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...

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