On This, The Occasion Of Your 39th Birthday

It’s your birthday today.
You would have been 39.
And on June 30, I will turn 39.
You will be forever younger than I am.
You will be forever 38.
And 38 isn’t old at all.
You were always supposed to be 8 days older.
Ha ha, you get the last laugh.
Is there WiFi where you are?
Did you see what Adam wrote for you.
He’s an amazing writer,
Much better than I will ever be.
But you knew that.
He’s your soulmate, after all.

Your name is still in my phone.
That’s ridiculous.
But it’s still there
And it probably always will be.
Because “Call me any time!”
Was the last thing you said to me.
So I keep your number in my phone.
Just in case.

Did I Mention I Got Published In MARCH? Obviously Not. Sigh.

Oh my lordo. Squirrels. I completely forgot that I didn’t put this up HERE when it was published back in March. Because let’s face it. I can get a weeeeeee bit scatterbrained at times. To say the least. Ahem.

Anyway, here’s a piece I wrote for The Establishment, a magnificent online publication that is skyrocketing in popularity due to covering some extremely serious and important issues. I was proud and honored that they chose me to be one of their contributors. Here’s the link:

See Me: Fighting The Invisibility of Mental Illness

I’ll be back soon, since the political arena is so fraught with issues that I’d love to address, and I promise some well needed silliness as well. I have loads of stories about babysitting the kidlets I live with, including snippets like this:

Me: SMALL. Put down the iPhone and get your buns in bed. Please.

Small: I dropped it.

Me: So…pick it up?

Small: I dropped it behind the couch.

Me: WHY…HOW…What were you even doing in that ROOM?

Small: You’ll never get it out.

Me: WELL NOW NEITHER WILL YOU. Wait. I am the adult.

Small. Mmm.

Me: I’m getting the crowbar.

So that’s why I was wielding a crowbar behind a couch. And I didn’t even swear in front of little ears. Cause they totally would have ratted me out.

Longer post soon. See ya!

 

 

Achievement Unlocked

Friends, I have been on such an emotional roller coaster today I feel exhilarated and also slightly nauseous. Also, is is “nauseous” or “nauseated?” I was taught that one finds something “nauseous” but is “nauseated” by it. Let me know in the comments, if this little quandary of mine isn’t nauseating you.

I just wrote a whole paragraph about the semantics of being pukey. Let’s quickly move this along. I promise this post gets better.

SO. Yesterday, things happened. Political things. Big ol’ political things. If you know me personally you already know my leftist ways, so I will say one thing about politics and then we will merrily roll along, because let’s face it, there are so many political thinkpieces being churned out on the internet today you’d think people were actually being paid for them. So here’s that thing.

United in blue, no matter who.

Okay, that’s all I wanted to say about that.

Yesterday was also a banner productivity day for me. In the midst of juggling both “The Bachelorette” and primary results viewing, I managed to plow out 2.460 words of my memoir. That’s 2,460 words more than I had before, which was 0 words, and that isn’t very many at all. So yay! Many words were written! I felt pretty spiffy about that. Of course I’m currently writing a blog post instead of writing many more words of my memoir, but that’s neither here nor there. I wrote, and it was very difficult stuff, and I will be discussing it at length with my therapist tomorrow. I love my therapist, who knows me from way back, since she is part of the outpatient program that I have gone through… four? No, five times. Because I enjoy being difficult. So she knows when I’m bullshitting her, and when I start over-intellectualizing instead of being emotionally vulnerable, and when I’m really making progress. She’s a good egg, and I’m lucky to have her.

Today began with an impromptu college reunion of sorts with three people I haven’t seen in almost two decades, and it was surreal in some ways and familiar as if we just saw each other in the performing arts building yesterday. It was touching and funny and just…four people laughing over coffee the way we could have done in 1995 when we started at Emerson College. It was a testament to my therapy and meds that I was able to go  at all, because it involved driving almost an hour to get to the meeting spot, in a town I had never gone to before, and being social for almost two hours. A year ago I would have ignored the invitation. Six months ago, I would have come up with an excuse and continued to hide away in my little Hobbit Hole of a room. I would have been sad, for certain, but would have talked my way out of it. Mental illness is crafty that way. It can convince you that it’s your best friend, lover, and the only thing in the world that understands you. Mental illness can wrap you in a blanket of fear and convince you it’s the only safe place to be.

