Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Broken Crayons Still Colour The Same

I'm not exactly sure why, but today I feel broken.

Something inside of me feels not-quite-right.

There are a lot of things it could be. I've narrowed the list down to a few different things. Perhaps it's all of them combined. Sorry for the vagueblogging. The point is the title - broken crayons still colour the same.

I'm still me.

I may not do the same things I usually do.

I may not chatter as much as I usually do.

I may not engage as much as I usually do.

But I'm still here, still me, and still want to be heard, held, talked to, listened to.

I still WANT to do everything, but I can't.

Days like today are the days where I hide out in my bedroom and write and smoke and cry (or not - that one varies) because I just can't take being around people.

Music is iffy. I can listen to it for hours, or it can be too much stimulation.

Feeling broken used to be a permanent state of being for me. For a long time, I didn't feel broken so much as cracked. I guess I'd started healing. But something has opened that old wound today.

Maybe tomorrow will be better. But in the meantime... just remember... I'm still here... whether or not you can hear my voice.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Never In Your Wildest Dreams

I want to know what your wildest dreams for your life are. Do they involve being rich and famous someday? Going to a particular destination for a vacation? Moving somewhere you've never been?

When I was a kid, 8-10 years old, my big dream for myself was to be an inventor. I was absolutely convinced that I was going to create something that was going to change the way the world worked.

When I was 12-19, my big dream was to be a writer. Again, I was convinced I was going to create something that was going to change the world.

At 21, I had my first son. My big dreams shifted and changed, and now my big dream was to be the best mom I could be.

At 23, I had my second baby. My big dream became having a happy family with my kids and my fiance.

At 24, I married my kids' dad. My big dream was to maintain a happy family environment.

At 28, we split up. My big dream was to hold it together for the kids' sake.

At 31, I started writing again. The dream of being a writer wasn't a big one, but the ball was rolling.

At 34, I self-published my first book. The dream of someday becoming known in the world of fiction writing suddenly seemed more viable.

Over the next year and a half, I self-published 4 more books, for a total of 5. The idea of maybe being famous someday terrified me, but intrigued me at the same time. It wasn't really a dream, but a thought that kept nibbling at the back of my brain.

Right now, I am 38, and my life has changed dramatically in just the last 6 months. I have a few different wild dreams right now, but the only one I'm willing to admit publicly is that I think it'd be pretty fuckin' cool to be famous someday. To be sought after. To be admired. It's the least likely of my current dreams to come true, though.

C'est la vie. That's life.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Just A Little Something

Get me a drink I get drunk off one sip 
Just so I can adore you
I want the entire street out of town 
Just so I can be alone with you
Now go when your ready my heads 
Getting heavy pressed against your arm
I adore you
(Adore - Amy Shark)

She flicked the overhead light off and sat down on the edge of the bed. The little LED lights she had tied to her headboard cast a soft glow over his body. He watched her quietly, as she watched him in return. I adore this man so fucking much, she thought. I wonder if he really understands how much I love him? She picked up a water bottle off the nightstand and took a sip.

She laid down on the bed next to him, laid her head on his chest. She listened to his heart beating strongly in his chest. Thump-thump. Thump-thump. Thump-thump. Thump-thump. It sounded powerful and mighty, and its cadence soothed her soul. Thump-thump. Thump-thump. Thump-thump. Thump-thump. She held back tears as she listened to his breathing slow down and even out. How did I get so lucky to have this man in my life? She mulled the question over and over in her head until she finally fell asleep in his arms, exactly where she wanted to be.

Morning came fast, and she woke in his arms still. When she looked up at him, he smiled at her and tucked a small chunk of her hair behind her left ear, out of her face. She smiled back, and they exchanged a brief but electrifying kiss. They held each other’s gaze for a long moment after their lips separated, each unwilling to tear their gaze away.

She finally gave in and  broke the silence first. “Morning.” Her voice was barely a whisper.
“Good morning, beautiful.” His voice sent shivers down her spine, and the words made her heart skip a beat.
She smiled back at him, just a small smile. She was afraid that if she smiled any bigger, she would start crying. She could feel the tears fighting to come to the surface behind her eyelids. He was going home in a few hours. That was never an easy time for her.

She knew that he could tell she was forcing herself to hold back tears. He just held her gaze while she waited for him to say something. “Do you want to get up?” he asked.
She chuckled a little and said, “No, not really, but we probably should.” She sighed and tried to roll away from him, but there was resistance as he hugged her close, preventing her from moving away.
“Just wait… We can put it off for ten more minutes.”


