home, part three; the healing part

The Aetna hold music sounds like the soundtrack for an extremely sad depression era silent movie. Either they’re really self-aware or some employee has a great sense of humor.

 I’m home again, part three in less than 365 days, the past two years have been hard. Frozen to my bed unable to move, hard. Sad, defeated, and confused hard. I found my voice this year though, I got brave. I got angry. I got honest. I took my time back, and while there have been some significant cracks in the armor, I’m coming out of this better than I was.  I found some confidence. I learned to ask for what I need.

 I think this time it’s a fit, this home, I hope so because I can see the future and it’s going to continue to be hard for a little while longer. I try not to be a downer when I write on here, which is kind of why I haven’t posted in a while. There’s been so much happening that I figured it’d be better once I’m on the other side of it, I’m not, nor will I be for a while, so instead I’m going to focus on the little victories to try to prevent or postpone what feels like inevitable insanity.

 While I’m not completely unpacked, for some reason my sense of urgency in this case has gone out the window, I am comfortable which is nice. I can sleep, which is surprising, and I’m having trouble being my usual curmudgeon self because there’s a lot of joy here. This free spirit loves a consistent housing situation.

I have never felt as lonely or as loved as I have in the year of jumping homes. My heart is split right down the middle, as if only part of me feels seen and the other part is still hiding away trying to avoid the trauma. Eventually the permanent stiffness in my muscles will relax, eventually this healing will help more than it hurts, because I’ve done this part before, I’ve done the healing part. I’m actually pretty damn good at the healing part, I bounce back alright, and that’s all this is. Growing pains. This time I’m a little older, this time I know there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, even if it feels so far away. This time the fire is back. Passion balances out the pure exhaustion. This time I have a voice. This time I have a vocabulary.

Hope is paralyzing, but it is also energizing. I choose to have it energize me because I am tired of having it paralyze me. I am tired of feeling like a statue watching the seasons pass.

So I suppose, this is home part three. The healing part.

a follow up for our "male allies"

Before I start this post I would like to say how exhausted I am. I am moving, I have spent hours doing research for this post, and I don’t think I will even put a dent in what needs to be said. I have spent emotional labor finding articles and stand up for you boys to consume, take in, take to heart, and start this learning process that you seem so passionate about.

You should be doing this work.

In the past few days I have felt both heard and dismissed, amplified and talked over, angry and all sorts of confusion and chaos when it came to the responses I’ve been getting. I’m hoping to get them clarified, I’m hoping for some real change, but the bar is set so low right now I’m sure any type of change feels refreshing, but as I’ve said in comments responding to my other post, we have seen this before.

The following is the follow up post to my letter to the Declaration of Male Allies. Before I begin, I’m going to clarify some comments I made in the responses to the comments of the post, I do not apologize for anything that I wrote in that entry, I stand by the strong language, the righteous anger, and the underwhelmed feeling that many of my sisters and I feel.

A friend who I have been speaking to in the aftermath of the start of this conversation gave me a good pull quote for this blog entry so I’m going to use it.

“Even if you put the big, nasty transgressions aside,
a lifetime of micro-marginalization [and aggressions]
can add up to a whole pile of righteous rage”

So here’s my new challenge, before we continue this conversation. I’m going to give you boys some heavy lifting, but in fact, this is still me doing the emotional labor of all this research, and crowd sourcing from other more well read friends of mine. I urge you to read through, watch, and absorb the variety of voices I’m going to put into this entry.

If your reaction is “I do not have time for this” you are not doing what you set out to do. Period.

First, some definitions, according to Merriam-Webster.

Feminism:
1. The theory of political, economic, and social equality of the sexes
2. Organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests.

Sexism:
1. Prejudice or discrimination based on sex, especially discrimination against women
2. behavior, conditions, or attitudes, that foster stereotypes of social roles based on sex

Patriarchy
1. Social organization marked by the supremacy of the father in the clan or family, the legal
dependence of wives and children, and the reckoning of descent and inheritance in the male line.
2. A society or institution organized according to the principles or practices of patriarchy

Misogyny
1. a hatred of women

Hostile Sexism
1. The one most people think about. Openly insulting, objectifying and degrading women.
Benevolent Sexism
1.Less obvious. Kind of seems like a compliment, even though it's rooted in men's feelings of
superiority. It's when men say women are worthy of their protection (off the sinking boat first) or that
they're more nurturing than men (therefore should raise children).

