bah. humbug

yeah I really dislike the holidays. I man REALLY dislike them. It seems so fucking pointless. All this shopping and decorating and the damn music. It really just gets me in the very worst of moods. Every year, one after the other. I start the season bitching just after Halloween when the christmas decorations make their appearance. I mean really? it isn’t even Thanksgiving yet. So it starts. I bitch and carry on. This usually continues well past Thanksgiving and into mid december. I have a daily rant, normally brought on by someone’s lights on their house, or some store playing carols. It is everywhere. there is no getting away from it, short of finding some deserted island. I make my discontent known to just about anyone who might listen, even muttering at store displays. It is really quite amusing. Given the sheer amount of energy spent with this nastiness you’d think I would actually be able to keep it going thru new years. Nope, long about december 15 I will suddenly find myself humming christmas carols and pondering putting a tree up. Yeah I know, I’m jewish, but my family has always celebrated both since my mother was raised catholic. I cannot remember ever not having a tree, in some shape or form. During the strange years spent when my mother was MIA, my father would let me put tinsel on the potted palm tree that stay dejectedly in the corner of the livingroom in a perpetual state of chronic thirst. This went on for a number of years, well after the poor thing had died. There isn’t anything much more pathetic than a dead palm tree hung with silver strands of tinsel and a miscellaneous ornament or two. He would always laugh and call it our Chanukah bush.

When I moved north to my mother’s, Christmas was a long drawn out process. From selecting the perfect evergreen at the farm nearby, to the selecting of recipes to be cooked on Christmas day. It started before Thanksgiving. The hours spent out at that tree farm were fun. There were so many acres, so many trees. We would bring a saw and walk from field to field. Taking in each specimen and circling it looking for a flaw. A simple wood box was set out to collect payment. Not a person in sight. It was really neat. Once we cut it and dragged it home, it was time to stand it up and secure it. I can tell you that a tree out in a 50 acre field looks small untill you get it inside. I can’t tell you how many we had to trim liberally to get them to work in the house.There were a couple of disasters with falling trees, so it was a critical part of the process. My mom usually wanted it to stand undecorated for 24 hours, so it could settle and drop it branches in the heat of the room. I was always the one to place the lights. I am so anal, it worked out well. I carefully and painstakingly strung the lights. Not a single dark patch to be found. Finally it was ready to be decorated. My mom spent years collecting the most amazing things. From old German hand painted ornaments, to hand blown glass balls from France. Words can’t even describe the warmth and happiness I felt in those years of Christmas decorating with my mother. The old farmhouse would be strung with garlands and fresh-cut evergreen limbs. The Lalique nativity that she had dragged with her on every move since my father needed to be carefully unwrapped from its pale grey boxes. I loved the little donkey. He was my favorite of all the decorations. Christmas carols would be playing during all our decorating. I cannot begin to express how warm and comforting those years were. It was a time of happiness. I loved it, all of it. I think that love remains, just buried. It takes weeks of bombardment before I succumb to the spirit of the holidays.  Under all that disdain and irritation is that same love. I lost some of that wonder and love the year I came undone the first time.. It just happened that everything came apart in the fall. Thanksgiving was spent not with family, but with a group of strangers. I know family did visit, but how can it ever be the same. It was so awkward and sad. Not just sad, it was gut wrenching. Most people long for that connection to loved ones, and the holidays that mark time shared. As the days passed and Christmas grew closer it just grew worse. By the time Christmas eve rolled around all of us shared the same feeling of loss. To not be able to spend Christmas around the family table is intensely painful. There was nothing the staff could do to make all of us feel any better. Not that they didn’t try. They did. There was no making it any better. I distinctly remember going from our unit to sing Christmas carols for the geriatric patients. Sad does not even come close to describing that experience. It was soul searingly depressing. Their faces still haunt me each Christmas. I can never get away from them. Each holiday since has been bittersweet. The days of happiness with my mother can’t make up for the years spent with that dead palm tree, or the night spent amongst the ghostly forms of elderly patients. When I think of Christmas that is what comes first. It seems quite natural to be anxious and sad each holiday given those experiences. I really don’t hate Christmas. No, I just hate the way it makes me feel.

This year, like all the ones before it, I will swear to myself I am not doing anything. No tree, no music, no lights. Nothing. Let’s see how long that holds up.

thankful err…

This was supposed to be the second half of my morning entry, it isn’t going to be. I feel compelled to write about my day. A day supposed to be about family. We headed to my mother’s house for dinner around 2. don’t even get me started on why we have to eat dinner in the middle of the afternoon, but anyhow, we passed my brother driving. This got my partner going. She remains angry and is quick to speak her mind. That is okay, everyone is entitled to their own feeling about what happened with my brother this past year. Instead of listening I felt myself lost in thought. I felt sad, not just a mild lingering variety, rather a deep heart numbing type of sadness. It will never be okay. We will never just be a family. To have dinners, birthdays, holidays. None of that. Not that we ever really did. Not in the usual way. We had days where we all came together. Tolerated each other. Ignored the past, half smiled in the present. Small talk abounded. That was preferable to this. Just us, my mom, her neighbor and my partner. It was a beautiful spread, as always. My mother never disappoints when it comes to food. All I could think of is my brother driving away, banned from the house so we could eat this “dinner”. I glanced long at my partner, imploring her with my eyes to allow him to join us. I said it just wasn’t right. Regardless, it was thanksgiving and we were a family. but it isn’t that easy. Within seconds I had a confrontation to contend with, I didn’t say it to make her feel guilty. There we all stood. Like some weird standoff in that kitchen, surrounded by food. I said “okay, that’s it. start again. do over.” and so we did. It was manageable. We had our meal. I couldn’t shake that image of my brother driving away. I texted him that I was sorry everything was so screwed up. Here I was, me apologizing. I did nothing wrong, but felt like the one that had done wrong. That guilt didn’t belong to me, but somehow I easily claimed it and drew myself deeper into sadness. We finished up and we headed south to my aunt’s.

