Guess what, Kiddies! Yours Truly is having another panic attack. Want to come along for the ride? Sure you do! Weeeeeee. See! Spiraling out of control is fun. (In the same way, plummeting to your death after removing your seat belt on a roller coaster ride is a blast.) Okay, here's my problem: Nothing has changed. No dilemmas. No drama. No devastation. Things are holding steady...which leads me to conclude, in the words of General Ackbar, ITS A TRAP! Something is lurking. Waiting until I'm all hopeful and sane to crush me like Nero crushed Poppea. That's right! This Gal is getting her hopes up for 2013 only to have them jumped on. Up and down! Up and down! We know what's coming (she says in a paranoid way). If you want the truth, Rational Jennifer doesn't believe a word of this (well, not most of it at least). She thinks things are looking up. That something wonderful is just around the corner...maybe...hopefully. But Rational Jennifer isn't here right now. Crazy Jennifer is here and she's a nervous wreck. And don't expect a moral to my rambling today. The best I can give you is the Bible verse I'm clinging to with both hands at the moment.
Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
And that's what I'm praying for, Kids, hope and a future.
Dr. King Schulz: How do you like the bounty-hunting business?
Django: Kill white people and get paid for it? What's not to like?
Tonight Yours Truly went to see Quentin Tarantino's DJANGO UNCHAINED starring Jamie Foxx, Christopher Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Samuel L. Jackson, and I am pleased to report that the film is a fun ride...for about the first two thirds of the movie. In Django, Foxx, a slave, and Waltz, a dentist turned bounty hunter, team up to take down bad guys and free Django's (Foxx) wife (an epic adventure according Tarantino). And for about two hours the audience has a rip roaring good time as Foxx plays the straight man alongside Christopher Waltz's witty banter. We were loving it right up until the point Tarantino offed Schulz and forced the audience to watch a forty minute humorless blood bath. Below you will find my Top Three Issues with Django Unchained. (Warning: Contains Spoilers) 1.) Overcomplicated Plot Line: Can ANYONE tell me why the hell Tarantino has Django and Schulz, who spent all winter making THOUSANDS of dollars, go through an elaborate scheme that involved pretending to buy a slave for $12,000 in order to really buy Django's wife, Brunhilda, for $300? DiCaprio's character, who owns Django's wife, has no special attachment to Brunhilda so why not offer an exorbitant price for her and be done with it? The answer I suppose is that wasn't epic enough for Tarantino so he left a giant hole in the plot for his audience to brood over. Oh, and he wanted to off Schulz and couldn't find any other way to do so. 2.) Stereotyping: Seriously folks, Spike Lee might be right here. Tarantino borders on offensive. For example, in the movie, Samuel L. Jackson plays DiCaprio's house slave, a man so morally corrupt and evil I will have nightmares about him for years. No seriously people, Old Quentin has taken the stereotype of the obedient slave and turned it on its head making Jackson the evil mastermind and DiCaprio his puppet. We hate Samson, Jackson's character, who seems to hate all black people in general. Perhaps Tarantino meant to use Jackson for shock value but outside of Django and Brunhilda his other black characters are also either morally corrupt or completely soulless or simply unmoving. On the opposite end, outside of Waltz's character all Tarantino's white characters are both blood thirsty and completely moronic. Really and truly the stereotyping became so distracting I wanted to yell: "Quentin have you EVER heard of nuance?" 3.) Blood Bathes: The last forty five minutes of Django is so over the top with balls being blown off and heads exploded that I was reminded of Sam Raimi's ARMY OF DARKNESS. Now, that would be okay if Tarantino simply wanted to call his film a parody. But, I think if you asked Quentin he'd take the work much more seriously. However that's not possible because by the end of the film the blood bath had lost all symbolism and become ridiculous to the point of stupid. Also, I just doubt that heads really splat like that. Just sayin!
