Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Coffee's on Me

The dog sleeps, the cats bounce, the coffee brews, yada, yada, yada. It is still lovely here, with low temps at night, and moderate, un-July temperatures in the day. It is quite fall like. With the late spring, and the early fall, this must be what it is like to live in Wisconsin, or Montana. Or Mongolia.

I have a good day planned, a busy one, to keep me out of my thoughts. The foodbank is this morning, and group therapy is this afternoon. Almost always, I get to meet someone new in line at the foodbank, every time I go. Some faces I recognize, of course. They are the regulars: my favorite, the old veteran, who gives his place up to younger veterans who served in war time. The Old Veteran is thin as a rail, but obviously self-sufficient and hardy. His clothes are old, but his shirts are buttoned at the neck and the wrists, and it is always clean. His hair is always combed, he is freshly shaven. He always speaks courteously, and quietly. As I said, he is my favorite face to see.

There are others, usually quiet people, who acknowledge me with a nod, or a "Good Morning." In the best of weather, it is a pleasant way to spend a morning. It doesn't require too much from an introvert.

Therapy will be interesting, I have still not got a call back from my therapist. If I tell him I am doing all the right things, he tends not to call me back. I wish he would 'hold my hand' more, but his push is for us to be self-reliant. It can be difficult, to work on myself, 'inside' work, as a friend calls it.

It looks to be a dark dawn, and I wonder what weather I will stand in today.

And while the mosquitoes are out this year, the stinkbugs have taken a powder and gone on to sunnier climes. I tell you, me, the one with the buboes, that I would rather be eaten alive than have one stinky bug to catch, or land in my food, or spray my hair. Thank gods for the rain!

After all, one can swat a mosquito and get a very satisfying squish as a result. There is no killing a stinkbug; I can only flush them down the toilet and hold my breath. 

With that thought, I will leave you to your breakfast or lunch. Have some coffee on me...

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Drama Pajamas

I know I am up early again, but I am not alone, I have chocolate. Max, the dog, has a small dog bone that he eats with intensity. And the cats? It is mid-60's F., and they are outside like a crazy tribe of zombies. It is 4 hours until dawn, but I am happy right now, despite my chocolate consumption.

It was lovely yesterday, and as I was mowing the lawn at twilight, I gathered a scent that I remember from long ago. The scent of the grass on a summer evening, as the stars came out overhead. I wanted to wander in the field for a long time, but the mosquitoes were also out. As one the size of an aircraft carrier landed on my arm to bite, I ran for the back door. Such are what memories are made of...

I am particularly susceptible to them. Mosquitoes love my blood. I must smell good and juicy, with plenty to spare. Their bite raises a sore the size of a buboe on my legs. For those of you who don't like history, buboes were the large pustules that came up on the skin and signaled the Black Death, in the Middle Ages. This is much the same process. Large amounts of my blood are transferred away from me, every bite. In return, the mosquitoes leave large blotches on any piece of skin they happen to land on. Maybe I smell coffee flavored and they stop in for a cuppa, on the hoof, as it were.

I have been listening to music to help me sleep. In particular, Loreena McKinnett and Mairi MacInnes. I suggest you check their music out on YouTube.

I could have gone back to sleep this morning, and I surely will, but I felt the need to communicate; to talk to you in this way we have. I don't know why the urge hits me some mornings, and some mornings, it does not. But now I write anyway. Otherwise nothing would get done. When I look back on what I could have written, but did not, the realization of that loss is a small agony. It cannot be undone, so there is no use to coddle the pain.

The coffee tastes particularly good this morning, and I am grateful I have all that I could want. The water tastes good, too.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Dedication to Today

I have a diabolical plan to enjoy today. I spent yesterday recovering from a stomach bug and Harry Pottering around, and today, I feel much better. There is still cat hair that is knee deep on the carpet, and everything is dusty. The lawn still needs mowing and the dishes need to be washed. But I slept until dawn, and the cats are happy and jump in and out of the window, and the dog snores peacefully.

My diabolical plan? To continue to feel good this morning, and on into the rest of the day. I have an AA meeting to go to tonight, and some things to do today. Everything is good with a plan. I felt so bad, physically and mentally yesterday, that I upped the dose on one of my anti-Evil pills, which I am allowed to do. Don't try that at home, boys and girls, or without your doctor's permission.

I thought about a life time spent drunk yesterday, and it is not good to contemplate those things all by yourself. As Eckhart Tolle has pointed out again and again: the mind is a dangerous neighborhood, and it is not safe to go there by yourself.

I still have a call into my therapist, but I did reach my sponsor. It was a good thing, too. I didn't want to drink yesterday, I didn't feel much of a craving for it, but thought about it, all the way through to the dreadful end. With me mucking my life up, one more time. And then, having to face the blowback from it.

I have come to the conclusion that I am on a downswing in my mood, helped out by a food allergy I have just discovered. It has slowly been making me ill for about a month, and my mood has been following it.

Sometimes, I know I just miss the subtle clues that tell me things, the light in the dark. I always think of myself as a most attuned person to my spiritual life, and to nature. But I miss what people say, and what I say to myself, a good part of the time. Until I get violently ill, or lose a friend, which always catches my attention.

Which is further proof to me that there is always something important to pay attention to in the Now. Even as I think of my life as very boring and everyday, there is something that screams my name. Usually, I am lost somewhere in a dream, or contemplating my will for what happens, instead of listening. I pay for it every time.

That is a good thing to realize. I try not to live in the past, but as a writer, it's difficult not to. Everything that has happened to me is fodder for my work. But it can make me moody, inclined to depression, and more susceptible to pain.  Living in the future provokes anxiety, and gives me a sense of the power of self-will that I do not want. I don't want to wander through my future like an elephant in a ceramics factory, but would like to live it with grace, surrounding myself with positive experiences and friends, until I die. I would like to be of maximum service to myself and others, today.

It took a day of absolute agony to bring that thought to the forefront. And I have reached that point this morning, here with you, without whom I can do nothing.

The dawn is here, now.

Sunday, July 28, 2013


My Saturday was nothing to do, but watch it drizzle and rain, all day. I do love rainy days, but I had my heart set on mowing the grass, surely the most useless of occupations. I think we should all grow wildflower gardens instead of grass, or vegetables. I do like the smell above all others, though.

I can't take the neurontin for my head pain. Other people swear by it, whatever. It messes my stomach and my mood up too much. I work long and hard on being as happy as can possibly be achieved, and I am not having a doctor mess it up.

It looks to be a cool, rainy Sunday in July. It's a day for Harry Potter...

Saturday, July 27, 2013

This Cat Is Determined to Occupy Me

The unicorn meat eating cats' window remains closed for now. There are too many mosquitoes out there, in this wet and humid summer. Maybe later, when I have had enough coffee to swat at them.

The drunk that calls me, called yesterday. I didn't answer the phone. My heart bleeds for the guy, but I am under strict instructions from my sponsor and my therapist to save myself. I am just not strong enough to keep him afloat as he dies.

I do not feel like cutting, or drinking, right now. Today is the day I mow the grass, so I am scheduled to have a good day.

Some of the women were not at our group session on Wednesday, for borderline personality disorder. There's always something missing when even one of us is gone. Especially when it is me.

The window may have to go up, soon. The cats are coming into conflict on top of the laptop. I think it will be a normal Saturday, as days of the week go. For some reason lately, in the past week, I have been reluctant to examine my memories, always the richest of stores for writing. I can only hope it is a sign that I want to live for today.

Although rooting through memories is good for the examined life, and the character building the Program requires of us, sometimes, memories stand in the way of living in today. I cannot always be rolling in nostalgia, although I miss my parents, and the Old House as much as ever.

I may as well tell you: I dreamed that a commercial developer and a tire plant were encroaching on the field last night. For me, forever, the field will lie below the Old House, as it did when we lived there. Nothing can stain my vision of it, except these dreams, if I let them. The conflict that exists in me, that the Old House exists, and does not belong to me and I to it, and yet it remains in my memory, forever mine, shatters me.

It is as difficult a problem as I can handle right now. The reality is, that Sunninghill, the Old House, (named for one of Henry XIII favorite houses) was ours for a while, but is not now. Now, the Old House is a memory of mine. I suppose that is the resolution of the conflict in my head and heart. The Me, that my life in the Old House created, is part of me forever. The reality is, that someone else now loves the Old House, and the fields and woods surrounding it, as much as we ever did.

It's at that point, that I start to sweat. Of course, it is reality that the Old House lives on in me, in my heart. It clings to the dirt I brought along with my Mother's pots, and to the bottom of the feet of the angel that now stands in my garden, here. My clothes are infused with it, as is the furniture that I love. It even lives on in other two male cats, lived at the Old House for 13 years, before being brought here.

I must resist the temptation to recreate the Old House wherever I go, from here. Like planting a tree in the yard here, or adopting another cat. I must resign myself to being more mobile, more economical. I will have to enjoy decorating the space I have, instead of new plans for the space I had for so long.

But the cats are still left with me, and you, who started this journey with me in 2010, you have a place in the memory of the Old House, too. You have your own spot, set against the hobbit hill in the sunlight, in the field below...

Friday, July 26, 2013

Grateful World

Very dicey dreams again last night, but I have no desire to drink or cut, for which I am profoundly grateful. I was bad last night, and instead of an AA meeting, I went to help out a friend who was selling Brooklyn style sausages. They were divine...I just hope my sponsor doesn't find out.

Yes, the unicorn meat eating cats are out already. The dog, Max, hides under his blankie, to avoid the light. I could use a few more hours of sleep, myself. But that will come in time.

I am happy that I have a busy day planned, and I hope that you get to get out and do something, too, wherever you are. It is 2 hours before dawn...

I have thought about what it is to have a relationship, lately. I have never been successful at it. The boyfriends/husbands have either been abusive, or so emotionally cold they were the equivalent of the Arctic Circle. And so, I retreat into fantasy, where I am having an really great emotional relationship with Severus Snape right now. And you know how warm and fuzzy a man he was. As we all know by now, he was all warm and fuzzy inside, he just couldn't say it. That's the kind of guy I pick. Death-eaters who can't communicate.