Round two for Thanksgiving. The pensive mood remained throughout the drive. the large glass of red wine churned in my stomach. It was not an enjoyable ride. One of those meds doesn’t play well with wine, but I was too preoccupied to think of which one. My back seemed to just get worse, not better. I sat there thinking and trying not to throw up…Why was I so lost? Why did I care so much? why did I feel so fucking bad for him? I don’t even know. The remainder of the evening was spent in the company of cousins. Mostly in deeply intellectual conversations. As per the norm at these things. The strange lost feeling stayed with me. I struggled to stay present. Between the endless back pain and my head it was a rough evening. It was probably too much, for me, my head, my body, all of it. The crashing mood combining with the pain just exhausted me. Virgil had warned me not to, she said to go easy. I decided to go anyway. I wanted to see them, more out of a need for connection than anything else. To find “family” the real kind, not the disaster that surrounded me most of the time. It really wasn’t the best plan, especially all the hours sitting in a car. But I am happy I saw my cousins, and was surrounded by family for some of thanksgiving- for whatever that is worth…

We left to head north, and home. I mused over the evening. I tried to get comfortable. It was an endless drive home. This day draws to a close I can’t help but be happy it is over. Fuck thanksgiving 2012. desperate to get comfortable I am headed to bed. Maybe tomorrow will be a better day. I can only hope I feel better and I can run, or go to the gym. To be able to lose myself in motion and shrug off this blanket of darkness. I can’t quite figure out how my back is so much worse now than before. I am regretting my decision to inject it. Maybe it wasn’t worth it. I shouldn’t have taken it so lightly.

Thankful Part 1

Opened my eyes to a brainful of worry and doubt this morning. So much so, I promptly closed them again. Not the way I planned to start my morning. Never a good sign. Rather than worry and be anxious I am going to write. Turn my mind and find a different path. What am I thankful for? It is often forgotten in the heaps of shit and finger pointing. Amongst the guilt and the anger. Never really looked at or even thought much about. It is really kind of sad, because there is so much I have to be thankful for. Here’s my reasons to be thankful. I’ll note it was extremely difficult to do this. It doesn’t come easy to sift through so much pain and loss.

Family- Even with all their issues and problems. All the years of chaos and difficulty. At the end of the day I have a family, far more than some people. Spending time in Africa allowed me to reflect on this. Entire villages reduced to children and elders from HIV. 8 year olds raising their siblings and caring for elderly. It was mind boggling, and just tore my heart. When I sit and bitch endlessly about my family it somehow misses the mark and never takes into account the fact that I have one. There are days I wish I didn’t. Today I’ll be thankful that I have people who love me and care greatly about me. It isn’t their fault they have such limitations. Products of their pasts, just as I am. Do I wish for better? sure. I always have and always will. There is no perfect. There only is. I love them all. Despite all the rage and anger, I deeply care for them. The anger just becoming a defense. Allowing me to gain space as all spins out of control. When their shortcomings sharpen into focus and I am failed yet again, it allows me to grasp the anger rather than direct it back to them. I lose the focus, and yet again they are off the hook. The blame becomes me, not them. Love does that. I could not focus it on them, not in their presence. Away from it, occasionally i just brush it. It is in the depths of despair, when everything has come apart, that the focus comes back. The lens of truth adjusts and i take in just how much went wrong. I do not think it was ever done purposely with the intent of harming me. No, i was collateral damage in an emotional warzone. I the midst of clashing disordered personalities desperate to survive. In that place, a child name Beth figured out survival skills. Not fire making and building shelter. no, she found and honed the skills of manipulation and withdrawal. To disappear in the blink of an eye. I am thankful I learned to survive. It may not be the most adaptive skills, but they allowed me to live. To navigate the warzone and reach adolescence. It wasn’t all bad. I have to be clear there. I watched and learned. From my father I gained a quick biting wit. A sense of humor, and a drive to lead rather than follow. He was no lemming, nor am I. There must always be questions, not blind agreement. He gave me that. It has been a gift that has served me my whole life. For better or worse I have his impatience. Now, years into my life it is quite humorous. I have found ways to temper it, but I am often so amazed at how alike we are. At it’s worst, those close to me will call me by his name as a reminder. I will check the obnoxious behavior and laugh at just how like him I am. He showed me to be a leader. To be bold, and strike ones own path. I have moments of this, though I struggle with it. It’s there in my genes, just not always accessable. I often check what runs thru my head. In that voice of criticism I hear him. Though I often doubt it, he gave be a fine mind. A tool sharp with intelligence and the ability to process. One that will do anything I set it to. I just need to focus. That was his gift.

He gave me the gift of being an athlete. A body primed and ready for anything I ask of it. Whether it be running, climbing, swimming. Anything. I wasn’t even a toddler when he took me into the vast pool. We would spend time each day. I took to water like a fish. There is no fear. He gave me that. They both did. Try anything once. It was an unspoken mantra in our home. To this day it is one of the lessons that remains. No matter what it is, I will try it. There is no way to know something, unless you give it a chance. I will take chances, and I will step out on the ledge. There is no looking back, or looking down. Seize the moment and learn from it. Grow as an individual from every experience, good or bad. Take chances, be true to yourself. Trust your instincts and believe in yourself. They gave me that.

I find time to be introspective. A trait much more from my mother. A need for quiet, away from the masses. To be closer to a hermit than a fool. Time is spent deep in thought. Complete with the darkness and worry. Not that my father doesn’t worry, he just never let it show. He was more of a problem solver in an open way. My mother taught me to keep my cards a little closer and figure it out on my own. I learned from her that emotions could control you. That the world wasn’t a rosy place. Abuse and pain was there. It wasn’t a safe place. Care had to be taken. Looking over your shoulder had a purpose. It was a good lesson, one I wished I had heeded. From her I gained a pair of hands that can do so much. They can speak for my head when it can’t put words together. They can create and form the most beautiful things. Never taught, or schooled they amaze me. That was her gift to me. I am grateful for that gift. Without if I am not quite sure where I’d be. I learned to find solace in my art. An escape so deep I could disappear for hours, sometimes days. She showed me that beauty was mine to create. The details added up to come together into exquisite pieces of me. My hands could show the world who I am and what I am about. They each taught me the value of art. To look in wonder at the history of it. Whether I loved it or hated a piece of art I learned to appreciate the work. To inhale art, as if I needed it to survive. It became a part of my soul.