“If you can make a girl laugh, you can make her do anything.” ~Marilyn Monroe
“Everything that is done in this world is done by hope" (Martin Luther). This year my New Year's Resolutions are a secret. SSSSshhhhhh. What? You want me to spill my guts? You think you're worthy of Secret Keeping? Well, Kiddies, you're not! Despite the fact that I do spill from time to time, at the moment, my lips are sealed. That's right. I've painted them pink, pressed them together, and locked what I'm wanting away in my heart. Why? Well, I've decided I'm using this winter and spring to get healthy again. Uh huh. I'm workin' on me so when this summer comes LOOK OUT! What's the difference? Well, I have a little hope this year. Hope in what the future might hold. Because its true, my dears, If you can make a girl laugh, you can make her do anything."
This is my letter to the world, That never wrote to me,-- The simple news that Nature told, With tender majesty. Her message is committed To hands I cannot see; For love of her, sweet countrymen, Judge tenderly of me! ~Emily Dickinson Judge tenderly of me. Isn't that what we want? For those around us, especially the ones we love, to look upon us with compassion and understanding. If its not already obvious, the snow is falling down and I'm unsettled today. Not sure why. But Yours Truly is aching for a little hand holding at the moment. Nope, there isn't a moral or a lesson here. If I knew how to fix the problem, I wouldn't be writing. As a child waiting was always hard for me. It still is.
"We be nice to them if they be nice to us." Below you will find find Five Ways that Pursuing a Phd is similar to becoming Gollum. Merry Christmas, Ya'll! 1.)Obsession with the Precious or Dissertation: Finishing a Phd means obsessing over a particular question to the point that you and everyone around you can no longer stand the subject (or your presence). That's Right, Folks. Each day Grad Students plop themselves down in chairs, picks up their laptops, and pour over the same factual tidbits over and over again until they become mindless drones clutching their papers, drooling, and mumbling: "Its mine. My own. My Precious." 2.) Split Personalities: Too much time spent alone reading and writing often causes the lonely Grad Student to develop antisocial tendencies. (Did you know touch deprived monkeys become antisocial? The same thing goes for grad. students) For example, when invited to an event or outing, like Smeagol, she begins an inner battle between the person who entered academia (a somewhat sane individual) and the one who she is now (a poorly dressed hobo who sleeps all day and stays up all night). This conflict can lead to terrible confusion, nasty outbursts, and self degradation: "You don't have any friends. Nobody likes you."
3.) Strange Eating Habits: By the end, of their first semester the average Grad Student has begun scavenging for food: free lunches, leftover cookies, three day old pizza crusts. You name it. We'll eat it. In fact, the consumption of junk food often becomes so overwhelming that by the end of their second year when offered a even a raw fish, a Grad Student will respond: "The rock and pool, is nice and cool, so juicy sweet. Our only wish, to catch a fish, so juicy sweet." 4.) Overzealous Reactions: Listen, Kiddies, Colleagues do not equal Friends. This means Grad. School is often an isolating business. That being the case, when a Grad Student happens upon an opportunity for some real fun she tends to jump at it in what can only be described as a socially awkward and overly zealous way: "It plays GAMES, Precious."
5.) Negotiations: Listen, Grad students live a life of constant avoidance. Writing a dissertation is akin to taking the One Ring to Mordor. Its rough going. We'd rather keep the Ring and skip the Trip! This means when said Student's Advisor demands chapters, she begins making excuses. My hair is falling out. I lost my mind. My grandmother died, AGAIN. I have halitosis. Dear Lord, "It burns. It freezes. Take it off us!"
"And so it is Christmas and what have you done? Another year over and a new one begun." ~John Lennon
Because its almost Christmas and because Yours Truly is fighting back tears (its hard to be certain about the things that matter most): Here are the Top Five Things I'm thankful for this year.
1.) Ringing in 2012 : Last Christmas Eve, I cried myself to sleep. The next day I drove back to South Bend on Christmas Day and ate dinner alone at a McDonald's in Indianapolis. As if that wasn't enough, my oh so Merry Christmas was proceeded by a hellish six months of psychiatrist appointments, torrents of tears, and terrible uncertainty. Thus, this year I can honestly say I more than a little grateful to put 2012 to bed.