These are just a few, I am linking an article here with some further definitions that include language related to race, sex, gender, and some internet slang that may not be recognized right away.


Now to ease you all in I’m going to start with some important stand up comedians.
Hannah Gadsby: Nannette: a master class in marginalization and trauma

Bridget Christie: Stand Up For Her, some good laughs, some unique perspective, and some excellent physical comedy.

The Degenerates on Netflix
Specifically
Liza Treyger
Yamaneika Saunders
Christina Pazsitsky:

Anything by Margaret Cho

There are so many more, so many more important voices, but I think this is a good start.


Essential viewing for those who identify as “good men”
Hannah Gadsby: To the Good Men

Here are some articles, which I will continue to add to as I get them in from the crowd sourcing I’m doing.

Roxanne Gay

Read her twitter, read her books, read her essays

And while we’re at it, a conversation between Hannah Gadsby and Roxanne Gay

The Grey Area in the Me Too Movement

I know the man this piece is written about, we went to college together. He has been accepted back into the journalistic circles, he appears to be an ally and a leftist, but from stories of people he victimized in college, I know for a fact he is not an ally. This is why we do not trust initiatives like this, this is why we have trouble with follow through or with people claiming they will fight for us. We’ve fought for ourselves for so long, we are used to it.

How White Feminists Oppress Black Women

This one is not only for the men, but also for the women. Folk music is overwhelmingly white, and the idea that POC do not want to play in folk music type venues is complete horse shit. Just like the idea that it is impossible for you to find women to play in your bands is complete horse shit. Go to a college, find a bad ass brilliant music student. I guarantee they’d be thrilled to play with you.

Feminists who Exclude Trans* Women are not Feminists at all

This is another one that is for both the men and the women. There was shockingly little language involving the LGBTQ+ community in any of the posts or follow up posts. We cannot solve all of the inequality issues in one fell swoop, but to exclude the language completely is unacceptable. Non binary and trans folks need to be included in this conversation.

Male Allies are Not Our Saviors

Stop using allyship to score brownie points. We do not buy it anymore.

This is a start, this does not touch the nuance or extent of conversation that needs to happen in this conversation, and what I think is headed towards actual debate, not online debate.

Do not talk down to us, we have seen this before. Do not do the mansplaining thing. Read the posts on facebook, carefully and take them in as well as the very few resources I have provided here, there has been an incredible amount of intelligent strong women bringing up very important points that according to your responses I’m not sure y’all have been reading and or taking in.

If you have further resources or thoughts please feel free to add to the comments. This was a lot of work, and I have not even scratched the surface. So this is your homework boys, read and absorb, do your own research and work, then come back with a better understanding before we continue this conversation.

To the Declaration of Male Allies

I am not an insider to your community, but I am also not an outsider, you might know me from Budgiedome e-mails, Falcon Ridge, or promotional photography for musicians, or just sitting in the audience loving what you all do.

 

I have been a folk music fan from the time I could understand that the voices you hear from your car radio or CD player could be seen in person, on a stage, after my first concert I had stars in my eyes and never looked back. Even at a very young age I knew you all were my people. I am not musically inclined, so I contribute by community making, and art, I photograph musicians, I help organize shows.  I have made friends and family through the folk music community, who have become invaluable in my life. 

 

 

So that’s a little bit about me.

 

The first time I felt uncomfortable at a folk concert I was sixteen years old and it was because a performer generously said my name on stage in an attempt to help me out with my budding videographer career (now turned photographer). So an audience member took it upon himself to start bothering me after the show, luckily the performer saw what was happening and stepped in. I was lucky.  I’m going to repeat that, at sixteen, at a folk music concert, in a Unitarian Church, I was lucky. 


I am not a touring musician.

