Tag Archives: living with mental illness

Paths without Glory: PTSD and The Neverending Now

Now you cannot escape.

You are trapped Now. Now you have no past. Nothing exists before Now. All your life is the inescapable hell of Now. You cannot remember when Now began. Now is with you when you wake. Now continues when you sleep. Now you cannot remember ice cream. Now you cannot remember the ocean. There is no vacation from Now. Now you cannot remember a smile. Now you cannot remember kindness. Now you cannot remember peace. Now you cannot remember love. Now you have no friend. Now is the inescapable foe. Now you cannot recognize the dead from the living. Now you forget which you are. Now you howl to no one. Now there is no one to hear. Now you are forgotten. Now you are utterly alone. Now is deaf. Now is dumb. Now is The Nothing stretching before you. That holds you fixed in its gaping stare. Now is The Nothing behind that pins you pitilessly Here in Now. Now is The Nothing of repeated repetition. Now is The Nothing that seeps into your soul, your being, the marrow of your bones. Now has no meaning. Now you are Nothing. Now has no past. Now has no future. Now never ends.

This is my experience of PTSD. And while the untouched have always struggled or refused to understand what has been called “The Soldiers’ Disease,” “Shellshock,” “Nam Flashbacks,” “Battered Wife Syndrome,” and just as often plain cowardice or an inability to “get over it,” I know this thing exists. I have seen it in films like “The Hurt Locker.” I have read stories of the Roman soldiers attempting to literally bury their heads to escape the slaughter at Cannae. I’ve read of the morphine addiction rampant among veterans of the Civil War. The alcoholic nihilism of Post-WWII Film Noir is rife with it. I have seen the homeless veterans of the countless savageries of war from Vietnam to Afghanistan living on the careless streets of the country they gave their youth for. Heroin, opiates, and alcohol have claimed more soldiers’ lives than any “enemy.” I have watched my Father carry a fly-swatter with him at all times. And when I asked him why bother over a fly, I heard his endless refrain. “Have you ever seen what flies can do to a dead man’s body?” I have heard my Mother tell of how her uncle, who cleared the tunnels at Iwo Jima, and her brother, who was wounded in Vietnam, break into tears at the mention of tunnels and pits and caves. The humor of the TV show M*A*S*H is the humor of the trenches. In Vonnegut’s “Slaughter House Five,” as the Germans and prisoners emerge from hiding into the rubble of Dresden, a bird challenges the meaning of human suffering with the call “Poo-tee-weet?” And Ahab chased the blind, dumb creature that took his leg and humanity around this circling world, a danger and a warning to all who witnessed his pain and rage. And, of course, there is Tolkien’s Frodo, closest to my heart. The author’s elaborate creation begun in the trenches, and so painful he constructed new languages just to speak of it.

I have never been to war. But I watched my Father wither from a robust, vibrant, keen and caring man into a skeletal mockery from cancer. I endured his final opiate-hazed days when he returned in his mind to Korea, and issued orders to my Mother, my sister, and myself. I remember how we pretended to obey his commands, lifting imaginary boxes of medical supplies that were desperately needed on some godless hill in the Frozen Chosin. That was how he earned his Bronze Star as a logistics Sergeant. Saving men no one remembers from slaughter in a war no one mentions on hill known by a forgotten number.

And I watched my Father die. And I had moments when I looked in the mirror and did not recognize my own image. I stole his drugs to kill my own pain. And when those were gone, ten dollars would buy a bag of mainlined oblivion for a day.

And then there was Him. Dark haired and dark eyed, tragically lost to the romance of the poppy, yet full of artistic promise. I thought I could save Him. But when he exchanged the needle for the bottle, well I wished he were back on dope. He never threw me down the concrete stairs in front of our apartment in the snow, half clothed, front left tooth broken by the gum line. Me with never a cavity. Those beautiful teeth. He never did that when he was on dope. He never pulled me from my bed by ankles and the long hair I will never wear again. Repeatedly pulling me from bed, slamming my face into doorways and tile bathroom floors. Right front tooth shattering with the tile beneath my face as he threw my head again and again and again against the cold surface. He never did that on heroin. I learned not to lock myself in the bathroom.

