Daily Archives: December 12, 2013

A New Voice Is Required

I am frustrated this morning — beyond belief.


I sat down just now to begin my extremely enjoyable research, with a cup of coffee in my hand, and a smile on my face. The sun is shining down on me, and my dog is planted at my feet. I had planned on completing a piece I’ve been working on discussing ECT, but instead I am forced to put my efforts into debunking myths and stigma. These messages are promoted by one of us, a blogger with bipolar, named Natasha Tracy. I have zero desire to bash her on a personal level, as I have no desire to do that to anyone. I do however have a gag reflex, and it has been triggered by the “research” she is promoting and her employers are supporting. So, let’s begin the discussion of the work at hand. I just want to be clear, I am only interested in discussing the work, and I am not interested in discussing the individual. I don’t know her personally, nor do I assume she is satanic.


I am struck by the negativity that many major health-care websites are perpetuating, such as healthyplace.com, healthline.com, and answers.com. They are advertising Ms.Tracy as an expert on those sites, so if that is the case, I’m sure the vast majority of her readers will assume they can trust her message and treat it as fact-based.


Here’s the rub:
I find her message to be wrought with negativity, misinformation, and deeply internalized social stigma.


Here are some titles for articles that she has written recently:

  • How Are You? – I’m Not Fine, I’m Bipolar
  • Intelligence and Bipolar Disorder (*I’ll save you the time, she thinks we’re stupider than the average bear)
  • Can You Die From Bipolar Disorder? (*Saving you more time, the answer is yes)
  • More Ways to Die from Bipolar Disorder
  • Trying Bipolar Therapy You Don’t Believe In – Mindfulness Meditation
  • Can a Person with Bipolar Disorder be Happy? (*Again, don’t waste your time, she’s not happy)
  • I’m Too Tired to Keep Fighting Bipolar Disorder



I’m sure that list sets the general tone. I am hoping to be a much needed counter balance to this sort of negativity. Likewise, for the vast majority of her “research” I’m quite certain I could provide an alternate study that refutes it. I’m sure this isn’t universal to every single thing she has ever put into print, of course there is some value in her experience and her sharing, but overall I find the writing perpetuates nothing but hopelessness and fear. She is basically explaining why your life as a bipolar person will never be whole and you should accept it. She says that quite often. She says you should accept weight gain, terrible medication side-effects, a lack of social interaction, and mental insufficiency. It’s all the writing. Don’t believe me? Go check it out for yourself.


I’m calling bullshit and shenanigans on that message. I know profoundly creative people with this disorder. I know excellent parents, business owners, and wonderful friends who, yes, they have struggled immensely, but ultimately they are all prevailing and leading rich meaningful existences with this diagnosis attached. I am one of those people. My film and this website will be dedicated to providing truthful information with a committed voice that preaches recovery, health, happiness, and meaning in people’s lives who are affected by bipolar.


I won’t debunk her writing with sources, unless I am asked to do so, because I feel it is taking time away from my important work. I am of course willing and able to refute topics, if people desire it. Just ask me, and I’ll do my best to answer your questions and hopefully restore your self-vision as a full and important being. I will cite science, and not just opinion. Seriously, ask away… I’m here to help.


Don’t internalize negativity. It will not help you recover, or maintain stability.


UPDATE: I have a meeting for the remainder of the afternoon, but I really appreciate all the dialogue everyone is offering each other. I will respond to each and every comment. You guys took the time to contact me, and I appreciate that. It just might take me a little time. Have a great rest of the day!


UPDATE 2: First of all, thank you to everyone who commented. I really appreciate you taking the time to make your position known. I am hopeful that I haven’t missed any comments, and that I responded to each and every one of you. Even the angriest comments are useful, if you’re able to step back and see the motivation behind the sharp tongue. I will take all that you have to say to heart and mind, and consider your perspectives. Really truly. I have been asked to write a more complete assessment to back up my point, rightly so! Please give me a little time to complete this task, and I will post it for your viewing, devouring, and perhaps flogging. 🙂 Have a great night everyone!