2.) My Brother: Listen, Kids, I am fucked three ways towards the weekend, and putting up with me on a regular basis isn't always easy. When my world fell apart this year, my brother, who is busy with law school, stepped up and took care of me. Thus, each time I struggle with despair, I remember I have a brother who cares about me and wants me to stick around. That's enough to slow me down and make me think.
3.) Drugs: If you happen to be bipolar, meds are a gift from God. No, really, I'm serious. My meds keep me from bouncing between soul crushing depression and sleepless mania. Therefore, my delicious daily cocktail of drugs is in my Top Five.
4.) My Bible Study Ladies: Sometimes, what a Gal needs when she's down and out are Fairy Godmothers to make her fancy dresses and keep her from pricking her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel...but, I don't those so you can stop envying me now. But I DO have four very wonderful ladies in their sixties who pray for me, support me, and even made me a birthday cake this year. That's something to thankful for, I think. I LOVE my Bible Study Ladies.
5.) Someone Special: Again, Children, I am fit for a straight jacket. Really, ask my psychiatrist. This means I am liable to email about ten times a day if I am feeling a little lost...yeah, I'm that annoying. And if you'd have asked me last Christmas if this particular person would still be in my life, I'd have promptly burst into tears and said most likely not. But a year later, and I found out miracles do happen. So what is my point? Well, listen, I doubt I'm getting what I wanted for Christmas this year...and that's hard. But you know what? It might be silly but I still believe in miracles. If I review 2012, I know my God is a God of miracles (Psalms 77:14) and this year that's what I'm praying for.
Hoosier: A Native or Inhabitant of Indiana. That is the worst definition of I've ever read. It tells me nothing about what to expect from the average Hoosier...ssssooo, I've revised the definition. Having been born and bred in the state allow me to describe the Average Hoosier to You!
1.) Time Lords: No, Hoosiers do not have Tardis'. If we did, we'd be cooler. But seriously, People, we Indianans take our time zones very seriously. You see, Hoosiers could care less about what is happening in Iraq, Iran, or Pakistan (their favorite foreign policies involve blowing things up), but mess with a Time Lords time zone and you're trouble, my Friend. Want an example? Sure you do! Back in 2005, a Freshman Republican Representative for Knox County, Troy Woodruff, promised his constituents he would fight daylight savings time to his dying breathe. However, when the issue came to the Indiana House, Woodruff voted along party lines thereby supporting the infamous bill. This so enraged the citizens of Knox County that they campaigned almost weekly against Time Lord Woodruff tyranny in the Vincennes Sun Commercial. Needless to say, next election a Democrat replaced his naughty predecessor by running on the promise bring the Time Lords back to a simpler, Pre-Daylight Savings Time. We're Time Lords, Dudes. Just not the cool kind.
2.) Closet Racists: Really Guys. In1920, Indiana was not only the whitest state in the nation, it was also home to the Second Ku Klux Klan. In fact, that organization gained such popularity that a full one third of the state's male population belonged to the KKK. Furthermore, this number fails to include female members of the Klan. Let alone, Kiddy Klaverns (yeah, that was a real thing). Due to a lot of negative press, over time Hoosiers have learned to closet their racism, but be assured Indiana still home to the Klan. In fact, while having a tire changed in Lafayette, Indiana the manager of Tire Barn offered to introduce me to his fellow Klansmen. I politely declined and got the hell outta there. If you would like more information click here. Yep, Racist Bastards.
