Category Archives: weirdness

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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Freaked myself out a bit …

by revisiting Twin Peaks on Netflix.
That Bob dude gives me some serious willies.

The last time I watched the series was years ago, and with a friend.

This time, it’s just me and I’m pretty sure Bob is hiding out in the extra bedroom.

It’s not really a bedroom at this point; more a glorified storage room/closet/abyss.

I have plans for that room, but now that I’m convinced Bob is in there, I have a legitimate reason to procrastinate.

Not that my previous procrastination reasons weren’t legit, but we’re talking Bob here.

If one has never seen Twin Peaks, then one has no clue what all the fuss is about.

Luckily, Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Cooper (played by Kyle MacLaLachlan) makes closing my eyes at the “Bob parts” tolerable.

I say that even though I have never and will never be a fan of cherry pie.

And, since David Lynch is a bonified genius, I feel honored that I’ve been creeped out by the best.

(it would be embarrassing – though  sadly, it has happened – to be creeped out by a loser).

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Five years later …

or nearly so, I am still sorting through my late husband’s things.

I should be past overpowering sadness by now.

I suppose I am, mostly.

But being a writer and photographer hinders that absolution.

Just when I begin to ascertain peace in my life, words intervene; I write about him and tear those nearly closed wounds open again.

It is as though he died this day, this moment, this hour.

Sadness seeps through the crevices the words carve.

Normal humans move forward, live their lives, make something of themselves from the shattered remains.

I want that, too.

But I’m a writer.

I’m a photographer.

I keep tearing those wounds, just as they’re healing, open.

I love writing about everything and photographing God’s perfect beauty; but it has a price.

I pay dearly through my words for they rip open wounds I’ve desperately attempted to close.

I bleed, painfully, and use photography to heal me.

Each image I capture stitches the brokenness and, simultaneously, pours remembrance on not quite yet healed hurts.

If one is not an artist of some kind, time will ease your pain.

For the rest of us, those with creative pieces in our soul, time simply laughs.

When the words, melodies and images are in our head and heart, there is little time can do.

What it can do is soon undone by what we are.

Sadness is my destiny, peace my hope.

And yet I write.

I photograph.

My hope is great.

My healing never really comes.

I have to ask myself if I would be willing to sacrifice my writing and photography for peace.

No, I answer.

I can live without peace.

To live without words and images would truly and altruistically destroy me.

That which brings me sadness will fuel my hope.

I am a writer and photographer.

Therein lies my hope.

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Guilt …

is something I am well acquainted with.

I grew up on it.

It was my parents’ first line of defense.

Even when I was innocent, they had a way of making me feel at fault.

At fault for what?

Having sex when I wasn’t, my total incapacitation with math, the hostages in Iran?

It made no difference.

I was, for whatever the cause, to blame.

What matters is that I was too weak in my spirit and confused in my mind to argue.

So I went along.

They didn’t understand me.

Nobody understood me.

Nobody at that time really knew anything about bipolar disorder, or, as it was called then, manic-depressive disorder.

I knew I was different, but was made to believe, as everyone else did, that I was a rebellious teenager with a bad temperament.

I slammed doors.

I cried.

I drank.

I cut myself.

I was the epitome of a sufferer of Manic-Depressive disorder.

I had no control and yet was expected to exhibit control.

That is messed up in the purest sense.

I owe one doc my life. He recognized my plight and got me help.

He is one of my heroes.

Thanks, Jerry.

That was a long time ago.

In present day …

I believe Bi-Polar, one of the now-accepted terms, is a bastardization that allows people who have ups and downs now and then, to name themselves so they can be cool.

It let everyone into the nut club.

A place that was, when it wasn’t cool to be ‘bipolar”, only for those thought to be crazy, different, outcasts, criminals, nuts.

Now, however, you aren’t cool if you aren’t either bipolar or gay.

If I were gay, I would take exception to that, but I’m not gay.

I’m just crazy.

I hear rational people who exhibit no signs of affective psychosis , another PC name, proudly proclaim themselves as such.

Bipolar, that is.