Because it lies. As Jenny Lawson, famously known as The Bloggess, astutely says, depression lies. Oh how it lies. All mental illnesses lie. Because they want you to be alone. When we’re alone with our illnesses, they become our entire world. They lock the doors, shutter the windows, turn off the lights and convince us that this dark, lonely room is the entire world. They thrive in solitude and darkness, gaining strength that they suck from us. Psychic vampires feeding on our minds and hearts, draining us of feeling and light and hope. Growing strong with lies and fears that they drill into our minds. Because if they can keep us in that dark tiny room, it’s easier for us to forget the rest of the world.

I have lived in that room. I still do, when I get tired and feel vulnerable, small, and sad. When I know what I’m feeling isn’t real, but I still can’t convince myself to fight it. The fighting is what keeps me alive, but I’m so damn tired sometimes. Do you get tired? It’s okay if you do. We all get tired sometimes. But sometimes we get a rush of bravery and go have coffee with old friends. Or we get brave enough to speak up when someone is telling us what we should think or do. Or we get brave enough to go outside, or open a window. Or simply get out of bed. When we do things like that, the mental illnesses lose a little of their life force. Sure it might come back even stronger tomorrow, but not right now. And that’s good enough for me.

not-today-bird


This Is An Antidepressant: A Rebuttal

Much has been discussed about this meme, and boy howdy do I have things to say.

No, this MEME is shit.

No, this MEME is shit.

What a…let me gather myself here for a second.

WHAT A DISGUSTING, DANGEROUS BULLSHIT THING TO SAY.

I am here to tell you, and with lots of righteous anger (I’m talking some Sam Jackson righteous anger) that this meme is what is wrong with the way a lot of people think about mental illness. And shit like this has got to stop.

There is nothing wrong with getting out of the house and fucking licking a tree, IF THAT MAKES YOU HAPPY. Personally, I have to remind myself every day to leave the house at least once. Some days, I have to remind myself to do other things, like leave the bed. And if I leave the bed, to shower. And eat. And breathe. Some days I go flouncing out of the house with my hair and makeup done and I have myself a perfectly acceptable day. Other days it seems like I weigh a million pounds, and all of those pounds are CONCRETE and there is no way I even have the motivation to turn on the goddamn Food Network because that is the only goddamn channel that guarantees to never make me watch the horrors that are going on in the world and the worst thing that will happen is Guy Fieri is on fourteen times in a row.

Some days are good. Some days are bad. But you know what? Every day, no matter what, I at least take my meds. Because we all know what happens when I don’t take my meds, don’t we, my beloved squirrels? Yes, bad things happen. Very very bad things happen. So I at least choke down my meds. And if I can choke down my meds, maybe I can sit up, and if I sit up, maybe I can get up. And everything is gravy after that.

If you don’t have to take meds, that’s wonderful. Good on you. But never, ever feel ashamed or bad or wrong for taking your meds. Know that we who have to take meds are doing it so we can stick around for another day. And that’s important. That’s SO important and never let anyone tell you otherwise. The stigma against meds helps keep us sick and in the shadows, and I am sick of it. I want us to shout about how we love ourselves enough to keep our bodies living for another goddamn day, and that day might both suck and blow, but at least we’re around for it. By opening our eyes we WIN. We win against the demons that live in our heads and all the forces that want to keep us down. We win against people like whoever was so bold and brass and IGNORANT to make this STUPID MEME that wants to keep us down.

And we don’t have to take it anymore.

We can fight the stigma. Some of us yell and scream and go to rallies and volunteer and work and hold jobs and have families and can pass as “normal.” Some of us reach out from under the blankets in the morning and fumble for our meds and take them and go right back under the covers. Some of us can’t even do that. Some of us are in psych units and rehabs and jails, some of us are so lost inside our minds that inside is all we know anymore. And most of us are somewhere in between all those places. But you know where we aren’t?

We’re not in the fucking ground. Not today.

So fuck you, meme, and fuck you, whoever made this meme and patted themselves on the back for it. Some people are extremely sweet and diplomatic about their rebuttals to this bullshit, but not me. I’m furious. Don’t worry if it scares you. I’ll be furious FOR you. And if you feel small, or invisible entirely, or ashamed because of this meme? I’ll hold your hand and do whatever I can to prove to you that this meme is wrong. It’s wrong. Not you.

This meme is wrong. Not you.

If you can go out into the sunshine today and that’s enough? Wonderful.