3.) Haters of Knowledge: Listen, if you plan to bring so new fangled notion of sciences and technology, not to mention the concept of tolerance, to the Hoosier state than you better be damn sure none of your ideas appear to conflict with the Indiana's largely evangelical religious values. Here's just one incident of book burning in Indiana (yes, there are others). In December of 1977 a self-proclaimed Senior Citizens Group of Warsaw, Indiana burned forty copies of a textbook that had been banned by the Warsaw school board. The book was entitled Values Clarification: A Handbook of Practical Strategies for Teacher sand Student because the information contained therein seemed, both to the elderly and school board members alike, to breed pro-choice and hedonistic tendencies in their youth. In order to combat the Forces of Evil, the Old People stood around a barrel laughing wildly and burning the books. Having taught classes in Warsaw, Indiana I can confidently say, the Fine Citizen's of that town have stamped out knowledge to the best of their abilities. Merry Christmas! We hate book learnin!
“But now his dry and silent grieving for his lost wife must end, for there she stood, the fierce, recalcitrant, and fragile stranger, forever to be won again.” Ursula K. Le Guin, The Lathe of Heaven
Tonight, I wanted to discuss Ursula Le Guin's LATHE OF HEAVEN, to tease out the relationship between George Orr and Heather...to think about dreams. But I can't. Not tonight. Its as if what I want to say is just on the tip of my tongue (or fingers), but something is holding me back. Perhaps its too personal. I do that, you know. Personalize books and movies. Its not particularly healthy. I'm working on breaking the habit. Discuss it in therapy. Anyway, for now, this is a lost cause. I guess I'll just sit here with thoughts of George and Heather and evil Dr. Haber, and how they all relate to my current situation floating around in my messed up brain.
But the ghosts that we knew will flicker from view
And we'll live a long life
So give me hope in the darkness that I will see the light
Cause oh they gave me such a fright
But I will hold as long as you like
Just promise me we'll be alright"
It's late. Can't sleep. And when sleep evades me, I worry and fret. But, I'll tell you a secret...unlike, most of the time, I am a little more hopeful tonight. Why you ask? Well, because I'm praying for my birthday wish to come true this year. Yep, that's right, I turned thirty this week, blew out my candles, and made a wish that's near and dear to my heart. No, I won't tell you what it is. I want it to come true. Not to mention, that's personal. What do you think of me? I'm a LADY, People. Aaannnyyyway, I've no idea why I have faith in this particular dream. All I know is that at the moment, down deep, I believe all will be well. Maybe because someone special assured me of that not too long ago. "So give me hope in the darkness that I will see the light. Cause oh they gave me such a fright. But I will hold as long as you like just promise me we'll be alright."
“There could have been no two hearts so open, no tastes so similar, no feelings so in unison." Jane Austen's PERSUASION is a story about waiting. Confession: Patience is not a virtue I possess. I hate nothing more than waiting whether on traffic, a diet coke, or love. I long for immediate gratification. But, with age, I am learning that sometimes ya just gotta hang in there and wait. No shortcuts or sneak previews. I know. It's scary. What if all that time and effort comes to nought? Well, then we cry. But maybe some things and some people are worth waiting for...Austen thought so, and I do, too.
Who is Keyser Soze? He is supposed to be Turkish. Some say his father was German. Nobody believed he was real. Nobody ever saw him or knew anybody that ever worked directly for him, but to hear Kobayashi tell it, anybody could have worked for Soze. You never knew. That was his power. The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist. And like that, poof. He's gone. If ya can't tell Yours Truly is having a rough night. Maybe its silly to be frightened, but... Kids, life is a chaotic mess, and, personally, I'm just not comfortable with that. No, I am NOT a free spirit. Some Little Granola Hippie celebrating the vast and awesome unknown. Screw that shit. I'm Verbal Fucking Kint, the man with the plan (if you don't understand reference then educate yourself and watch The Usual Suspects). And I want reassurances. Is that too much to ask? I don't think so. But what can ya do? Well, I suggest focusing on the things you CAN control...like how many cats to own and whether you want tea tonight. What? You go right ahead and dream big. I'm being realistic here. And then pray. My adviser's wife sent me the following prayer for my birthday because she knew the day was causing me much anxiety. It didn't fix everything, but helps. And I appreciate the thought. Watch over your child, O Lord, as her days increase; bless andguide her wherever she may be. Strengthen her when shestands; comfort her when discouraged or sorrowful; raiseher up if she falls; and in her heart may your peace whichpasses understanding abide all the days of her life;through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