Who are these people? These wanna-be’s who haven’t a clue.

They pretend to be psychotic and then turn it off as if it’s water.

I inwardly laugh just before I curse them with the single exercise of  spending a week in my head.

A day would be sufficient, but a week would make them catatonic or institutionalized.

A win, either way.

There is nothing glamorous or popular about suffering from manic-depression and if one thinks so, then they are pretending to so they can either …

fake being in high gear for the sake of getting attention …

have an excuse to be sexually promiscuous; if I may say, if it is real, the sex is unimaginable – (y’all know what I’m talking about) …

or find no fault with jumping out of the high windows on buildings because they know they can fly.

The alternative side of that msnic high is crouching in the bathroom with a razor blade, or cutting or purging or a million other coping mechanisms.

They forget that side while they are being manically cool.

Glamorous? NO.

To those who know what is real,
hang in there and fight.

To those who pretend to know what it’s like just to be manic-depressive, just shush.

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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

Madness …

almost always comes as a surprise.

We know we are different and unusual; difficult to tolerate even during good days.

We know we have odd tendencies that ostrasize us from the general population.

We do things that are out of character and can be hurtful, even though that is not who we are, to others.

Others we love or care about; or think we do anyway.

I say we because it is more comfortable than saying I.

I take responsibility for my madness even though it often happens without my knowledge.

Some of the world’s greatest artists and thinkers were mad, so I am in good company.

But being in good company doesn’t relinquish nor excuse the madness.

Sometimes it feeds it.

But being so, mad that is, leads to one place … a solitary life.

Who, after all, wants to be associated with madness.

Everything isn’t always as it seems, but judgement is swift.

The world will never understand who we are.

You are.

I am.

Madness.

It is a lonely place to be.

But it is, at the end of the day, a place I recognize.

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                       forgotten

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.

 

In order to recognize an imposter cat …

it is important to understand what a real cat does.

Real cats chase mice, keep spiders away, keep all rodents from invading the home front and bask in the sun when they have the chance.

They climb trees, chase butterflies and practice pouncing on anything that looks pouncable.  (disclaimer:  pouncable is not a real word, but worked in this post so I made it up and used it).

It is also good to know the difference between inside and outdoor cats, real ones, not the imposters.

When dealing with imposter cats, cat rules and regulations apparently do not apply.

I have learned this the hard way.

Inside cats shed their downy fur onto everything … furniture, inside the refrigerator, the sink, underwear drawer and everywhere else that isn’t covered in plastic and securely duct-taped.

Outside cats are different, but not in a big way.

Real outside cats rub on the porch, scratch the railing making it look mauled and walk up and down across both the front and back window of your car leaving muddy paw-prints as evidence.

And they don’t care that they leave evidence because they are cats and cats are immune to human fallacies.

They will urinate on your vegetation and cause it to either stop growing or grow into something that isn’t of this world.  It is quite the phenomenon … the results of cat urine.

They will become accustomed to being fed at certain times and if not accommodated, will scratch at the door like dogs.  (don’t tell them they act like dogs though or you could easily lose an eye).

They will chase other cats away if any should show up at your door by hissing and chasing, thus making them look like real cats who do cat things like chase mice.

When you see the first sign of mouse droppings inside your house, you will know that your outside cats are not on the job.  For further proof, watch the food bowl.

Imposter cats will sit and watch birds eat their food.

Birds.

Cats.

Cats watching birds as they eat the food they scratched on the door for.

What Brigadoon have I fallen into where this kind of thing happens?

I didn’t ask for these cats, they just appeared.

I don’t have the heart to see them  hungry, so I fed them.

My mistake.

Now I have a horde of furry creatures that look like cats but don’t chase mice, let birds eat their food and put their paw-prints all over my car.

Imposters, one and all.

I would call the dogs, but the cats are laying against them to keep warm.

What, I ask, is the world coming to?.

What, indeed?

Hello.  I’m Yellow Tom.   What’s your name?maternity_crystal-132

Friendship comes in many forms.friendship

Birds fighting over cat food.thebirds

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.