UPDATE 3: There is a response to this post located at: http://www.findmoreoutthere.com/new-voice/

Tiny Diamonds…A Love Story

From tiny diamonds, to big mistakes. Read a real-life love story…

Get Over It


  
                                 

Mental illness is not real. It's not a proper illness. 
Bipolar disorder is just a label they stick on people because its fashionable. No one really had Bipolar before all these celebrities got on the bandwagon. Just snap out of it. If you try harder you can get over it. 
I've heard it all before.

People don't tell someone with a heart condition to stop taking their tablets and get over it. They don't tell someone with diabetes that they can live without insulin. 
Bipolar disorder is "real" and without the proper treatment can be deadly. 
Bipolar disorder is an illness that affects thoughts, feelings, perceptions and behaviour ... even how a person feels physically. Its a mood disorder.  It's probably caused by electrical and chemical elements in the brain not functioning properly and is often found in people whose families have a history of mental illness.
While we're at it, let's be clear about something: a mental illness is one that affects the mind, not one that's all in the mind.
Most often, a person with bipolar disorder (manic-depression) experiences moods that shift from high to low and back again in varying degrees of severity. The two poles of bipolar disorder are mania and depression. 
Of course that's putting it in very simple terms. It's different for everybody. It affects people differently and everyone copes in their own way.
I'm not an expert on Bipolar but I'm becoming an expert on my own Bipolar.
I have to be mindful of how I live my life in order to keep well. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. It's not an easy thing to live with sometimes it's bloody hard but hey, I'm still here! 


                         

Get Over It


  
                                 

Mental illness is not real. It's not a proper illness. 
Bipolar disorder is just a label they stick on people because its fashionable. No one really had Bipolar before all these celebrities got on the bandwagon. Just snap out of it. If you try harder you can get over it. 
I've heard it all before.

People don't tell someone with a heart condition to stop taking their tablets and get over it. They don't tell someone with diabetes that they can live without insulin. 
Bipolar disorder is "real" and without the proper treatment can be deadly. 
Bipolar disorder is an illness that affects thoughts, feelings, perceptions and behaviour ... even how a person feels physically. Its a mood disorder.  It's probably caused by electrical and chemical elements in the brain not functioning properly and is often found in people whose families have a history of mental illness.
While we're at it, let's be clear about something: a mental illness is one that affects the mind, not one that's all in the mind.
Most often, a person with bipolar disorder (manic-depression) experiences moods that shift from high to low and back again in varying degrees of severity. The two poles of bipolar disorder are mania and depression. 
Of course that's putting it in very simple terms. It's different for everybody. It affects people differently and everyone copes in their own way.
I'm not an expert on Bipolar but I'm becoming an expert on my own Bipolar.
I have to be mindful of how I live my life in order to keep well. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. It's not an easy thing to live with sometimes it's bloody hard but hey, I'm still here! 


                         

The Quiet Room

So, where was I?  Back a couple of posts or so ago…?  Oh, that’s right!  I crashed and burned.  Yep.  

First, a correction.  This occurred at the end of Block III in the teacher ed program, not Block II.  The next semester would have been the final Block then student teaching before hopefully passing the Praxis test and entering the classroom as a teacher.

Now here I was, three weeks left to spare in Block III, and I was crashing.  I managed to complete the semester.  I had to!  I’d invested too much, and had watched the investment my family had also put into my education, to quit at that point.  And I believed I just needed a little break before hitting the books again in the fall.  I had a whole summer. 

That’s not the way it went, though.  A month later I was sleeping almost non stop.  When I wasn’t sleeping I was crying.  Or that’s the way it seemed to me at the time.  Looking back I recall so very little.  Just that things were very dark. 

John had been attending some of my counseling sessions with me in an effort to better understand my illness.  We made an emergency appointment with *Flo (can you see being in therapy with Flo as the therapist?  J) and had to make a decision.  Was I able to cope?  Was I in danger of harming myself? Was I able to care for myself and/or my family? Was a more intense effort needed to become stable?

I know John wanted only what was best for me, as did Flo.  I’m also sure he must have been terrified at that point.  We decided that the best course of action would be for me to be briefly hospitalized in order to be stabilized, a decision I’d make again today if necessary. 