“Dear Leonard. To look life in the face. Always to look life in the face and to know it for what it is. At last to know it. To love it for what it is, and then, to put it away. Leonard. Always the years between us. Always the years. Always the love. Always the hours.” (Virginia, The Hours) “But there are still the hours, aren't there? One and then another, and you get through that one and then, my god, there's another.” (Richard, The Hours) Virginia or Richard's interpretation of the hours? Or, in other words, do the hours stand for the love between two people or are they endless counters ticking off the miles until we reach the end of a journey? I want to believe in the first interpretation, but evidence pulls me toward the second. Even if the hours are defined by a shared love, doesn't each of us end our journeys alone? Even Virginia suggests so: "To love it for what it is, and then, to put it way." Maybe life comes down to a Sylvia Plath quote: “God, but life is loneliness, despite all the opiates, despite the shrill tinsel gaiety of 'parties' with no purpose, despite the false grinning faces we all wear." Is that loneliness what we're meant to look in the face? To love life for? I don't. Because there are still the hours, aren't there? One and then another, and you get through that one and then, my god, there's another." Perhaps Richard is right.
"If you're really Santa Claus, you can get it for me. And if you can't, you're only a nice man with a white beard like mother says."
The 1947 version of Miracle on 34th Street starring Natalie Wood and Maureen O'Hara is one of my favorite movies. It has always has been. I'm not sure why except that, despite what the evidence suggests, I still believe in miracles. And to that end, when I walked through Macy's Department Store tonight, I happened upon a little red table and mailbox set up for shoppers to send their letters to Santa. And, well, I couldn't help myself. I'm sucker for those types of marketing ploys. Thus, I plopped my thirty year old self down and wrote the Big Man in Red a short supplication. No! I won't tell you what I wrote. That's private. But, I'll say this, after depositing my letter I felt a little better. And like little Susan Walker, on the drive home I sat murmuring: "I believe. I believe. Its silly, but I believe."
*Please Note: For every letter to Santa Macy's receives they will donate $1 to the Make A Wish Foundation up to $1 million. So go to Macy's, write your letter, and believe in the power of magic you Muggles!
Because Yours Truly is too frightened to come up with her own supplication, for tonight, I'll rely on the book of Common Prayer. (Because December is a dangerous time of year. And because I cry too easily. And most especially because The Day Which Shall Not Be Named is rapidly approaching.)
O God, our times are in your hand: Look with favor, we pray, on your servant as I begin another year. Grant that I may grow in wisdom and grace, and strengthen my trust in your goodness all the days of my life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
“The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom Its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames. And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don’t!’ and ‘Hang on!’, can understand the jump. Not really. You’d have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling.” ~David Foster Wallace
“We are afraid to care too much, for fear that the other person does not care at all.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt
"I don't know the answers to the questions." That's the thought that runs through my mind each time I dance around the edges of the Rabbit Hole. And it should be more than obvious that my flirting with a breakdown happens more often than not. But what I find most odd about that particular recurring thought is that I don't quite understand its meaning. What are the questions? Why do I need answers? Okay, I'll be honest, if pressed, I can come up with more than a few questions that plague me (and even make me cry from time to time). But, then again, in the midst of a smallish flip out, "I don't know the answers to the questions," is more of a childish lament that embodies my frustrations and fears than an intellectual inquiry. And, in case its not clear, tonight, I don't know the answers to the questions.
