There Once Was A Girl

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nightmareThere once was a girl that believed that clouds could come down and kiss her on the cheek.

There once was a girl that didn’t understand why she had to go to a church to believe something that was already there.

There once was a girl who trusted that when the darkness came, at least a night light shone.

There once was a girl who cared as vehemently as those around her cared for her.

There once was a girl who believed unicorns were real and true.

There once was a girl who believed there was a man out there, waiting patiently, for her.

There once was a girl who only knew one kind of love.

There once was a girl who had nightmares without monsters.

There once was a girl who believed that it didn’t matter how her hair looked, she was getting out of dodge ball anyways.

There once was a girl who knew what it looked like to be taken care of; and there once was a girl who knew that sometimes it was more important that she stand tall for herself.

There once was a girl who could close her eyes and see the world in front of her.

There once was a girl who breathed in the ocean air and knew that life was something to be celebrated.

But then this girl grew up.

But then this girl saw that others could not help because others could not feel.

But then this girl realized that love, while in many forms, came attached with strings.

But then this girl realized that faith wasn’t about a church or a man, but the belief in an idea that seemed so pungent to others.

But then this girl realized that there was no one to take care.

But then this girl realized that it did matter what she wore and who did her hair.

But then this girl realized that she would be dodging those red balls for the rest of her life.

But then this girl realized there was dreams to be found in the most unlikely of places.

But then this girl realized that being alone was the greatest gift one could give another.

But then this girl realized that the darkness and shadows can follow you through the light.

But then this girl realized that trust was a foolish man’s reality.

But then this girl realized that those that say love rarely ever know.

But then this girl knew that there was no one to know.

Then this girl died.

Then this girl gave up.

Then this girl finally found the trust, the love, the faith that had alluded her always.

Then this girl flew.

Then this girl touched the world in the same way she had always dreamed would touch her.

Then this girl smiled because her wings of silk could not rip.

Then this girl smiled because it no longer mattered.

Then this girl smiled because she knew she couldn’t hurt those she loved most.

Then this girl fell among the clouds and knew a simple joy.

This girl met an angel.

This girl found forgiveness for not being.

This girl found forgiveness for being only her.

This girl met an angel who taught her how to scream.

This girl found freedom in love’s only truth.

This girl found freedom in finally being alone.

And The World Stopped

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ghostI wonder if there others out there that can understand or have even felt that moment when the world stopped. Scientists everywhere will tell you it is an impossible event in a world they know little about. Mothers will tell you that the world can stop the second you look into your newborn eyes; those gooey, unfocused eyes without a natural thought behind them.

I would argue that when the world stops, when the world gives you that one glance, you should pay attention.

Sometimes when the world stops it feels like seconds, mere minutes. But in those seconds there are lifetimes, there are the enormous dreams of the tiniest fairy. In those seconds not only can the earth’s very routine change, but everything that you have and everything you thought you had can be altered.

These are the moments that take you by surprise even when the little voice in the back of your mind has been screaming. These are the moments that you swore would never be you. These are the moments that if you knew were coming would simply run.

I don’t know that many of the moments are happy. It seems to me when your whole existence and the path you were traveling changes, there isn’t much happiness. I have always thought the world stopping looks like something out of the Matrix movies; one person with their leg out, slowly but surely destroying everything. The world in this scenario isn’t the girl, but the destruction.

There are some who would argue that living through the most devastating of realizations is good for the soul. Makes you change your perception or gives God a chance to heal you. The argument continues that these moments are to be learned from, are to be studied, are to be applied. I would argue that if you have ever lived through a moment when the world stopped – there isn’t a lesson to learn.

When the world stops, our knees collapse even when we are standing. When the world stops there are simply no tears because the body’s ability to completely shut down all emotion is its own quest for survival; and that instinct is too strong. When the world stops all ability to see, listen, feel, know is eradicated before we breathe our next breath.

When the world stops not one simple thing has changed, but the illusion, that grand illusion, has changed. The paths haven’t gotten more rocky; the paths are now under water. The memories aren’t bittersweet, they are now false. The belief that you had in one another isn’t hurt, but destroyed in a way that ensures that your life will never make the same mistake. The person that you were, the person standing in front of you, is gone. No breath, no twitch of the eye, no legs to support. The person is gone and they are gone forever.

