Dancing through Minefields

Dancing through Minefields

by Carol Feller


Publisher CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Published in Literature & Fiction/Women's Fiction, Literature & Fiction/Contemporary, Literature & Fiction

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Book Description


"Dancing through Minefields" confronts emotionally-charged accounts of Anne Schroeder's life as the author braids fear, spousal abuse, and breast cancer into a magnificent story of courage. As Anne finds support in learning to avoid the landmines, you will cheer her on as she struggles to replace the label of victim with one of survivor.

Sample Chapter



Someday I think I’ll be me. Not Mike’s wife. Not a mother. Neither a grandmother nor a daughter. I will, if only for one short day, be simply Anne. I’ll feel free. I’ll dance without inhibition, I’ll go to the circus and sit on the grass. I’ll laugh at the clowns, feel the excitement of circus thrills, and forget that I grew up only to discover that clowns cry, thrills don’t last, and surprises aren’t always good.

Today I ask my best friend Caitlin to help me through an unexpected surprise. One that makes my gut feel like I’m at the circus and on a Tilt-O-Whirl.

“Come on, Caitlin. It just makes sense. If we get an early appointment and go together we’ll have the rest of the day to ourselves. Think about it. Eight whole hours just for us. I’ll even pop for lunch.”

Slowly she brings her long tanned legs down from the porch railing and leans toward me, bringing the calico-cushioned rocker to a slow stop. This spirited friend of mine sees right through me. Shamelessly bordering on bribery, I try to convince her of the importance of mammograms, simply because this is something I do not want to do alone. She rolls her Irish green eyes upward, red curls bouncing as she shakes her head. Sitting back quietly she studies me, trying to see if I’m hiding anything. As if I could get anything past her.

“You mean to tell me that you want me to undergo excruciating pain, endure total embarrassment, and add to my financial burden with the only compensation being a free lunch? You’re not that good a friend, Anne.”

“Chicken. What’s with this excruciating pain? When did you get so melodramatic?”

“About the same time you got so pushy. When did you become such a health nut anyway?”

“I’m not a nut. I just believe in taking care of myself. And if I don’t go now I don’t know when I’ll have the chance. Tomorrow is my last day of vacation. Besides, I really want a day out and Mike won’t be jealous if I’m with you. Please?”

“Okay, okay. I’ll go already. But if that technician makes one smart remark about my, uh, body structure I’m gone. Got it?”

Caitlin is more than a bit touchy about the size of her breasts. I pooh-pooh her distress as nonsense, saying she makes way too much out of a mound of flesh. Besides, in my opinion there’s nothing wrong with small, perky breasts. No matter what our size or shape, women’s bodies definitely have an edge over men’s. I admit I take great delight in my own body. I’m proud of my long blonde hair and blue eyes. I work hard to stay trim; eating healthy and walking my dog, Elmo, twice a day.

At times I feel extremely powerful using my sexuality as a weapon against Mike’s anger. Just last week, sex helped soothe a tense moment. A properly placed hand accompanying a properly placed kiss can sometimes diffuse an otherwise abusive situation.

I Remember 1965

I remember praying, as only a teenager can. “Please, make me be pretty this time. Please. Please. Please.” Standing in front of the full-length mirror in my bedroom, I covered my eyes while softly praying, more to myself than to God.

While my eyes were still closed, I knew it could happen. After all, I was a blue-eyed blonde. And while not tall and lanky, I wasn’t short and stocky either. My eyes were expressive and I’d spent plenty of time over the last few months flirting in front of this mirror. I thought I was finally getting the hang of it.

Honey-colored hair fell past my shoulders and down my back, with just the hint of a wave reaching toward my waist. I thought that by Christmas it might make it. So with my mind’s eye, I saw a pretty blue-eyed blonde, thin and sexy and ready for a real life in the real world.

Opening my eyes, I stared straight into the face of reality. The pretty, sophisticated girl of my prayers and dreams was really a painfully shy child whose big blue eyes remained downcast. My long blonde hair didn’t know the first thing about behaving. It hung limply tucked behind my protruding ears. My body had the right pieces in the right places, but my thrift store clothes hid the curves I was too shy to show anyway.

My shoulders slumped as I attempted to shrink even from myself. My nose was too big, my chest too small, my hair too limp, my eyes too tearful to look anymore. My self-esteem was nonexistent, my sense of self-worth lower than an earthworm, and faith in myself was not yet formed. I was a mess.

As a senior in high school my grades were good enough to keep me on the honor roll each quarter. I worked part time at a local bakery, arriving on time and going about my work quietly, rarely talking with anyone. It seemed safer that way. I was always afraid of making a fool of myself by saying something stupid.

It seemed everything I did was motivated by fear. Even the things I didn’t do remained undone because of fear. Fear of failure. Fear of punishment. Fear of ridicule. Fear of not being good enough. Fear of fear.

We all drag something with us from childhood. I was naïve enough to bring my fears. Given a chance to redo it, I’d leave all the fears behind and find some self-confidence to drag with me instead. But I was young and inexperienced. I did the best I could.


Excerpted from "Dancing through Minefields" by Carol Feller. Copyright © 2018 by Carol Feller. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Author Profile

Carol Feller

Carol Feller

Third daughter in a family of seven children. Childhood memories worthy of remembrance. Twelve years of parochial school. Bereavement Minister. Member of Ephphatha (Bible Study group). Married young. Blessed with two daughters. Active landmines in my path included breast cancer and abuse. I’ve lived a lifetime of stories,each one shaping me into the person I am today. Faith moves me forward and repairs the shattered days of past mistakes. Impressive! BEST JOB EVER: I worked part-time in a children’s book store in a quaint little village in the North, where the wind blew, the snow swirled, the pages turned. The children smiled, and grandmothers opened their purses, granting wishes like Fairie Godmothers. Yep, best job ever!

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