Daily Archives: April 27, 2013

Feeling Unapologetic

I spent most of the week feeling ashamed, embarrassed and sorry for my sudden downshift in mood to a dark depression. People had taken note that I seemed different and better than I was years ago and I strived so hard to please them, to make myself look less flaky in their eyes, more desirable, more socially acceptable.

But in my gut, I know they are in the wrong. If you care about someone, then you take the darkness that comes with the light. You don’t get to pick and choose. Love is acceptance of the beautiful and the ugly. This was reaffirmed by the dedication in the book I am now reading, where the author thanked someone for being able to live with her, stand by her, in spite of her darkness and sadness. It’s how I have always felt. I can handle someone being sad or angry or happy. I can’t live with people being fake and unaware of their own flaws. It may make me a bitch but I REFUSE to accept the “This is how I am, deal with it.”

If we’re going with that party line, then I am sick of the side effects from the meds and I should just say, “This is how I am, deal with it.” But I KNOW that is wrong. I have issues and I need to deal with them, for myself, and for others, as well. Because as much as I accept myself, I know it is not right to drag people down just because I am down. I know it is not right to have blow ups and take a bad mood out on people. Furthermore, I should just give into my personality disorders, 0ne of the worst being, “Tell me to go left, I will go right to spite you.” Rebelling for what you believe in is one thing, but doing it out of spite…That’s stupid.

But everyone around me is just staying the same. They never change. Never become better versions of themselves or stop using their crutches or learn self awareness and face their own hypocrisy. Now that would be fine. Except these are the same people that have always, and still, expect me to change the things about myself that make them uncomfortable. Seriously people? If a diabetic had to give themselves an injection in your presence, you wouldn’t shun them. You might look away but you wouldn’t tell them to “cure yourself already.” But with mental illness, if you can’t cure it, then you must shove it back into the closet under a bunch of stuff and plaster on a fake smiley face and be whatever those around you need you to be for their own comfort.

I’m sure it’s not that way for everyone but it is for me, always has been. Just like living in this hick conservative area and people urging me to “dress normal.” What does that even mean? Just because I like to wear black with boots as opposed to bright colors or flannel with tennis shoes? Frankly, if my appearance makes you uncomfortable, that says more about your need to conform to fit in than anything being wrong with me. I admire and celebrate people who have the guts to make their own statements with their appearance or what music/music/et al they like. I don’t have to agree with it. But it takes more courage to stand out and stand up than to blend in and back down.

So…Believing this as staunchly as I do…

How is being in the presence of others and  having it implied that I am somehow “weak” or “annoying” or “difficult” because of my moods…Makes me shrink back and go back to the “let me please you” merry go round?

Yesterday, I went to the shop, when I got around to it, and I did not make any apologies. Because R has no changed since we were together and he never will and while I can accept him for what he is, it doesn’t make it healthy for me. Because anyone who would stay with a woman who beat is kids for 14 years but dump me after 2 years for being moody…is obviously an idiot. He blames her whole heartedly, but he refuses to take any responsibility. He stayed. He let her beat his kids. If you lack the spine to stand up for what is right and prefer not to rock the societal boat by breaking up a family…That is sort of on you. I understand the desire, the need, God knows I held onto the Donor not because of any true emotion for him but because I had so much emotion for my child. Of course, he didn’t abuse us.

Am I even making sense anymore?

This was another point R has made repeatedly. My lack of focus. Like I don’t care.

Hey, sometimes I do, some days I want everyone to die in a fire. It’s called mood swings, bitches, deal with it. I have to. I have also illuminated for him my slight ADD and that insurance won’t pay for the Focalin I desperately need to fix it…and he doesn’t get it. Still he complains. It’s like talking to a wall. He’s a good guy, but he is riddled with so many personality disorders, he is giving me a run for my money.

And there lies my biggest personality flaw of all.

I have made so many changes, done so much growing, gotten so introspective and tried so hard to fix things and improve things unsavory about myself…My quid pro quo brain kicks in and thinks others should do the same, even if to a smaller degree.

Stupid and laughable I know.

But I recognize it as a flaw and I need to try to do better. It’s just hard to accept others when the acceptance is never returned. When you can’t figure out why they have the right to expect you to change but make no changes of their own. Guess that’s one to discuss with the sunshine spewer next appointment.

Last night, I devoted four hours to letting the kids play. There was not a moment in that time that was about me. And while I thought I would feel resentful…I didn’t. I actually felt pretty good about it. I put my kid to bed and I stayed up til 11:30 watching TV.

