Today is August 14, 2017. I am alive and well.

Wearing makeup is an apology for our actual faces.  Cynthia Heimel

This quote struck me as hilarious. I’m not certain why. And then, I had to decide if I agreed with it or not.

Coincidently (which I don’t really believe in coincidences), I read an article in Glamour magazine today while walking on the treadmill at the gym that was about wearing makeup to the gym. The article targeted the population of people who judge those women who wear makeup as being vain. This population often thinks it’s bad or sad that women are moved to do so. In all honesty, I fell into that category until the article changed my mind.

The article stressed feeling good about the self in all situations. It stated that the women who wore makeup to the gym felt prettier for having done so, thus trained harder. It would have never occurred to me to think of it that way.

Cosmeticians even make makeup that is specifically for the gym; makeup that allows the skin to breathe, not clogging pours. Then of course, there is water proof mascara for those who sweat a great deal.

So, do I agree that “makeup is an apology for our actual faces?” I am saddened that the standard of beauty for women seems to include makeup. It would be nice to see models bare their skin occasionally. I have tremendous respect for Alicia Keyes, the singer, who decided to not wear makeup. That said, I consider makeup an art. It’s not to apologize but it is too alter.

From my own experience, I needed to give up makeup for a period of time. Between the ages of 16-18, I wore a lot of makeup because I modeled. I was so brain washed to think that makeup was necessary that I couldn’t go to the grocery store at five in the morning without it. I stopped wearing it so I could return to myself.

Today, I don’t wear any because I don’t want to take the time to apply it. I don’t want the extra expense. I want to be able to rub my eyes and scratch my face and not leave makeup on the shoulder of anyone I hug.

Joy to those who wear makeup and joy to those who don’t. I just hope that those who do wear makeup are at peace with their actual face.

Today is August 7, 2017. I am alive and well.

If a mind is just a few pounds of blood, dream, and electric, how does it manage to contemplate itself, worry about its soul, do time-and-motion studies, admire the shy hooves of a goat, know it will die, enjoy all the grand and lesser mayhems of the heart.

Diane Ackerman

I contemplate my mind frequently. It is an engine attached to the caboose of my heart. When mind and heart are in sync, beauty happens. For me to think my mind is special is amazing for I have schizophrenia. I am at peace with this. I wouldn’t change it as it has given me bursts of creativity. Yes I have rough patches, grass browns when needing water, but they pass and I’m left in wonderment.

I believe my soul wants to live in real time. My conscience floods my soul with magic. I believe in the power of soul to ignite hours each day. A candle not gathering dust. A wick waiting to be lit. I don’t worry that my soul will become polluted and I’ll end up in hell. I don’t know that I believe in judgment day.

I’m not certain what “do time-and-motion studies” means. Does it mean we follow a clock? Recently, the library I work at flooded. I was moved to a branch while repairs are being made. I let the boss at my new location know it was really important for me to get my same hours. Time matters. Fortunately, she accommodated me. You don’t get what you don’t ask for, yes?

I feel time move. Especially recently in respect to my age. There’s a gentleman I want to ask out but he’s twenty years my junior. He was an infant when I had my first real kiss!

The line “admire the shy hooves of a goat” is beautiful. I admire the swift feet of my cats, the way my friend sips coffee, the sun entering my windshield. Often, small things vibrate like the pigtails of a toddler.

Of course my mind knows it will die someday. My brain will shut off. My heart will stop beating. My feet and hands will be still. I use to want to speed this process up. I have attempted suicide at least nine times, three of them ending in my waking in ICU. Not wanting to die anymore is an act of God. I value my life and hope to give something back.

“Enjoy all the grand and lesser mayhems of the heart” of which there are many. I’ll leave you to meditate on this. Thanks for your readership.

Kristina

Today is July 31, 2017. I am alive and well.

I found god in myself/and I loved her/I loved her fiercely.   Ntozake Shange

This quote jumped out at me. The passion of this statement is like a toddler commenting on the smell of flowers for the first time. The passion is as great as the passion a homeless woman experiences as she bathes for the first time in weeks.