I do much better with friends. I pick warm, emotional people who are all out for self-improvement. They love me to no end, and I love them back just as fervently. Now, I have had friend failures: the recent decampment of the Saucy Brit, for example. I had hints she wasn't the top drawer of friends, but let them pass me buy. I truly enjoyed her company.

Anyway, I need a relationship right now, so new to sobriety, like I need a hole in the head. But it is something to think about, this emotional Avoidance that I practice, as a short term solution to my problems. I have trust issues. Some of it is from physically abusive relationships, and some of it is from being raped.

It's hard to have a meaningful, romantic relationship with a broken Truster. But, as I said, I don't need a relationship right now. Not that it has ever stopped me.

I can tell I want to write from my twisted little world-view, today. It's not a bad thing, I rather enjoy my sick little world. But I am supposed to be practicing harmony and balance. Sometimes, though, all those things go out the window.

Sure, I would love to be drinking vodka right now, but I would not love to be throwing up, or not able to drive, or get out of bed, when getting out of bed is a necessity. Now, the guy next door that drinks all the time: he can't handle his checkbook, and can barely make it to the mailbox. Someone else handles his bills and money. He has no responsibilities, and doesn't want any, to the point of not having to take care of his own health by eating. It's not as if someone else eats for him, it's just that most of the time, he skips the food. When he does eat, someone else has made it for him. He is dying in a particularly pathetic, baby-like way, including the diet, bottle-fed.

The drunk that calls me is dying too, but he gets out of bed, and has to go out himself to get booze, and the occasional foodstuffs. He manages his own money, and cleans his own apartment. He can figure out how to use his phone, and he does use it, I can tell you that. He is successful at standing. When he thinks he is dying as fast as he really, truly is: he goes to the hospital.

This is how I don't want to end up, and I know that it is a deliberate attempt by my higher Power, by the Presence in the forest and the field, to show me what is waiting for me, if I really, really want to drink that badly. Jails, institutions, and death.

There are no other choices, when we drink or use.

So it is dark for me a bit, right now, but not that dark. I am closer to death than yesterday, but everyone dies. I have friend-love, and cat-love and dog-love. I can wipe my own ass, today. I am grateful.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Plan for the Good

The dog sleeps, but the cats zoom around like they're collecting necklaces at Mardi Gras...

Thank god I have a therapy appointment today, although I will have to work like crazy to do my homework for it. I am not stable, the neurontin has set me into a swing of some kind, and right now, I am headed down, down, down.

Ok. For the haters out there, not any of you, I love the new Prince George of Cambridge. It's fun to read about him, and it doesn't diminish the plight of starving children all over the globe to enjoy his birth, and subsequent eating and pooping. The monarchy of Great Britain is fun to watch, folks. Sheesh.

Anyway, I drink iced coffee this morning, and try desperately to think of a topic. Time for more coffee. I woke late today. Hold on...

Of course, inspiration is all around me, it always is. And it's not like I need inspiration to write. If I did, I would never have started, 3 years ago. 3 years ago: Just out of jail, my Mother dead by a few months, and Eddie about to pass. I suppose I wrote out of sheer desperation.

In a way, I still do. I have to have this time of communication every morning; it's almost just like prayer and meditation to me, now.

It's overcast with clouds this morning, and it is light outside, although I cannot see the sun. The flagstones out front are dark with rain, and birds that like to sing in the rain, are singing. It is very quiet, even at this late hour, just past dawn.

The very grass is still and waits for the storm that may come today. But I have woken late, and I have therapy, and an AA meeting today, later on. Which is a very good thing. The dead and the dying were quiet yesterday. I did not dream of my parents. The drunk that calls me did not call, but his messages sound terrible. He has been a week out of the hospital and it sounds as if he is drinking again, although he says he is not.

The drunk that lives nearby is in a rage with me: I will not give him a ride to the store to buy beer, nor will I buy it for him. My sponsor and my therapist have been urging this course of action on me for a while now. And it's time I bit the bullet. He is like a terrible child in his rages, and it is very unpleasant to hear him scream obscenities at me.

But, I cannot expose myself to a 12 pack of beer each morning, anymore, and truly, he is so unpleasant that I am losing the pity that motivates me to give him a ride anywhere. He has peed in my car before, out of spite, and I lost a good deal of patience with him, then. Yesterday, when I refused to pick him up some beer on my way out and about, he called his sister, a friend of mine, to complain about me. I did not know that I could be arrested for not buying him beer, although that was threatened. He is past the beginning stages of 'wet brain,' and is delusional and filled with grandeur. His liver and heart refuse to cooperate with his drinking schedule, and his legs are grossly swollen, and his stomach is distended.

I know, it much more refreshing to deliberate on the field and the forest before breakfast, but this is my world.  All my friends tell me to move, but there is the greenway right outside my door. My animals are welcomed here, and have a safe place to run. The apartment is by no means small, and yet the price is right. It is easy to maintain. It is very close to Downtown, but I have a view, everyday. I live on the quietest of streets...

Too, if I move, how do I know I will better my situation? Something is bound to be not perfect wherever I go, so I stay and deal with the devil I know, rather than the unknown.

The dog sniffs to go out, it will be time for that soon, and I am on my second cup of coffee. It looks to be cooler today, and the rain notwithstanding, I plan to have a glorious day...

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Moving Ocean

It's 2 hours until dawn, and I am sleepy. Which is a good thing, right? Right. Only I thought of you here, waiting for me, and I had to get up and write. It's a win-win. The unicorn meat eating cats are out, and the dog hides his head, so he can sleep, despite the light.

I made it to my home group in AA last night, and it made me so happy. I have yet to do my homework for group therapy today, but there is still time. And it is cooler here, and still, this morning.

For those of you upset about all the attention paid to the Royal baby: the Royal family is just a soap opera. Get over it.

Today will be an adventure, and there is more to come: Dark Star, and her husband Schrodinger, are coming to visit in early August. We were girls together, and have been through a lot, and now we are wise women together. She never fails me, and I am so grateful.

My brother came to see me, in a rare visit yesterday, and it was a good space in time. Max is ecstatic when he visits: Marc has come here to play with him. And he smells of other dogs. It doesn't take much time to 'catch up' but the memories of our time together, and our Mom and Dad, move between us like an unceasing ocean. It is always there, and the room breathes in and out to it's rhythm. 

Georgia grooms in the corner of the next room, she has already been outside. It is not wet this morning. It will be cooler today, and it is a day for the forest, and the ring of blasted trees that is my group. New shoots grow from the trunks of some of them. And there is sunlight here, in the ring. Violets grow here, although the season for them has passed. Lady slippers, those pale pink flowers, grow in the circle of light, and ferns line the outside of the ring. I can hear the water in the distance.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Color of Now

So the Royal baby got himself born! The British Monarchy is an interesting group to me, and they have just added a character...

Meanwhile, I'll let you into a little secret: I am well. I think the neurontin makes the difference. Off-label it is commonly used for bipolar, and I feel more stable than I have in a while. Of course, it means I now take 4 stabilizers. I would have to be crazy not to be...

And I will feel well until something happens, and my mood shifts. That's the way I roll. Tomorrow is group therapy day, and I can't wait.

But now, it's quiet time. We had a rain storm yesterday, just sheets of it coming down. And then again, one last night. I didn't hear it last night, but yesterday, was full of thunder and lightening, and the trees whipping round.

I have let the cat's window down, but Georgia remains inside. As the only girl, she is not so fond of getting her feet wet, and the ground is saturated with water again. It is the fullest of Summer and the cherries are in. I miss the sour cherries from the Old House. The cherry tree bore, without fail, large buckets of sour cherries every year. I loved them raw, but they also made a spectacular Christmas jam...

Everything drips outside this 3 hours before dawn, but the flagstones just past the door are a dark grey. The container garden needed the rain, and the flowers have been deadheaded, and sparkle and shine in the light. The frogs are silent now, but the crickets are always chirping at this hour, and it makes it less lonely sometimes. I know some of you are awake; it is 6 hours ahead in the UK, and 8 hours ahead in Russia. But waking at this hour, sometimes carries a burden of feeling alone.

Even with the dog's butt pressed against my leg...

Today is a day, not for the flooded field, nor the leaf-dripping forest, but the hillsides, and there are many here to choose from. Of course, I choose the hill the Old House stands on, but you may choose your favorite hill, if you like. The wine berries are gone now, but the crepe myrtles are there, standing in that spot of sunlight. The one on the hillside was pink on one side of the House, and purple on the other, and white in between.

In her last days, Mom planted a red one, in front of Dad's study window. Or rather, she picked, insisted on red, and I planted it. The pink was my Mother's favorite, and the purple was Dad's and the white was my own, but they had never had a red one. My Mother thought only in symbol, and I am sure that the red meant something, that she was trying to say to Dad. I just don't know what. I only know that, in the end, she was sending him a message, as they so often did, through the garden.

And so, in my aloneness, I have planted a red geranium, her flower, and I contemplate getting a crepe myrtle for the garden out back here, to mark my passage in time at this place.

And the two drunks I know? The one that calls and the other one? They are being taken by the disease, into death, and I cannot, above all things, drink or control another's actions.  The one that calls, is apparently out of the hospital, and calls at all hours. Now, that is loneliness.

The one that lives close by? His leg is swollen to the size of a young tree, and his arm became frozen in his sleep, yesterday night. But he did go out for drinks in the evening. So, you see, he is happy in his own death seeking way.

But it is not a morning for living on the side of the cliff, but the hills. And it is time for me to wander to the crepe myrtle, whatever color I choose...

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Until Now

It's 3 AM, and the unicorn meat eating cats are awake and leap in and out of the window with enthusiasm. I opened the window and it's good to feel wanted. The dog, Max, is adorable and refuses to wake with the cats and I.
He has his priorities straight.

But he's not bipolar and doesn't flip his day and night. I am jealous that he doesn't have to take something to help him sleep.

The crickets outside sound lively and familiar. They remind me of quiet summer evenings as a child. Smelling the fresh cut grass, and watching the sun slowly fade. I cut the grass yesterday, and it is a communication with the earth that I love. To smell the cut grass, and make it uniform, makes my Saturdays complete.

