Category Archives: Storms

I know you …

from another time.

A place not of our present.

I understand your insecurities and frailties.

I am your friend and yet you do not recognize me.

I will always be around.

In the trees, the wind and the constantly flowing river.

I am in the crashing tides and stormy nights.

When you are meant to find me again, I will be where you need me to be.

Being forsaken does not mean that I have forsaken.

When you seek me out, you will find me.

You are my friend.

When you cry out, I will hear you and I will come.

Destiny has spoken her piece.

Time will reveal her truth

I will be there in your dark hour.

Advertisements

Light, to me …

is much more than simply the absence of darkness.

I watch it.

I chase it.

I adore it.

The golden hour, and there are two, are my favorite times to be alive.

I didn’t take courses in photography, though I wanted to.

I learned through trial and error.

Light is unforgiving.

If I miss the perfect moment, it doesn’t offer a do-over.

It is Edwardian in its boundaries and doesn’t allow room for foolishness.

I love that about it.

It is constantly changing.

Sometimes, it is indescribable and others completely intolerable.

It gives what it gives; therefore putting the burden of catching it on my shoulders.

It keeps me centered.

It makes me yearn for something that, to a layman, is intangible.

As a photographer, however, I understand the language of the light and revel in it.

It is what fuels me, sustains me, makes me who I aspire to be.

I work as a nurse so I can be a photographer.

It is all I ever wanted to be and the light, inexplicably, seems to understand that.

I’m a child of the Creator and He has given me an eye for His magnificence.

I am, beyond description, blessed.

image

image

image

image

image

image

Light, in every season, in several circumstances and with unimaginable awe makes me fall, literally, to my knees in thanksgiving.

I adore and will, as long as I have breath in my body, seek the light.

It is HIS gift to me and I praise HIM, through photography, for it.

Amen.

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 🙂

It has been a long few days …

or has it been weeks?

I haven’t posted anything new.

No blog posts.

No photographs.

Nothing.

I have been in a holding pattern of sleepwalking, nightmares and erotic dreams that leave me confused, wondering and bewildered …

and all the while, trying my very best to make it, without losing my cool, through the seemingly endless days and eventful nights.

I have had patients cry on me, their families strike me, people pulling at my heartstrings which are linked directly to my tear ducts and during all of this, trying to find out if I am to blame for something I had no control over.

I wonder if I have severed a crucial friendship and have already began to mourn the loss of it.

I have a way of ruining beautiful things because I rarely feel worthy of them.

I have slept outside, sent messages I wasn’t aware of and tried desperately to hold it together.

A difficult few days, indeed.

But tonight changed all that.

It came a storm.

A big one, with lots of lightning and torrential rain.

Normally, during such an event, I would be set up on the porch with my tripod and camera, but this time was different.

This one wasn’t to be documented and photographed.

It was to set my spirit free.

And it did.

I stood on the porch with my jeans and t-shirt, getting soaked.

But as time passed, I wanted no earthly barriers between me and the blessing that God was giving me.

A cleansing.

A fresh beginning.

Letting the past be past and bygones be bygones and memories no more than a blip on my radar.

One piece of clothing after another was discarded until I found myself standing nude and vulnerable under the rain, with the lightning flashing, the thunder bellowing, echoing between the mountains and valleys …

tears running down my face.

I prayed to a God that I had decided had forgotten me.

He hadn’t.

I think He was just waiting for me to remember Him.

It was frightening.

It was freeing.

I was liberated from the hold this world had on me.

I was, for that span of time, one with nature and the God who created it.

I still struggle with the emotions and thoughts in my head, but He designed my brain and is well acquainted with my mindless and sometimes senseless ramblings.

He doesn’t hold them against me and so I won’t hold them against myself.

Not everyone believes in my God.  I don’t find fault with them.  I know what I know, they know what they know.

I can only be who I am and, despite all my faults, and they are many, I feel at peace.

And despite that, my friends who don’t believe in my God like me anyway.

I am humbled by that.

Just  as I accept them, they accept me.

With our differences of opinions and thoughts.

It is irrelevant.

Isn’t that what it was supposed to be like?

Love one another?

Are my thoughts still burning through my head? Yes.

Do I still sometimes feel out of control? Yes.

Do I have someone to share the thoughts and emotions with? Yes, and I am thankful for them.

Do I wonder if I am making the right choices? Yes.

Following Christ doesn’t mean that everything is just peachy.  In all honesty, it is the opposite.

I don’t do it right, I never have, but I hope to at least encourage somebody along the way.

And selfishly, I hope to be encouraged.

I wonder sometimes if I am nothing more than the punching bag of the universe.  I don’t mind it if it keeps someone else from suffering, but every now and then, it wears on the soul.

And then, an incredible storm comes, I stand in the rain, and all is right again.

The circle of life.

It is what it is what it is what it is.

It is what we make of it that counts.

So make it count.

a beautiful human, inside and out.

a beautiful human, inside and out.

what is it about dreams …

that seem to plot the course of the day ahead.

