Tuesday, July 23, 2013


While not my personal wish or preference, and my next-of-kin (Luke) knows this, there's always the remote possibility that my cremated remains might end up on the specifically-purchased waste of perfectly green land occupied by quite an impressive, 8' tall, cross-shaped marble statue engraved with the ancestral name, the initials signifying the first names of my great-grandparents, who came from Poland.

This gem of a ditty just got added today to the growing list of versions of songs which I do choose to have played at the memorial service celebrating (?) the vast contribution towards the greater good of humanity that will mark my earthly legacy, while my astral spirit soars to glory.

Except there wasn't any contribution, if you ask around. So just pretend.

It's often said that it's healthy to try and see yourself as the wonderful, beautiful, intelligent individual as others see you.

That it's mentally and emotionally wiser to discount the inner voice which can engulf with self-doubt, self-loathing, and a lack of confidence in favor of accepting the unique qualities and quirks that make one ONE. And in some way, each one of us is breathtakingly miraculous as bestowed upon us by the good Lord.

But wait.

No, you were right when we passed on the street. Perhaps you took a second glance, wondering, "Really? THAT'S The Offbeat Drummer? I thought she was headed to a Chase Bank interest rate protest." A bony but busty, sassy and smart girl on the cusp of getting things together got chunky & heavy again, draped a sash across her torso that said "LIABILITY" and was wearing this:

I'm just a walking dollar sign. Because my parent cosigned for one of my masters school loans, the living stipend you take out specifically so you don't HAVE to work while you go to school, I was not privy to such an honor as to be a joint account holer. What am I? Money.

Because part of being severely bipolar is overextending yourself with money, as I've said before (Stephen Fry's 14 iPods). Doing everything in excess. Yes, I mismanaged my finances in the past, but  I'm learning how to manage them wisely, though it takes a lot of habit-breaking and reversing maladaptive behaviors deeply ingrained in my psyche.

I'm not an asset, it would seem. I'm a risky investment deemed SO sick, so stupid, naysayers wage my incapacity to grow, learn, adjust and succeed an impossibility so overwhelming that, despite all that's well and good, the effort involved in hope will surely prove to be as improbable as winning the Power Ball. Ironically, it's been said that one might have greater odds at picking out 8 multi-million dollar numbers that match as randomly blown balls in a machine on television than of The Offbeat Drummer reincarnating life into the responsibility and success of middle age with a new career.

Hang on a sec. This is the future I *wish* I had....with Guy, of course. 

Aside from your children, who often idolized you, or your friends, who thought you were fun, or your spouse/partner, who put up with your crap for however long, think about the people who are supposed to be your endless cheerleaders with unconditional love. Hint: They've known you the longest, they chose their words and wisdom with which to form your core value system, you spend your entire life attempting to measure up to what and how they hoped you'd turn out, and technically, they'd like your life to turn out slightly less shitty than theirs did.

Well, the person who I know conclusively would champion me and my ambitions died a long time ago. My ultimate guardian angel.  

That ALL leaves me with hearing such statements as these at present:

"You're a fuck up."
"Your blog is nothing. It means nothing."
"You're a dreamer. That's what you are."
"You're a child." 
"You're totally out of control."
"I don't care how many degrees you get, or what kind of doctor you are....YOU WILL NEVER 'BE' ANYTHING."

Well, THAT'S encouraging! 

I can completely hear in the back of my head my father labeled in a similar, if not exact way. Because the habit is to project onto me the illness of my father. Because I'm "just like him." And who WAS he, really?  

I hate wakes. HATE THEM. I understand their function in the family healing process, saying goodbye metaphorically and being a supportive source "if the family needs anything," but for God's sake, don't embalm me and put me on display. Just cremate me and spread me in an as-yet undisclosed location.

It would NEVER, EVER occur to me to spew such vile commentary to my child. Especially if my child happened to be mood disordered and in a depressive state. 

