Much Ado About My Last Post

morrissey-cereal

I adore watching Morrissey toss his Fruit Loops at a skinhead in the Alma Matters video. It feeds my soul.

I really need to thank all the folks who responded with encouragement to my last blog.  I had reached that “I just ran out of bullshit” moment from Network, that proceeds the more famous line, “I’M MAD AS HELL, AND I’M NOT GONNA TAKE IT ANYMORE!” And yeah I proceeded to reach that moment, and a lot of the reason was down to the equal amount of flak I took for my last post.

In my last post, I questioned my very right to ask questions, have feelings that are uncomfortable yet are still legitimate, such as anger from feeling as though I had been wronged in some fashion. Even though I have mental health issues. I decided I did have a right, just like everybody else does.

Let’s posit a purely hypothetical scenario in which my attempt have a phone call returned somehow became just stupid crazy. In fact, in this scenario, the call that eventually resulted not in an apology or explanation from the individuals involved. It came from an an unrelated person I’d be soft for, calling to ask whether I was considering suing their organization (just weird), and whether I wouldn’t mind taking down last week’s blog. (Hell naw! And you gotta earn those Google stars, baby.)

But, we’ll say, I did reach out to people and organizations that could help give me answers, encouragement, and advice. How happy I am for hypothetical people like that. And the support from my family was and remains beyond anything I had hoped for. So, I’d like to thank all of the good folks as well. The people who did agree that I had a right to be upset, and to be treated better than I had been.

I only feel bad that the earful I had to give to the only person who called me from the other side of this hypothetical scenario, was completely innocent of the bullshit I had called out. But, hey man, I hadn’t even showered or brushed my teeth by whenever near noonish it was.  I was spending the day in bed breaking down Hamlet’s soliloquy into modern language, and wondering whether anything in my life is worth enduring the pain I’ve been feeling. So, I don’t feel that bad that the right message went to the wrong person.

One thing I have certainly learned, in this purely mental exercise, is that there are people and organizations that can help advocate for my rights, that I do still retain. The woman  from NAMI was interested in my hypothetical tale, and she gave me a bit of advice and kind words. You know, treat me with the dignity and respect I deserve, just like everybody does.

 

*I also want to thank my oh-so patient Stan, and my dear friend Nicole, for insisting that I fix my hair color yesterday, get a shower, and have something to look forward to. *smooch* And thank my parents for calling me Ralph Nader all my life! 😁

 

 

 


Just Like Everybody Else Does

 

 

“I am human and I need to be loved, just like everybody else does.”               – Morrissey

Invalid feelings and desires. That’s how I feel when I express myself as someone suffering from mental illness. It’s as though — once I’ve come out and said, “Yes, I suffer from Depression, Anxiety, PTSD, fill the blank” — that even the others who I’d expect to understand, write off every feeling or thought I have because I’m crazy.

It’s soul crushing. Admitting to having mental health issues demotes me from the status of human being to somewhere between a dog and a chimpanzee. Like maybe I can qualify for “personhood” and humans can’t use me for inhumane cosmetics testing, but other than that, my feelings and rights don’t count.

A man kills a church-full of people, and suddenly the talking heads are on about “mental illness.” Because, crazy people! People with mental illness are 10 times more likely to be a victim of violent crime than the general populace, and no more or less inclined towards violence, but so what? It’s much easier to discard a human being’s rights than the NRA’s cash. It doesn’t matter how you feel about the 2nd Amendment, the pattern of dehumanization is there. Crazy people check your rights at the door, maybe we’ll treat you as well as a dog.

And that’s just one issue in the public sphere that has me pissed again. But do I have the right to be pissed? I mean, seriously, if I’m crazy then you don’t have to listen to my crazy thoughts and feelings, right? I must be having “a bad day,” or be “overreacting due to past traumatic stimuli.” My thoughts and feelings are invalid. Perhaps my family has changed from using the term “dramatic” to “sensitive,” but I still feel limitations.

But, family, eh? What are you going to do? What about when it’s my therapist or psychiatrist? Then what? When the very institution I’ve given myself over for treatment for the past five years, suddenly makes it glaringly obvious that my questions are not welcome. I can follow all the damned rules, but why can I not question my psychiatrist’s “discomfort” with helping me through something? Is there “a no questions” rule for crazy folks as well?

I use Pennsylvania Counseling. I’ve been receiving my therapy and psychiatric visits with them since 2013, when I moved from Philly. In Philadelphia, I worked with Thomas Jefferson’s various outpatient clinics since I was 19. I am committed to my treatment. I spent 2009 until 2013 with Dr. Serota at Jefferson. And before the Obamacare federal expansion, he’d help me renew my Medical Assistance every year. He’d fill out the “Health Sustaining Medications” form. And he’d put me at the top end of earnings on my disabilities form, so I could still work if I could and get Medicaid. More than that, he was a kind and gentle man. And he liked to talk about film and literature with me. He made me feel like a human being. I wasn’t just “good girl.” *pant pant pant*

I always feared, when I moved to the Susquehanna Valley, I’d get some friggin Mennonite with a stick so far up their asses it kept their bonnet on. And wouldn’t you know it! Bingo! 