“Nobody sees a flower - really - it is so small it takes time - we haven't time - and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time.” (Georgia O'Keeffe) Flowers, friendship, and love all take time to grow. Maybe because I am impulsive by nature, grasping that particular concept has been difficult for me. Oh, don't get me wrong here. I've never been a Love at First Sight Gal. Nope, Yours Truly is far too suspicious for that. However, while I am slow to take in the bigger picture, to see what is standing in front of me, once I finally do, I gobble up the details quickly, aligning the planets and stars as I go. Then, as my heart pounds and all the colors in my world become vivid, I proceed to fall hard and fast. But, I'm weird, Guys, and more than a little crazy. Most people don't process feelings like I do. And there's nothing wrong with that. In fact, that different type of processing is what a compliments a personality like mine, wild and unhinged. We're complicated creatures and, anything worth waiting for takes time to grow. So if you, like me, are far too impulsive for tonight content yourself with this knowledge. “You are one of my nicest thoughts.” (Georgia O'Keeffe)
1.) Carol of the Bells (Trans Siberian Orchestra): This song just rocks. You hear this on the radio, and, suddenly, you are Barney Stinson proclaiming: "This Christmas is going to be Lengend-wait for it-dary!" Now, the truth is it probably won't. You'll be let down, just like every other year, but when you hear the Trans Siberian Orchestra, for a moment, you think this year might different. Carol of the Bells as a Rock Opera makes us believe.
2.) Snoopy and the Red Baron (Snoopy's Christmas) (Royal Guardsman): I refuse to defend this choice. If you can't get some enjoyment out of this then you're dead inside. End of Story.
3.) All I Want for Christmas is You (Vince Vance and the Valiants): Move over Mariah Carey, this song blows yours outta of the water. Well, at least it does for me. Listen, I have memories of singing along to this song while riding around in the backseat of my father's loaner car as a kid. Each time I heard it, I daydreamed about being far away and doing unspeakably naughty things with my Sweet Baboo. And, you know what? I'll admit it, I still do! "Santa can't bring me what I need" is a sentiment I understand and have always understood.
4.) The Lord's Prayer (Engelbert Humperdink): This is just a classic. I don't know why I have to defend it. What do you mean, you've never heard of Engelbert Humperdink? You thought it was someone on the Princess Bride? Well, you're wrong. Just go educate yourself. I refuse to argue with an ignorant person. I'm right on this one.
5.) Christmas Time is Here (Vince Guaraldi Trio): For anyone born after 1965, this song brings ya straight back straight back to your childhood. For me, it was a snowy day, when my father picked up a VHS version of "Charlie Brown's Christmas" for us a gas station after a dentist appointment. We were thrilled, and, for a moment, all was right with the world. Even now, when I listen to this song, I believe twigs can transform into beautiful Christmas trees. Then of course, I break into an awful rendition of "Hark the Harold Angels Sing": Loo loo loo loo.
*Runners Up: Adam Sandler's "Hanukkah Song," and, because I'm a red neck at heart, Randy Brooks "Grandma Got Ran Over by a Reindeer."
Last December, the beginning of my long downward spiral. I wish the month were over. Today, we discussed my fears in counseling. What is I think might happen? Truth is I'm not sure, but I worry an unexpected blow is lurking. I'm scared of crying myself to sleep again. Scared of hurting that way again. Scared of hoping for something that might never come. This year "I need someone. I need to hold somebody close. And I need more than this holding. I need someone to understand how I feel at a time like now. And the understanding must be part of the holding" (Betty Smith).
So far away. Doesn't anybody stay in one place anymore? It would be so fine to see your face at my door. Doesn't help to know, you're just time away. Long ago I reached for you and there you stood. Holding you again could only do me good. How I wish I could, but you're so far away.
