Category Archives: geek

Self Portrait: Work in Progress

 

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Still a work-progress. I admit I even added my beauty mark in “post.” Self Portrait, Jessica Lakis, oil on canvas paper, 2018

So. I dare to suspect beginning to form an inkling of what I am doing/becoming, and what I need to do. On a Universal-scale, I’m just as stupid as algae or when I was 19. But I think I’ve gotten something close to the human-being I was before November of 2016, with a little extra knowledge gleaned, I would hope. And don’t mention the “XXXtreme Winter+!” That must end. Momma needs to be outside! I have a new garden extension planned.  And camping and hiking and boats and water and swimming and fish! And I have been locked in this house nearly every day with a bored Border Collie since like November. She wants out too.

Earlier in the winter I was in a bad way. So I just started finding stuff to do to keep me from breaking into tears all the time. Sometimes I had to work hard to hold them back. But it got easier. Cleaning schedule. Learning vegetarian cooking. Encouraging the growth and maintenance of a way more awesome haircut. I picked up, cleaned, fixed up and started playing some old instruments. And, indeed, the painting above was a part of that.

The cleaning up — of both my environment and of myself — that was the basis. I believe I was sitting on my couch one day and was repulsed by the floor. So I cleaned it. And you know how it is when you make a clean spot, gotta finish it all. Cleaning and improving my environment helps give me a feeling of control. I get to grapple with CHAOS in my own little sphere. As to myself, I learned from working freelance for so long that I have to get up at a certain hour every day, get a shower, have coffee, put on clothes, makeup, and do my hair. It just makes me feel better. And, hey, “the other” will notice. So extra points for not smelling and dressing like a pig.

The vegetarian thing I just had to do for many reasons, mainly for the greenhouse emissions. Also, ugh, what the hell with what people do to animals? Just, no. I still eat fish and any crap you can pull out of water because my family came from frickin’ islands, OK? Learning how to cook vegetarian was fun, and got me interested in cooking and possibly eating again. I do notice a lot about me has changed, and I lost weight, which is reason enough right there. I have been vegetarian or meat-adverse most of my life. I like good bread. Bread and beer built the Pyramids, not aliens.

As to my hair, well, let me tell you: I let it get really long on top, dyed it back to black *eh-hem*, and kept most of the rest shaved. Then when I went for a proper cut with me Mum for our long-delayed Mother-daughter beauty day (MOM!), Adrienne, with whom you can book here, tidied it all up. I love how the front just wants to be up! Can’t take the wall bangs out of the Jersey girl, I ‘spose. But this is a big deal for me. I love the time with my Mom, and I get to feel like a real girl with a cool haircut.

The painting was a way for me to get back to something I used to do more often, and was talented at. It’s been a learning curve, but I adore using oils again. Oils are my favorite medium, they just cost a lot even to pick up again. But, most importantly, I found a non-verbal way to express myself. Because I needed that. I had no words. I had to get out what was on my mind elsewise.

Oh yes, I fixed up my Dad’s 1964 Guild guitar, restrung it and have been playing that again. I can play Dirty Ol’ Town, and several other Pogues songs. It’s not my fault that I can’t replicate the sounds of Johnny Marr, but I’d love to meet whoever could and sing along with them. I sing to the Pogue songs too. It’s part of the fun! I also got some issues with my violin arreglado, and my old flute back!

Of course, this is all good, but friggin’ time keeps marching on. So I finally got a new pocket calendar. And I did start back using that, which helps my anxiety a lot. At least I know what to expect sorta. And I’ve done some really impressive, next level adulting stuff. “The Other” took me out for sushi because I got him a tax refund. I just got some stuff done. I made days for it, like I made a day to write this blog. And the more I use it the calendar, the better I feel. I know what money is going where when. And when I can spend time writing. I can plan around things. It’s soothing.

But this is a busy time of year for my second job as a farmer with aspirations to self-sufficiency. We planned out a new bed, I have most of my herbs from last year. Heck I even have seeds from last year. I planted this one awesome orange tomato two years in a row. I just save some seeds. Like that place in Norway or whatever. The Seed Vault. But we’re also trying some traditional planting methods for this area. I figure if it worked for the original folks who lived here, why am I not planting like they did?

Finally, this is the beginning of camping, hiking, boat, water, swimming, fishing season. And I can’t wait. Last year I did part of the Appalachian Trail for the first time on my birthday. I almost got hypothermia, but it was awesome. Solo is coming out the day before my birthday. But I’m thinking maybe another adventure this year, as the nation is good enough to celebrate my birthday with a three-day weekend.

