Gallery

1st Paintings! 8.2.19-9.2.19

I started painting this past summer.

The Why and How:

I was living through a challenging time health-wise. I’d been dealing with physical pain like I’d never experienced before, along with social isolation and limited finances/resources. My mental and emotional health subsequently was on a downward path.

Fortunately for me, my friend and mentor Luckie, surprised me with a backpack of art supplies. In the bag I found drawing paper, pens, pencils, erasers, a journal, and acrylic paint with synthetic brushes.

My 1st Paint Set!

I haven’t looked up “how to paint” yet. Just learning as I go. These reflect what’s inside of me now made manifest into the physical world. These are born from generosity, desire, and need for creative expression.

I love learning. I love new beginnings.
Cheers

 

Survival, Existence, and Wellness

Every day is a challenge and I try every day to get through the day. And so far I’ve survived every day, and that is amazing!

I endure. I persist.

I can imagine but I honestly don’t know for sure/(barely) care at all, what people think of me, as far as what I do or don’t do. What I should do. If I work. How I work.

Their perceptions belong to them.
My life is mine. I do what I can with what I have. I do what I can with what has been gifted. I do what I can. What I think I can. What I feel I can. Which are all the same thing to me.

Does a healthy brain think this way?,

And if it doesn’t, which I’m honestly not sure, why hassle someone whose brain doesn’t process the same way?

Chronic homelessness. Chronic mental illness. Sometimes they go hand in hand. Without help from family members and/or friends, how do people with chronic mental illness live? How do we survive? How do we exist? Is survival worth it? Is existence enough? I think without our friends, family, and/or public assistance, most of us would be dead. Most of us wouldn’t survive. Most of us wouldn’t exist.

And most of the people we know want us here. Sometimes more than we do. At least they say they do. And I don’t know why it’s this way. I don’t know why.

Does a healthy brain think this way? Probably not. So why expect me to understand or think they way you do, or do the things you would do? I fucking can’t.

Things are getting better for me for sure all around. Financially especially. Which is a relief. Over the past 4-5 months, I’ve had stability as far as a place to live goes. This is the longest I’ve stayed every night anywhere since 2009. That was true at 3.5 months really. And obviously it hasn’t been without judgments and frustrations but still, it’s been beneficial. It’s enabled me a space in order to think, plan, and willfully implement healthy/healthier habits/changes for myself/my life. It’s given me a foundation to create from.

I endure. I persist.

Slowly but surely. Every day. It’s everyday work. I don’t get paid for all I do (yet) but I pay for it in ways that may not seem to cost but do. I’m sure you can imagine. And if you can’t, maybe that’s a good thing? Maybe.

***
A successful day for me is not the same as it is for others and I don’t think people who don’t have mental health issues can ever understand. Those that will take any job to survive and pay for things, pay to live, don’t seem to understand that sometimes, with some jobs, we end up paying more than they pay us. We end up paying with our health, our mental health, our physical health, spiritual health, energy. We end up paying with our lives. I don’t know what the answers are. I don’t know even how to end this.

I don’t think a mentally healthy brain thinks this way.

Does it?

Today I recognize that stability, a home, is a necessity. I will work from home. I will have my own business. The dream. The plan. First things first: Shelter, food, clothing. Basic needs. Then build from there. Wish me well. Thanks for reading.

Gratitude-November (3)

Gratitude:
-sweet potato pie and chicken sausage
-sleep
-aloneness. When I thought and wrote the word I thought of it as acceptance of the lone state of existence. Like everyone is alone but we are alone together. Then I did a search and this came up. I really dig it. I think about love all the time. Love is my favorite topic. 1st Corinthians 13 is one of my favorite parts of a book ever.
-for free association drawing and writing
-T (shot) and T. the person.
-catching up with a couple of folk via chat
-my aunt and her laughter. Her laugh is one of my most favorite sounds on the planet.
-myself for being my self. I’m so funny and so serious/unsubtle, sometimes clueless but always honest. As honest with others as I am with myself that is. Sometimes there’s a delay. Honoring where I’m at. Releasing the impossibly high standards I’ve set for myself. Being more realistic. Realizing I didn’t have to take my chemicals seriously today. Just being aware was/is enough. Setting boundaries. The ability to communicate my thoughts, feelings, ideas. Self-acceptance.
-creativity
-organization
-Crystal’s Bluetooth working again.
-the sound of Danny’s shoot em up video game. It’s perfect background noise today.
-my ipad min 4 and kindle voyager. So grateful to have both.
-cleanliness
-agua
-oils. Jojoba and Coconut
-imessage and chomp texting app
-youtube videos for tarot and astrology. In particular today, the timeless readings.
-feeling safe, loved, and an overall sense of well being.

