I'm bipolar. I blog about it. I also blog about sex, theology and atheology, funny shit and sad shit, books, music, feminism, and love. Mostly love.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Saving Kittens: a story of PTSD


Today, while walking the dogs, Mom and I heard a loud meowing from the green behind the bridge. And when I looked, there, looking at me with helpless eyes, was a kitten. She was black and white, and she was freaking adorable. And she ran away, but then she came back to me, and she let me carry her all the way home.

We have 5 cats.

5 cats is too many cats.

I asked Facebook if anyone wanted her. They all said no by saying nothing. And while I waited I fell more and more in love with her. It may be a boy, actually. If it's a girl she's Myrna and if she's a boy she's Merlin. <--all of that gender-title-play was on purpose. I loved her. I let her play all around the house and I cried while I cleaned because I wanted her.

So, I walked the dogs with Kyle to see if she would go back home or run away. But she followed me the whole way out and the whole way back. BECAUSE SHE LOVED ME AND I WAS HER MOMMY! And then Grandma called to tell us that a woman at the beauty shop said she wanted a kitten.

So we took her there. I cried the whole way. I just wanted something so small and needy to love me for keepsies. And I cried about abandoning her like her mother. And I cried about wanting a baby. And I cried about being bad at transitions. And I just sobbed. Mascara down my cheeks, tear stains on my glasses sobbing. I made Kyle take her in, because I was scared she'd cry for me when I left her.

I was all, "I shouldn't have left therapy. I have PTSD."
Kyle gave me a look that said, "I think that is unlikely."
I cried some more. I know I'm going to camp on TUESDAY. I wouldn't have been able to care for the kitten. Then I'll go to school and I won't be able to take care of it there, either. I love you, Myrna/Merlin whatever. I love you so, so much. And I totally don't need you at all right now. </3

I'm on my period. Stop judging me.

Lessons from Campers and Things I Love


This is it. I'm about to finish packing up and go to camp! I'm going through the motions: finishing laundry, finding my hiking boots, panicking about my camera... all the things necessary to get on that winding road that leads me to those red doors and bathhouse steps. Soon, that lanyard hanging on my key hook, will be more than rustic decoration. Soon it will mean authority, and responsibility. It will mean love and patience. It will mean all those things it means to me as a nine year-old girl--except that it is mine.

Blogging. At camp, I'm hoping to blog at least twice a week. I don't know when or how that's going to occur, but I know that it will. I say at least, because I know that every week, I'll have a post with these titles:
Lessons from Campers
Things I Love

I really believe we have a lot to learn from children. I've always heard that, but it always meant less to me than when I discovered that to be true for myself. I have learned some really brilliant things from my campers, from age 8-14. They never cease to impress me with their insight and to remind me what it is to be good. They see things so black and white. And I, sadly, have grown past that. I live in a world of greys that cannot be defined by a simple good and evil. But sometimes that black and white thinking is far wiser than my complicated color wheel of storm clouds. Because I really believe everyone is good at heart. I believe everyone wants to do their best, and with love--always love--they can figure out what their best is, and they can be that.

So I want to record those lessons I learn. Sometimes they'll be funny, I think. No one who works with children can keep from laughing--unless they're pretty awful with children.

I also want to write about things I love. Because in the natural world there is plenty to love, and I need to remind myself of that. The trees, the cabins, the creek, the people... they all play a part in what is an undeniably positive experience. I love that world. In part, I'm telling you how much I love it because I want to share it with you. I want you to live vicariously through me, or better yet, to feel inspired to see those things you love in your own life--because I can assure you there are plenty. But I also want to make habit of it. It's so easy to find what I love at camp because my time there is fleeting. Because the entire community services children and their happiness. Because I am in nature and among those who respect it. But my life here, in the real world, isn't so bad either. The theory: if I begin to look for and define the things I love, then I will continue to do it once I've left. Who knows if I'll keep defining it on my blog, but that's not really the point. I just want to force myself to notice what makes my life a construct of love.

In comments I'd love for you to tell me things you love about your life. I want to know that I've made you search; to open your eyes. (Also, I really just want comments.) Also, tell me the funny, or insightful things you hear kids say every day. Those of you who are surrounded by kids know what I mean. Bless me with those lessons.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Deciding to Be Happy

It's that easy really. It's no different than deciding to wear flats as opposed to flip flops or to read instead of play video games. We spend a lot of time convincing ourselves that emotion is a matter of conditions and that God helps us to find happiness. Only through Him can we find true happiness. And I believed that. I really did. I thought spirituality and fixing everything in my life would make me happy. So I tried to always get things right. I tried to get everything done all the time on time, I tried to be on-time everywhere I went, I tried to make everyone happy, I tried to be perfect.

Now I call bull shit.