She smiled cheerfully at him as they walked through her house together. She really enjoyed having him here. Wherever he was, she felt safe, which meant her home felt extra safe when he was there. She prepared them each a cup of coffee and they settled in beside each other on the loveseat in the living room.

She listened raptly as he showed her a selection of his favourite songs, and the couple chatted together quietly while her teen children moved about their day around them. After lunch, they went upstairs to her room so she could smoke a joint and they could have some privacy.

She lit the joint, and they chatted while she smoked and he scrolled around on his phone. As she inhaled the last puff, she glanced at the clock. It was almost time for him to leave. Her heart was suddenly sitting firmly in her throat, exactly where it did not belong. She put the ashtray and lighter away and laid down on her stomach as gently as possible. She tried to swallow, and found it difficult over the lump in her throat.
After what felt like forever to her, he noticed that she had gotten quiet. He maneuvered his body so he could look at her eyes. They were glistening with tears that hadn’t yet fallen. “You okay?” he asked quietly.
She didn’t answer, just closed her eyes, releasing the tears. She felt him shifting his position, and then he swiped gently at her cheeks, wiping away the tear streaks. “I love you,” he said, his voice gentle and genuine.
More tears fell, and she sniffled. “I love you, too,” she whispered.
“Why are you crying?” he asked softly.
She was quiet for a while, turning her head to stare at the clock radio on the nightstand. She knew that if she looked at him right now, she would start bawling. Finally, she had composed herself just enough, so she looked back at him and sighed quietly. “I don’t want you to leave.”
The unspoken “Ever.” hung in the air between them. He kissed her, looked her in her eyes, and said, “I don’t want to leave.”
And again, that unspoken word hung between them.

It’s you, babe
And I’m a sucker for the way that you move, babe
And I could try to run, but it would be useless
You’re to blame
Just one hit of you, I knew I’ll never be the same
(Never Be The Same - Camila Cabello)

The Rollercoaster That Is My Life

I've started this post three different ways already, and none of them have felt right to me. I've always found it hard to talk about this subject; it's always been my private shame, though I know there's nothing to be ashamed of.

I live with bipolar disorder. A lot of people refer to mental illnesses as something they suffer from, and more power to them if that's how they feel. For me, it's more like a constant companion - one that is always with me, whether I want it or not.

And that's the interesting thing - sometimes... sometimes, living with bipolar has its benefits. It doesn't take out the garbage or wash the dishes or laundry, but it's good for an unexpected energy burst every so often to get those oft-overlooked tasks done, and it certainly aids in my writing and other creative tasks on occasion.

There are downsides, too, as there are to everything in life. I haven't personally had to deal with crippling depression in many years now, but I am certainly familiar with a lack of interest in formerly enjoyable activities, an overpowering lack of motivation to do anything that is not absolutely necessary, and getting easily overwhelmed when a little bit of motivation is found, or when too much is asked of me.

I got into an argument once about whether I suffer from bipolar disorder. The other person seemed so wrapped up in their troubles that they absolutely could not take the time to see any of the small blessings that could potentially be hidden within the illness.

Bipolar and I have walked, arms linked together, for almost 30 years now. I look forward to more than 30 more.

(this whole thing is done kind of stream-of-consciousness...)

If they are to come up with a cure for bipolar disorder, be it a one-time pill, a course of medication, some other medical intervention, or something entirely different... I am not convinced that I would partake of the cure. My brain is a little skewed, but it's what makes me uniquely me. I don't think I'd like to change who I am after 40 or more years of developing this Me.

I interact with a lot of of fabulous mentally ill folks online. If you have a mental illness yourself, you should come check out our little community... it's at http://www.rollercoasterroom.com. Tell them caly sent you 😉

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Bad Influence - A Eulogy

Today, I paid my last respects to my oldest friend. I've been crying for a week, since I found out about her death. She was the toughest bitch out there. We all thought she'd outlive us. She beat the odds in birth - preemie in 1979, born smaller than a pop can.

We had one of those friendships where you can go for years without seeing each other, and it'll be like nothing has changed when you do see each other. We could go months, and sometimes years, without talking at all, and still pick up like nothing had changed.

She didn't give a shit what anybody thought of her. She was full of sass and spunk and passion. She told you what she thought of you, whether you wanted to know or not. She didn't beat around the bush. If you pissed her off, you knew it, and you paid for it.

She did know the meaning of respect, however, and would call people out on disrespecting the very young, the disabled, and the very old, in particular. She also demanded to be shown respect in her home, and would only give you as much respect as you showed her.