To me when the world stopped it caused all kinds of reactions; but at its heart it showed me in its stillness that everything I thought, everything I believed in, the people that I thought were, was gone. And when the world started again, that belief laid bare.

I once believed that people could be good to one another. I once believed that there was such a thing as a necessary lie. I once believed, deep in my soul, that who and what I was could be acceptable. I once laughed at the idea that my belief in God, in the very foundations he has always given me, could be taken away the moment the world stopped.

I always thought that even if people didn’t see eye to eye, they could listen and learn. Then the world stopped. I thought that who and what I was, while in no way understood, wasn’t destroying another soul. Then the world stopped. I always thought that people would talk about hurt rather than take it, or that someone of intelligence would recognize that there is no single fault line. Then the world stopped.

The world I thought I was living turns out is a lie. My world stopped and with that halt of everything around me I finally saw the truth. I finally saw the real. I finally learned that all of what I am is not what others see. I finally learned that there is a hole deep enough to bury everything you ever loved. Because the world stopped.

Is there any benefit in the world stopping and giving you a glimpse in the stillness of the truth of all around you? Is there any real grace in the knowledge that you are forever altered because of one second? Is there ever a moment, even with the world spinning, that you lose that moment?

I don’t like so many things in this world. Much of it I can’t change, and most of the rest it is simply my one opinion. But there is a third category: there are things in this world I always said I didn’t like but never knew I was staring in the face of over and over. There is a portion of each of us we hide, and there is a portion of each of us that is revealed. When the world stops that revelation doesn’t just become a part of our sight, it becomes a part of us.

Our thoughts, our illusions, our beliefs in the simple humanity of others is changed. The belief that the foundations you have always stood on were nothing more than one man hiding in a child’s game, causes things to change. The realization that the monster you see in the mirror each day can also be seen by someone who promised so much more, devastates. Learning that all those cold whispers in the dark of night others believed will cause the very life you lead to become taken by the faintest of winds.

The world stops because it believes that there are certain illusions that need to be destroyed. The world stops because it loves enough to get you down the complicated path to healing. The world stops because you are beautiful. The world stops, just for you, not so you can get off but so that finally you can see the colors in the afternoon sunset.

My world stopped. And part of me feels happiness. I learned things I can’t unlearn. And I figured out one special thing: the world may stop, and my world may change, but the journey while damaged isn’t over. Now it is my turn to learn. Now it is my turn to search for the things that will justify my existence. Now it is my turn to be more than what anyone else thinks. Not because they are wrong, but because the world has given me the opportunity and I am going to take it.

Tomorrow I Won’t Be Here

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64635780ef5eef7a75447291cf7b8d88I gave the address to my blog to a relative stranger. It is not a exercise I do often simply because on one hand it seems like the ultimate form of bragging and on the other, based solely on the topics I write, seems dangerous. What if what I write is misconstrued? It will be, there is no way for a person to actually get in my brain and read exactly what I am feeling; but this truth makes nothing easier.

I work hard to try and use full descriptions of what I am trying to say. Not because I like to hear myself talk, but because I want the reader to know that who and what I am, despite the fact we have the same disease, are very different. Our doctors may have diagnosed us with the same disease, they may have even given us the same medications, but there is no possibility that my disease in anyway matches yours.

I can see where this would be frustrating; it is why, to be honest, I rarely read much about mental illness. I like the poems and the cute sayings, but delving into the ups and downs of a specific person can be dangerous to me. I will start emulate those emotions; I will start believing those emotions are mine.

Yet I write a blog for the masses. The conundrum there might be confusing if I didn’t point out one single motive: the blogs that I write are not for the masses. They are a daily message, a daily fight for myself, a daily question that I have to answer in order to once again sleep. They are my journey through some of the toughest parts of this disease; the desire to make sense of a brain that long ago most gave up on.

I don’t tell people about my blog. I would rather some divine force send you to my blog at the exact moment that you need it. The words that I write that day will not only help me but will be able to give you that, “ah ha” moment life rarely affords us. My blog isn’t to teach you how to travel through this disease, I wrote a book for that, but rather takes a general premise and asks itself if it is the silence or the confusion that is leading the answers.