If Pennsylvania lost the Medicaid expansion, I’d be shit out of luck. Forget how long I’ve been receiving treatment at my current facility.

This place won’t touch a thing that would help me get services I need. And I’m a compliant patient. I go to my therapy, when I remind PA Counseling that my therapist has been out since Labor Day, and I’m in a bad way and get a damned appointment.

With a few exceptions, I have not generally experienced that Germanic, Prussian tendency to “just follow orders” and expect everyone else to goosestep in line that I expected here. Although I’ve had my share of nightmares in which I’m in a re-education camp though. And some printed dress down to the ankles wearing, post-stroke Nurse Ratched, Sarah Huckabee Sanders bitch wants to usher me to the gas chambers. Usually because I didn’t take Jesus into my heart.

Pennsylvania Counseling won’t just won’t return my calls. Or they call at 4:59, leave a message then bugger off. Talk about treating the mentally ill in crisis with dignity and respect, and generally making me feel as though I don’t matter.

But now, having experienced it, all I know is I have very limited options for care in my area. And no one cares because I’m crazy. And definitely not a human being with the right to a question, feeling, or opinion of my own, just like everybody else does.
“Sit crazy girl! Sit! Good crazy girl.”
Rough! Ruff!

 

While you’re here:  Check out my Instagram! There are pictures of crazy stuff I like and hate! 😊

While there: check out my BFF’s Instagram and share some love.

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The Soil Falling Over My Head

“I know it’s over, and still I cling. I don’t know where else I can go.” – Morrissey

Last few weeks were so bad. How bad were they? I’m glad you asked. So bad that I tried to watch a David Attenborough nature program, and my mind over-dubbed his narration with Werner Herzog. “The screams of the infant monkey will not bring back its dead mother. But merely fall silent on the pitiless jungle of life, bent on meaningless slaughter and overwhelming murder.” Morrissey was too cheerful to listen to, even when safely in my bed. So, we’ll go with “very bad.”

I felt, and still do to a point, as though I was slowly being buried. And each good thing that brings me joy was like a gasp of air, but each gasp seemed shorter and shorter, and provided less air for less time. Eventually I was buried under. Nothing meant anything, even my life. Even my life.

My mind is my favorite organ. And it just could not work.  I started being more flighty than usual, then forgetting dates in history, people’s names, what day it was, what time it was. I began losing things, too. And I don’t lose things! I just don’t. So when I do, I feel like I’m losing my mind, and I — tentatively using the past-tense — was. I had days lost in bed in silence. I didn’t want any sound or light, just to fall back to sleep. I was staying in my pajamas, not showering. And I simply could not handle anything anyone else said, or communicated in any fashion. There was no room or ability to pay attention, or listen, or just have others’ thoughts in my head. I didn’t even eat.

I considered entering inpatient psychiatric care. I got this bad for many reasons, some of which I can control, and others that are completely out of my sphere. And part of it that I could fix came down to my therapist. She has been absent since just before Labor Day, and she was helping me with some difficult issues. But after some naturing over the weekend with friends, and a desperate visit to my psychiatrist, I was finally given a new therapist. And she’s great. She has an extremely positive vibe, but manages to not be punchable because of her tremendous empathy and inner beauty.  So, I’ve climbed off the literal and figurative ledge for now. But it’s not as though I’m raring to freakin’ go this week. Poco a poco.

I still feel the need to constantly excuse myself to my family and loved ones for asking for anything.  I fear over-taxing them and that my crazy is contagious. But I’ve found all the people that truly love me are happy to help me be happy. And I want more than anything for them to feel good too.

To accomplish this, I took the unprecedented step of looking for good things in my life. And stuff I enjoy. It began with my dog, Abbey, the go-go Border Collie who keeps me outside and moving despite the weather or how I’m feeling. She also gives excellent morning cuddles. And then there’s Mr. Puddems, my fancy kitten man, who is a world-class lap-warmer. The Stan-man, of course. Our home. And going to friends’ houses. And golly-gee but I started taking showers, dressing nicely, dressing in general. Coloring, and I even started an oil-sketch. Gosh darnnit, I even cooked and cleaned in the same day. I honestly have to stop all this or people might get the idea that I’m a capable human being, and like *gasp* expect stuff from me. I may have to go to family meals! They may expect me to be on time!

But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. I’m back to taking a lot of emotional strength and capacity to live and love from Mozzy and The Smiths. Some folks might mistake this as indulging in depression. But it’s not so. Morrissey is just on my level. All the right amounts of passion, aggression, gentleness, strength, weakness, frustration, and joy however fleeting, just suits me fine. And keeps me going. He still is. So, everyone just deal with my love of Morrissey. It’s difficult, I know, but I’m not going to desert the music that’s gotten me through my teenage years, and through many troubles in between then and now. I’m more sorry about asking others’ to accept this than for most anything else.