In the last 2 yrs, she became religious. I mentioned my feelings on that two posts ago, so if you haven't read that far back yet... I'll just leave it at that. But as I listened to the preacher dude talk about how she had come to find Jesus and accept him into her life, all I could imagine was her sitting beside me with her arm around me, her other hand making the "yapping" motion, and saying, "Blah, blah, blah... this guy is so full of shit." It brought a whisper of a smile to my face.

We had a lot of adventures over the years. She was my bad influence. Everybody needs one, or needs to be one.

So now, it's time for me to learn how to come to terms with never again receiving a text from her... never again getting a random phone call from her... never again seeing her name come up in my Facebook feed... never again getting to see her, hug her, touch her. Time for me to come to terms with time being up for her.

Rest in peace, Blaine. You were well-loved.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Every Which Way...

There has always been chaos in my head. There were very few rare moments where there was little chaos in my head, but during those times, there was excessive chaos in my life. I suppose Life has decided that this time, I'm well-equipped enough to handle chaos in both my head and my life.

Excessive chaos.

Something's gotta give eventually, though.

So, it's me. I've been crying every night and at least a few times a day since I found out my friend died. A dam has broken.

Tomorrow afternoon, I will attend her funeral. I will cry again, along with a bunch of other people. And then I will hold it together again while I am in public, until I am behind closed doors, where I will probably cry again. And again. And again.

Until I start to forget to cry. Until I start not thinking about her so often. Until the grief has changed from a sharp stabbing pain to a dull ache. Then I won't cry as much. Then I will smile more.

Until I stumble across her name on Facebook. Until I get lost in our text message thread. Until I see something she gave me that I'd forgotten was from her. And then I will shed a tear, I will maybe weep a little, but I won't get lost in days or weeks of grief again.

At least... I hope.

I have to find some way to calm the chaos in my head, because the chaos in my life is not settling down anytime soon.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Terrible Beast

I feel like Death has been hovering over my shoulder the last several years. I and the people closest to me have been losing loved ones at what feels like a rapid pace to me. 1 of my last 2 living grandparents passed away. My best friend's ex-husband, who was still a good friend of hers in addition to being the father of her three older kids, was tragically taken at a fairly young age. I lost 2 beloved cats to sudden illnesses. Then Blaine died, and I am sitting here wondering what the hell is going on?

I know there are people out there who deal with so much more death, and destruction, and pain... but I can't wrap my head around the point of the so-called God my friend embraced in her last months... I can't wrap my head around the point of this God causing her to suffer as much as she did, and taking her a month before her 39th birthday.

I had some Jehovah's Witnesses come to my door the other day. Their explanation is that Jehovah is currently letting Satan prove that Satan cannot rule the Earth successfully, and that is why there is so much suffering and pain and negativity here.

So was Satan torturing her until she finally broke? Or was God finally merciful, and took her out of her misery?

It bothers me... I grew up in a Christian household, but if I were to describe my belief set now, it would be more along the pagan-leaning-towards-wiccan line. I have crystals and tarot cards and pendulums and candles and the makings of a small but decent altar. But if you were to come into my home, you probably would have no idea. I'm quiet about what I believe, because it is so deeply personal to each individual. I don't have a problem with Christianity in general. I just have a problem with the idea of a supposedly loving God that could allow such suffering to continue for such a long time, and then end it so abruptly.

I have a problem with a God that would take 2 cats who were so loved and cared for by us...

I have a problem with a God that would allow a young man, a father of three kids 12 and under, to be taken in such a terrible way, leaving scars that will never heal...

I once went down a psychological rabbit hole, during which time I believed I was the second coming of Christ. It's hard to recover a Christian mindset once you've had that delusion. It goes hand-in-hand with my persistent belief a little later that God was a schizophrenic alien, and we were the voices in its head.

I can't pin down exactly what I believe in. I just know it's not a singular God that is countered by a devil. But I do know there is this that I embrace wholeheartedly: An it harm none, do what ye will.

Maybe I'm just noticing all of the death more now because I'm creeping closer to 40. Or maybe it's just because it's finally hit me where it hurts - someone who was only 4.5 months older than me, someone who I knew for more than 25 years, someone whom I considered to be one of my best friends, despite all of the squabbles we had over the years.

Grief is a terrible beast.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Puzzle Pieces

The puzzle pieces of our lives can fit in many different ways, and the way in which we fit them together is what forms the picture of us. Sometimes, it takes picking up a piece and turning it over to change the picture we present to the world.