 

This was not the last time, and the last time probably wont be the last time. Occasionally those who have made me feel uncomfortable have been people who are supposed friends.

 

Male folk in this community, you can do better than this. I would say that I cannot believe that your way of “supporting” women artists was to write a long winded explanation about how you feel safe and how you wish we felt as safe as you did. We don’t.  We probably never will. I am not surprised. 

 

We’ve been taking care of our own for a long time, (see female musician stepping in when I was 16) we’ve got lists, and tactics, and we know when to bring a friend. Trust me, if your name is on that Male Ally list and you aren’t a male ally, we know. 

 

I wish I could say that it’s shocking to me that your first instinct was to drown out voices of women coming forward with a weirdly performative declaration how you all are good guys and are pledging to make better things happen for us. I am not surprised. 


Nothing really shocks me anymore, I do get angry though, but nothing surprises me. 

 

I know your intentions are good, but please shut up. For once in your lives shut up and listen, amplify the voices of the survivors, but do not add your own comments they are unneeded and distracting. I cannot speak for other people but I am sick of hearing it. I run into the same thing in the fine arts community, in my day job, and in life in general

 

Do not make this about yourselves. We are tired.  You do not deserve applause or thanks for signing something that should just be basic human decency.

 Actions including money, are the only way that you make this right, call out your friends when they say something problematic, in public, in front of other people. Not just when it’s convenient for you or when there are women present, every time. Read and share things written by survivors, learn about micro-aggressions.  Learn about gaslighting.

If you want women and non-binary folks to feel safe make them feel safe, but listen to them.

 

I’m going to ask you to do some heavy lifting here, because it’s your fucking turn. Hire more touring women, and include trans women and non-binary folks and women of color in that rotation.  Don’t perform at a venue when you know the presenter is a creep. Hire more women to play on your CDs or in your bands. I’m sure that generic young white dude with the guitar plays some great backup, but I’m also positive you can find someone who isn’t a generic white dude of the same caliber. 


And on a slightly selfish note, maybe as tax for having to do this emotional labor at eight am before work, hire more visual artists who aren’t men. 

We do not need your protection, we need you to stop the behaviors that make us need protection, and that’s all of you, even the “good guys.” 

 

In the folk music world we live in an isolated bubble, but we are also supposed to be accepting of all people, of all folks. Folk music meaning: For the people, passed down from generation to generation. Do we really want this to be our story? Drowning out voices of marginalized people because we want some pats on the back? 

 

So Ally List, step the fuck up. You are not our saviors. You are taking one tiny baby step by putting your intentions into writing. Maybe you’ll get that applause when there’s some real equity in this and every other industry. 

 

If you do not follow through though,

 

Words, words, words.

Changes

IMG_4452 copy.jpg

I rarely post photographs of myself on my blog, but I changed my hair today, I change my hair drastically for two reasons, an upset in my life, or a huge change. Right now I’m dealing with both, I am filled with a sort of hope and excitement that I haven’t felt since undergrad, I feel like I’m moving toward a place in my life where my passions and other’s passions are going to lead to learning. I am an artist because I want to be a student forever, I love to learn. On the other hand my life has been significantly upturned majorly four times, watching my grandmother die, and moving three times all in less than a year. I am doing an exceptional job holding it together, if I do say so myself, but there are a lot of emotions that go along with it. I think partially through this writing project (and years of therapy) I’m dealing it in the healthiest way I think I ever have, and I’m pretty goddamn proud of that. Maybe I’m numb to the chaos, maybe I’m becoming a sort of well adjusted, who knows?

I think this slow build since I graduated undergrad has led me to this. It took me a little longer, to get past the arrested development caused by losing much of my youth to mental illness. I’m learning how to stand up for myself, I am less reluctant to ask for help. I believe people when they tell me they love me and I truly mean it back. I’m still stubborn as hell, but I’ve stopped almost all destructive habits in my life. For someone like me, this is probably not permanent, but I’m realizing each time I crawl out of a hole I get better at it, faster at it, and the holes get shallower.