So, that’s about where I am right now. Although I’m currently concerned about the nice weather keeping me away from writing. I have a project I’ve been eyeing up. But, April is rough. I have to knock the winter off everything and get the creaky old bones moving again. And go out on a hike my Border Collie. It’s good for us both.

“April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.”
– The Wasteland, by T.S. Eliot
Arrivederci! Ciao! Salvete!

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Predictions Five to Punish my Pride

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Ugh. It’s still me.

I always say that my two greatest motivators are Vanity and Anger. I hasten to add that somehow these emotions eventually turn to the Light Side. I’m not truly certain of that last fact, but it helps me convince myself that I’m not an absolute monster. However, I am certain that at some point vanity and self-respect meet, as do anger and motivation. Who knows? Who cares? I actually care. And about who cares. That’s the problem. Or have I been taught it’s a problem?!

Look, I obviously need to examine this thoughtling a bit more deeply, and with my therapist.

Until that undoubtedly world-changing — and stilted, trite, and poorly edited — post, I offer this abbreviated list of what my Pride, Insecurity, Awkwardness, Anxiety, Mood Issues, Social Anxiety, and PTSD will probably cost me if I’m lucky. I need hopes.

1) All of the souls of those I’ve held hostage and forced to listen to Morrissey and/or my lectures on the Late Republican Roman era will haunt my waking life.

2) If there is an afterlife, I will be similarly bound and forced to listen to derivative drivel obviously written for culturally uninformed troglodytes and watch historically inaccurate depictions of Roman warfare in Caesar’s Gallic campaigns.

3) Someday, someone smarter than I will call me “basic” for loving The Plague and Camus.

4) I will never have enough fame or money to exact all of the revenge I seek.

5) I will be having a bad hair day and wearing the wrong shoes when I finally meet Adam Driver and/or Morrissey.

I’ll also probably die first in the zombie apocalypse.😒 Therapy tomorrow. Breathe. Listen to Morrissey.

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Destroying Star Wars: “The Last Jedi”

shifting Rey and Kylo

Whether or not the Galaxy no longer needs the Jedi, it certainly doesn’t need any more Star Wars reviews. Why write another? Because I am tired of having this conversation with myself in the shower. The characters and conflicts Rian Johnson depicted in The Last Jedi touched me deeply. I decided to ask myself “Why?” With the Blu-Ray, I can examine my thoughts.

“Destruction” and “Belonging” seem to swirl round the heart of this film. Who and what still belongs, and is relevant, in the Star Wars universe? And what is best left sliced apart by Laura Dern with purple hair in heels?

Rian Johnson’s film creates new space for new characters to live and breathe within the narrow, pigeon-holes called characters in earlier films. The characters, and film itself, rebels against the lofty “archetypes” and “legends” Lucas and Campbell assigned to them in the 70s, and remakes a legend for our times.

The Last Jedi felt like a smack in the face and punch in the gut because it was meant to. Johnson dove into the “sacred” space of Star Wars. And somewhere, between a fold in Jabba’s back fat and a CGI Gungan, he came up with what still matters in Star Wars. Just as Yoda destroys the ancient Jedi temple without hesitation, Johnson blows apart the myth of the mythos of Star Wars. And, though we realize that Rey has made off with the “Sacred Jedi Texts,” the Star War’s fan is left holding Joseph Campbell’s ponderous Hero with a Thousand Faces. Read it have you? A page-turner it is not. Already know we that which we need. Hmmmm!?

The most important piece Johnson salvages from the junk heap that is the checkered history of Star Wars is its humanity. The sometimes disgusting and confusing tangle of real human emotion, exorcised from the Prequels, return. The excitement, adventure, and humor The Force Awakens gave us back have returned, minus the 40-something nostalgia wallow. And, in true Star Wars tradition, offers an awesome and glorious vision of space and The Galaxy on the red and visceral edge of visual effects and cinematography that pushes itself from backdrop to integral story-telling tool.

Within the first moments of the film, we learn everything we need to know about it. Cocky, fly-boy Poe Dameron approaches The First Order’s lead ship with “an urgent communique for General Hux from General Leia.” When Poe’s “tooling” has bought the time his mission required to evacuate the Resistance from the planet below, he signs off with a “your momma” joke directed at Hux.

Aside from the character-appropriate, Star Wars humor, I found myself thinking of Hux’s mother. Hux obviously had one. We know he isn’t a clone. And suddenly all of his Uriah Heep misery and resentment makes Hux human. In a Galaxy where your lineage means everything, somewhere, Hux has a mom.