And then there’s this blog. I started it over a week ago. And I’ve written maybe a paragraph or two a day. I used to be able to do these in one afternoon. But it’s been rough to communicate at all, nevermind attempting to explain these feelings to others. I feel extremely vulnerable, and of course sorry for anyone reading this, and sorry for perhaps upsetting them. Some habits are harder to break or reinstate. But, hey, at least I can write this much again.

What I hope is two-fold. Firstly, I want my friends and family to know why I’ve just not been present for a while. Why I may not be liking your blog, or Instagram, or even engaging in the Book of Faces. Secondly, I thought my story might help both people living with a depressed person to see what goes on in their brains. And all of the people living with depression to see that they are not alone, and that, as Morrissey croons: “there is a light that never goes out.”

I’m still working through this extreme debilitation of my mind, I have a lot of work yet to do. I’m happy to have found a new therapist to help. I’m also glad that when it came to it, I grabbed the tool-kit I worked on in therapy, and not some rather more dangerous object.  I’m not gonna lie though, the Mueller indictments and that one guilty plea really helped. 😀

 

While you’re here:  Check out my Instagram! There are pictures of crazy stuff I like and hate! 😊

While there: check out my BFF’s Instagram and share some love.

Got a comment? Click below! I love the feedback. If you like what you’ve read, tap Like and Share on Facebook! Follow and share on Twitter.


All the Lonely People: Mentally Ill in America

 

mental-illness

“No, really. I’m fine.”

I’m a white girl from a good family, I have a college education, I have a life and loved ones, and I’ve been in treatment for mental illness since I was nineteen.  I’m lucky. But everytime I see a homeless person, hear of a suicide, see someone lost to drugs or alcohol, or working on a non-violent criminal record, I think: There but for the Grace of the Force go I.

But just because I’m crazy, doesn’t mean I don’t have every right to be extremely pissed at this particular moment in time. While the Congress debates precisely how much cruelty is acceptable in the US healthcare system, we clearly have a President whose clinical diagnosis is “Crazy-pants w/ nuclear codes.”

Crazy is classist. The brilliant film The Ruling Class (1972, starring Peter O’Toole) savagely explores the old saw that the poor are “crazy.” The rich are “eccentric.” Sometimes “unpredictable,” but definitely a member of the club. And they can get away with anything, including shooting a guy in the face in Times Square, as Trump eloquently expressed the principle. But you can also observe it at work in talk shows praising the “courageous” celebrity who admits to seeking treatment, and explores their “struggle.”

The rest of us who live with mental illness don’t get the same press or privilege. Whether we deal with abuse, genetic predisposition, addiction, or life experience — and it’s usually a complex of some or all — mental illness is a lonely slog. For families with mental illness and/or dysfunction — again, usually both — the family generally falls into camps. The “get over it and move ons” and the silent and suffering. And those camps often overlap. But the punishment for breaking silence can be severe for those brave enough to admit there is a problem.

Although I have found that adopting an attitude of “Yep. I’m cray-cray. But I’m not hurting anyone. So deal with it.” has been helpful to me, it took me two decades of continuous treatment to get to that point. It is liberating, but even so, telling someone you have a specific mental illness, doesn’t mean suddenly they will “get you.” It certainly won’t help in a job interview. Depression or Anxiety may be abstract ideas that exist in people’s heads, but when you behave like a person who suffers from those disorders, few understand.

While informing friends and family that you have cancer is a thing my father could not even do, cancer is something that people understand will come with a certain set of painful difficulties. They will often research it to see what to expect. Doesn’t work that way with mental illness.

If you tell a family member or loved one, “I suffer from mood disorders,” you might as well have said, “Hey, I’ve gotten really into day trading.” Their eyes kind of glaze over, and they sure as hell aren’t going to Google “what is day trading?” Or, “what to expect when a loved one is day trading?” But get ready to witness all manner and degree of expressions of shock, dismay, anger, and shame when you behave like someone with a mood disorder. Or when your needs and/or limitations get in the way of their life and plans. That’s why the most common thing a mentally ill person says is “I’m fine.” Especially if we’re not.

When most people think of mental illness these days, they think of school or church shooters. Violent killers, all of them “mentally disturbed.” But, even among schizophrenics, violence and mental illness don’t go hand in hand.  I have to watch idly by as people discuss forcibly registering people as mentally ill who want to purchase a shotgun for their home. That’s two Constitutional rights, if you’re counting. (The Fourth Amendment Right to Privacy is the other one.) “Mentally ill” is a stigma, and a silencer.

If I went to Senator Pat “I don’t ever listen to my phone messages” Toomey’s office to protest, all you would see is a white girl with a sign and an attitude. And if I were hauled off by the police, you’d probably think “Crazy chick!” You can’t see by looking at me that I have serious health problems. I “present well.” I appear “normal” and “fine.” But if you did discover you were right about me being crazy, you could discount my opinion completely, right? And I have been told too many times to not even follow the news. Apparently, I cannot even handle being informed on issues that affect me.

The mentally ill have no political voice or capital. No one is courting our votes. Should crazy people even be allowed to vote anyhow? We are not only socially marginalized and stigmatized, we have no say in policy or our care, if we can get it.