Then there are the Rose of Sharon to trim. They are starting to bloom, pink blooms and white blossoms, with burgundy centers. The blackberries are gone, but peaches and nectarines, and plums are in, and I eat them when I can.

I hope today will be quiet. I have few plans, other than weeding and trimming the bushes, and spending time with my flowers. After an emotional storm, I feel unusually well. Not that I recommend having a crisis...which is very bad for those of us with borderline personality disorder.

I want to be out there in the dark, cutting the spent blooms on the daisies, and the dahlia. All of the containers need water, now that it doesn't rain so much. But I will be patient until dawn, and no longer. The pond truly is a pond now, and will not be cleaned this year. But the frogs sounding in the early night have an echo that I love.

When I was very ill with psychosis, and walked the campus at Hollins University at nighttime, I used to dance along Tinker Creek, by the light of the moon. With my service animal, my beloved Eddie, I could dance in the dark of the moon, as well. I feel it is a night to dance in the dark, to the sound of the crickets. It is even too early for birdsong, but they will wake in a bit.

The gladiolas are almost spent, and the hydrangea needs trimming. The impatiens, light pink, dark pink and white, fill the corner by my doorway. There is a call for rain, today, and it will be welcome. I love the water coming from the sky, and the thunder and lightening.

As my sponsor tells me, I need to be more patient. But now, the flowers call to me, and the crickets and the dark. It's time.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

A Quiet Start

I have written my blog for today, and I contemplate posting it. Maybe another day. It's full of anger, and I choose not to start my day like that, today. I "had a bad day" yesterday, after a brilliant start. My choices led to some of the bad: I meant to go to a meeting, I meant to get out more, I meant to mow. I chose to drink too much caffeine, and I smoked too much. I ended up arguing with someone on Facebook, about their stupid opinion, and I ended with a car whose battery smoked.

That's fixable. I didn't argue too hard, in fact not enough, as the opinion expressed was so patriarchal, and bigoted as to defy description. I will get a car battery today, and I will even have help changing it, which is a luxury. A friend even lent me an alternative vehicle, to get around in. I was grateful, all day, that I was not drinking or cutting, or taking pills. I had someone, a friend, pray with and for me. They asked that my burdens be taken away, which is the nicest prayer anyone can say for me. And then she invited me to breakfast this morning.

So, some good things happened, and some shit happened, but I got love, and shit always happens, and I didn't drink or cut.

And this morning, if I am still too agitated and worried, that is a problem with acceptance, and the late hour at which I retired. So, I feel too agitated to go into the wood this morning, but I think of the field, below the Old House, and I miss my Mother.  I can see the field; I looked at it for 27 years. I see it in the lemony sunlight of winter, when the grass sparkled with dew, and shone with the frost. There is something beautiful in the naked form of a tree in the winter. Something about the bark, and the logical growth of the limbs, that calms. There are red berry bushes that grow in the winter, between the trees, and the cardinals eat them, in a flash of crimson.

The gold brown of the leaves underfoot, release a warmed scent, from the earth. They are next year's dirt, and the scent of white pines, and the cedar that grows wild here, are in the air, as well. And if I "had a bad day" yesterday, still today, I look up and the pink gladioli are in bloom, and the pine scent will be for another day. It simply waits with patience.

The clouds drift over the field, but the sky is winter white and blue, and almost aches in it's clarity. And the dawn, this morning, this moment in time, is silver and green and brown. Each leaf is perfect, in it's own way, and the birds sing like no other time of year, they are full and happy. The grass grows by leaps and bounds, and the clover shines like stars...

My goals today, are to make it to an AA meeting, and to fix my car. My goal today, is to maintain my sanity, by eating, and taking my happy pills. A nap would be good as well. To come in from the heat, to the luxury of cool air, and lie down in a darkened room and let my eyes and body rest, for a bit.

The day starts quietly. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

This Morning, This Moment in Time

So I ate a piece of cake in my sleep last night. Apparently, I saved a bite for the dog, and then didn't give it to him, cause it's on the plate on my bedside table. My therapist said try a glass of water instead of eating, but how do I get that through to my hind brain?

The dying drunk who calls me, called me from the hospital yesterday. I answered, because I didn't recognize the number. That sounds cruel, I know, but as I said, I cannot help this guy as he dies. I have held my parent's hands while they died, and it's not in me to do this for this schizophrenic. I feel helpless, so all I did was listen. This guy is going fast. Jail 2 weeks ago, and now in the hospital because he cannot keep anything down. It will happen to me, if I drink.

So that's death.

I get older and closer to it, but I see death as welcoming, because I believe in an afterlife. It's of great comfort to me. And if there is nothing but oblivion after, then I won't know, will I?

Anyway, I don't want to focus on death, but I can feel the wings of it, as it goes by. It is the ultimate mystery. There is majesty, and mystery, and power there. Something electrical, for lack of a better word, that lives in a wood, and comes out to play...

It does not visit the field, but stays in the wood, or sits with us. And I can hear it's wings beat, when I embrace a person or animal dying. And, as I said, I feel the wind of it, when I listen to this guy.

I don't feel brilliant today, but I feel as if I had some good sleep, which is so important to us. The window is open, and the cats watch the bugs come in. Only the loud ones are attracted to the light in the apartment. There is a loud one buzzing the light on the nightstand.

I let the dog out a while ago, against my better judgement. No barking in the Burbs, remember? I knew he would bark eventually, and he did, and I called him in, and told him what a good boy he is. There is a lot of wildlife going on out there, outside the door. Deer eat the grass in the lawn, and rabbits are legion. I would bark, too, if that were my druthers.

I went to the foodbank yesterday, and scored an ungodly amount of produce. I also met a woman I wish well. Both she and her husband work, but their water got cut off, in this heat, too. It was a choice between the electricity, or the water, and they chose to pay the electric. In the richest country on earth, and both of them working. I fervently wish her well, and recommend her to the Presence this morning.

I am taking neurontin, which is specific for bipolar. But I take it for nerve pain. I dunno if it happens to have anti-depressant qualities, or it is the relief from head pain but I feel really good this morning. Today feels like reality. Today feels like an adventure. And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, is a sign of mania, and borderline. But it's better than feeling the opposite.

And I don't feel like a drink and I don't want to cut, and today I will be good about my diet, cause I hear death in the wind, and I don't want a stroke or a heart attack. It's amazing how exposure to death can have that effect on us, isn't it?

And so I write, and I know that I am a small blip in time, in the history of writing, but I like what I write most of the time, and I am grateful to have readers. I have friends, and I have family, and I have a job to do, with my art. I am grateful not to want to drink today. I am grateful that cutting is the furthest thing from my mind. And I hold onto life like I have nothing better to do, because I like living today. I will call the dying drunk back today, because someone should listen while he dies, even if I cannot hold his hand.

Sometimes life is a royal baby that waits to be born, and sometimes it is a dying drunk. Sometimes it is a woman, who sits in a hot trailer, and works so her water will come back on. Sometimes it is Georgia, who spends another morning with me, and grooms calmly. And if my heart breaks because death is close, and birth is close, and a cat grooms placidly, then that is my life.

I miss my Mother this morning and wish I could call her and tell her about my life today. Instead, I will call my friends, Dark Star and Storm, and tell them I feel real today. I will tell them I hear death, and that I love them.

And I will tell them how, inescapably, and indescribably, I love you.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Harvest Time

It nears mid Summer and the cats appear desperate. Despite the dried elk supplies I give them, they have taken a fancy to rabbit meat. I am simply happy they don't want to eat inside, but go al fresco.
That's a picnic to you and me.

This is not the mighty hunter that brought the rabbit low, but it's Minkins, who enjoyed the feast as much as if he was the mighty hunter.

It's amazing what's amusing at this time of the morning. Or not...

My morning fills with the sights and scents of the day, the zinnia, gladiola, daisy, and hydrangea that grow outside my door, along with the scent of the ginger candle on the round table. It is a warm night here, and very still. As always, we wait for the dawn, and appreciate the dark quiet.

Georgia is here on the bed with me, along with the sleeping dog, Max. I like watching her groom at this hour of the morning.

Group went well yesterday. We are working on the Distress Tolerance module in DBT (dialectical behavioral therapy.) We review acceptance, willingness, and 'turning the mind.' Or pulling ourselves out of a course of action that does not seem effective.

I seem to be out of the mania. Which is all to the good, since I don't feel it made me any more creative, or happier than I am right now. I simply enjoy watching this lovely cat, that I saved from a sure fate, groom as if her life depended on it. All that I require of her is to be. Her personality is a reward in itself. Here is her picture.

I think I need to take some more pictures of Georgia.

I don't want a drink and cutting is the furthest thought from my mind. I did some mild binge eating last night, but really, one can't have everything. I need to go to an AA meeting, but there is a poetry reading tonight I am committed to. I will somehow have to fit a meeting in earlier today.

The woods are sharp and clear, this morning, and scented with ginger. Small, night time noises rustle underneath and I hear crickets in the field behind me. The moss grows in such profusion, and the ferns are glad of the torrential rains we have had. The marks of where the stream left it's banks are against the nearby trees. But today, we have been several days without rain, and the stream runs forcefully, but contained by the blue and brown and green rock on the bank.

Summer has been late in coming, which is alright with me. I like summer nights, with the fireflies beaming all across the manicured lawn. The sight reminds me of being a child, and the endless wonder of watching them. For those of you in the world who do not have fireflies, they are a staple here in America, in the summer. But I do not like the heat of summer, nor the humidity.

I long for the mysterious changes that happen in Fall. And the cooler Fall nights, with it's memories of running through wet grass, and the onset of school. There is a particular lemony color in fall that I love, that streams in through the coffee shop windows. The light of Fall talks to me, in a way that no other season does. It is filled with nostalgia. It speaks of some kind of eternity, of Edgar Allen Poe, and Washington Irving. Something about Fall is ancient, and that is as it should be.

Perhaps it is that Fall is harvest time. It tastes like apples, and they grow well here, in the mountains. People here, plant apple trees in their front yards, they grow so well. And it is nothing to see them hanging red and heavy in the church yards. It is odd to me that my father did not plant an apple tree at the Old House. He preferred pear and sour cherry.