Be_In_Your_Own_Skin

Feel free to share anything you’re grateful for in the comments below 🙂

Ta

The Pathetic Empath

How can I love myself and hate the world I live in?

I don’t hate the world exactly. Our planet is beautiful. I know there is good here.

I don’t hate or I don’t like to hate. I think I maybe hate myself sometimes though. I do.

I feel disappointed with my country. I feel disappointed in myself. I care and I don’t. I care a lot and don’t know what to do or that I do know what I should do but don’t want to seem like I’m doing nothing. The work is so invisible and will pay off in future but the cost is high now. My self-esteem is low and personal autonomy is near nil.

***
I don’t participate like I should. Or like I think I should. I don’t make a lot of money. Like I used to. I’m not as miserable either. I don’t feel as miserable as I did when I made a lot of money. And that’s a deep-seated way of thinking affecting my way of living in this world at this time. Thought money matters I don’t think it should.
Unreal. I used to work a good job with good health insurance. I used to have my own apartment, my own car. I paid for all my stuff. I was responsible. I was able to make short trips near every weekend to a beautiful city. I was able to go to the movies, by a book, and an album every week. I could dine out. I worked 60+hrs a week. I was tired a lot. Though I could pay for things I felt stagnant. That I wasn’t living a life worth living. A slow slow death.
Then I had what doctors won’t call a breakdown anymore but that’s what it was. And I was out of work for months. And then I worked again. And then I went to school for 9 years and got 2 degrees and am one term short of another but have no interest/drive at all to finishing up any time soon. I thought about it for months. Months. Not an easy choice but one in which I can live with.
***
Currently, I live from the aid of other people. Friends mostly. Family sometimes.

Staying with a friend here in LA, rent-free. She is generous to have offered. As of today (9/16/18) I’ve officially been here 59 days. And that’s many days past too long. And the longest I’ve stayed anywhere in maybe 3 years. I need to get out of here and move on with my life. Make a home for my self that is healthy for me.

But how? How? How without money $$$$$$$$ and a way to earn?

The friend that I’m staying with. I walk her dog, Sampson, who is my friend also.MeandSam_CouchI do the dishes, try to be of use, and out of the way. I used to walk around at night, to relax and write (dictated into a voice recorder or type on my phone). I love the nighttime. The last couple of weeks I’ve been stuck here the majority of the time. And it’s dark during the day because the curtains are drawn because my friend works at night and sleeps during the day. The lack of light, the not being able to be out and about, and that sense of freedom I associate with mobility is gone (for now). This is really fucking with my all around health.
***
When I moved here in mid-July I didn’t have a mobile phone so another friend put me on her family plan and bought me a phone. She gave me $25 a week so I could get a bus pass. And then I got a job walking dogs in early August. And it was the best! And then one day (18 days ago) after walking a 7-month-old beauty, named Oslo, I stepped off of a curb, in a crosswalk, and got hit by a car. The left side of my body was struck. My leg was/is hurt. My knee, hip, ankle. So to the ER, where X-rays showed nothing broken. But the past week has been headaches, nausea, dizziness, and transitory pain. I know I am fortunate to be alive. I am lucky that I wasn’t hurt worse.

Pain woke me up this morning. My knee had been getting better but it popped last night while I was walking Sam, and popped back in place and this morning my whole leg hurts and I’m feeling tired, angry, discouraged. Because I have $8 and some change and can’t get around on my own. Not even to walk to get water. I think I’ll be able to if I take it really slowly but the concern is I risk doing more damage. I dislike asking for help or needing help. I dislike not knowing what to do.