Do you know what the wait times are to begin treatment if you have Medicaid? At least a month. That goes for drug and alcohol, and dual diagnosis treatment as well. And if you have private insurance, how many therapy sessions does it cover?  Can you fit therapy into your work schedule? Do your medications impact your ability to work? How many hours in six months before therapy starts coming out of your pocket? What about the prescriptions? Do you just go to your family doctor and get some random “happy pill”? Get sent on your way with no therapy or guidance? Do you know what the side effects may be? Do you understand how to take it? Most importantly: can you afford it?

Now that opioid dependence is an EPIDEMIC thanks to white people. Except for Attorney General (for the moment) Sessions, more people in power are realizing that criminalizing is no substitute for immediate, accessible, free treatment. Perhaps mental illness can ride addiction’s coat tails into some public opinion and  policy? After all, if we can get past of the stigma of “junkie” perhaps we could get past “crazy.”

Most importantly though, when it comes to it, doesn’t it just make more sense to at least make sure that those who suffer from mental illness receive care and treatment to ease their suffering? Nevermind free those who are treatable to live productive and even happy, “normal” lives?  Ease suffering, make more functioning citizens? Am I making any sense? More sense than the latest Tweet or speech by President Trump? Or do I sound crazy? If only I had money.

 

While you’re here:  Check out my Instagram! There are pictures of crazy stuff I like and hate! 😊

While there: check out my BFF’s Instagram and share some love.

Got a comment? Click below! I love the feedback. If you like what you’ve read, tap Like and Share on Facebook! Follow and share on Twitter.

 


How Soon is Now? #Resign

#resign

See, I’ve already waited too long. And all my hope is gone — until the next WashPo article.

It’s hot. Very hot. And humid. I just cleaned my house. I’m wearing fleecy gym shorts. I have a sweaty bandana on my head. And I want a mojito…at a Trump Impeachment Party.

But, while I was cleaning the rug beater attachment to the vacuum, I came up with these minor alterations to Morrissey’s solo and Smiths songs to make them relevant to Donald Trump. (Inspired by Andy Serkis’ reading of Trump tweets as Gollum on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. )

Ideally, Mozzy should sing these directly to me, so I made a set list for him.

#1) Putin, you Handsome Devil  [Handsome Devil]

“Lit me git the handz on the mammary glandsAnd lit whore pee on head in conjugal bed.”

#2) How Soon is Now?  [How Soon is Now?]

“There’s a summit, and you’d like to go. You might meet somebody who really loves you. So you go and you stand on your own. And you leave on your own. And you go home, and you cry, and you want chocolate taco bowl pie.”

#3) The More You Ignore Putin, the Closer He Gets [The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get]

“When you sleep he will creep into your head like a bad debt that you can’t pay. Take the easy way and piss off.”

#4) Heaven Knows I’m Tremendously, Hugely Sad Now [Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now]

“I was happy in the haze of Fox & Friends, but Joe and Mika know I’m hugely sad now because I tweeted at them during their show.”

#6) Everyday is Like Sunday, Except I’m not Golfing  [Every Day is LIke Sunday]

“Hide in the White House, etch a Tweet storm. How I dearly wish I could fire Mueller.”

#7) Donald on the Guillotine  [Margaret on the Guillotine]

“The kind people, have a wonderful dream. Donald on the Guillotine.”

#8) Last of The Infamous, International Puppets [The Last of the Famous, International Playboys]

“And in my cell — well I followed Kush — and here’s a list of who I colluded with. Schneiderman! Can I keep my stuff? Oh please say I can! Don’t say I can’t! OO-OO-OH-OH!”

#9) Disappointed [Disappointed]

“Ivanka, one day you will be old. But the thing is, I love you now.”

#10) Vladeane [Jeane]

“I tried, and I failed. I tried, and I failed. I tried, and I failed. Now I get nailed.”

*Encore*

Big Mouth Strikes Again [Big Mouth Strikes Again]



Leave a comment below if you have a song about Donald Trump that you’d like to hear your fave singer do. I’ll be bored until the next Trump scandal drops. (Whoops! Too late! Extra-curricular Putin meeting.)

While you’re here:  Check out my Instagram! There are pictures of things I like and hate! 😊

While there: check out my BFF’s Instagram and share some love.

Got a comment? Click below! I love the feedback. If you like what you’ve read, tap Like and Share on Facebook! Follow and share on Twitter.

 


Panic and Peace for Nerds

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“You enter the forest at the darkest point, where there is no path. Where there is a way or path, it is someone else’s path. You are not on your own path. If you follow someone else’s way, you are not going to realize your potential.”  – Joseph Campbell, The Hero’s Journey: Joseph Campbell on His Life & Work

Two weeks ago, I awoke on a sunny day with the intention of weeding my garden. Instead I ended up at my doctor’s office convinced I needed emergency asthma treatment. Turns out my lungs were fine. I had a panic attack.

I felt silly. I mean, I ought to know a panic attack by now, right? So I began a renewed interest in my mental health, in what, let’s face it, are trying times for anyone who cares about anything anymore. At least here in the US, and anyone watching us thinking, “Well, this can’t be good.”

