Gratitude-August (6)

Gratitude:
-For J and Jess listening
-For myself.
-For being courageous. For finally talking with my roommate.

I needed water today. A friend was going to come to get me some but had a terrible emergency so I texted my roommate and asked him because I was out, it’s hot, I’m dehydrated, my leg woke me up/hurts etc. He didn’t reply. We talked about that too.

I put the two 1-gallon containers by the door with the 60 cents for the refills, then about an hour later he had hand on the doorknob, walking out the door and I asked, hey man, will you get me some water? He said, sure, grabbed them and left. I was LIVID. I knew we’d have to talk when he got back.

This has been so stressful.  The water issue has been ongoing. Going to the store too. I can’t carry much weight. So I’ll limp to the store or walk slowly depending on how the knee is, and I’ll get a few items, like a cucumber or beans, lemon, tea, little pint of ice-cream, etc. I used to ask him all the time if he needed something when I was out. Anything I could carry. He never asks me if I need anything. It just doesn’t happen. He doesn’t go often, anyway. His work schedule varies so much. I understand that.

It’s hard to ask for help and it’s scary to be this dependent. It’s humiliating all around to have to call around and ask others for help. It’s demoralizing. I also blame myself and wonder how I got to this point in my life. Like what the heck is going on?
**
The water problem will be resolved soon! I’m getting a Britta as soon as I have the money. Hopefully by this weekend.
**
It was good to hear things from his perspective coming out of his mouth instead of the speculation going on in my head.

In a nutshell, my needs/goals for connection, community, health, happiness, and his need to isolate, be self-contained, be neutral, especially after working with the public at his full-time job, are both entirely understandable, especially with the stresses we are facing in our lives/our places in the world at large, but ultimately incompatible. And for me disheartening.

Our conversation was open, honest, and necessary.  I told him I was proud of us and we’ve done a good job living in a 400 sq.ft. single room apartment these past 100 days or so (since the 1st day of Spring). He told me to not let things build up and just talk to him. I said okay, I’ve said everything I needed to say, thanks for listening.
**
We never fight or anything like that. There’s no maliciousness. I just feel alone/lonely.
I am the ignored houseplant or jar of rice. Not loved and cared for, nor hated.
**
One example. In July, we had 11 days go by and he started conversations with me only twice. Once to ask about a note taped on our door and one to inquire when our mutual friend was moving back to LA. And yes, I speak to him every day. At least a, have a good day/how was work?

I told him we could have much happier lives. That with the world the way it is, we need more love, and that starts with the people around us. I’ve invited him to play games, make art, watch TV.  He said he can’t right now. He told me he appreciates me asking and offering to share with him. He told me not to take it personally.
**
I respect his truth and have been where he is.
I feel him.
**
I’m an empath so I knew what was going on but needed the confirmation. I told him sometimes my interpretation of his energy has made me physically ill. The only relief is when he steps out. I didn’t say that part. I also sage, pray, and tell myself to mind my own energetic business. I didn’t say those things either.

A bright side: One of the same needs we have is low light at night. That’s my time. I do most of my stuff at night. I need that calmness.  He has that same need or he’s sleeping, so that works out for both of us.
**
He told me I’m not responsible for his happiness, to just live my life. I  got really teary and almost started crying.
**
Another one of my issues is that I’ve been feeling judged for months. So I asked him did he judge me? He said no. And I said ok, that’s my insecurity then. I own it. I’d just been thinking he didn’t like me and I wasn’t worth his time or consideration. Self-esteem issues.
**
I am grateful for today.
-For letting go of anger and dealing with the aftermath: sadness
-For friendship
-For Toni Morrison, her life works, words, wisdom. Even in death she has helped me with healing where I didn’t even know I was (still) hurting.

Thanks for reading.