He’d have a beer or six and a drop of alcohol. And I would see his eyes lose focus. And rage rage RAGE at the world that he felt rejected his genius, and all fell on me. Sometimes I would hide outside. And he would scream and look for me. Sometimes he’d find me. Sometimes I’d sneak back into the apartment when it got quiet. Sometimes he’d wake up and again I’d be torn from bed or the closet or kitchen cabinet under the sink, which was spacious for a girl whose driver’s license says 5′ 1”. Again the beating, the sleeplessness, the bruises. Begging my landlord not to call the cops again. Lying to the police in Spanish somewhere in Central America that by all outward signs was a paradise. The safest, most stable and enduring democracy in Latin America. Full of Pura Vida and 90 year olds who loved to dance. Dinosaurs lived there. And monkeys! Real monkeys in the wild, swinging from tree to tree like one imagines monkeys would do. That I lived in Paradise at this time is probably the reason I am still alive.

But Paradise had a lot of cheap, pure cocaine, and cheaper alcohol. I don’t mind thinking of heroin, or seeing it on TV or in movies or in the news. It has no hold on me. But cocaine. No. When you carefully open tampons and roll your rent money up and hide it in the applicator tubes, then carefully hide the broken seal on the wrapping, and he bangs and berates you until you give it up. When your debit card and credit card are stolen enough that no bank wants your money. When you keep calling out of work. When the makeup can’t hide the bruises from your students, colleagues, or bosses. When you are just tired, and curl in bed with your dog and hordes of benedryl that you keep hidden but ultimately he finds and flushes anyway. When you’ve tried cutting with the razor but cannot. When you stop going to work. When you are unable to move. When you sit with your father-in-law and his “girlfriend” at a Christmas/birthday dinner you have prepared to please the in-laws, as it were, and he, Him, keeps leaving for an hour, two, more. And you sit ashamed before a white-haired, white-toothed, twinkling, blue-eyed Irishman wanted by the FBI and his expensive, young female companion whose tits he paid for. I say, when you sit at that well-prepared table in that company and feel shame burn and twist inside of you: you will feel the same about that “party” drug.

And when you’ve mastered playing ‘possum on the floor while a man with 12 inches and a hundred pounds on you spits venom in your face: worthless, useless, talentless, unfunny, stupid, fat, ugly, friendless, unloved, unloveable, a shame to your father’s memory, and “just like your mother.” It doesn’t matter how untrue those words are, or how tortured your mother has been, when all you are left with is the churning emptiness between your heart and gut. When you hold and rock yourself like a child, and howl like a street dog with a broken leg to no one. To silence. To nothing. When your only recourse is to beg money from your mother, your little sister, again, this time for a plane ticket home. To January in the Northeast. Freezing outside of PHL airport waiting for your mother who brought you a winter a coat. When you have to leave your dog. Your dog! With a man who’s sold your rings and necklaces and has bashed out your teeth. When you’ve been cheated on more times than you care to know. And yet you’ve stayed loyal in word and deed. When you leave him, and run from not your home to not your home. When you are drugged and sodomized by a “gay” couple renting out a room. And even still he chases you. Corners you outside of a drug store and tries to steal your prescription anti-anxiety medication. Hounds you when finally find someone new and good, and have a new apartment, and a job. When he waits where he knows you walk that same dog which you finally rescued, and greets you by saying “I see you’ve chubbed up.” When he uses your social security number to buy six iPhones, and you spend a year trying to fix your credit. I say, when that happens to you, you have experienced war, and it becomes your Now. And it will remain your Now forever. It may ease. It may improve. You may learn to adapt. But you are marked. Touched. Changed forever. As much as Ahab was broken and torn by Moby Dick. As much as Frodo lost his finger, himself, and received his wound that never healed. Your Now becomes and remains that moment you broke. The moment that meaningless, blind, begging, scraping, pitiful, lonely, raging suffering and violence that took the last of what you were. That becomes your Now, and as with Frodo or Ahab, your End.

I’ve been in some sort of therapy or counseling, and on psychiatric medications since I was about nineteen. I had some other troubles in my earlier life, and I don’t speak of them because the man involved is physically/mentally unable to understand what he did. And I’ve been mugged so many times I’ve lost count. But I recently appeared before an adjudicating law judge who began to ask me if there weren’t “some way, some therapy…because it’s been so long…” I wanted to scream at him that there are still Vietnam Vets, men in their sixties and seventies, living in VA shelters because their 18th year is still their Now. That to speak of “getting over it” to me is as monstrous as the French who shot men who would not “go over the top,” or Patton striking a soldier who had followed him from Africa through Italy, and then just broke down.

