Category Archives: weird stuff

The obituary column …

is an essential component of living in the South.

Without it, life would take an incomprehensible and irreversible turn.

Every few days, my mom says to me “we’re going to the funeral home”.

The “we” is she and my dad.

I never know what’s going on so, as far as I’m concerned, it could be a relative or close personal friend.

Tonight, it was the wife of a preacher I’ve never heard of.

I don’t take the paper myself and even if I did, I wouldn’t read every word of every obituary looking for familiar names so I’d have a reason to go to the funeral home.

When I was a kid, growing up on a dirt road miles off the “main road”, the obituaries were read on the radio.

You late forty and older crowd, who live or have lived in the South, know what I’m talking about.

There was one AM station on the radio that was only part static and most words could be understood.

First came the Pledge of Allegiance, then the obituaries followed by the madly popular “Swap Shop”.

Since there was only that one discernable station, everyone around our parts listened to it.

They swapped hogs and chickens for mule harnesses and tractor tires, then met at the funeral home to talk about it because someone they didn’t know, who was a relative of someone they hadn’t seen in years, had died.

Congregating at the funeral home; it’s a Southern thing,  I suppose.

Or maybe it’s just a Southwest Virginia thing.

I think we’ll find, however, it’s broader than my little neck of the woods and call it a Southern thang.

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Over the weekend …

I had a total bipolar meltdown on my dad.

He was, at first, completely blindsided, and then perplexed.

I usually meltdown on my mom, who knows to just let it ride until the event is over.

But she wasn’t there and I was melting down in real time.

I think it was good for him, my Dad, that is, to see me as I have a propensity to be.

Totally crazy, on the edge of straight-jacket territory.

A mess.

I try to shield him from this side of me, because, well, at the risk of starting a riot, he is my dad and is, with abject certainty, a man.

Men rarely understand the astounding psyche of women.

Don’t roll your eyes and pretend to be insulted.

We know that maneuver.

Add bipolar to the mix and a total discombobulation takes over.

I love my Dad.

He is my, second only to Jesus and third to John Robert (who is dead, by the way), my hero.

A man who’s integrity I would bet my last dime on.

But he isn’t my mom.

He wants desperately to pat me on the head and tell me all is ok.

All is not okay.

I’M HAVING A MELTDOWN, WHERE IS MY MOTHER?

In my own defense, I didn’t say that.

I wanted to, but felt the ramifications would skew the effort to find out WHERE THE HELL my mom was.

So I cried, sobbed, made little sense while blindly clinging to my Dad.

I seriously doubt he will
ever be quite the same.

It’s a bit, I suppose, like trying raw oysters.

It sounds gross, but the rewards … well, they, by spades, outweigh the risks.

I hope, some day, to eat raw oysters with my dad.

A small, and yet ambiguous dream.

He hugged me while I was sobbing incoherently and told me he loved me, no matter what.

Major points for that.

Major.

Points.

Major.

Robert Frost …

has always been, since the very first time I read his work, my favorite poet.

He writes of nature and God and love and beauty in a way that I can relate to through photography of the creation he wrote of.

I especially like “Good-bye and Keep Cold” as I do love my mountain orchard …  feel free to visit this post regarding just that – https://ginamintonkearns.com/2014/02/05/my-orchard-awaits/ .

And “Stopping by the Woods”, well really.

When my daughter was young, I did not spank her or put her in time-out.

Instead, when she had committed an infraction, she wrote.

Robert Frost’s works.

At the time, it ticked her off to have to write this poet’s verse, but, because she hated to write anything, it had the desired effect in making her work harder in school in order to avoid writing; which she hated worse than any kind of poison.

She now attends college at UVa Wise and is majoring in music.

She wants to be a band director and I couldn’t possibly be more proud of her.

At this year’s commencement excercise, a reference to Robert Frost was made. Not only did she recognize it, but relayed it to her friends.

It was, whether it was meant to be or not, a proud moment for me.

There will be many things she will forget as she forges her path in life, but Robert Frost will not be one of them.

She is my crowning achievement, and I am astutely proud of her.

I have, along the way, lost many wonderful, intriguing friends because I was too much, too crazy, too something and they couldn’t handle it.

I certainly don’t hold it against them because sometimes “my crazy” befuddles me and I wish I could “unfriend” or “unfollow” myself.

I have a greater hope for my girl and pray the “crazy gene” has passed her over.

My brain is a mystery to me and it is too much to ask anyone, even the diligent, mystery solving, “I can figure it out because I’m brilliant that way” type to fathom.

Jesus knows it, sees it as it is, and loves me despite it.