There are so many obstacles put in front of people with chronic illness both mental and physical, many of those issues would be resolved by things like universal healthcare, jobs that don’t change your hours weekly, fair pay, and all of those things would be helpful to everyone.

I digress, it’s a really good feeling to want to make things again, there's something missing in me when I don’t have that drive.

Anyway, here’s to a few more weeks of chaos, and then to starting over.

Home is a State of Mind

It’s been a weird and kind of scary couple of weeks for me, but I’m handling it about as well as I can. I’ve been dealing with a physical illness for a while now that I didn’t have answers to until a week and a half ago, now I’m feeling better.

I feel like I’ve learned this lesson so often in the last year, and so often I forget it until life throws me again, home is not always where you hang your hat. Home is with friends who jump at the chance to help you, looking up rooms and new jobs when you just can not do it again. Home is a calm voice on the other end of the telephone. Home is someone making you laugh when you really are not in the mood. Home is a couch to sleep on and a hot meal with family when fury, hurt and confusion are blinding you to the good things that are happening in your life. Home is music that fills you up when you’re just about empty.

Home is a beautiful, warm, sunny, day after a frozen miserable week.

I am uncertain where I will be in a month, two months, six months.

I wish I knew, I am an adventurer, but I am tired.

Thank you to those of you who have stood by me, those of you who answer the phone no matter what, those of you who check in on me when you know I’m unable to reach out.

I am grateful for my family both blood and not. I am grateful for the incredibly loyalty and love I’ve been shown during what is shaping up to be one of the most difficult 10 months of my life. I’ve kept my head above water for the most part because of the people in my life and because of the strength imbued to me from years of learning how to be okay with the chaos surrounding me.

So here goes nothing.

much love

bri

I Reserve the Right to Make Something Totally Bananas

I have been putting off writing this entry because it feels a little like a school assignment with no deadline and we all know how well that would go. On Tuesday a friend and I went to MoMA, and for me it was the first time in an embarrassingly long time, to be fair it is expensive and it involves an entire day of looking at work, which is pretty exhausting even when it’s super fun.

I did not take photos of the art, but I did photograph this cool light on the train platform.

I did not take photos of the art, but I did photograph this cool light on the train platform.

The last time I went to MoMA I had a lot of fun with Malevich’s white on white, it used to be on the other side of Starry Night, so it was a high traffic area, my friend Alan and I decided to have a little fun when he started out (quite loudly) with “You know there’s an optical illusion in this painting” to which I responded “Yes but only some people could see it”. We had a crowd, we kept it up for about ten minutes adding “it can only be seen with the naked eye” when a woman went to take a photo of the painting. It’s the most fun I’ve ever had in a museum.

Kazimir Malevich, White on White 1918

Kazimir Malevich, White on White 1918

Anyway, back to modern day MoMA, I was super unimpressed with the diversity of artists, but I did really appreciate the depth that they went into certain artist’s careers. It was nice to see very early or very late work of some of the masters. So for the first time in a very long time and probably the last time for a very long time I’m going to actually talk about art on my art blog, well I’m going to talk about artists.

We are one of the few groups of people who can completely recreate ourselves or explore a completely different part of ourselves with each new thing that we do. Sometimes that changes our lives, when we make one small decision that launches us into a career. Sometimes we are established and a significant change doesn’t sit right immediately with our hard won fans. Most of the time the change is just continuing to chip away at the immense dues you have to pay in this absurd profession, thats most of what artist’s do, is trying to figure out how to make a buck from this thing we do so well, because we have to do it.

It’s a freeing feeling to think that evolution in this profession is expected, but it doesn’t have to be a predictable evolution. I like to think that the next series I do is going to be inspired by the last but I also like to think that I can also do something totally bananas and I reserve the right to do so. I think all artists should reserve the right to make something totally bananas or terrible or wonderful but only to you and one other person. I think we should feel confident that our growing pains will continue to create something even if it’s only seen by you and that one other person.

