Friday, August 30, 2013

I Am Full of Extra Special

I really did not want to wake this early today, yesterday was such a success at sleeping. But here I am, with some extra special coffee, espresso, and some extra special water, Gerolsteiner. It appears that I am full of extra special stuff, this morning. Max is awake for once, and the cats, also. The apartment is so quiet this morning, that I can hear Miss Georgia scratch her ear.

It is still, quiet and muggy outside. It looks to be cooler and rainy very soon. September is a borderline month, and also a bipolar month. Extremes everywhere you shake a stick, all trying to stabilize. Frenetic cool, and still heat are the norm.  For many, this month is very much a, "I hate you, don't leave me"* month. Too much like summer for the cool weather fanatics and too much like winter for the summer lovers. Wasn't it sometime in the fall that the French Revolution executions started? Just too much uncertainty and heat, you know.

Those were the days without air conditioning, and the-less-clothes-the-better way of life. They had shorts, but they layered about 50 lbs. of wool over them. No ice cubes, no buzz cuts, no electric fans. Ben Franklin had discovered that lightening was electricity, but no one understood it. Much like today, only now we have engineers who have come up with air conditioning, little boys with not much hair, and the effects of a device that moves the air.

They had days by the pool, back then, but no one swam. Not in France, with all that clothing on, and all those servants tripping around. Everyone who was anyone wore wigs: big, heavy and powdered. Needless to say, they were hot. No one wanted a tan. In fact, it was pretty much a dead giveaway that, if one had a tan, one was not top drawer. Of course, they all smeared themselves with oils, but they put powder on top, like a doughnut. And more makeup on top of that, that frequently ended up killing the user. That's right. No organic makeup. And the men wore makeup as well as the women.

The men also wore hose, and high heels, but I digress. No, short of sleeping in the nude, these people really suffered in the heat. Only the Japanese didn't suffer too much, because by then, they had discovered kimono and wore cotton, and took a lot of baths. But we are talking about France circa 1789. Everyone drank wine, which makes you hot. No one had a margarita, back then, or a cold one, just off the ice. Only the King had running water, so he could bathe all day, if he chose.

No one had any idea that electricity could be harnessed and run into houses. Well, maybe Ben Franklin did, but he was ahead of his time. Roman baths had gone out of fashion. That's a ginormous bathing pool, full of hot water. One felt cool after one got out of it. But they immediately reapplied the hot makeup and stuck the wig on and the 50 lbs. of much for that.

No one had deodorant. That's why they all wore so much perfume. Just the thought of that body odor, is enough to send one into a coma, isn't it? The didn't really even have soap, as we know it today, to wash their clothes. And clothes, particularly women's dresses, were passed down from generation to generation. My skin is starting to itch...

Anyway, back to my extra special coffee and water on this ordinary day in late summer. The air is cool inside the apartment, and I will wear shorts and a tee today, to stay cool. I don't often wear makeup, so don't have to worry about that, and my hair gets hot sometimes, but it's much shorter than anything seen in the Old Days.

Sometimes it's a struggle but I tend to bathe everyday, which keeps me cooler, as well. I have about five different kinds of soap available to me. Oh, and electric power to run into the apartment, when I remember to pay the bill. Which means, I can take a shower anytime I want, day or night. I don't have a formal bath, but my makeup won't blind me. And I have deodorant, that I use everyday, come hell or high water, rain or shine, God willin' and the creek don't rise, don't get in my way about it.

*I Hate You, Don't Leave Me is a text book of borderline personality disorder, and a good read all around.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

September Bound Blues

Just something to listen to this morning. The unicorn meat eating cats got to go out about dawn. Max, my little spaz, sleeps soundly beside me. We have some heat in this small valley for this week, but nothing to worry about. Georgia kitty rests in my lap, and makes typing difficult. But that's par for the course since laptops and PCs came out. Cat are just fascinated.

I slept well last night, which is a feat for me. How did you sleep? Oh, and my friend wasn't angry with me...just so you can rest your mind. I have work to do today, and group went well yesterday. I have eaten already this morning, so I am curled on the bed, just listening to these Memphis Blues. The coffee is particularly good this morning, as is the water.

But poor Georgia, my legs ache, so I may have to move soon. Anyway, the music wakes them up and they want to move. I don't know what Georgia thinks of the music. She is a 'workin' cat, and seems to enjoy the blues, in particular. What a fine start to a day.

Now all we have to do is keep Ken Cuccinelli from becoming governor, and all will be well. He's that guy, you know, who doesn't want Virginians, which is for Lovers, to have oral sex. A friend from Australia hadn't heard his name, but knew of the bozo who proposed that piece of legislation.

Now that the cat's out of the bag, as it were: vote your conscience, but do vote. 

I feel tempered today. I don't want a drink, nor do I want to cut. I would like to go to Scotland, but that's a discussion for another day. Today, my troubles seem few, and so do my anxieties. All that is left to ensure the safety of the free world, is to take my anti-evil pills.

I especially like the start of September, just esthetically pleasing to me somehow, so I look forward to the coming month. The temperatures drop, and the leaves begin to turn, and the wind picks up. A few golden blades of grass dot the green, here and there in September, and I remember it as the start-of-school month. For our ancestors, it was an easy month, this harvest time, before the beginning of winter.

My room is tidy, and I am full. I can only hope that tomorrow starts like this.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


I wake to a stomach full of angst, and write a friend to address a wrong that I see done. But I am, on the whole, delusional. Perhaps a wrong was done and perhaps I have imagined it. Perhaps it's old and they don't remember it. Ah, life with borderline personality disorder.

I am ashamed I lean so hard on some friends. I try not to, and perhaps I need to get my shrink to up the abilify. I do network as hard as I can, but friends are somewhat hard to come by for anyone. I have run into a problem at the local food bank. Apparently, I am not Christian enough for them, or they are frightened by my illnesses. I really don't know. So I search for another one.

I haven't had any coffee yet this morning, and my mojo is low. The cats and the dog sleep, and I hope to join them soon, especially after yesterday's debacle. There, that's better, a strawberry snack. I have changed my diet to mostly raw fruits and veggies, and beans and rice. The results are some bad breath (I am told the toxins that come out, do that) and farts which would make my dog proud.

The window is not open this morning. An unseasonable, ha!, heatwave has come over this smallish valley at the very end of summer, and the night is muggy and hot. The cats will just have to suffer in the air conditioning.

What is it about sleep that I wake in such a panic from? My dreams can be bad, but not so extraordinarily horrible that I should wake in such a state...panic, eating compulsively, afraid not to be conscious. Perhaps it's that last one. I have woken so many nights afraid not to be conscious of any threat to me...

So I reach out, to calm myself, and look on familiar objects. I see the orange football that is Ratty, lying beside Max, who has his head on one of the bed pillows. My eyes rove over the contents of my room, the picture of me in Scotland, the gold clock, the cat trinkets. The sleepy kitties, and the brightly colored painted ones...the one from Cairo, made to look like those cat statues put into graves for thousands of years.

And beyond them? Into the living room, with it's air of placidity and calmness, deliberately cultivated to calm me from everyday anxieties. Very few trinkets there, actually, only two: the ironwood statue of a leaping dolphin that my Father gave me. Everything else on the table tops are lamps, and one lone wood carving of a pair of hands, held out as if to hold water.

The differing woods calm me. Woods have a language and each particular wood has its meaning. Cherry wood is gracious; mahogany is spiritual healing; walnut is clarity; oak is majesty and fidelity. They all speak to me. I think of those who have sat in the chairs, or laid their hands on the tables. My brother has a bed made of oak, that belonged to my grandfather's parents. The posts on each corner are tipped with iron, perhaps? And one is worn down by the action of my great-grandfather's hand, as he helped himself out of bed in the morning, and his son did, as well.

The clean, white paneled walls meet the grey carpet with a trim seam.  It reminds me of something of a ship, something from childhood. It reminds me of some familiar scene, of ship's cabins, and white walls that gleam, and shiny brasses and polished glass. The idea is reflected by a ship's painting on one wall, and a painting of the sky on another. A picture of the Madonna with child, is above it.

One large plant, with broad, glossy, yellow-streaked leaves, dominates the room at one end. It is in front of the door to the outside, and brings the garden into the apartment a bit. In winter, besides the holiday assortments, it is the only bit of strong color to the room. The rest of it is teal and pale pink, from the upholstery, and cream colors, from the shades of the lamps.

 In winter, I bring out the colorful pillows; one bright blue with embroidery, and one sharp red, and one with a picture of a flower, embroidered by my Mother on it, brown and gold. In the winter, I collect the cream pillows and the dark brown pillows, and replace them with these cushions, to serve the color-starved part of me. A red or green cloth goes on the dining room table.

I have added the rocking chair, with it's painted trim of autumnal fruits and leaves picked out in gold, to the living room chairs. A pale blue cushion comforts the seat, and a cream pillow rests the back. A cream throw is flung over the top of it. It's my baby rocking chair, where my Father spent the most time with my Brother and I, when we were very young.

Perhaps now I am calm enough to sleep. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


Oh, it feels so very wrong to write at this hour. But I can live with it. At least Max, you remember Max, don't you? At least Max, hasn't been woken up...he has never gone to sleep. Yesterday was the International Day of the Dog...
Just ignore the laundry basket in the background; it's obvious that I do.