I was fortunate in that my then-doctor was affiliated with an amazing hospital in St. Louis.  Fortunate because the psychiatric ward (now THAT’s a shocking term, isn’t it?) there was for those like me…not for those waiting to dry out between drunks or drug highs or those who were criminals.  Just for those of us whose neurotransmitters were taking a hiatus. And I hafta say, except for the whole crying and sleeping thing, and being horribly depressed, it wasn’t half bad.  Staff was amazing, I had no responsibilities except to get better, the food was great (Hey, that’s important!), and there were plenty of snacks on hand.  We were well cared for.  If called to give it a rating, I’d say five stars.

I have to add I was a little antisocial.  Okay, make that a LOT antisocial.  I didn’t want to attend group therapy, or activities, or anything else that involved other people.  I wanted to be left alone with my book and be allowed to read or sleep.  I was there because I was depressed, not to make friends over arts and crafts.

Then came the first night and the discovery that my roommate snored.  Like a truck.  I absolutely could not sleep through that.  I made my way to the nurses’ station and begged to be allowed to sleep in another room.  All the rooms were full, though.  I then begged to be allowed to sleep on the sofa in the common room, or even in a chair!  Against regulations.  The despair I felt made my earlier despair look like joy, and apparently it showed, ‘cause I was informed that there was the “quiet room” and it was unoccupied!  

What??!!  A quiet room??  Why wasn’t I told about this room before?  Quiet!  That was exactly what I wanted! I almost-happily gathered up my blankets and pillow and tip-toed my way to the room. I wanted that room and didn’t want anyone else to claim it!  My precious!  It was adjacent to the nurses’ station with a window between them.  I noticed the mattress was on the ground but, hey, I didn’t care.  There was no one in the room but me!  Quiet time, here I come!

As I snuggled down, I noticed something on the floor at each corner of the bed.  They were kind of like bent over, u-shaped bolts but each side was bolted into the floor. The bed wasn’t bolted down. It was just a mattress.  So what could it be?  Then it dawned on me and I actually laughed out loud.

The room could more appropriately be called a “time out” room and was usually for those who needed to be quieted, not for those needingquiet.  I’m still laughing about this, though my husband and doctor were not too thrilled with it (read: horrified) when they found out.  The u-shaped bolt thingies were in case a patient needed to be restrained.  Oh, my.  I’m so un-violent.  The irony is just too much.  But, hey, I’m just grateful the room was empty while I was there because it meant I got to sleep at night.

I was placed on lithium, which is generally a drug of choice for depression, assuming the patient doesn’t develop a toxicity.  I did, but not for several weeks.  It works quickly and had me pretty much stable by the time my three day stint was over. Actually, I felt pretty darn good at that point.

Blood work conducted at the hospital indicated my iron level was dangerously low and that my thyroid had taken early retirement.  Two more potential causes behind my exhaustion and contributing factors to the depression. 

So, I did gain some answers.  But better yet?  I got to sleep in the quiet room!

The Quiet Room

So, where was I?  Back a couple of posts or so ago…?  Oh, that’s right!  I crashed and burned.  Yep.  

First, a correction.  This occurred at the end of Block III in the teacher ed program, not Block II.  The next semester would have been the final Block then student teaching before hopefully passing the Praxis test and entering the classroom as a teacher.

Now here I was, three weeks left to spare in Block III, and I was crashing.  I managed to complete the semester.  I had to!  I’d invested too much, and had watched the investment my family had also put into my education, to quit at that point.  And I believed I just needed a little break before hitting the books again in the fall.  I had a whole summer. 

That’s not the way it went, though.  A month later I was sleeping almost non stop.  When I wasn’t sleeping I was crying.  Or that’s the way it seemed to me at the time.  Looking back I recall so very little.  Just that things were very dark. 

John had been attending some of my counseling sessions with me in an effort to better understand my illness.  We made an emergency appointment with *Flo (can you see being in therapy with Flo as the therapist?  J) and had to make a decision.  Was I able to cope?  Was I in danger of harming myself? Was I able to care for myself and/or my family? Was a more intense effort needed to become stable?