Mental Wellness (Relationships)

Whoever I’m with in future will be responsible for their mental health. I am responsible for my mental health. It’s an everyday thing. It’s challenging work. Today I recognize and give myself credit for all I do and how far I’ve come.
**
Someone diagnosed me with a mental illness (Bipolar 1) in late April 2004 at age 25. I was hospitalized.  To say my entire world shifted drastically feels like a huge understatement.  From my perspective, it was a spiritual emergence that turned into an emergency. I’ll be writing more about this experience in future. From my doctors’ perspectives (western medicine) it was a psychotic episode with spiritual delusions. Neither are wrong assessments. Both are true. And it took a long, long time to reconcile my thoughts on the matter.
**
Why is mental health on my mind right now? It’s relationship time. I’m in a space/time in my life where I am feeling the desire to partner up.  I’ve had this feeling for a while now. Probably for the past 9 months.  I don’t know how to describe it other than I feel and know it’s time. From my life pattern so far, I have long gaps in between relationships. It’s been a little over 5 years since my last one, which lasted about 2 years. Before that, I had been solo for 7 years. So yeh, free spirit that I am, I’m choosing carefully who I partner with.
***
I know many people who are living with mental illness, whether diagnosed or not.  I know people who are coupled, where one or both partners are navigating mental illness/mental health. I witness how it affects their union. I listen, observe, and learn from them.  I am grateful for the modeling.  At some time, I didn’t think I could be with someone who had a mental health diagnosis because I didn’t think I’d be able to deal with theirs and mine. Now I know that I can, with the condition that they are committed to their health, as I am to mine. We will be supportive of one another no doubt. The intention and effort is what matters because there will be good days and challenging days. As individuals, the commitment to self-care/self-love, will be the foundation of our healthy relationship. And that’s what’s up.

A dream becoming true:
A dedicated partner in a fun purpose-filled relationship. Creativity, business/entrepreneurship, home, family, travel, community service, philanthropy are some of what I’m interested in.  I’m sure the person I’ll be with has similar desires/needs/hopes/wishes, along with others I am psyched to learn about.

Thanks for reading.
Feel free to share what you think/feel in the comments below or via email.

Ta for now.

All Sides Now

I never really talk about it online besides hinting at it because I don’t want to be discriminated against more than I already have been in my life, but because of Carrie Fisher and some brave folks out there, like Jenifer Lewis, and like the woman who started the #medicatedandmighty tag, I’m becoming more willing.

I was diagnosed with Bipolar I in May 2004, a few days before my 26th birthday. On my chart it said I had a psychotic episode with spiritual delusions. I basically thought everyone should love each other and love the earth and I should walk around spreading love and light. But I am a literal person and that’s what I did. I walked and walked and walked all around my neighborhood to the point of exhaustion. I couldn’t feed myself and I couldn’t sleep and I ended up in the hospital. I was taken to Del Amo Hospital (Torrance, CA) and I was placed in the Del Rey Unit. In my head or whatever I was told this wasn’t about me, this was for the people around me. To chill and don’t worry so much. I felt safe. I was in a hospital of Love and was aligned with the King (del rey). King of Love, which I interpreted as God at the time. So no problem, I was ok, and things were fine. Just a bit of a hiccup. I honestly felt it was a spiritual emergence that turned into an emergency and in a different culture I wouldn’t have been drugged and pushed back out into the world to carry on like my whole world hadn’t been shaken to the root.

When I got out of there I took my meds for about 6 months to get people off my back and to get back to work. Because I didn’t believe the diagnosis and I was off the meds, I ended up back in the hospital again in June 2005. And it was a really bad experience. I realized that I had actually been manic for at least 3 months. The doctors told me that people who have Bipolar disorder usually went on and off their meds and their lives were ruined and they hurt their friends and family members and did I want that for myself. I said no. I’ve been med compliant going on 13 years and it’s been a journey. I was on tons of medication when I left. At least 6 pills. I found a psychiatrist a year or so later to help take me off of them and it took about 3-4 years to do so. I’ve been on one mood-stabilizer since and it helps.

I was in the hospital one last time in December of 2011. After I had the fall out with my dad when his mom passed, I was completely suicidal because I had lost my mom (rejection) a couple years before, and now my dad. I checked myself in because I had no will to live and thought maybe they could help me. I thought I’d give it one last effort.