Together my parents taught me to engage completely. To be passionate. (sometimes impulsive) whether it be in my art, in my love or in my beliefs. They each gave me that gift. To go with my gut and engage. If you do it, do it 100%, not half assed, not weakly. No, dive in. There is no sticking the toes in the shallow end of life. It is all the way. That is a double edged sword. It has times when it serves me well, while others it gets me burned. For better or worse, it is a gift. There is no wuss here. No, they built a fighter. Thank god for that. I have survived some of the most mind and soul rattling trauma and am still here. Thanks to them. I am blessed. For all the short comings, they have given me the gift of life, complete with a personality suited to get thru it.

Some of these gifts have been lost, or tempered along my life’s journey. The wild abandon of childhood replace with the worry and reality of adult life. Fear and neurosis sneaking in and settling in amongst life’s lessons. I will someday find a way back to that unabashed kid, and live life to it’s fullest. Passion and love yet again becoming pillars of existence. Doubt and fear to be lost in the rubble under my new found life.

Animals- In all their forms have contributed to my life. Whether it was a dog growing up, or a horse I care for currently, they all find a way to make my life better. I was very young when I learned to love and respect them. As a youngster I grew up with an English Bulldog named Puff. She patiently ignored my endless commands to SIT. She was priceless. Following me to the bus and sitting while I got on, only to be there when I returned home. I met animals of every shape and size. From my fathers’s vet practice watching spay and neuters at 5. or meeting whales. To be able to touch them and learn about them. One of the most vivid memories of my entire childhood was from Mystic Aquarium. It was after hours, my father was giving a presentation and one of the staff showed me the entire place. The lights were all dimmed, it was just us and these beautiful creatures. We walked above the tanks on the cat walks. I fed and touched many of them. It was an evening of wonder. True wonder. Only eclipsed by my time in Africa on the plains. The intimacy of the connection. The quiet and the incredible moments of watching and learning. It is so seared in my brain. I can recreate the images, the temperature, and the sounds. What a gift. Later in my childhood horses became a major part of my life. As I have written before, I feel they saved me. In so many ways they filled the needs I had. In a life of loneliness and seclusion they became my solace. I learned to create a bond. To teach them they could trust me. It was a key skill I struggled with in my life. I had no idea how to create positive relationships. The horses taught me this skill. I learned about responsibility and work. They can’t care for themselves, so it is the human that must meet all their needs. Cleaning the stalls, feeding them, caring for them when they are sick.  I am forever thankful to have them in my life. These days they are a source of endless stress, but that is because I allowed it. It is no fault of theirs. Regardless of that, I still bury my tears in the necks of these horses. When all seems so far gone, they stand and bear witness to my suffering. Without moving an inch they stand, somehow understanding, Knowing I need something to hold and unleash a torrent of buried emotions. They always know, and they always stand quiet. There is no judgement, no anger, just acceptance. For that I am thankful. Animals also taught me about loss. The inevitability of grief. Time is forever moving forward. Illness and aging never slowing, never stopping. Death is as much a part of life as breathing. Loss comes out of the blue, without warning. We are powerless to chnge that. It does not matter how much we love, or how deeply we bond. No matter how hard we pray, or how much we wish it might be different. Often times it does not matter how hard we work to save them, or how much we spend. It is inevitable. We much accept, rather than deny. Mourn them, and deeply feel the pain of their loss, but to feel guilt or to deny their death does nothing. I have learned from these animals that acceptance is needed. Pain is part of the process. Sadness is part of life. If we allow animals, or people into our hearts we will eventually feel loss. The grief often bone crushing, deep enough to rip the breath from our chest. The more deeply we love and bond the more deeply we grieve. Animals have taught me  to allow time for this process. The suddenness of death easily catches us unprepared. In all my years working with these animals I have learned to think and react accordingly. I no longer let pain or fear fog my ability to process and react. Emergencies have taught me to settle and focus. The more horrific the stronger the calculated response. At death’s door I do not bow my head and panic, no I find this deeply settled place. I do what needs to be done. Whether it be intervention and treatment, or allowing them to go. The gift of death is something I hold very deeply. I passionately refuse to accept allowing suffering. There is no place for it. No creature (man or beast) should ever be made to suffer, so as to fulfill some need of those surviving. I do not think there is anything in my life I feel so strongly about. It is something we see often in animals. The refusal to let them go. To endlessly fight with interventional procedures to prolong life. I guess if anything, one might say, I am too quick to let them go. I always err on the side of caution. If it is a question, I left them go. The gift of death, relief from suffering must be clear and decisive. I will always give them that. Sadly, with our system, human suffering cannot be alleviated quite so easily or quickly.