Pumpkins grow well here, too, and the fields are full of them, later in the year. It seems to me that if I just keep writing, it will appear. But this month goes quickly, and we will hit true fall in the next month or two. August is hot for us, and the sun blazes down in white heat, but at the end of the month, I can begin to smell the change in the wind. The night time scents are different as well.

But I only have today. It is supposed to be hot, and water is everywhere. The darkest of greys appears behind the trees, and it is quiet. Georgia sleeps.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Moonbeams and Unicorns Out My Butt

Maybe it's time to take a creative break. The numbers that tell me that people read me are down. It's depressing, although it happens to all of us.

The thing is: We don't get a break from being bipolar, borderline, or an alcoholic. Or whatever your flavor in life is: fibro, MS, asthma, cancer, etc. We all have to work through our shit everyday. If we're lucky, we all have to wake up in the morning and be conscious of the aches and pains of that particular day. So I write, and comfort myself with the thought that I wrote for several years with no one who read me, and I was happy as hell, just writing.

So I write, and those of you who love me read me. Or maybe you hate me and you can't stay away. So those in both categories can find out that I binged last night, on some delicious lemon cake, but I didn't wake until 4 AM. Which is my kind of miracle.

I don't feel like cutting, or drinking, although I have heard 'shrooms (hallucinogenic mushrooms) are good for trauma; and thought about seeing if that's true for about 5 minutes...I never liked 'shrooms in the first place...

So I write, and those of you tuned in, turned on can find out that my paranoia increases everyday. I know. Maybe time to up the anti-Evil pills. After I talk to my shrink. My sponsor wasn't hooked up last night, so I talked to my girl, Dark Star, and her husband, Schrodinger.

And I write to free myself, and maybe you too, a little. And even though the blog says fictionalized, because I don't want to get sued, everything in it that happens to me is real. I want you to know that. I don't lie to my readers, cause my life has been too weird to have to make anything up. And I would love to write to you about my ongoing challenge with another alkie, who doesn't want to quit, but he is the one who threatens to sue me, even though he is dying and doesn't have time for that.

So I write while my phone rings from yet another alcoholic, and he is dying, too. He thinks he is in love with me, but he only wants someone to keep him from dying. And he had 16, count 'em, 16 years of sobriety, before he started to drink again. Now he can't stop, and goes to jail and the hospital on a regular basis. I can hear death in his voice. On some level, he knows he is dying, and he is a drowning person, trying to latch onto someone to save himself, only I can't be that one. I want to live.

So I write about him and wish I could give you the close-up experience of watching 2 alcoholics die; although maybe you have had that happen to you. When the liver gets so hard it no longer works, that person will cough, and blood pours out of their mouths, along with what's left of the liver. They don't take baths, cause they don't smell anything but the clean on the outside world, and they don't know that their sweat and skin is saturated with the stink of booze. Their hair smells like vodka, no matter what they drink, and their breath smells like human excrement, cause they don't eat.

So I write, and sometimes, after thoughts about you and me meeting here, sometimes, my day sucks and sometimes it doesn't. If I think I can communicate what I want to, then my day, generally, goes well. And all the descriptions of my apartment and 'my things' and all the descriptions of the field and the forest and the Old House, and Eddie and Fudge: these are all things that are metaphors that I am trying to get across to you. As in dreams, you have to interpret. There is a lot of love and longing in my writing, it is something I grew up with.

So I write, and I feel better and less paranoid. Cause I do know you are out there...

So I write because I want to meet Alan Rickman and Severus Snape, and one day I will. There are a lot of answers in death, in my belief. I write because African American youth and African American men are being killed, and it's not trivial...but when I write about Kate and William's baby instead, it's because that is all I can handle at that moment. Mental health diagnoses, sometimes, is all I can handle.

So I write about mental health diagnoses, and disabilities, and illnesses, and warts and all, because that's what I have to give to you. It's what I have brought to the table with me. It's what I wake up with everyday. And while there is plenty to be anguished over, in America, mental disabilities transcend borders and time and love.

So I write because African Americans don't cut their loved ones off, because they are born a person of color. And women don't cut off their families because they happen to be other women. And families don't desert their members that end up in wheelchairs...But a family can and sure as hell will, cut someone off if that family member has been diagnosed with a mental illness. And society cuts us off, as well, regulating us to a darkened hallway, where we have lived for centuries.

So I write this morning, to let you know my head hurts, and I binged, but didn't cut or eat or cry. I write to let you know that I fight depression and guilt, and horror at the outside world. Because sometimes, I wonder why I am considered ill. And not Them.

And I write to escape, but not into denial, just as far as the edge of the forest. I want to write travel journals, and have someone pay me to travel and write about it. If anyone out there knows who can give me that job, please let them know I am interested...

So I write back to this moment in time, with the sound of the clock on the dresser, and the curled up cat at my feet. The dog snores, steadily. And the maritime quilt is on the bed. I write about what comforts me, at times, and since it's dark and it's not time for the forest, I write about the kitty figures on the tv, and the old picture of the woman on horseback on the dresser, alongside a bottle of Chanel No. 5. I write about my cup of coffee, and how good it tastes this morning. I got fresh water from the tap this morning, and I have ice cubes to go in it, just like my Mother did.

I write because I have running water and a toilet and a shower, with plenty of toilet paper and soap. I write because when I woke from the darkness, Dark Star was there, and she taught me to talk again. She taught me how to WANT to communicate. She taught me how to be willing. And she is a real person, too. I write because I didn't go to an AA meeting that I was supposed to go to last night, and I can't get in touch with my sponsor, and I hope the two have nothing in common.

I write because my Dad's mother learned to paint El Paso, from a paint-by-numbers set. She ended up doing some beautiful pictures and they hang on my walls. I have letters she wrote, back in the day, and I read them for the fun of it. She was that good a conversationalist and writer.

I write because this is my song, and it's all I have. And lately the song is trouble-filled, but that will pass. Just like the happy song that follows it will pass. And the unicorn meat eating cats will pass, and the dog will pass, and my brother will pass, and even Dark Star, one day. But time will not pass for a very long time.

So I write because we still have this time together, and there is hope for us, isolated or joined. And I write because you have a forest, and a field as well, you just might not know it. And I write because you feel beautiful, too. 

I will meet you again, tomorrow. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Don't Forget to Look Up

I have discovered that, if I go to bed earlier, my night time break comes earlier. I went to bed shortly after sunset, and woke at this moment, just 5 hours before dawn. I know. 5 hours.

Therapy was good yesterday, although I cried some. That's how I know it was good.

Eventually, my sleep schedule will return to normal, and I will be well. Today is the day I go to the neurologist, about my head pain and headaches. I am not so much nervous, as I would like some answers. I will let you know how that goes.

The grass is wet, but the stars are out. I know because the dog, Max, decided to pee at this early hour. It amuses me to oblige him; I have no desire to 'make him hold it' all night. Especially since the unicorn meat eating cats can go anytime they like...and so can I, for that matter.

I liked seeing the stars again. My Dad was a big star gazer, and he passed that on to both of his children. He talked the neighbors out of installing an enormous night light, so that he could see the stars better. I am against light pollution myself. There is no reason to light up the night, unless you live in Vegas.

I suppose, in the 'burbs, people fear burglars, but really. In this smallish city, there is just not that much dangerous going on at night. We are still a small town, flanked by 2 smaller towns. There are lots of trees, wherever I drive or look. There are even trees downtown. I can stand at any point in this small city, and see an ocean of trees. The city combs the streets for the weeds and small trees that grow, and plants flowers and bushes, and all sorts of more trees. It is a pleasant valley, tucked into a bowl, where the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Shenandoahs meet. It is a small loop, in the Appalachians...

I like to pick out Orion, in the night sky. It is so easily identifiable. It's nice to know that many people have picked it out, over the years. But before I plunge into nostalgia: I feel faintly wicked waking in the middle of the night, to claim my own time. I feel evil, and it is hours before I take my meds. On the other hand, I hurt no one but a pot of coffee, although I do wreck my treatment. And I count, to me.

Why did I cry, in therapy? I have an unpleasant task to perform, a distasteful course to hold, and I feel weak. I miss my Mother and Dad who were my own cheering section. For them, I felt brave, and able to handle any challenge. Always, my first reaction is: "Forget it. Just Do It." I am not one for conversation, once a course is plotted. But therapy is all about making conversation and communication clear, so that everyone is on the same page. This is not my strong point, and so, I feel weak, and unable to handle my task.

But I have a source of strength. Today is a day for the field, out in the sunlight. Purple chicory grows, and Queen Anne's Lace, one of my favorites from childhood. There are day lilies, orange, on the edge of the stream. The grasses are green, with patches of gold. The rocks in the creek are blue grey. Moss grows outside my door, and violets' leaves. I love the quiet nature of moss, don't you? I wait for the pink geranium to bloom again, and the red. Meanwhile, the impatiens and the blue hydrangea explode, next to my door. On the other side of the doorway, the begonia spill from the ceramic milk churn, and the sand colored pot that was one of my Mother's favorites.

Georgia, a flower of a cat, grey and peach, lays on my arm. She has been trying to find a good place to perch for 2 hours, now...time to sleep.

Monday, July 15, 2013

I Am This Page That You Read

The eternal weeding goes on. Yesterday, the sun came out and I had forgot what it was like. The unicorn meat eating cats sleep, and Max snores. I hope I am not up too long this early morning. I have a full day, including therapy, and a nap is a long way away.

I keep looking for news that Kate, of Prince William and Kate fame, have had the baby, but, no luck. And if that seems trivial compared to what is going on in the world outside my window, so be it. These are contentious times for Americans, in particular. But this is my own safe space for you: those of you with disabilities, and their loved ones, and friends...

Everyone needs a safe space to be in, particularly those with mental health diagnoses. I have to have quiet time in every day, which is one reason I wake at these extraordinary hours. I need time to listen to the silence, and to process, to think. I need time, in my apartment, when I hear no movement upstairs, and time when I know no one will bother me.