What got me out of there that time was, we had a group meeting where we had to find something worth living for. I couldn’t think of anything. One of the patient’s marriage had just ended. He and his husband had been together for over 9 years and he had been a house-husband so he had no skills to get a job, no family support, his husband had moved on quickly!, and his heart was broken. He was looking through People Magazine? and saw a picture of Chely Wright (the first out country music singer) and her wife on their wedding day and that made him feel hopeful that he could have that again someday. It was a reason for him to live. I thought he was so brave to say that to us, and share with us, when we were all a bunch of strangers, stuck in a psych ward.

I hadn’t “come out” in the hospital because I could pass as straight *shudders* and didn’t want any hassle. That made me feel a bit cowardly in comparison to him. I begin to think about why I was there. What brought me to this place at this time? I had been depressed because of the relationship with my parents or lack thereof and also all the news of people, kids, toddlers!, being murdered for being perceived as gay, being bullied, assaulted in all kinds of horrible ways, and killing themselves for simply being who they are. I started thinking about the past year and a half and all the kids who had been bullied/committed suicide, and how no one outside of the community really knew or cared. Or so I thought. It was such a lonely feeling. What could I do? What could I do about any of it.

I could live.

I decided if I could help make a world that made sure that no other kid took their life because of their sexuality or gender or parent’s rejection, society’s rejection, etc. that it would be enough. It is/was my reason to live.

Chely Wright being out and open and happily married changed the guy’s life and changed mine by extension, reinforcing what I already knew. Visibility matters, representation matters, and media shapes culture. We need to see ourselves and see ourselves happy and healthy, so we can know that it’s possible. That we aren’t evil, unnatural, bad, or any of those things that heterosexual people say, that kill us on the inside and make it so it seems okay to take our lives away from us in such brutal ways.

The confrontation I had with my dad last week and the horrible things that my parents said and did to me and my brother, caught up with me full force last night. I’m not suicidal at all but I am grieving, angry, distracted, moody, tired.

Dealing with a chronic mental illness is an everyday challenge and sometimes I feel completely drained and over trying. Because it’s never-ending. There’s always this incessant self-monitoring going on, and a bit of shame. Since ’45, the state of our country, the threats against (my)health care, the environment, law, shite with my family, it’s been really scary and overwhelming. And I’ve been super angry. I have never been physically violent against another person as an adult though. I purposely haven’t. That calmness that people perceive in me, that willingness to listen, to be patient, to be considerate, are choices I make. That stereotype of violence and the stigma that goes along with people knowing, really does my head in. I have attempted to end my life. I have hurt myself. I want to get away from that. It’s tough though because no matter where I go, I am there.

*********

I’ve been in school since Spring 2010 and it’s been a safe place because I’m good at it. I have 2 degrees, one in Social Behavioral Sciences, with an emphasis in Child Development, and one in American Sign Language Studies. I am a semester away from graduating with a BA in Film Production. What’s been cool about school 😉 is that I love learning. At the end of the term, there is something to show for what I’ve been doing with my time, professors like me, I get to be social with people, my family and friends are supportive, and maybe proud? of me, and it’s flexible. If I can’t make it to class because I’m having a bad day, it’s not going to shake the foundation of my life/livelihood, and working on campus has built-in benefits because I’ve been allowed to miss work because school comes first. Everyone around seems to want me (us students) to graduate and move on.

But I can’t do school right now. My concentration and heart aren’t in it. And I’m in this space of the unknown. It’s a bit scary. And the poverty ya’ll, the poverty that I’ve dealt with since the diagnosis (which stripped me of my ability to be financially independent with any consistency) is awful, embarrassing, and limiting.
BUT
what I can do right now is live my purpose and work to create media, live and express my truth, so that it may help people, our kids, our future, and our rainbow tribe, know that we can be in the world and live. That we are valuable and an essential part of creation and that some of us will work for this until our last breaths.

When people talk about the gay agenda I’m like, yes, I absolutely have one. This is it. And I’m not going to apologize or be less than I am because people are ignorant and lack compassion.

I’m out of steam for now. Thank you all who read this in its entirety 

I made big strides today 🙂

For anyone who needs help, reach out:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Call 1-800-273-8255

 

2018: The New Year

Happy New Year! Wishing you all the best!