Treatment- It seems an odd thing to be thankful for, but when considering the history and the past, I live in an era where treatment of mental illness is mostly humane. That was not always the case. I am blessed to live now. To be free to live my life. Not behind bars, or chained in the dark. I have a team of therapists behind me every step of the way. Often showing me the way, when everything seems lost. Virgil has spent more than 17 years at my side. Taking an endless barrage of abuse during the start of our work together. She was able to see past that. How many people would have just given up? Most would have thrown in the towel and walked away. It is a hard enough job, without the anger, silence and resistance. But she didn’t. She stayed. Modeling for me something I lacked in my life and upbringing. She wasn’t going to be like so many others. No, she was committed to showing me a healthier caregiver model. Often times ridiculed and tormented by my family. The anger not just coming from a pissed of young adult in her office, but also a group of adults pissed off and threatened by her. That has continued. They have never once given her the credit she deserves. It is so very sad. I cannot imagine working so diligently and never getting the support. She has been there for me all this time. As my life shifted direction and I grew up. As my mental illness shifted and changed. With every crisis and difficult spell. I cannot count the number of times I sat there in her office on the brink of giving up. She always knew. She always stepped in, and helped me. Even if I didn’t agree. I had learned from all those years of difficulty that I could trust her. She wouldn’t let me down. If she said I needed to be in the hospital I went. I may have hated it, but I trusted her judgement. She has always worked hard to try to keep me stable. Often stepping aside and admitting she really wasn’t sure. Letting others review the case and make suggestions. To be able to confidently treat me for year, yet still be able to set ego aside and ask for help. I am thankful for that. For her to continue treating me after I deceived her and Beatrice. Keeping silent and plotting, never once letting them in that my life would be over shortly. To forgive me for stepping up on that chair, yet not reaching out to her in that final moment. I know that hurt her, yet she did not retaliate, like so many probably would have. She didn’t lash out at me. Our therapeutic relationship survived. With boundaries intact she has allowed me frequent contact, something most other therapist would not even consider. In the years of work she has allowed flexibility to give me the best chance at recovery. From long sessions, to phone sessions. In a world of inflexibility and rigid rules she worked around all that to give me a chance. It was what I needed. She gave me a chance. I am thankful for that. Thankful does not even cover it, I cannot put words on what it has meant to have a constant in my life all these years. Regardless of where I am at, from circling the drain, to the high flying mania, she is steadfast. We all need that in life. We all need a touchstone to come back to. something that allows us to center ourselves and find the ground. In life’s chaos losing sight of the important navigational landmarks becomes easy. I am so very blessed to have Virgil to be my instrument for finding the ground. I have avoided so very many crashes because of her. I am so very blessed. In more recent years I have found another important individual. Beatrice came into my life at a difficult point. The distance between Virgil and I was becoming to difficult deal with. Seeing her involved taking almost half a day away from work. I can’t remember how I found her, but it was so important. She too has become a constant. Steadfast and equally as stubborn as Virgil to remain there to support me, no matter what. A number of years back my behavior strained this bond. Just as Virgil remained, so did Beatrice. The harm I did would have sent most people running. Never wanting to repeat that experience. Not Beatrice, she didn’t run away. It was a long time before I came back to her, but she welcomed me back. She didn’t have to do that. Most would not have. She too has shown me I can trust those I allow in. They won’t all run away when it gets tough. I won’t be left alone and afraid. I have people to help me. It has been difficult breaking down those old walls. Painfully slow and difficult. She has been patient with me. Rarely pushing too hard and quick to apologize when she realizes she has. Her empathy often powerful enough for me to sense even before I settle into the couch. She cares deeply and completely, how often do we ever have that in our lives? With Virgil and Beatrice I can convince myself I have a chance. I can get through the worst of times, and the best of times. I am so thankful, words escape me. In a life filled with pain and difficulty the fates finally nodded in my favor when these two women came into my life.

So on this day when everything felt awful when I opened my eyes, this entry and shown me it isn’t all bad. In fact it is so much good….

Long long day

It seems like I have been up for days now. hell, it feels like forever. last night took forever to wind down. my mind was traveling so fast by night check. some driven by anxiety, but most by the racy dark edginess that enveloped me. The seroquel was working hard. Each time I felt like I could let go and settle mind would go off on some tangent. Useless thoughts, not even problem solving or important. just odd flights of disconnected things. strange strange period of a few hours where it just looped back around on itself. it was dark and quiet in the house, but any little noise or outside sound would send me off into these flights again. Earlier in the evening I had to keep asking my partner to turn the sound on the tv down. i usually have no problem with noise. But last night is was just too much. my nerves seemed to be frayed to the very edge. noises literally caused the hairs to stand up on my arms. it was as if I was waiting for some impending attack. Body primed and ready to take flight. The night was a long one, sleep when it finally came was fitful and uncomfortable. I finally woke at 4. soaking wet. I could wring out my tee. standing in the dark shivering my mind kick started again. it was off and running, but the seroquel had left me drowsy and sleep was trying hard to get a foothold. The drive down was more of the same. in fits and starts. I would get right on the edge of sleep and it would elude me again. I was actually happy to have a date with some propofol, if only just to knock my head out for a short while. Don’t remember much at all about the epidural. I remember feeling something, but it didn’t really register. 30 minutes later I was awake and happy to be leaving. there was only one problem, my legs decided they would rather be like gumby’s. I had all my clothes, so I started to change and out of instinct hopped off the bed. Can’t even tell you how glad I was to have a nurse walk in. Obviously this happens all the time since she was holding me up asking me if I could feel my legs. sure, I could feel them. they just would not listen to what I was asking them to do, or if they did they would quickly turn to jelly, thus the almost falling over. so, I walked with the nurse for a bit. she said a couple laps around would help. 10 minutes later I almost had myself under control, well at least my legs. my brain was in a lovely post anesthetic haze. I’d like to have stayed in that place for a while. We started home, with a stop for coffee and breakfast. my legs were slowly getting themselves back to normal. My brain unfortunately wasn’t all that far behind. I was back to the racing thoughts by the time we got in the driveway. It took a good hour to unwind and try and convince myself to close my eyes. I was beyond exhausted. the local block was wearing off and my back was starting to realize someone had been putting needles in it (he did trigger points, as well as the epidural). Here I am 6 hours later and my mind is just going and going. All I wanted to do is go for a run. to take flight. not advisable, so I controlled myself. My run yesterday was just breathtaking. the park was chilly and empty. I only saw one other person running. The sun was dropping low in the sky and long shadows were falling across the lake. I just wanted to run and run. The calf pain from the 11 miler was still very much present, and it was tough to ignore. But it just felt so perfect to go fast. I’m sure intervals was really not what I needed, and I have two very sore calves to prove that. Probably dumb, and way too much. It is just so hard with this constant force pushing and pushing. It just won’t let up. It drives me in motion and won’t ease off the gas pedal. I loved it a couple of days ago, when there was no darkness. then it was only forward momentum. Something I so often lack. I love when that comes around. I feel useful and able. I fucking know better than to believe it. But I was stupid, and I bought it. I romped along. running myself into the ground. I pounded away, losing myself in the speed of thought and motion. I know better, it always comes undone. I don’t have that in me. not normally. not without something driving it. I wish to god that could be me all the time. I could accomplish so much! I could be so many things if only I had that drive and motivation. I was blinded by it. Never stopped to look back. Never saw the pendulum coming. It is all that much worse when it gets you by surprise. It is like having the floor drop out. Instantly you’re on your knees looking around in confusion. That vicious swing takes me the other way, into the edgy angry irritable place. I wanted to fight, anyone, didn’t matter. just wanted to haul off and hit something hard. It travels thru every inch. priming the muscles to tighten and flex. just looking for a reason to uncoil. I know now why I didn’t want to go home. I wanted to save my partner from the backlash. I knew enough to try to stay away. find some distance, don’t get close. it is a scary place to be. so close to out of control. just one trigger away. one small incident to let fly the rage that is just rest beneath the surface. I know I am angry, i am most of the time, but not like that. It is hard to even imagine being quite that wound up. I feel a small shift today. I don’t sense that torrent just waiting to be called on. I am still irritable, but not like that. I hope the steroids wash out and everything normalizes. I don’t want this to cause anymore problems than it already has. I can’t really say I remember what manic was like. I only remember snippets of time. talking to my partner, or the social worker. I don’t exactly recall the high, I just remember the fall. The utter hole of blackness that engulfed me. I cannot say I am not afraid because I am. It terrifies me. I hate feeling powerless. these past few days feel exactly that- powerless. tossed back and forth in a maelstrom of emotions shifting so fast and so hard they take my breath away. If only I could calm the storm in my head. If only I could see where it was going. I wish only for some insight into where I am headed.