I know John wanted only what was best for me, as did Flo.  I’m also sure he must have been terrified at that point.  We decided that the best course of action would be for me to be briefly hospitalized in order to be stabilized, a decision I’d make again today if necessary. 

I was fortunate in that my then-doctor was affiliated with an amazing hospital in St. Louis.  Fortunate because the psychiatric ward (now THAT’s a shocking term, isn’t it?) there was for those like me…not for those waiting to dry out between drunks or drug highs or those who were criminals.  Just for those of us whose neurotransmitters were taking a hiatus. And I hafta say, except for the whole crying and sleeping thing, and being horribly depressed, it wasn’t half bad.  Staff was amazing, I had no responsibilities except to get better, the food was great (Hey, that’s important!), and there were plenty of snacks on hand.  We were well cared for.  If called to give it a rating, I’d say five stars.

I have to add I was a little antisocial.  Okay, make that a LOT antisocial.  I didn’t want to attend group therapy, or activities, or anything else that involved other people.  I wanted to be left alone with my book and be allowed to read or sleep.  I was there because I was depressed, not to make friends over arts and crafts.

Then came the first night and the discovery that my roommate snored.  Like a truck.  I absolutely could not sleep through that.  I made my way to the nurses’ station and begged to be allowed to sleep in another room.  All the rooms were full, though.  I then begged to be allowed to sleep on the sofa in the common room, or even in a chair!  Against regulations.  The despair I felt made my earlier despair look like joy, and apparently it showed, ‘cause I was informed that there was the “quiet room” and it was unoccupied!  

What??!!  A quiet room??  Why wasn’t I told about this room before?  Quiet!  That was exactly what I wanted! I almost-happily gathered up my blankets and pillow and tip-toed my way to the room. I wanted that room and didn’t want anyone else to claim it!  My precious!  It was adjacent to the nurses’ station with a window between them.  I noticed the mattress was on the ground but, hey, I didn’t care.  There was no one in the room but me!  Quiet time, here I come!

As I snuggled down, I noticed something on the floor at each corner of the bed.  They were kind of like bent over, u-shaped bolts but each side was bolted into the floor. The bed wasn’t bolted down. It was just a mattress.  So what could it be?  Then it dawned on me and I actually laughed out loud.

The room could more appropriately be called a “time out” room and was usually for those who needed to be quieted, not for those needingquiet.  I’m still laughing about this, though my husband and doctor were not too thrilled with it (read: horrified) when they found out.  The u-shaped bolt thingies were in case a patient needed to be restrained.  Oh, my.  I’m so un-violent.  The irony is just too much.  But, hey, I’m just grateful the room was empty while I was there because it meant I got to sleep at night.

I was placed on lithium, which is generally a drug of choice for depression, assuming the patient doesn’t develop a toxicity.  I did, but not for several weeks.  It works quickly and had me pretty much stable by the time my three day stint was over. Actually, I felt pretty darn good at that point.

Blood work conducted at the hospital indicated my iron level was dangerously low and that my thyroid had taken early retirement.  Two more potential causes behind my exhaustion and contributing factors to the depression. 

So, I did gain some answers.  But better yet?  I got to sleep in the quiet room!

The Quiet Room

So, where was I?  Back a couple of posts or so ago…?  Oh, that’s right!  I crashed and burned.  Yep.  

First, a correction.  This occurred at the end of Block III in the teacher ed program, not Block II.  The next semester would have been the final Block then student teaching before hopefully passing the Praxis test and entering the classroom as a teacher.

Now here I was, three weeks left to spare in Block III, and I was crashing.  I managed to complete the semester.  I had to!  I’d invested too much, and had watched the investment my family had also put into my education, to quit at that point.  And I believed I just needed a little break before hitting the books again in the fall.  I had a whole summer. 

That’s not the way it went, though.  A month later I was sleeping almost non stop.  When I wasn’t sleeping I was crying.  Or that’s the way it seemed to me at the time.  Looking back I recall so very little.  Just that things were very dark. 