The cats are peeved and wait for Cat Day, which never comes because everyday...wait for Cat Day. Max got played with overmuch yesterday, and played with the cats in return. He loves his pink ball, although it's a green one at Christmas time, and his small, tiny, teeny shard of bone that used to be much larger. I took him out a bit ago, and the stars are out. The moon is behind the house. It's supposed to be very hot in this corner of the world this week, hotter than it has been all summer.


Later, much, much later:

I had these odd dreams last night. So I wake at this late hour and scramble to finish this post. Don't get me wrong, I stayed awake through the night. The entire night, starting at 11 PM. I went back to sleep at 6 AM this morning. Forget first and second sleep...

One important thing is, I chose not to drink, in my dreams, and could have. All else is hubris...

Monday, August 26, 2013

Time Tested

I have been editing all, count 'em, all of my blog posts. Which includes the posts from my other blog, Fields of the Mind. It's an endless run of cats, dog, flowers, and coffee. I want to erase them all. It's just a good thing I have MI's (mental illnesses) or I would have nothing really interesting to talk about. On the other hand, if I have that kind of life, filled with cats, dog, flowers, and coffee, then I suppose I am lucky.

My statistics count that my Russian readers are back. I wonder if it's a class, as they disappeared off the face of my stats for a while, and are now back in force. I need more coffee. You help yourself as well, if you choose.

Although there is plenty in the world to talk about today. Egypt for one thing: I loved Cairo, and its lovely people. I hate to see them killed. I have been to Tahrir Square and crossed it on the way to the beautiful museum on one side. It was the year after 9/11, and the Cairenes I met were just lovely and sympathetic to America's pain. There is an air of sophisticated gentleness about them, that I have run into nowhere else in the world.

There is the Sequester, that ruins our economy and cuts services to children and the elderly. There is global warming, sorry folks, it's true and is catching up to us, in our lifetime. Other countries make headway into alternative sources of energy, particularly solar, but we do nothing. I mean, to get so desperate that we squeeze oil from sand now. Women's rights have gone back over 90 years, and we look on and participate in a rape culture.

It is making more sense as to why I write about the ordinary everydayness, now. Harry Golden was a gem of an author, who wrote, among others, a book called, Only in America. He was a self-identified Jewish man in Charlotte, North Carolina who produced a newspaper called, "The Carolina Israelite." Can you imagine such a paper could make it in modern day North Carolina? He counted among his friends, Carl Sandburg and John Kennedy. If it was up to me, his books would be mandatory reading material in all high school courses, but he was all about equality, and the civil rights movement, not to mention the moves that got Cleopatra most of the ancient world that surrounded Egypt, from Caeser.

Harry Golden once said he had clippings of important new stories of his day, in a scrapbook. One day, he flipped them all over, and the articles on the other side were what history is made of. Stories of little girls who won awards, the local club's picnic on the Hudson, the education classes offered in NYC's immigrant sections: these were the real stories of humanity.

I suppose that is why I write about what I do.

But I think he had it wrong, in this day of government oversight, and the loss of voting rights. The exposure of massive corruption in the Supreme Court as it strips away the rights given to minorities in Harry's time, the '60's. We slide down a slippery slope with the loss of rights to others, whomever it may be: women, minorities, people who don't want to be killed by a random nutjob with a gun.

Of course, he didn't have time to address the rights of the mentally ill, or the stigma associated with it. And I am nowhere near as good a writer, or as educated about world history, as Harry Golden. I am sure there are other blogs out there written by bipolar, borderline personality, alcoholic women from the Southern States of the U.S. But I will say that I do what I can.

If I can relieve one mind about their diagnoses, or the diagnoses or behavior of a loved one, then I will write about cats, coffee, and flowers until the moon turns blue, and I expire soundlessly over the keyboard. I will continue to write about my last drunk, and the cutting; the groups and the therapy; the psychotic and the dissociation. 

Whenever I feel weak, I think of all the other people out there, who are unheard by me, but fight the battle to stay sober, no matter what. They fight not to cut, or drink, or use, or end up in the hospital. They fight not to be used by others, they fight to have social services, and understanding and tolerance.

They fight to live.

It is when I am weak that I submerge myself, and you, into the simple, sensory world of what I know. It's actually called self-soothing, in dbt (dialectical behavioral therapy.) It reduces my world to something manageable, so that I can continue to exist. Everything about me wants to give in: drink, cut, don't take my medications, live my life like I don't give a damn.

Because it's not easy to write about, what I do write about. It's not easy to expose myself by giving my own name. It's hard to share. It's difficult to even live my life with my disorders. People with borderline personality disorders have chaotic, personal relationships that it takes grace to understand, and communication to live with. We are stigmatized, often isolated. Alcoholism is a disease that grows with each passing day. The bipolar makes me sleep, and cry, and shop, obsessively. I am also OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) which is just too much to write about.

 I want to be young and undiagnosed again. I want to be unraped. I want my ex-husband, now dead, back. I really loved him. I want to live in the Old House again. I want my fields and woods back so that I can physically visit them. I want my friends back, and my criminal history expunged.

But I will say this. The long-term friendships that I have now, far surpass any friendship from the 'old days.' The ones I have now are time-tested, and Presence approved. They think of me as a strong woman. I don't know why. I am so vulnerable here, with you, that I feel no strength, and seek it from you. I absorb my life, and my apartment and my animals through my skin. I keep the tchotchkes down in my apartment, and live with clean, white walls, and a simple grey carpet, because it helps keep me sane. I have rescues for pets because it helps me live with myself. I help who I can, when I can, where I can.

I bring you my gratitude, for your presence in my life. I am grateful for Ratty at my feet, and my Max by my side. I love the candle that burns on the nightstand and the coffee I sip. I have clean water, which is unattainable in most of the world...

The purple zinnia is still in the crystal creamer I have from my grandmother. It seems as if it has been there forever. Believe me, when I tell you that the night is cool, and full of stars, and the moon. I gather the spent zinnia for the seeds for next year, if I am here to plant another garden. There is a field out back of the house I live in, and a wood. The same sunlight that touches them, falls on the wood and field at the Old House. Max really does sleep by my side this morning, and the coffee, as always, is particularly good...

Sunday, August 25, 2013


I am not going to start erasing blog posts. I have been up, editing for quite some hours, and I am bored by the monotony of my thoughts in my blogs.

As Scarlett O'Hara said, "Tomorrow is another day."

Day Off

I want to write 'in swing' today, as I did in yesterday's post. Jazz musicians call it scatting. But I don't want to repeat my song from yesterday. This is just an idle post, for a lazy day.

Just to prove I am not crazy, our ancestors slept like me...

Another morning, another cup of coffee. It tastes fine and black, strong. The water I drink is just tap water, pretty clean as modern water goes, and cold. I don't have to filter it because of mining or fracking. Yet. A purple flower still sits on my bedside table, and I have heaven here, in this place, in this early morning hour. The cold air streams in the window of freedom that is open for the cats. The dog is red-eyed, and tries to sleep.

But I am awake from first sleep, and second sleep is several hours away. I have to quit smoking. I don't know how I will accomplish it, but I just have to. Otherwise, I am quite happy this morning. I have toilet paper, and clean water. These are things people run out of, even in America. More than that, I have luxury, my silk stool sits on the Persian carpet at the foot of the bed, the colors of the carpet competing with the collection of cats on my dresser, which are hued in purple, orange, and brown.

I have antique mahogany, and walnut, and cherry wood. Satins and velvets, and the clean white walls, and the grey carpet. I feel one of the idle rich in most of the world...I think leisurely, of getting a small, potted tree for the entrance. Before the dark falls in winter. Before the iron lengths of the trees stretch themselves on the lawn, like the walls of my apartment meet the grey floor. I have music at the touch of a button, and candles that smell like the woodlands.

I have my copy of The Gulag Archipelago on top of the mother-of-pearl box brought from Egypt. I light the ginger candle beside them. The 2 unicorn meat eating cats that come to their name have been out, and return to sleep. Poor Minkins, who will not come when called, only has these early mornings to go out. I cannot call him in, you see, when I am ready to leave for the day. But don't feel too sorry for him. He enjoys about 6 hours out, before dawn, the best time of the night to roam.

Georgia, a grey and gold cat, sits on my lap, with a paw stretched out, and it is a luxury she is safe, and sound, and well-fed. Her fur is soft, and strong, and her ears are delicate, tipped with gold. Ratty, the orange tabby, sleeps at my feet, curled. Georgia licks the paw print on my arm, the tattoo for Eddie, my service dog. 

No pound of fudge tonight, not one cookie, or piece of cake. Only the candles, and the pillows from Cairo, that sit on the bench. And the luxurious feel of fur...

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Busy School Teachers

Most of my closest friends are school teachers or professors, so I am deserted this week. It's another sign of Fall.

The moon came out, clear as a bell ringing, clear as crystal etched for champagne, clear as damask on the table last night, surrounded by cirrus, shirred clouds stirred by the winds of the earth. Dandelions gone, buttercups, and things of the past stir in the darkness. The woods are on fire with the presence, trees gathered around in a ring, brown slips of just there.

The grass doesn't know whether to grow or be cut, the tomatoes lie on the ground, like dreams of last night, just waiting. Green ones, and scarlet and ripe and ready with meaning, the meaning a sound in the distance, the scent of the tomato plant, the musky echo from the ground. The trees hold their breath, to be let out when the leaves turn gold, yellow, orange, red, brown, to the ground, to the earth, meet the blue rocks and sky, reflect in water.