I guess I’m feeling better about my practice lately, I’ve taken on a challenge and I like it and I’m excited about it. It’s a good feeling, it’s been a long time since I’ve felt a connection to a project so I’m excited and I’m hoping it leads to more.

until next time

bri

Small and Mighty Army

I got a lot of feedback on my last blog entry, I really appreciate the responses and the ability to be honest without judgement, I’m going to try to continue the pattern, in hopes that maybe the long journey I’ve been on, and the long journey that I’m headed towards might help someone somewhere. The entries won’t be consistently about mental health because frankly it’s exhausting. That post took a lot out of me, it made me want to hide or delete it or learn magic to erase the tiny bit of vulnerability I showed from my kind friend’s minds. That’s the thing with mental illness, you show some vulnerability, you open up, and then you’re terrified that the person or people with whom you’ve opened up will be around for the fun part, the romantic part, because yes, there is a romantic part, but when things get messy people tend to turn the other way.

I don’t think that will happen to me, I have confidence in my circle, it’s small but it’s strong. I’d walk through fire for them, and many have and would do the same for me. Irrational thinking comes with the disease though, even on good days those thoughts eat away at your confidence. I’ve learned how to talk myself down from those thoughts though, at least for the most part with meditation and writing and making art I can usually keep any of the dark stuff at the peripherals, although as a few of my go to phone call friends can attest shit still gets very dark even with all of the therapy and art-making and meditation and medication sometimes that chemical imbalance is stronger than positive thinking and meds. So that’s when I make phone calls and always hope to high heavens that my people will never get sick of my often very circular talk.

I’m finally on the mend from the worst bout of bronchitis I’ve had in a long time, new antibiotics and I feel like a new person, I even got some cleaning and some painting (poorly) done today. I am feeling tentatively positive that I’ll be able to figure this insurance thing out before I have to have a gap in said psych meds. I also know I have a small and mighty army behind me. I can do this. I’m going to keep repeating that until I really believe it.

I Don't Want to Make You Uncomfortable, but I'm Going to Anyway.

Life is weird and hard and beautiful right now. I am physically sick, though on the mend, I have an uncertain and frankly terrifying future when it comes to my mental health, which I might get in to tonight in depth, I might not. We’ll see where the blog takes me. I have no plan right now. I am happy for the most part, things are going well, I’m feeling creative, I’m back consistently practicing art, I have a project where I get to collaborate with some pretty amazing people which I’m excited about. I feel more of a connection with the people around me than I have in a long time, and all of that is why I’m terrified about what’s going on.

There are not many of you left that knew me when I was really sick, a few very close friends and family stuck around, but it was not easy on me or them. I don’t blame those of you who left for leaving, it was hard. I do not apologize I was sick, but I understand. I was high, angry, manic, depressed, dangerous and suicidal. I was hospitalized three times, I barely remember at least two years of my early twenties. I spent days not sleeping or eating. There’s more of course, but no one needs a sob story.

Now I’ve been stable for the most part for years, with bumps in the road, but never anything that pushed my loved ones away. I have time to work this out, but that doesn’t make it feel any less like there is a sword hanging over my head. I try my hardest not to scare the people around me, I don’t always make the dark joke, I use metaphor or past tense references when talking about my mental health, I wear long sleeves, I make myself acceptable to you, to society. I keep my mouth shut when I have something outrageous to say for fear of being taken seriously, I don’t talk openly about suicide, depression, mania, or self harm because it makes you uncomfortable.

Here’s the thing though, it’s time to start meeting those of us with mental illnesses halfway, because we make ourselves smaller and quieter until it’s so buried that we can’t fight anymore. Right now I’ve got a lot of fighting to do any not a lot of fight left, I’m tired. I have no doubt I’ll bounce back, I always do, but it takes a lot of reaching out to bounce back and I’m too tired to reach out. Losing my mental health support system so suddenly is not going to be easy.

I’m happy, I feel a lot of hope for my future, but I also feel a lot of fear, and I’m also very tired of screaming into the void.