Turn left now.

the mood hung a hard left late yesterday. didn’t sense it coming. not even sure why. It has been a strange couple of days. From racy and quite good to irritable and some anxiety. Not a big deal. I was just taking it as it shifted. whether it was running to get out the edgy restless feeling, or creating distance so irritable didn’t cause a fight. Needless to say last night and now into today the floor fell out. Wondering where the hell the change came from. I now 100% think the steroids are causing a lot of the instability. Normally in order to me to have such a drastic drop in mood involves some distinct trigger. Not always, but usually something happens and it starts to shift. It doesn’t go from one end to the other over the course of 30 minutes. I started driving home last night, but every cell in my body wanted nothing to do with that. I was lost and indecisive. where should I go? anywhere but there? why? just don’t. it was this incredible urge to just disappear. not go back. i drove around for a bit, feeling out the loose edges of my rapidly deteriorating mood. It wasn’t good. not going home wasn’t really a good idea though I knew some alone time was what I wanted. I know this is just the inevitable. my mood cannot often elevate to where it was without some fall out. It happened and now I have to deal with it. Putting the brakes on before it gets too deep too fast. I hate this hollow feeling. so distinct for me. It may not be a typical emotion like happy, sad, angry etc. but for me it has its own spot. It is the jumping off point for a dark place. always there in the transition. the hollowness creating space and distance. everything falls back and people get farther away. it gives my mind space to wander freely. lose itself slowly but surely into the blackest of holes. I can only hope I stop this right where it is. because when the hollow comes it is never a good sign.

 