My blog should be taken at face value only. It should only be used in as much as you need it. If for one moment I say something that gets deep into your disease and shakes things up – I will simply smile. If I say something that angers you – I will simply smile. Because the point of writing about a disease so complex as a mentally ill one isn’t about the answers, those are easy, it is about admitting to oneself that the answers were there all along. It is about admitting that the weakness you feel is as real as the darkness you crave.  And it means that despite the fear of the one portion of your life you can not walk away from (your brain) you must live and survive with it.

The other problem with writing a blog and then giving out the address is there are times when I sincerely have no desire to write a new blog. For instance, these days I am writing a new book. Not auspicious in the course of things, it is still a journey that requires every bit of my focus.

Literally, my children get 10% of my focus and the rest is on this book. There is no time or desire to “fix” my marriage. There is no desire to play the game of families and be the little girl that is needed. When I eat, I am thinking about my characters eating. When I am falling asleep I am wondering about their nightmares. And when they come to the pivotal moment in the road where the book could go in any way, it is my concentration on the possibilities that neglect all those around me.

I can’t write a book and live. I can’t write a book and be the perfect person that you might want me to be. It is too all-consuming. It is too scary in its overwhelming thoughts. My characters have to be able to eventually say what it is I need them to say, but until the character and I work out how that’s going to happen – the war in my mind is what I live.

I recognize this going into most books, its why I don’t complete the majority of them. I can’t get so mired in the questions, because the questions don’t mean anything. I can’t find my strength to write about that which is so lifelike that I simply give it up. To date, there have been four books that have taken my life for long periods of time. And here I am in one again.

This means of course, that I won’t be writing on this blog as much as I do. I will be concentrating on another kind of writing. This means that I will not catch the news or see the latest movie or have any intention of fixing the relationships that others think are important. When I get in this world, the only world is the one I have made in my head. And it is the only world I will allow myself to reign in.

The only outside energy I give is to my children; they are the ones that deserve it. There are the ones that sacrifice the most when I am writing. And while to them it is an everyday, normal thing for their mother to be lost, they also know it isn’t their job to find me. The relationship that I have with my children was given to me by a much higher power than I will ever know. And I recognize this because there are very few children who can not only grow but survive in a world with a mentally ill mother. But they do. My children thrive. They allow me to be sick.

So I am sorry to all of you who just decided they liked this blog. I will be back, and as this story seems to be writing itself much faster than normal, I will be back soon; it probably won’t be today.  I take periods of rest with my blog, sometimes out of being so weak and sometimes because there is another story, other than my own, that needs to be written.

Right now, there is a girl who has it all, except the one thing she wants most. And she must determine the cost of happiness. She must figure out the price we each pay to hope for a new dream. She must determine in a world that does not allow us much happiness to began with, how she will ever live without it. She must determine why love wasn’t enough, when the world seemed to desire her to have everything else.

I will be back. I won’t forget my friends on this blog, and I won’t ever forget that there is special steps that we must take to together. Until then, try to keep yourself if not sane at least having a little bit of fun.

Love.

Inconvenience

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Tumbler - gntlmnatursrvceYou learn so many things in this little life. You learn the difference between inconvenience and inconvenience. You learn that having a splinter during a piano recital is not as big of a deal as having to throw away broken crayons while your five year old watches. You learn that having a child that literally can not stop asking questions is not as bad as that same child asking those questions in public.

You learn to cope with inconvenience, prioritize, come up with a game plan. You learn to deal with the stress, some days with a little more ease than others. You learn that life happens even when we are closed down in our own worlds; and you learn that finding that moment is as impossible as flying over the mirrored lake.

This week I have been over-thinking the concept of contentment and in some ways happiness. I have spent days now allowing the image of happiness to warm me and the knowledge that my contentment is an illusion that I play on myself. This week I have determined that I have no knowledge of contentment because I have never felt contentment.

This of course leads to about a thousand other questions that I will allow your own brain to travel to. It becomes a cycle, this over-thinking of one topic – until you end up at the exact same place you started – nowhere. You can imagine what contentment is, you can read the words of the greatest writers of all time, and/or you can simply ask those around you and yet, you end up where you started.

These kinds of questions are supposed to be good for the soul. I find them inconvenient. I read a quote once that said that even God wanted us to question everything, he didn’t design us any other way. Not being a devout anything, I always figured this was just an excuse or even permission to do what I have always done; question.