After checking all of my vitals and listening to my lungs, my doctor asked me what had I been doing when I first felt I couldn’t breathe. She nodded at my answer: I was reading the morning news. I had a psychiatrist and therapist appointment in a few days, so she referred me to them with some questions. And she told me to stay away from the news.

That last bit really ticked me off. I felt like she was talking down to this “mentally ill” child. But I did lay off the news. When I met with my psychiatrist, she understood my panic attack perfectly well. She did ask me to challenge myself to find more ways to cope with and manage both my news intake and my anxiety. Although she did increase my anxiety medication a small bit to help ease me through.

My therapist was also understanding, but again she admonished me against news. And she challenged me to find more ways to use my energy towards that which made me feel peace. She suggested “simple” things. She also asked if I had a more “spiritual” back up plan for strength.

I was totally pissed again. Am I so gaslighted and fragile that I have be both ignorant, mindless, AND reliant on unknowable whims of unknowable sky fairies to live in Trump’s America? Seriously!?

And then I did some really hard work. I did my monthly budget. I carefully looked for where we were leaking the ten and twenty dollars here and there that kills our finances. I fixed it. I felt better.

After a few weeks of hemming and hawing, I redid my student loan repayment, and got back on track with that. I felt better.

I returned a book to Audible and got a credit for the book of Roman history I wanted. I felt better.

And, when my friends suggested a hike-in and camp trip on the Appalachian Trail, I signed on. Like Bilbo Baggins, I was going to have an adventure on my birthday! I was excited, and terrified. But there was a lot to do. Firstly, the house needed to be cleaned for when they came over to plan. Did it! Felt better.

Then they came over. We had a fire, toasted my birthday, christened my new knife Uncle Joe — to match my machete, Killary. And we all sang along to Abbey Road loudly. “Boy, you’re gonna carry that weight a long time.” I felt better.

Saturday dawned, and I knew we had to get ready for the trip. Having read The Zombie Survival Guide, by Max Brooks, and being old hands at camping, we were mostly ready…mostly.  Even our dog Abbey got her own backpack because she was carrying her weight, too! She liked it. I felt better.

But I was still nervous. Until my friend told me something important: It’s safe to be cautious on a trip like this. What we were doing was unknown to me, and potentially dangerous. But we would be with more experienced campers. “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo Baggins, going out your door.” How I felt was normal. I felt better.

We set off on our trek as on a 14:00 away mission, but with hobbits. But that exciting vibe fell away quickly. After struggling a third of the five miles straight up — carrying one third of my body weight– everything became so clear. All I had to do was keep putting one foot ahead of the other. “Simple.” I remembered what my Dad said about Korea. The marching back and forth in the cold and mud. “Your feet are the most important thing.” Simple isn’t mindless. It’s mindfulness itself.

My life became my feet. One in front of the other. “I am one with The Force. The Force is with me. I am one with the Force. The Force is with me.” One foot in front of the other.

Well, suffice to say, I made it there and back again. And I felt washed clean, although I was filthy.  I had literally bugged-out. Now what? OK. Clean up all the dirty and wet gear. Now what? Make an action list for materials I need to gather for an appointment I have soon. Ok. Now what? Write.

And I feel better.

I did eventually get the news via my Mom.  That’s not such a bad way to stay informed. As far as my “spiritual” strength, I realized  that comes from the same places as always with me: Tolkien, Trek, Star Wars, history, The Beatles, challenging myself, my writing, and things my Father’s Force Ghost still says in my ear.

So, what’s my point? Firstly, it’s OK to feel anxious. It’s normal. Life, more uncertain than usual, will try to gaslight you. Secondly, you may need to “bug-out.” I don’t mean that you need to walk 500 ft up and sleep in the rain. But a change and a challenge you feel you are ready for…mostly. Something that reduces life to essentials and is “one foot in front of the other.” Simple.

Finally, you don’t have to give up your mind’s critical ability, sacrifice what is yourself and be a mindless sheep to get on in the brave new insane world. We rented Rogue One when we got home, and watched it twice since. I’m now convinced that I adore that movie!  I don’t need no religious education. An exciting and dramatic daughter-daddy Star Wars movie, a trek through the forest of the adventure with my mythological companions, taking care of my life, a bit of help from my friends, a bit of writing, and a book of Roman history, and I’m good.

Now what? Make food.

I am one with The Force. The Force is with me.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll weed the garden. 😉

How are you all holding up? What is helping — or hurting — you right now?

While you’re here:  Check out my Instagram! There are pictures of things I like and hate! 😊

While there: check out my BFF’s Instagram and share some love.

Got a comment? Click below! I love the feedback. If you like what you’ve read, tap Like and Share on Facebook! Follow and share on Twitter.

 

 

 

 

 


The Zen of Colbert

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Stephen Colbert is the hero we need. Ever since his excruciating, live Election Night broadcast, the beloved leader of “The Nation” has been so much winning. And then there’s Trump.