I don’t want what I have. But every time I wake up in a pool of cold sweat, from another dream in which He has taken all my money, spent it on drugs and booze, is with some other girl. And I am alone. Without a home, wandering the streets in the rain, unloved, unliked, unwanted, forgotten, useless, worthless, trying to navigate my way through mazes of bureaucrats and Nurse Ratcheds just to receive something, anything to help me continue to survive. I know my Now has not changed much. I will carry that weight and wound forever, as Frodo did. I may never find peace in the Shire again. And I will bear my eternal, mad, maniacal rage and pain as Ahab. A constant threat to the peace of those around me. A worry. A burden. Broken. A wary animal ruled by instinct. For if my chest were a cannon, surely such unholy madness as mine would burst from it and take all those who tried my patience with me. Save this blog where I told my tale in public first.

I have not written much lately here. I still struggle with accepting my new Now in my bed in my home. I still worry that I will lose everything. I worry about eviction. About losing utilities. About the time He lost the rent money betting on the Eagles. Who bets on the Eagles?! I horde food in bulk. I know what I can substitute for butter or eggs. And I lose sleep over when I only have one box of buillion or forget to plant or buy or dry parsley. I plant food. I pickle and can food. I carry at least one knife on me at all times. I have rebar wrapped in duct tape, and hatchets and machetes and baseball bats stashed around my house should there be an intruder. And I all of these items have names like The DiNero, or Killary. I can’t be in places with one exit. Ikea is my worst nightmare. I get nervous thinking of going to the supermarket, and rarely use ear phones. I have violent fantasies of taking down hostile men with some sort of Kung-Fu I obviously don’t know. But I know this house and the land it is on. And I know just how many doors I can lock behind me and still have an escape route like a roof. I check locks. I keep my house cold to keep the bills down. I spend hours throwing a pick ax to clear room for food gardens. Tear muscles raking. I diverted a stream with a shovel. I carry my weedwhacker like I’m Ripley or Vasquez or T2 Sarah Conner carried their weapons. I pack my backpack with first aid and mylar blankets and granola and fishing tackle, maps, and at least a liter of water. I purposefully overpack it and hike with it to build my endurance should I need to GET OUT. I instinctively note exits, and seat myself in public so as to have a clear view of the entrance, but behind the way the door swings should I need cover. Should I need to run. I can’t leave my house for long because my lack of a car and money leaves me feeling trapped and vulnerable. I have changed my appearance so as to not look inviting to men, and ensure I look and speak as white as I can with my mainly Mediterranean/Hungarian heritage. I live in the Appalachian foothills, and even if you knew my address, you couldn’t find me even with GPS.

But most of all, I hate my teeth. The bonding is old and beginning to crack on the first broken front tooth. And the bonding on the second tooth stains and needs replacing. And every time I see that stain, I want to put my fist through the mirror and his face. But life has punished him. And I have finally proved the medical necessity of crowns to my insurance, which is Medicaid, of course.

This is my Now. This is how I have adapted. But my family and long-time friend and love SP, and my therapist, have encouraged me to write again. My Mother gave me the money to renew this site and my domain. I was unsure what to write. Until this morning when I woke up more grateful to wake than any day I can recall. I woke up screaming and crying in a pool of sweat as I often do . He had spent all the money on drugs and was hanging out with some chick who was shooting up crack(?). I was living in my usual, lovely but changing cottage, by the landscape that is either near the ocean, or an old mill that has a good fishing spot, which he had destroyed. And the cottage was full of junkies and low lifes he’d brought around. And as I was crying and begging and pleading with him to leave me with something, he laughed at me. Laughed at how pitiful and pathetic I was. So I knew what to blog about today. Because I knew what he was laughing at. Now he had me trapped. This is my Now. This is my lonely path without glory. This is the story of my Neverending Now with PTSD.

-JL

While you’re here: Please check out the wonderful work done by the people at The National Alliance on Mental Illness and donate.

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A Rainy Night in Soho: Loneliness & Song

I never made a point to go back and speak about the trauma I suffered at the beginning of this summer. It was a deep betrayal of a bond that kept me propped up emotionally. And I collapsed with it.