Or mayhaps, because of it.

As I said, I’m good either way.

That, for me, is enough.

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I had every intention …

of blogging about driving around today with the convertible top down, the music loud and the wind in my face; of blooming trees and budding flowers, puffy clouds in a blue, sun-drenched sky and the perfectness of a warm April day.

But I just hung up the phone after talking to my mom and the things I previously held up in importance faded into the background.

She is a rock, a beacon, a lighthouse, a safe haven.

She knows everything about me, the things that shamed me and, at one time or another, shamed her.

In my youth, I hurt her deeply and couldn’t find within myself the knowledge or ability to make it right.

She knows of my dreams and aspirations and is always the first one to encourage me even as she puts her own dreams and aspirations on hold.

It isn’t easy to explain to someone that thoughts, images, words, experiences, memories and a myriad of other flotsam runs through my head, in a constant stream, even when I’m sleeping.

And that is when I am at my baseline and not in manic mode.

She takes it in stride without judgement or condemnation and, I have come to realize, did so even when I felt I was being judged and condemned.

Nobody can condemn me any more than I condemn myself.  It is the nature of my world and I live with it.

She knows, though, simply by looking at my face or hearing my voice ,when I am in the throes of mania or, thankfully more rarely, the despondency of a depressive crash.

She understands that sometimes, I have to go away; from her, from myself, from everyone and just be dormant.

She knows these things and doesn’t hold them against me.

There is no “well, you did this or that or the other thing”.

She isn’t like that.

She is patient and kind.

She is, without doubt, the Proverbs 31 woman.

I would like to be like her, but that is an aspiration that will never come.  It isn’t that my cup is half empty, but that I live, as much as I can, in a reality-based existence.

She is a light in a dark place and I migrate to her when I need simply to know that someone loves me unconditionally.

I tell her I love her, but how do you describe to someone that  you cannot imagine a life without them.

Unless I die first by some freak event, by the natural order of things, I will lose her at some point in my life.

I cannot imagine a world without my mom.

So I will put that with other things I cannot imagine into a box that lives in the outer-regions of my heart.

When I am manic, the box will break open and I will have to face the possibility, but for now, when I am am simply on overdrive, it is secure in the  little locked box.

She inspires me with her acceptance and encouragement and that, without doubt or reservation, beats blooming trees in springtime seen from a back road drive with the convertible top down.

I love you, Mom .

A houseguest

 

My Mother's Mother's bleeding hearts

My Mother’s Mother’s bleeding hearts

 

This is how she makes me feel ... cherished

This is how she makes me feel … cherished

All of that being said about my mom, I want to extrapolate to another area and  extend prayers and encouragement to a friend that I have long lost touch with.  She lost her son, the light of her world and is now lying among the shattered pieces of her world.  Keep Pam Begley in your prayers when you pray.  I cannot fathom losing a child.

 

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 🙂

When God gives one a heart of compassion …

it is understood that it will get broken.

There is no way around it.

I am still learning this.

I find that is is both  an honor and a privilege to watch the end of life come to pass.

It isn’t easy nor can it be considered pleasant, but it is a part of life that not everyone gets to see.

The living years is what most of us look for, find pleasure in and hope to be a part of.

But to be present when a spirit leaves this world is nothing short of amazing.

The last breath.

The last heartbeat.

The last moment.

I cannot help but cry for it is, in it’s way, very sad … and yet, when there was suffering, it is also a comfort.

I try, in my weak way, to console the ones left behind, but at that particular moment, there really are no words to say.

I can only be there, in the background, in the edges of the moment, to hold a hand or wrap my arm around those who need the contact.

I’m not, by nature, a hugger or toucher.

It doesn’t really come naturally to me as it does to true nurturers … and yet, I find myself being pulled into the emotion.

It is difficult, but I cannot turn them away.

Not in their moment of need.

Maybe I am weak. But if I can offer some bit of strength in their moment of weakness, then my strength has been made manifest.

I can do, for this moment, what I have learned through experience to do.  Not book experience, or clinical experience, but life experience.

I understand loss, especially unexpected loss that blindsides you and leaves you reeling from words left unsaid.

It is what it is and there are no do-overs.

It is enough to know that you loved someone while they lived in a way that they knew, unconditionally, that they were loved.

It is enough.

Move forward as you can, but whatever the cost, move forward.

To remain where you are, in grief and sorrow is the last thing in the world the one you lost would want.

Don”t be afraid to live.

If you aren’t afraid to live, then when your time comes, you won’t be afraid to die.

It is a circle.

Don’t break it.

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 …