"Marley was dead, to begin with. This must be distinctly understood, or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate." Kiddies, I swear if you do not know where the previous quote comes from than you're living in some sort of cultural and social vacuum that you need to extricate yourself from immediately. No, I'm not telling you. Pick up a book and educate yourself. But, back on topic here. Last night, I was visited by three spirits who showed me the meaning of Christmas. Shocker: Its not the Limited Edition Red Christmas Cups from Starbucks. I was floored. Obviously, I'm kidding. If Three Spirits really had visited me last night, I'd, first, bark at them in a Scroogie manner: "You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of underdone potato. There's more gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are!"...then I'd call my psychiatrist for an emergency appointment. Obviously, my meds need changing. So where I am going with this? I've lied to you about seeing spirits, and now I'm rambling on about changing my meds. Well, after buying a little Charlie Brown sized Christmas Tree, last night, I did begin pondering the Christmas Season. The truth is, like most people, I get a little depressed around the holidays. I'm plagued by questions this time of year: What if everything I hope for never comes to pass? What if next year is just the same as this one? What if what life is nothing more than hoping followed by disappointment? Now, some People, would react to this depression by boycotting the Christmas Season, but here's the problem. While I hate all the expectations and dreams associated with the Holidays, I love the paraphernalia. No, really, I can't get enough of Starbucks Christmas Cups, Twinkling Lights, and Decorated Trees. So how can I eat up all the Christmasy Accessories without letting what they symbolize make me nauseous? "Can anyone tell me what Christmas is all about?" "I can tell you Charlie Brown: Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone." (Charles Schulz) Huh, Maybe, I've been looking at Christmas all wrong. Perhaps its less about what I'm hoping for and more about what I can give especially to the people I love. You know if I look at the holidays in that light than they aren't something to dread. Instead, Christmas becomes an opportunity to show my love and affection...and I'm not too bad at that. Its manageable and there's no let down. This means I can gobble up every single tacky decoration hanging up from here to Lexington without any of the remorse! Now, in true Charlie Brown fashion everyone sing along with me now: "Hark the Harold Angels Sing. Glory to the newborn King."* *Yes, I do think an important element of Christmas is celebrating Christ's birth, but I also think that the season itself comes with ideals and expectations that most of our lives don't measure up to, and, thus, we're left feeling empty and a little let down.
"Do you like your cats?" If the answer to that question is "not tonight," then I know something is wrong. I'm off again. We've thrown it into reverse are a rocketing back toward crazy. Welcome to Wonderland. The other Bipolar Guests have been waiting. In case its not obvious, at the moment, I dislike my feline friends. (They won't leave me alone)No one told me being bipolar would be this hard or that Wonderland could be so lonely.
She was a fast machine, she kept her motor clean Was the best damn woman that I ever seen Shad had the sightless eyes, telling me no lies Knocking me out with those American thighs Taking more than her share, had me fighting for air She told me to come but I was already there The walls start shaking, earth was quaking My mind was aching, we were making it And you shook me all night long Yeah, you shook me all night long AC/DC Confession: For years now, my favorite song to exercise to is AC/DC's "You Shook Me All Night Long." Yeah, I'll admit it. Every time I listen to it I get all worked up. I just can't help myself. The same parts of my personality that cause me to either love fully or not at all, also makes me perpetually excited. Just say it with me now: "Taking more than her share, had me fight for air. She told me to come but I was already there." You're a little aroused, too, now, aren't you? See its not just me. Okay maybe part of it IS me, but that can't be help. I was raised evangelical, you know, and its common knowledge that Evangelical Gals are just bursting with sexual energy. The good Lord made us that way. Now, my Darlings, go to bed and have naughty dreams.And YOU shook me all night long, yeah, YOU shook me all night long.
Dance your cares away. Worries for another day. Let the music play. Down in Fraggle Rock. <Said in a small and frightened voice> Yes, when Yours Truly is a wee bit crazy, she whistles and sings the theme song to Fraggle Rock over and over again. No, really, tonight I am certifiable. I keep alternating between nearly bursting into tears and wanting to punch the Obnoxious Hipster who refuses to stop talking on his phone while dancing in the middle of Bloomington's Soma. Everything seems either annoying or dangerous. For example, I didn't even start at Soma. No, I began my evening at Starbucks, but, after three minutes, concluded it was an unacceptable spot. No rational reason why...just a hunch. Starbucks was bad, tricksy, FALSE! And, for that reason, should be avoided. Okay, FINE, maybe its not the coffee chain that flipping my switch tonight. Maybe its that life provides no reassurances. No promises that things won't hurt. That I won't fall apart again. That my birthday, which inches ever closer, won't leave me in the fetal position again. I'm terrified...and, outside of praying, I don't know what to do. Maybe I just to take a leap of faith, believe things will be alright, and sing while I go wembling along. Dance your cares away. Worries for another day. Let the music play. Down in Fraggle Rock.
