One More Time

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3fefd514abe666a473ee2fea75bdc3caThree weeks ago if you had asked me how I was doing I would have told you, with a smile on my face and a wicked gleam in my eye, wonderfully. I was on a spiritual journey that was going to redefine who I was, what I believed about myself, and teach me the perfection this world holds. I understood three weeks ago that my muse would leave me, my darkness would return; but I also understood that I was on a precipice of something that only happens once in a life time.

I like to think that I am still on that journey, but perhaps these last days have simply been a detour to repair that which has been broken longer than I have been alive. Perhaps the journey includes these times of destruction, the times of agony that characterizes mental illness, or even shows that no matter how high our dreams may be there is still a very real reality.

Today I left the keys of my car in the ignition, with the car running and the doors unlocked while I went shopping with my two children in Walmart. Many may see this as a forgetful moment that ended well – my car wasn’t stolen. Many may see this as a desperate call for help. I see it as a rather small, and in the scheme of things insignificant, sign that what I had hoped was a spiritual journey was in fact the long and arduous journey in accepting who and what I am.

I thought this journey was going to be about empowerment, but I learned today it is going to be about simple recognition. I thought this journey would take me to places I had never seen and it may do that; but it will do that within the prison of my mind; the mental illness that can ignore the drugs it is fed as easily as it can ignore the love of those around me. I thought this journey was about forgiving myself but I don’t think I can ever truly do that.

There is one aspect of mental illness that is rarely talked about; the need to feel death and the need to give to death the permission it has been waiting for. Doctors, medical professionals, even those who profess to know mental illness miss one crucial component – there is a reason we are alive and there is a reason we don’t wish to be. Even believing that you are an expert, without knowing intimately the words those of us who have survived this long hear on a daily basis, you are nothing but a person with a lot of paper.

If you don’t know what it feels like to one more time hear the repetitive reframe encouraging the darkness forth, you don’t have mental illness. If you don’t know that voice that takes your greatest fear and whispers the tune of promise, than you can not call yourself an expert. If you have never felt the talons of an unmistakable truth once again turn to you who and what you are, you can’t help.

I wish that I could explain to others the fact that each and every one of us hear voices in different languages, in different dialects, and in different pitches. The words change, the sentences are formed differently, the notes accompanying the emotional can not be heard by the same two people; and yet the message is the exact same. For those with mental illness the melody flows through our veins to our ears, our soul, to our very breath – and it destroys us as easily as Cigarettes and Coffee. It takes while it promises a series of notes from the angels above.

There are days like today when I am not sure how many more times I can run through a cycle I thought I conquered. And each cycle comes with the illusions of success. There are times I don’t know how many times I can look at my children and determine that they need me; that I am not destroying them. I don’t know how many times I can convince myself that my children are safer, happier, and deserving of even my memory. At what point must we come to terms that the disease and the voices will eventually destroy the only love that keeps you alive? At what point is the loss eventually given help those we love the freedom to truly live? At what point do we realize that who and what we are, while still a mystery to those innocent minds, will one day become a resentful hatred or worse an embarrassment?

Who are we without mental illness; the truth is we can’t know. There isn’t a way to live without the brain sitting on your shoulders and still feel the world around you. There isn’t a way to cut out the darkness in order to only see light. There isn’t a way to feel complete without the mental illness that we live with; it doesn’t exist.

So we continue on this journey – no matter that for one day you thought it would produce the better version of yourself. We keep moving forward not because we want to, not because the voices convince us, but because rather than there being any hope we walk the world without it. Because you can live without hope, you can live without a realization that anything is worthy, and you can live without light. You can believe the unbreakable truth that your presence on this earth takes rather than gives and still live. There isn’t much choice.

I don’t know why I am still alive much less willing to continue on a journey that will take a lifetime and teach me so very little. I already know so much of the lessons this journey is suppose to teach, the difference is I am actually supposed to live the lesson. But today I will exist one more time knowing that the voices win more than they lose. I will live one more time knowing that it doesn’t matter what the experts say or what drugs are given, life is a series of repetitive realizations that you once believed could be changed. And no matter what, the journey will cycle and you will be here again very, very soon.

