A Friend in the Winds

Is it possible to have a friend in the wind?
Not that the breeze carries me to him
Not that a north easterly brings me closer
Rather as the days fold into nights
Stars brilliantly sashay around the moon
Til sunrise comes a callin
A new day breeds a claim
To a simple whisper in the pines
Or an all out cry to you
Many things waiver in the wind
Many things set sail
Yet I still try to hold you close
I look for some sense of old permanence
Our laughter
Sharing of our despair
Sitting on broken down couches
At the same time mending a different fence
Shadow lights from up above
Unknowingly causing distance
Tangible notes on the phonograph
Repeating notes and words we both know
Comfort creatures feeling restless
Sadly unable to bury the load
Memories traipse across the threshold
Invite themselves in
Come bearing witness of the truth
Trampled roses
Unlucky as a daisy can be
This saturated old cold house
Rotten maybe to its core
Once provided me refuge
I truly never knew before
But in my earnest
Listening for a new miracle
I heard just a faint whisper in distant voice
Enchantingly lying on the wind
As it brushes past my forever red hair
Chills my ocean blue eyes
I instinctually sit up as I used too
To embrace your proper despair
Friends we sat in anticipation
Ready to share the pain
Its in the still nights
I wonder where you are
Wonder if my burden
Carried you too far
And you felt your own delicacy
When the precious wind comes my way
I want to believe you are with me
In your own way

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Madly….Deeply

Chocolate and flowers are not the way into this girls heart. Don’t get me wrong, some decadent dark chocolate and fiery red roses are welcome, but no substitute for deep sincere love.
I’ve experienced “puppy love.” In college I was sure I met the (young)man of my dreams. He was smart, handsome and innocent. He was driven. Broke as hell. Determined to become a doctor. He was so many things I simply wasn’t. My yang. Best of all, he didn’t drink, which left all the alcohol for me and a guaranteed designated driver. Its the little things.
I’ve experienced “unrequited love.” After my puppy love suddenly, out of nowhere, moved out I was broken. Messy. Probably desperate. I latched onto more than a few men but they couldn’t carry my weight. I fell and they watched in dismay. Often saying, “but we just met…” For some reason, these particular men seemed not to appreciate my quick affinity. My ability to throw everything aside. Afford loyalty before trust. As each one walked away, I was more and more confused. Doesn’t everyone want love?
Looking back, I slowly discovered I didn’t really know what love meant. In my formative years, love wasn’t free or forthcoming. It was earned. Straight A’s, for example, gained high favor. Loss of a high school tennis match led to shame. Expression of teenage angst got a wagging of the finger. If I pleased you, the payoff was love. But, then again, not really. Doesn’t everyone deserve love?
Today, I am “madly, deeply loved” by my best friend and husband. I believe I “deeply, madly love” him in return. Its messy. Ugly. Beautiful. Meaningful. Paramount. And above all else, sincere. Nothing is off limits. I yell. Slam doors. Cook dinner. Check the mail. Bring laughter. Be of good cheer. Have anxiety attacks. Have manic moments, depressive weeks and the love can still carry me. This intimacy is immense and binds us in a way I have never known. The warmth and tenderness that permeates the air we breathe no matter what, brings new meaning. Ushers in a whole new understanding of what love truly is. At least for me.

Just as Scared….

Its the trust, right
Where things are broken
Where the divide starts
Old voices
Scenarios
Play in your head
I see your shoulders
Shrug
Your face contort
Doubt in your eyes
I want to set you free
Scream and promise
There are no more illusions
This is me
Breaking down walls
Removal of masks
Taking off tap shoes
No more silhouette
But
I’m just as scared
To let you in
As
Let you go

Forgive me for the Dance

After the fire has long been expunged
My ashen feet charred w soot
The spiral smoke infested ceremony
Precariously Rests upon my skin
Paying homage to the damage you’ve done
They say let go of
What you cannot keep
I needed rid of you my love
Your stench hanging in the air
The enmeshment more than a charade
Your lines blurring into mine
Our step becoming too in line
I tried casting you off
With dignity
And grace
You came back w a fever
bungee cords in place
Tethered
Always tethered
My breath becomes yours
Until
I severed the connection
Painfully and slowly
Plotting
Disguised as independence
Disguised as a need to grow
Gasping for air
I lit the fire
Freedom flames erupted
And began to replenish my soul
Forgive me for the dance
Upon your demise
As I swayed
Sashayed
And pranced
To a rhythm all my own

