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.

Outsider

he never thought ahead
always waiting for something to happen
waiting for a safety net, one he could fall softly on
he and his bags under his eyes
branding him as a hard worker
but he was a hard thinker
proof that his late night brainstorming
were just that
never telling a soul
hoping someday someone would find his genius
he yearned for discovery
but action was not his thing
one day he was gone
run away or dead
he left a house full of work
too shy to show the world
his talent lives on
another outsider
he never really thought ahead

I went with a change of scenery and pace today, normally I write on my way home or to work, I’ve got a lot of time commuting. I’ve been using that time to listen to the CD’s of the artists I’m working with, I used to hate listening to things over and over again, but between the talent and the excitement about the project I’m pretty happy about it. Instead I went to my favorite coffee shop from when I was still in college, I was meeting someone there later on so I figured I’d get there early, it’s a pretty fun talent of mine to get place ridiculously early. If I don’t I get a bit anxious. I like this shop, there are seats in the front windows that kind of make you feel like you’re sitting in a fish bowl. It’s a prime people watching spot. I like watching people and trying to figure out the relationships. Is it a date? Is it a study group? Are they friends meeting up after a while? Lots of questions, no answers I dig that.

I did a lot of work today, a lot of it isn’t a big deal, but it’s been a tough few days, so I’m proud of myself. I’ll be even happier once the holidays are over. I’m a little bit of a grinch until the day of. Retail no matter how good of a job it is makes you grumpy. I’m more content because despite my mental health struggles at the moment I’m creating and planning on creating more things. It’s a good place to be in, again it’s been a while since I’ve been this motivated to make a series. I adore collaborating with musicians, they’re probably my favorite artists to do so with, I love working with people who’s art I respect deeply.

Anyway I think that’s enough for tonight. I feel like I’m consistently crawling back from crisis, but I’m getting much better at it.

The Balance Between Burden and Friend

I’ve been thinking a lot about when the line is crossed between being or having a friend and being or having to deal with someone who is an emotional burden when it comes to your relationship, People come to me with things, and it’s an honor to learn people’s stories. I love it, but sometimes I do feel a line is crossed, and I’m never one hundred percent sure how to confront the person, especially if they are a close friend. Sometimes with their issues lining up with mine it becomes too much for this extreme introvert to handle.

That brings me to me, I’m a pretty private person with my struggles (this blog is always written at about past experiences) the present ones, on the other hand I only have a very limited few people that I trust most of it all. I’m extremely grateful for those people, but I always wonder if it’s ever too much, and they’re too polite to tell me.

I guess what I’m getting at is check on those that you lean on. We’re living in a world where our friends are expected to act as therapists, and leaning on each other is so important but so is recognizing when the help you need is more than your friends can give you. Which doesn’t mean they love you any less.

Mostly Some Rambling

I’m struggling this week, my birthday is Sunday, and my birthday always makes me feel kind of lonely. I’m not depressed just normal person sad. Melancholy is the word I believe. I have the art passion back, which I think is saving me from going into full on isolation mode, but my birthday and the holidays aren’t my favorite part of the year. It’s been a while since I had a really good one (last year is definitely in the running but that’s mostly because it fell on a Christmas party that made sure I had good cupcakes).

It’s also coming up on the year mark of when my grandmother took her first bad turn, it was rough before that, but around Christmas time was when things started getting really bad. I miss her. I resent her. I love her. I have so many complicated feelings towards her and the time period between now and when she died, I don’t think I’ve processed them all. I don’t know if I’m ever going to fully process or even remember everything that happened in those short months. In fact if you have friends or family that are caregivers you should check up on them a little more often, the Washington Post just posted an article about the trauma of caregiving (link).

Anyway, there’s a special kind of exhaustion that comes from working in the service industry during Christmas time so I’m going to go ahead and tuck in with some old school Greys Anatomy.

peace

bri

Sometimes We Don't Have the Words

I have so much to say but I do not really have any of the words or clarity or knowledge, or relative closeness to say it, and I’m not sure I’m ever going to be able to, I think that’s okay. I’ve spent the last week and a half in a weird rollercoaster of acceptance and love and hate and worry. I also learned that we are allowed to not know how to talk about things, and we are allowed to exclaim "SHIT” when that is the most appropriate response. I’m a person who really likes to know every detail of something, in a social setting it’s a little exhausting, I need to write it or talk it to death, but I’m learning that often it is better for one’s health to know what you need to. That part of my personality helps as a sales person for sure though, people really like talking about themselves.