I have found god in me. The god in me is a small light that blazes in the creases of clouds. The god in me pushes me into the world when I fear Harm is waiting for me around the next corner. Harm is alive, just waiting for me to trip over my shoe laces, landing in his outstretched arms before realizing there are no laces in my shoes. I will not trip, at least not today. God has my back.

I refer to god as he although I have no problem with others who think god is she. One of my best friends prays to mother goddess and is not shy about letting people  know that. At the close of AA meetings, we always say the lord’s prayer which begins “our father.” My friend passionately and with purpose loudly says “our mother.” Sometimes I want to cover her mouth because I don’t want people judging her. I’m certain she would say “judge on,” not allowing people to get under her skin.

“I loved her fiercely.” I do love god fiercely. I also love words fiercely. My cats, fiercely. My friends, fiercely. Fiercely is such a perfect word. It exudes strength and purposefulness. It fires me up not allowing me to wade in dark water but rather coast on a paddle board.

“Cosmic imagination.” That is what William Blake referred to as god. I join him in this. God is cosmic imagination that pierces me from within leaving me passionate about this life I have been blessed with.

Today is July 24, 2017. I am alive and well.

So, I need your help. I have to date received 20 rejections from agents regarding my second book, Emma. I rewrote the query in the hope of making it stronger. Below is my new version. I would love it if I could get a yay or nay from you; nay you wouldn’t read the book based on the query, or yay, you would. Thanking you ahead of time. me

Emma, the Giraffe at the End of the Hall follows my book Mind Without a Home: A Memoir of Schizophrenia. Kirkus review called Mind Without a Home “inventive, jaggedly lyrical, and disturbing.”

Emma is my continued journey away from the crippling effects of schizophrenia. Unlike years ago, I am addicted to life. Life shows up in good form and in bad. The dark isn’t a terrible thing; it’s simply a moment without batteries. My mind is treating me well; dust stops at my ears. I am moving like a swan in sneakers without webbed feet. I am a little beetle surfing the air on a green leaf.

I make a home outside the psychiatric hospital with a lover, Guy, and two Shih Tzus. Seven years go by, and I remain hospital free.

I lose the lover and dogs without losing my mind. Guy was good to me for as long as he could be.

The book comes at a time when people with mental illness are targeted in the media after  hellacious acts on their part. The percentage of those challenged with mental illness committing a crime is really low. My account lets people know that someone living with schizophrenia can be a sane and productive member of society with no tendency toward violent behavior.

The book is imagistic, metaphorical, not always lucid but lucid in its own way; the hat covers my grandmother’s head allowing the air to slide along her nose. I still hear voices no one else hears. I still think things like there is a plate in my head that I need to dial into. And the other realities still exist.

Today, I am comfortable single with many friends to be responsible to. I am loved beyond the edge of language. A great sense of peace occupies my days.

I would be happy to send you more, or the entire manuscript, to help you decide if it is for you.

That is the end of the query. Someone told me I needed to drop one of these two sentences,”I am moving like a swan in sneakers without webbed feet” or “I am a beetle surfing the air on a green leaf.” Which one do you think I should cut out?

Again, thank you for your help.

Kristina

Today is July 17, 2017. I am alive and well.

One can never consent to creep, when one feels an impulse to soar.–Helen Keller

I feel an impulse to soar. I talk a great deal about my feet being heavy enough to keep me glued to the earth. But what about soaring? Take the shoes off. Get rid of the cotton socks. Wiggle the toes and prepare for flight. I shut my eyes.

The first thing I see behind closed lids is my dead grandmother standing in the yard with a rake, a sea of leaves surrounding her. I light on the limb of a large tree. I can see the crown of her head, white curls. She rakes with a fierceness. She took up the rake when my grandfather died. The leaves have never been more plenty. She will lose sight of them; they fall almost immediately after she has created a pile large enough for disposal. I leave the tree to hold the bag open for her. She shovels leaves in handfuls, her hands a small trowel.

I want to know what she still remembers about my grandfather’s face. Does she recognize his chin? Does she remember how he would wipe his nose when entering the sun? The sun always made him sneeze. I bet she remembers the slight bend of his hair. The way his hat tilted to the left on his head.