In the bombing sequence that follows, we also learn that the film is an action film with clear human consequences. In the death of the bomber pilot Paige, we see the human cost of Poe’s rashness. He earned that slap in the face from Princess Leia. Even rebellions have rules. “Into the garbage shoot, fly-boy!”

But where Johnson’s vision truly sharpens, lies in the relationships between Rey, Luke, and Ben Solo/Kylo Ren. We begin where we left off, with Rey earnestly holding out Vader’s old light saber to Luke on the lonely island that houses the first Jedi temple. I had a brief flash in the theater: “He should to toss it.” Single best choice in the entire film: an honest moment that set us up for what to expect from both the character of Luke and the film’s treatment its venerated idols and icons.

We know Mark Hamill disagreed with Johnson’s choices for Luke. So, let’s think about what we know about Luke Skywalker. While his Uncle is purchasing the droid that will lead to the destruction of the Death Star, what is Luke doing? Say it. “But I wanted to go into Toshi Station and pick up some power converters!” In the next scene he’s playing with his model space ships and complaining to droids. Luke is a good person, with good impulses. From what we see, he was raised with care by his salt of the earth aunt and uncle. But his mind is always elsewhere, chasing distant dreams, searching for excitement, a place to belong set apart. He cannot see what is in front of his face. Luke craves excitement and fame. And he will whine and pitch a fit when he doesn’t get his way.

Yoda liberally beats Luke for this. When Luke executes his plan to free Han Solo from Jabba’s palace, Han describes Luke as having “delusions of grandeur.” So what do you really believe would become of such a man when he fails? What happens when the man who single-handedly * destroyed the Death Star, trained with both Obi-wan and Yoda, brought about the end of The Empire, and redeemed his father Vader? The last Jedi? What happens when that guy fails? When Luke Skywalker finds the weakness, the Vader, the humanity inside himself, reflected in his nephew Ben. He lashes out with his light saber, just as in Yoda’s cave. Luke is left utterly broken. Just as Obi-wan failed Vader, Luke fails Leia and Han by chasing their son to the Dark Side. How does a legend, how does Luke Skywalker deal with that level of failure?

Johnson’s choice to leave Luke a bitter, broken, self-pitying and self-loathing man hiding away from the Galaxy in Ireland seems true to the character we have known. So when a young girl from “nowhere,” turns up with his father’s old light saber, in desperate need of a surrogate father, a sense of belonging and care, of a teacher; he pushes her away. Straight into the arms of Ben Solo.

And while both Luke and Rey were from nowhere, let’s call him Ben Solo, is definitely from somewhere and is someone. He is a Skywalker. That passionate family that drove the plot of a 40 year old franchise. They slice each other’s limbs off. They live on the planets where they were engulfed in flames and had their limbs sliced off. They commit vague acts of incest. They are hard-headed, petulant, and powerful. In short, they are a dynasty as mighty as the Olympian Gods. And in Luke’s own words, they have the flaw of those who would be gods, hubris, and they suffer their fate. Pity and Fear.

Which leads us to Ben Solo. While he sees Vader as a man to emulate, his character surpasses Vader as a villain in complexity and relevance. He is a man to be both pitied and feared, in the ancient Greek sense. As a boy, he has a barely there Dad, and a working Mom who pushes him off on his famous Uncle, who feels threatened by the boy. As a young man, he seeks escape and belonging with a manipulative leader. He becomes a patricide, and what we all too clearly recognize as a rampage killer, a Columbine kid. That is who he is. A shattered monster. But he is still a Princeling with pedigree. And, unlike Vader, he is young, vulnerable, and handsome. The perfect “fixer- upper boyfriend” for a lost, confused, lonely, and rejected young woman, searching for someone to show her where she belongs in the world. Which is exactly what Rey is.

Ben Solo uses the language of an abuser with Rey. He tells her what she fears most, that she is utterly alone, a nobody. That her parents where nobodies, junkies, buried in forgotten graves in the sands of nowhere. He tells her that she is nothing, except to him. Except with him. In a world where lineage and status count for everything, to be with him is to matter. #MeToo Rey.

And this is the true essence of Johnson’s modernization of Star Wars expressed through the failure of Luke that Yoda refers to. His failure of Rey. But, like Luke’s insistence that “it’s time for the Jedi to end.” Like the burning of the ancient tree of the first Jedi temple, and Ben’s desire to “kill the past.” Rian Johnson manages to save Star Wars by destroying it.

