Sunday, July 29, 2012

Within God

I have to personally recommend a blog...The Klonopin Chronicles. 18,000 viewers and she still answered a cry for help from me yesterday...

It's amazing how the medications that seem so powerful otherwise, (weight gain, sex drive,etc.) lack any ability to touch my mental illness at times. I do put up with all the side effects hoping they will correct years of being undiagnosed. But, for some reason, they just turn into fat pills when I need them the most. And so I spent all day yesterday curled up around myself, although the kindly stepfather did get me out for a bit.

But talk therapy is the way to go, folks. I would spend everyday, all day, in a room with my therapist if I could. My dream is to marry a therapist, so I never have to leave their presence. Wouldn't that be a healthy relationship...

There is nothing to lift the clouds like spending time with an educated specialist who has a sense of humor. That feeling of being understood, and accepted, is a feeling of power. With my therapist, I am an artist through and through, nothing can stop me and my "normal" is normal. It's the rest of the world that is f**ked up.

And the scary bit is this: the rest of the world IS messed up. Anyone can look around and tell that. Nothing is "normal." Unless war is normal, starvation, rape, sickness and a host of other ills that have consistently afflicted humankind down through the ages. Being mentally 'ill' is more desirable to me. But there is nothing like being startled, or manic, or depressed, and being in a crowd. Any ideas that I am normal goes out the window, and I am apart and alone...once again.

Again, it does help to be an artist, and broadcast that fact to any and all who will listen. Bipolar people are more creative than is general, and people expect artists to be odd. To the ancient Greeks, we were touched by the gods. And that is an idea passed down through the ages. It's also an idea I encourage.

None of us like to feel alone in a crowd. Humans are social creatures, born to live in herds, and being separate from the herd is to feel a loneliness that surpasses all other feelings. It is against our nature. I read one time that babies are born with some innate fears, like the fear of falling. It isn't learned but something hardwired into us. I would add the fear of being alone. This is not to mention solitude, which is a different need.

And so I write to you every morning, and I write to others born like myself, and I write to my therapist. And I write to the dead and the living, to animals and to humans and to the earth. Even the most solitary hermit can feel the need to communicate, one of the most important ways to be part of the herd. And magically, you are here with me in the twilight, watching the stars and waiting for the zinnia to sing...

 "The Bedouin could not look for God within him: he was too sure that he was within God."

~T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia)

Saturday, July 28, 2012


I don't have much this morning...not enough coffee yet. And still, here I am with you in the dark, waiting.

And the kindly stepfather made blueberry muffins last night for me, instead of watching the opening of the Olympics. I won't eat them. I am taking them to a friend's this morning for coffee.

I think the best part of the opening ceremony was the James Bond (Daniel Craig) bit where he jumped out of a helicopter with the Queen. And of course, Voldemort. I think they should have done more with Harry Potter besides showing a blow up doll of Voldemort and having J.K. Rowling read. For those of you new to my blog, I am in love with Severus Snape/Alan Rickman. I would take either one, just gimme a choice.

The thought of Severus and my meds are keeping my worries at bay for now. And I am taking yoga classes. I have found that I am limber but have lost my sense of balance. Right now, holding one foot and reaching my hand to the sky is the impossible dream.

Thank you to all who view my blog. You don't know how much your interest keeps me going...and I am thrilled to have found out how to enable comments...I eat, drink and breathe you. Hopefully tomorrow will be more cohesive...

Friday, July 27, 2012

Waiting for the Sun

Another day older is how I felt yesterday. Today, not so much...I did get some sleep last night. And so here I am, really awake and not exhausted by my habit of waking up early. Only the dog is dissatisfied. And you know where the unicorn meat eating cats are: hunting. Myself, I am waiting for the morning glory to open. I am not dissing my zinnia, but something wild and free and beautiful coming to see me is a treasure.

My friend, we'll call her Mary, came by yesterday to swim, accompanied by her large family that changes at the edges, like a wiggling octopus. She is a friend who helped me with my mother the last 11 years she was alive; cleaning the house and serving as a contact to the world I had lost touch with. I don't know where my mother found her.