I spent years, decades even, at the Old House, listening to the silence, which is never void, but filled with the Presence. The silence fills with the sounds of trees I have known and loved, and the sound of Tinker Creek. The quiet fills with the thoughts of those that I have loved, and who have loved me, in the past, and in the present. Those thoughts are tied to my things, the furniture around me, the pictures, the clothes, the jewelry that were gifts. What I have bought for myself is such a miniscule amount of my things...So when I write those posts about my 'things' I am really recounting all the love I have been surrounded by.

I know that I ground in the material world. That is the very definition of grounding. To ground oneself, is to come back to the material, reality, after dissociation, or fear, or anger. To ground myself, I used to have a fat lab mix named Eddie. If all else failed, I knew that Eddie was real, and of this world.

Grounding is helpful in facing reality, to not be in denial. It helps to overcome the daily, sometimes petty, obstacles that face you and I. Denial is a special bugaboo of mine. I deny about everything. As an alcoholic and a person with borderline personality disorder, denial is the first place I run, when a change occurs. For instance, every dawn is change.

Today is therapy day, and I am on the ball. I am ok with dawn happening this morning...

Nothing very exciting happened this week, and I am profoundly grateful. I mean myself, and not the outside world, obviously, where plenty goes on. But this is our space, our time to be together, wherever and whenever you read me. I know that it is 11:18 AM in Moscow, Russia, and 9 in the morning, in Great Britain and Scotland. Your day started about the time I woke. For me, it is about 3 hours before dawn. I hope to get some more sleep, when this post is done.

But, I know that some of you read this blog at the office, no judgement, and some of you read it at home, first thing in the morning. I know that some of you are drinking tea, and some, coffee. And I like to think of you, out there reading, and trying to make it through another day, or making it easily, through your diagnoses of alcoholism, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, cancer, ADD, fibromyalgia, heart disease, and all the numerous, invisible, or visible things that happen to us, in this world. Or perhaps none of those things have happened to you. Perhaps you just like my descriptions of Nature, or something to read that lets you vent.

Just as, before I go to sleep, I think of all of us out there, with computers or not, struggling to stay sober, and sane, in this decidedly insane and un-sober world. I realize that a majority of my 'target audience' probably cannot afford a computer, nor do they have access to one. People with disabilities often have nothing, except the good will of the rest of us. One would hope, anyway...

My goal every morning, is to communicate. To educate. To uncover the hidden. To fight the stigma of those with diagnoses. It is decidedly difficult to blog under my own name, about such stigmatized topics as borderline personality disorder, and alcoholism, it effects my present and my future.

But the disquiet, and actual rage I feel, about what has happened to me in the past, and my diagnoses and the stigma attached, is so great, that I often throw caution out with the bathwater. If the Presence has marked me out, with my disabilities, then so be it. This is where I take a stand. And even if you do not take a stand, you have made one.

I am a person. A real person. With diagnoses and without. I am not my disorders. I am this page that you read.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Chrysanthemums and Sedum

The blog called, "The Klonipin Chronicles" has it right, when she says, "We don't do political here. But we do human. Peace to the Martin family."

That's all I am going to say on that subject. I know, sometimes I spout, but my agenda here is education, advocacy, and acceptance for mental diagnoses. Not political.

The unicorn meat eating cats are all awake, and busily jump in and out of the window. The carpet at the door is still wet from the recent deluges. I need to borrow a fan. I did mow the grass yesterday. I had tried to put it off, thinking it would rain, but mowed anyway. Just as I finished, the rain poured...someone is watching out for me. Max is awake, but is only vaguely interested in it. There are 3 senior dogs at the Roanoke pound that need a foster/adopt. One couple yesterday, dropped off a beautiful, elderly Irish Setter because he was, "getting old." Shame on them!

Today, I am neither happy, nor sad, but mixed. I have bipolar NOS (Not Otherwise Specified), and I am the Queen of 'mixed states'.

Mixed states are when a person, usually with bipolar I, have symptoms of mania and depression at the same time. I come off of mania, with depression. Usually, I have rapid cycling as well. Neither the mania or the depression lasts, but happens quickly. The interesting thing is: that the anti-psychotic is not the mood stabilizer, the Prozac is.

My new and exciting sleep schedule is to blame for starting the mania. I still don't think I am over the depression that set in this past winter. More than anyone else, I know what it is to be distracted to avoid thinking and accepting life. Sometimes, the answer is to focus. That's what I would like to bring you on this rainy Sunday...

The daylilies bloom in abundance this year, because of the rain. Their gold and yellow trumpets wave by the hundreds on the banks of streams and creeks. While the rocks have turned green and gray and blue from the running water and the sunlight. Down the street from my apartment, someone with an eye for color has planted Starlight lilies...deep pink and rose, and white. I love Starlight lilies, and would buy them by the fistful for my Mother. They are highly fragrant, though, and you must be judicious in their placing. They should sell them singly, they are so potent.

My therapist has complained that when an event happens, no matter how small, that my mind connects it to something, an event, in the past...I thought that was the human condition, but now have concluded that it is the writer's condition. Practicing Mindfulness is the answer. It is to break time down to just this moment, and pay attention to what happens right now.

For instance, to feel nothing but the smoothness of the keys under my fingers, the snorting of the dog as he smells out of the window, the coolness of my new sheets...the scent of the candle on my nightstand. It is to block memories, and focus on the present moment. I practice it all the time, outside, and there it is easy. No matter how cozy my apartment, it is filled with remnants and reminders of the past. There is no getting around that.

To stand on a tree's roots is the surest way into the present moment for me. I can feel the electric liveliness of the tree; can hear it's tree thoughts. I feel what it is to have leaves, and how they rest, in winter, the sap moving slowly. Bark delights in the cold of the frosts...

So that now, I know that I am depressed, still, by the realization that it is the un-sleeping season, and yet I want to do nothing but sleep. The colors are vibrant outside, and I have mixed a riotous living of hues together, for the fun of it, and yet, I look for the palest of geraniums to bloom, the pink. Everything grows in abundance, in this rainy season, but I still feel frozen by winter.

I look to Autumn to warm me. The warm, but darker nights, the clearer stars. I look for the breezes that blow the moisture in the air away. What a show of fall's colors we will have this year, with all the rain! I remember a night, that I stood on Good Neighbor's porch, and gave away candy for hours...I remember the white chili, chicken, and the brown chili, beef, that she served us afterword, to take the cold off. I remember with relief, the lessening of the heat, which we have not had this year, yet. I remember the scent of the fall, as it comes. The indefinable smell of change in the air, that sends wild creatures to warmer climates, and the deepest of dens, eating as they go. I remember watching the pilgrimage of the deer and the turkey, as they moved along their paths by the Old House.

Paths that have been followed forever? Or changing, as our climate changes? Berries are in season now, and the woods have filled with their tones of blue. Blueberries, blackberries, and the elusive wineberries. The mud in the field is impassable, but I have my 'muck boots.' They are made of neoprene, and soft rubber, to keep the wet out. The forest floor is treacherous as well. And the moss is everywhere. But goldenrod grow up to the edge of the woods, and the blackberries shine red and black. The 'bridal bower' of vines on the path blooms white overhead.

The maple sends out many shoots this year, into the graveled part of my walkway. Today is a day to weed, to cut back on the green that encroaches on the path to my door, and to pull the grasses that grow along the foot of the impatiens and the hydrangea. The begonias, with their orange-red flowers, and red tinted leaves, grow at break-neck speed. The sides of their pots are green from moss.

I set the begonias in the favorite pots of my Mother. They are a smoothish stucco, sand colored. They have whorls in the clay that run around the pot. Every year, I vow to paint them, and every year, I fail. My Mother bought quite a few of those pots, and put geraniums in them, red, and placed them on the deck where my Father sat for hours, on into the night...

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Slow Days, Rainy Days

I'll keep this post short, as I know you have things to do on the weekend. I toss off my angst today. I will not be a part of it. I have done what I could to fix the problem and now, my side of the street is clean. Over. I am glad I have a program.

So, you might notice that I am up about 4 hours before dawn again. Even Minkins is asleep, right now. I get more sleep than I did a few days ago, but still wake at night, and write. It seems natural to do so. I can give you my undivided attention.

A random picture, to cheer us both:

Of course, it one of the New Adventurers. I miss them but there is something indescribably peaceful about a house with older cats...Ratty and Minkins are about 16, and Georgia is 5. I have a new shipment of unicorn meat for them, but I will let them sleep.

It is the rainiest July on record in this smallish corner of the world, and we are awash in water. It falls from the skies, and runs along the ground. It pops up out of nowhere. Sometimes there is thunder and lightning and sometimes there is not. It is always torrential. None of the whiny spitting kind of rain. Sometimes, I can hear it as it beats against the cat window, which is the only window of my apartment. Sometimes, it is silent and beats the grass and the flowers down. It steams from the ground, and collects on my glasses. It drips from my hair, and my face and wets my shoulders...

In four days, I will go to a neurologist, to find out about the lumps that come up on my head, and give me headaches. Perhaps I will get some answers, or he will just pass me on to the immunologist. Maybe both. I am not afraid. I hold that as an option. But I can't see the future, and I have done all the guessing I am going to do. With PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) the problems with my immune system are quirky. It could be anything.

Minkins is up now. He purrs at me and tries to catch my fingers, typing. I hope that it gets no more earth-shaking than that, today.  If it doesn't rain today, and it is supposed to, I will mow the lawn. It's one of my favorite ways to occupy my time. I will also suck up some of the cat/dog hair around the apartment. It looks like the Pond will stay a pond this year...don't get me started. I will weed around the flowers.

I hope your day is just as relaxing.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Pink Zinnia

Is it morning where you are? Can you imagine that you are here with me, this morning? I slept late today, and it is only an hour before dawn. It's good. I was due some sleep. I am told that we all lose sleep, sometimes. That everyone has that night when we stay awake, and think of the past...

Some of us are sicker than others. This is from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. It's true. I used to think if I was "normal" that I wasn't sick, but that is not true. My angst comes from a fresh hurt, by someone I thought was a friend, and might not be. 