And I’ve been here for 59 days. And I need move out of here but stay in LA, but how? How? Show me. Tell me. Because I’m at a loss.

***
My mind is restful due to meditation (119 days consecutive) but it’s like things are muted. Things still happening in front of me but feel far off. There’s an underlying feeling of unease, self-recrimination, guilt, an impression of laziness. Of waiting. But for what? Where is my sense of urgency? Is this not an emergency? Where are my survival instincts? Where is my pride? Why don’t I do whatever it takes? Maybe if I had someone else to take care of? Maybe not? The logical assessment is that I don’t care enough about myself to try to improve my lot. But that’s not exactly it. I do little by little every day. But it isn’t enough. Fear is a part of it. Fear of the unknown. What if I get into a job situation that is abusive? Which most of my friends in LA are experiencing in some way. I don’t want that. I can’t live it.

I keep thinking about the company we keep. That saying is that you are like the 5 people you spend the most time with. And unrelated but related in the sense of selling my body and time for money, I keep thinking of porn (filming it) or being a sex worker. Good money. Interesting work. Plus maybe guaranteed work because some people fetishize transpeople. If it were safe and regulated and/or if I had a good madam, I’m pretty sure I would.

***
I keep thinking about the spiritual reasons or underlying reasons for the car accident. Slow down. Pay attention. Value yourself first.

The older person who hit me, I let her go because I didn’t know if she had insurance because I didn’t know if she was a legal citizen because I didn’t want to cause her any trouble because I was in shock and the many people who witnessed let me limp away.
The left leg is hurt. The left knee is in and out. According to the internet, the left side is the past and the leg being hurt means I’m not able to physically support myself. The past 3 days my upper back, back of my neck, has been painful (7/10 easy), but not today. The thought last night was perhaps I need to confront my past (like maybe childhood stuff) to move on with things.

The physical pain may be a manifestation of the pain I feel emotionally and psychologically that I have not done my part to make the world a better place. I have not played my part or if I have it is the bare minimum. My friend who put me on her family plan reminds me that the world needs me. That her babies need me to live and be and contribute my perspective, my love, my essence in this world. But how can when I’m judging my fellow citizens? This grossness that is happening here in the U.S. is beyond what I can stomach. How can I do anything when I am judging myself relentlessly. The dizziness, nausea, the headaches. In rejecting what is happening I am rejecting myself and what I am capable of.

How can I prosper and build a foundation when so many suffer? How can I learn art, write, make photographs, learn the guitar, create films, when so many awful things are happening?
Genocide in the U.S. is not talked about on a mass public level but being forced to pay for poisoned water, jailed, while the government attempts to murder people who try to protect water (which is life). How can I prosper when there are missing children sold as slaves for sex and labor, put into concentration camps, families torn apart by our government? People everywhere being abused in every way possible? I feel it all. A healer. A distressed healer who has little to no idea on how to make money because though money matters in our society, it doesn’t appear to make things better. The truth is, my truth is, I want to be of service but not for sale.

I seem to be dealing with victimhood. Orientated towards victims of injustice. Feeling my empathetic nature too much. Feeling pathetic.

Feeling angry and hopeful and tired.

Em(pathetic)
Maybe I should…

dance? Maybe I will dance
carefully
with the hurt
leg.
My heart is on the same side.

 

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

 

Family Gathering(s) + 45

Trigger Warning: Suicide Ideation

Hello Family,

Just so everyone knows why I’m not with you all this weekend:

I’m angry every day. I am hurting every day. I’ve been depressed for months. I’ve been suicidal on and off since last November, since about a week after the election. And it has affected everything in my life. I am unstable. It’s why I dropped my semester in April and partially why I’m not in school this fall. I’m actually struggling to stay alive. I’m fighting for my life.

So no matter what I answer when you ask, “How are you?”, know that this is the answer. Yet, whatever else I reply is simultaneously, also true. Like most of us, I can feel multiple things at the same time. The takeaway is that no matter what I look like, or seem like, I am fighting for my life and I am winning.