Happiness came from within me. It was just a realization. I cannot base it on God; because of that I'm uncertain. I need something a little more substantial. The God that could make me happy was also the God that put me in a position in which I felt the pain for which I was asking relief. That was too complex a circular argument for me to really see the light at the end of the tunnel.

And perfection? It's impossible. The people I wanted to emulate were also imperfect. And many of my "imperfections" were rather insecurities. Every person has a purpose. Every person is unique and important. And I don't need a divine plan to believe that. I just do. I assert that every person wants to do the right thing. Perhaps I'm too optimistic, but it's a genuine belief of mine. And it's one I cannot abandon, no matter what system of Truth I do or do not adhere to. I have chosen to love without condition--especially those who have felt the slap of condition in play. It's stupid. I love you, dammit. I do. All of you, because you're all important.

And so am I. I cannot believe that every person has importance and value and include the greatest offenders yet not include myself. And on that point: I said without condition, and I meant it. But I do not mean that I do not get angry. I get angry all the time. I get sad all the time. But I'm careful about what I choose to be angry or sad about. I choose to be angry when someone has purposefully hurt me or another. I choose to be sad when I see suffering. I think we need to be angry and sad. But again, I choose to be. I could be numb instead, but I don't think that accomplishes much. Maybe nothing accomplishes anything. Maybe there is some "divine plan" that will play out no matter my decisions. But I have no reason to believe that. So instead I focus on what I can do to make the world a better place. I focus on being just angry enough to be a soldier on the side of good. I am just sad enough to empathize with people in pain. (<--Those apply to myself as well. Things happen to me to make me angry and sad. Obviously.) But I am happy enough to grasp tightly to that weighted word, the word of the moment: hope. I am happy enough to believe that happiness is possible for everyone who is informed enough to see it.

I love everyone because I want everyone to find this palpable happiness as I have. I genuinely care that everyone gets there. Even the hardest people to love... it is no effort. I've simply decided to love them in spite of their flaws. Because who ever got better by being sad? Who ever got better by condemnation? Hm?! The world won't get better until we love regardless of a person's flaws... especially those "flaws" that are unimportant: "She stole my boyfriend." "She wore the same prom dress as me." "He likes Justin Bieber?!" "He was lookin' at my girl." <--I believe those are just distractions. They are distractions from a person's own unhappiness. They are not problems that really mean anything to a person's life or happiness. It's so easy to pick on those things that don't matter to give your life a little more meaning--to make yourself right and better in some capacity; when all you've done is harm yourself. You've distracted yourself from self-discovery, afraid of what you might find.

And here's a little secret from a former-self-loathing-depressed-chica: You are just fine. If you really look at yourself, there's nothing there that's that scary. If you decide before you walk in, that you're going to love yourself regardless of what you find, and that fixing anything you aren't proud of is as easy as putting on a damn pair of flip flops, then you're going to be okay. Addiction is as easy as treatment and self-love. Arrogance is as easy as humility... and a greater sense of self-love. (I have a theory that most arrogant people pretty much hate themselves as much as most people.) Everything is as easy as a decision, and the decision is as hard as you make it.

You know. I used to say I was a humanist and a realist. I used to think those contradicted, which was hard on me, because I believed two things that put me at war with myself. But I wasn't sure how to define that contradiction, so in order to prove my point, I looked up humanism in the dictionary.

"A variety of ethical theory and practice that emphasizes reason, scientific inquiry, and human fulfillment in the natural world and often rejects the importance of a belief in God."
I kind of laughed when I read it. I don't think I'd ever actually known what all of that really meant. I just agreed with a lot of humanists whom I'd read quotes by on captioned photos on the internet. I seriously need to do my homework more. But it wasn't funny because I hadn't really known the definition. It was funny because I didn't fit the description until I'd felt unsure enough to look it up. There was a special kind of irony there that I simply could not overlook.

I had initially decided not to look up the definition of realism, but later went back to do that. I found this:
"Interest or concern for the actual or real, as distinguished from the abstract, speculative, etc."

So, as I understand it, it's completely semantics as to whether or not these can coexist harmoniously. So I'm still going to say I'm both. Because I believe that things are as they are. They are not cosmically inspired or magically created to pave a road to a greater life. I believe firmly that things occur in our life not for any reason, but that reason comes from things that occur. God did not make Kairyn born without fingers. Genetics did. There was no good reason for that. But now that she has her beautiful, scarred fingers to show us, she's going to teach us a lot about strength, acceptance, and the capacity for cruelty in our elementary school children. I choose to believe that she has given us a gift with her trials, and not that her trials were a gift.