As I pointed out in an earlier post (In Which I Sing), I did pick up my Dad’s old guitar and have been practicing.

I suppose I enjoy it because my brain is full of words. Words strung together around an idea. Words to songs. Words to stories. I’ve never been short for words, until I was.

I suppose the answer lay the nature of the betrayal I experienced. That relationship was built on words. My words, mainly. And my words were suddenly turned against me, and worse, didn’t matter. I didn’t matter.

I’ve always been a talker. I have opinions on everything that I’ll back up with reams of words. I don’t even have to understand what I’m saying, or why, so long as the words sound good. That they string along well. They’re unusual or surprising, alliterative and witty.

But I can’t say I’ve ever been the popular type. I am exactly what I seem, the former editor of my high school literary magazine.

But I’ve always had friends. Until I was married, really. By the time I came to leave that relationship, I can’t say I had a friend. No one knew me, and I knew no one. My family and old friends had become strangers to me, and I to them.

One of my joys in piecing my life back together was rediscovering friends. Old friends and new. Renewing bonds and learning to understand what had changed during the gap in my life. Some friends took longer to regain, some I never have. I accept that.

Individual therapy has saved me more than once. In therapy, beyond the formal learning, I am able to practice being me. I was no longer sure who “me” was. I had a memory of me. Me healthy. Me full of confidence. Me the pain in the ass who wants to explain evolution to you. But who is “me” now? I knew I was deeply changed. In some ways irrevocably. But therapy gave me a safe space to explore this new “me.”

I suppose such a bond as that with a therapist becomes like a friendship. Mainly one-sided, but an open, honest, trust-based relationship. I like to wear my nice clothes and put on makeup to see my therapists. Present myself well. I want to impress, to prove I’m learning.

So, it was what I view as a betrayal of that bond by a woman I’d seen for two years as my therapist that sent me quiet.

I live with someone I love very much, who is good and kind to me, and who needs me too. I have family close by. But I don’t drive, and there is no public transportation here. I can’t say that I’d see many more people if my situation were different. But I would get out more. And a betrayal on such a personal level makes me less likely to seek people out.

The most helpful friends I’ve had lately are those like myself. Old and new. Involuntary hermits. Kindreds in mind and spirit.

As I said, I haven’t been writing as much. But music seems to help me channel some of that shattered pain, and the frail shards of happiness I’ve recollected.

Instead of speaking, I’ve become a prodigious doer of stuff. Good stuff. Extreme stuff. Gardening, fixing this old house, etc. I’m actually tough! But it all would be empty without my music. And if I feel nervous or unhappy, there is my music. I need my music. But what I listen to most is the words.

I’ve found a lot of solace in the music of resourcefulness. The kind that people make when times are hard, on what instruments they have. When work, if you can get it, doesn’t necessarily pay, and music is a chance at release. The music of folks who make a great noise at the passing of a loved one because they’ve earned their rest.

I like music about the confusion. About the search. Music to raise the dead. I’ve been working on this song above for some time. There are layers of meaning in it that speak to me of misspent youths, friendships come and gone, and somehow, purges my own demons. This song tells me “It’s OK.” Music to soothe. Music so I don’t feel alone.

I’ll borrow the words of others, until I regain my own.

While you’re here: Please check out the wonderful work done by the people at The National Alliance on Mental Illness and donate.

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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The Anals of History

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” I spent a great deal of time sitting in the bedroom writing furiously and feeling that I was terribly important and that everything that I wrote would go down in the annals of history or whatever. And it’s proved to be… quite true.”

That magical time of year has arrived, my friends. Morrissey’s birthday? My birthday? Well, yes, but more importantly, it’s that time of year when I get pinned and mounted like a butterfly by my former mental health provider! And damn but they must hate butterflies. Yes, I’ve gone through proper channels, but in honor of Big Mouth’s birthday, and Morrissey’s, I’m about to write some highly inadvisable wroth born of misery.

So, if you follow my blog, you may be familiar with last winter’s hits, The Soil Falling Over my Head, and Much Ado About My Last Post , which detailed my previous encounters with the bloated Alien Queen that dwells in the gaping and unshaven cave where the heart of my former mental health provider should be. And while my previous, purely satirical, hypothetical post by Kylo Ren First Order Counseling Kinda Sucks, By Kylo Ren/Ben Solo may or may not have reflected anything IRL, I cannot say. What I can declare without hesitation is the full-on, non-consensual, raping my last few weeks of “therapy” felt like.