It was the first incidence of suicidiality I'd felt in a long time. If *I'm* nothing, what's kind of the point?  Why am I even fucking bothering when now 2 people have told me to quit school and get a "job?" (My mom and my ex-husband.) The job I want is to become a counselor, so I'm being trained in how to do that. I don't see how that's a bad thing.  I say, "I had a job at the medical practice. For 3 years. It drove me insane and anorexic. It was a go-nowhere gig." So I went back to school. It was a very, very good decision. 

Luke said that if I ever were to take my own life, he'd be "sad for a couple of weeks, but then he'd be okay." We all think that's a coping strategy against what very well might scare him the most in the whole world. The devastation towards my son is too selfish to consider permanent harm to myself, but this level of hostility in my house is no bueno. 

She says she feels trapped in the house taking care of us, when she'd rather travel around the country on holiday and enjoy her retirement. Instead, she says, all she does is cook and clean for us. (Which she repeated: "And cook and clean. And cook and clean. I don't GO anywhere.") She's threatened several times recently that she'd toss Luke and I to the streets to live if I don't abide with the next living stipend I get for grad school in a month or so in the manner SHE wants it spent or saved. You don't know how I wish I could get someone other than her to cosign the stipend, but manic-depressive untreated me has kind of fucked up credit as a result of being, well, untreated me.

I don't understand why she's NOT traveling. Luke and I would be perfectly fine taking care of one another by ourselves, just as we did when I lived in Camp Swanky, my apartment from when I first separated (the one the landlord foreclosed on & disappeared, the one with the kick ass Jacuzzi). My hunch is that IF Luke and I were to leave, she'd sink into a hugely deep depression and not know what to do with herself, if she wasn't traveling or something. 

She tried taking me off the checking account with MY OWN MONEY in it, for which I AM PRIMARILY responsible after I graduate. A check that's made out in MY NAME. I refused to be taken off the account. She's almost asserting  power of attorney over me because I'm mentally ill, which'd never fly. She's called it HER money, or if she's being nice, OUR money. Yes, I acknowledge she helped me get it. But it's in my name. 

I told some friends close to me to ride me out until Thursday, when I'll get my mental prescriptions written out and I'll see the psychiatrist again. Friday night, I have plans for a swanky-ish dinner and some swinging jazz with someone who, I believe, DOES love me unconditionally, who's never judged me and makes me feel safe.

I think about Luke and breathe it all through. It's fair to say I am a dreamer, but aren't well all, just a little bit? All of us run imaginary vignettes in our heads as we begin to try and fall asleep. They're usually relaxing scenes which help you drift to sleep. I certainly do. One of them is just to imagine walking along Lake Michigan with my dad, in the incarnation I remember him, except sober. We'd get a chance to catch up on life as grown ups, and he'd tell me how proud he was of me for surviving all of this. I'd tell him about Luke and how much they'd love one another. 

I'm trying to remember, "I AM" more than all of which I'm *NOT.*

Reminds me of the Margery Williams classic kids' story, The Velveteen Rabbit.

Luke's got his own Velveteen Rabbit. He's always called her (he made her female) "Bunny." I actually hadn't ever read the book to my knowledge, but I received a copy from my friend, Sharon, in June of 2010, because even then, Sharon could recognize I was becoming "Real." I was growing up. Luke's bunny..She's a little worse for the wear, but exactly what this story is about. Bunny is REAL, just like my Curious George doll:

I don't feel real. I feel like a 13-year old kid trapped in a 41-year old body. I feel like nobody believes in me. 

I should "BE" someone treated with respect and dignity, not verbally lashed at.

I think the book Jonathan Livingston Seagull is ridiculously stupid, but I do like the Neil Diamond soundtrack....


BMF said...

"You're a fuck up."

Far from it. We addicts DO tend to live in a state of permanent adolescence until we grow up and get our heads straightened on correctly. We have trouble facing adult reality. You may have fucked things up in the past, but YOU are NOT a fuck up. No way.

"Your blog is nothing. It means nothing."