Internal Dialog

what do you want? I want to talk to you. why? why not? you are the asshole that lives in my skull 24-7, 365. so? I think it is time we had a chat. fuck off. nice, u r so charming as usual. Beatrice says we need to have a dialog, so here goes nothing. I want to have some peace and quiet. enough of the endless negative comments and judgements. I want to be left alone. sure you do, but you aren’t good enough. you need me to harass you so you don’t fuck up. Why? why do you think I’ll fuck up? you always do. No not always. yes, most of the time. but not all of the time. you need me. no, I don’t think I do. yes, you are a loser. even if I agree with you it doesn’t mean I need to hear it all the time. I’d like some peace. really? then earn it. Do better, make a difference. how? do a better job, stop fucking up all the time. I am trying. Really I am. sure, whatever. I AM. don’t think so. Look at the mess you are in. does it appear you are doing a good job? no, guess not. that’s what I thought. see you really aren’t capable of much. you just keep screwing up. no I don’t. yep, you do. I am still trying, doesn’t that count for something. not really. if you can’t sort this mess out it is over for the farm. probably over for you and your partner. you will lose everything, but it doesn’t matter. you don’t deserve it anyhow. but….yeah but what. cat got your tongue? no it hasn’t. i just don’t know what to say. don’t bother saying anything. just run away. this isn’t fixable. guess not. there you go again, giving up, giving in. but. no but, you always do. no not always. most of the time. see you can’t even see everything you’ve lost along the way. what have I lost? gee let’s see…the opportunity of a life time at cornell. but I was sick. yeah, sick in the head. and not good enough. you couldn’t come close to doing the work so you ran away. well…no, it is true. you weren’t good enough to fit in and hold your own. that wasn’t my fault. the schooling I had just didn’t prepare me. guess not. you were stupid. no, i’m not. yes, you have known it all along. never was smart enough. just think of all those times J called you an idiot or a moron. where do you think he got that? it wasn’t out of the blue. there was some merit. you never applied yourself. I tried. things were complicated. yeah? how complicated? you know. it was awful. but you didn’t try, you fell apart and caved in. losers do that. I tried. it was too hard. yeah, guess so since you couldn’t handle it. I tried, i really did. no you didn’t. you looked for an out. wished for a train. not at first. she never came back for me. so, you picked death over living? what the fuck is wrong with you? I was lost. yeah apparently. no really I didn’t know why I felt like that. because you are useless. i try. no, you run. no. i hide. i don’t run. yeah but you want to. true, i do want to run. be free of this box. the box you put yourself in. no, i didn’t. yeah you fucked it up. all those years of making $ when the farm was doing okay. what did you do with that? spent it. yeah you did, you never even stopped to think about the future. you are worthless. no, i just never had to think about things like that. we had money. yeah you spoiled brat. you lost it all because you couldn’t keep it together. you couldnt do what you had to to succeed. no i didnt. i stopped trying. yeah you did. you stopped because you didn’t have it in you. you gave up as usual. but. no but. you did give up. just look at the fucking tree, need I remind you more. no u don’t. I see it every day, every night. it is always there reminding me. see, there you go. lost in your head again. can’t even manage. see you really are a useless piece of shit. no better than the rope you had around your neck. but…no you cant even get that right. useless. i was suffering. yeah? so. how many millions suffer everyday? do you see them picking up a rope? NO, see you just don’t get it do you. just give up. it isnt worth the trouble. you wont ever be better than you are now. you can’t do it. I can try. yeah sure, knock yourself out. i’ll be here to remind you just how stupid you are when you fall down again. i’m the one that is reasonable. no you’re not. they tell me you are cruel. me cruel? no. i am honest. why do you have to endlessly tell me how useless I am. Because you are. you are not worth a damn thing. I am. no, you are a failure. not just a regular old failure, a grade A prime failure. give it up. you honestly think you can make 50K appear? no. See that is what I am talking about. you can’t even find a way out. instead you write mind numbing crap day in and day out. endlessly seeking answers that arent worth a damn. taking poison is hopes of shutting me up. I will not be silenced. no. it takes far more than the shrink to do that. I have been with you forever. i always will be. i know. yeah? you know, so why bother. i don’t know. i just want to be better. you never will be. you sick useless piece of shit. no i;m not useless. really? why are u sitting and writing as the place falls apart? i cant fix it. no you cant. u just gave up. let the town take it. yes, i guess that may happen. well it sure will if you keep sitting on your fat ass. im not that fat, really? look at yourself. i do. really? LOOK….CLOSER. notice anything? stop, it is okay. no not really you cow. stop. i am trying. not hard enough obviously. why not just go graze in the kitchen. no i won’t. i went to the gym. you didn’t do much. you think that counts? it was enough for today. not really you lazy piece of shit. im not a piece of shit. yeah you are. look at yourself. enough. no, not enough. you just keep on looking. see how ugly you are. stop, no. i will always be here to remind you just how bad you are. im not bad. sure you are, you just cant see it. what good have you done? i have. i have done things. yeah barely. you just keep hiding behind your gate hoping it all goes away. dont even bother trying. its too bad you didnt finish the job when you had a chance. this place would be far better without you. stop. no I won’t stop. you fuck up. worthless cow. stop. stop stop. NO, you give me no choice, it is so easy because you just keep right on screwing up. left right and center. it is pointless. so easy to see, the world knows what you are. no they dont. yeah they do. one look. they no how dumb and common you are. stop. yeah right. give me a reason. i am working on it. oh yeah, with your endless shrink sessions? what has it been almost 20 years of sessions. see how stupid you are, you cant even get better. doesnt matter you will always be sick. no, not always. yes, it is forever. just a matter of time. you will fuck up again. the family and your partner will have to come save you. virgil will put you back in the hospital for the umpteenth time. see you are just useless to all of them. they just wait for you to come undone. just watch. i am right. yeah you probably are. yes you know I am right. you just keep on deluding yourself into thinking it will work this time. i can’t give up. sure you can cow. you can give up cause you always do. gets hard you come apart. never fails. I am right. i always am. you useless cow. no stop. i’m not useless. i can do things. yeah? what can you do? i can ride. so what, how does that remotely help you? i can do it. and? it is something. no not really. not like you’re curing cancer. it is something. yeah you keep telling yourself that. stop. what can you do. tell me. what of any use can you do? i don’t know. yeah, thought so. see you are pointless in this world. there is nothing you can do. i try. right, you keep saying that. but I am. obviously not remotely hard enough. but I am. Virgil says I am. oh yeah, V your savior. she can’t save you. never could, never will. you just keep telling yourself that. you’ll see. your time will come. it will again and there is nobody that will save you. they will. NO there is nothing, nobody. just you. little you, not strong enough or good enough for anything. fucking useless you know that dont you. I am not useless. gee, really? you sure seem it. you just keep on running. ill be here, always. just keep on telling yourself it will get better. it won’t ill be waiting. i will always be waiting. you fucking piece of garbage. no im not. oh yes, u truly are. when all is lost and you fall apart ill be waiting. ill be here to tell you just how bad you screwed up again. dont ever think that wil change. but. no there is no but. there is only me. i have been here forever, dont think you can ever be rid of me. i am you don’t you see? i am you. i am the darkness and the ugliness. i am always here. just waiting. you are no good. can;t you see? there is ugliness all around you. it isnt just failure that defines you, it is me always waiting in the stillness to drag you away. they cant fix you. your life course was set long ago. the path set. you did that. no I didnt do it. sure you did. you let it happen. all of it. you worthless weak pathetic thing. dont think for a second you can ever get away. it is forever. there is nothing better for you. no. i guess not. i am a piece of shit. i don’t know why i even bother….

Off Day- rant.rant.rant

Well as much as I didn’t want to I took the day off. No gym, no running, nothing. I did ride, so I guess I can’t say I did nothing. Have to say it was hard. I still have that restlessness, probably just the steroids. Not much to say today. I’m irritable and angry. Here we are on the verge of a new week, another week closer to the town foreclosing. Why this doesn’t seem to bother anyone is beyond me. What does it matter? Does it really fucking matter?

