Friday, December 12, 2014

Step Out of Christmas

This was the attitude I had towards Christmas when I was young:

Weeee! Ho! Ho! Ho! Santa! Presents! A Charlie Brown Christmas! Rudolph! Frosty! My whole family together! Star Wars toys! Trying to stay awake at the midnight church service! My brother waking me up at 6am to play with all of  our new toys! Sunday school Christmas Programs! Snow in which to play! Daddy's firehouse Christmas party, where we'd all sit on Santa's lap and get a gift! Baby Jesus! It was all so thrilling.

As I matured, my attitude was more like this:

I wouldn't necessarily say I was growing cynical, but more realistic. My father was gone, and as families grew and married and split off, there was less of sense of gathering together, less joy. Less magic. I suppose that happens to everybody. But I still believed in miracles. I still got choked up singing "Silent Night" under candlelight at church, though we all got too tired to go to the midnight service anymore and went at like 7:00 pm. I figured out that Santa didn't exist. (I think when I broke the news to Luke about that, he was much younger, like 6, and I just said, "You do realize that there's no Santa and it's really your dad and me, right?" And Luke said something nonplussed like, "Yeah, I figured.") As Greg Lake closes "I Believe in Father Christmas," "The Christmas we get, we deserve." 


Once I had a child, I sort of got to relive all of that childhood wonder, except it all left me exhausted, because it was I (and my husband) who had to assemble all the toys from Santa in the middle of the night, but it was wonderful to see my son's eyes full of wonder and charm. He loved to help decorate the tree and would put all of the ornaments on the very bottom, almost toppling the tree over. He took away a lot of the disillusion I'd been feeling towards Christmas. I tried to keep that spark alive, if only for Luke's sake, even after the divorce. I'd try to fulfill his every wish and fantasy. I wanted Christmas to always be as special to him as a kid as it was to me. I did my best, even when the purse strings were really tight.

The entire time I dated Chris, I never once met his family or was invited over for a holiday. He was always welcome to come to our house for a meal, dessert or just to visit, and he'd met my family, but I was never invited over to his or his parents' house, as if I was some sort of embarrassment. The closest I got to people he knew was a stuffy New Year's Eve dinner with some of his old Northwestern cronies and their uptight, snooty spouses and one smart-mouth brat who magically disappeared into the transoms of nowhere. Nobody was nice to me and I felt like a total outcast. Meh, fuck 'em. But I always thought it was odd that in 3 1/2 years, I never met Chris' parents or his sister and only met his daughter once, as a "friend" of Chris'.

Our last New Year's Eve as a couple, he was having a dinner party at HIS apartment for all the aforementioned assholes, so I made plans with a girlfriend to go to a singles' party out in the suburbs. She met a guy and blew me off, so I stayed home alone and watched a Flaming Lips streaming concert on the internet lying on my bed. My son and mom were away. Granted, I gave my friend the go-ahead to dump me for the guy, but it was still a shitty time. My then-boyfriend, finding out I had no plans for NYE, didn't even extend a sympathy invitation to me? Are you starting to see why I hate the holidays?

My friends and I, who are NOT by ANY MEANS stuffy people, have always been very generous and inventive with one another at Christmastime, which results in smiles, imbibing and merriment. The kind of inventive merriment you don't need a PhD to understand. One friend in particular got extremely creative a couple of years ago and if you read my blog regularly, you'll find it around Christmas of 2012. 

Sadly, so very sadly, we're not friends anymore and that bums me out majorly this time of year, when I'm at least usually excited about picking out that special something for a special someone. I cry a lot. I am left singing something more along these lines:

Christmas is two weeks away. My health has been dangerously poor. I'm blown up like a puffer fish with water weight that just won't go away (the doctors call it "cyclical edema"). Too many diuretics fuck up your whole body, and aren't working to rid myself of the swelling. I had a residency weekend at school last weekend, and in walking too much and lugging around my 40 lb briefcase, I wrenched my already weighed down back and it's killing me. My right knee is totally swelled up and hurts like a son of a bitch. Pain management? The utterly useless Naproxen, which is literally the same ingredients and makeup of taking 2 Aleve. Not cutting it at all. I can barely walk and when I do, I can't catch my breath, so I'm double-dutying on the inhalers. I was in the ER on Sunday night (after the marathon school weekend) thinking I had congestive heart failure, I was so blown up and unable to breathe. I got an albuterol treatment and was sent home. 

Naturally, since I have a congenital heart condition already, I had 2 EKG's taken--one in the ambulance and one in the ER. My psychiatrist wanted a copy of the ER EKG to check for what are called QT intervals...something to do with the length of electrical impulses between heartbeats. I don't know. In any event, I have "Long QT Syndrome." Mine is bordering on moderate to severe. The ER wasn't looking for it. They were just checking to see if I was in normal sinus rhythm,which I was. But the psychiatrist knows to look for it because it is a huge risk factor in taking Geodon,especially for such a long time. All kinds of complications can arise from it, and you're not supposed to exert yourself physically at all or it can cause things like...well, sudden death. I wanted to exercise some of this weight away after the water weight is gone, but I can't even swim!! Isn't that cray-cray? I need to see an electrocardiologist, a specialized cardiologist. This is out of Guy's area of expertise. I tried texting him when I found out I had this disorder, but he didn't respond. I called his office and was referred back out to the electrocardiologist and that he, like her, was booked until February anyway. So nothing will be done about this life-threatening condition until mid-January. 

The holidays. Lots of suicides. Just have to keep thinking Luke, Luke, Luke, LUKE.

Not looking forward to family tension, people crabbing, who's bringing who to Christmas, how much indigestion I'll get, or if I'll keel over the whole shebang. I'm very, very depressed over the whole thing, and to boot, I still have school shit to finish up on and registration for next term to complete.

This leaves me with this musical sentiment, which is where I'm totally at right now: 

Keep the "ist" in Christmas and have some grog.
Hope your holidays are happier than mine will be.
But I've got my Luke, the best gift ever. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Chipping Away

It's really stupid. I chipped both of my front teeth today. The right one worse than the left, and in thinking I'd need crowns, I immediately called my dentist, whom I have not seen in a decade. I'm absolutely petrified of the dentist. It triggers all sorts of PTSD fears in me..being confined in a chair with a giant light on my face, with a man standing above me with instruments of torture, and I can't move. He took X-rays and said the chips weren't bad, and that he could fix them with fillings....on Monday. Today is Wednesday. The right one is very irritating and rubbing up against my inner lip. I was hoping to score some painkillers out of him, but he sent me home with Sensodyne toothpaste. I guess I could get some of that teething gel for babies to numb the area. That might help.

In other stupid news, tomorrow is the ear doctor appointment. I only got off my ditty bag to call for an appointment when I took a nap a couple of days ago in horrific pain in my right ear. The pain is getting worse. It's radiating to when I'm upright instead of just lying down. My GP found me an ENT who takes my insurance, so yay. If all goes well, I'll be doing the Woody Allen skipping and jumping down the street that he's healthy dance. If not, I'll probably die and no one will give a damn.

Strangest thing happened this morning. I was dead ass asleep, and was awakened by my phone ringing. It was 7:20 in the morning. Groggily, I grabbed the phone from under the covers just as the caller hung up. It was the hospital number. It would seem awfully odd that my GP would call me at such an ungodly hour to tell me he did the referral to the ear doctor (which he would email me about anyway), and it wasn't the ENT people, because they have a different phone # and called late this afternoon to confirm my appointment. Either the hospital dialed the wrong number, or someone important was trying to call me, but didn't leave a message. My wildest dreams were that it was Guy.