An Award

image13   I am not at all certain what exactly awards are supposed to accomplish except to make me feel better. As I normally ignore these awards, I decided that this time I would go through the steps simply to see what happens. It may be that journey I keep talking about that wants simple recognition for doing what I love. Or it may be that I finally realized the importance of someone recognizing your work and taking the time to acknowledge it.

I would like to thank Brighton Bipolar for the nomination. I am glad that you have found enjoyment or at least a small amount of amusement with my blog. Below is the Ten Questions.

Liebster Award Rules :

1. Thank the nominator for your award

2. Display the award

3. Answer the 10 questions provided and nominate 10 bloggers

The Ten Questions :

1) what is the most memorable book you have read?

It may be Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love. I am a great believer not only in discovering oneself but allowing others the enjoyment of watching you finally succeed. Under the Tuscan Sun was another book that accomplished this.

Because I read about a book a day, I actually have favorites of every genre and every plot twist. Get me on a who-done-it that I can’t figure out and I will become a life time reader of your books. Sweep me into romance with a little humor and I am yours. Heck, explain to me the greatest serial killers in the world, and as long as you describe them with an understanding of their past and who they were, I will read it.

2) what is the most meaningful comment that was ever said to you, and why? (it can be good or bad, meaningful doesn’t always mean positive)

Someone once told me I was wanted – and not in a sexual way. Nobody had ever said that to me; nobody thought it was something I ever needed to know. I am rarely important, nor am I really liked; I separate myself to much for that. But those words help to change everything.

3) if you could choose your career , what would it be?

My current career is a writer/mother. I apologize for my answer but it doesn’t get much better than that.

4) do you participate in a sport ? And if yes , what is it.

I have never and will never participate in a sport. I was the last one picked, I was the last one allowed on the field, and eventually I was the last one anyone wanted to see in a uniform. I work out (various cardio machines) consistently and along with my diet allows me to remain healthy enough to sit in this chair and type the keys.

5) what is your favorite holiday?

What I have learned in my years with this disease is that there are few people and even fewer holidays that can be described as in any way a favorite. I think when you suffer from a mental illness the continual assault of any holiday (except maybe Columbus Day) prevents us from finding joy. I love Christmas but not Christmas morning. I love Thanksgiving but not sitting down at a table with others. I even enjoy watching my children dress up for Halloween; but I hate the knocking on strangers’ doors.

6) what food would you love to learn to cook?

I don’t get much time in the kitchen both because my husband enjoys it and quite frankly I am usually doing something else (namely, writing). But if I could learn to cook I would want to cook something that someone I liked enjoyed. I wouldn’t want to learn to cook for me but rather for the enjoyment of watching someone else’s happiness.

7) what would you do if you had 1 million dollars?

Invest it. I have two Masters (Finance and Accounting). I have to by default invest it; I think it would be against the rules otherwise.

8) what is your favorite song and why?

My playlist literally includes everyone from Otis Redding, Cher, and The Hollies and Pink. I watch and listen to songs that move me; that take me to a place that I need to be in order to find the inspiration to type my next page. I don’t depend on others taste but rather simply my own need.

9) do you have an artistic hobby and would you be willing to post an example (art, poetry, prose, musical, …… Crochet, sewing, woodworking …. Something creative that you do for you , but wouldn’t mind sharing :)

I love photography and I worked with mix media to create things for my personal enjoyment. I don’t have enough confidence to share it, I am afraid. I don’t like much of myself and certainly don’t have any confidence in my abilities. I really am kind of sad.

10) if you could live anywhere, where would it be , and why?

I like to be alone but still with necessary supplies – taffy, sweet tea, even the occasional steak. I am not one who can live without toilet paper. I haven’t found the spot that is mine, the place where I can live. I am still looking. Mostly I am trying to find a spot that gives me the freedom of no time but also the anchor of strangers. I have never limited my choices to a certain continent or a certain state. I have always believed that where you are planted is simply a stop to the next place.