I’ve been planning a new project which I’m really excited about. I’m going to make photographs of musicians as characters in their songs. Folk music is a huge passion of mine, and I realized after doing the cover photo for Carolann Solebello and the promo photos for Carolann and Joe Iandaza that I’m definitely not a concert photographer at heart. I can’t bring myself to stay behind glass at a performance. I want to combine my flare for the dramatic with the beautiful storytelling and visuals of the music I love, artists can become characters in their songs, giving them posters to sell at shows, much like bands do screen printing. So if you are a musician that reads this blog please message me on facebook so I can give you my phone number and e-mail.

ending the self promotion here =]

I’m excited to feel a real passion for a project again, it’s been probably since my thesis it’s a really good feeling. I think after the success of the last show I was so lucky to be apart of I’m feeling more motivated and I’m wanting to collaborate more. This is going to sound super new-agey for me especially to say, but the artistic energy is really weird and dark and beautiful right now. I’m excited to start making this work.

Anyway I’m going to try to get back to more regular writing, life has been wonderful and cruel and confusing lately and putting it to paper or rather to zeros and ones here has been hard. I am feeling more comfortable though. It’s nice.

until next time

bri

True North

Once again this post comes to you from my commute, I suppose if I were to ever write a book of these it would have to be titled whatever the third rejected title of On the Road was.

I See the Same Trees Everyday: A Novella
Most of My Life is Spent on the Parkway
I Think I Just Heard This Song: Driving Deja Vu

Anyway, I digress the strange combination of events that lead to tonights musings were as follows; I got on to the parkway to watch the lamest dick measuring contest (in the form of a race) that I’ve ever seen. I laughed at the dick measuring thought and had a nice moment by myself, I promise I’m not the kind of crazy you have to worry about. I was listening to Shiver by Carolann Solebello and the song True North came on, a song about things I think about a lot. Family, Memory, Love, Love’s limits, age, running.

That moment plus the narrator of the song had me wondering, when I am the narrators age, will I be looking back on these moments with fondness? These kind of weird random things that happen and amuse me, will I even remember them? I sure hope I’m still laughing at absurd things. Am I living my life in a way that will feel like it’s full when my mind or body begins to go? I think if I think about my younger self, young Bri would be pretty happy with the way my life is going considering the setbacks I’ve had. I’d have a lot of explaining to do, but I think with some negotiation younger Bri would be okay with older Bri. Am I where I really want to be? Absolutely not, but I think I’m on my way there. At least I hope I am. I know I am proud of my convictions, and I am sure of them, which is an alright place to be in this world. I am lucky to have an incredible amount of self-awareness, which admittedly will get in my way on occasion. I like who I am becoming

However the idea of throwing your passport away to live the last few years on your own feels pretty damn cool. It feels like the narrator lived his life and now he’s letting himself start over, while his memory is still with him. The idea of running and starting over is so attractive to me, even though I’m pretty content.

I guess what I’m trying to say is I like who I am now, and I think future me would be okay with me as well, but I reserve the right to throw away my passport and start over, and head north.

j,b,m

sometimes i walk right past you
remembering nothing of our meaningless interactions
i laugh at how you used to pull at my strings
other times it is all i can do not to blow you
away, i want you to feel the blood spilled
the heartbeats skipped and the memories blurred
you were never quite a mirror
but reflections resembled me
eyes unfocused
arms weak
anger burning beneath the skin
you marked as yours
it is not yours anymore
marked or not my power is mine
and i remember nothing about our meaningless interactions
i am not free, but today is mine

Resentments

Here, enjoy some pleasant yet creepy nighttime lighting while I prepare to dive in to some stuff that I don’t want to talk about.

Here, enjoy some pleasant yet creepy nighttime lighting while I prepare to dive in to some stuff that I don’t want to talk about.

So you know when you’re on the highway (of course this was prompted by me driving, if you hadn’t noticed I’m always driving) and someone does something stupid. Cuts you off, scares the living daylights out of you, makes you miss your exit, generally acts like a typical New Jersey driver (I can say that I’m from here). You think god they deserve to - and then you stop - and come up with the most inconvenient but least destructive thing like “get stopped at all the red lights” or “get where they’re going five minutes late anyway” because you’re trying to be a good person and even though you don’t believe in god but you think maybe some good karma wouldn’t do you so bad?

Anyway, that little weird rabbit hole got me thinking about resentments that I hold in my heart, that I can let go a slight like that from a complete stranger, but I don’t always confront or put the effort in with the people I truly love. These are not resentments against people who have truly hurt me, that is different, that is forgiveness I do not have to give, but resentments about people I love.

I think right now I’m looking for the bravery to have these hard conversations, and I have successfully had one. A couple of months ago Rachael and I had a fight, what felt like a friendship ending fight. This was extremely significant to me, and I will not speak for her, but we had been friends for nearly twenty one years. We had been to war and back together. What the fight was about is insignificant, because what it was really about was years and years of not telling each other how we actually felt in an attempt to either spare feelings or manipulate situations. We were both sick, which is not and never will be an excuse, but it was an added stressor. We both overreacted to some parts, and under-reacted to other parts. We were not listening to each other, and I at least was choosing not to deal with the problem at all. Eventually I realized that throwing away that much history and that much true love was ridiculous, we needed to learn to be 25 year old friends instead of teenaged friends. We succeeded. We sat down and looked at each other and had a discussion.