We haven't spoken in 5 months, other than me emailing him asking him to please refill my heart medication twice. I did, however, recently have Meg either text or email him a certain lyric from Dido's "White Flag." It was "And when we meet, which I'm sure we will, all that was there will be there still. I'll let it pass, and hold my tongue. And you will think that I've moved on." She said it was a message from me.

It's really a rather beautiful and sad song. But it hits the nail on the head. I'm not out to change his life. And I do understand if he can't talk to me anymore. But putting it into a grander perspective, I think it's a) because of his wife's ultimatum and b) because he did, in fact love me too much to keep me in his life and had to let me go. I just wish I knew what the truth was. 

Meg asked me if Guy would be at the hospital that early in the morning. Yes, he would've been. He does some rounds in the morning, and sees patients, and does heart procedures early in the morning. 

I keep having these recurring dreams where Craig (my ex-husband), Luke and I are going on vacation together, pack up and drive to our destination, and they both leave me there and the only one there is Guy. And they leave me a car, but I don't know how to get home. To me, anyway, that means there's unfinished business. These aren't lustful dreams whatsoever. I also had a dream recently that I was texting him my random banterings throughout the day (the ones he used to love to read) and he was responding like there was nothing wrong between us. I must admit I miss that...quite a bit. Rarely, I message POE with such stories on Facebook, but he doesn't even answer, so he's a dead shark. It all enhances my sense of isolation. Thankfully, BMF has been really responsive and charging forward as my partner-in-crime, but he has multiple responsibilities (more than Guy, even) and can't always communicate back immediately, but he always does. That was one of Guy's last points in our farewell conversation..."You'll always have BMF...." And I will. 

School is going ok, but not as well as I'd hoped upon entering Argosy, still with a lot of work to do to finish those fucking Adler classes in which I got incompletes. I'm falling behind at Argosy too. I'm reminded of this Warren Zevon lyric, from "The French Inhaler," which is "How are you gonna make your way in this world when you weren't cut out for workin', and you just can't concentrate? And you always show up late?"

(No, I don't plan on becoming a prostitute.) 

"Loneliness and frustration...we both came down with an acute case." It must be contagious. Thank you, Doctor.

It didn't help that I passed by his apartment building on my way home from Argosy the other night. Hi, trigger!

Yes, I'm still depressed. I wish something would lift me out of it, or give me some type of thoughts other than my son to look forward to. Especially if I have in operable brain tumor! Because that would suck balls! 

The holidays are coming. The most dreaded time of the year for me, I'm afraid. It starts with Thanksgiving and doesn't remit until after the new year. The most I have to look forward to is meeting my nephew's incredible boyfriend, whom I already love and we haven't even met in person. But for the last several years, I've searched high and low to get Guy something or somethings spectacular. I really tried hard to impress him and make him happy. BMF? He's easy to shop for. My girlfriends? Pretty easy. My family gives me a list, so no biggie. But Guy? Le Estrango Mysterioso. I used all my creative energy to get him things nobody else would think to get him. And I'm not used to *not* having that as part of my holidays anymore. 

Still, it ended. Badly, Without closure. I want so much to be his friend again, his buddy. 

Uh oh. Luke's microwaving downstairs. I best see what's going on. Hopefully, I'll dream more peacefully tonight. I can't imagine it getting any more sorrowful than it already is.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Thank you, Dr. Genius. I'll Call In the Morning.

The characters Woody Allen portrays are typically notorious hypochondriacs. He always thinks he's dying from some dreaded illness. And it's usually nothing. But he always thinks he's dying. Oh my, yes.

And then it hit me, suddenly, right after I got off the phone with my doctor just now. See, I've been having these ever-increasing, terrible earaches just in my right ear for like 3 months which wake me up from sleep, whether it's at night or when I'm taking a nap (which is, like, always). It's this sharp, shooting pain. The frequency is increasing to 4-5 times a week. It goes away once I'm upright, But sometimes when I'm waking up in the morning, my vision is like a movie reel. It's shifting up and down quickly, usually when I have these earaches, when I'm looking at my iPhone and cringing that yet again, I'd slept until 11:00 in the morning. Otherwise, it's not throwing off my equilibrium or impairing my vision any worse than it's already impaired.

Such so happened last night, and I was so a) awake and b) aggravated, I emailed my doctor. (The capacity to email doctors with questions has to be THE worst advance in medical technology ever invented for patients like me, who ALWAYS have something wrong with them.) 

I am a Woody Allen character.


In my email, I said this: "I'm getting convinced I either have some type of disgusting, lurking parasite in my head or a brain tumor." 

When, usually, the end result is more like this:

I don't have a cold. I haven't had a cold in a very long time. It's not my allergies. SOMETHING HAS INVADED MY HEAD. The doctor looked in my ear a couple of months ago and said I didn't have an ear infection or a build up of wax. He couldn't figure out why I had these earaches.

I'm all behind in my therapy notes and paperwork, I have a residency weekend at school for a class all weekend, and my depressive, at least....was one of those mixed-mood episodes (ultradian cycling, where you go from one mood to another in a matter of hours) where I either just want to sleep and cry all day, or I literally laugh at everything. EVERYTHING. EVERYTHING.

It's like the maniacal laughter in the background of Pink Floyd's "Brain Damage/Eclipse." I cackle.

To myself.

The lunatic is in my head. Or the brain tumor. Or maybe just a huge chunk of wax. I'll call for an appointment tomorrow. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

If Tomorrow Starts Without Me

Luke doesn't want me to die. Breathlessly. Desperately. My friend posted this video today, and I think he meant to post it primarily for the musical background. But as I listened to the words of the essay, it struck me. I hanging around, when everything is black? Why did I forward it to Luke? What was my point?

That point was the tiny little hole of light pinpointed in the direction of life that is my son.

I cried most of today, for reasons understood and not understood. Remember, it was Englishman Stephen Fry who said to please resolve yourself never to ask a depressed person WHY they're depressed; just be there for them when they come out the other end. I just hope there is an end. I would like to smile beamingly and laugh heartily. I would like to take pleasure in the world. To not dread the holidays already in October. To not risk failing or incompleting another class in school. To not ache and hate myself as much as I do. To have the smokin' bod I had a year and a half ago. To be more than just somebody's friend.

I resolved myself to working all day today, to play catch-up. In reality, nothing got done. Nothing will get done. I need this space to vent and let out my feelings as they engulf me. My mom wasn't feeling well this morning, so when I got up at 10am, thinking she'd be gone, I was surprised to see her bedroom door closed and checked on her. She didn't make it to Bible class and stayed in bed for several more hours. I basically hung around the house until Meg convinced me to get out of the house for at least a little while, so I drove across the county to buy cigarettes and get gas. That took all of an hour.

I was up at 2am making Ramen. (Thank you, Ambien Walrus. I hadn't had anything to eat in 12 hours.) Luke let me know tonight that I'd left the stove on all night. I have no recollection of this. Thank God we have an electric stove. He didn't report me to Grandma, because he knows better than to get me into more trouble than I usually already am. 

After school, I had awoken from a nap about an hour after Luke got home. He was lying on his bed video chatting with friends. I tearfully asked if I could lie down beside him, just for the comfort and the tenderness. He said no. Then he said something snarky like, "Get a boyfriend or something," which hurt even more. I gave it some time, and tried again. No again. I went back in my room and cried mightily. Luke came in and asked me what was wrong. I couldn't tell him. I couldn't let him into the loneliness and despair I felt, because to do so would be to sink him into the same sand which was choking me.

He told me he ran the mile today and cut 2 minutes off his time, and for that I was proud. Still crying, but proud. He quickly retreated back to his room,and I asked him to close my door. He wanted to know why. I said, "Just close the door." I reported back to Meg that I'd failed to win over my son's affections. 