Most of my questions, at least at this level – and we are talking maestro level here – come from an outside source. The questions and the ideas are not born within me but rather slowly become a part of me as time passes. They are the questions that monks are charged with answering as they grow to be the most spiritual of men. They are the questions that geniuses have used to begin to explain the mathematical wonders of this universe. They are the questions that most people avoid, because recognizing the truth – that you don’t know and may never know – upsets the soccer mom image that we all seem to think we should obtain.

I am not here today to write about contentment or the lack of it in my life. Instead I have a burning desire to talk about inconvenience. It is possible that the two are linked in someway in my life, but I prefer to think that one is simply a product of the other. The exhausting search to understand contentment in my life has led to great inconvenience.

I am a person who often thrives on major upheavals. Don’t be fooled, once that upheaval is done I retreat so far into my shell it’s amazing anyone is convinced that I am breathing. But I handle life’s troubles especially when they don’t have a lot to do with my mental state. Need to move quickly – I can pack fast. Need a new couch – I can get it at a discount. Need to find the time for your own self – let me leave and do another errand. You’re broken, I got glue.

This morning I woke up in much the same way I always do – I slowly, creepily wake up and then lay in the bed for as long as my life will allow me to.  It’s a process, its my process. The moment I touch my feet onto the floor however, all bets are off. The questions come, the answers are needed, and the person that I don for the day is woken.

This morning when I woke up, as I always do, I realized that this question of contentment was taking much more of my time than most anything else. I realized that I was thinking, feeling my way through this morass of an idea that I know very little about to the exclusion of most other thoughts. And being the person who has about ten thousand thoughts consistently running through her head – in multiple voices – we are saying something.

I can’t get out of my head the idea that not only am I not content, I don’t know how to become content. I don’t know the end of journey any more than I know the beginning of the journey. I am sitting here, feeling my way in the dark, and yet my feet aren’t moving to any acceptable understanding. And it is inconvenient.

So today, I did the one thing I know how to do; I started a new book. And this book is about – wait for it – finding contentment, understanding happiness. I had written another book earlier about a character who had to learn to see the beauty in life, and I have decided to resurrect her (in a different way) and allow her to lead me to some answer.

Often this is my best writing. When I don’t know where the characters are going, the stories they will tell, or even where the book will take place I am allowed to map the next scene much like you would a diagram.  The main character asks a question, there is some workable solution if not answer that leads directly to the next question. And so on.

The goal being that at the end of the book even if I don’t have the answer I was looking for, I can finally admit that I have explored the question more thoroughly than I did my child’s hair because of a lice outbreak. That is what my books are like; no ending at the beginning. No answers before all the questions are asked, and no knowledge of who will be asking those questions until all others are accounted for.

But it is inconvenient when I decide to do this. For instance, I wrote close to two thousand words today (not counting this blog). I got a good start on the book and will continue tomorrow. But there are things I won’t be doing because of this need: I won’t be running errands – like finding my mother a present – or exercising or cleaning or doing the laundry.

It is all inconvenient. And what is almost worse is because I don’t have time to myself, because I don’t have a space that is actually mine, the work that I do is inconvenient to those I love as well. My all-consuming need to write down a problem until I find the answer takes me away from my child’s questions. It takes me away from the packing and the gathering I am supposed to do for this move. It takes me away from the person I try very hard to be – somewhat normal, put-together, and even though my children don’t play soccer, someone that looks close to it.

I will continue the journey, simply because I don’t have any other choice. I will continue to write two to three thousand words a day and then another thousand here on some new topic. I will do it because I have to. I will do it because I am compelled to. I will do it despite the inconvenience. Because sometimes the question is much more important than the life you are only pretending to lead.

Tomorrow

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Julia Leigh PhotographyHeavy thoughts will still need to be examined but tonight let’s just give ourselves permission to breathe.

Tomorrow we will pick up the mantle of disappointment, of anger, of frustration. Tonight is for the sweet dreams of impossibility. Tonight is for the moments of hope that will never be. Tonight is for the laughter that isn’t real.

Tomorrow I will try again. Tomorrow I will remember that those dreams I hold onto so tight aren’t real. Tomorrow I will remember that happiness, that love, that faith is an emotion for those who do not suffer reality. Tomorrow I will feed the demons and close my eyes in anticipation of their voice.

Tomorrow I will once again bring death inside.

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