Category Archives: clutter

It’s been a while …

since my last blog post. 

Since last time, satan has reared his ugly head and life has given me a bonified black eye, busted lip, bruised rib, and all around beating.

My mom, who I depend on way more than a nearly 50-year old (ok, 47 in two weeks, but still) woman should, has been ill.

In the hospital, taken by an ambulance, ill.

My dad, who leans heavily on my mom, has been beside himself.

My dearest friend has been given (by mere mortals) six months to live.

It has been a trying month.

First off, my mom is home, well and feeling quite herself. 

My dad, an Air Force Veteran (whom we should all be applauding today for his service to the USAF) is better because my mom is feeling better.

It brings a surprising revelation to light.

While this would distress and hurt me beyond comprehension, I have this hope they would die, in their sleep, at the same time.

As awful as this may sound to some, I’d rather mourn them both at the same time than try to handle one without the other.

I can’t frankly speak for my sister, but wonder if she wouldn’t agree.

If that isn’t possible, I hope my dad, my hero and advocate goes first, because I cannot fathom him without my mom.

Mom would miss dad terribly, but she’s strong, and would survive.

Maybe I’m more crazy than I imagined, but I can handle Mom’s tears more easily than Dad’s.

I honestly don’t know how I would deal with him if he had to live without her.

As for my dearest friend, who is battling cancer, I advised her, as I do everyone, to live every day as if it’s the very last one.

Nobody, but nobody has the promise to live further than the moment they are in.

I know where I’m going when I’m gone from this world, so dying doesn’t scare me.

Living, however, without the people who love and understand me, gives me pause.

If that sounds selfish, it’s because it is. 

I thought I’d grow old and watch, with my husband I dearly loved, grandchildren playing in the yard.

Then, I came home one day, and out of the clear, blue sky, found him as dead as Moses.

No warning. No goodbye.  Just gone.

There’s no promise of life, to any of us, past the single moment we find ourselves living in.

If one doesn’t intend to live life as it happens, they forfeit their right to complain when it’s over, or nearly over.

You can quote me on that.

Right now, in this moment, is all I am certain of.

It is all any of us can be certain of.

This moment.

This breath.

This heartbeat.

Each day, if it doesn’t mean something, is wasted.

I say this to family, friends, former friends that I miss with an intensity that embarassess me, and though I can’t think of any specifically, my enemies.

I don’t think I have any absolute enemies.  If I do, they’ve been mighty quiet about it, and I forgive them anyway, knocking out the one leg they, were they real, had to stand on.

That’s good, though, in my way of thinking.  Who, when they have life to contend with, need enemies to muddy up the mess further.

And yet, as I often do, digress.

Now is the only thing that matters.

Grab on or be left behind.

Those are, in actuality, the only two choices.

As Shakespeare said (though he may have meant it differently as words in his day were perplexing, they pretty much say the same thing). To be or not to be … that is the question.

I choose to be, even when it hurts, is painful, annoying, hurtful, betraying or joyous.

I choose to give it everything I have, be whatever I can be and love, even those who don’t love me, unconditionally. 

Be it joyous, angry, confused, happy, sad, contemplative or any number of emotionally relevant states, with bright lights, awesome auroras, sleepless nights and flying debris; I’m there, every day, all the way.

I know who I am and if I die before morning, I know where I’ll find myself.

I love you all, even when you’re unloveable, just as you do me.

We, though we are all in the image of God, are, intrinsically human.

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Organization …

is not my strong suit

My desk at work is organized because I would simply fold in upon myself otherwise.  I find it difficult to focus enough to know where I am and what I am doing there, so being disorganized is not an option.

Not if I want to keep getting a steady paycheck (which is imperative to fund my real ambitions of photography, writing and travel).

My photographs are organized.

Brutally so.

With tens of thousands of photographs, literally, there must be organization or I would never be able to lay my hands on a particular photograph when I needed to.

As crazy as it may sound, when I look at an image, I remember the moment it was taken.  It is like a bionic power of some sort that allows me to pull from the brain pan recesses in perfect clarity something that happened on some obscure day in the past though I often have difficulty remembering what I ate for breakfast.

When I remember to eat breakfast, that is.

My house is not organized.

It is jumbled and chaotic, but I know where everything is.

I’m not big into “stuff”.  I have one photograph on my wall and the calendar is still on may of 2011.  To those that know me personally, this will not come as a surprise.  To the rest of you … close your mouths.  It’s not that big of a deal.

I have clothes on the floor, shoes on the floor and junk on the couch.  But my kitchen and bathroom are clean.