I sent the above video to him, and he bitingly wrote back, "You have no reason to die, so stop." I found it pressing to find any reason besides him to keep living. Apparently, he was able to talk via chat instead of in person. I think that's a fear and defense mechanism. And I totally understand. He said it was far from true that he wouldn't care if I lived or died. We exchanged a bit more back and forth about me wanting to die and Luke not wanting me to die, to the point where I asked him if my life held any value to him. 

"What would I do without you?" he asked.

That made me relieved and sorrowful. What I don't put that boy through. His resilience is remarkable. I know what it's like to have a depressed parent, because I have one, but her depression seems totally irrational and kooky. Luke knows the root of my depression but is afraid to expound upon it. Not to play down my mom's depression entirely, but she refuses to get help for hers, whereas I seek medication and counseling. 

What would I do without Luke? I would die. Of that I am certain.

We had our practice session last night with our student therapists with whom we'll be assigned the rest of the semester. It was tough. It was hard enough to break down how I was feeling to one girl, let alone 3 observers. But we are to be truthful. And I got choked up a few times talking about the last week or so. About falling behind on projects. About being unhappy and missing Guy, which I have lately. About feeling inadequate in all facets of my life. 

But I also mentioned my son. It was funny, and harrowing and informative and probably more than the student counselor was prepared for. I told her, really as an aside, that I'd lost my father when I was 11, and she didn't interrupt (when she could and should have) and that when that happened, and I'd never told this to anyone before, that I'd constructed a whole make-believe world where I would let my mind wander, where everything was okay. Where I hadn't lost my parent. Where we wanted for nothing. And that was my escapism. Later in life, my escapism would turn to drugs and alcohol, but I still remember the fantasy life. Sometimes my psychotic mind wanders and constructs what it'd be like now in a utopia. 

Perhaps an early symptom of psychosis, I don't know, but whenever the real world got to be too much for me, I'd retreat my head into this fantasy world. I'd just lie down and imagine how nicely things would work out if things were different than they were in real life. Or I'd roller skate in the basement, around and around in circles, listening to music. That was my way of not dealing with the pain. My son has a much more direct and solid approach. I think that's largely due to his personality and largely due to the bone-crunching realities which he's seen. But he can breathe easy at night, because I haven't died. I wonder if, when he rests his head at night, if he says a little prayer that I made through another day. That's probably a delusion of grandiosity and he's just tired from the rigors of the day.

I'd hate to be Luke, teetering with a mom who's as unstable as I am. I feel an immense amount of guilt about how he must feel, what thoughts must go through his head, and the overall feeling that is morose in our household. Still in all, I know he wouldn't trade me. He wouldn't want any other mom than me. And my love for him jettisons into the stratosphere. I'm mamby-pambying but I'm a very lucky woman. I have a young man who, in his own way, won't let me sink the Titanic I feel my life has become.

Which only proves that he's just as crazy as I am.

Friday, October 24, 2014

I Told You Beatles Purists Would Rip It to Shreds, So I'm Ripping it to Shreds.

I'm almost sorry I missed the "Glee" renditions of Beatles songs on television.

Somehow, my psyche blocked the travesty that was the Bee Gees' remake of "Sgt. Pepper" in the late 1970's, with Peter Frampton, which resulted in a bomb of a record and an even worse film.


They were probably (in some cosmic, out-of-body way) truer to the Beatles than "With a Little Help from my Fwends," the tribute set to be released by The Flaming Lips, covering the Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band."

While you can, the album is streaming for free on NPR at

The Lips' cover of  Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" was respectful but fresh. I really liked that album.

Have you met Sir George Martin, the Beatles' producer?

I have, he's a freaking legend who made my knees buckle, and I have sat in on a two-hour lecture about the making of this monumental album, oh gosh, some 15 years ago or more. (My most memorable moment from the lecture being body-slammed by Cheap Trick's Rick Nielsen in a hallway.)

Martin lovingly took the crowd track-by-track as to how the songs were written, produced and performed. He gave us an insider look at the laborious process through which the boys went to bring the album to the magnitude that it is and always will be. Tape-looping and cutting, overdubbing, re-recording things backwards, using strange instruments lying dusty in the Abbey Road studios...all of that was resurrected by the Beatles' ideas and Martin's natural genius as a producer.

On June 1st, 1967, a masterpiece was released.

Specifically, what interested me the most were the stories behind "With a Little Help From My Friends" and "A Day in the Life."

Ringo Starr, not being the best singer but charming nonetheless, tried take after take to nail down the closing note. Martin's story was that the other 3 Beatles and he, himself, sat in the control room while Ringo listened to the recording track, and once Ringo "got it," they all cheered. Martin nearly teared up. It is rather remarkable and touching.

Regarding "A Day in the Life," Martin thought the Beatles were out of their minds. Converge an entire symphony in the recording studio to produce what Martin called an "orgasm of sound" at certain junctures of the song? The group (mostly McCartney) wanted the symphony to play their instruments at louder and louder notes until, finally, a piano coda lasting 45 seconds would conclude the song and the album. Counting the beats between notes for the symphony and the band was reliable roadie Mal Evans, which you can hear in the final track.

I have little doubt that The Beatles would imagine a performer as mediocre and foul as Miley Cyrus would conclude a remake of the song. I think what irritated me most about the Flaming Lips' cover is that they could've done SO much more with it than produce annoying noise, especially with "A Day in the Life." If that's their interpretation of it, so be it. It just seemed awfully benign and anti-climactic.

I'd be interested to hear what McCartney and Starr have to say about the Lips' remake. They're hip, they're cool, but would they be in favor of a messy, quickly-thrown-together onslaught of stomach flu that is "Fwends?" I'll concede on one point alone: the proceeds from the album are going to a charity. To be fair, you should buy it for that alone, if you're a life-long Flaming Lips fanatic or a Beatles fan, both of which I am.

But I'm one of those Beatles purists. My ex-husband likes to taunt me relentlessly, and has for the 22 years I've known him, with mostly extremely horrible covers of Beatles songs, knowing how much they annoy me. It's an inside joke these days, which doesn't bother me as much as it used to, but it further cements my impression that you can't top the best. The Beatles were the best.

That said, the Flaming Lips have put out an enormous amount of product in the last few years, from "Fwends," to "The Terror," to "Embryonic" to "Heady Fwends." But I think they're getting tired and lazy. George Harrison said during the making of "Cloud Nine," that he recorded in analog because he preferred "real people making real music." Of course, that was in 1987. The Flaming Lips utilizing technology and computers (which aren't my issue) to create much of their music as of late, the "Sgt Pepper" cover being no exception.

The Lips' remake is a hot mess. It was decent enough live at Riot Fest, when they did "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" without Miley Cyrus, and Steven Drozd's vocals on "Fixing a Hole" are beautiful. Otherwise, holy crap, stay far, far away if you really love the Beatles. I have a feeling you will.

This remake isn't fresh,. It isn't an intense, trippy psychedelic adventure. The overall criticism I've read and explored has been that the record is "messy." Indeed it is, and I agree with that. I read Rolling Stone online reviews that were far more scathing than that which I'm offering..."I lasted 11 seconds...." "I lasted 48 seconds...." "This is a piece of shit." Same with NPR's reviews, but a little less vulgar. I have yet to read a glowing review.

I attempted to be more constructive with my criticism with the band itself. Never mind that Wayne Coyne is going through a huge midlife crisis, divorced his wife and took up with a tramp....he and Miley got matching "With a Little Help From My Fwends" tattoos, (So did the girlfriend, inexplicably.) I told Wayne all along, "Bad idea, bro...." to a guy who said 10 years ago he vowed never to get a tattoo for any reason (GO TEAM MICHELLE MARTIN).

But I digress.