I won't go into details, simply because I have to "Let it Go," another truism from AA. I pray this morning that the Presence heals her, and remember that all illnesses are not diagnosed. That may be sour grapes talking, but the hurt is great, as well. Today, this morning, I will start keeping my side of the street clean, as we say in AA. I have a role to play in the hurt; it is not entirely her fault. As we all play a part in the hurt, inflicted by friends. Even if it is nothing more than expecting perfection from them. Humans will always fail us. That's why our sobriety depends on the Presence in our lives, or our spiritual health, if we are atheists. I take responsibility for the hurt I must have inflicted on her.

This morning, I have set the clothes washing machine to wash, and it busily spins, and sounds efficient, in the bathroom. It is a secret, that I like to clean, when I am disturbed, or upset by any event. You would think my apartment would be spotless, but I am on my meds, remember?

The first thing I do when something adverse happens, is to breath deeply, and then wash the dishes. I wash by hand, and there is something luxurious about having hot, running water, with a lot of suds, to play with. Something satisfying about looking at the cleaned dishes, and the scent of the soap, and the satisfaction of a job well done.

This morning, too, as always, Minkins is up with me. He cleans himself, and sits as close to the jet of warm air coming out of the laptop, as he can. I am fortunate that I have a place to live where they are welcome. Believe me, I appreciate the fact that I have my coffee and ice water to turn to. I have loving friends to share with, and clothes on my back, and food in my stomach. My animals and I have the security of being together.

Somehow, I feel the mania receding. I don't feel that it is through any action of mine, although I have restricted my diet, and continue to take my medications. Water is a great thing, and clean water, drunk in large quantities, is a gift of the universe that is not to be sneezed at.

This is not to mention that I have this way to communicate, for without it, I would surely go crazy. It helps me, this morning, to 'get over myself' and not take myself so seriously. Ego driven creature that I am, I feel I should not be held accountable for my mistakes. But it is my true belief that, as a human, I am prone to mistakes. I have made one with this certain friend, and that is obvious. Now to rectify my mistake, to make amends in the only way possible. To live the amends. To do the best thing I can.

That is keeping my side of the street clean.

But enough angst already, Alice! I do tend to go on and on, and hold my hurts close to my heart, where they stay fresh. I let resentments form, which is deadly for me. I need a meeting, today.

I have my routine today, and I will eat this morning, and take my meds. I will clean myself, and dress carefully, and do what I have planned. I will be careful to try not to hurt others, as much as I can. I will talk with my sponsor this morning, and do something to help someone else today, including the friend I have hurt.

I will walk through the woods to the field, with Eddie, Fudge will trail behind. It is amusing to me that I planted zinnia this year, as always, and yet nothing has come up but the pink ones. If it is a sign, I do not know of what. After an extra long winter, this year shapes up to be one of the better ones, so far. It is not to be expected that they are perfect. Nothing is perfect, unless it is animals, which are as they have been made.

In the center of the forest, there is a ring of blasted trees which send out new shoots. Their pale leaves uncurl in the rain, and the sun. Here and there, a shaft of light reveals a Lady Slipper, or a dark fern. The stream runs merrily, and the grapevine hangs, and invites me to sit on the crook it makes. Not far, the Old Oak stands, awe and mystery cling to it's bark. I feel my heart open up, to look at it. How much of the secret life of the woods has it seen?

My favorite, the old, wild tulip tree stands on the edge of the rains it's flowers at this time of year. They are green, with yellow and orange centers. I can stand on the roots, and hear the tree and the earth talk. I can smell the indescribable scent of Home. The Old House stands further up the hill, watches over me, while I pick wildberries and eat them.

Somewhere, at the edge of the woods, one year I planted gladiolas. I had not studied their habits, and so they never got enough sunlight to bloom. After a while, they did not bother to come up at all. So it is with my friend, this morning.

With my disorders, and my personality, a disagreement makes me feel unclean. I don't like being misunderstood, which is a given considering the effects of mental disabilities. But, as St. Francis had it, it is better to understand than to be understood. Despite the pain, I understand, this morning. And there is nothing for it, but to take my meds, eat my breakfast, talk to my sponsor, go to a meeting, fulfill my obligations...

There is nothing for it today, than to live, and not cut, and not drink. I can do nothing but make my amends and hope for better. Even if I feel a depression that comes on, after the mania. I must not stop living long enough to listen to it. Which is all well and good, until I realize that sometimes, it is no action of mine that brings me low. I know that it is better to be depressed, and clean, than otherwise. A drink will not make one thing better, and will ruin the zinnia that did come up. And there is much to be said for pink zinnia.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Close to Spring

 We are flooding in this small corner of the world, getting 3 inches in an hour, yesterday.
This is downtown Roanoke, VA, as of 7 PM. I went through this intersection about an hour before. I was frantic about my animals, not knowing how flooded my apartment would be.

As it turns out, the water had got into the apartment only a little at the cat's window, which is set into a door. I am grateful.

It is another early morning, after 4 hours asleep. It is about 4 hours until dawn. I am determined to go back to sleep, after some writing. I got so manic last night, I could barely sit still. Thank gods for my nighttime medication, which is also an anti-depressant, (Trazadone.)

I went to an AA meeting at noon yesterday, impromptu. Someone else wanted to go, which is the best motivation there is, for me. The discussion was about breaking our anonymity at the public level. I know that identifying myself as an alcoholic that goes to AA is against the tradition, in a way. AA doesn't want me to identify myself as an alcoholic that goes to AA, and hasn't remained sober for a long time. I had 5 years of continuous sobriety at one point: then the sexual assaults, and my Dad's death brought me to a very low place...and I drank.

Most of AA in this area would think of my relapses as a failure of my program. But Dave, my therapist, has it that my relapses, in fact, are part of my sobriety. That I learn something new about what works and doesn't every time I 'go out'.

My Dad drank and got sober in a similar way to me. He knew about AA most of his adult life, and some of his childhood: his parents were married for the second time to each other, in a bar. He spent most of his life struggling with his disease, and going in and out of the program until he died. He did have 7 years of sobriety when he passed, for which our family was very grateful. He was such a great person, sober. He was kind, funny and interesting; well-read.

So my relapses are part of the journey for me. It's not the way I would be sober, but then, my higher Presence often comes up with plans I don't like, or had not thought of, but remain the best way for me to learn and grow. And I will say, that I do grow. Someday, my sobriety will be just what someone else needs to hang on and 'keep coming back'. Which gives a greater meaning and purpose in my life, to me.

So, don't take the chronicle of my sobriety, as a blueprint for yours. It's just one of the many millions of paths trod by AA's in general. It is as unique to me as my life is.

So what to do now about the mania? There is not much to do, other than be much stricter with my diet, which helps, and cut out those diet sodas, which has a big impact. It's all the caffeine, don't you know? I need to become less busy and get more exercise. Diet and exercise are the first prescriptions that my psychiatrist writes, before he reaches for the 'good' meds, the anti-depressants, and the anti-psychotics...

I don't run around thinking, "I am psychotic." I think of myself as delusional, although I really don't. My therapist tells me I am thinking incorrectly, after I describe my thoughts. I know it's confusing. Let's slow down.

The word "psychosis," and "psychotic" bring to mind some crazoid running around, waving an axe, and snatching candy from babies. When the reality of it is: it's just thinking things that are not true. When I am psychotic, some of my crazy thinking includes: that the CIA is after me, my friends all hate me, I have no friends, I am getting messages from my dead parents, that sort of thing.

Then I start tying the past up into these thoughts, so that I have an unreal world-view. Just for me, what that entails is thinking that aliens, or angels, I haven't figured out which, are controlling events in my life to form a pattern. I am supposed to learn from this pattern.

Now, I realize that some people in the world would not see this as 'incorrect' thinking. Many believe religious figures guide their lives, and some believe aliens are guiding the human race. But, for my society and culture, this kind of thought isn't 'normal'.

This way of thinking also causes me enormous amounts of stress, frustration, fear and anger. So much so, that I have physical reactions to my thoughts. The biggest problem is: I react to other people as if my thoughts were true.

This causes innumerable problems in my life, and yours. How do you feel knowing that I think you are the alien that 'had' me raped? What will I do to stop your nefarious plan? How do you think I will treat you, if I believe that you are working with the CIA to kill me? There are all sorts of problems with thinking 'incorrectly' or delusionally.

So I take my anti-Evil pills morning and night, and maybe you work with the CIA as an alien, and maybe you don't, but I no longer care. In fact, each friend turns into some sort of guardian angel who loves me. That's the power of pharmaceuticals and therapy.

So, to me, my shrink and my therapists love me. I am their favorite patient. I am your favorite friend. I am Alice, everyone's favorite friend. I am good as gold, although I can see my flaws and strengths. This is as close to being 'in balance' as I can get, with the disorders I have. When I drink, we all go back to the beginning: you are an alien...and your dog works for the CIA.

That's it, in a nutshell. I am sure to have got something wrong, but it is how I understand myself and the world around me. Perhaps you can identify with me, or know someone, a loved one perhaps, that has the same disorders as me. Maybe you are just ghoulish and curious, which is a valid point of view, to me. I would be enormously curious about how psychosis works, if I didn't have it.

I have written (this blog) while drunk, psychotic, manic, depressed, and every other way. I hope it bridges the gap between knowledge and experience. I hope I satisfy your curiosity. I hope it explains to my friends, how and why. I hope, if that is the case, that you do not feel so alone in this world.

Meanwhile, most importantly, the cat window is open at this outrageous hour. Minkins, of hand-fed orphan fame, has gone out and come back in. All of the unicorn meat eating cats, and I have no other kind, are awake today, at this hour. I know that they love me, as a source of food, if nothing else. I feel our pets love us. I don't want any pill to take that away, and I will believe it until I die.

It's the quiet time of the morning, and the forest trees wait, and listen, for the rain. Somewhere, in the forest's heart, the Presence glows and calls to me. And, once again, to comfort me, I am in the Old House, and I look down on the field below, through the branches of the winter trees. The wind always blows over the field, except that once in a while, the wind dies and the sun comes out. It lights the golden grass and creates sun patches, that a cat can shelter in. I go outside on the deck, and turn my face to the setting sun, or the dawn, to warm it.

A cat named Fudge, and a dog named Eddie stand on the deck beside me. It is, always, close to Spring. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

No One Is Watching

I am running a marathon, here, 4 hours before dawn. Something's gotta give.