The last time I considered killing myself was August 17th and Auntie T. helped me through it. Thank you, Auntie T. And my friend VH., unknowingly saved my life, because I was in the midst of writing a final note when she came into the room and told me I could stay here as long as I needed to. I burst into tears but she didn’t know why. Just that I was stressed and didn’t feel like I had any emotionally safe place to go/be. I would not be here writing this tonight if not for her. She saved my life. Thank you, VH.

I am telling you all this not to scare you. I am telling you this so there is no miscommunication. So that there is no misunderstanding. You are my family that I see and interact with the most in physical life and I am grateful for you, especially since I’ve lost Pam and Quinn. But I am struggling. And yes, I am on a waiting list for a therapist. And I have called the access crisis line/suicide lifeline when I needed to talk to people who aren’t so emotionally involved.

*** My two previous suicide attempts, the first at age 16 and another time in my early 30s, I did not write notes because I felt there was nothing to say. Seriously, nothing to say. No one’s fault. My life, my choice. But actually writing the note 2 weeks ago, was just..it’s impossible to describe. I know this hurts to read. It hurts me to write it. I hurt all the time though. But I also live with it. I live with pain like many of us do. When I write “us” I mean all of us. All of you reading these words. We all experience pain and fear.

A., I am not there this weekend because I didn’t feel like I could speak with you directly or see JC.’s face. Him smiling in my face, saying, “my guy is in, your guy is out,” does my head in. I think about it a lot. Especially after seeing all those politicians smiling after the passage of the Affordable Healthcare Care (Obamacare) replacement bill, this past May. I see those smiling faces with KKK hoods. I see evil celebrating. Blame it on my awesome imagination and my chronic mental illness. I do not think of JC. as evil. I do not think of you as evil. I do feel that your vote condones evil.

Because our family has instituted a ‘no politics’ rule to keep the ‘peace’ and I believe that silence is complicity, I’m having a tough time knowing my place in our family. VH. says that she can’t tell when I’m in serious distress because I don’t look like it. I think partly this is because I grew up knowing I was queer/trans, partly because I just wanted to get through, didn’t want trouble, didn’t want to be rejected. Hiding helped me get through my childhood but I was too good at hiding and that mask? or norm at this point, doesn’t help me when I’m in trouble.

***

As far as our family goes, I wish I was there but I can’t be. I especially feel sad about D. and Z. (the kids) because I love them so much. Like so very much. They are so awesome. That JC. said at Thanksgiving, if I felt the way I feel, that he didn’t want them around me, really scared me because I’ve already lost family members for being who I am/living my truth. And I was homeless for 2 years on and off before I moved in with Auntie T. and I finally had a home and I can’t be the cause of any more division in our family. I’ve said this to Auntie T. and V.

I honestly don’t know how to resolve this. So those of you who pray, keep praying. And if you can help me, if you know a way to help me, please do so.

A., I meant what I said to you and JC. at Thanksgiving, when I said your vote dishonors humanity. I’m too messed up right now to be “reasonable” or even civil at this point. I’m too angry. But maybe you’ve changed your mind and maybe if I was there you would’ve pulled me aside and we would’ve talked and hugged it out. Maybe if you could go back, you’d vote differently, or like M., abstain. Please, if this is true, reach out. Please, if you’ve changed your mind let me know. I know you love me and I love you. I’m hoping that love can see us through this.

This anger that I’m feeling is really fear. More fear than my mind/body can handle at times. And instead of trying to push it down, be quiet, deny it, I am expressing it, and this helps. Thanks for reading. Thanks for being witnesses. Thank you for your love.

Sincerely
Call 1-800-273-8255
Available 24 hours every day

The Trevor Project:
The leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ+ youth. The Trevor Lifeline: 866.488.7386.

Crisis Text Line
Text CONNECT to 741741
Crisis Text Line is free, 24/7 support for those in crisis, connecting .  Our first priority is helping people move from a hot moment to a cool calm, guiding you to create a plan to stay safe and healthy. YOU = our priority.