John had been attending some of my counseling sessions with me in an effort to better understand my illness.  We made an emergency appointment with *Flo (can you see being in therapy with Flo as the therapist?  J) and had to make a decision.  Was I able to cope?  Was I in danger of harming myself? Was I able to care for myself and/or my family? Was a more intense effort needed to become stable?

I know John wanted only what was best for me, as did Flo.  I’m also sure he must have been terrified at that point.  We decided that the best course of action would be for me to be briefly hospitalized in order to be stabilized, a decision I’d make again today if necessary. 

I was fortunate in that my then-doctor was affiliated with an amazing hospital in St. Louis.  Fortunate because the psychiatric ward (now THAT’s a shocking term, isn’t it?) there was for those like me…not for those waiting to dry out between drunks or drug highs or those who were criminals.  Just for those of us whose neurotransmitters were taking a hiatus. And I hafta say, except for the whole crying and sleeping thing, and being horribly depressed, it wasn’t half bad.  Staff was amazing, I had no responsibilities except to get better, the food was great (Hey, that’s important!), and there were plenty of snacks on hand.  We were well cared for.  If called to give it a rating, I’d say five stars.

I have to add I was a little antisocial.  Okay, make that a LOT antisocial.  I didn’t want to attend group therapy, or activities, or anything else that involved other people.  I wanted to be left alone with my book and be allowed to read or sleep.  I was there because I was depressed, not to make friends over arts and crafts.

Then came the first night and the discovery that my roommate snored.  Like a truck.  I absolutely could not sleep through that.  I made my way to the nurses’ station and begged to be allowed to sleep in another room.  All the rooms were full, though.  I then begged to be allowed to sleep on the sofa in the common room, or even in a chair!  Against regulations.  The despair I felt made my earlier despair look like joy, and apparently it showed, ‘cause I was informed that there was the “quiet room” and it was unoccupied!  

What??!!  A quiet room??  Why wasn’t I told about this room before?  Quiet!  That was exactly what I wanted! I almost-happily gathered up my blankets and pillow and tip-toed my way to the room. I wanted that room and didn’t want anyone else to claim it!  My precious!  It was adjacent to the nurses’ station with a window between them.  I noticed the mattress was on the ground but, hey, I didn’t care.  There was no one in the room but me!  Quiet time, here I come!

As I snuggled down, I noticed something on the floor at each corner of the bed.  They were kind of like bent over, u-shaped bolts but each side was bolted into the floor. The bed wasn’t bolted down. It was just a mattress.  So what could it be?  Then it dawned on me and I actually laughed out loud.

The room could more appropriately be called a “time out” room and was usually for those who needed to be quieted, not for those needingquiet.  I’m still laughing about this, though my husband and doctor were not too thrilled with it (read: horrified) when they found out.  The u-shaped bolt thingies were in case a patient needed to be restrained.  Oh, my.  I’m so un-violent.  The irony is just too much.  But, hey, I’m just grateful the room was empty while I was there because it meant I got to sleep at night.

I was placed on lithium, which is generally a drug of choice for depression, assuming the patient doesn’t develop a toxicity.  I did, but not for several weeks.  It works quickly and had me pretty much stable by the time my three day stint was over. Actually, I felt pretty darn good at that point.

Blood work conducted at the hospital indicated my iron level was dangerously low and that my thyroid had taken early retirement.  Two more potential causes behind my exhaustion and contributing factors to the depression. 

So, I did gain some answers.  But better yet?  I got to sleep in the quiet room!

Why worry?





I don't know how I end up getting myself into certain situations. I feel like I'm never going to have a normal relationship again. When I was married I never dreamed that I would be single again. I never dreamed that the men in my life would consist of a guy who I absolutely adore, who will never be more than a friend and another who I also adore, who will never be more than just sex. Lol, some would say that is a perfect scenario. Of course I can't leave out my ex husband, who I also adore but don't necessarily like and can't seem to break free from. Things will change. Whenever and however things change it's going to be so difficult. It scares me. Why can't I just enjoy things as they are now? Maybe they are normal relationships.Why do I always look for problems? 

