Category Archives: afraid

Raw oysters …

are one of those things that evoke an immediate and unwavering response.

One either loves or hates them.

Adores or abhors.

People who know me personally would say loudly and with confidence that I would never, with intention, put a raw oyster in my mouth.

They would be sadly mistaken.

I love raw oysters.

There is something about slurping the organism and the juice around it into my mouth that takes me right over the edge of culinary ecstasy.

A delicacy that did, I freely admit, surprise me.

I was apprehensive at the thought of my first raw oyster, but I wanted adventure and, well, come on, what is more adventurous than a raw bi-valve.

I remember closing my eyes, as if that would somehow make the experience less traumatizing.

But when that sweet, salty taste co-mingled with the sharp bite of horseradish hit my tongue, I was hooked.

Joyous.

Delectable.

Intoxicating.

The fear of an immediate emetic response was eradicated and pleasurable endorphins poured in to take its place.

It is like everything else in life … don’t knock it until you try it.

If, by chance, you’re ever in the Outer Banks of NC, take highway 12 to Buxton and check out Pop’s Raw Bar.

It will, I promise, be worth it.

Those were, I say with utmost confidence, the best raw oysters to ever pass my lips.

If you go, tell Wendy that the Virginian with the suspicious Ohioan companion said “Hi”.

At last I say this … try new things.

Divert from your everyday ritual.

Fear of the unknown will keep many wonderful things from your perspective.

I know this because I lived, many years, with fear.

Now, unless it involves spiders, I give it the finger.

I still freak out at spiders.

Overcome what you can, run screaming from what you can’t.

Pretty simple when you break it down.

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Homeless …

is something I am familiar with.

I lived, for a few weeks, under a bridge in Atlanta.

It was at first scary, but after a few nights, I was accepted by the fire in the barrel crowd.

I stood by the fire, ate food absconded from dumpsters and wondered if I would ever get out.

I doubted, being what I considered being mentally ill, that I would.

Get out, that is.

But I did.

I did get out.

I faked normalcy in order to put a roof over my head.

Faking worked for a while, but people are, in most circumstances, not stupid.

I’m thankful that my homeless, living beneath Spaghetti Junction period, only lasted a few weeks because frankly, I was freaked out.

I considered prostituting myself to buy food, but in the end, opted for going hungry.

I thought about what my strong, self-assured, fearless sister would do, and did it.

She may not know it, but her wits combined with my stubbornness, likely saved my life.

I drifted from place to place until I found a putrid, spider-infested place to get out of the rain.

I kept a vacuum on standby for many weeks to suck up spiders, hoppy-bugs and pine roaches.

I know what it is to be nobody, nowhere with nothing other than the thoughts in my head.

I am a photographer, but only I, at the time, knew that .

I see what I see and am thankful for it .

I am who I am even when it strips me bare.

I will seek what I know to be true and find solace in that truth.

I am who I am and will be so
regardless of who or what  I am perceived to be.

I know what it means to be homeless and friendless.

I am not afraid anymore.

I am, instead, fearless; like my sister.

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In a looking glass …

the reflection that looks back does so as though nothing has changed.

As though there is no darkness behind familiar eyes.

As though there is no unfamiliarity in the mundane sameness that take morning into night and back into morning.

The sameness is likely still there, but my perception has skewed it; distorted the memories, played the ultimate trick.

Finding my way was simpler before I lost it.

Mayhaps I will find it again, but if not, if it is gone, how will I ever really know?

The irony of a broken mind.

The photograph below has my copyright, so I know I was there … I just don’t know where there is.

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And then …

there were none.

I’m standing on the front porch as the day completes itself.

The sun is setting over a field fresh with young wildflowers and high, lovely hay-grass that will grow tall and be mowed mid-summer.

It smells so good; nearly, but not quite as good as freshly turned earth in early Spring.

The soon-to-be full moon will shortly rise over budding trees freed from their winter solitude.

After this night, changes will come.

I am uncertain of the changes, but am trying to make myself ready for what will happen in my brain.

How odd this must sound.

I have things I must contend with that will very likely alter the way I see everything, including the moon.

It has been a difficult decision to make; this knowing that the way my brain perceives things and people and emotions will change.

I am only what I am, and if I cannot be what I am then I could very possibly be what I have always feared.

Nothing.

I have dear friends who are angry with me, who have not forgiven me for things I was not aware of.

While that hurts me now, next week it will likely be irrelevant.

There is a better then average chance then I will not remember that.

A curse more than a blessing for I am sorry but may not recall my remorse.

I sacrifice one madness for another.

Where, I ask, is the sanity in that?

