do as parents makes us more vulnerable to the barbs. 😦 Thank you.



      PS Yeah…I relate to Madonna. 😉


  • Moving and true, Rochelle, and beautifully told. Everyone has their own definition of a successful life. Is there even such a thing? We all have our ups and downs and it’s good to be remembered of that when we envy someone. I hope Elise and her daughter will forgive each other.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Gabi,

      It’s always easy to see the other man’s grass as greener isn’t it? At the same time a wealth of “successful” people have been married and divorced numerous times or are publicly estranged from parents or offspring. So what is success, really? I, too, hope that Elise and her daughter will forgive each other. Thank you.



      Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Rochelle,

    What a painful and beautifully crafted story. Yes, nothing is more heart-wrenching than being on the receiving end of the hurtful words of a child whom you have loved, cared for and sacrificed for. I really feel for Elise.


    Liked by 1 person

  • What a wise story this is. We must never assume that those who seem to have so much on the surface aren’t struggling underneath. Acclaim and success are marvelous, but if you don’t have those bedrocks of love and companionship to support them, your life can be hollow indeed. For some reason Elise reminds me of a swan, all smooth elegance on the surface, underneath paddling like crazy just to stay afloat. Sad and moving tale, Rochelle

    Liked by 2 people

  • Really like this – and I enjoyed the comments (so far) and you really delivered the angst a parent can feel with animosity with a child (adult child) and how other successes are great and will come and go – but also how we carry the pain.

    Further – I wonder if there is a bit of support system demonstrated here. Sometimes when we have success in an area (like with her art and the admiration of friends) it provides some steady anchoring and as the main character drops – maybe she is able to process a little bit more of the details with the daughter.
    We do not know the details – and do not really need to because i am sure so many can relate.


  • Ps curious…
    did Barbara mean to say
    “You got it all, girlfriend,”
    or was it supposed to be:

    “You’ve got it all, girlfriend,” Barbara adds. “
    with the have included.
    I ask because I just bought a little cube and it has sayings on it – and one is “you got this” and it seems to be the norm to leave out the have – wonder if grammar rules will change – just like we accepted “ain’t”
    (just musing here)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Yvette,

      Elise does have a good support system, but even the best support can’t prevent the pain of being wounded by an adult offspring.

      Yes, “You got it all.” is what I meant to say. Not everyone uses proper grammar in everyday conversation. 😉

      Thank you for your comprehensive and generous comments.



      Liked by 1 person

      • Good point about the speak vs write when it Comes to grammar/ and the timing was really why I mentioned it – getting that cube made me comment –
        I am not a grammar police person – hope not big time – but years ago we had a supervisor who’d send out emails for goal stuff and she’d write “we got this – come on” and I did want to correct it – lol
        Maybe it will become the norm – because WTF is now in the dictionary – and maybe “I seen” needs to be as well


      • One more note for Elise:
        Yes – the best support cannot “prevent” the pain – but with understanding and she Can see that we do not ever look at things as “failure” because that word does not apply to life successes – even flops are a healthy part of being a friggin human being who needs to learn and is just not going to please everyone!
        And while many parents have mistakes they would take back – too often they are pained from faulty thinking – a little healthy detachment will remind Elise that her children are God’s children first – and he knew they’d be born to imperfect parents and then everyone would have strengths and flaws and life would be a learning process -and so we trust in that divine appointment
        Further – Elise can take heart ❤️ because when we are not defined by successes or bumps and flops – when we accept and celebrate our life for being human raw and fully alive – when our definition of success rises above all of the outcomes we have a sense of peace and stability that says “how can we make it better going forward”
        And maybe Elise needs much time with dose with her children – maybe she painted too much and neglected her mom role
        Or maybe she just “was who she was” and it is what it friggin is! Lol
        But I think the prevention is only part of it – then we need to get active – stir up thinking – not live in despair or only see it as such a personal negative – instead – ask what can do moving forward –
        And maybe the success with the art stuff was a small gift from god to infuse (or try to ) a smile and god vibe so Elise could now say – “this sucks but let’s make some fresh moves towards gleaning whatever is to be gleaned here.
        At the end of the day – sometimes not much will get restored or built anew – but to let despair and heaviness infuse the body is not healthy for mind body or spirit and it gets away from thinking objectively and with a confident – hopefully – problem-solving mindset

        Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Theodora Rustbelt W(T)F,

    I’m amazed at how far coniving, ungrateful offspring will go just to hurt their mother’s feelings. You’d think they’d at least have the decency to wait until she gets Alzhiemers and is in flea-bag nursing home to spew their hateful diatribe.

    Your little tale made me think of the blonde who had an abortion (she didn’t think the baby was hers). It makes a good case for Pro Choice.

    Making waves,
    Carlton of Hanover

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Carlton of Hanover,

      Then there was the blonde who thought her typewriter was pregnant because it skipped a period. (They’re only old if you’ve heard them.)

      I like your solution. I’ll send that onto Elise’s self-absorbed offspring.


      Theodora Rustbelt W(T)F the artist of Amazon inflamed fame.

      Liked by 1 person

  • Other’s perceptions don’t always meet how the artist conceived their work. It sucks when you succeed but you can’t acknowledge it. Why the daughter was scathing is left, also, to our interpretations. Enjoyed this.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Such a sad and vivid tale. That one piece of serious negativity just washes away all the compliments and kind words. But we can never know what kind of a battle a person is fighting inside. I would sincerely hope Elise gets an apology or at least an explanation from her daughter.

    Liked by 1 person

  • ‘A mixture of pride and something other than joy floods Elise as her admirers kiss her cheek and leave. She sinks to her knees under the weight of her adult daughter’s scathing words, spewed in anger the night before. Her accusations haunt Elise and reduce her to ash.
    “I’m such a failure.” ‘

    That is just such powerful writing, Rochelle; there are so many strong negative images piled one on top of the other. I was genuinely shocked by it.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Through time I’ve learned to be kind. (Wouldn’t you think you’d just BE that way?) When I find out what others are going through I thank my lucky stars that my path through life is easy in comparison. My WTF moments are now few and far between. You showed that beautifully in your story.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Parents are the first superheroes any kid would have in their lives. It will indeed be a mighty fall when you fall from that exalted position in your kid’s lives. No other accomplishment will even begin to fill that crater. Fantastic story, Rochelle. Loved it.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Packed with contrasting emotions and Elise’s inner turmoil. External trappings of success can never make up for the family relationships we struggle with. Children often don’t comprehend the pain they cause until they becomes parents themselves, but that’s no excuse. Well told.

    Liked by 1 person

  • We never know what another person is truly going through. It makes no difference how successful you are, relationships are difficult for everyone who is honest. The words of a child hurled in anger are the ones that hurt the worst. Your wording is very accurate, “Her accusations haunt Elise and reduce her to ash.” Elise can’t enjoy her success when the relationship with her daughter is strained. Hopefully, there will be reconciliation. It’s hard to feel joy or satisfaction when pain is paramount in our hearts. I’ve felt “reduced to ash” by my own grown daughter; we love each other dearly but occasionally get into arguments that sting. The key is forgiveness and holding on to the knowledge that underneath it all we are confident of the love we have for each other. Sorry to ramble on. I sincerely enjoyed your story and it was thought-provoking as always. Have a nice weekend! =)

    Liked by 1 person

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