Today my mood seems level. Little low but not too much so. My anxiety is off the charts because I have kids here and this girl is climbing on the couch beside me playing with the cats and saying my name every thirty seconds and telling me my typing is too loud. Yeah, this is not irritating at all.

But I am sucking it up.

Just because I am not a people person doesn’t mean my kid is a loner. I can’t keep her isolated just because I prefer to be. That’s what acceptance is. Not expecting others to be anything but what they are, even when letting them be who they are is outside your comfort zone.

I am finally breaking the cycle of my family. I have no expectations of my daughter to be anything but who she is. I have no hopes or dreams for her other than for her to be happy.

Let her figure out what she wants to do, who she wants to be. I may not like the outcome but I am prepared to handle it.

I have been stifled my whole life.

I won’t do it to my kid.

Getting Ahead of Myself (Anxiety Redux)

Hrmph, the fading of anxiety yesterday turned out to be a temporary thing. It came back nearly as soon as I patted myself on the back for weathering it. And speaking of backs, the rash is back too — sigh! It’s still not particularly itchy, but it is tender. I’ll probably waffle a bit the next day or two on booking an appointment, but I probably should if it’s come back. ¬¬

I’m trying to big myself up to go out for a tiny bit tonight, but I’m still not feeling it. It probably didn’t help that I slept in this morning — whups. But then, I’d been fighting that for over a week now, so it had to happen eventually. I’m still incredibly relieved that I didn’t trigger a panic attack at being ‘behind’ myself; I’ve got my things I do in the morning in their certain order, and starting off a few hours late risked being very stressful for my charmingly borked brain.

Anyways, it’s not like I’m going to have to drive if we go out tonight, so it should hopefully be okay… I think. I hope! I’ve not left the house in over a week, so it might, yanno… be a good thing to do. We’ll see. Think good thoughts for me pulling it off and all of that, ’cause yeah… right on edge. Though having said that, I might have to see a kettle about some chamomile tea…

I hope everyone is having a decent-to-awesome day out there.



The post Getting Ahead of Myself (Anxiety Redux) appeared first on The Scarlet B.

In Memory of John Fleagle: He Once Was a True Friend of Mine

It’s Friday night and all I can think of is John.  I know why: it’s only five days till Beltane, May Day.

Sumer is iccumen in, loude singe cuccu,

Groweth sede and bloweth mede,

And springthe the worlde anew,

Singe cuccu,

Owe bleatheth after lambe

Lowthe after calve cu…..(13th c. round, author unknown)

And we would go down to the Charles River before dawn on May Morning, with the New Cambridge Morris dancers, and take off our clothes and bathe in the frigid Charles, and then dress all in white.  Then, with John and I and assorted others playing pipes and tabors (a medieval drum), we would all set off, the dancers in their marching step and the musicians setting the pace, until we came to Harvard Yard.  There the Morris would form a ring and begin their special May Morning dances.  The accompanying Laydies in their white robes would laugh when the Jester, with his balloon made from an inflated pig’s bladder attached to a stick by means of a string, would mischievously smack their behinds with it; they would run after him and try to catch him, and he would run off swinging his pig’s bladder over his head and laughing maniacally.

The Swordsman bore upon his upraised sword a huge round cake upon a board, and doled out slices to everyone.  The one who got the silver charm hidden in the cake would have his or her heart’s desire fulfilled that year.  (And hopefully not a broken tooth in the bargain.)

Then on to Cambridge Common, where the Maypole was in place, with its many-coloured ribbons tied to its base.  At a signal from the Master, each one took his ribbon, and when the music commenced, the dancers began to weave the pole, half dancing sunwise and half widdershins, until the ribbons were woven into one, and tied again at the base.  Then the eggs and ale were passed around, and merry-making continued until the shadows grew long in the afternoon.

John and I met at Old Sturbridge Village, a 17th century reenactment museum in Western Massachusetts,  in 1973.  We were both playing for a day of dancing there.  We were playing in different bands, and met during a jam session between dances.  We fell in friendship-love immediately.  His beautiful chiseled features, tousled blond hair and lithe body in his period costume intoxicated me; but not only was he beautiful in form, but an ancient yet innocent purity of spirit caught me up in its beauty.  And to boot, he was a musician of rare talent and skill.  How rare, I was to discover over the next four years.