To lie on the bed of the creek, with the oyster shells, the tiny ones, they turn black in winter. Grey now, green, with moss. With ferns on the bank, blackened by frost, by pale water, by time, by fall, by nature. By heavens, what a year! Still the fog comes, and coats the summer door frosted. First one cold night, then two, then a warm one, still fragrant from the south. Then the cold creeps into the wind, the wind blows north, then south, then into my garden, to settle and be seen by cats and chrysanthemums.

Wild riots of wind and water stand silver on the grass, the leaves, sliding, sliding onto the rocks, the creek waits and then spills over the trees again and again. The frothy, mud colors move over the tree roots, the rocks disappear, the grass swirling like hair, like the hair of the dog helped anyone, at anytime, not for me.

The water shrinks and swirls and parts, and the rocks reappear, and slice the creek again, to grave the shells to darkness, when the leaves turn, brown on the creekbed. Then black and a black and white dog walks along those paths, a forever dog by my arm I say. His paw print on my arm around a blond dog now, in this fall of saving cats. No room at the inn for the cats of this world and they go to another, where they are wanted, the creek cats, the leaf cats, and lemon sunshine cats, black and gold, grey, white orange, blue. Their eyes peek at me from the leaves of the ferns by the creek, by the trees, the blue rocks.

Friday, August 23, 2013


The moon is full, from where it hides behind the clouds. I saw it for a moment, out with the dog. It has been so long since we have had a cloudless night, I have forgotten what the moon looks like. It is full and clear and silver, water colored.

Made my AA meeting yesterday, it's my home group, you know. And I didn't have to explain the marks on my arm to anyone, except my sponsor. She is a top-drawer, spotless, rock of a woman, who enjoys cats and my writing. I don't know why...I am just grateful she shares how human she is with me. Together, we admitted we were powerless over alcohol-that our lives had become unmanageable.*

My life is unmanageable in so many ways: I cannot control others' reactions or actions, I can't control outside events, or the weather, or my cats. Control is an illusion, that only applies to our own happiness and our own actions. Otherwise, life is like a cat on a keyboard: it's there, and if you can touch-type and see the screen, you win.

It is a warm, still, muggy night, and looks to be the same kind of day. Georgia has settled into a routine of love and play, while the boys are out, in these early morning hours. She plays at the edge of the laptop. The coffee tastes good to me, and the water. The flowers have become intensely vigorous in this season, especially the begonia, with it's red tipped leaves, and orangey flowers. The dahlia looks to be growing, but does not flower now. Some last of the season tomatoes are on the vine, lost in the weeds that have taken over the tomato plants, this year of many cloudy days. No one in this valley has grown good tomatoes this year...they like more sunlight, like the daisies.

The field is soft with the moonlight. Do you think anyone would laugh if they saw me dancing there?

Thursday, August 22, 2013


Rain falls, and the cats are out. Max is in his nest with me. The crickets are quiet, and clouds drift over the moon. The flowers bloom wildly, at the end of summer, and the colors cool my brain. I love the shape of the leaves on the flowers, the second bloom. I love the herd of butterflies that visits everyday; the zinnia is so lovely. The flower on the nightstand is purple, it's seeds covered in purple fuzz.

Good, busy, busy, busy day yesterday, and I need days like that. I have been stupid. My Trazadone, a medication of mine, is not a sleeping pill only. It's also an anti-anxiety and an anti-depressant. The stupidity comes from not taking it, because I have been able to get to sleep, recently. Now my moods are mobile and on a roller coaster. Obviously, nothing I can't handle, as I cut last night/yesterday morning. Nothing big, just some shallow cuts, and I had some comparisons at group yesterday, from others who have cut. They have the scars to prove it, their flesh rippling silver over the old cuts.

Time for the moon.

It's time for the moon, a hair cut, to twist the curls around the greys that show. It's time for Halloween, and the dead who walk the night. It's time for the northern winds that bring the unicorn herds that race at midnight. It is time for the cool rains, and the wet winds of September. Time for the footsteps the leaves make, as they shuffle past the door. Time for the house to knock at the windows, as it settles in for Fall.

Time for the moon.

I can mark the seasons to come, by the pumpkins and chrysanthemums on sale by the roadside. They mix with the peaches, fragrant and juicy. The last of the summer's plums roll in their dark purple flesh, that dissolves beneath my teeth. In childhood, I gathered plums away from the herds of cows and children, that came to plunder. I still feel the rough bark against my arms, and I mark it's memory onto my skin.

It's time for moonset, and time to come out of the forest.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Changeling Sky

Back to summer for us for a while, and the cats are happy. Max spent most of the night on the couch, I don't know why. Perhaps the unicorn meat eating cats crowded him. But he is back in bed, and the cats are outside. I wanted to see the moon tonight but the rain clouds are in the way. I will have to content myself with my container garden, with the impatiens and the dahlia, the daisies and the begonia.

I will run out of cigarettes before dawn, so I will count on you to keep your head down, until I am replenished. I know not many of you smoke anymore, but it definitely helps with menopause. I need to quit, anyway.

This day, and only this day, I will ask for sobriety. I will let myself be bounded by the walls of today. That being said, I am glad today is group therapy day. Sometimes there are nights when you can't get in touch with anyone and the only thing to do is hunker down and try to calm oneself. But that's what happens when you sleep in shifts.

I drifted into thoughts of my own past in the meeting yesterday. This is never wise, but I had company, which limits the impact until 3 in the morning, and a couple of cups of coffee later. Thoughts about the past are problematic at this hour of the morning, unless I pull up happy thoughts, and really, how happy can one be at this hour?

Now that I have completely confused you about how happy/unhappy I am...I just don't like thinking, all the way around. Eckhart Tolle is right, when he asserts that the mind is a horrible thing, full of manipulative, mean, nasty doohickies that will drown me if I can't get around it. Instead, I must transcend it, work what program I have and have a spiritual awakening. It's just that at these wee hours, I am hard pressed not to be honest with myself, which is very confusing. This doesn't feel like the road to a spiritual awakening, but the road to madness.

I suppose I need to get rid of the old pain memory that is associated with the mind, the physical. I have to be willing (key words) to let pain go. Only it's hard to let it go when it's happening.

But right at this moment, I am mostly happy, despite some drama going on in my life. I have a roof over my head, too much food to eat, clothes and my animals. I don't want to drink or cut. I would like to visit the forest with moonlight, but the night is dark. So be it.

The air is moist and the ferns on the edge of the trail thrive. Here and there, blue spotted rocks rise from the pine needles in rounded shapes. The sharp bark of the pine trees are jagged in the dim light. Other trees line the path as well, some maples and the Old Oak.

I'm sorry. I can't do it.

My mind turns again and again to the field, where I have been for days. I like the forest when it is sunny outside, and the leaves have left what trees they will. I like to see the twigs beneath my feet, and the color of the moss on the blue-lichened rocks. Sometimes flowers, tiny and perfect, spring from the moss, and I have to be extra still and careful to see them. Or the forest in springtime, when the mountain laurel comes out...

But in the autumn, I love the field, that will be gold soon. The grasses are still green, but the wind that blows over them speaks of leaves that turn, and the colors of the forest and the ever changeling sky.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Flower in Fall

I have decided I am not a 9 to 5 person. There is nothing wrong with that, we are all different in our own way. This waking at all hours is only wicked if one has a regular job, and I don't. Or if one is up planning mischief, which I am not. Only society says that a decent woman is asleep at this hour, and I have, long ago, passed the stage where I would have been burned at the stake as in former times.

Back to reality. The cat window is open to the muggy night...I prefer the cooler ones, myself. But fall is on us. My teacher friends have all become incommunicado overnight. They disappear, like fairies into the mists of Scotland.

This menopause thing is not for the faint of heart; or as Bette Davis said, "Old age ain't for sissies." It's a whirlwind tour of every conceivable emotion, and some I didn't know existed. Add to that, the physical sensation that I have painted my head with honey, and stopped near a bee hive, and the description is complete.

Not that it isn't a challenge right there, but add some mental disorder to it and you have it all...ah well.

Max sleeps, but doesn't snore, and I peacefully await dawn, which is 4 hours away.

Today is an AA meeting and I feel good about that, too. Although I have been having drinking dreams, lately. My disease is frustrated that I will not comply with it's wishes; I won't buy booze. I hang onto my sobriety with all I have. Especially through all those Facebook posts that tell me how wonderful life is, to sip wine on the deck, and ride off into the sunset with friends. Be sure that everyone in the post probably took a shower that day, and ate something. They didn't have to slink into the local market to buy their booze, after freshening their breath and using the eye drops.

And, when it all comes down to it, I am sure that some of the friends who post do have my problem, but perhaps they are in denial. One can only hope.

So now it is time to contemplate the flowers of the Fall: Mums, mainly, for me. I love chrysanthemums, in all their, yellow, orange, burgundy, white. They are the signature flower of the season, although they do bloom at other times. And there is something about having tea or coffee beside them and in sight of them that slows the moments down. I put the experience right up there with silvery grass, and my breath moving ahead of me in the air. With pine needles underfoot and horses that run in a field. 