And that is the secret of happiness. I don't look for a reason for occurrences. I don't look to a plan for the future. I focus on here and now. One foot in front of the other. I'm worried about where I am and the people I'm with. I'm interested in what they have to teach me. I'm interested in what these people say and believe and do in spite of those. I want to make people happy, not by altering myself, but by showing them how easy that decision is. I want to introduce hope to a blind populace. That is my responsibility and I accept it wholeheartedly.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Addiction, Anger, and Hope.

when addiction is involved

I really try to blog about twice a week, just because it's good for me, and I hate the thought of a visitor coming by to find at the top of the page that post which they read last. It's always so disappointing for me when the same happens on the blogs I follow. If I'm interested enough to go there, then I'm excited to read what they have to say! But I've been slipping lately.

I plan on writing a post about Books-A-Million and their Tea Party affiliation, but life has gotten in the way. It will come. I kept telling myself that would be my next post, and therefore wouldn't allow myself to write what I was feeling. I kept stalling. But no more. I'll go back to that in time, but for now, I have more pressing issues at hand. Following: the issues I take with my brother-in-law and my brother.

My brother-in-law has screwed up. Again. I love my sister, and I love her children, so I've been as kind as my patience allowed. But I'm reaching my breaking point. Patience with children is a skill I've worked very hard to develop within myself. Kindness to your partner is vital. And when you have dependents, it's important to take care of yourself. If you have a problem, then fix it. I have little tolerance for denial. Gambling away $2,000 in one night is not something to be taken lightly--good thing he's not my husband. Those are the things on my mind. Regardless of his douchebaggery towards me this semester. Which I'm not over, by the way. Even with the apology I never got, I'd take a while to move past that. Which is not a decision. Those are my feelings. Anyway. Regardless of that incident, I'm angry. I'm angry for my sister whom I love dearly. I'm angry for her life right now. When it rains, it pours. And she feels so strongly. That's part of what makes her such a good person--she can empathize. But it can break her. Carrying the weight of another can hurt so, so much. And now this? That was simply selfish on his part. I am done with him until he's gotten help and made the proper apologies to his family. Line=drawn.

Ian is hurting. I tend to distance myself from friends and family when it gets hard, because I don't want to be holding that hand when they slip... when they stop passing their windows. It scares me. And so I'd managed to "forget" about him. I'm not sure if intentional lack of consideration really counts as "forgetting" someone. I just stopped thinking about him. I refused to worry. What would come, would come. It is what it is.

But you can't really do that. No one can. I'm an expert and I couldn't do it for long. I'm going to take this part directly from my journal, because I don't think it's beneficial to me to write it all again.

We're out looking for him. On our way to Paris now. I brought Longbottom along, like a child, for some sort of security and comfort. I want something to hold if we don't bring him home. As a constant reminder of why I'm in this car, his socks and shoes are beside me. A cigarette is on the floor. Is he in Paris with no shoes? No one's talking much. Every time he disappeared before--every time he hurt himself--we talked about it. But there is a weighted silence in our throats. We're afraid to speak because someone may say that lifeless word: dead. He was alone this time. And somehow possibilities feel more possible when they're said aloud. 
A call from Paris. And it's Molly. Guilt in her tone. She did this. And so did Bonnie, and Jay, and Lindy... and he did it. He did it to himself. He did it to everyone. Barefoot. Broke. Hungover. Lost. No phone. No car. No... hope? But Mom: that's her word. That's her world. And I cannot deny her that. But I've denied it of myself.
We found him, bleary-eyed and sad in his trailer. And I was in some place between angry and relieved which is an uncomfortable mix of emotions. I kind of wanted to hug and hit him at the same time. I do love him. And I can't forget about him. And I just want happiness for him, and I know how foreign a feeling that is at the millionth dip; down, down. But he'll have it if he thinks he will. Happiness is a choice--it is not a circumstance. I kind of want to beat it into his head--like a physical understanding of what it feels like to love your life. I thought he was gone. He wasn't. We've another chance to fix it. And since I've stopped asking God to care, I'm going to pick up the slack. I will hold his demons in my capable heart, and I will defeat them. Kayla will defeat them. Mom will defeat them. Jim will defeat them. And Grandma will, too, even if she's a little hesitant. Happiness is a choice. But so is hope. I denied it of myself, and that hopelessness was unwarranted. I cannot do that again, because disappointment hurts only the blind while hopelessness is parallel to apathy. I'll keep my eyes wide open until we smash this mother fucker. Addiction be damned. I've taken the hope from you.
Addiction: It sucks
Anger: I've got it. And I'm kind of airing Darren's dirty laundry. But telling the truth should never bring shame. And so I have none.
Hope: Hear my message. Feel it. Because that was for me--I wrote it with no intentions of sharing it. But Mom's already made our story known, I've simply written subjectively. I brought emotion to what was information. This is for you now. It was mine, and I've made it yours, because so many of you have heartache. All of you do. No one lives without acquiring some demons. And I want you to know what it means to hope for something better. Because it's our job to make this place better. Have hope. Please have hope.