Just like Kylo, it began with a bad match for psychiatric care, which happens. So what’s a compliant client/patient to do? Like a pale, wounded Frodo asking Sam to move in with him — read the book! — I spoke about it with my therapist. Obviously, I was asking for it because we all know Frodo gets screwed, and definitely not by his “beloved Sam.”

Somehow, I forget how cruel people are, even those you’ve shared your troubles, wishes, hopes, sadness, and regrets with. I feel as though I have been beaten about the head until my ears ring, my other front tooth broken, and I have to call out of work again. But enough about my attempt at marriage. I have never personally experienced such cold, callous treatment from a mental health professional.

It was as if, this woman who had greeted me with warm smiles for two years transformed into the Bitch of Buchenwald before my eyes.

The first session after my complaint about the psychiatrist consisted of her trying to sign me up for an “intensive anxiety group” at another facility. Besides my general feelings on “group,” which essentially consist of abject terror of people, and the notion that someone may want me to friggin’ pray. I can’t pay an Uber to take me there 3-4 times a week. She knows this. But when I asked about keeping her as a therapist, she sunnily declared that I’d get a new one there. Not one word about what we had been working on in therapy was uttered by her. I brought it up. She swatted it down.

First off, I thought she was trying to be slick and get me to sign myself out of care there and into another program of my own accord. I later learned, by calling this other facility, that the program was a 60 day, out-patient, Benzodiazepine detox consisting of Group several times a week, and a once a week a check in with a psychiatrist. It was their doctors who raised my dosage of those by a milligram in less than a year. So now they kick me out for it? Not only was the program grossly inappropriate for me, but it did not consist of individual therapy at all, and they had no therapists taking new clients at the time.

After leaving and feeling dead inside for a day or so, I thought perhaps I wasn’t seeing things clearly. So I went back to her the next week. Again, no talk of the issues we had been working on. She started in asking about drinking and marijuana use. I responded as I always do, I have one or two drinks sometimes, and once and a while, with months passing in between, I may have a draw off a bowl.

Now, I have zero money, live in the midle of nowhere, with someone who doesn’t care for it, and I wouldn’t know where to find it if I wanted. Furthermore, I don’t know what’s in that stuff anymore. I don’t eat meat because, besides the inhumane treatment, its contribution to Greenhouse emissions (between 75 and 85%), but also because I have no idea what they feed or inject or do to those animals.  And while most doctors I report this to are mainly concerned with the alcohol because of my medications, she declared that I needed to accept a drug and alcohol diagnosis for marijuana, along with mental health to continue on there.

But no, apparently I’m a vegetarian, asthma and sinusitus sufferer who tokes up any old street weed and smokes cigarettes? Yeah, she added that to my diagnoses as well. I am that jerk who coughs when I smell cigarette smoke. It just makes no sense, unless they are bilking Medicaid, or have been all this time. (Yeah, I saw that segment on John Oliver on Rehab and “Liquid  Gold.”) It’s like they think those with mental illness don’t use the interwebz or like the phone. Urgh.

Now, to be clear, I live in a Medical Marijuana state. And in the past, like a dumb, young farm-boy trying to bring his droid into a cantina, I had asked about it because of my diagnoses. At the time she said she had referred other clients to prescribing doctors, but now my diagnoses, my mention of the state’s program, and my honestly reported use of marijuana became bargaining chips. I was told I had to accept the Drug & Alcohol diagnosis for marijuana to have PTSD on my chart, or I was out.

I had a heroin problem in the past on and off, between my dad dying a few days before I began my senior year of college, and my ex-husband who broke both my front teeth, on separate occasions, stole my money, beat me until I told him where I hid my money, etc. But I have 10+ years in full remission, not that I count, because I don’t for some reason. I was NOT taking a drug and alcohol diagnosis. After what I went through to lose that stigma and regain my life.

I left the lilacs I had picked from outside my house on her couch, and left. And now I’m out in the rain. I do have things moving through proper channels, etc. I had an intake elsewhere, and I’m waiting for an individual evaluation. But, yeah, I was fucked. Hard and without mercy.