It was a lovely visit with friends, and I try not to analyze it to death. Am I sure they enjoyed it? Did I act too insecure? Too jealous? Too this or that? I find my time with them as less of a search for identity than a refinding of it. My relationships define me, and my actions in the past. This is something to hold onto. I make such poor choices for romantic relationships and such sterling ones for friends. And so, the death in menopause, of a biological urge is not much loss to me. It will be a character improvement, to be sure.

The field only thinks about the gilding of the grasses.

 I know I will have to make some lifestyle changes in the near future to live past 50. No more binging, or smoking or eating anything I like. More exercise, and a honing of pleasant memories to bring to mind, instead of the eternal negative ones. And I am decided to become vegetarian. I can't give up cheeses, or honey, or yogurt, but I can give up meat. I can give up the guilt and shame of mistakes I have made in the past. I only have today. I only have mindfulness.

I continue to define myself, daily, in sobriety. I seek definition in the grasses of the field and the blooms of the chrysanthemum. I seek definition.

I am coffee, and a stormy 20 year old, and a lack of booze. I am a 3 cats and 1 dog, and a lifetime of purrs and meows and tending. I am Gloucester, and the Old House in Botetourt, too. I am the field and the forest, I am you. I am an ember in the dark, and the smoke, too. I rethink the food I eat, and the clothes I wear, and what place to put the burgundy mum. I look for the grass growing, and the sun shining, and the rain falling. I look for peace and harmony in this minefield of a body and mind.

I gather my thoughts, and the zinnia for planting next year. I gather my network and my things about me to weather the winter. I garner support and loving kindness toward any storm that comes. I wait for the dawn, and hope my head doesn't explode before I make it through menopause...

Monday, August 19, 2013

Life Silver

Clouds cover the stars, but the cats go out.

I posted the definition for borderline personality disorder yesterday to show what a complex thing it is to keep a friend through my time with this. The visit is over, and it ran smoothly because Dark Star and Schrodinger are sterling people who excel at communication. And they love me, and I, them.

It has rained for two days, and the green grass silvers with it. The cats go out and stare miserably at the water and mist coming out of the grey sky. But the new chrysanthemum, dark burgundy, blooms and soaks the mist in. The hyacinth which has been threatening to bloom for quite a while, now has a blue bloom, and the pink, purple, and white impatiens underneath. Somewhere hidden under the broad leaves, is an angel that stood in my Mother's garden.

The zinnia shelter the two clay garden cats that she gave me. My life shivers, and settles back into normal. Whatever.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Short Round

White bedspread on today, which is a mistake...add 3 cats and some rain and dirt...I continue to enjoy a lovely visit. I am up this morning to appreciate it, and to pick a new zinnia. What color, do yo think? Pink, pink, pink or orange, yellow? Pink, it is. I visited a new garden yesterday: daisies, elephant ear, begonia. There was a forest all around, and a real pond, with a real dock.

I don't want to drink or cut. I continue to be stable on my medications, although I am binge eating. More on my post, tomorrow.

I will leave you with a definition. This is from the NAMI website:

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a serious mental illness that can be challenging for everyone involved, including the individuals with the illness, as well their friends and family members. BPD is characterized by impulsivity and instability in mood, self-image, and personal relationships. The treatments and longer-term studies of BPD offer hope for good outcomes for most individuals who live with BPD. Ideas to name the condition in a manner that better describes the pattern of concerns (e.g., Emotion Dysregulation Disorder) have been advanced but no name change to the condition is planned for the release of DSM-5.

What is borderline personality disorder (BPD) and how is it diagnosed?

Borderline personality disorder is diagnosed by mental health professionals following a comprehensive psychiatric interview that may include talking with a person’s previous clinicians, review of prior records, a medical evaluation, and when appropriate, interviews with friends and family. There is no specific single medical test (e.g., blood test) to diagnose BPD and a diagnosis is not based on a single sign or symptom. Rather, BPD is diagnosed by a mental health professional based on sustained patterns of thinking and behavior in an individual. Some people may have “borderline personality traits” which means that they do not meet criteria for diagnosis with BPD but have some of the symptoms associated with this illness.
Individuals with BPD usually have several of the following symptoms, many of which are detailed in the DSM-IV-TR:
  • Marked mood swings with periods of intense depressed mood, irritability and/or anxiety lasting a few hours to a few days (but not in the context of a full-blown episode of major depressive disorder or bipolar disorder).
  • Inappropriate, intense or uncontrollable anger.
  • Impulsive behaviors that result in adverse outcomes and psychological distress, such as excessive spending, sexual encounters, substance use, shoplifting, reckless driving or binge eating.
  • Recurring suicidal threats or non-suicidal self-injurious behavior, such as cutting or burning one’s self.
  • Unstable, intense personal relationships, sometimes alternating between “all good,” idealization, and “all bad,” devaluation.
  • Persistent uncertainty about self-image, long-term goals, friendships and values.
  • Chronic boredom or feelings of emptiness.
  • Frantic efforts to avoid abandonment.
Borderline personality disorder is relatively common—about 1 in 20 or 25 individuals will live with this condition. Historically, BPD has been thought to be significantly more common in females, however recent research suggests that males may be almost as frequently affected by BPD. Borderline personality disorder is diagnosed in people from each race, ethnicity and economic status.

Saturday, August 17, 2013


J.R.R. Tolkein wrote that, while beautiful things last, they are their own memorial. It is only when they are gone forever that "they pass into song." So I don't have to say what a wonderful visit I am having.

As for this morning, like every morning this summer, the window is open for the cats. The dog tries to sleep despite the light in his eyes. I light a candle against the chilly breeze. The air smells wonderful this morning, like chocolate raspberry torte flavored coffee, or the leftover brownies from dinner.

I am not angst ridden today, nor am I in pain. I don't want to drink or cut, and I'm grateful for it. It's quiet outside and I will leave you here on the doorstep, with the zinnia shining in the light.

Friday, August 16, 2013


It is five hours until dawn. The night is very cool for this time of year, and the cats don't come back in to feed. It is a lovely time. Dark Star and Schrodinger will be in town in about 12 hours. The chili is in the pot, and the crisp veggies are in the frig. The tea is cooling, and the coffee scents my small kitchen.

Everything is good except I ate in my sleep last night, cherry pie. Now I wake and my stomach is almost too full to hold some coffee. Binging is one of my least favorite symptoms of borderline personality disorder. I am 20 pounds overweight, and feel like I move like a bulldozer.

I refilled my prescription of Trazadone, an anti-depressant, and sleeping medication. Trazadone was a very large, round pill. Now it is shaped like a trapezoid, and seems specifically designed to catch in the throat. Needless to say, it is the worst, most bitter pill to swallow, like the disorders it treats.

Lemon water this morning, with the coffee. I am luxurious today. I have flowers by the bed, and lemon for my water, compliments of the food bank. The familiar cat statues rest on the television. Breakfast will be a long time coming. I taste the light of fall in the coffee, extra rich and dark.

I stop outside the door for a moment, the zinnia grow wild between the paving stones. The Mexican daisies light the garden with their yellow nature. As yellow as lemon. The grass is still green, and the leaves of the trees, but the air is very cool. The leaves won't be green for long, now.

I think I'll sit here for a while, in the red rocking chair. The season moves out there in the dark, and it's wise not to tamper with it as it changes. Like a bride changes into her wedding gown, the earth has put on it's slip, and prepares for the heavily embroidered dress to be lowered over her head.

There is time enough in this small garden for us to have a cup of coffee. The unicorn meat eating cats are in search for some wild meat. I cannot see the moon on this cloudy night. The edge of the woods beckons, but it is too early for the forest. I saw a small herd of deer in the field yesterday, complete with two fawns.

I can't stay up all hours tonight, as I have a busy day, and visitors coming. In a bit, I will take part of a trapezoid and go back to sleep, with the dog snoring peacefully beside me. Therapy was good yesterday. I like my therapist more every time we visit.

We talked of my friends and the white heat of excitement I generate at their visits. We spoke about the deep depression I suffer when they leave. We decided that I need to practice Wise Mind: neither the unemotional Rational Mind, nor the unstable Emotion Mind, but some point in between. I will have to pay attention to my emotions, to listen and acknowledge what I need for fulfillment. I will also have to engage Rational Mind to realize that just because they leave and live somewhere else, doesn't mean they don't love me.

I move back to my room. Ratty has come back in to sleep, and he and the dog squint their eyes closed, and pretend to sleep while the light shines and a candle burns, scenting the room. It's the last day of the orange zinnia. I will have to pick another tomorrow.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Color of a Flower

This morning is decidedly cooler and there is a slight breeze. I almost slept through the night. It is really Fall.

After thinking about it, I have decided not to play with my medications to get through the weekend. I will just have to lump it. I am better than I was just one week ago, and I think I can do it, with what I have learned in therapy. I don't feel like a drink or cutting today, and I am all for that. Keep it simple. I think I will be quite alright, don't you?

It really what I signed up for, anyway.

I am thankful I thought about it, before doing it. I really don't know what I was thinking. Did I really hope to juggle my meds in an attempt to avoid feelings?  The chances are that I will not drink, but learn to play god while dosing myself. And that, is a danger to my sobriety.

 I think too much of what could possibly go wrong, instead of letting what happens, happen, and then dealing with it. My life is so unmanageable and I don't drink or cut.

I am here in this small breath of time with you. I cannot control anything...not you, not the outcome of circumstances, not the color of a flower. I place it all in the hands of what lives in the forest. I can only do what seems best to me, after consulting another who has sobriety. I turn what is left of my will over to the care of what lives in a forest.