Its So Okay

When we held hands it was electric.
A modern day sparkler extravaganza.
He lit up the night sky in a way I never knew existed.
Later, I came to realize it was all a fantasy.
His grip was just on the verge of being too tight.
Its okay, he’s just strong.
His words came across w a pungent tone.
Its okay, he’s just intense.
His desire sometimes could illicit pain
Its okay, he’s a fierce lover
His lips were sultry and smelled of another
Its okay, he comes home to me
His whispers were full of deceit
Its okay, sometimes lies fill the gaps
His love for me is grandiose
Its okay, i can be anything he needs

Emotional Upheaval

Feels like it all happened in slow motion. He was in the kitchen asking me a question about the day ahead. He says it was a simple question. I heard something entirely different. My body filled with heat and anger. I leaned forward on the couch and unloaded words of hatred. They shot across the room w venom. This is not who I am. I then rose to my feet and vile came spewing out of my mouth. This is not who I am. Shame surrounded me. I felt trapped. The only thing I knew to do was run. Out of control and desperate I fled the scene.
This emotional upheaval actually began the night before. My sponsor always told me we are as sick as our secrets. It’s not a new phenomenon that I withhold information. This time, I chose not to tell my husband I quit taking my meds. The funny part is, and this is the honest truth, I was cleaning the bathroom and declaring to myself I MUST tell him. I would absolutely find “the right time” this very weekend. I didn’t know the phone rang and I certainly didn’t know it was my psychiatrist calling at 6pm on a Friday night. Shit hit the fan fast.
She was in my ear saying how worried she was I am not taking any medication at all. He was in my sight worried I was receiving this phone call knowing something wasn’t right. I just wanted to yell at everyone to leave me alone. How very selfish of me to want people to not care about me. How very selfish of me to make an important decision about meds and not include my husband. It’s called keeping a secret. I need to get honest and real.
I am not a malicious person. My attempt to keep information secret was not meant to hurt him. Although, that’s exactly what it did.
Back against the wall I came clean. Stopped all meds cold turkey about a month ago. Ups and downs continue. Suicidal thoughts continue but I am making it through so far. I did not share that I had agonized all night about jumping off a bridge on my return home from my business trip. In my mind, no reason to take meds. If I die, I die. I am still selective in what I want to share.
Catching you back up..morning comes and we are both harboring feelings from last night. I yell and scream, grab my keys and bail. So many emotions fill my car..guilt, shame, fear, sadness. I drive around aimlessly for a while alone with my thoughts. Its time I take responsibility for this illness. For my one sided decisions. For my over reactions. The road laid ahead of me. My future in front of me. I know this much: this is not who I want to be. I drove until all those emotions no longer took up space.
I didn’t rush home to make amends, but I did eventually return. I’ll spare you all the details of what ensued upon my arrival home as it was not pretty. I am hopeful that it was productive. I shed many tears as I listened to how hurt he felt, how he wonders if at the root of all this disease is my unhappiness w him, how he worries everyday I am going to hurt myself. I was able to tell him I don’t know how to let him into my darkness. I told him I didn’t want him to know what I think, the places my mind goes.
After many minutes of intense silence, he said this is the most honest conversation we have had for months.
i think we have come to an unconscious don’t ask don’t tell mentality. We are both scared and dancing around each other. I do think I do much more dancing and juggling than he does.
There isn’t a lack of deep love between us. Darkness effects the family as a whole. While I’m in my pit trying hard to cover up my fall in an effort to “protect” him from me, all I’m doing is creating more space between us. That for sure is NOT productive.
I still have to figure out if medication is going to play a role in my recovery. What I learned today is that not including my husband in the equation is not an option. He wants to support me. But he simply can’t if I won’t let him. My task is to learn how to let him.

