Today is November 13, 2017. I am alive and well.

…aren’t we more like pack mules/than gods most days, picking our way/across the desert or up a mountain path with avalanches/and the heaviest of loads are our grudges and fears/while poetry and beauty rest on our shoulders like fairy wings/or one of those pastries in a shop in Paris,/almost too beautiful to eat, but eat them we do/with their frosting of butter and sugar and eggs.   Barbara Hamby

The truth of our pain is all we have, it is the key to who we are.    James Baldwin

An artist must learn to be nourished by his passions and by his despairs.  Francis Bacon

I love quotes and thought these all related nicely. I write “the truth of my pain.” Maybe it’s true that “it’s the key to who I am.” I also believe my passions are the key to who I am.

My pain is deep and not preventable. Because it’s deep it rarely shows up unless I let it. It can storm and I won’t get wet because of my umbrella. Discard the umbrella, and I get soaked. It takes awhile to dry off. Living with pain with no barrier to disguise it can lead me to tears. It also leads me to people who share my same experience. They have made it through and I can too. I watch as a raccoon puts his paw in a jar to fish out a coin. With his paw clenched in a fist, he cannot pull himself from the jar. He has to let go of the coin in order to free his paw.

I have let go of the coin. I write about having schizophrenia. I write about multiple suicide attempts, I write about being alcoholic. Pain can attach itself to all three of these things. But I don’t stay there. I let go of the coin. I step out of the mud. Sometimes I get help cleaning myself off. Help is always there and it’s okay to accept it.

My God takes care of me. My God always has my back. The right people are placed in my life at the right time. My friends nourish me. I am passionate about loving them. I also hope I nourish them. It’s beautiful to watch my cats bathe each other. They are always clean, but they don’t go outside.

I go outside. I live a good life despite occasional falls. I also write about great things, not just painful things. My car still runs after 256,000 miles. I have the money to get my teeth cleaned. I fill the grocery cart with fabulous foods. I loved the same man for fourteen years without straying. Although we’re apart, I still do love him. I am comfortable in my own skin. I am passionate about flowers bought on Friday, about words falling in line with each other to make a sentence, a paragraph, a page. Life is here. Life is staying.

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Today is November 6, 2017. I am alive and well.

For fun. Two prose poems by me, Kristina Morgan

When the World Turns Blue there is Little to Look at Outside of Water

Imagine. Black Converse sneakers laced to the ankle begging to meet the earth halfway between the dream and a next step forward. The next step forward is hard as stale toast and as necessary as lips. Lips blow horns, blow trombones. Saxophones. Keep food from slipping past the teeth. Console. Welcome. Say good-bye. Sensuality. Sweet. So sweet. Even chapped they will whistle. Lovely. Remember this when the next step forward places you below water and you need a straw to breathe with. And the moon rolls around the track in a fifteen minute mile. Slowly. I float head above water. Breasts. Midriff. Thighs. Knees. Shins. Imagine black Converse sneakers. Imagine God wearing black Converse sneakers in one of many incarnations. Imagine God.

A Wave in the Wind

She is not any bigger than a minute and is as flamboyant as a nun. Two ton Ricky waves her down from the bridge. It’s a long fall off the Golden Gate to the bay. He is afraid she’ll stop breathing on the way down. There are no tree branches to catch her skirt. The day is peach colored and keen. Breakfast at Lulu’s is a good idea. They crack the eggs right in front of you. She presses her ear to Ricky’s ear and hears the the same sounds as him. Who is to know he listens to grandma say “don’t you rot in the road?” A sidewalk is a powerful thing. It bends destiny enough that you don’t have to fall into the pothole but can stand with your elephant on a leash, opting to detour at the grocery store where all the nuts hang out in salt. Rally for the beautiful day that exists.

Today is October 30, 2017. I am alive and well.

Everybody knows if you are too careful you are so occupied in being careful that you are sure to stumble over something.   Gertrude Stein

I don’t throw caution to the wind. I am careful in my life. And I don’t think I’ve stumbled recently. I’m not certain what stumbling looks like unless it’s to fall or stutter. I do stumble over my words often in conversation. My brain takes a quick nap and I can’t think of what I’m trying to say. I don’t know if this is because of my schizophrenia or my medications. I know I’m not stupid. But I also certainly do know I prefer writing to speaking. I’m a rather quiet person.

Do you think Gertrude means physically taking a tumble? I don’t wear high heels. I believe high heels gives one the opportunity to stumble. It’s hard to fall off of flats or boots.