I can't imagine a girlfriend being happy about me spending so much time with her boyfriend. I can't imagine she'd be thrilled about us cooking each other dinner, going out for meals, watching films and getting takeaways. I can't imagine she'd be happy about us having long conversations on the phone every week. I can't imagine she would believe that we are just friends and don't sleep together. I'm scared that she'll try and put a stop to us seeing each other. I don't want that to happen.Why do people have such a hard time recognising that a man and woman can be close friends without sex? Why are people worried that by having a friend like this it's going to stop me meeting someone else?  I love the time we spend together. He makes me really happy. There's nothing strange about it. Of course she doesn't even exist yet so as usual I'm worrying about something that hasn't even happened. I just read that back and it sounds so selfish. I would hope that if he did meet the right person I would be really happy for him. She might even like me! He deserves to be happy which is the most important thing.

 So, I was just about getting used to the idea that it was over. When I saw him out it really was ok. I felt happy that I could be in his company without feeling awkward. I didn't look at him as someone I'd had sex with, I looked at him as a real person and as a friend. 
So how did we end up having sex again? I didn't make him do it. I didn't trick him into coming over. He wanted it as much as I did. The most exciting, amazing sex ever. So how come I feel so confused about it? It was what it was. 
Feelings, fucking feelings, that's what happened. I don't know if it's my mood at the moment, making me more sensitive but I felt that he was saying things to make damn sure I wasn't going to read too much into it and so that I wouldn't expect it to be happening again anytime soon, if ever. That's no different to every other time. We never do spend ages chatting. We never do make plans for a next time. I don't know. For the first time since this all began I felt uncomfortable. Now I really don't what will happen. I feel sure it's just me being stupid and over sensitive. I doubt he's even bothered. Maybe I'm upset because I really do like him and I really don't want it to stop. I love the excitement. I don't want it to be complicated. I'm single, he's single, where is the problem? Maybe the problem is me. 

And then there's my ex husband who is clearly still in love with me but he doesn't want me. He can't come to terms with the fact I have bipolar. That's it. 

probably do spend too much time worrying about things that haven't even happened. I don't know if that's part of being bipolar or just me. 


The King and Queen of Denial

Today started out like any Wednesday, taking care of my 89-year-old father so my 87-year-old mother could get out of the house for the afternoon.

Dad was a little “off” today: he wasn’t happy with his omelette for lunch.  He would rather have had one more piece of toast but preferred to grumble about it rather than ask for it.  I didn’t mind.  After all, he’s 89 and very disabled, in pain all the time, and it amazes me that he manages to get through most of his days in mild-to-moderately good spirits.

Mom came in from shopping, bringing the mail that she picked up at the post office.  There was a package from LL Bean for me.  She wanted to see what was in it; I demurred, because the gift for her upcoming birthday was in it.  She got demanding and insistent.  There was a bit of a tussle until I finally remembered that there was something in that package for me, too, and I cagily extracted it.  That satisfied her.

I looked at my mail; nothing but “begging letters.”  I have specific charities I give to regularly, so I threw them all in the recycle bin.

The conversation turned to politics, and somehow got onto someone whose past as a prostitute had recently been revealed.

Mom reacted acidly.  How could anyone sink so low?  What in the world would cause anyone to do THAT?  She’d rather die.

“I did that,” I said quietly.

“YOU DID NOT!” She shouted, staring at me blinking out of her little birdy eyes as if I was the world’s biggest liar.

“Come OFF IT” shouted my father, several decibels softer than he would have in his prime, but doing the best he could muster.

“You were never a prostitute,” stated my mother matter-of-factly.

“Unfortunately, I was, when I ran away.”

“Then you deserved what you got!  You’re lucky you didn’t pick up some disease!  Maybe you DID pick up some disease,” she said thoughtfully.  ”Why in the world did you do that?”

“I did it because I was cold and hungry, I needed food and shelter and safety from the streets.”

“You never told us that.  You never told us anything.  You just left us all of a sudden.  You robbed us of raising you!  You robbed us of our only child!”

I robbed them of their only child.  That was all they could think of.  They didn’t ask me why I ran away to California, or why, when they flew me back East for a family event, I ran back to California as soon as it was over.  Even if they had asked me then, I wouldn’t have told them.

I was scheduled for an abortion. I needed to get back to California.