The picture I carry in my mind is this: she stands like a quiet goddess in the hallway waiting to cleanse and dress my mother's body, in a ritual as old as humankind. Her hair falls to her hips, and a towel is draped over her arm. I remember nothing and no one else from that day but her unusually quiet presence.

Mary has a great soul, though she doesn't know it. She adopts people and takes them in, helps them, and then off they go to make room for someone else. Her choices can be quirky. She adopts homeless, young couples with children. She adopts rich people, pining in their large homes alone. She adopted me, when I had a home, but no sanity, and my mother, the widow, the bereft half of a whole.

She is the quintessential female, feet planted solidly in the earth. She is no angel of self-denial. Her passions are equally earthy. Her arms thrown around you make bad things go away. Her girth serves as witness to the children she has borne, and quiets the children she hasn't. Unusual in our cultural thought, she is a large woman with a sexual appetite to match her. She has the sense of humor that I learned to appreciate in barns. That is where mating, growing and life changes are a matter of course, the chief topic of conversation. The view is limitless from there.

Something is always moving around Mary, like the morning glory moves restlessly in the dark, waiting for the sun.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Incredibly Early

So it's 2 AM and you want to read a blog? Well, here I am. I know, I know...I woke you up for that? My dog, Maxwell, feels the same way about it. Only he eats cat shit to let me know how he feels. Both unicorn meat eating cats are in...they are every night; this is the city, after all. I can trust them to avoid deer and bears, but not cars. They all sleep with me. And while it can be comforting, and down right necessary in the winter, it can also be claustrophobic.

My shrink has decided I would rather be fat than unstable, so WE are taking a new med. I have added 10 pounds in a month, and at this rate, I will be Ms. Santa by Christmas. Two weeks ago, I sat down and scarfed a quart of ice cream, butter pecan.

It doesn't help that my best friend, Dark Star, is close to 6 foot and weighs the same as my right leg. She is good, through and through, and ice cream doesn't pass those lips...although I can't say the same about fudge. I give her some every Christmas and it disappears, magically. Her husband, Bubba, probably eats it. Or she gives it to orphans wandering around the smallish town she lives in.

I was talking to another blogger yesterday, "Diary of a Mad Woman" and I forgot to tell her my life sometimes feels like a whole season of "Law & Order: SVU". (Sexual Victim's Unit) --- see my blog yesterday...

My zinnia are blooming out there in the dark, and instead of the squash, we now have morning glories. I am happy with the substitution. Squash taste good, but morning glories are good for the soul. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Take Back the Night

I woke up late today, and it's a blessing. I ate a lot of chocolate in the middle of the night, and woke up with my mouth tasting like the business end of a garbage scow. It's a lovely consequence of my meds.

The unicorn meat eating cats are out and about hunting. Tired of that, they come in for a respite to eat Cat Chow now and then. My corgi mix is waiting at my feet. He is used to this writing thing early in the morning now, and moves freely about, instead of moving like a machine slaved to me.

And the zinnia? What of the zinnia, Alise? It's too dark to see them now, but I can hear a small hum where they are singing. I have all colors now, pink, orange and cream, and they are a glory.They sing lullabies to the small lavender plant nearby.

Yesterday, I spared time to talk about my disabilities. I don't mention them for pity...although it's a noble sentiment and kindly taken. I pity many people and don't feel it's derogatory to my character. I mentioned them because I now feel I have the skill to talk about them. It's an odd world, sometimes, having mental differences, but I now feel safe in it. I am set free knowing I can't depend on the voiced world for it's opinion of me.

So here's something else I will mention, since it's my blog. I usually write generally and try to write with a sense of humor to appeal to the general audience. But I would like to address a specific audience today.

 Hollins University is a private, women's school in Virginia, known for it's excellence in the Arts, especially Creative Writing.  It's also known for the beauty of it's grounds, and I have spent a lot of time there, during my illnesses, recovering.