Thick Skinned & Battle Ready

I want to unzip this thin skinned costume, take my skeletal self and step into a thick skinned, battle ready version of me. Historically the onset of fall brings on deep depression, psychosis and hospitalization. I can’t forget in 2014 I had the most intense manic episode followed by a suicide attempt. I spent Thanksgiving in the psych ward. I woke today with a heavy body. Tears hanging on my eyelashes before I was even awake. I don’t think I slept a wink. I agonized over everything and nothing. All. Night. Long.
In May, one of my two cats (they are sisters) died suddenly. She was my pal. My darling furry friend who often laid on top of me while I cried in bed. I could just look at her and she came a running to spring in my lap. She had a love of boxes. She would sit on top of them, crawl into them, somehow jam her pudgy body into every crook of cardboard. We always seemed to have a new box for Sage. She even liked old ones. Whenever I took out the recycling, and brought back in the “clean” empty box she would make a beeline. So, when she slinked into the dirty box half full of recyclables I knew something was wrong. I knew this was it. I couldn’t get her into the vet fast enough.
I tell this story because I am seeing signs in my other, remaining kitty. She has always been a little more aloof. You have to coax her to come to you. We named her Beyoncé because she seemed to dance around you. Things are very much on her terms. But, she has become my pal. I’m hard pressed to get her to sit on my lap, much less lay with me. She is who she is. So, I’m hyper aware of bizarre behavior now. I watch the way she walks, sits, responds, eats, drinks. I’m nervous.
Last night as I tried to sleep and heard her fussing, I had visions of Sage without breath alone in her box. Sadness filled my being. I got up and tried to comfort Beyoncé, she relaxed and settled a little. Back in my bed, I laid in darkness and listened to make sure my last furry friend was breathing. Morning came and we couldn’t find her in our 1200 sq foot house. She wasn’t coming to the sound of my voice. Finally I shook her bag of food and out from behind the washing machine she appeared. Bizarre behavior noted.
I feel paralyzed. Should I take her to the vet and hear the words I am afraid to hear? Spend money I don’t really have. Should I just anticipate, given her sister’s passing, Beyoncé may soon leave us. She is resting on my lap as I write this. I’m gently petting her, reminding her I love her. I just hope she knows she’s loved!
On the cusp of November, rain is falling hard on this Sunday morning. Its dark and dreary. As is my mood. I don’t feel battle ready. I feel fragile. Vulnerable. When I have the energy I’m going to seek my thick skinned replica.

Dear Devoted Husband

Dear devoted husband,

I had forgotten the fear that is instilled in you once I drink. You micromanage and follow me around the house terrified there are still secrets. I have battled this disease of alcoholism for a very long time. I do it for me, but I also do it for you. I don’t want you to have to endure me as a monster. Ungrateful. Bitter. Hateful. Throwing daggers of rage directly at you when it truly has nothing to do w you. My demons are big. I’m so sorry it impacts you this way. You feel unsafe in your own home because of the wreckage I cause. It feels unfair. Why should you? Why would you continue to support me after all I have put us through?
I appealed to you in my collapse. If only you could understand my chaos. My self loathing. The roller coaster of bipolar. I reveal the suicidal thoughts. The desire to escape. The uncertainty I can carry on like this. You could probably never understand the way I want you to. But you stay by my side always, through it all. As the alcohol collided with my intense anger I said many things I did not mean. I sincerely regret. You laid in bed with me as I cried it out. Stuttered and stammered to get my painful words across. I couldn’t bring myself to announce the plan I have been mulling over for the past week. The incessant suicidal chatter that is intrusive, never stops and is convincing. I instead rest on your shoulder. I let the tears run wild down my cheeks. While there is a sense of freedom in an emotional explosion, picking up the pieces is another story.
I try to contain my defensiveness as you ask me where I’m going in our 1200 square ft house. I stand up and you flinch wondering if I’m going to sneak a drink. I put my hand on the doorknob and you say..are you really going to get coffee or are you going to drink. Please don’t drink. My self loathing increases w each question. What a fool I am giving in to the false promise of alcohol. What a fool I am to continually test the limits. If you said you couldn’t love me anymore I wouldn’t blame you. Sometimes I hope you do, so I can release this guilt. So I can jump and end this nightmare. But no. Over and over you profess your love for me. All of me.
I must contend with the guilt. With the roller coaster. With the fear. Because you do.

Feeling the need to RUN!

Communication is not easy for me. I have these impulses to run. I want to say they are new, but they are not. I have physically packed some stuff and split a few times.  Before the bipolar diagnosis and getting sober, I would just run and drown, in the bottle.  I cant escape my thoughts. I can’t escape you asking me about my thoughts. I can’t sleep.  I have a fantasy that I will find a quaint hotel on the beach and come to some sort of realization about myself.  Solve the riddle.  At least emerge from my sequester released from the bondage of self. Didn’t really work last time. I was quite manic. I have lists upon lists of ways I could be a better person.  Sometimes I can see that’s not really the issue. I am already a better person.  What I am longing for is feeling/believing I am a worthy person despite this illness.  That even steeped in madness, crying on the floor, kicking the cat, or frozen on the couch unable to communicate I am still worthy.  Even when all I can think of are ways to end my life. To end the pain. Don’t take my meds.  Take too many of my meds.  I’m still okay. I’m still loveable.  When I hurl mean emotional daggers at your head I would never normally say, when I can’t let you in, when I skip my psych appointments, or I hide beyond my wall I am still special.  Breaks my heart.  Looking in the mirror sometimes and just wanting to give up.  When tired wraps itself around my body and I cant cook dinner or clean the house.  When I run, I only have me to feel guilty about. I want to be more, not less.

In the light

The light is promised to you, she said with tears in her eyes.  I have called upon the light a time or two  when I was drowning in darkness and I promise you he will come, within minutes.  You can be free.  All you have to do is ask. He is waiting with open arms.  Its not about religion, she explained. Its about the energy. I draw such positive and powerful energy from his light. When she said, You don’t have to do this alone..that’s when the flood came. Crying in a hair salon? Is that taboo?  We were having a moment!