To all who aren’t feeling the festivities and all the Happy New Year greetings floating around, I see you, I hear you, feel you.

The clock and the calendar changed yet some things from 2017 are lingering and carrying over because..because.. it’s just the way life is. It is what it is.

Grace and Mercy for all of us who are dealing with heartache, fractured relationships, depression, uncertainty, fear, grief, trauma, poverty, health issues, the lot.

We are still here. We are here. Still breathing (three conscious breaths in and out, please) Hearts beating (hand on heart, please).

You are precious.

❤ ❤ ❤

Henny Penny

I have said this to very few people because I didn’t want to put a negative vision out into the world. *shaking my head while cry laughing*

Soon after the November election, but especially those first few days after the inauguration, with the First Executive Order, I knew that Law was over. Government was done. Our country as we knew it, destroyed.

When I say I live in a police state and have for years, my friends are surprised and some deny my experience. Not in total bad faith exactly but just naiveté? Fear? Denial? I do not know.

It is important for me now that I speak my truth because I live it. It’s pressing on me. I’m pressed. I’ve been depressed for months now. Months, ya’ll.

Do I have answers? No. Do I see light in our near future? No. We have had many warnings in the last few years. Yes. I’m certain ya’ll can think of some.

I think most about the genocide of the people in Flint, Michigan, by the people, of the government. I think about the attempted murders of the people protesting Dakota Access Pipeline, by the people, of the government. I think about all of the people who have been executed, by the police. So many of these murders recorded. So much of the footage circulated by the people, for the people.

We are a country divided. We are a nation divided. We are a people divided. We are broken.

The tell is, how many friendships and familial relationships have been negatively impacted.

How many of your relationships with people you love and who love you have been affected?

Remember our shared history of family and friends fighting against each other? Remember our Civil War?

Remember the treasonous South. The symbols of that rebellion are still everywhere. One of the major issues of our now time, Friday, August 18, 2017.

We do not have until 2018 or 2020*and there is no peaceful way to get 45 out of office. Anything we do will feed what he’s been serving for the past couple years. Words have been preemptively been used as weapons against us.

We are a country divided. We are a nation divided. We are a people divided. We are broken. And maybe because our country was founded by people who wanted freedom but who thought it fine to build their freedom on the brutalized bodies and blood soaked soil, of the people, who were here first. Maybe because our great nation was built by people who were enslaved.

I am an ascendant of people who were enslaved.

Helping_Hand_Tape_20150103

We are a country divided. We are a nation divided. We are a people divided. We are broken. So what?

Looking at the list of successors** is disheartening. The entire list seems to be complicit and complacent. We’d need special elections, which we won’t do, because what will that say about us? What would it look like?

We are not as great as we thought we were. We are in fact like many other nations of the world who have engaged in civil wars for years.

We’d have to admit our electoral college has failed us. We’d have to admit that our government has never been for ALL THE PEOPLE. We’d have to change.

People are slow to change though. We are too slow, we are too ‘polite’, we are afraid, and our corrupt bureaucratic culture is a three-toed sloth.

During this past week, people have been waking up to realize what so many people, so many people of color, so many people who belong to minority groups in our United States of America, have been talking about for YEARS! Years ya’ll.

Too late. Too slow.

This is not a call to arms. This is not a call to action. I don’t have answers. This is me sounding off. A Henny Penny who sees the Sky Fall.

Those of you who hold a higher vision for humanity, thank goodness for you! Seriously. Thank you ❤

I’m tapped out.

**
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It Is Enough

Trigger Warning: depression, sexual assault, violence, murder

I’m in 3 classes and I have 3 to take in the fall and then my B.A. Another degree. I am studying what I like/love (film) but I really want to drop this semester. Like completely. I’m struggling. Last semester was my worst term with a 3.5. I know that doesn’t sound bad but it was for me. And this semester is at the half way point and looks like..not great for grades. But B’s and C’s earn degrees, right? And I really don’t know what else I would do.