On Instagram, I offered an extremely brief review of the record, which was negative. Not only was I blocked from being a follower of Wayne, but I can't even look him up. My son can, and has. This boils down to enough Coyne/Cyrus fans complaining about me to get me booted and blocked. To that, I say fuck you all. I don't need that negativity in my life. Remember this, Wayne?

I heard his ex-wife bought a boat and a bunch of books on sailing, and is keeping away as far as she can from someone who is, as she iterated to me, "killing himself." I wish Michelle nothing but all the joy she can muster in this life. She's a beautiful person.

The Flaming Lips as a band stopped following me on Twitter. Fine, because all I post is stuff about psychology and shit about Luke and how crazy my mother is. 

If my only connection to the band remains Steven Drozd, I'm fine with that. He is my friend. He is not superficial and does not draw rock star attention to himself. If he reads this review and it pisses him off, we can talk about it civilly, not ban one another on social media. Our bond is solid, social media be damned. I'll still see them when they play Chicago, but just because I want to spend time with Steven and hear what they're up to musically. I certainly hope it's better than "Fwends." Because as this Beatles purist would say, it sucks.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Nothing In This Life That I've Been Trying Can Equal or Surpass the Art of Dying.

Meg and I went out to dinner the other night. Much needed girls' night out.

We lamented about what's going on in our lives which causes us to feel craptastic. But we had a lot of laughs too.

She has some negative coping mechanisms, but far more positive ones than I do. For example, when I feel like self-harming, I don't forego the impulse and go for a FORTY MILE BIKE RIDE. I sleep.

For me, in any case, it seems I've done everything wrong when it comes to POE. Granted, Guy was frequently less than a mile away and POE is thousands of miles away, but Guy, for his extremely shitty responses to communication, was more communicative than POE. I understand busy lives. I have one too.

I started to tear up with Meg when I told her how much I miss being able to text Guy all of my little observances and tidbits of the day, which he loved to read but didn't always respond. But he'd check in once in a while. POE? I send tidbits to of rather dire or great importance regarding school or what have you, and it takes him like 2 weeks to send me a quick message back. I should have his license by now. I should have his graduation stuff by now, and I don't. When I try to iterate to POE that these are sort of crucial things, he just doesn't answer.

I get it. He has spotty internet reception, the power goes out a lot, and he found a job that keeps him busy. That said, like Guy, it takes 30 seconds to type over a reply, or say hi, or just let me know I haven't been forgotten. Meg and I talked at dinner, wondering if Guy has been on the blog just checking in, and he hasn't to the best of my knowledge. Neither has POE, who I still think doesn't know much about me having a blog.

Last night, I had these horrible dreams. One was a PTSD dream about Chris during which he was telling me all about his new girlfriend and telling me he didn't want to see me anymore (which isn't that far off the mark of what really happened) and the other; Craig became a transsexual, and I wouldn't let him have any custody of Luke. Not that I inherently have anything against transsexuals, but in the dream, I had absolutely no patience for Craig's lipstick-donning bullshit.

Point being: there's something amiss about every fella I know. And it's probably all my fault. I really thought POE was a slam dunk of luck--but then my brain catches up with me, and reminds me that I'm most likely too overweight and homely for him to give a shit, other than to get his paperwork in on time. Meg has more internal, serious problems, but half of her maladies are because she's TOO pretty and awesome.

The transition to Argosy has been relatively smooth, save for one class where you have to do weekend residencies. I was sidelined by a nasty injury and infection last week that had me just SLIGHTLY under the weather:

Attractive, isn't it? Anyway, I have to find my old syllabus from when I took the same class at Adler, which I've asked the professor to email me, which she hasn't yet. If I can get credit for having taken the class already, I won't fail. If I do fail, I have to take the course again. The ring beside the infected one is my father's wedding ring. It was also in danger of having to be cut off, but thanks to Luke and a trick with a string on YouTube, he got it off intact, thank God. Still, antibiotics that made me feel sick to my stomach, pain pills that put me to sleep, and soon enough, like this morning, I've fallen into a depressive episode.

Kate was totally on top of my finger situation, though she was on holiday in Maine and then had to go back to New York because her father-in-law passed away in Colorado. She kept insisting that no matter what these other bozos think of me, I always have BMF, which is true, and Meg reiterated that at dinner. Seeing BMF had me on like a 3-week high, during which I largely ignored how hurt I was feeling from POE being so unresponsive.

But that's worn off, and now I'm aggravated and lonesome again. I don't like to cry in front of Meg. I hate to. I'm supposed to be her rock. Her go-to girl. But at dinner, I broke down just a little bit and once again resigned that my life heretofore will be my son, my work and myself, by myself, and that it was just something I'd have to get used to.

No, I'm not going to join an online dating service. It is my belief that one shouldn't have to pay to find love, and I think the whole concept is ridiculous. Even free sites, like OKCupid, have the worst algorithms for matching I've ever encountered. But I'm just tired of it. Tired of it all.

I expressed to Meg missing Guy, missing POE, being perturbed at POE (over which he did apologize once), and my general discontent towards the lack of affection and love that I have in my life.

Recently, I read an article on social isolation and loneliness. It concluded through a study that social isolation is twice as deadly as obesity, worse than smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and far more people will die from it than they will from Ebola, I found these statistics to be probably pretty accurate. Thank God I'm overweight and smoke like a chimney. That triples the rate at which I could die.

It doesn't help that I'm completely not sleeping well. I'll doze off around 11 or 11:30, but I wake up at 12:30 and am up until like 3am, fall back asleep at 5am, then up at 7 to instinctively make sure my son has left for school, then going back to sleep until almost noon. That's not healthy or helping much. I think it's part of being manic depressive, the disruption of the nocturnal pattern in a mixed mood.

My thyroid's still fucked up, so the doctors increased the dose of the medication, It's not supposed to see-saw numbers around. It's not stable. It took my prodding and medical knowledge to convince the doctors that I needed to be on a higher dose of medication. Idiots. No wonder I'm not losing any weight.

I'm sure I have some paper to write, or some other work which to attend, so I'll put a cap on this one. A cap on the crush on POE. Reel in the flutters of missing Guy. Mentally prepare myself for growing alone, surviving alone and dying alone.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Bear Hugs. Not Bare Hugs.

We all hug our babies. It's part of our motherly/fatherly instincts. Why? Because we love them. And they're so dang cute and cuddly. They also unequivocally need you when they're that age. We, as parents, are relied upon for our children's sustenance, a job the vast majority of us do not take lightly.

As they age, and we age, their independence grows. Soon they're toddling, walking, falling. I remember when Luke was about 2, and he fell down (I think it was) about 3 carpeted stairs down to our living room. He cried, naturally, but I called the paramedics. They came, sat him on the kitchen counter, did a basic neuro check, he had no scrapes or cuts to mend, and told me I was an overprotective mother, but that was okay.

The years progress. You hug them tightly the first day you leave them at pre-kindergarten, wondering how you could've left your child in the care of SOMEONE ELSE for 3 hours, when his babysitter up until that point had only been his grandmother, whom you trusted.

When he was 8, he came to visit me in rehab. How surreal that must have been for him, but he needed to be reassured that I was going to be okay and he would see me again soon. And he did, just days later when I was released.

Certainly, boys and their mothers (though I've never personally seen this with little girls and their fathers), at a certain point, in middle school or thereabouts, don't hug as much, if at all. I remember getting pats on the back and if Luke was feeling very generous, he'd touch his lips to my cheek as a "kiss that wasn't a kiss." This, I accepted as part of his maturation process. Suddenly, Mom was icky.