Last Saturday, Yours Truly ran across Ellen Forney's graphic memoir Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me in Lexington, Kentucky, and quickly concluded I must read it. Now can you guess why this Hysterical Historian might be drawn to a book about someone who learns she's bipolar right before her thirtieth birthday?... No? Well, think about it a little longer. Anyway, back on topic here, in my opinion, on the plus side Forney's work is frank, honest, and provides a good description of what it is like to be bipolar. The euphoria and insensitivity to others during mania followed by the crippling, sadness that the author compares to grief during a depressive episode. And as if the symptoms weren't enough to cope with finding the proper combination of meds to keep a bipolar patient steady is also difficult, and takes time and patience. I should know because I, too, am Touched With Fire, as Kay Redfield Jamison, one of the leading authority on this mental disorder, puts it...and have been struggling to find the right combination of meds for almost a year now. Forney's illustrations are well drawn and the book is a fun read...but.
Yes, there's always a but. As a person who suffers from bipolar, I found Forney's complaints and sense of hopelessness over struggling for four years to find the right combination of meds a little hard to take when she openly admits to smoking pot almost daily and doing a line of cocaine at Comic Con (where she had a particularly bad episode). Now, hold on Hipsters, this is not a rant against smoking pot. In my opinion, its pretty harmless drug for healthy people, but the hard truth is staying emotionally stable is difficult for a bipolar patient at the best of times. This means extracurricular drugs, no matter how harmless, simply do not fit into the picture. Yes, eventually, after four years the author admits to her psychiatrist she smoked weed on a daily basis and gives it up, but it seems rather hypocritical for Forney to complain so often about her meds when she actively took drugs that would alter with her mental state. In other words, she really had no idea with her meds were working or not during that period. My other complaint is that Forney, to some extent, idealizes her maniac state noting how unbelievably creative and uninhibited she was during mania. For instance, Forney discusses, at length, having random sex with total strangers during her manic period. Rather than mentioning the dangers associated with this behavior, Forney suggests superiority for having done so. Hum...alright then. Here's the issue, Kids. During mania, most patients with bipolar disorder overwork themselves, engage in risky behavior, and fail to think about the feelings of their friends and loved ones. There's no glamour here. Just because there is a correlation between creativity and bipolar, and because many authors and artists have suffered from the disorder does not mean the condition ought to go untreated. A large percentage of those same individuals also attempted suicide...again, its not something I recommend. The most I can say is that sometimes I do miss the endless energy I had during mania, but, not at the expense of my health or the feelings of those I love and care about most. Overall, Forney's book is worth the read, but I'd take some of what she implies about mental illness with a grain of salt.
Given the sheer number of posts on my blog dedicated to Emily Dickinson, it should come as no surprise to find out Old Em is one of my favorite poets. Why, you ask? Well, I'll tell you. Miss Emily lived in unmarried, isolation for most of her adult life during the nineteenth century, and, because of that fact, fair or not (I'd say not), most of society would have deemed her a dry, old maid, yet, reread the poem above. Can't you feel her longing for her lover? In my opinion, Emily was anything, but dry or dispassionate. Look at how she teases and flirts with language: The very hills that gaze upon her lover's journey are blessed with a gift forbidden her. Haven't you felt that way? Envious of the little day to day routines that allow others to see someone you love, while you remain far away? A twinge of pain pricks at your heart when you think of how others take such a gift granted. Dickinson, a woman who spent so much time alone, and perhaps lonely, captures those feelings in a way no other poet I've ever read can. She is timeless. Literature professors will assure you that there is no other poet like Emily Dickinson. This woman died in 1886, and now, over one hundred years later we've yet to find her equal. Dry and dispassionate? Surely not. In this poem, I like to think that Dear Emily reminds us to remember that still waters often run deep.