However this is not my usual MO, I let things fester, and I think I really have to work on that, I am lucky for the friendship I have with Rachael, that there’s no doubt in my mind that is a bond that will not be broken. We are both stubborn and pigheaded but we both realize what’s best for us.

I guess the quest is to take this one time thing and apply to other relationships in my life, because mutual honesty was certainly a way to strengthen a friendship. Here’s the thing though, I’m a known chicken, so there may be no discussion and I’ve just written a terribly cryptic post naming no names except the one that I’ve worked through my resentments with already.

Here are some cats as a pre-emptive apology

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Mistah-Kurtz - He Dead

Mista Kurtz - he dead.
a dollar for the young kid

we are the full women
we we are the fulfilled women
leaning into each other
headpiece filled with thoughts
our strong voices
gusts through the forests
we also have a whisper network
we know who you are
it is not meaningless

form and shape and color
no longer paralyzed, gesturing to your future

Those we have watched
cross to death’s other kingdom
We remember them - their loss -
peaceful souls
as the opposite of the hollow men

Here we go round the prickly pear
Prickly pear, prickly pear
here we go round the prickly pear
at five o’clock ing the morning

we are the idea
we are the reality
we are both
the motion and the act
we erase the shadow

Our desire
and the potency
and the existence
and the essence
and the ascent
we erase the shadow

this is the way the world ends
this is the way the world ends
this is the way the world ends
not with a bang, not with a whimper
with a fight for justice that feels un-winnable

maybe i'd be a good caveman

Well, I survived Black Friday weekend. Here is a list of things that I took away from it this year.

  • Read the packaging. All we’re going to do is read it out loud to you anyway.

  • Cursing us out will make your service slower. So will huffing and puffing and complaining.

  • People are no longer willing to figure things out for themselves.

  • My name tag and uniform say framing on it. I am not customer service.

  • Threatening to “never come back here” is both hilarious an irrational.

Anyway, I picked up Letters to a Young Poet yesterday for the first time since high school. There are a few books that will always stick with me, and that is definitely one of them. The others include The Little Prince, Art and Fear (thanks Carolann), Women in Photography, If I Found a Wistful Unicorn, and What I Learned from a Thousand Towns. I also really enjoy comedian’s autobiographies. I’m going to say that I really enjoy reading about art. Which goes with my life theme about writing about art but not nearly creating it as much as I should.

So I suppose book recommendations? Ways to keep myself sane until January? Funny jokes?

I’m not sure, my flow has been interrupted by not doing this every day. My brain is good in a crisis, but no immediate danger means no productivity. Maybe I’d be a good caveman? Eh, my ankle is kind of too bad for that.

Anyway,

Hope everyone had a lovely holiday with your families. I’m working on getting back into the swing of things.

What I'm Thankful For

It’s Thanksgiving, this is a complicated holiday in the United States, while the premise is lovely, give thanks for what we have and the family that we have, but a year ago at Standing Rock Water Protectors were being sprayed with ice cold fire hoses, shot with rubber bullets, and threatened by the police force and drivers on the road. Some are still being prosecuted for protecting their land. There was just a massive oil spill, which is exactly what they were putting their lives on the line to prevent. As we eat our turkeys and we say what we are thankful for, we have to remember our history. Our history that dates back to the beginning of the country, and has not gotten any better over the years.

I always enjoyed Thanksgiving (not so much the romanticization of all the murder and the small pox) but the family part , I think a good portion of that is because I am a terrible cook therefore I did the things that didn’t involve my putting stuff into the oven. This year, it was quiet, we had Boston Market, I hung out with my parents, I got some much need napping in, despite the fact that I should have been a little more present . We felt some sadness that this was the first major holiday without my Grandmother, I definitely felt her absence, despite the fact that she’d be quite grumpy until all of the food was on the table. Holidays were kind of her thing, she made sure we were all taken care of, that when times were financially tight, she made sure everyone had gifts to open on Christmas, and a place at her table if need be. She didn’t always love hosting, but she made the best of it.

The older I get the more commodified Thanksgiving, and Christmas have become. We had people in our store all night. Sometimes commenting on how terrible it is we have to work (fun fact if no one ever shows up, odds are stores will remain closed, please don’t come out on holidays). I am proudly not a capitalist, I truly think that it’s a terribly exploitative, dangerous, and in the long term going continue to widen the gap between the CEOs and the people who work for them. Working different forms of retail have definitely taught me this lesson over and over again. Everything is about the bottom line, everything is “how much more can we push this”, everything is taking care of the higher-ups and the CEO’s and the shareholders before taking care of workers that actually keep the place running. It’s running us ragged. Workers are the most valuable aspect to a company. Without the “underlings” nothing would run.

So after all that kind of bleak analysis here are some things I am thankful for
1. Having a place to call home
2. Art
3. Family
4. Friends
5. Music, and my folk music family
6. The physical strength of my body
7. Hope. Beautiful paralyzing Hope.
8. Stability
9. Calm
10. Therapy =]