Once a year, the front Quad is decorated with a clothes line, and hundreds of t shirts. On the t shirts is written the history of the sexual assaults and rapes of various young women at the University. I cannot describe the feelings I had the first time I saw this event. It was dark, with only the lamplights burning, and the dark had a profound silence about it. T shirt after t shirt spelled out these young women's encounters with strangers, fathers, brothers, boyfriends, friends.

The silence seemed to fit but had a quality of horror about it. I couldn't read all of them; I was overwhelmed by their voices. Their quiet voices. I became them. I was them. I have an unwritten t shirt to hang there. I was surrounded by the memories of my sisters. With only the body of a t shirt to mark their time here.

Here is my t shirt: I was stalked and sexually assaulted by a still-practicing M.D. To answer your questions: he has been accused four times, not including me, and been to trial twice and acquitted. This isn't the horror bit. The horror bit is: he came to my house one time, after the sexual assault in his office, and convinced my mother to let him in. He was her physician at the time, and was treating her with acupuncture. You see, no one believed my accusations at the time. I was simply crazy from the grief of my father dying.

Back to it: I was drunk as a louse in my apartment downstairs and remember nothing but him walking down the stairs, and then waking up the next morning. I was in terrible pain coming from my left leg. Did I mention he is practicing now as an osteopath? That's someone, like a chiropractor, who manipulates muscles to strengthen the bones.

It turns out that I now have permanent damage to the groin muscle for that leg. I rarely bring this memory out of hiding. I like to think of it as something Jim Beam dreamed up for me. But there is the evidence in the folder of my own osteopath (a woman), and the constant problems I have with that leg.

Why? Came to me out of the darkness from the voices and the shirts.  Why?

My only answer is that Evil does exist. Just as the zinnia sing and the tomatoes hum. The evil exists just as my cats do, and the unicorns they hunt. The evil exists just as those united, lonely t shirts do every year, waving in a breeze, waiting to be read and understood.

I am not asking for pity; although I do believe it is a noble emotion and something very old. I am asking for your horror at the start of this new day, in this ancient world.  I am asking your acknowledgement of Evil and your refusal to participate in it by ignoring it.

Do some small, kind thing today. Be gentle, if you can. Tell a friend with a mental illness you love them. Take back the Night. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


So here it is, the front end of the morning, and I'm here to talk to you again.

Of course, the whole, 'real' world is stirring right now. it is those who are voiceless that wander now; and I love them all.

If I want to connect with those with invisible disabilities, (mental illness), I come into this laptop world at 3 AM and they are all awake. It's amazing how that happens. I, myself, sleep in shifts. Others stay up all night, or sleep when the feeling strikes...It's not voluntary; it's just the way it is.

The hard part about having invisible disabilities is the feeling that others are looking at you thinking, "What's with them?" or "Why don't they work?" There is no other feeling like meeting a health professional or a social worker and telling them you have invisible disabilities, or the look on their face when they know you are disabled and don't come in with a wheelchair.

 It's rather amusing. I have to be fair. The social workers deal with it with a great deal of aplomb. They have gotten used to the fact that we are a round peg in a square world. The physicians automatically think that 'this' isn't their field and they can do nothing for you. Most of them have the sense to know that 'it' is a physical ailment alright. But the only thing they know to do for you is give you a tranquilizer and send you home, no matter what symptoms you present with. 

The mental health community, unfortunately, can be just as bad. In that world, we are called 'consumers'. (And of all word choices, why that one?) And there can be just as much stigma for some diagnoses as there is in the public mind, believe it or not.

But, all in all, I am grateful to the Universe. I know the way I am, and the way I see the world is a large part of my creativity. It really helps to be an artist...people expect artists to drink and be odd.

People don't expect you to have a service animal for a mental disability, but we are out there. Mine passed two years ago, and in the words of the dancer, Martha Graham, he was:"... a vitality, a life force, an energy. There is only one of you in all of time."

Which brings me back to the voiceless world awake at this hour. My service animal, a border collie mix named Eddie, spoke to me " old, familiar ways."*  And I have found no other to replace him.

But then I can't find anyone to replace You, either. Those of you with voices have your ways as well, and I am one of the fortunate ones who has a voice to speak to you, even when I feel separate at times.