There will always be enough leaves. There is a cornucopia of memories. My grandfather was mighty in his life. My grandmother allows for the space of his might by setting a place for him at the dinner table. The plate will remain empty, the utensils still. But oh the reflection she will see when she picks up the plate and stares into it. It is her face reflected back in the same manner that his face would reflect back from the deep eyes they held for one another.

I open my eyes. To soar has been good. It has brought my grandmother, my best friend, to me. I feel her. A calm hand on my shoulder. I smell her. Cinnamon. It is grand to have her with me. I love you grandma….me.

Today is July 10, 2017. I am alive and well.

Prior to sobriety, I was often lonely even in crowds of people. If I could have been at home with myself that might not have been the case. There was no coming home to myself and I was absent emotionally in my relationships with other people. I was a door with a rusty lock and a broken bell. I was a scratched window covered in grime. No one could get in or see in even though I was desperate for human contact.

Enter sobriety. Everything changed. Especially my social life. Especially my spiritual life. People wrote letters and dropped them through the mail slot in my self imposed door. They scrubbed my window clean, drying it with newsprint so as not to leave streaks. With effort, I opened the door. I looked out through the glass. There was dinner and coffees and movies and truth telling. So much so that it become a bit overwhelming. I am still an introvert. I now enjoy my own company with God at my center.

So today as a woman alone in her home, I will seek comfort from the spicy mustard colored walls that surround me and the ever present feeling of Spirit. The truth is, I am only as alone as I want to be. I can either set aside time to meet a friend or more importantly, marvel in the sense that all is right with my life. A bird just hit the window outside my study and bounced off. I too, can be that resilient. There are many ways to be in the world–four quarters make a dollar as does one hundred pennies, ten dimes, or twenty nickels. Currently, I am the paper dollar–a little frayed around the edges but still capable of buying two chocolate eggs. Cadbury. Fabulously delicious.

Today is July 3, 2017. I am alive and well.

I once had a lover tell me we couldn’t be in a committed relationship unless we spent time being bored together. The relationship ended a few months later. I was not interested in being bored.

Webster’s defines the word bore as “to make weary and restless by being uninteresting.” To be a bore is to be a “tiresome person.” Why would I want to place myself in a situation that is boring? Would that be like wiping the same table off ten times because I remain convinced there are germs? Why would I intentionally want to be a bore? Do I want to talk someones ear off because I find what I have to say is important even though the listener can’t keep her eyes from wandering from my face to scoping out the cake at the coffee house, and then excusing herself to go to the restroom after she had just come back from the restroom 20 minutes ago? No. I would rather wash dishes than intentionally bore someone.

What doesn’t bore me may bore another. I have spent years eating the same thing for breakfast every morning. A half a cup of dry oatmeal along with a third a cup of dry oat bran. Pour water into the bowl, pop it in the microwave for 2 and 1/2 minutes and wa-la, cooked oats. I really like this ritual. Because it is a ritual and because I love oats, it doesn’t get boring.

I use to watch hours of TV a day with Guy. It wasn’t so much the shows that interested me as it was the fact that he interested me. I spent hours on the couch holding hands with him. There was no other place I wanted to be. Not even in a cafe in Paris.

I will admit that after Guy left, TV became uninteresting to me. There are only three shows I watch, The Voice, Shark Tank, and 60 minutes.

I read a lot. I read a lot as a kid. My mother called me boring because of this. I’d rather be reading a book than playing slip and slide in the front yard beneath the sprinklers. My mom belittling me did not keep me from reading Jack the Giant Killer and Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators.

There is one thing that bores me. Brushing my teeth. A necessary evil that lasts three minutes. Twice a day.

I don’t know what to suggest to people that tell me they’re bored and complain about it. Maybe take a cold shower. Go to the Humane Society and walk dogs. Write a letter to someone you love. Go to the library and read magazines, even the ones about celebrities, or especially the ones about celebrities.

Go jump in the lake and commune with the fish. Jump in the pool and pretend you’re a mermaid. Jump out a plane and seek solace with birds.

I need to go brush my teeth. Thank you for reading.