I strive to write carefully, but naturally, and fail.

Because this is my real voice. And it can be a sick voice, and a well voice. I feel like I wear a mask, as I finger paint your face. And all I know this morning is I have dodged a bullet, by not manipulating my meds. If I do not practice what I am taught in group, whichever group I need at the moment, I will be lost.

I keep trying to turn my mind to just this morning. Turn it to just the field and the woods. I fail at that, too. I watch the crazy man next door dance with death, and it changes me like no medication can. This is life.

I get phone calls from the drunk who calls me. I guess he is not in the hospital again, as he calls from his cell phone. He doesn't leave messages anymore, so I don't know what goes on with him. I am glad about that.

Sometimes all I feel I can handle, is me, right now. And my life is unmanageable.  I must admit, watching two people drown is a horrifying circumstance. They have picked me to cling to, trusting a small tree to save them from the roaring river. I think of the friend I have had to leave because of her intense, untreated borderline personality disorder. It is a crisis a day for her. After she dumps her crisis on me, she waits for me to talk her through it, and I am not strong enough to be another's cheerleader right now. Then, the next day, it is another crisis.

I can't do it. I can't save these people. I will be lucky to save myself.

*Rather intense myself this morning, but I can't help but think, though I know I should be meditating and enjoying the dawn. The sky is a lovely blush color. The color of the orange zinnia on my bedside table is like a desert sun. It may be that I am not wearing my mask this morning, after all.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Orange Zinnia

I don't feel like expounding today, so it's a safe bet this post won't be as long as yesterday's. Meanwhile, back to reality.

This lack of sleep thing sucks. Let's face it, less is not more. But I have no desire to drink or cut. I only have the orange flower on my nightstand. Today may be good. The cats leap effortlessly in and out of their window, and the dog sleeps like a good boy. He is a corgi mix, you know those little dogs Queen Elizabeth has? He is a mutt from something like them. He deserves his picture here.
Just ignore the laundry.

Minor stressors in my environment blow into mountains, and fall back into molehills, as each day passes. Reality and memories swim in and out of my mind. They turn into dreams at night. So I wake and drink my coffee and come here. Or I walk out to the pink and orange zinnia and touch them, trying to ground myself.

It's time for my Fourth Step: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of myself. It will include a written history of my life, which I will turn over to another person and the higher Power, when I do my Fifth Step. We will burn the pages together. It is supposed to relieve me of the burdens, the garbage of my past. Some people do say that it works to free them from their past, and some do not feel the relief. Whenever I have done the Fifth Step in the past, it has not worked to relieve my mind of my memories' clarity, and ability to take over my life. 

But I am different than I used to be. The circumstances of my life have changed and I am more committed than ever to my sobriety, and to dealing with borderline and bipolar. I am more equipped to handle reality than before. Which is good because I have more reality to deal with. There is nothing like doing a real wrong, instead of a faintly offensive one, to make me want to unburden myself. My memories scream and their wings beat the glass of my brain cage, to be released.

I hope that the telling and the living will relieve me of these dreams. They cause a hollow taste in my mouth, and fog drifts through my bedroom. Only the innocence of  my dog and cats keep me from despair when I wake. I can stand up to the dreams. I can face the harm I have done others. Why didn't I do this when my sins were much lighter?

This is the self-judgement that doesn't just assess, but causes harm.  This is the depression of lack of sleep talking to me, and the seemingly endless cycle of the hormonal changes that work on me.

 I used to be all about honesty here. I have become afraid to write the full truth that could help someone. A natural desire to conceal secrets has a hold of me, lately. Understandable, as I can't list my sins on the internet!

But I can list what happens at menopause. I have a cycle every two weeks. I don't know if that is also the natural rhythm of my bipolar, but I can't help but think the two are linked. Sometimes I think the bipolar disorder has multiple, and sometimes coinciding circles. I try to keep track of my cycles, of body and mind, and it becomes overwhelming.

My body is having a cycle, and my mind seems to follow it into the expulsion of material. New material, new memories, long hidden, swim to the surface at night. I wake with a desire to start the day, to get release from my mind, and end the cycles of my body. But the caffeine doesn't work. My mind and body still flow with seeming injury. All that is lacking is the crow nesting on my roof, and Wormtail as a house boy.

I do feel like a resident of Slytherin House today. I am evil on the face of the planet. I am the dark shadow that lives in the heart.

Ok. At this point I need to eat. And some more coffee and about 40 more cigarettes. I need a tub to soak in. (My apartment doesn't have one.) I need the comfort of a cat. I need to paint the walls, and do the laundry. I need a trip to Scotland.

I have plans that will keep me busy until the end of my natural lifespan so I am good on that one. It's a food bank kind of day. It's also a group therapy day. If I can stay busy enough, maybe I can live with the dreams and the memories.  It is 5 hours until I can take my Abilify. 

Meanwhile we have this zinnia's worth of time to spend together. I spotted the moon last night, for the first time in a long while. The clouds have been hiding it and the stars. The night is hot and muggy, but it will be cooler as the week goes on. We don't really need the moon to make it to the forest, but the field is so much lovelier with it.

The path is damp, but what isn't in this climate change year? The grasses of the field are still green, and the umbrella plants lie at the feet of the trees. The wind is changing, the breeze blows from a different corner of the earth, and the turkey run before it, like scattering leaves.

It is harvest time, the most blessed of times in the ancient world. My body is in harvest, and my mind is busy bearing the fruits of my life. It's not all dark and dangerous here, but the forest should be respected. We have never been in control.

*After reading this post, the only thing that keeps me from deleting it, is the total inability to write another. I mean, how depressing is this? Life doesn't suck that hard, but that's how I feel when I wake up from nightmares.

I mean, come on...when do they stop? Too, I am tired and my sleep cycle is messed up, again. That's another cycle to keep track of. It's enough to drive me crazy. And I'm thinking eggs for breakfast. I need some protein and some omega 3's. I need more anti-depressant and some progesterone to perk me up. All I can do really though, is plod through each day, and not drink or cut.

I don't feel like doing either, to tell you the truth but I would like to soak in a tub. My next apartment is going to have a tub. Seriously.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Persiads

It is still this morning, the air just stands from a storm. It is moist and muggy and Fall is here, with all its' whirling leaves, and crisp days, and lemony light. The sun blazes into the forest in the Summer, but simply and gently paints it in the Fall. I took a walk through the forest with Max yesterday, and memories swelled up into my eyes so that I could hardly see the deer path.

I have lost some forest friends, to these disorders. While they are irreplaceable, others move into the forest with me; the forest attracts many. I am lost and found. The bark lies underneath my feet, and the flowers that bloom in August wait. Choke berries are tall, and filled with purple ink that we used as children to write on sidewalks. I do not know if birds eat choke berries.

I miss the cherry trees at the Old House, full of sour cherries for everyone to pick.

But the light here, in the City, is just as lemony as any. I think of a Fall day, several years ago, spent in a coffee shop, in a time of absolute despair. The air was delicious, and the light streamed over the tables and the wooden floors, and touched the pastries, in their glass case. The scents of coffee, and coffee beans being roasted, drifted over the tables as well.

There will be that one day of Fall when you can see the light is lemon. When you can see each wave and particle, and the dust motes drift in the streams.

A large, almost unshakeable part of my support network will visit me this weekend, and it conjures the feeling of Christmas, and the warm days of winter. The grass will be green for this visit, and my flowers will be out. We will circle the new garden that she has not seen. You know this garden, it's right outside my door. You have been on the walkway with me, surrounded by the wild zinnia, growing between the paving stones. The window of freedom opens onto this garden where the lavender, and the impatiens paint the grey of the stones.

I will have her company for the whole weekend, a vacation for me. I will smell the sophistication and loving kindness that she and her husband bring. I would coat myself on her like her perfume, if I could. I would touch her with the slow, bluing, yellow light of Fall. She is my friend, and a more gentle person I do not know.

I am surrounded by the wildest color of pillows this morning, done out in needlework by my Mother. I have lighted a candle, and the unicorn meat eating cats leap in and out of the night. The dog sleeps and my coffee has a familiar taste. The fall blanket lies on the foot of the bed, and soon, it will be time to unpack the winter blankets. The painting by my Grandmother hangs on the wall facing the bed, yes, you know I blog sitting on the quilt. It is a forest path, with rock walls, and the yellow leaves of the aspen.

I do not want to drink or cut. I feel harmonious this week, with my therapist back in town, and group and individual therapy, and homework to turn in, and a record of my moods and actions to discuss with him. He is only a phone call away.

I am replete with the feelings that Fall brings with it: its' memories of school, and orange and yellow leaves on the sidewalks, and then frozen in wax paper. Its' memories of a first-grade teacher, with a white dress, touches of dark blue, and the darkest of hair and eyes, and the palest of skin. She had us gather the leaves to iron into the wax, for all time, if we could keep up with them. She admired each picture that every child made with their leaves...

Today, and all this week, I can celebrate the change in temperature; humidity levels can go to hell. It will be so cool, the humidity will not matter.  It is the time of year that horses love the most. And the horses being gone from my life, and the life gush of blood it took, when they left it, is what I thought about in the forest yesterday, with Max the dog.

What was given to me in the Fall, I hold most close. What is gone, lives on in the leaves on the sidewalk.