Tomorrow morning, I am going back to the world of zinnia and tomatoes and happenstance. I am fortunate that the unicorn meat eating cats live in both worlds. They float effortlessly from my world, and translate themselves as pets to the voiced world. I feel they are good interpreters, and now they are wandering the night, gathering strength for the day ahead.


Monday, July 23, 2012

Tree Songs

I feel centered today, and less inclined to evil. Let's hope you do, too. Even if it is a Monday. The unicorn meat eating cats are amazed, and not amused, by how late I slept...

I was cleaning the pool yesterday, and the leaves and the temperature reminded me how fast July is passing. Fall will, incredibly, be here soon. And my mind is separate today, by life, like leaves falling into the pool.

I pulled up the squash plants yesterday. It was the bugs that got them. On the other hand, the zinnia and tomatoes are doing well, and I am happy in them. We had one tiny cucumber. It is indescribably sweet to wander outside and pick something and eat it. Do you feel that, too?

My friend in the hospital, Mike, is still hooked up to I.V.'s and got whiny on me yesterday, so I haven't talked to him today. He usually likes getting really potted and calling me at 3 AM. And, while I am usually awake at that hour, it is an hour dedicated to you and I, and I don't like being disturbed, except on my laptop.

But the whinyness. Alcoholism is a particularly selfish disease, that deludes it's victims into thinking they are hurting no one but themselves. And, while whining isn't much of a hurt, still, it's selfish to think I want to hear it. And he's bored. Well.

Have you ever stood on the roots of a tree and heard the tree sing? It's one of my favorite things to do. And that is what I am caught doing this morning...just singing of the things that are passing me by, and looking toward Fall and Spring, the resting and the renewal.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

In Apologia

As much as I enjoy the mornings, my spirit is heavy today. I unintentionally upset a friend yesterday; we'll call her Dark Star, after the CSN&Y song. I am a person with invisible disabilities, and sometimes they get the better of me. They also make me creative, for which I am profoundly grateful, but that's beside the point.

My life is much like others, treading an invisible tightrope in this impossible world. Sometimes I focus so much on what I get out of being successful at walking that tightrope that I jump up and down in victory. I forget that others are on the same rope.

Which brings me back to my solitude in the mornings. It is a time that the world is quiet and I can be heard. It's a time when Nature can also be heard, but that's beside the point, too, at this moment. I pride myself on speaking for those that are voiceless, but I forget that others, who have a voice, are in pain sometimes as well. And for that, I apologize.

More and more in this world, we have to scream to be heard above the din. That's the reason I loved that storm that hit Roanoke earlier this month, the derecho. For those of you with no knowledge of our area, we had a terrific windstorm, a derecho, that also graced us with colored lightning: green, pink, purple, orange lightning. Nature was screaming. And when she stopped, a majority of us in several states lost the voices of the mechanical things that surround us. We lost electricity, and everything that entails. Many lost water as well, and civilization in a relatively small corner of the world was thrown back into the last century.

When I was young, I could visit a time and place without telephones, cell phones, PDA's, iPods, and even refrigerators and flushable toilets. That was when the sound of a great-Aunt's house was the carriage clock on the mantle, and the trees rustling outside, and the breeze pushing in the screen door. When the quiet voices murmuring in the parlor laid out the memories of an even more quiet time: that of the past, and their youth.

Which brings me back to Beth. She is the voice of my youth, and of quiet times spent talking in a dim room. When she visits now with her husband, we'll call him Bubba, I soak up all the talk and sophistication that I can. She is the best of solitude, with the best of company and I miss them keenly when they aren't here.

But yesterday, I was listening to the loud, electric scream of my disabilities in my own head and she had to scream to get me to notice what she was saying. And now, here I am, in a quiet room with the dawn breathing outside, trying to apologize for my noise.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Dog End of the Afternoon

It's not usually when I write, I know. I think yoga woke me up this morning, and I have been caught in a whirlwind of a day.

I'm the kind of person who gains a lot of 'water weight.' Who knew ice cream had so much water in it?