But then I started getting sick. Very sick. I was constantly in and out of the hospital, with a litany of maladies and necessary operations. I have this t-shirt I like to sleep in, a picture of mid 70's heroin'd out Keith Richards, which says, "Too Tough To Die." The day I had my hysterectomy in 2012, when Luke was 12, I asked if he could break his school's dress code and wear my t-shirt that day to school. The request was granted, and I knew from his teacher that he was nervous that day, asked if the class could pray for me and from my ex-husband that Luke was anxious that day and anxious to see me that night, after I'd had some time to recover. He has saved all of the hospital visitor passes he's received when I've been an inpatient.

I don't consider it to be a "mama's boy" scenario, or a helicopter parent thing, but I'd say in the last 6 months or so, he's reached out for a big bear hug and a kiss on the cheek when we say goodnight. Last night struck me in particular. He was sitting at his desk at his computer, and I was prepared to just say goodnight and go into my room. He said, "Wait a sec." He rose from his chair, walked across the room and gave me a big hug. A tight hug. And this has been the case for quite some time. It is a warmth I welcome, because affection starvation is a very real thing. When you're not touched or held for a great deal of time, every hug, every hand-hold, every rumble/tumble becomes all the more important. Luke's become a big old teddy bear, and I couldn't be more happy. We're often cited by lots of people who can tell how close we are as mother and son. True, he is the most important person in my life. Not my mom, not my son.

And you can tell a genuine from an ingenuous hug instantaneously. I was so glad to hug BMF when we saw one another a couple of weeks ago, my body filled with joy. He was feeling huggy himself that night and even hugged Luke and commented on what a close relationship we obviously have.

Apart from my hugs from Luke and BMF, the last meaningful hugs I have received are from Meg and from POE, when we parted at the airport. Meg is a huggy bear like I am, and we always hug, and there is genuine love in all of those hugs. I hug members of my family, but those feel more obligatory than affectionate sometimes.

Those hugs from Luke? I never want them to end. Ever. I'm proud that I've raised a sensitive and warm young man who's not afraid to show his love and emotions. (I know he reads some of these blogs and I'm probably embarrassing the hell out of him.) I hope that when he moves forward in relationships, he is likewise as respectful and affectionately grounded as he is now, even more so.

Luke treats me with respect (sometimes) and I do as well (usually). Our offbeat relationship works. I'd challenge any single mother with a teenage son to show me how much fun, how many laughs, how many commonalities, and how many hugs she gets from her boy. I'm truly blessed to have such a phenomenal young man in my life, who makes me think every day that yes, I'd like to stick around for a while longer, even when I'm deeply depressed.


Someday, he's going to leave me...whether that's off to college, or to get married and have a family of his own (he damn well better not for a very long time).  I like to think that when we do get to see one another, those incredible hugs will still never cease. It's my fervent hope that he raises his own children to be as open with their affection as he has always been, even during those awkward years.

That's not to say he doesn't hug or love on his dad, though. Craig spent a lot more time playing with Luke as he grew up than I did. It's a guy thing...they just had a lot more in common to do (i.e. Legos, Star Wars, etc.) together than he and I did as he grew up. And they still enjoy the same hobbies--photography, radio broadcasting, all that sort of stuff.

So Craig and I both take some of the credit for the young man Luke is. But Luke, himself, has formed his personality. Nature/nurture. Keep hugging me, Luke. And I'll keep hugging you. We both need it.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

A Picture says a Thousand Words. I'll be brief.

Riot Fest, 2014

Hey, at least I didn't post the photo here of me trying to eat his cheek with my smoochies. Er, wait.

We had no cell signals, so it was almost impossible to find one another. 2 bars of reception = no es bueno. But eventually we did. 

We got quite a giggle making fun of Guy.

We had fun talk, serious talk, sarcastic talk, deep and vapid thoughts, and lots of laughs. He's too sweet for words. Wayne, meanwhile, oddly didn't stick around and visit with anyone and took off with his girlfriend back to the bus. 

Steven, Luke and I enjoyed a nice long, overdue visit. 

Security was a bitch. Literally.

No more festivals for me....ever. Steven said if that were they case, he'd agree and not do any if he could help it. 

The Flaming Lips show was fantastic, well, until they blew out all the power, which came back on.

Luke and I got stuck in the mud. Deeply. Badly. Valium-worthy.

We walked approximately 5k and not prepared for that AT ALL. Humboldt Park is BIG and the signage for the entrance was MILES AWAY. 

We missed most of Wu Tang Clan while Luke was lifting me out of mud quicksand.

We didn't have the best view of the Lips, but Luke got up in front for "Lucy in the Sky With Dimonds," (the Miley-free version) and his mind was blown away. I'll post that video when he's done editing it. 

The Offbeat Drummer, The Onbeat Drummer, and my Offbeat Offbeat Offspring.

Steven loved Luke's hair and agrees, he should never cut it. It's too cool. 

Rating: Lips + Steven = 100%
The entire rest of Riot Fest = -2,000%


Thursday, August 28, 2014


On the bipolar scale, I'd say right now, I'm neither manic nor depressive. Quite overwhelmed, with a lot of tasks I've procrastinated, but overall, I'd say I'm stable.

School at Argosy starts in a week and I still haven't submitted my stipend loan paperwork. I haven't purchased my books. I haven't finished my classes from last term at Adler. There are money woes, but I'm pretty much slacking in them off in favor of other pursuits.

Tonight's my first night not responsible for assuring that Luke gets to high school on time, walking to the bus at 6:45 am. The week's been harrowing with his schedule. The first day of school, my nephew came in from UIC for the evening and to surprise Luke. Our big surprise was that 2.5 hours later, we'd still be waiting in the school parking lot for my mechanic to jump my car battery so I could drive to the service station. While exasperated, I couldn't help but just chuckle at the predictability of my misfortune.

Everyone is on edge. The world is on edge. There is war, senseless death, racial tension and tragedy, famine, Pat Robertson, drought...pretty much every icky thing God promised He'd send our way in the Bible (I think).

What sparked this blog entry? What threw me over the cliff? I realized that I'd spent most of the day laughing. Maybe it's just  by-product of me being nuts, but then I saw this:

It's just a cat. But it's a cat wearing aviator sunglasses, who evidently leads a double life as another family's pet cat, and now they're in a custody battle over who gets the cat. It was at that point when I realized that life, if you dissect it into pieces, is quite honestly pretty ridiculous. This cracked me up.

Everybody's in such a rush. I'm no exception. I'm lucky if one task gets scratched of the to-do list on a daily basis, leaving the 100 other things undone. Is it my lack of motivation which makes me find literally everything funny? I'm not sure. We're in a rush to find jobs, to get our finances and school supplies in order. We run to meetings, breathless. Why? Truthfully, yes, we have to be responsible people completing the challenges we face, many of which aggravate or confuse us.

What grace will save you? The realization that all of this crap will work itself out--the way it's supposed to--when it's supposed to happen. If I were depressive right now,  I'd be ignoring and/or missing out on all of this goofy world. Color me blithe about the severity of the current events of the world and living in my own little crazy bubble if you want. Frankly, that doesn't bother me. Like the Beach Boys song above says, "Don't Worry, Baby....everything will turn out alright." Ditch the dread. Cling to the hope. Let the frenzy subside when you lay your head down on your pillow at night. 

Learn to suspend your reality, even if it's for just  few minutes a day and explore something silly. Engage with people, whether that's virtually or in-person. Half the reason I'm going into the field of psychology is for the fact that most people are just PRETTY. DAMN. WEIRD. I want to help these people. I'm not going to lie and repeat what my first therapy skills teacher said and make sure all of my clients are walking out with "bubbles and butterflies," but learn to appreciate the uniqueness of each individual you encounter. Trust me, there'll be something about them, even if they drive you apeshit, that will either bring a smile to your face or an outright guffaw. Maybe that's the lesson I learned as a result of Robin Williams' suicide. We miss people, we'll miss Robin, and while his depression devoured him, he left behind a powerful legacy and lessons, which are to be kind, compassionate, forgiving, and to make others smile. 

