Authenticity. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the word, gargling, swishing it around in my mouth and spitting it out.
If I only show you the photoshopped, concealed, makeup pretty me you’ll never understand the underbelly. The crunchy grit, rawness hidden beneath. The really good stuff, the honest kind that matters. Most days I can only see how my illness defines me. Every single piece that’s been stolen, the immeasurable, inexplicable loss of self. The shame, self-hatred, feelings of worthlessness, doubt, insecurities, paranoia, fear, inappropriate remarks, irrational behavior and the myriad of negatives that live inside my broken, chaotic mind. Not to mention the physical excruciating pain, dizziness, anxiety, numbness, sweats, chills. Or the forty-ish pounds of added weight, the personal fuck you reminder of the crazy scales. Matters of life and death, I stopped counting the pounds. There are the ‘friends’ who conveniently vanished, stopped calling, texting. I admit, I’ve cried, hid my face in shame, lived with resentment and assumed the worst. It must be my fault.
That’s not what this day or this post is about. Today is about threading the needle and the incredible luck I’ve been dealt. Yes, luck.
Somewhere in-between psychosis, wanting to die and twelve years of psyche meds, twelve years of disappointment, fight, agony, fear, mania, depression and feeling sorry for myself, I forgot. The crucial element. Luck.
My therapist, whom I adore talks it out with me. She said something that kinda’ stuck, “you’re not the norm.” I didn’t quite get it. “Most of my patients (mentally ill) don’t have anyONE. You have more than one, you are not alone.” It’s so true, I am never alone while living with this solitary, suck-ass, fuck-off, bite-me disease. It’s authentic no doubt, there is no room for false illusion.
I am lucky. I’m lucky I have a home, a comfortable safe haven. I’m lucky to have a kindred spirit animal, Lupita lovely who comforts me when I am buried inside the madness, teaches me patience, moral responsibility and makes me smile more times than I can count.
I’m lucky no one asks too much of me, no conventional job, financial stress triggers. Don’t worry, I own that guilt. Guilt is a wasted emotion I excel at. I am lucky I still have the capacity to have a clear thought, battle the bad ones. I’m lucky I live with someone who does not let me wallow and knows when I am not wallowing at all. I’m lucky I have the one who puts her aches, pains and disappointments under her tongue and bites down hard dealing with the crazy that is her daughter. I am well aware even when I’m not gracious, nice, and pretty goddamn awful. I’m lucky there is more than one person checking in, wishing me well. I’m lucky for the ones I didn’t expect with the kindest hearts.
I’m lucky my heart is the bigger muscle and my mind the smaller one. I’m lucky I have a wicked imagination. I’m lucky I can still lose myself in the words, writing and dreaming on the page. I’m lucky god, buddha whoever sent me and gave me some gifts to share. There is something beautiful in the ethers, beyond our fixed expiration date. I’m lucky I believe in that. I’m lucky I’m sensitive enough, intuitive enough, aware enough and kind enough.
I’m lucky I have a stubborn, ugly mean streak too. It keeps me alive.
I could go on and on but that might seem manic, crazy, mad. Stirring up all the uncomfortable feelings, words and foreign adjectives that swirl inside your mind. Forget it, I didn’t write this for you.
I’m lucky if my experience helps the solitaire, lonely person struggling like me feel less alone.
I’m lucky I choose authentic however scary it may be, I am the lucky in-between.
I’m learning luck is not a state of mind but one of heart.
“They pull into the parking lot, awkward silence ping- pongs off the car doors. Harry’s face winces for a nano- second, quickly readjusting her posture. She doesn’t want her mother to see her contempt. Mother and daughter, one Christmas Eve long ago, walk into a deserted hospital, and the menacing halls, heading straight for the elevator. Harry’s mom carries bags of cookies for the nurses, and wrapped, paperback novels. They exit the elevator, the doors to the unit are locked. Harry pushes the buzzer numerous times, mostly to piss off the fat, lazy nurses. Smart-ass, she knows the drill. Harry’s mother swats her hand impatiently. Harrison knows she’s gone too far, glances at her mom. She seems smaller, shorter somehow. The pathetic, despicable psyche ward, decorated with red and green streamers, looks like a four year old threw it together. Cut out snowflakes, made by patients during arts and crafts therapy taped to the windows.”