When I went to the University of Kentucky, the University had this little spot, it was kind of a depression in the sidewalk really, called the Free Speech Area. If you had something you wanted to spout off about, you could go there and trumpet it to the heavens. Sometimes, it drew actual protesters, and I think the odd prof might have sent classes there to say something. But mostly, the space was occupied by this old fart with bad hair and an ugly coat. He wore that coat rain, shine, or snow, and yes, he showed up in all those conditions.
I hurled down the Norton Anthology of American Literature. It was an undergraduate text, but heavy, and I had hopes. No. It ricocheted harmlessly off my windshield. Next, I tried the MLA Handbook. One bounce and it fell onto the pavement. A Reader’s Guide to Contemporary Literary Theory, Critical Theory Since Plato, The Heart and Stomach of a King, and The English Language: A Historical Introduction… Read the rest. All of them thumped against the glass. Some of them lodged at the top of the hood or caught in the windshield wipers. The rest cascaded down into the parking lot. But none of them started so much as a hairline crack.
Inside me lies a dinosaur in slumber, recumbent and half submerged. I try to keep her this way, because that terrible lizard roars destruction. But sometimes, no amount of medication can keep her from snorting to the surface, her enormous size swelling up through my skin and out my mouth. And on those days, I feel the boil. I thrash to free myself from the scalding heat. And my mania has teeth. She will seize you as gladly in her jaws as me. Or she’ll take us both down, hold us burning together until she ebbs back inside my skin.
If you’re not familiar with Sam’s story, start with Sam Part I and Sam Part II. Then, if you’d like a happy little interlude, try out Beauty and the Beast. Although the story below will make sense without the background, the background will help. A lot.
I just took some chocolate chip cookies to the neighbor’s house. Normally, I do that to express sympathy. I eat for comfort. Surely you do, as well. But today, I was saying, “Thank you.” We barely know these neighbors, a married couple with teen kids. In the three years we’ve lived here, we’ve exchanged maybe thirty words.… Read the rest
I attended a mini-conference last week, and because I am me, I’ve been mulling it over ever since. It was one of these parenting seminars destined to be either spectacular or spectacularly dumb. I should assert here that my inner skeptic was expecting the latter.
A little background. I do not approve of parenting via the fluffy-cloud method. Scott and I once paid some $400 for a parenting course that was ALL 1970s schmaltz. The class text even used the phrase “hang-up”. Does it get more 1970s than “hang-up”? And yet, I loved that syrupy thing. Every annoying idea that irked me actually had practical applications that were anything but stupid.… Read the rest
Grad school exacerbated my bipolar. I’ve mentioned that before. And it took away my writing completely for four horrible years. And what’s worse was that I felt it going away. I took some creative writing classes and suddenly had nothing at all to say. Each piece was a struggle, and as I finished the final story, I realized that there simply were no more ideas. None at all.
It wasn’t just a matter of writer’s block. Writer’s block implies a hurdle that one can overcome. There was nothing at all in my way. I was still sitting down regularly, trying every trick I knew, and there was just nothing there.… Read the rest
Sam had an epic meltdown last night and another one this morning. Two for one special down at Scream Mart or something I guess. I don’t know.
There’s an art to finessing these things so we don’t feed into them while still trying to force the little monster to gain some control. I don’t honestly remember what set him off either time, and once he’s in the heat of one, it doesn’t really matter.
If he were older, just a little older, I could comfortably put him in his room and, barring his own ability to confine himself to its four walls, lock the door and leave.… Read the rest
Speaking of bipolar, as we were in the last post… Read the rest, let me tell you another couple of stories. My sister was bipolar. She’s off limits here, but I will say that she took Depakote, a seizure medication, to moderate it. Every time she stopped taking the Depakote, she went into seizures. Because that’s what happens when you suddenly stop taking seizure medications, since your body has stopped making the chemicals that naturally prevent the condition the medication was designed to treat. And she stopped taking it a lot to use other cures, not all of them prescribed by any physician.
I’m a southern storm. I come on hot and angry, then I brood, and linger, and eventually lose my temper again. It’s not good. In fact, it’s horrible. And it’s not something that I have any control over myself. My temper is an outside force that everyone, me included, has to just ride out when it blows up.
I’m about to tell you the big reason I’ve been so stressed out lately, but I should first say that I’ve found a topic that even I’m uncomfortable blogging about. I really debated this post. I’m not the sort who keeps herself to herself.… Read the rest