We all suffer, some more severely than others. When I'm depressed or even wondering if it's worth it to stick around, I remember that religion, money, the 1%, the poverty rate, the wars overseas...they're all horrible crises, but life is beautiful and enjoy it while it lasts. You might bear the burden of much--too much--on your shoulders, but relax. As Prince said in "Let's Go Crazy," (appropriately enough) "Hang tough, children." 

Love the people who love you, be them your family, your kids, your friends, your co-workers or fellow students. Hell, your drug store checker who tells you when you leave, "Have a good day and be well." (Thank you, Walgreens guy, by the way.) Try to remember that in most cases, we all want one another to have an opportunity to be happy and yes, to LAUGH.

I would't bet my stipend that my flowery mood will last really long, which is why I cherish it even more. Yesterday's headache might be tomorrow's migraine, but until that happens, which it invariably will at some point, this bipolar bear will carpe diem. 

This is a great little 2 1/2 minute oldie from The Monkees, entitled "Laugh." The video clip, from the television show, is a humorous romp. It's a good song. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Do You Realize That You Sound Like a Twat??

Some people come across as being hyper-smart and sassy. They are loved by the masses for their wit, charm and skill.

Oftentimes, such people can be snarky and total assholes too.

I received a mean Tweet early this morning from another blogger (who's far more popular than I am).

She subsequently deleted the Tweet, perhaps realizing what a twat she sounded like.

What I don't think she realized was that Tweets to me come into my email, and regardless if you delete them or not, I can read them.

I know her personally.

In my opinion, she got a little too big for her britches when her blog was turned into a book some years back. I don't read her blog anymore...haven't for years. She and her husband sided with Team Craig in the divorce.

Why bug me now? Don't I kind of have enough on my plate than to deal with hate statements?

Just as a lot of readers probably got tired of my adventures with Guy, the world is probably worn out from your observations of what life is life taking the bus in Chicago.

Unless you want to get lambasted, I'd suggest you leave me alone.

--The Offbeat Drummer

Sunday, August 17, 2014

An Open Statement To KISS leader Gene Simmons

Previously, while I hadn't agreed with many decisions KISS front man Gene Simmons has made (especially regarding his treatment of Ace Frehley and Peter Criss, whom KISS fired), and his insatiable need to surround himself with $$$$, I regarded him as a man of some semblance of reasonable intellect and kindness. That said, however, in light of his (now cowardly retracted) statement about mentally ill addicts, "Fuck you, go kill yourself!" I have lost complete regard for this performer. I happened to mention on his daughter Sophie's Instagram (since I obviously have zero connection to The Great Star Himself) that I thought her father's remark was intolerable and unforgivable. She defended back that it's something I should take up with her father, not to clog her Instagram with my comments. OH would I EVER like to take that up with her father, the great Demon. Interestingly, he must have terrific public relations staffing, because I have been blocked from Tweeting anything to him on Twitter. "Shut up the addicts!" that said to me. Gene Simmons has long-held a bias against the disease model of addiction and has a general lack of sympathy towards the mentally ill. He went so far as to say that people should "worship" the money he has. That, to me, is an example of one of the most reprehensible human beings on earth. His defense is perpetually, "Well, my mother was in a Nazi concentration camp, so....blah blah blah." That doesn't give Simmons free will to be a complete prick to the rest of humanity. He also was widely publicized as saying that immigrants to this country (like himself) should "learn goddamn English." This is clearly a man using his fame for the most vile and unfortunate gain. I have nothing but respect and honor for Ace and Peter, but as for Paul and particularly Gene, KISS can go fuck themselves. While Peter Criss and his wife, Gigi, were simultaneously battling breast cancer, Simmons and his now-wife Shannon Tweed, were getting matching facelifts. Believe me, if even Motley Crue's Nikki Sixx is badmouthing Gene Simmons, things have gone loco. Shame on you, Gene Simmons.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Tears of a Clown

I'm manic/depressive, but Robin Williams' suicide couldn't have come at a worse juncture. I'm still in one of the longest downward spirals of my recorded mental history, in terms of being depressed. Quite literally, I'm experiencing psychomotor retardation, and my mind isn't focused, sharp or intellectually balanced in order for me to complete projects that are really a matter of urgency. Almost as if it was scripted, both my mother and my brother asked me recently why I "act like I'm moving in slow motion." Reading up on the subject of bipolar, I found that THAT is exactly what psychomotor retardation is. I don't notice it at all. Maybe I AM robotic, but I sure as hell can't tell. There's an opposite of it, I can't remember what it's called, but it happens when you're manic.

 I don't want to do anything but sleep or sob, yet I find it close to impossible to do either.

The insomnia is a mystery, since I'm on the famous Ambien, which is supposed to keep me asleep all night, combined with the Valium I'm supposed to take at night. Still, I'm awake 2-4 hours in the middle of the night, fiddling about, giving in to what we insiders call the "Ambien Walrus." See, the walrus controls our crazy actions during the night, which oftentimes, we don't remember in the morning. I'm pretty used to the quizzical questions of "Why did you...." or "Where'd you....?" the next day from my family, or a week later "When did you order THIS?". And I either cry instantaneously or I don't cry at all. I didn't cry for Robin Williams until I read the Pagliacci joke. The tears of a clown over the tears of a clown.

How I can fly through writing a blog entry with no roadblocks is a complete mystery to me, but the last one I wrote, the night Williams died, took me all of 15 minutes, no bullshit. I suppose I require something which brings me passion to unleash the Writer inside my heart. I have to finish my Adler projects, but I JUST. CAN'T.

 Pagliacci. The clown who cried tears. The clown who made so many so many laugh and marvel with his unique talents, who hurt so deeply inside. Remember the Smokey Robinson song?

 Although I have numerous projects of dire focus, I've followed the stories and articles about Robin Williams with keen interest, I think, in an effort not to justify my depression, but to normalize it, if that makes any sense. Perhaps it's one of those instances during which you relate to and empathize with the afflicted when you metaphorically pat yourself on the head, or throw your arms around yourself for a hug (given there are only like 2 humans I know around who hug me regularly, Luke and Meg), in an effort to reassure yourself that you'll pull through this.

My brother helps care-take this woman who's either schizophrenic or with major depressive disorder, who refuses to stay medication compliant. She tells my brother that she feels more like herself and better without the medication. Then he questions why I take so many different drugs, and wouldn't I be healthier off of all that medication. The short answer is no, because I would definitely kill myself. The long answer is that I've been on a finely tweaked cocktail of drugs for so long, I wouldn't know a "normal" me from an "abnormal" me if it stared me dead in the face. I've struggled with mental illness since my early 20's, and like Williams, spent far too many years self-medicating with drugs and alcohol before seeking proper psychiatric help. At first, the drugs sapped my creativity, which saddened me and no, I didn't feel like myself. But as I adjusted to them and them to me, and in therapy, I began to realize that the creative in me could come alive again with enough practice. I took up drumming again. I began writing again. It flowed naturally.