Woken up at 1 AM by a 'friend' who called to say he had been admitted to the hospital again for drinking. As a person in recovery, I am used to this kind of call, but it was particularly irksome to the cats, because they had just gotten to sleep two hours before. So now it is 3 AM again and I am blogging again.

I have decided to gain 15 pounds and grow a double chin for my 30th high school reunion. Why let everyone else have the fun of being thought older and wiser?

Speaking of my friend...let's call him "Mike". I only take his phone calls because it reminds me of the joy of drinking at 3 AM. I loved crawling around on the floor throwing up and drinking more until I could hold something down. I always hid the liquor, even though I lived alone. Waking up beside the toilet was like a vacation. And I looked like a movie star! Ernest Borgnine...may he rest in peace already. This was all the fun parts of drinking; the unfun parts were worse. Like jail. Being committed. Divorce. Losing all my friends, my dignity, a car, a dog. Going into eternal debt for treatment. Although I did have fun there...

I traded all that fun for a chance to watch the universe unfold it's magic. The coincidences that aren't, the new friends who love me just as I am, the chance to live: not materially successful (although I have had that), but spiritually successful. I love trying to further my connection to a higher power everyday. Things of the material world can pale beside the world of the mind and spirit.

I find that I use to long to live in a Harry Potter world, and now I do exist in one, not of human making, but of something much bigger than all of us.

I realize it's usually a career killer to talk about all this, just as it embarrasses people when I mention my sexual assaults. But some elephants need to be talked about before tea is served at the dog end of the afternoon.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

So We'll Go No More a Roving, By the Light of the Moon*

Except he will. I saved a kitten-sized, baby bunny this morning by the light of the moon. The unicorn meat eating cats are near-sighted and sometimes bring down something a little less prosaic, like a rabbit. They have this catch and release program that whatever critter they catch must be released back into the wilds of my small apartment.

What amazes me, is the little critter let me pick him up. He was perfect, and I wiped the cobwebs and cat hair from his face. He didn't struggle or bite; he just rested in the curled circle of my hand. I walked to the edge of the forest and put him on the ground. He froze a moment, this tiny particle from my Higher Power. 

Again, I am touched by wonder. There have been many miracles in my life, to accompany horrendous trials. My life has not been easy. But I am profoundly grateful that Something feels the need to show me that I am not facing Life alone.

In another age, I would have been happy with this 'breakfast in bed' habit of the cats. But I am happy to eat yogurt and let the cuter animals go free, as if by whim.

My wish is that you are touched by wonder today, and that you explore it. Under the moonlight exists magic, and I hope you are up now, and enjoying the almost dawn.

So we'll go no more a' roving,
by the light of the moon.
Though the night was made for loving,
and the day returns too soon. *

*Lord Byron

Monday, July 16, 2012

Water of Life

I am late this morning. Sorry about that. I woke up at my usual time, but I was delayed writing by the piece of cake that ran into me and jumped into my mouth last night. It's that NPR (National Public Radio) time of morning: coffee and dogs and the real news of the day...

Can't believe how well Neville Longbottom turned out, can you? Have you seen the picture of the adult Neville? Usually I go for Slytherin, but his pic is enough to make me turn to the side of Light...

As for the cats, they are happily hunting this morning, but it has been a long time since I have heard the desperate squeaking sound moving around in the dark of the apartment that means another hapless creature will have to be caught and released into the wild again. The cats go wild when I do this...but I feel it my duty. I can't stop the cats. After all, that's why cats were domesticated, but I can lessen the impact on Mother Nature in my small corner of the world...

We are getting some rain in this small corner, which the tomatoes and zinnia need in order to sing. And the ground must be happy and well satisfied before the humming starts. I think the cukes (cucumbers) are a no go this year, as well as the squash.

I am missing the Pond and the night sounds encouraged therein. Don't get me wrong. I don't want to swim in the Pond, but I love the look and sounds and smell of a Pond. I know, I know, I did enough kvetching about the Pond, but that was because I had to clean it. But now that the Pond is the Pool, I am glad just to be situated near any body of water. I think that being near water makes humans happier, naturally, than any other geographic design. After all, we come from water, we are made, mostly, of water, and we need it to live. How strange can it be that we like to be near it, or that the sound of it makes us wax poetic?