So, in honor of my Mozzy, myself, and the three day weekend everyone gets because of my birthday (you’re welcome), I’m just laying this out there. Not to be spiteful. Not to hurt. But to help…me. Because I know my value now. Sure, I have my Morrissey/Smiths playlist on. It’s raining. And I spent the past few days crying into my pillow. But seriously, those unholy assholes. Without mercy. Kicking down a person they are sworn to protect. Thanks for the sodomy without the reach around!

Truly a story for the anals of history.

PS– I bet they never have optioned IP and never thanked the Academy. Ya know, like I have.😘

While you’re here: Please check out the wonderful work done by the people at The National Alliance on Mental Illness and donate.

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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First Order Counseling Kinda Sucks, By Kylo Ren/Ben Solo

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I’m now in treatment for my RAGE issues. It’s not easy.

Today we have a guest-writer. His name is Kylo or Ben. Give him a warm welcome.

-JL

Hey, it’s your boy. Kylo. I’m feeling pretty fed up today. Like I’m busy. It’s not easy to finish what Grandfather started. And now I’m like Supreme Leader Ben or Kylo or something, I haven’t decided on my Supreme Leader name yet.

So, here I am, and I’m totally trying to stop myself from destroying shit with my light saber. I have recognized that I’m not great at controlling my RAGE. And it’s not really a Supreme Leader thing. I’ve also got this Rey thing going on still, but I feel cool about it. I mean, like why wouldn’t she want to kill the past and rule the Galaxy with me? I don’t really get it. But you know maybe it’s like a girl thing. Like hormonal? I don’t really know much about girls. But I feel we can work it out. We just need time to talk. Maybe I’ll show her my swoll chest again. I don’t know.

But, like I said, I’m trying to work through my destructive RAGE tantrums. So I’ve been working on it with my space shrink. I just started to see this new guy. Apparently space shrinks are super rare or something. Because I’ve seen three different space shrinks in 6 months at First Order Counseling. And I find this taxing on my faith in the First Order to really provide me with adequate mental health services, without me RAGE-killing again. So I think that’s counter-productive to like stated treatment goals.

I mean, they actually gave me to some nobody, who is definitely not anything like Grandfather. And he barely listened to me, Supreme Leader Solo…no!….I’ll figure the name thing out later. Anyway, like the first thing out of his mouth was how much he’d like to cut down on my anti-RAGE pills. So, naturally I immediately needed an anti-RAGE pill. But like this guy just like totally couldn’t even read me. Even though I’m sitting there wearing all black because that’s how I feel on the inside. Not to mention my throbbing red facial scar.

Then I told him about how my sometime Father, and my royal, politician/general Mom totally made me go live with my weird Uncle with the creepy robot hand. Then, I mean get this, my uncle tried to kill me. IN MY SLEEP. I was fourteen. Fourteen. And you know what this guy said? He was like: you should totally go volunteer at an orphanage. Like what part of “I killed my own Dad” do you not understand?

Moreover, I don’t need to just have something to do with my time. Seriously like this Supreme Leader thing is way harder than I thought. Plus ya know, the Rey thing. I mean that doesn’t worry me too much. But like I’m busy here Dude! Not to mention that if I volunteered at an orphanage the only advice I could give them would be: burn down your enslavers, kill the past, then go start up your own badass club with some OG space-wizard dude and a ginger kid with space lasers. Huh. Hux. He’s such a bitch, but now he’s my bitch.

Anyway, so this guy sucked. And First Order Counseling is like: this our only dude right now. I hope they can work something out, or then I’ll be RAGEing out while having to find some space shrink out of First Order coveRAGE. Yeah, people will fall by my hand and sick Force skills if this doesn’t work out. From the very people who are supposed to be helping me with my RAGE issues.

But anyway, so I do get to see my space therapist tomorrow. I really like them. They like actually pay attention to me. But their power is limited. And I may have to get my Knights of Ren (is that still a thing?), anyway, I have back-up. I’m primed to order those dreadnoughts out. And you know, my sweet TIE Silencer.

OK, my point is: I have to worry about being Supreme Leader now, Force-slapping Hux, and the whole Rey thing, which ya know, is still sorta on my mind a little bit. I don’t need more crap on my plate right now, especially not from the people I’m trusting to help me work through acting out in RAGE. So yeah, that’s sorta where I am now. Thanks for listening. RAGE out.

(What? You thought I’d say “Peace out.” 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 Losers.)

By,

Kylo Ben Ren Solo

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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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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