This night, my last night without the influence of medication, I watch for the moon and hope, that when the lightning bugs come, I will be happy to see them.

I have always found joy in the lightning bugs.

For the first time I can recall, I am not an optimist.

That, in itself, frightens me.

And I dislike being afraid nearly as much as I dislike knowing I am potentially sacrificing my identity.

I suppose I am, after all, a coward.

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                My niece, unafraid

Sometimes, at Christmas …

people are sad.

They are lonely and grieving and sorrowful for things they can’t change.

Even happy people get sad during this time of year.  They start thinking about what they have or haven’t done.

Things they’ve said or left unsaid.

They look away from the homeless on the street and the hungry in their own hometown.

The look for friends where there aren’t any and find reasons to feel sorry for themselves.

I can say this because I live it.  I experience it.  I understand it.

I am an optimist, but sometimes, my smile is painted on and my heart is heavier than I think I can carry.

I look around at my life and take stock as Christmas looms on the horizon, as the New Year stares me in the face and I think “what do I have to offer anybody?”

And then, like the soft light rising out of a foggy Spring morning, I am reminded that Christmas isn’t about me.

It isn’t about trees or gifts or money or family or friends.

It is about something so magnificent, so profound, so incredibly huge that it leaves little room to be sad.

It is about a child that was born of a virgin.

Not just any child.

The child.

The Christ child.

Think about that for a minute.

In this sex-crazed world, think about a young girl who had never given herself to a man and yet found that she was pregnant.

If you feel crazy, imagine what she was feeling.  Imagine what was going through her mind when she told the man she loved that, although she had never been with anyone, including him, that she was pregnant and that God had told her that it was ok.

How insane would that sound?

How could Joseph possibly trust her?

He trusted her because he trusted God and God trusted Mary with His son.

It sounds complicated and weird and yet it is so beautifully simple.

Who among us would not want to be chosen to carry the Savior of the world and who among us would not want to care for and love the one carrying that child?

Who among us would not want to be an integral part in raising that child, in cherishing Him, wiping His tears, telling Him bedtime stories, hearing Him say “I love you” as He wrapped His little boy arms around our neck?

I find that, when I think of the reason that we celebrate, the joy and inexplicable magnificence of it all, it is difficult to be completely sad.

Not impossible, for we are human and as humans, we can always find things to complain about, be sad about, be mad about.

We can always find ways that people hurt us or make us feel unworthy, who leave us wishing for more and hoping that tomorrow will bring the fulfillment of our dreams.

But if we let all the human emotions crowd our minds and hearts, we will forget why we celebrate to begin with and if we remember why we celebrate, then there will Joy unspeakable.

Yes, there will still be sadness and loneliness and melancholy … There will be loss, grief and memories that threaten our sanity … but they will, if we put them in perspective, be in their rightful place.

Behind joy.

Behind thankfulness and awe.

Behind beauty and love that surpasses anything we will ever find if we only see with our human eyes.

And because the feelings that threaten to destroy us are behind the Joy of remembering why we celebrate to begin with, we will live through them, move past them, learn from them and be stronger and more resilient because we have hope in something bigger than who we are and what we feel.

With hope, there is nothing impossible.

With hope, there is always the possibility of another day.

With hope, there is the image of Heaven.

Sadness can’t hold a candle to that.

My hope is that each one I know, each person I come into contact with, each spirit that crosses my own will know joy and that, even for a moment, the sadness will become obsolete.

Merry Christmas, my friends.

snowfall

Luke 2: 7-14

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

And then there was light …

beautiful, blinding, mind-boggling, life-altering light.

That is the nature of bi-polar disorder, or in the more politically correct lingo, manic-depressive disorder.

The verbiage doesn’t change the nature of it, it simply makes those who have no clue about what it is, entails or emulates, feel better about saying it out loud.

Sometimes there is darkness, but when the darkness lifts, there is light.

And light in the aftermath of darkness is profound.

I would love to be able to explain this phenomenon, but I can’t.

I couldn’t even begin to explain it.

You either understand it because you live it or because you know someone who suffers from it or you are completely clueless.

If you are clueless, then there is nothing I can offer that will make the light bulb flick on above your head.  You will never know the depths or the incredible  highs of a brain that is well beyond your understanding.

I’m sorry for you, but can’t help your indifference.

Cluelessness  (not a real word, I don’t think) isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but without some understanding of what goes on in the mind of a bipolarist (also not a real word), there is no way anyone can possibly understand how incredibly wonderful the moments of clarity, without racing thoughts, without disorientation, without doubt and insecurities can be.