I can hear birds outside, and I have opened the window for the cats. I found out that canned unicorn is on sale on Amazon. Although it says not to eat it, I might try ordering a can for the cats...

I need coffee. Grab some for yourself.

I am trying to regulate my diet, so I bought some Special K breakfast cereal. I know, it's a 'girly' cereal, which is ok, cause I am a woman. Also, I need the fiber, and it's supposed to be low-cal, although I can taste plenty of sugar in it, which I don't need or want. Cereal is good enough without sugar in it, or coating it. I am eating lots of yogurt, plain, low-fat, with berries, since it is the berry time of year. And then there is the pizza in the frig.

There is a local pizza shop run by a big Italian family, and they make the best pizza on the planet. There pizzas are also so big, they will last for days. So that's my diet for now. Cereal, yogurt and pizza. Who says you can't do something perfectly? I am also backing off of the diet soda. Which has been shown time and again to stimulate sugar cravings. I am used to water anyway.

All her life, my Mother kept a glass of water beside her, day and night. I remember nights as a child, I would sneak into their room and quench my thirst with the best tasting water in the world. When she died, and my brother and I spread her ashes, we used her ice water glass, to scoop her up. One by one, her friends scooped her up, and flung her into the river, at the same spot we had flung Dad.

Flung. What a word.

Anyway, she wanted to be tossed into the same river, at the same spot that Dad had. So we did. Fictionally, that is, because it's illegal to do that in the State of Virginia. Don't try this at home.

Today is group therapy for borderline personality disorder, and I have to make it. I did dog rescue instead, last week and got reamed by my therapist in my individual session on Monday. He said, "Now I know what your priorities are." Exactly. Me or a dead dog. I choose the live dog, every time. That dog, and fantastic labrador retriever, will be adopted this Friday. You choose.

Of course, it's my guilt that speaks. I was in tears in my session from it. Yes, the DBT therapy group, (dialectical behavioral therapy) is of paramount concern. After all, borderline, and some other factors, have sent me to hell, jail and beyond. It's important that I be able to get along with others, and be able to live with myself.  It's crucial that I 'fit in' to society.

So, I am careful to keep my car clean, and my apartment. I clean myself most studiously, when at all possible, and I have a killer hair style. It looks expensive, and it looks as if it doesn't belong in jail. I don't wear makeup, except for eye liner, and I don't dress flashy, although I have some signature pieces that I take care of. I strive to look like the upper income woman I used to be. I am fortunate that all my jewelry, scents, clothing, and things, have made it into this new life with me. So I can fool myself, as well as other people, that financially, I am in excellent shape. Of course my car is old, and the front windows don't roll down anymore, but any policeman that stops me, will notice how clean it is...

Being creative, and eccentric, used to be a duty for Southern women, now it will land me in jail. Our behaviors and our bodies, as women, are regulated to an unprecedented decree at this time in history. Add the factor that the mentally ill make up the majority of the prison population in the US, and hey, presto: a recipe for disaster. Something's gotta give.

All the animals are asleep, except for Minkins. After all this rain, the garden explodes with color: yellow, rust, pink, red, and all hues of green. I want to weed, even at this time in the morning. I don't think the Pond will make it to a pool again this summer. There are just so many chemicals to be bought, and so much work to be done on it, that it is simply not looking good for a pool, this year. It's good for me that I have a friend named Storm, a dark Italian night of a woman, who has a pool, and likes my company.

I missed my home group, AA meeting yesterday, but had an emergency come up. Nothing medical, just one of those things. But I will have to make one tonight...fortunately, there is one close by. I feel so fortunate that so many meetings happen nearby for me. My motivation is squat, stacked against staying up at night, being tired in the day, and wanting to snuggle with the animals at 7 at night. The winter has left an imprint on me, to not go out in the dark, that is not fading now that it is light so late. My old therapist, Ted, had me convinced I was a vampire. I loved the night, especially in winter, and would walk for hours in the dark with Eddie, my service dog. We walked the Hollins campus, one of my favorite spots to visit. That's Hollins University, a Liberal Arts women's college, nearby, that I graduated from in 1999.

I loved the cold, crispy nights, and my breath running before me, like a fog in the distance. Eddie was fat, and he loved the cold, as well. The tree's shadows, standing like iron bars on the frosty grass. The sound of Tinker Creek, and the scent of the leaves in it. I loved knowing what every inch of that campus looked like, so much so, that I didn't need the light of the moon, or the streetlights, to make my way. I love the gardens, tended by women. Of course, campus security was less thrilled with my visits. I was always watched on my walks. Until I met the vice-president's wife on her lawn one night, out walking her dog. I told her my story, about the rapes and the stalking, and told her how much the women at Hollins made a difference in my life. I told her about Eddie, given to me by a friend, and his talents as a service dog. I told her I walked at night, to hide.

From then on, security seemed to know about me. People at Hollins got even kinder, if that was possible. I did not lose support, even when drinking, as I periodically did during my time there. I got to meet and know the President of Hollins, Nancy Oliver Grey. A kinder women to my Eddie, cannot be imagined. And, that went a long way with me.

I should not have drank, I know, and I lost some dear friends at Hollins to it. It is, what it is. I cannot blame them, and didn't even then. Oh, the people I have lost to my disease! It is a heart-rending thing to bear, at times. New friends have come in sobriety, but I cannot tell the ones I have lost that I now have long-term sobriety, and get them to trust me again. Because I do not.

It's a constant struggle against shame, that makes it difficult to walk into every AA meeting I attend. I do have some knowledge of sobriety. And every day sober, is a day to the good, believe me. I do have support in AA. Especially from people who acknowledge that not all paths to sobriety are the same.  It's very self-defeating behavior, to relapse again and again. I have had 5 years of continuous sobriety, which sounds great, until you look at the fact that I have been going to meetings for 20 years. Still, each day sober is a gift, for me, as well as others. I am grateful, today, for any day I am sober. I make no excuses, and accept responsibility for my actions, although I do not accept responsibility for having the disease in the first place. I was born with it.

Also, yesterday, I forgot my medications. I wondered why I was soooo very jittery, all day, until I remembered this morning. It was not on purpose, and does not seem to be a pattern forming. I love the new anti-psychotic I am on, despite the weight gain. I feel fortunate that I do not, this month, have to choose between the price of gasoline to go to meetings, and the price of my meds, as is sometimes the case for all of us, gentle people. All of us disabled ones and older ones, especially.

I am going to enjoy the rest of this very early morning, with the weeds, pulling them by moonlight. No one is watching, now...

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Somehow, This Works for Me, This Morning

It's that time of the morning again, 3 hours before dawn. I know you think, "Alice, how long can this mania go on?" I don't know that it is mania, I just can't wait for the morning, because I love it so much. I love this time with you, and my coffee, and animals. I know some of you disapprove of my smoking, but this is the time of day I don't care. I know I romanticize's my generation's marketing skills at work. I would like to quit, but that will have to wait until I stabilize more.

Of course, the dog, Max, is asleep. It's before 10 AM, when he goes out. Although he is as mercurial as I am about his bathroom habits. When the mood strikes, and all that...

My therapist was pissed that I missed my last group session to do some dog rescue. I feel guilty that I missed, but it was a dog's life at stake. I am so codependent, the guilt just rolls in waves over me. My borderline fear of abandonment is kicking in, as well. So much terror from something so small. His point though, is that this DBT (dialectic behavioral therapy) can save my life. I know that's true...I have been to jail for being 'crazy' and it was not pretty. In fact, it was hell. They wouldn't give me my meds.

I know the fine line I walk, in the eyes of law enforcement: I have a fitting terror of their incomprehension. That's the way they want it. That's how the authorities roll. In any country. I wish I could say we have a lot of understanding about the advance science of brain disorders, in this country, but we do not. We are not free here, anymore or less than anyone else...

I will say this: Virginia is implementing a program to educate a select few police officers to 'deal' with people who have mental disabilities. I have talked to one, and he was, indeed, very kind and seemed understanding. It's a push to keep 'us' out of jails, because of lack of education on the police's part.

I appreciate the effort. I could have used it when I was arrested, 3 years ago. About 3 months after my Mother's death. I will not go into detail. I am honest, but not titillating. Not in this case. I spent 5 days in jail, by 'accident'. The lawyer just couldn't get to me before the weekend, I think on purpose, at the District Attorney's request.

I became psychotic at one point and lost touch with reality. I was very ill with a lung infection and had been robbed of my service animal, (my brother picked him up and took him to my veterinarian's to stay.) I wasn't on an anti-psychotic, and they wouldn't give me my meds with any consistency. They would skip one, here or there. I was a wreck.

I went in on a Wednesday night, and my lawyer and brother bailed me out the next Monday. The damage was done. I no longer have a respect for the law, just a terror of it. Which is always a bad thing...I was, eventually, convicted with a misdemeanor, trespassing.

I will balance that with this, to be fair. I went to a dog show one time, and locked my keys in my car. The police, for insurance reasons, no longer help with that situation. But a DEA agent, at an educational event there, did. After I told him that I had invisible disabilities, and was dissociating, from being in their company. He was the kindest man.

Since the destruction of the mental health facilities under President Reagan, we, more often than not, just end up in jail. Where else is there to put us?

Well. I need to shake this post off. I don't know if I will end up posting this or not. It's so very depressing. But it is part of my experience, as a person with invisible disabilities. It's all too easy. It happens everyday. A lot of the people in prison have mental diagnoses. I am just lucky that I am not one of them.

I think I need to bring myself out of the past and into today. I need to practice mindfulness. It's a DBT skill taken from Buddhism. I am not in jail, I am in my apartment. Jail is not impinging on me. It's over, it's gone. Just the fear lives on.

My gold clock stands next to a bottle of Chanel No. 5, and an old picture of a young woman on a horse. The persian carpet sits underneath the silver green silk footstool, by my bed. There is a picture of me, visiting Scotland, on the wall, as real as any memory of jail. The rocking chair that my Father nursed me in, sits in the corner, and Mom's favorite quilt is on the bed. Max's feet move, in a dream, and Ratty snores.