I rarely cook anymore, which is a shame because not only do I love to cook, I am very good at it.  That isn’t bragging, just stating the facts.  I am an excellent cook.  I just don’t do it.

But if one day the mood strikes, my kitchen is clean and my butcher knife sharp.

I think I started this whole post with organization. I’m not sure why that was even on my mind since there are only the three areas, work, photographs and kitchen that are organized.

My house, at any given time, looks as though a band of rogue monkeys swept through and had a free-for-all.

I don’t care.  If I’m ok with it, anybody who finds fault is simply a fault-finder.

If you are coming to see me, come ahead, if you are coming to see my house, make an appointment … about one year in advance.

I never understood and still don’t understand people who pretend to be what they aren’t simply to impress someone who likely wouldn’t be impressed even if you levitated while juggling flaming torches.

If being impressed by me is what someone is looking for, they will be sorely disappointed.  I live in my house and clean it when I feel like it, I wear clothes so I don’t get cold or arrested and I work so I can afford to do the things I really want to do.

Organization?  Not if I can possibly avoid it.

I’m much too busy living to worry about the small stuff.

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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.

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Beemer, a sweet Great Pyrenees, shows his Hollywood

Taking it easy, literally …

Friends come and go …

such is one of the intricacies of life.  Sometimes, the best of friends can become separated for one reason or another.   It is difficult to come to terms with such things, but there is no avoiding it.  Not everyone you expect to be there for you will be there for you.  It is best to learn this early in life so that later on, it doesn’t come as a shock when you realize that people fade from your life.

If you give everything you have to a friendship, you should be aware that the possibility of disappointment, betrayal, hurt and denial are viable options.  It happens.  It doesn’t mean that you, or they, have done anything wrong, but have simply drifted apart to the point that there is nothing left in common.  Having a conversation with someone you have nothing in common with is like being skewered by a porcupine.  It hurts everywhere, all at the same time, and the reason often goes unknown.   I would like to say it is not a reflection on ourselves, but sometimes it is.  Sometimes our selfishness and desire to know that our friends understand us gets in the way of understanding that they, too, need validation and understanding.

There are people from my past that I loved dearly, but haven’t spoken to them in years.  It isn’t because I didn’t want to talk to them, but that our lives took different paths and there came a time when there was nothing left to say.  I find that many people distance themselves from me because I am completely different from what they have become accustomed to.  I am about plain speech, brutal honesty and speaking my mind.  I am both weak and strong, both intelligent and ignorant and at times, a seemingly unworkable puzzle.  Often, the filter between my brain and mouth fails.  When someone asks me for an opinion, I give it.  Truthfully.  There are those who don’t want the truth, but an illusion.  I don’t do illusions.

It is enough, for me, to know that there are people who understand that I am not like them, not like their other friends, not like anyone they know.  That doesn’t stop them, though, from being there when I need them.  It doesn’t stop them from loving me when I yell, cry and meltdown right in front of their eyes.  It doesn’t stop them from asking questions that may possibly have an answer they didn’t expect to hear.  It doesn’t change who they are or how they interact.   They take it in stride and see it as no more than what it is.  Me being me.  Those are the people I cling to.  The ones I message in the middle of the night with random thoughts that, quite possibly cross a multitude of boundaries … at times, I get an answer, but, some days feel as though I am no more than a vapor in the wind; conversations deferred until they have the mindset to go one on one with me … They are the ones who hear what I say and accept it, although it may perplex them but they do it without judgement, advise or trying to fix me.  I’m not a broken doll who needs her arms glued back on, but, just someone whose mind sometimes goes faster than what the rest of me can keep up with.  It is a fallacy and unthinkable injustice to think that they, who give of themselves, do  not need the same.

It is an implausible thought to believe that our friends think of us all the time.  Maybe some of them do and just forget to say so.  Maybe they outgrow us and find that there isn’t any common ground left … sometimes, yes, but not always.  Our minds have a way of distorting things and making judgements that are unjust and just plain false and when we do that, we ostracize ourselves because of our imagined ignorance.

While it is true that there are times when I ask more of my friends than they are able to give; the ones who truly want to be in my life say so.  They tell me that I’ve pushed the envelope over the boundaries and need to take a step back.  I need, as much as I give, honesty when it comes to my dearest friends.  I don’t ask for unconditional devotion.  That is an unrealistic expectation and should be met with opposition, but I do expect honesty.

Our friends are not merely there to stroke our ego or soothe ruffled feathers.  If that is all they do, eventually, they will become disillusioned and separate themselves for our lives.  I have caused that a few times.  Been too much work and not, in the grand scheme of things,  important enough to understand on a level that may never be achieved.