This is not a week for celebrating what was given and lost. This is a week, a frozen moment in time, to curl up to. It is a week of celebrating what was given and remains, when Dark Star and Schrodinger visit. I usually devolve into a lather of anticipation, that I can't come down from, until they are gone. When they leave, I weep helplessly for a day. Then I accept the reality of talking with her everyday almost, from afar, and the sadness leaves, and it's winter until I see her again.

I am supposed to be taking twice the amount of Abilify that I take now. While the Abilify calms me, eventually the effect devolves into a kind of depression I can't handle. I cut back to my original dose when that happens. But this week, I will again take the double dose my shrink thinks I take in the first place. I will double my anti-depressant the day they leave.

I don't know how to write about this for you. Whatever we do, we cannot play with our medications, or drink or cut. You know we can't. And yet, I am. I know that I am not more wise than my psychiatrist, although I just told you I am by playing with my meds. The simple way I excuse it, and get out of it, and will have to tell my therapist about, is that the medications are such a delicate balance. Like a feather in the wind, like the thought of summer in a child's heart. Like the weight of a razor on the skin.

I am the one who listens to her body scream. I am the one who weeps. I am the god that deals with the stress in my life. My borderline personality disorder is the demon that pours the cup of abandonment over me, and yet I must be different now. I must be still and listen, this year. I will feel the comings and the goings of others, and know that the forest and the field remain to me. I must look at the bark under my feet, and watch the leaves change. I must know that the field will turn golden, and the trees stand like sentinels on the edge of it. I must remain in reality, weighted with meetings and group. I will not drink or cut.

I wait, for the favorite lemon colored light. It was my Mother's favorite flavor, when I was a child. My brother and I refused to taste it, until she got us the exotic treat that lemon meringue pie was, then. We had never seen such a thing, so yellow, with something white on top we had never tasted before.

So I wait for the first turned leaf, and the yellow taste of the Fall. I wait for the visit, and the love, and the shared memories. Five minutes from now will be the time for the falling stars that visit us, this time every year. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Green Fuse (Dylan Thomas)

I don't get many hits on my blog on the weekends. I understand, you are out there enjoying the summer. No worries. But I continue to write on the weekends because NPR (National Public Radio) changes their line-up on the weekend. No news in the morning, no regular stuff. Just entertainment. Drives me crazy, so here I am. Continuing to provide regularity to you in the morning...

It is late night, simply because I woke just the other side of midnight again. The unicorn meat eating cats are up and insane, and chide me for lack of window opening, but it's too hot and muggy outside to be opening any windows of freedom today. The dog worries about the light that shines in his eyes, again. But it doesn't stop him from closing them and pretending to sleep. Horrible nightmares in the night, but I put that down to the brownies I had before bedtime. Not too many, you understand, but just enough to make a statement.

But now, the Perseid meteor shower is at it's peak. It has been cloudy here, but cleared overnight. I can see the stars, as I walk Max out. I look for the shooting stars, but they just sit there, unmoving. One of the things about the Old House was the lack of light. Dad would rouse us at all hours, call us out on the deck to look at the star field of the Milky Way.

For the past several years, I have considered myself beyond the need for romance. You know, a mate, a friend-lover. Not the "friends with benefits" arrangement, but a Love. I had a Love once, and it was beautiful. But it was over 20 years ago, and I thought I had moved past 'all that.'

But love, many emotions move round me now, as the Change approaches. Despite my medications, or maybe because of them, I have been able to feel each emotion as it comes, and experience it as an entity. Perhaps I feel that I am in a safer place now. The daily stressors still swirl around me, and sometimes I fetal on the bed, and suck my thumb, and sometimes I want to run through the woods, naked.

Perhaps I am recovered from a hurt from a past partner. The last one I had was mentally ill, but in denial about it. It ended cruelly, because of his lack of communication skills, and the deepening of my borderline personality disorder. That relationship was not love, but something like. And it was a disaster. That's when I decided that I did not need to look for Love anymore. I had Love when I was young, and that was my measure of it.

I thought that I was my disorders. And my disorders and disease do not need love. They simply are. But I am not my illnesses or disabilities. I am a human with some brain disorders. I need Love. It is a relief to realize that I do not have to resign myself to eternal aloneness.

I need solitude, but there is a difference between the blessings of solitude and the circumstance of being alone. Alone has more of the factors of alienation to it, and should not be practiced by humans, herd creatures that we are. In every instance I have seen, those who truly live alone are destroyed.

All of this I learned around a fire on a starry night, not long ago. I was freed from the illusion that I was different from other women, by going through this Change. I know all of you who have been through this will laugh at this post. Yes, I have discovered I need Love.

I don't think that this place in time is right for a great Love. But now it looms in the distant future, this hope called love.

And with that thought comes this one. Maybe I accept myself enough now, to realize I am more than a hodgepodge of disorders, and a disease. One of the very things I advocate in this blog: we are not our disorders. I am not a borderline, bipolar alcoholic. I have borderline, bipolar disorders and have the disease of alcoholism.

Sometimes I am blinded by the internal struggle that is dealing with life on life's terms. Radical Acceptance is a part of dialectic behavioral therapy that I have been dealing with lately. It is the ideal that I must accept the circumstances of my life.

All that has happened and all that happens now. The loss of a friend, the passing of another, the loss of a service animal, or a home. The birth of a child, the need for sobriety, the entrance and leaving of loved ones. The choices and decisions we have made in our lifetime; sometimes unbearable and terrible to think about, sometimes something to congratulate ourselves on.

Radical Acceptance is the notion that living with all our decisions is what we need to be healthy. If I choose to deny a choice or a circumstance, I know what will happen. I become destabilized, sometimes manic, or I drink or cut.

Throwing my mind and emotions wide open to acceptance feels like jumping into Lake Michigan, in December. It means throwing the self into the acceptance of all the implications that making a decision brings about. My darlings, this is so much more difficult than can be said by me, here. My acceptance fuels my poetry and this blog. It drives me to wander in the dark, and to rescue cats. I chooses the colors I wear, and the food I eat.

Dylan Thomas said it best: "The force that through the green fuse drives the flower/Drives my green age..."

So we'll part here, standing among the violets' leaves that grow long after the flower has disappeared. It is a terrible and awe filled truth that the violets have been, and will be next year. I may not. Each day is not guaranteed. The sun may blast and the cold winds come, and I may disappear, or you may.

I won't leave you with the trite sound byte that, "Each day is a gift" or "Gather ye rosebuds while ye may." But with the soul clearing thought of acceptance. One day, perhaps today, everything will pass. The ancient earth turns while the daisies bloom.

One day, I will be gone, and the forest and the field will change. Smallishly, and subtly, but change it will. And each of you, my darlings, when you leave, your forest and field will change as well. I see each of you amid the field.

The sun is not near the horizon for me. Perhaps it is for you. I am used to the night sounds now, and the rustles that move in the dark, beyond the door. Every thing has a silhouette, here in the City's light. The sky is grey and bends over us, carefully. The ground is solid, and damp, and the flowers bloom, even at night, pink, red, yellow, and blue. We shuffle the leaves at the edge of the path, everything is dewed and scented with water. Scents come from the earth, and the grasses, and the forest in the near distance.

Something new lies on the path each day. I want the unchanging field of the past. There were more Queen Anne's Lace there, and less chicory, the commonest of flowers. There were more daffodils, and buttercups, and less clover. There was more a rolling in grass and less a mowing of it.

But the unyielding truth about acceptance is that today is always a day to roll in the grass. It's just that now, I know I will get muddy. Green stains will dye my shirt, and my knees. I will have to, myself, clean my knees at the stream's edge and bind the cuts I have. I will endure a leaf's worth of time to cross the stream, and rest on the bank.

The Maid's Day Off

I read my old posts and grapple with my present fault of seeming to lack a sense of humor. I dunno, you tell me. I remember the wild and wacky days that I could write as a funnier person. My Mother had just died and I had lost my service animal to death. I drank pretty heavily, and I was alone most of the time. Some of my funniest posts came about at this time, but I don't want to recreate the conditions in which I produced it.

When my old friend, Dark Star, and her husband Schrodinger came to visit in those days, I was hysterical with relief at having company that remembered what I was like, sane. And they simply gave me love. It was a well that I drank from, and it was clear, cold water, delicious, and delighting in its' clarity. The memory of those terrible days is still so much of my person, that I have to deliberately slow my body and thoughts down, as it nears time for their visit.

A wise woman once taught me that, if your movements slow, your horse will realize it, and will move slower, as well. It continues to be a good lesson. The body follows the mind, and the mind follows the body. I will have to give up my introverted daydreams in the coming week, and the sugary, fried foods. I will attempt to force my sleep schedule into something resembling normal.

But, I admit that the prospect of civilization that they bring, is intoxicating. I do have group this week, and individual therapy. I have work to do, and responsibilities to live up to. I think the best course of action is to ground myself a good deal, and practice Mindfulness, living life in the moment, which can be so easy and yet so difficult.

But, let's face it. I am a hormonal, bipolar, borderline alcoholic, and sometimes it is difficult to get control of all of it.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Field at Night

I find I cannot write without coffee. I can't even claim it's even close to's just after midnight. But it's the time to write and I have had several hours sleep. It's odd being up at this time. The dog and the cats are awake, and run from room to room.