I have always, nearly without fail, remembered in detail and almost painful clarity, my dreams.

Sometimes they are of strangers and other times, erotic and provocative images and happenings of and including  people I am acquainted with.

Images that have no business being in my head are there and they tempt me to try to relive them in reality as well as in the dreams, of which I have no control, in which they were born.

I don’t make a secret of them.  I share them with the cohabitants of my dreams, often to my regret afterward, but nonetheless, I find that the ability to lie escapes me.

It doesn’t help matters that I, on occasion, am a blabbermouth and just blurt things out at random.  A curse and one of the things that, were I able, would immediately change about myself.

Those, I think, are more disturbing than the bloody, murderous ones for they are more realistic and leave me feeling vulnerable and exposed.

And then there are the non-dreams that are climatic in their own weird and distorted way.

I am certain, given facts that I am sure of, that I sleepwalked last night.

Things that were present when I went to bed were missing and no evidence, anywhere, of their disappearance, could be found.

I looked.

In the trash.

Under the couch cushions.

Under my mattress.

I know what was there and what is now missing so either I walked (and ate chocolate Nekot cookies) in my sleep, or there was an intruder who only wanted my cookies.

And who, pray tell,  breaks into a house leaving a priceless collection of vintage vinyl and takes only chocolate-peanut butter cookies.

Especially if they know me and know that I sleep with a very large cast-iron skillet capable of causing a serious brain hemorrhage or, if aimed just right, instant death

Nobody, that’s who.

So since the latter is improbable, I have only left to assume that I am, once again, up to my old tricks.

Walking and performing tasks, like eating, cooking and cleaning, in my sleep.

It disturbs me on some level that I do things in the night that I don’t remember.  It should disturb me.  It should disturb anyone.

But I know the cause, or at least I think I do.

For several weeks, as anyone who knows anything about me knows, I was manic to the point of being carted off by the men in white coats.

I thought it would never end and once it did, I missed it immediately.  That rush of feeling, the power of confidence that, in a normal state, I lack.

But one phase which lasts so long does not go without the alter-ego phase coming in to claim their share of the  psychosis.

I call it psychosis because what else is one going to call it … hyper to the point of explosion one moment and despondent to the point of mediocrity the next.

I live this every day, every week, every month.  One would think that by now, I would know what was coming next.

I don’t.  And people who try to pinhole me into their idea of normalcy don’t either and end up doing nothing more than pissing me off.

As do those who lie to me. Or make excuses instead of just being up front.

An omission or generated excuse is no better or worse than a lie and I put them all in the same bag.

I expect people to be straight with me no matter what and if they aren’t then they immediately lose their credibility and, as far as I am concerned are no longer relevant in my life.

I no longer listen to their words for they are, from that moment, nothing more than blather.  Filler because they can’t think of anything useful to say and therefore are useless to me on any conceivable level.

It is disappointing to me to think that I have friends who pretend to understand me only to find out that not only do they not understand me, they have no intention to.

Valuable time wasted if you ask me.

I try to conserve the space in my mind for those who actively want to be a part of my life.  I realize that I try too hard to make friendships sometimes.  I find people who pretend to understand me but have no real inkling as to who I am or what makes me tick.

It is a disappointment to realize that I have been, for lack of a better term, led on by their pretense.

But in time, all is revealed and life goes on.

I don’t hold it against the pretenders because in all essence, I have better things to do than hold a grudge.

But I will be more cautious in the future.  Once a manipulator, always one.

Funny, isn’t it, how they don’t see themselves that way.

Life. Goes. On.  and that is just the way of it.

I may be hanging, at times, by a thread, but in my mind, I am happy simply to be hanging.

Until next time, be well, be yourself and know that whatever you learn today will be most useful at some point (unless is is geometry and the jury is still out on that one)

in reality, what dreams are made of ...

in reality, what dreams are made of …

James Taylor sang …

“I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain …” he saw sunny days that he thought would never end.

I feel that way sometimes.

Like the sun will last forever and the foreboding darkness of an impending storm will elude me and deprive me of the comfort that only such an awe-inspiring event of God-created nature can bring.

I found myself today in the company of a family who was waiting for their mother to die.

I have spent an hour or so with them every day for the past couple of weeks and have come to know them, to care about them, to love them.

I’ve seen photographs of their children and grandchildren, of weddings and birthday parties.

I’ve seen faces with smiles that don’t quite reach the eyes because there was worry there.

A sadness.

A knowing.

A sorrow for what was to come.

I didn’t want to go into that room today.  I wanted to be a coward and take the coward’s way out and simply say that they were unavailable.

It would have been a lie, though, even if only to myself.

One that would settle smoothly at the time and then plague me in the wee hours as I remembered the fear, sorrow and sense of hopelessness on the faces that I was trying so hard to comfort.

So I went into the room I didn’t want to go in, sat with people I had come to know and love and waited with them while their mother took her last breath.

It was humbling to be accepted into this place of sorrow and grief as though I was one of them.

I have sat with them, held their hands, cried with them, prayed with them and now, I mourn for them.