How else might one stumble in life if not physically or verbally? I looked stumble up. It means to fall into sin or waywardness, to make an error (blunder), or to come to an obstacle to belief.

Do I stumble in my faith? Do I have moments when I don’t believe everything will work out? Are there moments in which I believe that God doesn’t have my back? Yes, but rarely. I spend most of my time feeling blessed. This has been a long time coming.

The reason I am careful in my life is because of my mental illness. I will do anything to not become psychotic. Psychosis is a shadow in my mind. It is a parrot with a sharp beak. It is news announcing terror. By structuring my life, I avoid pitfalls. My roommate says I’m so predictable she could set a watch by me.

At times I regret rarely being able to be spontaneous. I am in bed by eight and still wake tired after eleven hours of sleep. One of the meds I take causes this. I’m not complaining, though. My meds have given me life.

My roommate says there is someone out there who will love me and not be bothered by all my quirks. I know my ex did and does. Maybe that’s how I will stumble. I will stumble upon someone who will lift me up, who I too could lift up. I would love to stumble over a duffel bag full of money. The most grievous thing I’ve done is not to have spent my money well.

Writing this has been like not being able to move over a lane to make a left hand turn because of traffic. Why I picked such a challenging quote to respond to I have no idea. I stumbled onto the quote and I have stumbled over the quote. So much for not stumbling!

Today is October 27, 2017. I am alive and well.

My blog is delayed. I actually wrote a blog on Monday to post but decided it wasn’t appropriate. It was about my friend who lost her 93-year-old mom and my relative who attempted suicide by trying to slit an artery in her leg. Her attempt was fueled by alcohol.

I love these two people. It’s not always easy to know what to say. The best I can do is to say I love you. Which I’ve done.

We leave this world in all different ways. Death greets us fiercely. Except for near death experiences, death is blind; we don’t know what’s beyond it.

Some doctors feel like we’re not honoring death because we’re treating it like a disease. Doctors try to cure it no matter what. Keep the patient alive no matter what. Sometimes I believe we simply, or not so simply, need to let the person go so the suffering ends. As hard as that may be it can be the kind thing to do.

Sadly, my grandmother ended up feeling bad and responsible for my grandfather’s death. My grandfather broke his neck. He couldn’t swallow with the halo, so then they gave him a feeding tube. Then he got pneumonia. It was one thing after another. When they took off the halo, they discovered the bones had not fused together because of osteoporosis. By then he was too fragile for surgery. My grandmother decided to put him in hospice. The hospital had a floor for hospice patients. His room was nice. Warm. Even cozy. There was no medical equipment and he was in a regular bed, dressed in his own pajamas with a quilt as a cover.

My grandmother didn’t realize that they weren’t going to feed him. I do believe he died from starvation. He went peacefully. My grandmother was with him when he took his last breath.

My grandfather always raked the leaves that had fallen from the trees in the front yard. The morning after his death, I raked these leaves. Raking them allowed me to feel the presence of him.

Today I have a healthy fear of death. That was not always the case. I have many times sought death to no avail. It hasn’t been my time to go.

My last suicide attempt has been at least nineteen years ago. Since then, I have lived much life. My relationships with friends have deepened. I had a fourteen year relationship with one man who I loved with the whole of me. I completed an MFA and had a book published. A short memoir piece of mine is being published in the Delmarva Review out in November and currently on-line.

I have breathed life. My breath is steady like the clip clop of a horse in cantor. The raven soars with ease. I soar while having my boots keep me heavy to the earth.

Today is October 16, 2017. I am alive and well.

The coffee was so strong it snarled as it lurched out of the pot.  Betty MacDonald

That is how I like my coffee; strong Recently though, as of a week ago, I have decided to let go of coffee. Typically I was drinking 12 cups a day. Now, I’m down to 6 and am thinking soon to make it 4.

I am seriously addicted to caffeine. The first time I decided to stop drinking coffee was because someone had told me it would help lift my depression if I stopped. That was over twenty years ago, and then I stopped cold turkey. I was so sick. For two weeks I sweated at night to the point of saturation. I could ring my t-shirt out. I also had terrible diarrhea. After two weeks, I was still suffering with the side effects of no caffeine and my depression was no better. I said “fuck it” and began drinking coffee again.

This time I know not to stop cold turkey. I tell people I am giving up coffee. They’re like “why would you do that?” I’m doing it because I am tired of being slave to my addiction. I am doing it because I will save $80 a month.

I drink coffee morning, noon, and night. If I know I’m not going to have the opportunity to drink at one of these times, I buy chocolate covered espresso beans.