If you can open a window and look at the outside and that’s enough? Wonderful.

If you can reach out into the darkness and take your meds and that’s enough? Wonderful.

But don’t ever think whatEVER you do to stay above ground today isn’t enough.

It’s enough.

We’re enough.

We’re still here.

And that’s enough.

That's better.

That’s better.

 

Post-Traumatic Media Disorder

Today, I was invited to a group on Facebook that had someone’s name in the title in such a way that it made my heart drop. Before I realized what it was (nothing bad, something lovely, actually) my heart dropped and I stopped breathing for a second. Please, no. No, don’t let this be another memorial page for someone I know and care about who was suddenly dead. That’s what I immediately thought. Dead. Someone’s dead. Someone else is dead, oh no, no, please not again.

Not again.

This summer I lost people. I lost far too many people. One minute they were there, and the next they were gone. I cried too many tears, screamed into too many pillows, cursed and threw things and finally went numb. But when that FB notification popped up, everything came flooding back. Not. Again.

That jolt of terror is the same one that I get when the news breaks into regular programming or if I see a plane flying too low. It’s the same jolt I feel when a door slams or a car backfires. It’s classic PTSD, of course, but in the age of 24 hour media, when “RIP” suddenly pops up on your newsfeed without warning, or “This is a CBS Special Report” interrupts Judge Judy, even if it’s something as dumb as the stock market closing low, I feel like I’m going to throw up. This is the age we live in, and this is how we get our news. In 140 characters on Twitter. In a status update. In a special 24 hour news channel “this just in.” It’s instantaneous. Gone are the gentle phone call chains where the person on the other line tells you to sit down before they tell you what happened.

I was on the phone last night with a dear friend who lost a loved one this summer. When it happened, I told him that his stoic exterior would crack sometimes, and it would come out of nowhere. He told me that a song made him crack that day. And that was so normal, I told him. There was nothing wrong with that. And it wouldn’t be the last time that happened. And that it was okay.

I cracked too, when that FB message came up. I gathered myself very quickly, and again, it wasn’t a bad thing, not in the slightest, but after this summer, I’ve kept my loved ones closer than ever. I can’t tell you how many times a day I ask Holden if he’s okay. Because I need to know. How are you? How are you feeling? Do you have any pain? How are you mentally? Do you need any support? Are you okay?

Are you still alive?

That’s the big one. If I don’t see someone for a while that I’m used to seeing on social media, I hunt them down. I send search parties. I tell people they can always call me, always count on me, they can text me at 3 AM, just promise me you’ll stay alive. I’ll do anything if you just stay alive.

I was talking about this in group therapy a while ago and the moderator said “You must think you’re awfully all-powerful if you think you can keep everyone okay and alive all by yourself, huh? Who appointed you God?”

“I’m an atheist” I mumbled, my face growing hot with embarrassment. But I heard what she meant. I can’t keep people alive any more than anyone can keep me alive. That’s up to us. But damned if I’m going to sit by when someone seems to be in trouble and just let them go.

But that’s the kicker about death, eh? It happens, BLAM. And there’s nothing we can do about it once it happens. But in this age of 24/7 social media, we CAN do something while our loved ones are still here. We CAN reach out when we are able.

HOWEVER. We NEED to take care of ourselves first. You can’t run a car on two dead batteries, my friends. You know how you’re told to put your mask on first and then help the person next to you on the airplane if the cabin loses pressure? Apply that to your emotions too. You’ll just pass out from lack of oxygen if you don’t.

Hold on to each other.
Hold on to yourself.
I love you all.
And I ain’t goin’ anywhere.

Uh. Asses. I love your collective asses.

Uh. Asses. I love your collective asses.

Before You Bash Millennials, Consider The Source

I was recently alerted to an article that made me pause. The title, “Generation Crybaby: Why Millennials Are A Fucking Joke” certainly grabbed my attention, so I explored this little ditty to see what the author had to say. I expected to find a frustrated Gen X’er desperate for the days when “those youngin’s” were politically active, believed that they could really change the world, and wore ragged flannels and Doc Martens. People like me. Fine. I was looking for something I would write without taking the time to write it myself. What I found was 500 words about how these “pussies” are the worst and should fuck off into the sea. I appreciate the author’s frustration, but said author didn’t go into nearly enough depth for my liking. After forming two overly long Facebook comments, I paused and said “Uh, Miss B. Don’t you have a forum in which you could explore this issue? Something called a blog? Remember that?” So here we are.