Without the chaos, the clarity doesn’t mean anything and if one never has clarity, then their accomplishments will be mediocre at best.

It is like walking into a green, summer field and seeing a triple rainbow arch over the green field that is covered by white daisies with yellow centers.

That is what the light is like.

A moment of pure bliss that allows dreamless sleep and pure and beautiful clarity.

It allows me to understand what I have been misinterpreting, to find the truth within the lies.

It really is impossible to explain to someone who hasn’t lost, at some point, control of their conscious thought and then when hollowed out, to crash and burn.

Crashing is not the best feeling in the world, but it is necessary.  It is like the control-alt-delete of the psyche and sometimes, it is at this point that people who pledge their friendship and loyalty jump ship.

How … well, convenient.

When I am depressed, well, I keep that to myself.  No reason to add fuel to the fire of the witch-hunters.

I am who I am and will be who I’ll be.

I don’t need validation from people who pretend to support me when they have no interest in who I am at the core, in the depths of my heart, in the center of my soul.

I am me.  I am not ashamed to be such although there are times when I am made to believe that I should be.

We bipolarists are not an anomaly.  We are a force to be reckoned with because not only do we have brains that see, feel and hear everything, we are able to function during these times of chaos.

That makes us talented and creative and imaginative;  and above all, it makes us survivors.

Those who take us for granted or think they can use us for their exclusive pleasure are the losers.

They didn’t get it.

They will never get it.

They lost the race when they rolled their eyes at our idiosyncrasies.

Our idiosyncrasies and oddities are what set us apart from everyone else and it is something to be cherished and embraced.

We are different, yes, and in being so, we are not cast in the same mold as the rest of humanity.

In my book, that makes us someone special and special is a pretty awesome thing to be.

I embrace it, even when I want to be rid of it, because it calls me to understand more than I should have to, endure greater disappointments than I should have to and to know more than I would have were my brain like everyone else’s.

It is at this point that I ask, who is normal?  Who can maneuver through a mindfield (not a mine field, a mind one) and end up standing, head held high, solutions in hand?

Kind of puts it in perspective.

I have been mocked by ones that I truly thought I could trust.

I have been shunned by ones who have know me for years.

I have been abandoned by ones that I would have bet my life I could rely on.

These things, these events, these setbacks have not broken me yet made me more determined to be who I am.

I am content with myself even when I am discontent with myself.

I am special and the people who are like me will understand completely and hopefully feel special, too.

I am misunderstood and  I am ok with that.

It means that I am a mystery and, let’s be honest here … how cool is that?

We are a mystery wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a riddle.

That makes us cool in the “you wish you could see what my brain sees” kind of way.

Yes.  I am bipolar and I take each moment, each second, each event as it comes.

It is amazing what you can see when you take one moment at a time.

I love my life and though there are times when I forget who I am and can’t string words together to make coherent sentence, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Not  a single thing.

I. Am. Me … and I’m good with that.

only one of hundreds of my favorite things about West Side  Market in Cleveland, OH and bipolarist comfort food :)

only one of hundreds of my favorite things about West Side Market in Cleveland, OH and a favorite of this bipolarist’s comfort foods 🙂

A moment of clarity …

is priceless.

Like fine wine from a stellar year.  A bottle unopened and virginal in it’s uniqueness.

A moment of clarity when all of the world is in color, without shades of gray, without confusion that masks the wonders as the snow on an old TV.  Clarity without aluminum foil to make the picture clear.

I love these moments.  They are like photographs that have been taken simply to remind me that this moment isn’t all there is.

There is more.

There is much more.

I am feeling hyper these days and that makes me anxious.  It is such a small step from hyper to manic and I work dilligently to not be manic.

It comes when it comes and I have no say about it.

But it hurts those I care about.

I don’t care so much about myself.  This is my life and I live it, but when it touches others, it hurts me on a level that is far beyond what I feel capable of handling.

I am me.

I don’t know how to be anyone else.

I don’t, however, want to be a burden to my friends.

Yes, I am hyper, but am not yet manic.

It is only a matter of time.

I try to close myself off from everyone when this happens, but there are a few that I lean on and hope that, when all is said and done, they will forgive me yet again.

They are the people who bring me back to reality when I stray and they know who they are.

I only hope they know I don’t take them for granted.

Just a day in the life.

It isn’t always pretty, but more often than not, it is.  I live for the “it is” moments.

I am a survivor and this impending event will not break me.

It may bend me, but it will not break me.

I get by with  a little help from my friends.

clarinethands

Beemer, a sweet Great Pyrenees, shows his Hollywood

Taking it easy, literally …