When I was young, I knew I was different. I was thinking about things like the cleanest way to kill myself while my friends were dreaming about which boys would ask them to the school dance. When I realized this difference, it made me feel a little special. Unique. But ultimately, it made me feel alone. Like my puzzle had jagged edges sticking out instead of the nice, clean edges everybody else seemed to have, and so I couldn’t sit nicely beside anybody without poking into them somehow.

After my first suicide attempt, I was put on an antidepressant. I was scattered as to when I took it, frequently forgetting, but when I did take it consistently, oh how did I feel like I could do ANYTHING! I was smiling, making friends, cracking jokes. And thus, they declared my depression CURED!

Did that mean my edges were any cleaner? I still felt pretty jagged.

A few years later, I started hallucinating. I remember the moment I saw my first hallucination. I was sitting in a library/sitting room in a church at a weekend youth group, listening to a story about Hiroshima or something similar, and all of a sudden, the room was filled with a god damn mushroom cloud!!! I was strangely not scared. Just absolutely fascinated that nobody else seemed to be scared, and confused by the lack of sound. It dissipated, disappeared, and it was gone, gone, gone. But over the next 5 years, I would see mushroom clouds everywhere, along with a handful of other images that persisted. That was one piece of my puzzle that I kept a hand over most of the time, only letting my very trusted friends see it.

With my free hand, I was juggling keeping my puzzle pieces in place while knowing that I was still different. I wasn’t CURED! I was more different than ever before. So I turned to sex and alcohol when I could get either or both to mask what I was feeling. Stuff it down. Throw a paper bag over the puzzle for a while, and it won’t matter that it’s scattered to the four winds, and there are no edge pieces, and everything is just plain WRONG.

Inevitably, adulting had to occur. There became children and a husband involved. I tried different medications, and they would work for a while, and then we wouldn’t be able to afford them, so I would have to go off of them. And the longer this went on, the more jagged and misshapen my puzzle became, with pieces sticking off the edges willy-nilly. I was trying so hard to fit in to the life I’d built for myself that I was searching desperately for edge pieces to complete me, and only finding more inside pieces that didn’t fit quite right.

My marriage ended, because of me but not by my hand, and I was devastated. My puzzle fell apart completely, and it was up to me to pick up the pieces and reorganize them to make sense of the mess that was supposed to make up ME, however that needed to occur.

June 2018 was 10 years since the collapse of my marriage, since I began picking up the pieces. I don’t know how it happened – some of these pieces must have broken in the fall – but I have edge pieces now. They don’t form a flat edge like “normal” people do; they go off in their own direction and look more like a spiky flower than a rectangle or square. But I feel more complete than I ever have before. I feel like the pieces of me that I was chasing for so long are finally in place, and I can see the full picture finally. It just took flipping over some pieces and dropping a lot of others to get them into their current shape. I long ago realized that I am one of those people who needs to be on medication for life, and I happily take my pills every day in order to maintain this feeling of completion.

There will always be loose pieces, and the medication will not work forever. I will need to go through med changes. This is something that I’ve opened my mind to and am willing to endure for the end result.

My puzzle has changed form and picture many times throughout my life, and I’m sure it’s not done changing yet. Nobody glue down my puzzle till I’m done changing it!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

A Paragon of Beauty

The way the string of led lights tied to the headboard illuminated his face made me gasp. This man… he was not classically attractive, but I thought he was pretty darn cute. When he was being serious, he was downright handsome. But what I saw this time… the only word that came to mind to describe him was 'beautiful'.

My world changed on April 19, 2018, and I wasn’t even aware of it for another month. I guess I should start at the beginning, and then get back to my beautiful man.

My best friend, my “wife” of many years, Pam, came to visit shortly after my daughter’s 15th birthday. We would occasionally share a joint when we spent the night at each other’s house, but that night, she couldn’t spend the night, so she left me one as a  4/20 gift.
I smoked ⅔ of the joint on April 20, and enjoyed a nice high. I was a lightweight by even the lightestest of lightweight’s standards at that point, so that ⅔ was plenty. Saturday, the 21st, my daughter had a friend spend the night. Said friend is transgender, and at one point in a conversation, the friend said to my daughter, “So, you still go by ‘she’?”
Alarm bells went off in my head. Three years of post-puberty angst flashed through my head. The therapist she’d been seeing for just over a year… did she know something she wasn’t allowed to tell me?
I hate my boobs.
I fuckin’ hate having periods.
Being genetically female fucking sucks.
I had sympathized with every complaint because I agree fully… but maybe they were more dysphoric statements than bitchy girl comments.
I mulled it over in my head all day Sunday, and while she was at school on Monday. There were some symptoms that had cropped up recently that came to mind, plus she was hiding in her room a lot. I added everything together. I was pretty certain that I no longer had the daughter I had yearned for.