I don’t want to make you uncomfortable, but I’m going to anyway.

untitled

this daze
feels right
this sadness
comfortable
this disappointment
expected
this anger
justified
this hope
paralyzing
this slowdown
natural
this wonder
invogorating

Healthcare

Distraught is how I feel right now, distraught and angry. I found out over the last two days that I cannot afford my mental healthcare anymore, as a lot of you know it’s been a very long journey for me, and I am just now after years fo trial and error, feeling consistently stable for the first time. My copays for my doctor went from $10 to $50 and my copays for my therapist went from $17 to $89, I was struggling to pay the original copays to begin with, so now I’ve been discharged from a program that has helped me immensely over the last year. I was told “no sliding scale if you have insurance, sorry find somewhere else.” My therapist tried, but once the administrators say no, it’s a no.

We do not treat mental illness the same way that we treat physical illness, and we do not take women’s pain seriously.

We don’t like to talk about money in this country, we prefer to keep it private, but at this point I don’t really care. I work full time, I have insurance, I make a little bit over the minimum wage, I work side gigs whenever I can, and I still cannot afford my bills. So how do they expect me to pay almost $140 to see my doctors, doctors that are essential for my health and well being. It’s impossible.

The way that we treat poor people in this country is cruel and criminal. It makes it impossible for those of us with chronic illnesses whether it mental or physical to live productive lives. Every little thing is a setback and every little setback compounds until you’re so drowning in debt that you can’t tell which way is up or down.

So I guess I leave today to mourn and tomorrow I start over again, and no I’m not okay right now. I will be, but I’m not okay right now.

I’m just so tired of starting over again.

best,

bri

I'm not sure what to do: Healthcare in America

I’m sick again, which isn’t really all that much of a surprise, but it feels like when life throws one thing at you it just keeps throwing. I went to my psychiatrist today and found out my copay has jumped from $10 to $50 an appointment, I’m not sure who can afford to pay $50 per appointment but it certainly isn’t me. I can barely afford the $10 payment. Tomorrow I see my therapist, and now I’m 100% positive that the copay for that is going to shoot up just as much. This country is failing its poor, which is also not news. I don’t know what to do and to be honest I don’t have the energy right now to do anything about it. So tomorrow I fight with my insurance company and possibly my doctors office.

I do the things I’m supposed to, I apply for aid, I apply for better paying jobs constantly, I hear back from no one. My psychiatric medication is often the difference between being able to function and not being able to function, and occasionally it is the difference between life and death.

My story is not unique, I can name at least ten people that are in the same place, some with insurance some without. Some are much sicker then I am, some could die because of the state of healthcare in their state. I have an incredible amount of fear for my future, I am happy right now, I feel good and content minus the bronchitis thing, and the money situation, but I know that won’t last without medication and therapy. I’m just starting to like my life again after a hell of a few years.

We need universal healthcare, there are too many people suffering and sick because they cannot afford to go to the doctor or they wait too long to go to the doctor and then it’s too late, or they are dismissed because the doctors know they cannot pay for the treatment they need. It’s scary. I know if I were to get really sick I wouldn’t be able to afford to go to specialists, I’m running into this right now with chronic bronchitis and post nasal drip.

The sick part is I have insurance, and it’s still too expensive to make it happen. There’s a lot of talk about “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps and making it work no matter what”. It doesn’t help if you don’t have any boots to begin with. We need to do better, we need to understand that food, water, shelter, and healthcare are essential for survival. If we can afford to spend billions on wars that are supporting colonization and killing civilians, we can afford to provide basic needs to the millions of Americans that are uninsured or underinsured. We need to stop letting poor people die of treatable illnesses, we need to stop letting people with mental illness go without treatment. It makes society less productive, and all it does is make the insurance companies and their shareholders richer.

So I don’t know what to do. All I know is I’ve got to keep moving forward and attempting to find a job with better insurance and better pay. Living paycheck to paycheck is absolutely terrifying, if anything goes wrong I’m 100% screwed.

There is a better way. Collectively we are just choosing not to enact it, and that is cruel.

as always

best

bri

Giving Up Destructive Habits

Everybody has a thing, a habit that they wish they could break, a destructive impulse they wish they could tamp down, a personality trait that they kind of wish wasn’t so prominent. I’m not talking about things that can’t be changed, I’m talking bad habits, addictions, a cruel streak. Everybody’s got something. Whether or not they acknowledge that aspect of themselves or even whether they want to change is a different story, but we’ve all got something. I’m choosing not to write about my something, because to be honest the people closest to me know, and the rest of you don’t really need to. Maybe someday, but I’m not ready now.