I have a new mantra. It’s something Stephen said in a bit on Trump’s Nuclear Plans, 20 years ago in January. He said, “It’s funny because nothing matters anymore.” Michael Che let the line slip during last Saturday’s “Weekend Update” on SNL. And I find myself repeating it constantly. “It’s funny because nothing matters anymore.”

“Anymore” is the key word here. Stephen Colbert has become every thinking person’s voice. We are people who thought things mattered! Where we once had our pet causes, now we merely have dumbfounded, flabbergasted, confused and fearful ANGER. Stephen made a brave choice to embrace that fear and anger and give into the cray-side. He models the courage all we snowflakes need to embrace.

“Let your freak flag fly,” is the phrase my partner has been using since the election. “If crazy is the new normal, I’m gonna have my freak flag at full mast every second of the day,” he repeats.

Me being, well, me, I found it in a quote by Camus. “The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.” In other words, “It’s funny because nothing matters because anymore.” “Let your freak flag fly.”

And Stephen keeps winning! The Late Show with Stephen Colbert is now the highest rated late-night show. Which hits Trump where it matters, in the ratings. The President told Time magazine:

Trump disses Colbert ratings

Image from: The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, CBS

Stephen wasn’t shy in his reaction, squealing, “I won!” Nothing important may matter anymore, but nothing is sweeter than high ratings! CBS will pay any “potty mouth” fine. They will never cut lose this golden egged goose. He certainly makes better news than Trump.

tenor

Stephen shows how it’s done.

Stephen Colbert gets it. Even crazy has rules. Play by them! So while Anderson Cooper is now openly rolling his eyes at the creepy Nazi from Raiders of the Lost Ark, Kellyanne Conway:

14sYumxArmWsbS

Real-time footage of Kellyanne Conway.

Meanwhile, I’m expecting my afternoon, BREAKING NEWS! humdinger about Trump, treason, obstruction of justice, and Russian disruption of our democracy.  I call it my “Daily Constitutional Crisis.”  What!? What do you call it?

I’m just going to keep letting my freak flag fly, Stephen! I get it! I’m  going to be mad, be rash, smoke and explode, burn all my clothes.

Thanks to Stephen Colbert, I will live my exquisitely nerdy life down on the farm with my bandana made of Superman sheets, my overalls, and Eau de DEET parfume, while doing whatever I damn well please.  I’m living so free that my very existence is an act of rebellion.

You either get it or you don’t. Only Stephen Colbert can explain it to ya.

But, it’s funny because nothing matters anymore.

 

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Tea Lights to Shakespeare (And other ways I force myself write)

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My writing space.

You know what’s worse than writing? Not writing. And it’s something I perform a good deal of self-flagellation over. Life is a mercilessly busy thing with so much to do! It’s hard get myself at my desk writing, especially when I’m out of the habit. Which I am! What do I do?

Space-Time holds the planets in orbit. I need it for writing too. My little Space. This is my spot in the pic above. It’s one of favorite I’ve ever had. It’s a work in progress, but it’s got the basics. Firstly, the desk:  I use the same writing desk I used growing up, which gives me a sense of continuity. Then I added a laptop, somewhere to put Mr. Tea (it’s a Mr. Coffee cup warmer that I use for my tea), and charge my vaporizer batteries, and a lamp.

But honestly, what is my writing desk without a plant, my Sherlock Holmes magnifying lens, some calligraphy, and my bust of Shakespeare? It is definitely corny, but it’s part of my thing. You do your thing and don’t hate.

Shakespeare is up there for obvious reasons, but the other thing he really helps with is that Time bit, through the candles I light to him. I mean, if the problem is time, make a timer, right? I write in tea lights to Shakespeare. Sometimes I write longer. But seriously, if I do one tea light, I feel like I’ve done something. Some work. Thus, I am liberated from hating myself for not writing for at least 12-24 hours. That’s a lot of time to hate myself for other reasons!

I also plan time to write. I just figure which days I can get a tea light of writing in, and I put it in my little coloring-planner, et voila! For me, it shifts the focus. I plan when to do other stuff around my tea-light writing time, as opposed to looking for that elusive moment when I don’t have other work to do, and I can write.

It also seriously helps if I know I have leftovers or something in a crockpot. I mean, just because I don’t think about eating until I’m ready to chew my arm off, doesn’t mean I can’t learn to take some consideration of the basic needs of life. I just have to plan it out a bit. It’s actually possible! And here I am, not dead of starvation, and with both arms.

But, ehy am I writing this? To remind own damned self, of course! I didn’t even blog for a few months between last May — when my dog died and I moved — and last fall. I managed to write in my journal, The Red Book of Westmarch, but no other writing. And recently I’m thinking/writing about and looking over my other writing projects, and it seems they were either finished or begun ages ago.  I haven’t finished a project in a year, and I was doing at least two or three a year until then. I had a stable routine. There were dry spells, but man, not like this past year.

I eventually started blogging again sitting on my front porch. Then in the unboxed living room. Or at the finally functional — and not covered in random crap — kitchen table.  Then one day I just picked a spot in my front room, cleared and cleaned it up, put up some curtains I had, and put my desk there. Shakespeare, plant et al went up. And there ya go. I felt like uber-writer right then and there, yo.