I am not necessarily new to the concept of a higher power. I was in Alcoholics Anonymous for years. I called to him when I was on my knees at my house and knew in the far reaches of my body I needed help.  I did my step work and I believe turned my will and my life over to something greater than myself. I could feel it for a short time. I made a point of checking in with my higher power. I remember driving to work one day and the exact location on the road I unconsciously began a dialogue with my higher power.  It was comforting to know something much more powerful and present than me had my back.

I thought of it as nature in general, then the ocean.  I think the ocean has given me the most relief and peace of mind. I still run to it in when I feel completely out of sorts and don’t know what to do next. The booming sounds of the waves, the smell of the ocean air, that cold  water rushing over my feet has always rejuvenated me.  I breathe when I am there. Deep cleansing breaths.  I tend to hold my breath when I am at home.

However, I am new to more organized religion. Going to Church and such. I grew up with no foundation. I don’t think there was any discussion about going to church or not, we just didn’t. No explanation about Easter or Christmas.  It just wasn’t really spoken in our house. I remember when I was really young, maybe 6-7, my brother and I went to church with an old couple in our neighborhood. They were thrilled to show us around, hold our hand and explain who we were.  We were their good deed. The woman enticed us with candy. If we sat very still and were very good we would get candy. I could be remembering this wrong, but it almost became an obligation to them that we go every Sunday.

Later in my teenage years I had moved to Arkansas.  It took me quite a while to find friends in this new setting. I was the odd man out with a California “surfer” accent. In due time, and many sports later I fell in with a very nice girl who had a loving family. They were quite religious and heavily involved in the church.  I loved being around this family, as they were the epitome of what I imagined it to be. So kind, loving, warm, and genuinely interested in each other. I began to spend a lot of time at my friend’s house. So, one day she invited me to youth group.

This point in time is etched in my  memory bank. It draws such emotion from me just thinking about it. I think deep down this is the seed that causes my fear/aversion to church.  Perhaps my first introduction was a rock-a-thon. Each person would get pledges to see how long they could stay up and “rock” in a rocking chair through the night.  While not rocking, you could be playing games, listening to music, eating food. I think I enjoyed that.  It was the next encounter that brings tears and complete sadness to my being when I think about it.

Youth group was also a youth ministry.  Sorry, I’m sure I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know.  We sat around the circle and read a passage from the bible (which I had never even really held in my hands before.) and then discussion ensued. Details are foggy. I want to say we were talking about Joseph. In any event, the reading portion ended and many of the kids had much to say regarding it. I had nothing to say. I didn’t even understand it. I had never heard it before.  All the sudden I was picked on and asked a specific question as to my thoughts on the matter.  Again, I had no answer.  I looked around this circle of people I didn’t really know and felt so inadequate.  The boy who asked the first time, asked again, this time adding what are you doing here if you know nothing of the bible? How can that be, what is wrong with you and your parents?

I don’t really remember if my friend defended me, but I know the teacher didn’t. I ran out into the hall so full of shame.  Tears running down my face. I was trapped as my friend was my ride home.  Finally the teacher did come to find me, she/he took me back into the classroom and tried to console me. But the damage was done. I honestly think I have felt unworthy in the eyes of god ever since.  Its remained self-inflicted unworthiness.  It’s funny how things of long ago just stay with you.

My husband and I did get married in a church as he grew up w a strong foundation. I was fine with it.  We found a wonderful pastor in Norther California who was just hippie enough to make me not feel judged.  Unfortunately, we moved an hour away from that church. As we searched for another one in our hometown I tried to stay open minded.  Each Sunday we went, I just cried through the whole sermon. I’m not exactly sure what that is about.

When I was in the hospital in April, my husband encouraged me to talk to the chaplain. I was so nervous. I didn’t really know what to say. At that time, I was also experiencing psychotic symptoms that were satanic in nature.  It was a battle between god and satan in my mind. I got a “message” from god that he was essentially turning me over to the dark side.  So we talked about that. I asked whether it was my fault and something I could have done in this lifetime.  He indulged me, but the one thing I remember most was he said, god would never turn ANYONE away that wanted his help. Not the worst person you could possibly think of. Certainly not you.

i have surrendered to an eating disorder. I have surrendered to alcoholism. I don’t know why I am having such a hard time w this. I think it’s not tangible enough for me right now. The ocean is tangible. I can see it. I can feel it.  I long for strength. I long to feel accepted and loved in my heart. I long to feel safe. These things are possible, or so I have been told. Do I have to feel like I deserve it first? Or do I just deserve it because I am?