It was obvious, when I went to visit them today, that the time was limited.  While I didn’t want to bring negative connotations to an already tense situation, I advised them to call any other family members who should be there to come to be with them.

Maybe I overstepped my bounds.  No, there is no maybe about it, I did overstep them.  But in my nearly thirty years as a nurse, I haven’t always played by the rules.

Sometimes I play by the heart, which often breaks the rules.

But over the years, I have seen death enough to know what it looks like.

I couldn’t live with the knowledge that there were ones that I had met and bonded with before that weren’t there now when the moment they had been dreading, avoiding, rationalizing, but knew was impending, had come.

I felt like a traitor.  Like someone who had come only to say that this is it.

The last hoorah.

The final moments of a life well lived.

I stood in the corner while the family stood around the bed, each one with their hand on the one they loved so dearly, as she took her last breath and left this world.

Before she did, she opened her eyes, something she hadn’t done in days, and looked directly at each one present; saying goodbye, farewell, move on, don’t cry.

Silent tears ran down my face as I watched them watch her as her soul departed from her ravaged body.

I remembered thinking how I wish my Jim had someone with him when he died.  And then I remember how much of a loner he was.  Even with me, he was alone.  I wonder now if he was glad that he was alone when he died.  Glad that he didn’t have to see the fear and sorrow on a face that would wish him to go on when he couldn’t, or maybe simply didn’t want to.

I don’t mourn him anymore.  I think of him and of the life we shared, but I have let him go.  He is a dear and well-loved memory, but not an anchor to weigh me down.  That can bring good to no-one.  And I believe it would sadden him if he thought that his death had broken my spirit.

I slipped out of the room, unnoticed, by the family.  There was nothing else I do, nothing else I could offer; no words I could say to comfort them in that moment.

Trying to do so would be futile and would, I feared, break the trust that they had placed in me to understand them in their moment of weakness.

I had given them my heart, which was now breaking for each one of them.  My tears won’t help them anymore than their own will.

I hope for them, this night, peace in the knowledge that they not only loved, with such passion, their mother, sister, grandmother, wife … but that she knew, with every ounce of her being, that they did.

I like to think that knowing that you gave everything you had to someone you loved is enough to sustain them at their last moments.

I will cry myself to sleep tonight for a family I didn’t know just two weeks ago, a family now broken and irrevocably changed.

I will photograph the living and mourn the dead.  This is the life, while I may not have chosen willingly, was given to me to live.

If my heart shatters a bit in order to bring comfort to another, then it was pain well spent.

I will live it the best I am able, deal with it when I can, falter when I can’t and then remember, while trying to remind others, that even when it doesn’t seem so, life goes on.

There isn’t, really, any more anyone can do other than the best they can.

And then, you move on, for if you don’t move forward, there isn’t any hope and hope is, and will always be, one of the most wonderful things life has to offer.

Without hope, there isn’t anything left.  So hope.  Seek happiness in the face of sorrow.  Find beauty in the midst of sorrow and disaster and know, beyond all else that hope is a good thing … and no good thing, as long as there are people who remember what was, never really dies.

Love is the most powerful of emotions

Love is the most powerful of emotions

soulful eyes

soulful eyes

I am not a fan …

of Mother Nature’s pranks … her dark clouds, whipping wind and errant bands of rain should not be allowed to play with my emotions.

It is, on many levels, unfair, to anticipate the power, brilliance and soothing qualities of a wild summer thunderstorm only to find the clouds whisked away; the sunlight filtering through, laughing and dancing as though it were there all along.

Dark clouds, upturned leaves in the wind, the enticing smell of rain in the air … these things tell me a storm is imminent.

I quiver in anticipation as I prepare to absorb the extravagant power of it.

The mood of it.

The overwhelming presence of it.

And then …

As though it never was, it is gone.

I hear many folks complaining about the rain.  I don’t complain about it, even when it threatens to wash me out of my valley.

I love the sound of it, the feel of it, the thought of it.

Add some thunder, lightning and wind and I am in my own personal Heaven.

Nothing, at least to my way of thinking, is quite so soothing as the sky split open by slashes of lightning while the rain falls; big, fat drops that soak the earth and water the trees all the way to their roots.  The sound of thunder, bellowing, rolling, rumbling is a beautiful thing.

It reminds me that I am alive.

That I am a part of, however insignificant, the whole of the world.

The sky, the grass, the mountains, the trees, the wind, the rain, the clouds … I am part of each of them and they of me.

For a space of time, we are one with one another and I am as free as the birds that inhabit the space between earth and sky.

It is hard to feel insignificant when surrounded by such incredulous power and energy that beats within my heart and soul and takes me into itself.

I am the storm.

I am the lightning.

I am the thunder.

For those moments when I am standing in the midst of the chaos, I am one with nature.

If there is a greater feeling than embracing the full fury and magnificence  of an awesome storm, I fear it; I’m not certain that I could bare the emotional and physical magnitude of it.

I’m content with the storm.  Nothing else is required.

lightning