I am thankful for my friends.  My dearest friends know who I am and if they don’t, then it is as much my failure as theirs.  It is, indeed, a bitter pill to swallow when you realize that someone has distanced themselves from me simply because I don’t fit the mold they have cast for a friend.  It took me years to find myself, and even now, I am still learning and as long as I live,  if I have my mind, I will continue to learn.

Yes, friends in our lives will continue to come and go, but the ones who are true will be there when you need them.  That is not a supposition, it is a fact.  So for the handful of friends that I have who are not daunted by my mood swings, months of dis-communication,  missed birthdays, forgotten anniversaries and, at times, bombardment of questions, accusations and needs, know this;  I am thankful for you.  And, when the time comes that I can be there when you need me, know without a doubt, that I am on my way.

Thankful for my real friends and, surprisingly to some, my family, and even more thankful that they know not only who they are and what moves them, but find that they, even if they didn’t realize it earlier, know who I am.  Being understood is one of life’s most cherished blessing and while many of us go our entire life without finding that bond, the rest of us realize that the blessing is astronomical.  I am grateful for my friends.  I am thankful that, though I am different, they accept me.  I find it hard, though I may want more, to ask for more.  I am curios in a way that only a Sagittarian can be.  I have wants and desires, but won’t bash my head against a brick wall to get fulfillment.  There will come a time when I will, because it is in my nature, move on.

I think it is safe to say that the “I want it yesterday” world we live in is a hindrance.  Not everyone follows those same rules, the code of immediacy is not their own. It doesn’t make them a bad friend.  It makes them dependable and loyal.  It is hard to wish for more than loyalty, dependability and honesty in our friends.   Asking more is selfish and self-centered and will, in time, result in the disintegration of the friendship.   When you ask for more than someone can give and then hold it against them, the burden is of our own design.  At times, just knowing, whether they say so or not, that my friends think of me on occasion is enough; sometimes it isn’t.  We all need validation on some level, need to know that what we have isn’t one-sided and wasted on those who don’t really understand us and have no desire to.  But there will be ones like that, in those times, who become water under the bridge.  We learn lessons that will help us be better people in the future.  I have friends that I talk to on occasion, but the connection is one that, irregardless of excuses, stand the test of time.  They know more about me than anyone and they are the ones, being honest here, who hurt me most.  It isn’t their fault, but my own unattainable expectations that play tricks on my mind and make me doubt when there is no valid reason to do so.

I am thankful for my  real, honest to goodness friends.  As long as they are in my life, in some capacity, I can deal with nearly anything.  I know their weaknesses and disappointments even as they know mine.  Such intimacy in a friendship is hard to find and should not be taken for granted.  Be a friend, a loyal, trustworthy friend, and inevitably, you will reciprocate the same.  It is the way the world works.

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Proverbs 27:17 ~  Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.

When I am manic …

everything becomes a challenge.  Thinking straight, keeping a single thought in my head, knowing reality from fantasy; all challenges.  I would be lying if I said that the feeling I get when in a manic state is anything but exhilarating, it is also exhausting.  The thoughts run through my mind at a speed that I cannot keep up with and the important things are often lost in the fray.  It is difficult to explain the whirlwind of thoughts and ideas to someone who has never experienced mania.  It is like being in a hurricane, protected from the wind and rain, but not the chaos.  How odd is that.  There are those who will read this post and say to themselves, “I know that feeling … I get it”.  At the same time, there will be ones who read it who say “that gal is as nutty as a fruitcake”.  But the reality of it is that I’m not nutty, or crazy or over the edge.  I am simply, at the moment, in a state of hypomania.

Manic stages are a part of my existence.  It took me a long time to realize that these episodes were, for me, part of normal life.  It is so abnormal to most people and they find it absurd on so many levels and simply, even if they try, cannot comprehend that the mind can warp at such a speed.  It is both fascinating and confusing, enlightening and disturbing.  I wish that there were words in my head to explain what I feel when I am in a manic state.  Though I have never tried cocaine, from the descriptions of those I know who have, it is similar to the feeling that comes when the hyperactivity takes over my mind and body and reality becomes blurred with fantasy; dreams become real and thoughts are not to be trusted.

I find it addictive, the feeling that nothing is impossible and all things are within my reach.  It is nearly a letdown when this feeling begins to ebb, which it must, if I am to survive; a disappointment to know that the chaos of my mind will, once again, become somewhat normal.  Being in this state does not change who I am at the core, but it changes what I am to the observer.  Try as I might, I have not found a way to harness the charge of energy that overtakes me and throws me into an atmosphere that is full of everything.  Again, to one who has never experienced such a moment, it is hard to explain.