To fucking hell with it. it is just a home. like any other. always another to find. or not. i find myself swinging back and forth between caring and really not giving a shit. i can somehow convince myself, at least a few days at a time. than wham back it all comes. in my face. there like a ton of bricks. can i really delude myself into thinking this place means nothing to me. 11 fucking years of my life, my partners life. countless hours spent doing back breaking labor. making it work. making a mess. fucking things up. yeah, all that. it isn’t nothing. the nothing is the frustration. to walk away from all this because i am so fucking exhausted by the day in and day out puppet show. a fucking rich benefactor on one side and a ridiculous family on the other. someone always yanking my strings to control my life. there is nothing for me to do but dumbly agree. yes, yes, jump higher, do this, do that, don’t do that or that. unreal. i am beyond sick of it. my life has come down to this. the never-ending stress demolishing a 15 year relationship piece by piece. unhappiness is the normal. not the new normal, it has been growing and growing. its seeds sown long ago. here we are to make sense of our lives while caught in this situation. there isn’t much to do. i can accept it for how it is. let the money man decide what happens. when the checks come or don’t. how much comes or doesn’t. always waiting till the eleventh hour. all the more rush for him to be the savior. for fuck sake. we are human beings. this isn’t right. i fucking can’t even make sense of it. but again and again it repeats. the people we trust do not seem to have our best interests in mind. long as they are happy who cares. here we sit watching the clock tick down on our existence here. a fucking useless father who refuses to answer the questions. he wont even give me the time of day, driving yelling into my cell trying to get him to stop fucking talking over me. on and on. it is ridiculous. there wasn’t anything i could say or do to get him to stop fucking talking like i wasn’t even there. really? it was like nobody was there. thank god the cell dropped the call, cause I think i would have told him to go fuck himself. got myself somewhat calm and redialed the phone. “you do realize that the town will take this property unless the taxes are paid” blah, blah blah….nothing. does it get any clearer??? fucking crystal clear. nope. nada. fuck it. so here we are a couple days later and he say “oh I am working on some people who want to support the farm” WHAT? are you kidding. where in fuck’s name are you going to find some angel to give us 50K just because. yeah right. good luck with that one. i want to see that one. so gee, the property closed eh? yeah. nada. yeah, you tell me what you did with that million plus. nothing right? leave us hanging up here. no fucking pun intended,  yeah i’m pissed. i know fucking damn well what you just sold, so unless you lost it all already or that fucking cunt of a wife took it i’d like to know. fucking nasty piece of shit you picked out, she’s a real fucking peach. sure being with that nasty witch must be nice because I don’t see any other redeeming qualities. so what the fuck? enjoy florida and ur bitch wife. we will be us here sinking up to our necks in crap. doesn’t much matter to you does it. nope didn’t think so. so fuck it. let the town take it. because you just can’t be bothered. we will find our way. away from you and your shit. i’m done with this, and the fucking endless head games. yeah done. completely. too bad you don;t even see it coming. too busy talking bullshit about imaginary donors. who gives a fuck at this point. so what, you;ll come thru at the last minute. then what, we end up in the same situation 12 months from now and again after that. fuck it. too bad they don’t even see the toll it takes on us. day after day, hanging over our heads. day after fucking day. bill after bill…the stacks reaching knee deep now. the phone ringing endlessly, the only silence coming when we don’t manage to pay the bill. then nothing for a day or two. i can’t fucking take it. all i want to do is have some breathing room. i hate nothing more than not being able to pay people. i can go without things, who needs new clothes, or things, no, that i can manage, but owing people money is awful, it grates away at me . sitting just behind my breastbone gnawing away at me. hour after hour after hour. i just want it to stop. i see so much wrong. i want to fix it. i want to make it all right again. i want to be able to make it all okay. but you see i can’t really do that on my own. i need to figure out a way. it just 50K. gee just 50K no big deal right? wrong. i may have always lived my life think of 50k as a modest amount, not much, no big deal. it IS a big deal. it is a lot of money. too much ground to make up, with not enough time. anything not nailed down is being sold. i’ll strip this place bare to make it out. and don;t think for a fucking second i’ll pay the taxes you owe. no, ill pay the people who are owed. debts that we have. not your fucking property. done. we will figure a way out. make it right somehow. it means nothing unless we do that. i won’t walk away without doing that. only pieces of shit dont pay their debts and im not a low life piece of shit. i/m not and i never will be. you may pick and chose who you pay without a care in the world. not me. no. i am not that. i am not above anyone. i am no different. i dont care if i end up living in a cardboard box, i will make it right. it is just unreal, i never thought id be living this life. straining to make it okay, to get thru each day, to make sure the mouths are fed. i want to back up and lighten the load, but no. can’t do that says the donor. don’t make the herd smaller. can’t piss him off, so what do I say, okay. sure, yeah no problem.  it isn’t okay. to just sit in submission. to nod like some stupid puppet because 100k buys you two women to do what you want. fuck us. we are meaningless in the grand scheme. ok, yes, sure, no problem. and again we return to this restless anxious house with bills in stacks. nothing but paper. 1K, 5K,, 10K, 50K and on and on and on. they pile up. the phone rings, but ok, sure no problem. yeah, bend over. sure. jump? how high? okay no problem. but it is a problem. we are treading water and getting tired while this plays out around us. sick to hell of this life and each other. endlessly snapping at each other because we can hard;y breath in this box of stress and discontent. enough! it isnt worth it. we are fading here. at what cost is all this.  for a horse? really? is it worth it. i love them. i truly do, but my life is spinning out away from me. it has left my control in so many ways, but the puppet has to keep dancing or they wont be happy. not happy = no $$$. so fucking sad. where does it go? to be gnawed to the bone. nothing left but a nervous gangled mess. drugged to make do and comply. life sad enough to lose meaning. here’s a pill, or another, or another. no problem. take another one.you’ll be fine. im not fine. the fucking pills will never be enough to make this mess right. they might subdue me but they don’t change it. just putting a fresh coat of paint on a rotten board. it’ll fall off, it never sticks. it never does. over an over, we do this. but fuck it, i agree, i’ll keep swallowing them night after night in hopes a morning will dawn fresh and shiny without the horror and the reality of a life coming undone. but sure, yeah, i’ll have another. who cares what’s another 5 lbs or 10. it doesn’t matter. it fucking doesn;t because i am supposed to just be okay with it. I am supposed to roll over and give in, one more puppet master in this play. it is supposed to help. does it? for a spell. it never lasts. but im okay right? im not sick, no. not at all. im fine. just take another. no, not another. gee it doesn;t work. oh let’s try some electricity maybe that’ll do. there nice and quiet just how we like them. too dumb and controlled to even take note of a fucking useless life. what does it matter. memories aren’t imp[ortant. nope. all in the chase for okay. give in, give up. get well. yep, you have to give up. let them control you. take their drugs, submit to their torture, lay down in their restraints. but it will make you well. DID IT? did it make me well? DID IT? do I seem well to you? nope it isn’t well. no. I am lost in a life outside of my control. desperate to grab hold and change direction. but here i am writing this shit. chasing the thread trying to find a way to good. I don’t know where it went so wrong. i just want a fucking map. to find a way out. it is just so beyond me. i look and look, and write and write and sit and talk in 50 min sessions over and over and over. To what end?? AM I well? did any of it work? why do I feel as lost now as I did before? why can’t any of this get better? I want to make it better. somehow, but the strings…the fucking strings are always there pulling me to and fro. never where I want to go. what I want? yeah, what a fucking joke. this life? is it what I want? I can’t even answer a simple fucking question. My life….and what I want. enough. i’ve ranted enough. tomorrow is a new day. a new day restrained by people determined to decide what needs to happen, whether or not i want it or need it. it is enough. there has to be a better way. there has to be a way to make sense of it all.