And, for me specifically, water is a main component of coffee. I could mainline the stuff.

I hope your day starts near a body of water, and that you have the resources to partake of it, in whichever way makes you happy. As for me, I am off for more coffee...

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Cat Steals Over the Meadow, a Slow Dawn Rising

So, it's almost 4 AM again and, after moving with me from bed to computer and back again, the dog has decided it's bed he wants to be in. Serves me right, waking up at outrageous hours like this. I am beginning to think it's a seasonal thing. I have a feeling I wouldn't be getting up at 3 in the morning if it was bitter cold outside. But with weather like we have now, I can prop the door open and the cats can get a good unicorn hunt in before dawn.

And cats are what is known as pre-dawn hunters. Small critters forage for food in the wee hours before dawn. The kind of small critters that cats love to eat, rabbits, mice, unicorns, etc. Just some trivia to start your morning...welcome to my world.

It's amazing how good cheap coffee tastes this early. It tastes just as good as the expensive stuff. It's all relative to time, as I pointed out in my last blog. A cup at 3 AM tastes much more satisfying than a cup at 6 AM, not simply because my taste buds have been resting overnight. In the house I live in, pre-dawn is reserved exclusively for myself and the cats. As I said, the dog usually goes back to bed.

Although now, the dog has decided that, as long as I am going to run lights and keep him awake, it is a sterling time to have a tug-of-war with me, with his favorite toy playing a pivotal role.

Dawn is coming. All of those who did not have electricity know the importance of this time of day. The ancients in the Roman Empire down to Ben Franklin lauded this time as the best time for reading and writing. And then for a quiet, contemplative walk in the Garden.

After a light breakfast, I would have headed down to the Forum or to the print shop or wherever I worked. I would come back at 11 or so for some olives and lettuce, or some oysters, and laid down for the subsequent nap during the hottest part of the day.

So you see, I am not far off of the time schedule laid out by those in the past. It makes one wonder what schedule was kept by those who lived "pre-history," or that time in history before Humankind had the alphabet. I would imagine it would fall within the lines above, to maximize the use of day light. So the invention of electricity laid to rest a schedule handed down through eternity. And my habit of waking up at 3 AM is not unhealthy, as my therapist would have it. Just timeless as dawn.

There is a waiting quality at this hour that is interrupted by the sun and the stirring noises of modern peoples. I would like to have my ashes spread at dawn, along Tinker Creek, where I spent the best times of my life, strolling with my service dog, Eddie. 

Right now, Jupiter, the Moon and Venus are in close proximity from our viewpoint. I'm going outside to enjoy the view, until the daystar obliterates the sight...have a good dawn, and I will be imagining you down at the Forum, waiting for me to appear to carry our daily greetings...

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Tick Tock of the Carriage Clock

defines mortal Time. Especially in the morning hours, before the sun has risen, but after the cats have gone out. The cats hunt unicorns in the pre-dawn era, before the world stirs. You know, that NPR time of day, when the coffee tastes best, and water is again delicious.

But now it is daylight, the clock chiming for food. I have some zinnia, pink, different pink, deeper pink, and yellow and orange. They came up, just as I realized I am not going to have an easy summer with the squash...I have had only one, although the blossoms are worth the wait. But the blossoms are reabsorbed, and another blossom takes it's place, to fade in it's turn. Rather like all mortal promises...

The Pond has turned into a pool filled with water the color of turquoise. No plants remain, no algae, no leaves, just the sound of the pump and an artificial construct of those who don't like sharks or frogs. It attracts birds and insects, and the insects drink to their peril, sometimes being overwhelmed by the water on their wings or the chemicals.

I put out chemical free water for them and the birds, and the neighbor animals, in this heat. The grass is crispy to the foot, which is not much of a concern, as I am not a 'lawn person'. But the tomato plants have stopped humming from lack of rain and I miss the sound in the mornings.

The heat is gone for a while, but the best way to stay cool is to watch the deer slowly grazing nearby and to listen to the clock in a twilight room.