Earlier in the film, Luke snidely demands of Rey if he should walk out and face down the entire First Order with a “laser sword.” And yet, that is what he does. As Leia and the remaining rebels hole up inside the rusted remnants of an old rebel base, Luke performs his most heroic act in any of the films, he offers himself as a sacrifice so that his friends may escape and live on, and only then finds the Hero he needed to be.**

And, as we watch knowing that Carrie Fisher has herself become one with the Force, the burden of STAR WARS falls away forever. Rian Johnson’s great achievement in creating The Last Jedi was, yes, kill the past. Lords and Princesses are replaced by nobodies from nowhere. Clones are replaced by Finn and Hux’s Mom. Storybook romance is replaced by the complexities of the neglect, dependency, abuse, and just the usual messy humanity that Disney films in particular have glamorized for too long. Both the heroic and the evil, the Light and the Dark, are left in the hands of the uncertain young characters who will determine the future of the Galaxy. And I like that.

*Unapologetic pun

**Like the old King Beowulf, Campbell fiends. 😉

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Mueller, Midterms & Other Bedtime Stories

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This has been my favorite gif for about a year or so now. Superman in a bar doing shot after shot after shot of Johnny Walker. Superman was developed by two Jewish brothers, and was the first cartoon of its kind. He’s a super-hero. He fought Nazis and the KKK, saved kittens from trees, and stood for Truth, Justice and the American Way. Superman may have been an alien, but he cared for human beings. But he’s currently getting wasted. And I feel ya Supes.

Superman will always be the guy we hope will swoop from the skies and save us, and save us from ourselves. And to every liberal, progressive, and Democrat out there, we have collectively passed his cape on to Robert Mueller. He took down Gotti and Enron. He will save us.

And then we’ll flip the Congress in the Midterms! Then we’ll get ’em all, take down the Russians and everyone even near to Trump. And it all ends with a Biden/Romney ticket. President Warren, Oprah or Hillary, or maybe….Michelle!

Yep. The system that has fucked us for 241 years will just suddenly work for the people! And everyone in the country will rejoice. We’ll get gun reform, and repeal that horrid tax plan, and fix the National Parks, and run everything on solar, wind, or whatever Elon Musk decides. No one will lose benefits, and all of the petty and cruel GOP and Trumpian ideas will be erased.

That’s the story, as far as everyone I know, keeps telling me. But, like the young people in Florida who survived the attack on their school: I’m calling BS.

Nothing is that simple. We’ve had a school shooting every 2.5 days since January 1, 2018. That’s 1 7 school shootings in 45 or so days. I didn’t hear about all of them. Congress does nothing but cash those NRA checks, while the students take it into their own hands. And deplorable despicables argue the idea of armed teachers and prison schools. Drink up Supes!

I’ve always heard, “Americans are a fair people. They want a fair deal.” Oh yeah? How fair were we to the Native Peoples we encountered here? How fair to the human being bought and sold as a work animal? How fair to women and immigrants? How fair was it to buy cheap land off Napoleon so he could fund his conquest of Europe? How fair to save the Nazi who made Hitler’s rockets from prosecution to help us get to space before the Soviets? How fair to drop nuclear bombs on on civilians so we’d beat the Soviets to Japan? Do one for me Supes.

We live in a nation built on, and perpetually helped by, on lies. And the one President who did save our Nation through our Civil War? One super man who was not bullet-proof.

So, my dearest, darlingest fellow libtards, what makes you think getting rid of Trump will just go off without a hitch? And the system that fucks us and keeps us poor and ignorant will work? It’s laughable. And yes, more and more people are speaking out like the students in Florida. PA is no longer Gerrymandered. These are all positive. But it’s not going to be some Coke commercial in which we all hold hands and sing. Nixon bungled a stupid burglary, and look at that insanity! How can we expect an investigation of top officials in our government working with the world’s enemy, Putin, to just happen with no ill repercussions for all of us?

I’m confounded. Think being white and middle class will save you? That it’s white folks getting shot, impoverished, under-educated, and dying of heroin that the halls of government cares about? Don’t you get it? We’re all niggers now. And your children? Canon fodder. Ready to slap them with the burden with a life-time strapped with student debt? Or gamble you’ll have good health until 83? Let people you know who rely on public services get squeezed and squeezed until our lives are spent in grinding poverty with no hope of escape? Concerned about the environment, get in line between the LGBTQ community and women.