My best friend, Kate, asked me if the development of my sense of humor was a reaction to having lost my father when I was a child. I'm funny. I'm witty. I, at least, make Kate's insides hurt with laughter (which I sort of feel guilty about, seeing as she has Crohn's Disease!) Williams' mother was an alcoholic, like my father. I think, to a degree, that's correct in assigning it as a coping mechanism. Kate asked me to elaborate on the subject in hopes of understanding from where Williams' despair rooted; some type of explanation as to why someone with such a bright life and promising future would kill himself. Suicide and suicidiality is difficult to explain to someone who hasn't trenched through it....I mean REALLY trenched through it, calculating a plan, arranging things in order, putting on a facade of happiness, giving away prized possessions. This is what I answered Kate: 

"From my perspective, the loss of my father amplified what was already my goofy nature, which came from him. I do think making people laugh was a way to gain acceptance and friendship from other kids who might otherwise not want to be my friend. Obviously, my sense of humor has matured (slightly) and it's more intellectual now, more cheeky, more crude, but underneath that silly exterior is still, though I'm a 42 year old woman, an 11-year old girl who just wants love. If Robin's mother was an alcoholic, he may have felt similarly. When there's pain at home, or family problems, you try your damndest to put on a brave face. Williams just happened to hone that craft to the point of genius. He was VERY good at what he did, and made sure to take care of everyone around him, and as I've read, was very loving and giving. Those who knew him best said that he'd give every ounce of energy to make other people happy but didn't address his own problems or take care of himself. That's the nature of the child of an alcoholic, too. You become the ultimate caretaker. Adult children of alcoholics want to be peacekeepers, and want to stand out with at least one positive quality about themselves. For Williams, it was his comedic and actor genius. 

This death has broken my heart, because I know the depths of that depression and the glare of ending the pain once and for all. Thank God for Luke. And, like I said in my blog, I wasn't making myself out to be a martyr, but it takes someone who's been THAT depressed and has self-medicated through drugs and alcohol SO LONG that it's a unique club of people who can honestly relate."

I've been reading varying perspectives on the soul of one who commits suicide, as I am chiefly a Christian, albeit lapsed, and universally, apart from religious fundamentalist extremists, God met Robin's soul and said, "It's not your fault." I'm not sure from where the position of "automatic hell" as a result of suicide came from, but it's not valid. 

 I've read tributes and reactions from fellow actors and comedians, and yes, some have been mean, but for the most part, everyone's heart is broken. (Except Rush Limbaugh. Don't EVEN GET ME STARTED ON THAT SHIT PANCAKE, who had the balls to blame the suicide as a leftist political movement of liberal America to thrust a vicious agenda. That's just total bullshit.) 

I've taken a break from worrying about Hamas and Gaza and Israel and Palestine to personally reflect on matters which affect my own heart.  For those who think Robin Williams was a "coward," or a lesser person for taking his own life, screw you brother OR sister, because you weren't in that room with him tightening the belt. 

Depression can be physically overwhelming. It can cause physical pain as well as emotional turmoil, and you can only put that humorous face (like Pagliacci) for so long until you crack. I'll be interested in hearing when the toxicology reports come back whether or not he had any substances in his body at the time of his death, but I'm going to take a blind guess and say no. One might argue, "But no one in his right mind would hang himself if he wasn't on drugs." Bullshit. Depression propels you into a constant state of not being in your right mind. For those who deem it an act of selfishness towards those left behind as a result of a suicide, please do not think that the feelings and love for family and friends were discounted. It's the depression which overtakes you. And it's a chemical imbalance in the brain. Left untreated through both medication and therapy, it will kill you. Literally. Mental illness can be as fatal a disease as cancer or diabetes, and there's no romanticizing of it.  

I certainly hope Robin Williams frolicked to a packed house in Heaven yesterday, causing God to chortle and the angels to wet their robes. And I hope he did it this way:


Monday, August 11, 2014

One Spark of Madness: Remembering Robin Williams

Growing up, I didn't particularly like "Mork & Mindy." Even at a young age, It just seemed too hokey and my childhood brain refused to suspend reality for 23 minutes a week in an effort to enjoy this alien-come-househusband.  I found it predictable, slapstick, goofy. Yet people would howl in laughter at the character of Mork, especially how he got along with Mindy's father. Still, it propelled Robin Williams into becoming a household name, a respected comedian in a murky, giant sea of comedians coming out of the late 1970's and early 1980's. Williams cut his teeth in the comedy clubs on the West coast for years before landing the role of "Mork," a role which launched him into becoming a celebrity.

Earlier today, the world was informed that Williams committed suicide by asphyxiation. How brutal. How calculated. How utterly heartbreaking. How unexpected.

Sometimes, and this isn't boasting by any means, only someone who has suffered from major depression and/or substance abuse (dual-diagnosis, co-occurring disorders) can fully appreciate the inherent energy it takes that aforementioned spark to remain afire. Then there is that terrible, horrifying moment that can last, pre-meditated, for ages, or as the result of a knee-jerk reaction during which one simply resigns oneself to the dark side of the madness. The side we, as funny people, try so hard, SO HARD, to mask. My personal belief as a manic/depressive is that no matter how much therapy, how much rehab, how many attempts to stay on track, how many accolades he was awarded, his despair IN THAT MOMENT was SO overwhelming that he simply felt that the world would be a better place without him. Or, conversely, that he'd spare his family and loved ones any more of "having to deal" with his mood disorder and substance abuse. 

There's a song by The Flaming Lips (isn't there always?) that has always reminded me of the ramifications of my own personal suicidiality, which, folks, has threatened to engulf me far too many times than I wish to claim. It's called "If I Go Mad/Funeral In My Head." To me, it's an opus about which one is to be remembered. It addresses not only Williams' statement to embracing the madness, but also looking outward at that which is left behind when we pass away. 

Robin Williams worked tirelessly in an effort to make other people make people laugh and have a good time, even when he himself, perhaps, had a psyche hanging by a thread. He was known for his warmth and graciousness, though he never really took care of his own problems first. Recent reports claim he returned to rehab for a "tune-up" in order to maintain his sobriety, notoriously sketched with drug and alcohol abuse, for which he was seldom apologetic and even addressed in his stand-up routines. If you can't mock the disease with which you are afflicted, I believe you succumb to it far more quickly, pitifully.  He tried to give a face to depression, true despair. Maybe we would've taken him more seriously if he wasn't so goddamn funny all the time, bringing so much joy to everyone. The breadth of his roles, be they more dramatic ("Dead Poets Society," "Good Will Hunting") to the silliness of "Mrs. Doubtfire" paid testimony to his versatility as an actor and as a man of many faces. 

The face we could not see today was that of his war-torn eyes, exhausted from fighting his inner demons and seeking permanent relief from what, in all likelihood, with enough therapy and support, could possibly been a temporary emotional condition. What goes through one's mind at that final, grave moment? It's something I've thought about numerous times. Hang myself? Heavens no. Too complicated. Shoot myself? Too messy. OD? Easiest way out, most pragmatic, least wretched. That speaks purely to the physicality of the person deciding to commit suicide. Disregarding the notions of whether or not one's religious beliefs condemn one to a fiery eternity or a blessed heaven for taking the decision of one's death out of the hands of God, I, instead, try to empathize with the decision--whether rational or irrational, chemically-fueled or stone cold sober. I realize in those moments of despair that I have a child to raise, and work to be done on this earth, and I speak out and talk to those whom I love most, who I know won't blow me off or judge me with contempt or dismissal of my feelings.

Loved ones will undoubtedly ask themselves "What could we have done to keep this from happening?" and too often, the answer is absolutely nothing. A horrifying statistic, isn't it? I can only imagine someone in Robin's state of mind finally resigning himself to his depression, and those truly determined to finalize the ending of their lives at their own hands succumbing to diffusing the spark of madness which has kept their facade so intact for so long while inside, they struggled just to catch a breath every day. Think of it this way, albeit graphically: releasing the chair and letting the rope strangle you is akin to taking your two index fingers, wetting them slightly and pressing the fire of that spark of madness into darkness. 