I reread some of these questions and I come across poorly. But the truth is I don’t like definitive answers about myself. Who and what I am is not going to be who and what I am next year. I will grow, I will learn, and I will fall. The journey should take you to incredible sights, both within and those out a window. And it should never, not for one moment, stop for longer than it takes to gather the courage for the next step.

Liebster Award Nominees :

lily pups life

themanicmonarch

diaryofabipolarsingaporeangirl

thisbipolarlife

brokendowndpt

savethelastbulletfor

rejectreality101

leolifeideas

shylittlepixie

proudlybipolar

Subject: Boundaries

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d436f79b6840be52eecf21be3c395207Boundaries. I hate the very idea of boundaries. Not because I don’t want them but because no one has ever taught me exactly what I am supposed to do to get one. I am not an imbecile, I know what a boundary is; okay I had to spell check it. But I do know. I have screamed louder in the vain hope of finally seeing a boundary and possibly learning how it works than those crying for their very freedom.

We are all a little bit delusional in this world; according to the scientists its to protect our knowledge. We all want to believe that this time is the time we will learn to set a boundary; we all want to have freedom unlike any we have ever deserved. We want to believe those doctors we find ourselves actually trusting.

And why are boundaries so sacred? Because they represent the same freedom others take for granted. To those of us trying desperately to learn about boundaries, they represent the word, ‘no'; it represents the right to state in no uncertain terms anything we need to say. Boundaries for me means being not what everyone else wants but only what I believe. Boundaries for me mean that one day it will be good to be me. Boundaries for me means the hits are finally too far away to reach.

I may have taken what many see as a simple line in the sand and made it a dramatic crisis we are all supposed to be aware of; sort of like knowing who won the Red Sox game. Many can see only that saying no is as simple as saying the word yes. Many believe that walking away from abuse is as easy as taking that first step. Many believe that getting over it is an actual possibility. Many don’t know the power of a two letter word.

But the subject of boundaries is a literal hope. When we find ourselves again accepting a fist, sex, those words; those words that destroy a part of us every time they are said we are being rejected and our boundaries with it. We will say not that it is okay, but rather that we simply have no idea how to say no. We will never admit the tantalizing belief in its existence; to do so would lead to belief that we might learn it. To some this will remain just another word; to some even the idea becomes the last thing you hold on to.

Boundaries are important; when they work it supposed to be like a really large horse farm. You are supposed to stand in the middle, and build structures to keep away anyone you choose. When it isn’t a matter of life and death, it can help you to maintain healthy and normal relationships and it can even help you to find forgiveness in someone else. Boundaries are amazingly important; but it isn’t amazingly easy.

I would love to sit here and tell you all about how I learned to define my boundaries. I would love to sit here and type the golden words to help you walk away from those who purposely can not see your boundaries; but the problem is, I truly don’t know. I don’t know how to tell a person I want this – and be taken with any seriousness. I don’t know how to let people know that arguing literally hurts me; I don’t even know how to tell someone how much I hate to be touched.

I don’t know what to do when a friend calls and asks for a favor. I don’t know what to do when my own mind has created an emergency situation where there is none. I don’t know how to look at my family and tell them that I don’t understand them. I don’t know how to set boundaries with my husband, a man I live with each and every day. I don’t know because no one has ever shown me how.

Building a boundary has to be the equivalent of building a subway through a mountain. It has to be that hard. But is it difficult because of the many explosions that must be detonated before a train can fly through? Is it difficult because there is no real blue print but rather a dream? Do others exist with boundaries? And how do they erect them to finally find the freedom every one of us needs?

I am supposed to be learning about myself these days. I am supposed to be changing and finding within myself the courage to be myself rather a person the rest of the world wants. I am supposed to find the key to my own soul without the destruction of expectations. I am supposed to find the answer my heart has been beating for so many years, but has been drown by the perception of my own reality. I am suppose to finally find my freedom.