Serra decided not to go to her Pathfinders meeting that night, feeling uncomfortable in churches and with the younger girls that would be attending with them that night. She hid in her room, and I sat at my computer, as we both did so often. Finally, I went up to that level of the house to use the bathroom, but stopped at her door, first.
“Mom, when you’re done, can I get our book?”
We have a journal that we pass between so we can communicate with less immediate pressure.
I paused for a moment before I answered. That was the perfect opening. “Sure, but before I get it for you, I have a question.”
I inhaled deeply and looked at her. “Are you transgender?”
She wrapped her arms around her reddening face, slammed her head into her pillow, and gave me a thumbs-up.
I nodded, said, “Okay,” and tried not to let on that my heart was cracking down the middle.
We chatted a bit, and he told me his name was Phinn. It felt ludicrous to be asking my own child, at 15 years old, what their name is. But here I was.
“I’m leaving it up to you to tell everybody else. You do it however you feel is best.”
And so, Phinn chose to change his facebook name from Serra to Phinn, and his gender on facebook from female to male.

A shitstorm fell upon me after that, but we won’t go into that today. What we’re here to talk about today is my beautiful man.

The 23rd was the day everything actually started to change. That was the day I was introduced to my second son and told I no longer had a daughter. The 27th was the end of the beginning. After fielding questions and thinking about everything that had to be done and doing as much research as I could think of where it came to my new son, when I went to bed on the 27th, I smoked the last third of that 4/20 gift and pulled out my little blue computer.

Full disclosure: I am writing this while stoned.

What I did that night, though… I logged onto pof.com and started talking to whoever messaged me. This one guy was really polite, and stuck around more than a handful of messages. He never pushed for pics from or to me. He was just an all-around sweet guy. The next day, I woke up to a good morning message from him. I don’t think a day has gone by since then that I haven’t received a good morning message from him. Dawson, as I was to learn was his name, and I chatted on the pof app for a few hours, until I suggested we switch to texting. We exchanged numbers, and I got to know this sweet guy.
After about a week, we met for the first time. My first thought upon seeing him was that I thought his face looked longer than in his pictures. We had a good first visit, but when it came time for another visit, I chickened out.
I really really liked this guy. A lot. But I was feeling smothered, which made no sense. After a week, I finally figured out what was going on. I’m a meds-for-life kinda gal, and one of my meds got switched at the pharmacy from extended release to suspended release, and for some reason, the suspended release really screwed with my anxiety levels. So I arranged to procure some natural remedies to tide me over until I could get my meds fixed, and met him a second time.
As soon as he walked into my house that morning, my stress melted away. I felt safe. I felt like I was where I needed to be with whom I needed.
That same night, my kids and I went out to Pam’s place for the weekend, and while I was texting Dawson and talking to Pam, Pam and I were almost convinced that Dawson was going to drop the 'L' bomb on me. Pam advised me to drop him like a hot potato if he did. To run. Run far, far away.
Honestly, at that point, I probably would have said it back if he had said it. For the record, he didn’t.
We got together again, and later, after I had gotten home from his place, he asked me to be his girlfriend. I agreed, and the more time that went by, the more I was thinking that I wanted to tell him I loved him.
I was back at his place, and I told him I wanted to tell him something, but… I couldn’t get the words out. I was nearly in tears, I wanted so badly to tell him I loved him. My heart was bursting with love for this man, and I couldn’t get my mouth to open and pop out three little words.
A deep breath. “Iloveyou.” All in one breath. Did he hear me?
He leaned down and said, “I love you, too,” and kissed me.

Every single day, I fall deeper in love with him. Every time I have to say goodbye to him, a piece of my heart rips out and stays with him. I don’t think he realizes quite how tight his grip on me is.

Today was supposed to be a celebratory day. It was my older son’s 17th birthday. He’s not home to celebrate with, but I could have pretended. Instead, I found out that someone I have been friends with for more than ⅔ of my life...is dead. She’s gone. I’ll never see her again. I’ll never hear her voice again. She’ll never assure me that her medical problems are no big deal again.
Rest in peace, Blaine.

Today has been a really hard day. The birthday kid isn’t here. My friend is dead. Phinn spent most of the day holed up in his room (typical teenager). So, I was quite alone most of the day. But still, despite having to work, Dawson still checked on me to make sure I was doing ok.

I think he is a beautiful man. I wish he (and everybody) could see what I see.