The 25th (Part 3 of 6) by Cortney Joseph

T H R E E | Attitude Adjustment ‘Training’ (Step One)


A week after being told that he was tired of my whining and complaining, I found myself meeting Justin at the gym where he worked out. He’d called and I finally stopped ignoring, accepted his invite.

“Why am I here? You know fat people and working out don’t mix.”

“No, that’s just you, Ocean. But anyway, something came to me last night as I was getting all of my stuff together for today, a thought.” I sighed, ready to go home. “People have to work on themselves from the inside out. But in your case, you might have to start from the outside and work your way in.”

“And being in a gym is necessary, why?”

“Working out is a great way to begin feeling good about yourself. Another secret; I was once grossly overweight, and a lot of my feelings about myself and anything I tried to do stemmed from the fact that I was displeased with my appearance. I’m overweight so I can’t do this, and I’m overweight so I can’t do that, and I lack this and that because I’m overweight. Have you ever considered that your lack of working out like you used to, along with many other habits and things, contribute to the way that you feel about yourself overall… including how you feel about your writing?”

“Nope, because it has nothing to do with it.”


“Girl, bye. You just called yourself fat and I have no doubt that at some point, before you and I part ways, you’ll contribute feeling fat and unattractive to why you think you have no talent. You always do that.”

“I do not.”

He folded his arms across his chest and began mocking me. “Ugh, I wouldn’t dare get on stage. They’ll take one look at my fat ass and know that I’m a terrible writer. But you don’t do that, huh? Not that you’re even fat or overweight, but that’s what you call yourself, so-”

I rolled my eyes. “If you know me so well, and you’re sick of it, why do you keep calling me?”

“Because, I love your stubborn ass and I’m trying to help you anyway that I can. I don’t go through all of these damn motions and moods with you for my own health. I care about your crazy ass. Now let’s do some light work. If you’re not feeling a little more relaxed or you haven’t worked the stress out, we’ll try something else. I’ll check on you in twenty.”

I groaned to myself, walking over to one of the treadmills that wasn’t being used. After stretching and getting myself situated, with my music blasting through my headphones, I paced myself and started off slow.

With Faith Evan’s latest album blasting in my ear, I mouthed the words to Ride The Beat as I walked and watched a few people moving back and forth in front of me. Some smiling, some laughing. Stopping to talk with someone else, waving to others; enjoying themselves.

That’s what I want for myself; to just walk around and smile and enjoy whatever is going on, wherever I am.


By the time Justin finally pried himself away from one of his other best friends, I’d walked for about forty-five minutes. While I initially thought that sticking around would be pointless, I had to admit that I was no longer as tense and upset as when I’d begun. It took me back to my late teens when I was one of those people that worked out after a long day of school or work just to destress. To get rid of whatever bad feelings I’d been carrying around all day, or all week in some cases.

Though I hate to admit it, Justin might have been right in asking me to join him today.


By four p.m., I was back home, showered and in my bed, stuffing my face with animal crackers and drinking orange juice while watching the Investigation Discovery channel, trying to get a little inspiration for a story I’ve had in mind for months.

As I was getting lost in this insane episode of Obsessions, my phone rang. Absentmindedly, I grabbed it and swiped to answer with my thumb before holding my phone to my ear.


“Feeling better today?”

A tiny smile etched itself across my face and I cleared my throat, sitting up. “Hi Daddy, and yeah, I guess I am.”

“Good. I’m not calling to get on your nerves or anything, just wanted to tell you about this competition I heard about. There’s one that’s like a paint and speak, I think that’s what it’s called. And then there’s one for just poets.”

I stayed silent for a moment before speaking. “Where at?”

“The Lamar Dixon. Someone left a flyer on the counter when they were checking out the other night and I read it. Thought it might be something that would interest you. There’s cash prizes, judges, and all of that stuff.”

“Did it say when?”

“Yep, the 29th.” I nodded, for my own benefit before I thanked him and told him that I’d think about doing it. “Make sure you let me know ahead of time if you’re participating, Baby Girl. I want to be there for you; Bethany and I both want to be there.”

“Yes Sir, and thanks again. Love you, Daddy.”

“Love you too. Bye.”

I ended the call and tossed my phone to the side, thinking to myself. This isn’t the first time he’s said that he and my step-mother have wanted to be there for something involving my writing. I’ve just never really done anything for them to come and support, aside from talent shows in Jr. High.


I just happened to glance at my TV when the logo for the Lamar Dixon Expo Center popped up. Grabbing the remote quickly and turning the volume up, I sat up straight and crossed my legs as I listened to what they were talking about.

It was the exact thing my father had just mentioned.


Saturday August 29th, 2015, The Lamar Dixon Expo Center will hosting their first annual competition for young artists in Gonzales and the surrounding cities. Showtime In Louisiana; a chance for the poets, singers, rappers, and other talented individuals of our great state to have a light shined on their talent.

All works performed must be original and unpublished, to be performed in four minutes or less before a panel of six judges; all from different areas of the entertainment business. Including music, film, and television producers.


I sat quietly, listening as they went over ticket prices, the free registration for performers and the limited amount of slots they had. It begins at 3 p.m., consists of four competitions total that will end in one grand prize winners and a second and third place winner. If you move on through the competitions, you have to have more than one piece ready to perform.

I shook my head, and laid back down, muting my TV altogether once they began giving out the phone number and address. To do it, or not to do it. My mind was telling me to do it, get it over with; try, give it my best. But my heart was telling me that I can not handle any more rejection if I put myself out there and get nothing from it.






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Published by mypenwritesnice

Creative Soul. Artist. Perfectionist. Virgo.

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