And I know the building of boundaries are paramount to this progress. I know that I have look at my family and say no more; I have to look at my husband and say that isn’t how it is going to be. I have to figure out a way to present my own self to the world without listening to their comments whether the ones of kindness or the ones without. I have to figure out a way to be happy while ignoring others happiness. There has to be the courage to find my own self and the courage to finally admit to who that is.

But I don’t know how. I don’t know how to tell my husband – even though he is beside me each day. How do you create a nebulous idea that will selfishly bring your own happiness? How do you look away so that you can survive? How do you ask that your own convictions become more important than theirs?

I don’t know yet. Don’t know when I will know. I don’t know if I will ever be able to walk away from the thirty years of conditioning to finally be the me. Because it isn’t about change, it’s about expectations. Because it isn’t about asking, but demanding. It isn’t about nightmares, but the belief in hope and our own possibilities. The possibilities that few have ever had the guts to ask for. The boundaries lead to the possibility of all I could be; even if that means without the story I have already written.

Do We Kneel or Do We Walk?

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838ff4c0e074c5763266d2aab90bfaf6I hate lessons. I hate lessons from teachers who are reading a school approved book and then regurgitating it to me. I hate lessons from my mother who can’t, literally, give an answer that is less than fifty thousand words. I despise lessons from life, the unending acknowledgment that we are not what we are supposed to be but there are no necessary hints of how we get wherever we are supposed to be. I even hate lessons from my children who seem so cute but instead hide a brilliant and often disturbing minds.

In case you have missed my last posts I have been on vacation. I spent seven absolutely horrific days with my extended family in a house on the beach. You are going to have to take my word when I tell you that putting those people in the same location is not only unwise but bad for bystanders health. They are a people of jealousy, imagined hurt, and enough anger to make cookie monster’s love of cookies into a normal obsession. One wonders how I survived the week with only a couple of bruises.

Of course no matter how we wish it to be different life moves whether we are sitting on a beach or at home continuing our banal life. For instance, my husband’s company was bought out for 825 million dollars. Does this mean that now that I have settled in my world and am beginning all these new chapters – and there are quite a few – I am moving again? Does this mean my husband is going to get laid off and we are going to have bills and once again no way to pay them? Does this mean that we are going to end up better than we ever thought we could? And why the hell couldn’t you have bought the company for 824 million and given me the rest?

And since everything worth talking about comes in threes let me explain the morning I have had. I sat in a window seat with a horrible back pillow waiting for the one person I adore most to come out of surgery. She is an eighty-four year old woman whose past will catch up with her; but also the only person out of the billions of people in this world who actually knows what I go through. I got my condition – let’s sugar coat it – from my grandmother and spent hours and days listening to her stories to find my own way. I have survived and gained the recent courage for this journey directly from her veins.

So three things happened in the last week. And as we all know based on the latest news from Hollywood, bad things come in threes. I will be adult enough to admit none of the things I listed are all that bad. They certainly didn’t include starvation or murder – although it was close with the latter. No, it was life; it was my life. And one could argue that there isn’t any lesson to learn; I will always feel differently.

You see I have spent the last six weeks believing I was on some sort of journey. That I was learning to stand up for myself, I was learning that taking care of myself was worth the pain, I thought I was learning how to be me. I am many things, and of those things most we all can easily understand. But I have also known there was a part of me, a part of me terrified to emerge, that could and would color my world in the shades I never dared to believe were possible.

My journey was mine, and mine only. It was a lonesome, quiet and often time painful journey. My knees were getting bruises as I finally fell to the floor in the agony of letting go. There were prayers of bargaining, feelings of being possessed of a entity beyond my brain’s capability to understand. There were moments that I could hold my breath and finally answer the questions of what I wanted. I was starting to finally believe that I could be someone not defined. Someone that simply was.