No more chocolate in the house, as I told you yesterday. Only some yogurt and walnuts, of course I've had some...what are you thinking? But nothing like the binge eating.

All the animals had their flea treatments yesterday. It's oily, and it's dropped between the shoulders so they can't lick it off. The feeling makes them slink around like a bunch of angry ferrets. Wet, angry ferrets. But everything is better than fleas, including their hurt feelings. They'll get over it. And if this attitude seems callous to you, you didn't have a flea season like we did, last year. Nothing is worth washing the bedsheets everyday, because it's Their bedding, and vacuuming, vacuuming.

While the cats eat expensively, and act like wet, angry ferrets, the dog just looks sorry for himself, and licks his lips. The only dog I know who, when he farts, it scares him. He jumps up, and looks at the floor like the sensations come from there. He then tucks his butt in, and moves as far away from the farting section of the floor as he can. I really don't know if the cats fart. They regularly let me, nay insist, that I inspect their butts, but they have never hit me with a blast at the same time. And of course, yours truly doesn't fart. EVER.

Now the company has settled in for some sleep, and Minkins warms his toes by the laptop. Georgia is asleep in the laundry basket.
Can you tell he's awake?

Today is the day for mowing the lawn, although not the field. The field is never mowed. I enjoy mowing on the riding mower. I once thought riding mowers were the height of foppery, but have to admit since trying one, that I can't get enough. Like riding a tractor, or the front loader, in the old days, sitting in the seat and bumbling about in circles, in the sun, is a very contemplative way to spend the day.

Take a deep breath. Starting Monday, I am foster to 2 small grey and white kittens. Well, not so small, they have been fixed. It's up to me to find homes for them, so be sure you will get lots of pictures.

Tonight, let us go to the field to say goodbye. It's never wise to enter the forest at night time. The forest belongs to itself and the Other, after dark. The crickets are loud, and I hear a train song in the distance. The vastness above is hidden by clouds, and it is a warm, still, foggy night. The flowers are small sculptures in this field. There is no light, although the moon would be hazy, if it were out. There is a small light from our hands, that pick out the grasses standing like armies at rest.

We are in fall, but the temperatures have gone back to summer in this odd year, for a while. It doesn't matter to the sun. The sun doesn't lie. The skies blaze with light during the day, but as the dark hastens in, fall comes closer. The sound of autumn calls from the leaves of the trees, and the trees have started a slow hum. Soon, everything will be gold and riotous living, and we will drink from the stream to each others' health. In the distance, a small light gleams, and a lamp is lit for our return.

Friday, August 9, 2013

This Is What Longing Sounds Like

Ok. Binge eating is a part of borderline personality disorder. Last night I ate a pound of fudge. I thoughtfully cleaned the crumbs off my sheets early this morning and wondered how I am going to cut out enough calories in my diet to cover a pound of fudge...

Pound. Of. Fudge.

It's not easy doing that. One must have a certain tolerance for sweets, to say the least, and the ability to disengage the part of the brain that says, "I don't give a shit about what I weigh." It's like super-sizing all of my meals, everyday, just for the extra boost that the french fries give me.

I can see a long holiday season coming.

I do feel that self-pity plays a role: "What the hell? No one cares. I will never have a normal relationship, or sex again. So WTF?" It's also called the everyone-else-is-doing-it syndrome. I often lay in bed, as a child, and wondered why my Mother only ate at night time. I don't know if mental illness played a role or not, in her eating. I'm sure it probably did: she was morbidly obese (extremely overweight.)

But flash forward to today, cause life is all about living in today, and I am having my own relationship with a pound of fudge. Like the male praying mantis, the fudge ends up on the wrong end of the deal, every time. I am the female, and just clean my tentacles and move on, looking for the next good-time Charlie. I can guarantee, that the next few weeks of my existence will contain a lot of salad, as I seek to recoup from my one-night stand.

My therapist suggested that I drink a glass of water instead. That would be great, but I already go to the bathroom, the loo, about 8 times a night, as it is. And yes, it's normal for me. I know, there are meds for that, but they don't work for me. Thanks, anyway.

So, what to do? I could blog more, that is interesting and engages my hands, but it requires a certain state of mind called 'being awake' to pull off. I have tried eating spicy to stop me. Also, fruit, yogurt, fiber, it doesn't matter. Tonight, I will make a concerted effort not to eat, while half-asleep and let you know the results tomorrow.

Don't get me wrong, I do that every night, but tonight I will not have anything to eat, haven eaten everything that isn't glued to the kitchen sink. I know I am not going to eat the cat's food. That would be really sick. And yeah, I have tried exercise. It seems to have nothing to do with how hungry I am.

And I wish I could say that, if I had Alan Rickman on my hands, I wouldn't eat all night, but I can't. I would find a way. And with that disturbing visual, I leave you on the edge of the field, today.

I wish I could be with all of you, everyday. We could stand on the edge of this field, forever. The daylilies that line the creek leading into the forest love the rain, and they are a particular shade of orange, at dawn. Queen Anne's Lace and goldenrod darken the field before the sun comes up. The grass is a ghostly grey. The leaves are dark against the lightening sky, but the trees are black. I planted zinnia in the field last year, and there will be butterflies over them, soon. All kinds of butterflies, big, little, darkish brown to yellow to the brightest white, traveling in pairs. The bird song echoes from the forest's limit, and the green ferns wait for the sun.

The path is a motion in the grass, frozen. We walk the same path to the forest everyday, or we meander over the field, first. Spider webs catch us, laced with dew. The grasses are wet from the rain, and we gather the water on us, as we brush by. Reaching out to touch a dogwood limb, it showers us with rain. It doesn't matter. The leaves are too lovely, rounded but pointy, to resist touching them. Berries will be on the dogwood soon, and the leaves will be purple. Here and there, we walk around a puddle of water, on the path. The grasses are greener, and yellow too, now, as the sun comes. The sky is pinker, the color of the lightest of the zinnia. Time catches us, again and again. Every step brings us closer to the sun.

The rolling brambles and the ferns wait us in the forest. A ring of blasted trees regrows from the roots. Animal sounds crunch around us. The forest is rarely still. And now the sky is white, and the grass is green. The flowers take on color, ruby red to yellow to pink. The bark is brown, and the leaves are green again, darker than the grasses, but not as dark as the moss at the bottom of the stream. Rock colors can be seen, sand, blue, and brown, green.

The scent of the forest is the scent of the mountains, in the morning. It is an ancient smell, earthy, yet wet. A crispiness is coming to the field and the wood, and lies like a fog over the ground, this morning. Somewhere, a light beckons us to a small house in the distance. It is our home, and the coffee scents the air, here. Cats wait for us and sleep, and the dog rouses with a bark. We spend our time with the dark and the light and the mystery of what lies at the forest's center, and make our slow way back across the field. We pick flowers as we go, for the breakfast table.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Every Ordinary Day

I have the ginger candle lit this morning. Yes, the window is open, and the dog sleeps. All of the good and stable things in my life are here again, this morning. It's sheer mercy that I have a place to stay, with my animals around me.

Well, it's sheer luck anyway. If mercy ran the world, people wouldn't be homeless in the first place. I don't know my higher Power's role in the world, but I suspect Deists are somewhat correct in their view. That is that: a god or creator has set the world in motion, and lets humankind run it as they will, as a watch is wound, set, and runs.

The problem is that Deism denies supernatural intervention. And I have had supernatural things happen to me. What to think? I think the answer lies somewhat in the fact that we do not understand ourselves, much less understanding the creator of the universe.

I don't think there is an answer that we can understand.

I enjoy this quiet morning, with the sounds of crickets and frogs. There is no moon tonight, because of the clouds. All this rain makes me wonder what kind of winter we will have. It has been quiet, without all the turmoil of last week. It seems to be true autumn, now. But as I have said before, we will see.

All the cats are awake now, and the window is a busy hub. I hate to let them out when the rabbits are out eating, but there is no better time to open the window for them. And no safer time, to be sure.

I love the convenience of where I live, now, just moments from Downtown. But I miss the rolling hills of the Old House. I know the cats miss it. I wonder what they did when confronted by a turkey? Now they have cars and neighbors who prefer dogs, in general.

But the dark follows them here, and provides good cover for them to hunt. There is nothing more in my world to provide musings for. While it may make for dull reading, I am so happy to have nothing serious to report in this post.

Wait 5 minutes...

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Life As Now

Sorry I missed you yesterday. I woke too early to write, and then didn't get back to it. No soul slashing drama, just missed a day, which happens once in a while.

I can hear the crickets and the frogs outside this morning. It is actually late night; it is 1 AM. The unicorn meat eating cats leap through their window. The dog, Max, is sensible. He is asleep.

While I was gone yesterday, I trimmed the spent flowers from the pink zinnia, the burgundy dahlia, and the yellow daisies. I watered, guaranteeing a rain. And did it rain, later about twilight. The water poured from the sky as if from a pitcher, and ran in the streets to form small lakes. Now everything is washed and new.

These days are definitely a preamble to Fall. It is an early autumn for us, to match the late Spring we had. The grasses of the field haven't turned yet to their winter gold, but something about the light moves toward a change in the seasons.

 It is like my life, that moves now more toward the end, than it is closer to the beginning. Something about memory preserves me yet, like a leaf in amber. I still remember a green childhood spent riding my bicycle along familiar paths in twilight. If I try hard, I remember what it is like to be 16, 26, 40 years of age, as if it were yesterday. I remember age 6 and the first day of school. That's what I think of, in Fall. The winds and the leaves whirl together to create one memory, of all the starts of school I have been through. 