I was addicted to alcohol. I was addicted to nicotine. In 34 years, I have had one night of drinking. That was 24 years ago. It has been 26 years since I smoked cigarettes.

Addiction is cruel like a busted radio cranked to blasting in a small room that can’t be quieted until the batteries are removed. It’s like being shot in the head by your own hand and not dying but being left permanently disfigured.

By the grace of God, I have never been addicted to food, gambling, sex drugs (other than alcohol, caffeine, or nicotine), or shopping. I don’t live in extremes today. Maybe some would consider my life dull. I don’t. I find it refreshing. I find it peaceful.

I will give up coffee. I will not be slave to anything. I hear the saxophone. The vocalist sings of freedom.

Today is October 9, 2017. I am alive and well.

Exclusion is always dangerous. Inclusion is the only safety if we are to have a peaceful world.      Pearl S. Buck

There are three things I learned from someone to never talk about amongst people I don’t know. They are religion, politics, and sex. I am a spiritual being. I am a political being. And I am a sexual being. Yet, I don’t really address these things in my blog. Why not? I ask myself that often. Is it because I’m afraid of losing followers of my blog? Maybe. Is it because these things are deeply personal? Maybe, even though I write about things that are deeply personal like suicide, mental illness, and alcoholism.

My first time practicing exclusion happened when I was 18-years-old. I attempted to harm everyone close to me so that I had no one who loved me. I wanted to be free to die. Somehow, in my mind, I couldn’t take my own life if people were loving me.

I did reach the point of not feeling responsible to anyone. I did attempt to take my own life. I ended up in an intensive care unit. Upon awakening in ICU, there stood my grandmother and grandfather beside my bed. I will always remember my grandmother’s face. In that moment, it was one of absolute love. I had not been condemned by my decision to die.

Present day, I still exclude others from my life. I don’t mingle with people that hate. I don’t want to expose myself to that soul depleting practice.

Can I love these people from afar knowing we are all of this world? We all struggle. We all experience pain. We all dream. We all have people we care about or have cared about.

Can I love the man who just murdered 53 people, injuring 500 more in Las Vegas? No. I judge him. I am horrified by him. Can I forgive the likes of him? Big question. Answer, I don’t know. Although, I do know forgiveness is in my best interest. I don’t want my heart to harden.

I hope Democrats and Republicans and people of neither party can hold each other in loving thought and with respect while still believing vehemently in what they believe. I hope that all people are touched by a bit of the divine. Even petting a dog or loving a cat is simply divine. Certainly, praying to a deity who is not understood and cannot be defined is divine.

As far as sex, well, I’ll just say have fun, feel deep, and don’t get pregnant unless you want to. This includes everyone from heterosexuals to the LGBT community. We can all have some part in pregnancy.

Today is October 1, 2017. I am alive and well.

I’m sending this a day early. Tomorrow is so busy.

Excerpt from Mind Without a Home written by me, Kristina Morgan

When my hands are locked at the knuckles, I cannot plant alfalfa. It is things like this I think about in the psych hospital. What alfalfa has to do with anything, I’m not certain. I think about the goat my grandfather bought to eat the grass and weeds in the corral. The goat refused to eat these things and instead wanted to eat only hay. My grandfather wasn’t about to keep the goat as a pet and pay for its food. The goat got sent back from where it came. I was sad. I liked the goat.

It is cold in my skin. In two hours my shadow will appear obvious. It will reach the outer door before I do and find it locked. I send my shadow in to meet the doctor. I do not want to appear too bright. Too bright, and he thinks I need to lessen the amount of Wellbutrin they give me. The antidepressant has saved my life many a time. I would rather my mind be too stimulated than have to deal with depression. Depression is a blanket that folds itself around my head making everything muffled and far away. I cannot see to walk forward into a life that is worth living. Depression will steal life every time. This I know.

I have little to nothing to do with the other patients. I don’t know how to talk to them about picnics on the lawn. They embrace one another. Share feelings back and forth. My feelings are a Frisbee I don’t throw but keep clutched close to my chest.

I sit at my post, in the chair at the table to the left of the nurse’s station. I write with pens my doctor said I could have. No other patient has a pen. They have little golf pencils. I wonder it they know they too could ask their doctor for a prescription to have a pen. It is good they trust me to not write on walls or stab someone with ink.

Every time I check into the psych hospital they take my pens from me until the doctor writes an order. I cry every time. Once, Charley, one of the case manages, came to my rescue as much as he could giving me full-length pencils. His gesture was kind. I still wanted my pens.