I don’t know if that is still possible. These last three tests, while not major on anyone’s list, have reminded me that I am not in the middle of a journey as I believed, but rather just at the beginning. It isn’t over yet. It hasn’t really even begun.

Because I can’t sit among those that are supposed to love me and find in my heart the strength to walk away. Because I can’t look inward for the strength to conquer the next question. Because I can sit in a room and pretend that I am alright. I can don that mask and keep it on longer than it ever should be. I can hide in the midst so that no one sees me. And when one is supposed to be on a journey to come from the shadows the realization that you are still so deep in the forest as to be lost, there is a pain that will conquer even your most cherished belief.

I understand that I am in the dark. I understand that I have spent the last thirty years not trying to escape the dark, but rather to survive in some way in that dark. I have spent those years listening to those around me as they dressed me, cut my hair, took me to God, and ignored me every time I ever fell to my knees in sheer agony. I understand that there is this person, this amazing person who can do things to change the world deep inside of me. But I wonder if I keep having to fall to my knees and lose the path that I am trying to follow what is it that I am trying to find?

I freely admit that I don’t know a lot about this journey yet. I freely admit that I can’t predict what goal I have or where exactly I want to be tomorrow. It does not bother me that this journey is either devised by my own sub-conscience or at least my own God. What bothers me is the continual tests to see if I am ready. What makes each step that much harder is the knowledge that I might not make it, and the lessons of defeat are loud and clear not only in my soul but in the very skin that I wear.

If this was last summer or even the last thirty summers I can tell you without doubt that I would quit right now. I wouldn’t care that the possibilities were more enticing than any chocolate I have ever seen. I would simply quit rather than face another defeat learned only through the lessons of life. I would quit not out of fear or even strength, but because the need to be greater than I am would be absent.

Somewhere along the way that need, the need to be greater than myself, has overtaken all that I know. I beg for safety on this journey. I beg for the courage to not rest even for one day, and I beg for the strength to see that walking instead of kneeling changes your world forever.

My Soul is On Fire

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soulonfireIf you have never heard Anthony Hamilton’s Soul’s on Fire I sincerely encourage you to do so. I look desperately for songs that match the mood that I am going through; I look for music that can take me subconsciously to that plane that allows my fingers to fly without thought. I look for those notes, those refrains, that destroy all my thoughts regarding myself and introduces me to another person.  Anthony Hamilton’s Soul’s On Fire will do it for you. An R&B singer, Mr. Hamilton puts the soul in the soul and takes you back to the jazz and blues that once we listened to with so much pain.

I found this song when I found a small wooden sign that simply proclaimed, “My Soul is On Fire.” I realized that for the first time in this long journey that my soul is on fire. It is starting a journey that I may not survive, and inside of it is the pain, the lost sleep, the destruction of my past. Not the past found in a family, not the past found in the arms of a stranger, but the past found in the beauty of lost dreams and the simple days of darkness. There is so much pain in this world, and for me, a believer in the goodness of those around me, a believer that those who love me are in fact right there for me, the honest hope that exists for a friend, this world is a multitude not of disappointment but of moments of lost breath.

I have lost my breath more times over the pain, the darkness in this world than in the truth of love. I have bent my head in agony over and over each time I must realize that there isn’t anyone to hold onto deep in the quiet night. And I have failed to find the promised joy because of the fear that sits right on my breastbone. Some days there is nothing inside of me because of the pain this life has guaranteed that I will know; and some days there is nothing inside of me because I have spent days giving more than anyone should be expected.

In the song, Mr. Hamilton is speaking of a soul on fire, a walking away from all that is good, all that is honorable in this world. Mr Hamilton is acknowledging that he can’t make it a day more but he wants the prayer anyways. It is in many variations what we all want.