off and running

I started the day with one thing in mind, to run. Not just run, but to take flight. It was pretty chilly as I pulled on my compression gear and locked up the dogs. It is rare that I start the day with a goal in mind. It is often just blah, blah, blah. More of the very same crap. I would far rather pull the covers back over my head and pretend a new day had not dawned while I was deep in a seroquel slumber. So, I was a quite surprised, and happy to head out the door. It was all about choosing a route. Where should I go? hmmm. I use a great app to track my runs, and also to be able to map routes. I got lost in the choosing for a bit. so many possibilities. Off I went. I felt great. It was absolutely effortless. My app whispering in my ear as each mile clicked off. I was running faster than my normal training pace, but it wasn’t registering. I was running quite easily well into the 6th mile. I fact, I felt so good at that point that I really argued with myself about changing direction and starting my return. I can honestly say I felt as if I could run all day, and actually might have tried that, but some voice of reason remained functioning in my lit up brain. I settled in for the return run. I had  5.5 miles to cover. My brain was pushing, but I started having I slight inkling that my body was going to argue. It became a bit of a battle to keep form and stay on my forefoot. The first mile back I was moving. The app whispered the time, split in my headphones. Shit, I never run faster on the second half of my runs. Geez, this is amazing. I continued on into the next two miles. Little tightness, no problem. another negative split. I was just floating. Not a thing in my head, just the pat of the shoes as they took flight off the pavement. I have to admit these shoes are the most insane orange, guess they work well considering gun season started today. I have never been a fan of blaze orange, but wow I love these shoes. So I watched them meet the road countless times, never tiring of that crazy orange. It was about mile 9 when my body decided my little jaunt was not the best idea. Nevernind, I was so hell bent on continuing the negative numbers all the way home. It was not acceptable to run slower, nope, had to run faster. I was on a mission. So, on I ran, and pushed. Started to find the bottom at about mile 10. For a split second I considered doggin it for the last mile, but my goal was there. All I had to do is run it in under 9:22. yep, it was still kicking around my stubborn head. So I found a bit more lean, and increased my turnover. It started to get more effortless again. It hurt, but my mind was made up. It was remarkable. Teetering on the edge of giving up, I found a different gear. I found a place to go in my mind. I did that last mile, in 9:20. For me that is pushing the envelope of my current fitness level. It was terrific, and I was quite happy when I stopped. My body was not happy, but I was. I wish everyday could feel as productive to me. It was just a run, nothing special, not particularly fast, but it was something to me. In that thick skull of mine it registered as good enough. It was okay. How can I get that to translate to the rest of my life? Can anything else feel like that? In my control, from start to finish. Every single step, every breath and all 11 miles. Mine ALONE. Not to be shared. I made my body do that, even with some argument. I was undeterred, just as I was during TM. I tapped into some part of my brain I don’t often have access to. It was a place of motion and action. There was no quit, or walking away. It was about my getting it done. If only I could find that place more often. The things I could accomplish, the life I could have. To imagine it. It would be my own. Not a pawn in some sick family disaster. No, it would belong to me and nobody else. If only I could take charge of my life like I did that run today. To push myself to go father, and faster. To reach for something my body wasn’t quite ready for. I don’t know how to get to that place. I know it may well involve running away from this life as I know it. A new direction to run is all I think my mind wants. To eat up virgin track with only the sun as company. Me, the crazy orange shoes and the road. On my own…

A million stars

They stretch out forever. Each gaze met with a million more. I settled in the dark tonight. Lay back against the freezing deck, and looked long at the night sky. It is quiet and crystal clear. Distant sounds from the horses eating travel across the crystalline frozen lawn. I had time to just sit and watch. Nowhere to be, not a thing to do beyond breathe and watch the stars. Completely alone, save the horses on the hill. I cannot help but feel tiny under that vast array of planets, galaxies and stars. I am but a tiny blip in this universe. My life, with its suffering and trauma, so miniscule. In the scope of all that surrounds me, it is nothing. So, why then does it seem so great? so insurmountable? With all the possibility and wonder, why spend my life looking at all that is wrong with it? I have lost the wonder, as most of us have. When was the last time you looked at the night sky and thought of absolutely nothing? Just existed beneath its magnificent tableau. Not thinking about the day, or work, or life. Just relaxed in the moment. It is mesmerizing to just be. How is it so incredibly difficult? Take away the splendid night sky and replace it with the daily grind, it is impossible to just be. Every minute is another worry, or another task. What needs to get done. What hasn’t been done, or what should have been done. Existing becomes painful. There is nothing wonderous about it. I quipped with Virgil that my days make me feel a bit like Sisyphus. Endlessly repeating the same thing and never really getting anywhere. Obviously take away the devious cunning part of the myth, since I never tried to outwit Zeus. But the feeling of repeating the impossible. Will we be okay? will we lose the place? it is an endless back and forth. I’m exhausted of the not knowing. I realize we don’t always know where we are going, or what might happen. It does help if you have some sense of direction, rather than be lost adrift, and controlled. See there is control, just not my own. At the end of the day, it does seem a bit like some twisted Greek myth. You can’t make this shit up. I’d like this, my story, to end a bit differently. Least leave out the tragedy part. I could stay out there forever, just watching the night sky. Get lost somewhere in the dark gaps between the millions of shiny dots. Pretend there is a galaxy out there without suffering. Someday, maybe I can make that galaxy my own.