It’s been forty-four years since I bought that one-way ticket to San Francisco.  Forty-four years since the bullying at school, my mother’s frequent unpredictable rages, and the vicious rape that took my virginity rolled up into critical mass.  I knew I had to either kill myself or get out of there.  I chose the latter.

I hit the streets in California broke, disoriented, and from my perspective now, unbelievably vulnerable.  Nowhere to stay, nothing to eat.  The weather was cold that spring, and I was dressed for California sunshine, not cold fog.

The first night I stayed with a friend I had met at a summer camp.  Her parents had a party that very night, and I went to bed early, exhausted from the trip.  The bedroom door opened and closed, and suddenly a man’s body was on top of mine.  A voice hissed in my ear, “Don’t make any noise and you won’t get hurt.”

It was the same thing my first rapist had hissed.  That first time.

Many more rapes, and finally it dawned on me that I could get food and places to stay and maybe a little money to buy a new toothbrush.  Nothing big-time: I didn’t even know what I was doing.  Just surviving, that’s all.

Why didn’t I give up and go home?

Because the streets and the rapes and the johns were better than the screaming and the “silent treatment” and the rapist there who watched me like a hawk, trying to get me to “be nice” to his friends in exchange for some Panama Red….and the school principal who regularly lectured me on the fact that I was a weirdo and would never amount to anything.  At least this bad scene was MY bad scene.  I chose it over being a one-girl shooting range at “home.”

“Home is where the heart is.”  There was only one heart, and it was beating in my chest.  Now, as then.

“You deprived us of raising you!  You robbed us of our only child!”

And yet…and yet what?  You only thought of yourselves?  You still, forty-four years later, think only of yourselves and not why I ran away, let alone what happened to me out there?

“You deserved whatever you got.  You chose it.  You deprived us of our only child!”

God help us.


2014 – The Year I Finally Finish Something

Note to self: stock up on pens

It’s funny how you think you can shed off a piece of yourself like a coat and throw it in the corner, assuming you will never need it again.  But even if it gets lost under the pile, deteriorates from age and non-use and seems like a bit of a waste of space, it still belongs to you.  That’s how it is with dreams.  It may seem a little too ratty to bother with, or it may appear gaudy and overpriced, but it’s still your dream.  You’re not going to get rid of it by ignoring it.  

I am a terrible writer.  It’s true.  I read excerpts from my favorite books and I actually cry, both from the beauty of the author’s words and the stark realization that I will never, ever come close to that.  Then I read a terrible book and think, hey, why am I not writing?  I can at least do this well, eh?  But it’s time to stop comparing.  I will always come up lacking in my own sense.  This is no longer the excuse I want to use for not trying.  I have to redefine my version of failure, because only what I am doing (which is nothing) is true failure.  Spending a lot of time and effort on a book that may never be seen by anyone outside my close friends and family – that’s not failure.  

I have a weird way of keeping my books.  I hide sections of them in different spots…and I usually can’t remember where half of them are.  I do it partly for shame of my work and slightly for the fear that some idiot may actually steal what I’ve written and try to pass it off as their own. I’m possessive like that. More than that, however, I have to protect my books from myself. I vividly recall destroying one of my nearly finished books a few years ago- I burned it up with a cigarette lighter in a pot on the stove – and I never know when the mood to kill (aka self-hatred) will strike again. Whatever the case, I have a lot of parts to books; an arm here, a torso there, and I am going to use the rest of this year to find what I have to at least one of the books I have written.  And then, 2014 is dedicated to NOT burning it up with a cigarette lighter in a pot on the stove. I’m going to actually finish it. That’s all I wish to guarantee for now.  I can’t promise an excellent piece of literature, and I can’t even promise I will still want to live after I finish it, but I do need that completion on my record.  I crave it and I don’t really like myself without it. I’m really sick of the words “rough draft”. 

While I realize “well done is better than well said” I figured I owed an explanation in advance in case I suddenly drop off the planet aka Facebook, Blogger, etc.  I am estimating that I will give myself a little break every other weekend to revisit my dear internet addiction, but only briefly.  So this isn’t really goodbye for next year, but it’s kind of close.