Your blog is AMAZING. I KNOW you're going to go places with it as your home base. Like your professor said after that class last fall, your story is SO compelling, it needs to be a book. It's an amazing journey. And you're so YOU in it. No crap. Your anecdotes are interesting and thought-provoking, they teach lessons, they entertain, they show your sensitive vulnerability with sharp wit. Your mom doesn't even read your blog. How would she know what it's about?

"You're a dreamer. That's what you are."

Annie, we're all dreamers. Every artist is a dreamer at heart. It sparks creativity and generates magic. I bet you dream in long stories like I dream music. You talked about the vignettes you imagine while you're trying to get to sleep. I do that too, but mine are musical compositions. I usually forget them by morning, but I have gotten up to write them out.

"You're a child."

You're a 41 year old woman. You are NOT a child and don't deserve to be treated as such. Yes, you're still "growing up," but so am I. We all are. It's an ongoing process. Yes, true, most women your age have their lives all figured out and are living them pleasantly, but nobody's been in your shoes except you. Not even me.

"You're totally out of control."

Yes, straight A's in graduate school and a kid to bring up and a band to play in and friends and Guy just spiral you like a rotini noodle. So you gained some weight. You were a 5'8" anorexic. It's probably good for you and you're the only one who sees yourself as "chunky." I know you're still beautiful and always will be. You're just not used to looking NORMAL since you've been so sick the last few years.

"I don't care how many degrees you get, or what kind of doctor you are....YOU WILL NEVER 'BE' ANYTHING."

Annie, you are already something. You're lots of things. Something else, for sure. There's no one else like you in the whole world. You WILL be a successful doctor, no matter how long it take or how harrowing the investment is. Your mom is cool for helping you out with the loan, but totally uncool trying to control the money. Like you say, it's primarily in your name. I know you'd never talk to Luke with so much discouragement. Try as best as you can to let those kinds of statements roll off of your back and keep on moving forward as you have been. Your mom is scared, because she DOES, I think, see so much of your dad in you, and he fucked a lot of things up and then died. I totally agree that she projects her fears about your future in light of what happened to your dad. Turn that voice off. YOU know what you're capable of. And you, my pretty, are destined for greatness. I have no doubt. What'd my buddy say? You're an evolution of a revolution? Totally accurate.

Deep breaths. I know who your date is Friday night, and I hope you two have a great time. I expect updates. It's long overdue. I will, no doubt, be laughing all night and thinking of "Hannah and Her Sisters." You HAVE to tell me if he shows up in khaki suburban pants.

Tell your shrinks to quit equating you as Charlie Brown and instead replace you with being just like Woody Allen.

As you're well aware, I love you. xo

BMF said...

Oh! Also, that version of "Highway to Hell" is incredible, as is that giant Miklasz statue in the cemetery. Nice thumbs up, Luke. I know that's not where your dad is buried, right? He's in your mom's family's plot elsewhere, right? But as much as I agree I hate cemeteries, that's one hell of a monument.

Andrea Miklasz said...

Yes, that particular cemetery plot is a Miklasz plot featuring my great-grandparents, my dad's mom and dad and various brothers and sisters (and their spouses) on the Miklasz side. My dad is buried in suburban Northlake, in my mom's family plot. The whole reason we went there was to pay respects after my guitarist, Jake's, funeral luncheon, which was right across the street from St. Adalbert's, which is a Polish Catholic cemetery. Because nothing spells traditional Samoan funeral like gigantic plates of family-style Polish food. It was the first time Luke ate pork kielbasa, instead of turkey and gasp, he liked it! And he's a big fan of kapusta (sauerkraut) in the first place.

I miss Jake already. While he was buried in his casket with a Sharpie-written special message on it (from a pair of Vic Firth 5A's with wooden tips that I never really use) from me, I will miss him terribly at this weekend's service. It's just going to be even more weird that the last practice, held the day he died. SuperJuls is playing with us again this week, and it'll just be the two of us..hello, clusterfuck!

God, please, when I die, no "How Great Thou Art," ok? Include this woman's "Highway to Hell." Luke said there are so many witticisms he wants to engrave on my urn, he'll need the size of the Stanley Cup to fit them all in. ;)

What can I say?