However much I like Mr. Hamilton’s song, and even identify with it, it isn’t why I bought the small wooden sign. I bought the small sign in a bid to remind myself that I am finding myself on this journey almost without my permission, that I am taking the steps that will transform my soul from what it once was to a soul that while not only stronger is in many ways more courageous. I need to find the ability to walk away from those who hurt me, even if it is a simple tear, and not feel that I am the one who has done wrong. I have to find the courage to be me, despite what others think, and be able to stand up for the person that I really am. I actually have to like myself. I actually have to understand happiness and contentment; a foreign concept that up until now I haven’t been able to personally define.

I wish I could explain what it is like to hate yourself. I wish that I could make you understand not the goal of this journey – because I don’t have one – but rather what must happen in order to finally hold my head high. I have hated myself, and everything about me for so long, I don’t even know if it isn’t just habit by now. What I do know, what I know deep in my soul, is that to complete this journey there will have to be a moment when I look around and take pride in who and what I am. Take pride in the stretch marks as much as the blemishes on my face; take pride in the wrinkles as much as the muscle definition. I am going to have to learn to accept not the pain of who I believe I am, but accept the person that I am becoming.

But how do I define this journey? There are those that say I don’t have to define something so personal, I simply have to walk the steps. There are those who will attest that there is no need for order and right – but transformation or not I long for it. I am the girl that cleans up the table for the waitress; I am the girl that cleans up the pain for those who do not want to shoulder it. I spend my days and even the hours right before dawn looking for order and understanding. I have spent my life looking for the understanding.

Sometimes I can remember that there is no such thing. There is no such thing as understanding this world that God has built and man’s own demons have destroyed. There is no such thing as being able to take something as simple as our solar system and truly understand the rhymes and rhythms of something so vast. There is no such thing as understanding while my heart beats in this direction the very woman who gave birth to me has a heart that beats very differently.

I can’t take this journey, write the steps on a spreadsheet and mark them off as I accomplish whatever it is I am supposed to actually do. I can’t take this journey and define it for the simple reason there is no definition. This journey doesn’t contain a list of points to mark off, it doesn’t contain a list of chores, or even lessons that I am supposed to finally understand. This journey doesn’t give hints as to what is next, and what world I am finally going to be called to defend. This journey does not allow me the luxury to prepare myself, nor does it allow me the luxury of giving to those around me the answers they are searching so hard for.

This journey could easily make me bitter. It could make me bitter because it doesn’t allow me to travel in a vehicle that I drive. It could destroy me, rather than build a new me, simply by taking my expectations and turning them into disappointments. Because the thing about personal change is that you are required to be personally courageous, especially when you feel that those you once believed in can’t believe in you.

This journey was tattooed on my soul and on my body years ago; I just never truly was capable of seeing it. In order to see what is right in front of you, what you need to know, you have to disregard all the beliefs that once you held.  In order to understand the vastness and the incredible beauty of a system of planets, you have to walk away from your own imagination; that belief you have held since you were five years old watching the stars while your mother dragged you to her latest need. You have to let go in this journey, because preconceived notions will literally destroy the powers that are trying to make you full. And that is about as easy as hiking Mt. Etna without oxygen.

On my body is tattooed the letters, “CSFL”. I have never wanted a tattoo that was an obvious message, because I knew it needed to change through my years. And just as I predicted this one has changed not only my belief in my own abilities, but my own belief in the soul that seems to burn so brightly.

Although not important, the letters mean, “Courage, Strength, Faith, Love.” It amazes me that I put love last, as if I knew that it was important but I recognized even years ago that it could not make me true; as if I understood in my infancy that love is simply an illusion we all wish to hold. It is there, it may even be important to you, but for me the things I need in life are my own courage and my own strength. It is the combination of these two factors that I know will finally began to heal me. I put it permanently on my body too many years to count and now, as my soul rages, I find that the need for those elements has grown to encompass my whole world.

I fear this journey, as much as I look forward to this journey. I wonder sometimes if I am not simply making more of this idea of a journey than is strictly necessary. I wonder if my belief in the importance of this journey is nothing more than what millions already understand. I worry that this journey I am fighting to understand is not about courage or strength, but simply an easy path to my own death.

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