Robin Williams' suicide doesn't make him a bad man. It doesn't make him a dishonorable man. It doesn't make him a cowardly man, really. It makes him a thinly blown glass ball being tossed around direction by direction until it finally is dropped, cracked and shatters. It's nobody's fault

Sixty-three is too young to die when he was in talks to reprise his role as "Mrs. Doubtfire," and had a number of other projects in the works. That's the thing about depression--if you're not laid up in bed, curled into a ball for 3 weeks, you're on the go-go-go, making all sorts of grand plans. That is, in fact, one of the signs people should look for in someone one suspects may be contemplating suicide. That person will want the world to think they're at the top of their game, ready to tackle it all and happy to do so, when the exact opposite is the truth. As in a lot of cases of suicide, it occurs when family and friends least expect it, because the person who wants to die genuinely is trying to get as much fun and love out of his/her last days. The disillusion of life. 

Robin, thank you not only for sharing your comedic brilliance and thousands of personas with the world as an actor and comedian, but also for admitting and exposing yourself as a human who has struggled with depression and substance abuse. You brought hope to the hopeless, happiness to the sad, and laughs all around. 

My sincere hope is that he find rest and comfort in the face of a horrid exit from this mortal coil. I hope he makes the universe continue to laugh and contemplate. I pray his family peace in knowing he did not leave them because he did not love them; rather, his overwhelming personal grief, those monsters, got the best of him. 

Again, thank you, Robin Williams, for the funny voices, the silly impersonations, the frankness of your stand-up routines, and your keen ability to inspire and be a response to inspiration. You will not soon be forgotten. I'll even forgive you for "Mork & Mindy."

Rest in peace.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Tim, perhaps you'd have shined a brighter light in my blog if:

Monday, June 23, 2014

Mother of the Year

Do you have kids?

Do you know how difficult it is to be a single parent?

Do you have teenagers, who love you one moment and hate you the next?

If not, you might not understand this. Unless, of course, you remember what it was like to BE a teenager.

It's hell. Literally.Mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually. All of it. Hell that you carry around with you every day until you come to a comfortable enough place where you might find a kindred spirit, a buddy, or even someone who won't threaten to whallop you at school, or a lifelong childhood pal who always has your back. Luke's fortunate inasmuch as he has the latter already, at least.

Tonight, he hates me. I'm a terrible mother. He has everything a child could want in this world right now, but my attention is too scant. I'm too distracted. I'm still behind on grad school papers. I can't focus and mend my own life, never mind my top priority, his life. He's nervous about high school and I'm nervous because I'm behind in registering him with his father, who's been lax in it himself.

Hyper-vigilant therapist me is ready to throw him back into therapy, when he's really probably just having a really bad day. We're all entitled to bad days. But then he says he doesn't like to BE at Dad's but has more fun with Dad, while I'm boring and I'm on the computer all day.

Summertime always gets my son down. He has spurts of activity, but otherwise, he's old enough to hang with the guys until almost 11pm if they're really local, that I have no problem with. He has some time with his cousin out of town for a few days, and a family long-weekend vacation, and work camp, which is a week, but has no idea how to fill the rest of his time. He's all but abandoned the book he's been working on for 2 years. I urge him not to give up on his creative pursuits. He's even losing interest in his YouTube channel, which he's worked long and hard on since he was 8.

I don't know what to do to remedy the situation because I can't really afford to spend any more time with him than I already do. I HAVE to get through this summer term without failing. That's as much as can be expected of me at this point. I get wrapped up in my own problems so easily, that I negate his. But in terms of my ever-present suicidiality, if Luke doesn't even care if I'm around, if I'm such a bad mother and he's so much happier off hanging with his dad, why am I bothering?

I'll keep fighting for him, for me, for us. He thinks I'm disingenuous when I say how fiercely I love him, but it's true. He's the only thing keeping me alive right now. Bugger the rest of it. I just want him to be happy, but I don't think his present mood would be uplifted with a dead mother for some reason.

I had a pretty downtrodden day myself. Seeing an old friend for lunch on Saturday, about which I'm really happy, I'm more than embarrassed to have her see me in the state I'm in when she's thin and beautiful. While I love my brother dearly, and saw him yesterday, it's somehow okay for him to come up with as many remarks as to why I'm "puffy and bloated" as he wants, asking me if I'm diabetic, when I told him months ago, I'm NOT. It's bad enough to have strangers judge you for your weight, but your own family?  My rail thin friend is ordering diet pills when she's the size of a dime. That's just insane. I'll go on those if I need to be on speed for some length of time, but I'm not that desperate yet.

Therapist appointment in the morning. I asked Meg, "Where do I start?" when my ultimate goal right now is just in staying alive. Meg reminded me of my now too-small Keith Richards "Too Tough to Die" t-shirt, which I offered to will to her. As of now, the offer still stands.

No, we don't go to hell. We carry it with us every day. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

What Guy Couldn't Handle...

This is what I think drew Guy away from my friends and I. Obviously, he must have been pretty square his whole life. When I asked him if he'd seen "Deep Throat," he said everyone in his dorm in college went to see it, but HE didn't. Mmm hmmm. Come on, we've all SEEN it.

Double goes for Lady GuyGuy. She's as square as a Rubik's Cube and without all the colors lining up...

I purposely took down BMF's blog because of too many nosybodies. We thought about fighting them off, but then we didn't think it was a great idea. So Kate emailed BMF's blog about me directly to Guy. I wonder if he read it yet.

I'm doing a favor for a friend at school who's going to teach in Egypt for 6-12 months. He needs a PO Box in the States to get his mail from the grad school about PsyD programs. I told him it's really no trouble at all to check his PO Box every week or 2 and mail him his goodies to Egypt. He's divorced, like me. He smokes, like me. He's really sweet. I don't consider it a date/date, but he's taking me out for food after school next Thursday. A meal with a man who's not Guy! It's more of a thank you get together, and he's paying for all the postage and parcel to Egypt, but I'm looking forward to it. A meal out with a man who's not Guy...I say again, I'm not used to this!

I was finally put on another water pill because I puffed up so badly again. I'm pissing so much I can actually see my ankles and feet bones again. I'm on some new medications that make me sort of sick to my stomach, but I'm pressing forward. Medicaid's still up in the air. I'm supposed to call them on Monday to see where my case has escalated, but that's like the worst time to try and get a hold of them. Craig said he paid me his arrears, but he has no idea how it's going to get to me. New debit card? Check? Magic beans? Time will tell.

I finally got my payout from the Chicago Fire Department for failing their physical agility test in 2007. All of the women failed. The test was totally biased. I finished it, just too slowly for the Department. The women who didn't make the cut filed a class action lawsuit against the Fire Dept and we won. Those young enough to still get hired were, and are being paid retroactively from 2007 when they should've received a salary. They made out like bandits and got the job. I'm too old now and it wasn't meant to be anyway, though I trained WITH a firefighter for 2 years to be ready for the test and I thought I did really well, still I failed. Let's just say I received a handsome payout, quite large for a class action suit. That'll help me out a LOT, especially if I'm scrambling by the end of summer/beginning of fall for funds if I transfer to the other university. A nice cushion. A very nice cushion.

I'm transitioning to an e-cigarette. They're very tasty and believe it or not, my mom's letting me smoke them in the house since they're scentless vapor. I've ordered a buttload of cartridges and can count on one hand how many real cigarettes I've had each day the last 3 days. It's part of my quitting plan. So essentially, I'm lying on my bed with my swollen feet propped up (damn water retention) smoking e-cigs and still behind in my assignments for the summer courses, which, as long as I don't fail with an F, I'm cool with financial aid. Thus, with all the shit that's going down in my life right now, I'm hanging on as best I can exerting the least amount of effort as possible.

 Which is sort of my life motto, isn't it?

I was emailed an old blog entry from February, someone sent it to me and I don't know whom, which I found profoundly strange. But it was a nice tribute to Guy. There was a picture in it that, to me anyway, is still true today, though our friendship is kaput, it would seem, which I hope isn't forever. It said this:

And oh my, are we tangled.