Imagine being in a forest, a beautiful forest with the leaves alive and every growing thing beautiful with springtime in the mountains.  Now imagine that all the growing things have a personality and can interact, on a personal level, with actions and words. Being in a manic state is similar to that.  So much information.  So much stimulation.  It is like having goosebumps all the time.  Who doesn’t like goosebumps, right?  But constantly?  Not such a great thing.  But I am not alone in my experiences.   There are so many others who are in or soon will be, in the state I am in.   I count myself among the lucky ones that the manic cycles last only a few days as opposed to a few months, for I fear that I would really try to fly if it lasted more than a day or so.  Yes, I am one of the lucky ones.  But to those who live with this feeling day after day, month after month, I can understand how it would be so easy to try to find a way to put an end to everything.  To make it go away.  I spent one entire year of my life in such a state and am still wondering how I lived through it.   If it were not for the support of my family and friends along with the faith in my God that He would, eventually end this state of chaos, I could not have survived it.

There is nothing wrong with feeling this way, but it is difficult to function in a normally functioning world while in this place.  It takes extreme concentration and is, on every level, exhausting.  Knowing that there are others who face the same experiences is a help, but it doesn’t make living through an ordinary day any less stressful.  It is like fighting fire with gasoline.  The more I try to contain it, the more out of control it seems to be.  As much as the hypo-manic state makes me feel invincible, I am always glad to see it come to and end, for once again, I can feel normal in the sense of what the world deems normal.  I am different.  I don’t mind that. As a matter of fact, I embrace it, but being different has its limits and I am, almost always, happy when my thoughts slow down and I feel like I am, whether I am or not, in some modicum of control. I would not change my experiences for anything, for they make me who I am, but if it were in my power, I would change the perception of myself when I am not myself.  But life is life and I live with it.  And I’m not the only one.  That brings me comfort; knowing that I am not alone in my struggles.  I am encouraged.  And so a former blog post about encouragement comes full circle.  Nothing is as powerful as the sharing of life experiences.  It connects us all; I am not alone and for that, I am grateful.

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My New Year’s Resolution …

is to not make any resolutions.  It doesn’t matter what I say to myself on the eve of the the first day of a new year; life will come as it will come.  Things are stressful enough without adding to it unrealistic expectations and spur of the moment declarations.  There is more than enough on my plate now.  I find that the moments of quietness in my brain come further and further apart.  It’s not that I worry about things as I’m not a worrier by nature, but that there seems to be a revolving door of thoughts and images, ideas and dreams, revelations and memories that filter through 24/7.  Keeping up with what society deems to be important through material things and thought processes are as far removed from me as they can get.  I could make promises that I know, even as I make them, I won’t keep them, but in doing so, I am setting myself up for failure and, doing it on purpose.  I fail at what I attempt enough without doing it purposely.  But failing at something doesn’t make it a lost cause, on the contrary, it gives me insight for when I try again.  If I fail again, I will fail better and eventually, I will either succeed or gain better understanding of my limitations.

When I can see the things that failed in the past, trying again is easier because I know the things to avoid.  I understand more of what makes me tick.  It is a work in progress.  I can’t expect others to understand what I, often, have difficulty understanding myself.  I have failed at friendships, relationships, and many other things, but the only thing that will truly make me a failure is if I stop trying.  Once the will to try is gone, then nothing remains but to become a useless entity in the world.  I am who I am and will be who I will become because of the experiences I’ve had and the ones I have yet to experience.

The definition of a resolution is the act of analyzing a complex notion into simpler ones.  There is nothing simple about making a life-altering decision at the spur of the moment simply because it is New Year’s Eve.  Instead, it is irresponsible and self-deprecating to place unrealistic demands on myself that will plague my already overflowing brain with the  idea that I am not able to do what I vowed, in an otherwise magical moment, that I would do.

I want to experience that which I haven’t experienced and repeat that which brought me great joy.  I hope to see places I’ve never seen, visit places I’ve never been, find what I didn’t realize was lost and be there for the people who need me.  My life is a simple one, for the most part, and I can’t think of a good reason to complicate it with unnecessary static.

No, there will be no resolutions this year.  Instead, I will continue to take one day at a time and live it to the best of my ability, following the plan that God has for my life and relying on my faith to protect me from fear and indifference … and hope that, along the way, I am able to impact someone’s life by the one I lead.  Tomorrow is only lost if I decide it isn’t worth the effort and as long as I have breath in my body, the gift of life is worth the effort.

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