Soon after the Sturbridge Village dance, I decided to move from Western Massachusetts to Cambridge, where I was involved with the Contra Dance and Playford (English Country) Dance scene.  John and I often crossed paths at the dances and played in the pickup bands.  He wanted to move into Cambridge too, so we collected a group of four musicians: John, Elliot Ribner, Peter Amidon, and myself, and we rented a four bedroom flat in what was, at that time, one of the low-rent districts of Cambridge, which is now the high-rent district: Inman Square.

Our flat at 6 Marie Street became a hub for musicians and performing artists of all sorts.  John was mainly involved in Early Music, and studied with Marleen Montgomery, a wonderful teacher who had a large school and consort called Quadrivium.  I also studied in Quadrivium, as did Peter, and thus our place was crawling with krumhorns, sackbutts, racketts, serpents, and every size of recorder from sopranino to bass.  Elliot was involved with Irish music and shape-note singing and radio production, and I was of course the resident Old-Time banjoist when I wasn’t playing krumhorn or mandolin, singing ballads or madrigals or rounds and catches.  The place was a beautiful cacophony.

John became fascinated with luthiery and set up a workbench in his already tiny room off the kitchen.  His first project was a rebec, which is a medieval predecessor of the Middle Eastern Rebab.  He played it like a madman, once he had it made.  Then, having become proficient in playing the lute, he endeavored to make his own, and toiled away at it every spare moment.  I knew this, because my room abutted his, and through the thin wall I could often hear him planing the wooden ribs late into the night.

Photo credit: Magnatune

Photo credit: Magnatune

We often played music together.  We would get a book of recorder duets and play right through the whole thing; or sing rounds for hours at a time.  John was one of the world’s only natural counter-tenors (in the bad old days, countertenors were produced by castrating little boys who had the bad luck to have beautiful high-range singing voices.  John not only had all his body parts, but his singing range stretched from baritone to countertenor.)  His voice soared effortlessly into octaves that floated away in the clouds.  I, stuck in the lowly land of Alto, could only thrill to the wonderful flights that came out when he opened his mouth.  It always amazed me that John would sing and play with the likes of me, a mere mortal.

We were close; very close.  Sometimes we would lie together, fully clothed, on the camping mat that John called a bed (he rarely slept); for this he would have to sweep away some of the wood shavings that piled knee-high in his room (“I don’t have time to take them out!”).  We would lie there holding one another, breathing together, eye-gazing, weeping from the sweetness of it, wanting to be lovers but never daring to harm the pure love we cherished for one another.

As John’s skill in musicianship grew, so did his time commitments.  Soon he was playing with two other consorts, in addition to Quadrivium.  He would rush into the house, shower and change clothes, and rush out again.  Once I caught him in the pantry, with a bottle of vinegar in one hand and a bottle of oil in the other.  He was taking swigs alternately from one bottle and the other.

“John, what on earth are you doing?” I cried.

“I don’t have time to make a salad,” he said, blushing.

I saw him less and less that year, as I was working two jobs plus gigging several nights a week, and he was busy with all of his commitments.  We managed to play a Renaissance Faire together now and then, or perform for the Society for Creative Anachronism; and of course every year on May Morning we went down to the Charles with the Morris Ring.

Things changed; I moved off to Chicago, and John joined the Early Music consorts Alexander’s Feast and the Boston Camerata, and we soon stopped writing.  I heard through another former roommate at 6 Marie that he had married and moved to California.  I was joyful that he had found his mate, but still a bit sad that we had never managed to overcome our fear of ruining things, and had remained chaste lovers.

John died in 1999, of throat cancer.  It struck me as a bitter thing, to inflict such a death on a singer so sweet: he was known in close circles as “L’Ange,” The Angel.  I learned of his death a few months after he was gone, from one of the roommates.  She gave me one of his recent CDs, and do you know, I have not yet had the courage to listen to it.  I think I might just die of grief.  I loved him so.


John Fleagle, L’Ange


Dealing with some anxiety from earlier today. I Had a couple instances of vertigo for the first time in years. One was this morning at the beach where I fell down on the strand and had to pull myself up via a short brick wall. When I got home, I walked straight through the front door and fell forward knocking down a chair a table and my laptop all laying in a heap with me on top. Fortunately nothing broke.

Not wanting to be a drama queen, I would love to just shake this off, but I was incurring these types of incidences during the same time I was having seizures. I hope, for whatever reasons these came back, that they quietly move on.

I really need a break.