And what if the protests turn into civil unrest? Are you willing to give a drop of your blood or your children’s for this despicable nation? I’m not.

I feel like Cassandra, or worse. Seneca serving Nero. No wonder he was into Stoicism. Maybe you either get it or you don’t, but perhaps I can’t explain it to you. I’ve tried. And I’ll continue to try. Albert Einstein happened to be out of Germany when Hitler was elected Chancellor in 1933. Einstein saw the writing on the wall and never returned. Just be smart like Einstein, and quit drinking the nerves away with your Super-Mueller mythos. And I will hope that I am wrong.

“The past ain’t what it used to be.” – (not) Yogi Berra

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Puddems is Murder

“Hi, my name is Puddems, and I love murder.”

Delayed onset hangover today after the Eagles Super Bowl win! Go birds! But don’t expect my cat to celebrate a bird win. He’s into MURDER.

But he’s also working on a budding musical career! This is my translation of his latest hit in waiting. He based the lyrics and melody for this magnum opus on the The Smiths anthem Meat is Murder, from their 1985 album of the same name.

Listen here to compare!

Puddems is Murder

The mouse I make shriek and cry
And the frog that is full of slime
These awesome creatures must die
These awesome creatures must die

A death for no reason
And death for no reason is murder

And the baby bird that can't fly
It's not succulent, tasty, or kind
It's death just to please me
And death just to please me is murder
(I love making animals die)

And the vole that I toss with a smile
It is murder
And the legs that I pull off the mice
It is murder

I'm just a natural, normal feline
The shattered creature I leave to die
'Cause I got wetfood inside

I don't eat my kills
I don't eat my kills
It is murder

Because I'm a flippin' cat
A cat who loves murder

Oh sweet murder!

Oh murder!

Tune in later for Abbey’s new song: Take Me Home Abbey Road!

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

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Misery Dizzery Dock

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A hey there little Red Riding Hood! *shiver*

Misery Dizzery Dock

Misery dizzery dock
I can’t out-run the clock
Bread crumbs and pies
and pluck out the eyes
Misery Dizzery Dock

Ring around the rosey
a pocket full of fleas
Ophelia and her posies
will force us to our knees

Misery dizzery dread
streams of whiskey and not bread
The Wolf in the bed
Or trusted by children instead
Izzery mizzerly doc

ADdercop! ADdercop!
SiT not by me!
It STings! It Bites! It Chews!
Kiss a cop! & Take a knee!
And please ignore the news

Misery dizzery red
Computers in my head
Rosebud his sled
Luke and Leia are dead
Misery Dizzery Izzery Pizzery
Dizzily head to the block.

by, J.Lakis, Feb. 2018

Hey-oh my friends! Thank you for tuning in to my doggerel, but I’ve been really sick. I spent a lot of time bored, hopped up on meds, and in between sick-sweat dream naps. So I wrote some of what I’ll kindly call poetry. This is the first bit I cleaned up some. Let me know what you think in the comment section below! Or add your own verse! Go Eagles! 🙃

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

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Self-Portrait: Mid-Winter

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Self-portrait, oil on canvas paper, Jessica Lakis  (WIP)

I have to light a fire. Every morning I must clean and light a wood stove. Sweeping before and after fire-making.  I empty the soot and ash into a black metal can with a handle and shovel. (Is this what is called a “scuttle?”) I will empty the ash on the compost. I let the dog out with me while I gather the tinder and wood from under the kitchen porch over the basement entrance, where Stan has stacked it.  Hauling the wood up the curving basement stairs, all the stairs curve here, I trip a lot. It’s been below zero C for weeks. I detest the cold. I curse a good deal. Sometimes it’s my Father’s voice mixed with Walter White. “Jessie! Your mind isn’t on what you’re doing.” Fair enough.

After earning the Tom Hanks moment of achieving the early human magic of fire, tea or coffee may now be had. And that’s how about every day has begun for weeks. I place humidifiers and air cleaners to protect my assaulted sinuses and lungs. I long to open the windows. But still I must clean. I have finally begun to realize and actually do what I need to survive this bleak, blear of holidays and the long nothing afterwards.

For weeks I waited for Star Wars. Stan and I made a date of  seeing the new Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which I adore. I even like Rose. She seems closer to me. I tingled to the new connection between Rey and Ben Solo (I suppose that’s what everyone calls Kylo Ren now). It’s unexpected and gorgeous. But a dark and heart-gutting story. Leia’s key role underlines how much I miss her, and will. My champion on screen and off, she’s gone forever. Nevertheless, my bright spot of December unleashes sobbing. I feel as though Star Wars has caught up with current events and the current mood. And I think of what Yoda tells Luke: failure the best teacher is.