The coffee tastes very good this morning. The shower curtain, with the map of the globe, and each country individually marked, is just as fun to take a shower behind, as it is to look at...and I have a new tea tray, white, with sprays of cherry blossoms on it.

Minkins, of course, is awake with me, and gazes into the distance, watching ghosts. I spray some cranberry room spray, to be hedonistic. All of my senses are engaged in this moment. Mindfulness. But the smell of fear lingers on. I'll spend a moment with you, if you don't mind.

It's never good to be alone with the memory of fear. I know I am not alone. At some point, you will read this, and by that time perhaps, I will be showering, or taking my pills, or eating breakfast.

It's rainy again this week, and the sun might be up, or obscured, either way it will be hotter today. I will talk to friends this morning, and go to an AA meeting tonight. I lost some friends, going to jail. It still scars, despite my efforts, but sometimes that is the function of memory: to teach. I have lost friends to my diagnoses before, and I am sure I will again. Some cannot deal with it. I don't know that I could.

I like my mundane life, with my dog, the asshole, and the unicorn meat eating cats. I like my routine, and my things, and the friends who have hung on. My parents loved me, and I have a brother I love. I have Dark Star, my sister in life. I have control over my choices, and a therapist and a shrink. I have groups where I belong, and people who are pulling for my successful recovery. I am not in jail...

  Somehow, this works for me, this morning.

Monday, July 8, 2013

To Be Continued...

It's a quiet morning, after rain yesterday, again. Max decided he had to pee at 2 in the morning, but we promptly went back to sleep. It's not that I didn't want to wake, but I have decided that to stay up all night, because I want a lot of time to myself, is not very practical. The cats are "roving by the light of the moon" already, and the birds sing sweetly. The gladiolas are in full bloom, pink and white.

Not that I have seen any light of the moon lately. What phase the moon is in, I could not tell you. It's been so rainy, that clouds obscure the stars and moon, every night. It's like the old days, before climate change, and it is a climate that I love. I don't like being very hot and dry all summer, and warm and dry in the winter. Just a personal preference.

I can see the trees outside, so some sort of dawn shapes up. The ground is very wet, and the grass is infinitely so. Weather people call for rain all week, and I cannot keep up with the weeds around the tomatoes.

Today is therapy day, and it makes me happy. Except I have a bit of homework to catch up on. Always do your homework for the therapist, Ladies and Gentlemen. Always.

I took the Myers-Briggs again last night, and my personality type has changed from when I was 32. Imagine that...I am now an INFP, where before, I was an INTJ Not too much difference, just gotten softer as the years wear. INFP: Introverted, iNtuitive, Feeling, Perceptive. We make great writers and counselors, religious leaders, or some other 'service' motivated profession. We like being of help to all of humanity. I can't see anything bad about that.

So I sit here, this morning, with my coffee and you and hope nothing more exciting happens in my day than hanging the new shower curtain, with a map of the globe on it. Each country is individually labeled, and it will become vintage, one day.

Dark Star, my favorite friend, and her husband, Schrodinger, will visit in August sometime, and I plan the menu for their visit, this morning. I like to get a leg up because she has a specific diet that she is glued to. Fortunately, her diet is tasty, and the possibilities run through my head. Especially now, when it is the hungry time of day. I'll have some eggs and strawberries in a bit...

I love out of town visitors.

I am happy to say that I have neither more or less burdens than I did yesterday. Not drinking and my medications seem to have stabilized my moods pretty well, and I have only some weight gain to worry about.

Through group therapy, I have come to realize why I used to live in 'crisis mode' all of the time. It was always something. Crisis allows: less responsibility for events, less accountability for our actions, sympathy, and a feeling of importance. I still have a dear friend, whom I can no longer speak to, that still lives in crisis mode. It is her daily bread and butter. Through her, I have found what it was like to be a friend to me, for a long time. It meant incredible amounts of stress. I am deeply appreciative of the friends who stuck it out with me. I don't know why they did. But I am grateful, today.

Of course, my psychotic episodes made everyday a crisis day, and it was real crisis. But I drank and refused my meds, when I could have helped myself more. So much of my life was wasted! I can't do anything about that today, but live life to the fullest; enjoying every moment, when I can.

So, I raise my coffee cup and toast my new shower curtain, with the drawing of the globe and each country individually labeled. I salute you, on this journey for a time with me every day. I revel in my dog, with his butt against my leg, and the power of words to bring us together.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Pound of Flesh

Ok. The dog has been farting for days now. I know, too much information, isn't it? But I just have to blog about it...After all, it's particularly bad, right now. The unicorn meat eating cats are passing out left and right, and I am not too far behind. I would light a candle, but I'm afraid, you see? I have never wanted to go out in a blaze of glory, but quietly, in my bed...

I wonder if my medication changes my sense of humor. I feel less funny than I did when I started writing this blog in 2008. Of course, I have more to lose now. There's that guy in Bulgaria who seems to be enjoying my posts.

After all, I still do the crazy things I used to, except eat a pound of fudge at one sitting. Those were the days I could do so...or I could be feeling sorrier for myself these days. That's very dangerous.
Maybe I feel less wild and crazy now that I am getting older. But 3 years shouldn't make that much of a difference, should it? Unless you are 10. Or 15.

On the whole I find that people ease up a bit, the older they get. We all seem to understand that the world has a lot of flaws in it, so why get upset about it? I am fatter than I used to be: I gain weight steadily as I get older, but I am not extraordinarily so.  In fact, I am thinner than many others my age, and not so thin as some.

And it's not as if I find the world less funny than I used to, rather more so, in fact. People seem to get odder and odder as I get older. I feel as if I can see it more clearly than I could when I was in my 30's. I find there is no 'right' way, or 'wrong' way, except if it hurts others. The dictates of society are what I speak of. Interacting with others gets more interesting and funny as I get older. I feel I have now reached the age where I can talk to anyone, anywhere, particularly as I stand in a line.

This is not to think of myself as old. I will be 50 next year, and feel like I am about 42ish. Or 32ish, for that matter, only smarter, and more fun. I am not wrinkly, or crepey, and I don't have 'turkey neck' yet. That's in the future. My boobs are the same height as they were when I was 20. I know that because I wear the same bra size, and they were never very high.I do have gray in my hair now, but it is still brown-red for the most part. It never gleamed...too curly for that.

I have seen more tragedy, but there is nothing to compare to the tragedy in the life of a 14 year old. I still get the 'giggles' when I talk to my brother, sometimes. He does, too. I am less desperate, and more happy. I don't drink now, but then I haven't in the past either. And I can tell you that drinking is not a prerequisite to writing or humor, despite the rumors. In fact, life is decidedly less funny whilst one is sloshed.

I have more friends now, because I am not afraid to talk to people who stand in line. What are they going to do, after all? Only those 30 and below ignore overtures to speak to a stranger in public. It seems to disappear from our talents when we are 20, and resurfaces as we get older. And now, my friendships are older, and more deep, and dear.

I can't seem to convey how funny it is that Max and Ratty snore in concert in these early morning hours. Only these two, who have a distinct rivalry going on. I can't seem to remember that everyday is a Bah Humbug sort of day, except for Christmas, and then Easter. But do I want to? After all, I wrote that post when I drank. If that's the source of the humor, I will just go without.

Of course, you all know that this is not a funny time of morning, unless you are in Europe right now. For god's sake, it's still has an hour before dawn. Not much amusing going on 4 hours before dawn, I can tell you. Try it sometime.

It's too early for a shower, I can tell you that I am lying back down in a bit. It would mess my hair. And who cleans at 5 AM? Unless you really are 6 hours ahead...I am more carefree than I used to be: there is nothing more solemn than being younger. Unless you're dead.

I am bipolar, perhaps that's just the stage I am in. But we all know how really depressed I got last winter. Compared to that, I am wildly manic right now. Of course, mania is more fun, for myself and others, although there was one car ride with Beth and Victor, that no one but me found remotely amusing. Remotely.

But back then I did drink this kind of tea made from special mushrooms, I kid you not. Kambacha? I think? All the Hollywood stars did, especially Charlie Sheen and his kids, and Lindsey Lohan. Then we all found out it had alcohol in it, and that went out the window. Except for Lindsey. And Emilio.

My new therapist likes to laugh, but he takes me more seriously and is more tender, in his own way, than Ted, my old therapist, did. My new therapist, we'll call him Dave, because he objected to his real name being used in my posts, has his priorities on straight. His own welfare tops the list, but mine is a close second. How can I see anything wrong with that? He is less blown-away sexy than Ted, but he doesn't criticize me for every mouthful I take.  They are both foodies, but Dave lives his food, and Ted has sex with his...And if I give in to a plate of garlic and pasta, cooked by an honest to god Brooklynite, Dave doesn't break out into a sweat. He is also more nose to the grindstone than Ted was, but Dave deals with those of us who have borderline personality disorder: he has to be.

Dave is the only specialist from here to the coast who specializes in borderline, or bpd. And he takes that very seriously. If we don't see him, we don't get the help we need. Dave likes to bring us to the here and now, and so we spend the first part of each session coloring pictures, or we throw stuffed toys at each other, or build wood towers together. It's really lovely.

He lets me make him laugh. He realizes I try to make jokes in our private sessions, to relieve the tension and he lets me know he 'gets it' by laughing.

Perhaps I am more relaxed about my diagnoses, now, too. Humor is associated with an interrupted defense mechanism. Humor is a defense, and perhaps I don't sweat the small stuff anymore. So my high school chums and total strangers now know what was different about me in high school: I drank. So what?

And I have mental 'illnesses' or diagnoses. I have gotten mostly used to that, especially as I write about it everyday, and spill my guts all over the internet. It can be stigmatizing, but freeing, in the same vent. People who meet me after they read my blog always tell me how 'normal' I seem...which always, always makes me feel funny. What do they think I look like? Here, I'll show you.

Just ignore the bed head. And the double chin.

But being told, "I would never have known..." is very funny, in it's own way. I do get a laugh out of that one.

But enough of that! I just wanted to write a funny blog post again, with the seemingly same carefree joie de vivre that I used to have. Or so it seems to me, re-reading them. Maybe I do need that pound of fudge.