***
A couple of weeks after the election everything was…and I fell ill, which lasted a few weeks. I thought I’d be ready for this term because I had a month off but 45 took office 4 days into it and I’ve been spinning, confused, holding on, trying to keep.
I’m telling myself this time will pass. But pass into what? But pass into what!?!
***
Every single day I have to force myself to leave the house. Every single day I ask myself is it worth it? And every day so far, I’m like, just go. Just go. But it’s like I have weights on my body and it’s like those dreams where you can’t move. Like you’re being chased and you don’t know what’s chasing you and you’re scared and you can’t run. It’s like being an insect stuck in molasses. It’s like a version of hell. Inescapable.
***
I’ve been late to almost every single class and almost every one of my meetings for various groups. Usually it’s not a problem but for one group it is. In my mind, it doesn’t matter if I’m there. It doesn’t matter if I’m late. If I’m late at least I showed up. Piss poor attitude for sure. Not happy about it but.. this is really how it is. Once I’m out and about I can get through these long days. But it takes a lot of inner monologuing.
***
My great sorrows that no pill and no conversation can help:
Many of my trans siblings are being discriminated against, targeted, assaulted, murdered, beaten to death. At least 7 trans womenhave been murdered so far this year in the United States. These are just the ones that we know of. And our kids. Our young ones. We have not made this a better for them. They are in the midst of this mess like us. And I can’t say to them, it gets better. I can’t say anything like that. I can listen though. I do listen. And I hope they live. I hope we live. Our lives aren’t anyone else’s to take.
***
As disconnected from my current environment as I’ve been feeling, I do have bursts of happiness and laughter. Of course I do. A good percentage of those bursts come from my people of the rainbow tribe, my friends, and some family. And right now..it is enough.
Thanks for reading.

LGBT Pride Month: The Fight To Be Seen As Human Beings

Maybe because I’ve been that suicidal teenager/adult. Maybe because I mentor lgbtq youth and adults who deal with rejection, self loathing, self harm, abusive parents, and suicide ideation. I deal with people who live their lives as “straight” but are scared to come out. It’s okay if they don’t. That’s up to them. I know what they have to lose. I also know what they will gain but everyone decides for themselves. I recognize the judgmental and hypocritical culture we live in. I recognize that we, as human beings judge and behave in hypocritical ways. I recognize that we all are all full of contradictions.
I don’t post every youth we lose to suicide because of bullying about their sexual orientation or gender expression. I don’t post every time a trans person is murdered. I don’t post when parents shoot their children and their loved ones in the head or when people throw boiling water on a gay couple to teach them a lesson. I don’t post about places in the world where it’s illegal to be gay. Where we are stoned to death or thrown off high buildings. I don’t post about the “corrective” rape used against men, women, people, to “fix” them and make them heterosexual.
Partially I don’t post these things every time it happens because everyday there’s something. Partially it’s to spare people the reality of how many of us live. It’s depressing and distressing. I care so much but I am afraid that you don’t. Or you’ll think I’m exaggerating. Or that I should just focus on something else.
Maybe because friends of mine, highs school teacher, counselors, strangers, and many lgbtq people reach out to me for advice and support. We all have our fights and ways we contribute to society. We all have our issues we care about. This is one of mine.
I’ll speak on human rights for as long as there are people being persecuted, oppressed, discriminated, beaten up, set on fire, acid thrown in their face, bodies disregarded and left in dumpsters, alley ways, abandoned buildings, placed in de-gaying camps. facilities, mental hospitals, kicked out on the street to fend for themselves because of who they are and who they love.
Dramatic as it may seem, It is a life or death thing for me.
It is a life or death thing for many. It is about being a compassionate, aware human being thing for me. I wake up this way. A mixture of gratitude mixed with anger and righteousness, laced with hope. Always hope.
It is the siren song of my blood.
It seems I am always fighting. And even if you are not a QUILTBAG person, I know some of you understand what I’m talking about. You are always fighting for your lives. To better your life or those you love. Always fighting and we know the exhaustion that comes from that. I’ve been at it so long, recently I’ve been looking to fight. Preemptively defensive. I don’t particularly like this development but I recognize this is where I am right now.
Pridecolos_katieBarnes

Image by Katie Barnes