However, I am going to talk about giving that thing up. Which is something I’ve tried to do repeatedly since I was in High School. Changing a behavior that is comfortable to you, even if it’s extremely uncomfortable to the people around you is super difficult. Even with therapy and friends and people who love you it’s not easy, and for me I have a feeling it’s going to be a lifelong battle. Even seeing that in black and white makes my heart skip a beat a little bit, constantly being on top of your behavior and how it may make other people uncomfortable is exhausting. Hiding parts of yourself from everyone except those closest to you is exhausting, and worrying that the next time you reach out might be the last time you talk to the person even if it’s someone you love and someone who you know loves you. I worry a lot that I am too much. I’ve had friends run before, and I always dread the day that friends will run again. It is constantly on my mind when I’m speaking with people. I am not an easy person to be around when the going gets rough, and the going gets rough a lot. So I worry. I am passionately loyal because I am afraid that if I’m not I won’t be enough.

There is a positive part to this entry though, and here’s where the self care comes in. I know a lot of that is irrational thinking, catastrophic thinking, and anxiety brain thinking. So I write. I write so much. You think I talk a lot on this blog? You should check out the journals—no actually you shouldn’t you’d be terrified. Take yesterday for example, I got to go see Susan Werner, one of my favorite performers with some of my favorite people on earth. People that, I really really hope will never run considering the various states in which they’ve seen me, there’s not much left to bare there. Being in that room with the group of folkies singing along is my version of church. I don’t really get to go out much, but when I do I try to fill up my heart enough to get me through the next week, day, or sometimes even minute by minute. I spend a lot of time alone, sometimes it’s incredibly lonely, but most of the time it’s a time to recharge. I’m working on changing my bad habit, there’s no guarantee that it’ll last forever, which is why sometimes we take it seconds at a time, and sometimes we have to lean a little harder on those we really hope don’t run.

Meditation has played a huge roll, as well as knowing my limits. They are different from neurotypical limits, and learning that lesson was the most important thing that I’ve ever learned. Distraction and artmaking helps. Being around people, well being around people I can skip the small talk with, helps.

The thing is, I’m starting to realize now, (7 years after starting real mental health help) that this is a lifelong thing which has come in waves for as long as I can remember having a name for what was going on up there. It’s a tough realization, but I definitely have finally accepted it, and I think that’s why I’m doing better than I have in a while.

I’m still afraid of people running, I don’t think that fear is ever going to go away, but I feel less afraid now. My very close people I think are here to say.

Also, for those of you who I’ve hurt with my actions over the past 6+ years, I apologize. I am a work in progress, I am doing my best, and will continue to make that progress.

Until next time

love,

bri

Hop In The Ass: A New Year's Story

It’s a story my grandmother used to tell every new years, forgive me because the last few times she told it she didn’t know all the information, therefore I’m a little twisted about specifics, if any family member knows the whole thing feel free to jump in. I think it’s become more legend than anything else,

It’s an immigration story, one that almost every family has if you go back far enough, I don’t know if it was about her great uncle or my grandfathers grandfather, but whoever it was didn’t speak a lick of English when he came to America (which makes me think it was probably someone related to grandpa), he came to the US, and then to New York around Christmastime, and was walking around New York on New Years Day, people were telling him Happy New Years, to which he enthusiastically responded “Hop in the ass!” (say it fast, you’ll get it). Eventually both my grandfather’s and grandmother’s families did pretty well for themselves, because they were given the chance. There are a lot of us now, we may have come here generations ago, but we still made the trek. I think those of us who’s families came to the US a long time ago need to remind ourselves that we were once strangers at it’s door and we were welcomed.

I like this family story, maybe because my grandmother loved it so much, maybe because I like a little bit of vulgarity with my family history. Probably because hearing the fairly proper, very Catholic, Pat Florio say “ass” always made me giggle.