Although I am back in therapy, my mood drops. I still had two weeks until Stan’s vacation. I begin to feel lonely and sad. I cry everyday, and every Sunday night sends me into a terror facing the loneliness of the next week when Stan goes back to work. All through the freezing weather and short days. I am tired of telling others that I don’t have the money for presents, so please don’t get me one. Even though Stan and I have permanently sworn off Christmas because we are both unbaptized nonbelievers, and we don’t have children, I am still sad. Like the O’Henry story, but neither of us has hair to sell or an expensive old watch to pawn. We instead spend our gift cards on gifts for each other. Trips to Michael’s! See Star Wars again. We are very happy.

I start recovering myself by doing more. I decide cheese sandwiches is not a healthy diet, and begin working on vegetarian cooking. Cooking in general. And Stan roasts a pork loin and eats it with my cabbage, potatoes and beans the week of the New Year. I shoot the old shithouse on the hill with a 20 gauge on New Year’s eve. I am ashamed that no one had shot the shithouse with a shotgun before. Stan throws M80s. It was dangerous, and fun.

Having found myself utterly without words to express what is happening to me, so I draw. My mother buys me a portable easel with a large, partitioned drawer. She’s also added a large tube of Titanium White, medium, and turpentine. So I begin to oil-paint. And without having used oils or drawn the human form for ages, I obviously attempt a self-portrait. I cannot correct the fractured skull I under-painted.

I start again. I suddenly realize that, better than the small makeup mirror, are selfies I take under the light I want. I suppose I never thought of it because I’m old. I began painting for an hour in the morning and one in the evening, to let the paint dry. The under-painting worked. Suddenly I’m doing classical thin to fat oil. What I learned in college and from my father over years rush back. Every piece of advice. Every admonition. Suddenly, a passable painting emerges from the cheap canvas paper. In the background I paint the design of the carpet at The Overlook Hotel from The Shining. It seems appropriate. I am proud, even seeing the flaws. Soon the crying drops away, and I just paint.

I become a happy hermit again. Oblivious to the problems outside my door. I chuckle at the ridiculous headlines of “like, really smart” and “a very stable genius,” which pops up as Breaking News from the NYT to my inbox. “President Trump declares self “very stable genius.” tee-hee-hee! The anxiety is a bit harder to ditch, but somehow I manage. Black box pinot noir contain four bottles of wine, and cost 22$. I add seltzer, and let myself have one or two in the evenings.  My tongue loosens with Stan, and we communicate and assist each other with each others’ “goals” for the New Year. We play games and “art” together. Talk about improvements to the house.

I lose some of my cool when my Mom texts me, at an inopportune moment, with several times and dates to choose from to see my sister’s show.  I feel hassled and annoyed. And again someone wants to pay for the tickets I cannot afford. The internal drama and stress family issues cause me ensues. Does my sister still hold a grudge over me? Is she simply the same little sister who tortured me between play? My younger sister who convinced me to clean her room for her. Made me feel guilty unless I slept in her bed. And would wait at the top of the steps for me, then jump out and scare me. I was certain I’d find my end at the foot of those long wooden stairs. I get the distinct feeling that I’m someone she calls on a schedule, like a grandmom. I wonder if it’s possible to love without liking. Perhaps I am to her a childhood playmate from whom she has moved on, but calls on birthdays. But she never speaks of it to me, so I don’t know. My Mother wants to keep us together as a family.

That drama still ongoing, I have fitful desires to go outside because the temperature is just above freezing. I enjoy being the local hermit again. I race Abbey down the lane because it’s too cold to walk. And then there’s my four sets of curving stairs. One second floor bathroom. I suppose I’m exercising. I still dance in the morning or whenever I really feel the urge. I stretch to the rhythm of The Smiths. My body commanded to move as though I were leisurely yodeling, or growling and gargling over a sharp, embarrassing and private pain. I add The Pogues. Angrier displaced Irishmen. Infinitely unhappy, but determined to live while they can.

At last, I find myself able to write and paint at once. Something I haven’t done since high school. So, I suppose I’m managing myself better. Perhaps in a few months Scatman Crothers will have to save either Stan or myself. Save us both!

In the meantime, I have a fire to tend.

 

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

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

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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! 😁

 

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.

 


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 mark me as disabled, 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.

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 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.


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