I made it a nice place to be, although I will not reveal the reverse shot of my little angle-in on my writing corner because Oh dear genius of the place, give me the strength to make book shelves! Or give it to Stan, rather. I can’t walk in straight line, nevermind hang something in one.

But, you know, I had forgotten something until today — which is obviously why I am writing this — Oh! Can you guess?! (It’s the tea light.) Yup, tea-light timer, which feels as though it’s burning longer today. But, in all fairness, it’s a votive and not a tea light. Votives burn longer.

Anyhow, so yeah! Tea lights! You can get a bag of a hundred of them at the dollar store. Or at least at those dollar stores that aren’t really dollar stores. My point is they’re cheap.

So yes, my friends, I am feeling better after my tea-light — which did burn out! — session despite the hectic nature of the earlier part of the day and week. Join me next time! Or even better, do your own version of tea-light to Shakespeare time.

Share what your version of tea-lights to Shakespeare time is in the comments. I won’t hate. 😀

*I’ve gotten some fun questions and responses to last week’s post. It was a little story challenge I asked a friend to give me, which was surviving after an EMP apocalypse. So I imagined myself years hence as a post-EMP apocalypse survivor, smoking homegrown tobacco with a homemade pipe, with (more) wild, staring eyes, reflecting back on my life. I had fun with it. But I am so stuck in not writing descriptions anymore from writing screenplays. I forget I can describe things in prose stories. Throw me short story challenge in the comments so I can practice! 

While you’re here:  Check out my Instagram! There are pictures of things I like and hate! 😊

While there: check out my BFF’s Instagram and share some love.

Got a comment? Click below! I love the feedback. If you like what you’ve read, tap Like and Share! Click here to follow on Twitter.


After the Blue (A story of Friendship and Survival in parts) Part 1: Nicole Laughed

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In the striped Light of the Sun.

 

Light was once Blue. That I am one of the last who remember The Blue Lights pushes me to preserve the memory of that time. The time before now, when the Blue Light reigned and wisdom slept. For it was in this time that I encountered the True Light. Through the woman who lead me through the Dark of the True Light after the Blue. NICOLE. Who’s lack of Blue and strength in the True made her the embodiment of the True, and hers the Path through Blue to True. Who LAUGHED and saved my life.

Nicole first acknowledged me with a LAUGH. As well she should, and I deserved, having LOUDLY CURSED a sudden yet inevitable betrayal, as my easy-up tent fell about my head, capturing me within its silky, billowing folds of white and blue nylon.

How apt my predicament! How her blonde hair shone as I emerged blinking into the True Light, from my encasing in the False and Blue. Nicole rightly accused me of plagiarizing a line from an ill-starred fiction of the Blue Times, which had treated with the subject of the fire of flies.

I was unconscious of the significance of the moment. But she had seen into my soul, and perhaps she saw the SPARK of the True Light in my eyes, so long darkened by the Blue. So many fictions, so many earnest reports, so many thumbs, so many narratives, as of the fire of flies, the trekking of stars, and WES ANDERSON. Worst of all, my own creations on the Screens of Blue. I felt ashamed.

And then I saw! A drunken camper nearby had started a fight! A man was bleeding and protecting a young woman, the object of a love triangle, I supposed. The camp manager subdued the drunken man with skillful and minimal force. Truly his Kung Fu was on point. Soon police arrived and arrested the drunken man.

I had seen this without the Blue Light! I immediately suspected that Nicole had called this scene forth from the True Light, so that I could see. And I LAUGHED! Just as she had done to me. Truly, life in the True Light was more true than anything called from the Blue! And this Nicole showed to me.

And so it was for many month’s passing. I would pitch my tent by Nicole and her consort, and I would see wonders!  For they would MAKE MUSIC ISSUE from stringed instruments and from their mouths, and not from the Blue Lights, not even Spotify.

Soon we learned to MAKE LAUGHTER from the True together. We fished often, and while I never saw her catch one, I knew she only waited for the Truest and most tremendous of fish. She left me the others to encourage my learning the Path of the True.

When forced indoors, she would visit me to encourage the making of art. And REMINDED ME WITHOUT WORD that one should set out the food one makes for visitors, and other gentle arts of the True Light world.

But just as I began to see and value the True Light through her, the Blue Lights came between us. We SPOKE ONLY IN SILENCE through the blue blurbs on the Blue Screens. The True had forsaken the world, and there was a GREAT NOISE of ORANGE, and then the Blue Lights went out. We will never know why because the Blue was suddenly gone. No screen lit our faces and nights, and the only light of day was the sun; and of the night, the moon and the trekking stars, and the fire of flies. But no Wes Anderson.

Plunged into the Light of the True, however dark it may be, my one hope for Salvation lie in Nicole, in the living of the True Light and the Path. Her consort, JOE, was cool too.

And so my life in Truth began, with my consort (STAN, who was handy and cool too) and my loyal friend, the canine ABBESS OF ROADS.