I don’t really believe in the 31st and the 1st being all that different, I fell asleep at 11:30 last night with a cat on my lap with Parks and Rec on very quietly in the background. To be honest I couldn’t really bring myself to make plans, I should have, I only sort of regret it. The last year hasn’t been an easy one, but when is a year ever? Maybe when you’re a kid? I don’t believe in blaming the year, both beautiful and horrible things are constantly happening regardless of the arbitrary numbers we put on time.

I know it’s human nature to want to put neat brackets on things, and it’s also human nature to attempt change at the beginning and end of those brackets. Historically I don’t do well with long term resolutions, small short term goals are probably healthier anyway.

I will say that I do have two things I’d like to do in the coming year, one is be kinder to myself and the other is be kinder to the people around me including those who I might not see eye to eye with.

Anyway, until next time

Hop in the ass!

love

bri

Have Some Faith

I am doing something different tonight, I am writing directly to a group of people that I respect but don’t totally understand. This is Bri does faith: Christianity Edition, because I cannot speak at all on any other religion yet. I am a fairly staunch atheist with some witchy earth connection thrown in, but I don’t have faith. I respect faith, in fact at times I envy it, to be sure that you continue on after this life is a beautiful thing. I’m speaking directly to you, those of you who wear their faith with pride, those of you who quietly believe, and those of you who use your beliefs to power good will, to those of you who yearn to act like Jesus.

Now, just because I am an atheist does not mean I do not know some scripture, I was brought up Catholic, my parents are Catholic, most of my family is Catholic. The Christians I know are kind and welcoming and non-judgemental, but also I cannot afford to sugar coat this, we are in a dire situation right now and you have to know that deep down in your hearts.

Jesus
Looking at his disciples, [Jesus] said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.”
Luke:6:20-21

On immigration
He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing.
Deuteronomy 10:18

Do not oppress a foreigner; you yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners, because you were foreigners in Egypt.
Exodus 23:9

On Socialism
Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Galatians 6:2

On Taking Care of Our Planet

The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.
Genesis 2:15

 

I could go on, and on, the bible, and Jesus’ teachings teach forgiveness, patience, empathy, and kindness. If you are my friend I believe you have those things. However here’s the hard part, it’s time to start asking other Christians why they are choosing to ignore the bible in favor of hatred and fear, what is it about this world that scares them so much, and how can they feel safe. I am an outsider, the last time I want to church was a funeral, I cannot have the same conversation that you can, I can back up my argument with quotes, but I wont have your passion.

 

My “faith” is science, facts, art, and probably Falcon Ridge, so my experience is limited. I think in this particular instance talking might be the right thing to do, people who believe checking other people who believe. There is too much hatred being thrown around for people who should be on the same side of things. I’m not saying that most of this can be solved by peacefully having a conversation, please continue to punch Nazi’s. I do think in this particular instance though you guys have the power and the scripture to question people of your same faith into maybe thinking about the future of this country and this planet. You have the ability to show people that they can hold and understand more than one opinion.

 

Anyway, I hope this was coherent, it’s 1 am, I am not going to be sleeping much tonight I think which kind of sucks. So if you see me on messenger please say hello.

 


Mix

there’s a race today between
my extremes
a car crash waiting to happen
one going so slow
my foot is hovering over the gas pedal
the other hurdling behind
lights growing brighter
as i hope i have the reflexes
to slam on the breaks
hoping for a happy medium
waiting for
a pause long enough
to breathe
so i can get
home

I Don't Have it in me Right now.

I have nothing to say tonight. I’m crawling not walking at the moment. I wish I had something more, but the best I can do is write a short entry telling my readers that I don’t have it in me right now. I am tired of being sad, I’m tired of being happy for only a brief moments at a time. It’s not fair to my friends or family.

I know it will pass, it always does, it’s just fucking exhausting. Lifelong illnesses are irrational and frustrating and stability is always temporary. Therapists tell you that mindfulness and medications will help, and they do, but they aren’t a cure. Some days I just want a cure.