But now, today, I bring my thought back to today, to the Now. I have been too melancholy, and it is too close to my last drunk to contemplate the past, with any feelings of easiness. I love Fall, and the start of Winter, with it's holidays. I have now lived in this small valley since 1976--- 37 years. It starts to feel like home, when the leaves change, and the late summer twilight sets in. Dusk at 8 o'clock at night is perfect, but that will change, too. But for today, for now, it is perfect.

There was a good AA meeting last night, but no borderline personality therapy group today. The therapist is in NYC, attending classes. I am slightly frightened when my therapist goes on vacation, or leaves town for any reason, but I have known my shrink, my psychiatrist for so very long, that I know I can go to him, if a crisis occurs.

Yesterday, I wished I could call my Mother on the phone, and tell her I am ok. All I can do now is to smell her Chanel No. 5, and dream of being enfolded in her loving arms. I find that looking at pictures of her, at this 3 years after her death, is still too much. A glimpse of a picture here or there, is one thing. But sitting down and looking at page after page of her life is just more than I am capable of, at my state of mind. In this Now.

There is a lovely picture of her, in a light green ballgown, taken when she was 16 years of age, that hangs on my wall. It is a deeply beautiful portrait photograph, but it has been a constant in my life. It has always hung on some wall of our house. It alone, of all the pictures of her, has been static in my life. It carries nothing of the pain of nostalgia, that looking at her life in pictures, carries. It simply exists. It simply is. It is a smallish dose of her that I can handle, everyday.

There is no similar picture of my Father. His father died when he was 11, and his teenage years were very unhappy, and less prosperous than my Mother's. There is a good photo portrait of the two of them, taken about 20 years ago, but I cannot hang it on my wall. It is what was, and is no more. If I hung it, I would brood over that time in my life, and I have moved on. Only love remains, and memories.

So much for life in the Now.

This morning, I do not think of drinking or cutting. The coffee is good, and I splurged a bit on some more mineral water. The frogs have stopped singing, in this night time of day. The cats wander in and out, and the dog sleeps. My life is now measured by the moon, and it goes quicker, before that time of my life passes, forever.

I am going through a rite of passage, written on my body. I now have wrinkles, but the broken right pinkie finger reminds me of being 13 years of age, when it all started. Every woman goes through 'the Change' and it is a rich experience not addressed by my doctors or society at large, except as some excruciating event. But, what I find, is that it is simply something outside of public knowledge, that women share together. We have so many more things to discuss, now. And so, I write.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Always A Monday

I listen to the crickets outside, and decide to have some coffee.

Yesterday was beautiful for me, and I am grateful. Some friends and I went to a local lake with a beach, and spent the day. It was a crisp day, with lovely skies, throw a leech in and some moss, some sand, and the words between three women, and there it was. 5 hours gone in a whisper, a cloud, water and a word.

My paranoia is mostly gone, I have no desire to drink or cut. I did start getting "iffy" about 1 PM yesterday, until I remembered to take my anti-Evil pills, late. I can't do it without my medication. No more than I can do "it" without: AA meetings, therapy, friends and you.

I wake this morning with deeper friendships, a sunburn, and some mineral water, which I bought in excess, in an orgy of self-indulgence, for the day on the water. Since the 50th birthday party for one of the women, which included a bonfire and some s'mores, I have come to the conclusion that to turn 50, will be an enriching experience.

I know, what a bland statement, which carries none of the deep feelings involved, or the knowledge acquired over a life time. A sentence that has nothing of the experience of sisterly bonding, serenity like emeralds within, or knowledge of a tree and it's roots.

All the good things aside, there are the times that can curl one's hair in horror. But the brain tends to dim the memory of pain: there are other scars that last. I have invisible disabilities, my scars don't show on the outside, which is a puzzlement for some.

I mean, I look healthy, why do I need help of any kind? These are the people who judge a book by it's cover; they do not stop and think. And, you know what? They don't deserve our attention this morning.

It's another wandering post, when I have a journey to make. I must be patient, and realize that sometimes, the path meanders a bit. I say this: who have seen a Lady's Slipper in the National Forest. I, who knows the ferns that grow along the stream in the forest. I know the blue lichens that grow on rocks. And I know what the roots of the trees are saying.

I know the cold, chapped hands of Spring, and the loneliness of a Fall's leaf. I have known a stone of time, a grain of sand, the lapping sound at the water's edge. And now I know fire, and the sounds of women singing in the forest. I have stood in a herd of horses, and heard their speech, and I know what the scent of my Mother's skin was.

I have a place to lay my head, and some water, and yogurt. Everything else is pure joy: the animals, the perfume bottle of Chanel No. 5, the gold clock. The friends, the terror, the dreams, the field. The seen scars, and the unseen. A bracelet made of shell...

My chance acquaintance with you.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Whisper of Voices

After some odd dreams, very touch and sense oriented, I enjoy my coffee and mineral water. The unicorn meat eating cats are officially bored with the window of freedom and stay in. It is a beautiful, cool night, and Max wants to go out to bark and sniff and pee. He gets to do all of those before I bring him back in for barking.

As I said, it's lovely out there, in the dark. The grass is scented and the night sounds are gentle. Sometimes, to me, the sounds make a lonely call, and I slip off into the field. I used to walk Eddie on the Hollins campus at night time. So well did I know the walking path along Tinker Creek, that I did not need a light. Something mysterious in the dark, calls to me.

I have been fortunate in my life, that I have always lived in places where I could wander in the dark, if I chose to. The big danger in the country was snakes and bears, but they are shy.  And spiders. Here, the danger is tripping over lawn ornaments, or being bitten by snakes, or black widow spiders.

In four days, I have gone from bat-shit crazy, to Ok. What a difference a new lock on a door, and the company and love of some sterling friends can do.

I still feel the need to be in enclosed spaces, preferably my own, but that is waning. I am a bit worried, no therapy or group next week. My therapist is going to classes in NYC. But I do have friends to call on, and all of them know now, that my PTSD is active. I will have to throw myself into using my dialectic behavioral skills this week. I will contemplate my therapist's advice, and hear his voice when I am stressed. I don't want to kill my support network.

I still patrol my perimeter. It is 2 hours until dawn.

The dark has become an enclosure for me. It was an enclosed space in my childhood, and remains so today. I remember one evening, about midnight, at the Old House. I had just been sexually assaulted, and I was living in terror, night and day. It was winter, and so very cold. But I thought my cats were in danger...I had heard a noise while lying in the dark. So I got up and checked my perimeter in the dark. You see, if you turn the lights on, any intruder now has light on their side.

My fear called me to the ultimate sacrifice...I stuck my head out of the cat door to check for noises, or movement in the wild night. Believe me, I moved through sheer terror to do it. When I stuck my head out of the door, the frosty night greeted me. It was a wild relief; no scenes of horror, no strangers in the dark, only the iron bar shadows of the trees on the frosty lawn. The moon was full, and the wind blew softly.

It was the most holy of scenes, that welcoming night.

And if all of this sounds like the ravings of a lunatic, so it may be. But it's the little world I live in right at the moment. This is mental illness. But it is neither more or less joyful or frightening than the world everyday people live in. I may have to take extra measures to live within my comfort zone but, purely as a selfish thing, it is worth it.

So I comfort myself, with this smallish time with you. You hold my hand, and we have our favorite drink together. I have a lovely orange cat at my feet, and a softly snoring dog by my side. I have been outside already, and I know some of what lies in the dark. There are the dahlias, geraniums, and impatiens, neatly contained, with the violets that grow wildly at their feet. There is the soft lawn, simply cut and tidy, green, with it's scents and sounds.

After harvesting, the lavender blooms again, and the zinnia grow outside of their bed, between the rock of the walkway. I don't know how that happened...

The cat ornaments that Dark Star gave to me, are in my line of sight, and they are bright and cheerful, an explosion of colorful felines. The gold clock, and the old picture of a woman on horseback stand next to the Chanel No. 5. I type on my laptop, which is resting on the bright star quilt, and I sit cross legged before it.

This morning, I read some posts from a year ago, and I have found the portfolio that I thought I had lost in the move from the Old House. The one that contains all of my work, from childhood, to the deaths of my Father and Mother. It is a very real presence, lying on top of the cherry jewelry stand. I sit in the antique, mahogany bed that my parents gave me. It is a sleigh bed, and, although I would like to sleep in one of the family beds that we inherited; the beds of my childhood, still I cannot put this bed away in storage. It is mine, picked especially for me by my parents, and that is a reminder of love.

This is a wandering post, because my mind wanders over loved things this morning, and away from securing the perimeter. It is a dialectical behavioral therapy skill, called "self-soothing." I have scented my ankle with my favorite perfume, and I luxuriate in the gifts of love from around the world that furnish my smallish space here, with it's crisp grey carpet, and clean, white walls. Night sounds fill the air, and Minkins is outside.

I know this is too long a post for the weekend. But I do enjoy my time here with you, before some music. And I think of you here, and long for your words, and I hear your whispers in the darkened field. Perhaps, I just hear the blades of grass rub together in a stray wind, over the field. But it is the same field that speaks to us all, and the same darkened forest that awaits us. The Old Oak stands on the edge of the wood, and I walk forward, confident in your voices.