So begins the tale of my struggle, survival and eventual mastery of the world of the True Light, by the Grace of the one named Nicole. Who LAUGHED and saved my life.

 

Check out my Instagram! There are pictures of things I like and hate! 😊

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Don’t Get Me Flowers for Women’s Day

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 OG Women’s Day.

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This is just all kinds of wrong.

Let’s get something straight. Women’s Day is not Valentine’s mixed with Mother’s Day. Although there are many competing claims for the first Women’s Day, including Suffragette, Socialist and Workers strikes by women in the US and Europe, the best claim goes to the women of Russia. By the Russian calendar, on March 8th, 1917, female textile workers stormed the streets of Petrograd (St. Petersburg) demanding bread, protesting Russian engagement in WWI, and demanding the end of Romanov imperial rule. A week later, the Russian emperor abdicated, and women were granted the right to vote by the interim government. The date was proclaimed a working holiday in Russia that year, but was declared a full national holiday in 1958. In 1975, it was recognized as an international holiday by the UN.

The point of this little history lesson? That Women’s Day celebrates the power of women to bring about revolutionary change. Not how pretty or cute or sweet we are. It is a revolutionary holiday. In essence, it’s a day to acknowledge the power of women to effect change in the world. And I never even knew about it until I was in college.

I switched my major to Film midway through my Freshman year. And of my almost completely male new department, one man became my first friend. Let’s call him Max. Max is from a republic in the former USSR. He had served in the Red Army, and his father was a Party member. Max got to come to the US with refugee status, and became a citizen while teaching himself English from the TV. Eventually, he pursued his dream of studying film, and there we landed together: two strangers in an exclusive club of upper-middle class white males.

Max was the first person to wish me a happy Women’s Day. I had to ask him what it was. Because, even though many nations celebrated the day, The Land of the Free did not.

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US women marching in the first International Women’s Day March in 1975

And it’s the revolutionary (and Soviet) origins of the holiday that America has feared most. Because while the Soviets were sending the first woman into space  in 1963. Back in the USSA, only married women could be prescribed The Pill by an (obviously male) doctor’s discretion, and back-alley abortions were claiming women’s lives. Meanwhile the Soviets had female doctors.

Maybe it’s the historical nature of female experience that causes this revolutionary fervor. After all, it was the working women of Paris who marched to Versailles in 1789 to demand bread, and who returned to Paris with King Louis and Marie Antoinette in tow, kickstarting the fall of the repressive Ancien Régime.

Women often hold multiple jobs: lover, wife, companion, caretaker, mother, chef, cleaning lady — usually while holding down paying jobs. We are taught to care for everyone but ourselves. We apologize for doing things a man would never think of being apologetic for: talking on the phone, spending money on things we want or need, playing our favorite video game. But let’s face it, how long can any person truly live this way? Sure we care about war because our loved ones and innocents could die, obviously bread because we don’t want to see our family starve, we care about oppressed groups because we get it. But we also want those freedoms and the equality that we help others achieve for ourselves. Sorry!

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Soviet poster for Women’s Day as a national holiday, circa 1958

We want to control our reproduction because that is the key for us to have the freedom of men. We can go to college, have a career, and a family we can afford to care for. Or not! This is never a question when it’s a man’s choice. We get to have that choice as human beings, too. Our value is more than what our uteruses can do. By demonizing and depicting women without children, or unpartnered, or with a career as sad, unattractive  (read “overweight”), and lonely; we devalue the women who have made those choices. And it just so happens to be a great way to direct female anger and frustrations at women who made different life choices  from the actual cause of their pain (whether it be abuse or simply frustrated dreams) onto other women. It’s splitting. And American culture is great at it.

Women’s Day is a revolutionary day. A day to unite. We are the most historically oppressed class of humanity since the Bronze Age. And yet, here we are. Patient Penelopes enduring when we must, and fighting when we can. Usually at wit’s end. So don’t give me flowers for Women’s Day. Give me equal pay for equal work. Give me coverage for my health needs, and access to safe and legal family planning. Give me the right to post pics of myself on social media without being stalked. Give me the right to wear a tank top when it’s 90 degrees without feeling gross and ogled. Give me the right to say “No.” Give me the right to leave an abusive partner. Give me the right to report my boss or colleague for inappropriate behavior. Give me equal representation in government. Give me the rights that men enjoy without a second thought: my human rights.

It really does come down to that one phrase — the one by the woman who allowed herself to be burnt at the stake by America because she believed, without apology, that she was the most qualified candidate for President, and she was right — “Human rights are women’s rights, and women’s rights are human rights.” History upholds you Hillary Clinton, unlike the nation you served so long. Here, have some pretty pretty flowers!💐

*Please check out this list of nations from those with the most equal representation of women in government to the least. Rwanda is tops. See if you can spot the USA.

Check out my Instagram! There are pictures of things I like and hate! 😊

While you’re there: check out my BFF’s Instagram and share some love.

Got a comment? Click below! I love the feedback. If you like what you’ve read, tap Like and Share! Click here to follow on Twitter.


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