Listen. I GET IT. Millennials can be downright infuriating. But don’t you think WE were infuriating as well? When I dashed out the door my senior year of high school to jump in my long-haired boyfriend’s crappy car as my mother shrieked “YOU ARE NOT GOING OUT OF THIS HOUSE DRESSED LIKE A HOMELESS PERSON” do you not think I was giving her the finger? Kind of like the same way a millennial, glued to her iPhone running out the door to her boyfriend’s car that he “traded” good grades for is doing right this second? All generations are assholes. Yes, yours too. Yes. Yours too.

I was an asshole, and so were you. And that’s okay! We who were raised by Baby Boomers cannot comprehend the generation raised by Yuppies. My peers with kids now? I think they’re RAD. Their kids are going to be PERFECT because they were raised by Generation X. Doesn’t that sound ridiculous and a grandiose generalization? That’s because it is. Because we are always going to think our generation is the best. Wait, strike that. We’re always going to think WE are the best. It’s only natural.

So if you see a Millennial with a therapy dog for anxiety and helicopter parents who wrote to their child’s college of choice to say that their special little snowflake just HAD to be accepted even though their grades were crap? And you’re blowing your stack and screaming into the abyss that this generation is a giant pile of shit and the world is coming to an end? Take a second and think of what our parents thought when we all went to art school and campaigned for change and took jobs in this weird little thing called the internet that was going nowhere. Think about their parents who remembered World War II and watched their kids become flower children. Think about how every damn generation looks down on the generation that comes after them. We did it first, we did it harder, and we did it better. Generalizations again. And again, it’s only natural.

Our movies, music, culture, and lifestyle shape us. And we’re always going to think those things that shaped us personally are the best. Do I want to scream at those dang kids sometimes? You bet your sweet ass I do. But I WAS one of those dang kids once. And you were too. All of us were. And maybe, just maybe, we need to remember that before we start calling an entire generation a bunch of pussies. Just a thought.

This Is Not A Star Wars Post Except The Parts That Are

First and foremost, thanks to everyone for reading the last post. Sponsored posts are SO not my thing, and it was really weird to write. Even my mom said “it wasn’t you. It wasn’t funny.” And I think that’s why I probably won’t be doing those any more. There’s absolutely NOTHING wrong with doing sponsored posts if that’s your thing. Not at all. And hey, who doesn’t like free stuff? But there were things that were not…me in that piece. So I think I’ll stick to my own yammering about random stuff and leave the sponsored posts to those who do them a lot better than I do.

This is not to say I LIED. I didn’t lie. I omitted. Because I didn’t want to seem ungrateful. ANYWAY. Yeah, sponsored things…not my bag. ONWARD.

I have no idea when or if people will read this because as we know, it is STAR WARS WEEKEND and everyone is talking about STAR WARS and NO SPOILERS and all that. I don’t have a single problem with this. I still remember what “Return of the Jedi” SOAP smelled like. So yes, I am a big Star Wars fan. Not as much as other nerdoms, like the Marvel Universe or the Whedonverse or Harry Potter, but I have absolutely no quarrel with Star Wars and it’s really cool to see so many of my friends geeking out to such a huge extent. So that’s nice to see. I probably won’t see it till it’s on Amazon Prime, but that’s fine. The rabid fans can have my seat. Save that seat for me when Deadpool comes out. Even stevens.

Although, and I am not lying in the slightest, if you were on Rte. 287 North this morning around 9 AM and saw a white Pontiac roaring down the road with a lunatic with purple hair rocking out to the Imperial March? That was totally me.

So I’m not at the movies tonight. I got back from group therapy at 2:00 and immediately changed into my jimjams and have no inkling of doing anything but veg out this weekend. Oh, and wrap the Smalls’ Christmas prezzies. And goof off with Holden, of course.

Me: Hey Holden. Hey. Baby. HAAAAAAAAAAAY.
Holden: ?
Me: Say something funny for the nice blog people.
Holden: silence
Me: HOLDEN.
Holden: I said a hip hop,
Hippie to the hippie,
The hip, hip a hop, and you don’t stop, a rock it
To the bang bang boogie, say, up jump the boogie,
To the rhythm of the boogie, the beat.
Me: Thank yooooooooooooou. You can go back to Minecraft now.
Holden: Consider it done.

And with that, I bid you adieu. May the Schwartz be with you.