Category Archives: present day

Today is May 22, 2017. I am alive and well.

I miss clothes shopping. There is no money in my budget to do this with. The truth is I own 17 pairs of jeans, 2 pairs of dress pants, 5 blouses, several shirts and several jackets. I don’t need anymore clothes. To think I can wear a different pair of jeans everyday for a week and a half is mind blowing. And I don’t grow out of them. My weight is stable.

People think I’m naturally thin. This is not true. I work at it. If I had my druthers, I would eat cake with butter cream frosting on a daily basis. I love butter cream frosting. I always go for the flowers. If a cake has whipped cream frosting I am disappointed. Cake is an elixir. Cake is a joy. At Safeway Grocery there is four different kinds of cake, single serving of all, in the same container. Whoever thought that up is a genius! And yes, I would eat it all at one sitting.

I also exercise a great deal. I’ve been lifting weights and walking on the treadmill for years. Guy, my ex, is a personal trainer and set me up well with this. Currently, I weight train with Christy for an hour four times per week and walk on the treadmill six times per week for 50 minutes. Believe it or not, I don’t like exercise. I wish I could send my body to the gym and leave my mind at home reading books.

I’ve been thinking about homelessness a great deal, lately. My sister did telephone me. She is homeless. I asked her where she slept, hoping she would say a shelter. She didn’t; she sleeps on the street. Maybe there’s a park nearby. There is a big park by the library where I work. People commune in the grass. People sleep in the grass.

I wonder about little things being difficult. Where do you charge your phone? You’re on FaceBook…where do you use a computer? How do you shower? How do you maintain your clothes? I mean, c’mon, I have 17 pairs of jeans and they’re all laundered.

I have a full refrigerator, a stove/oven combo, and a dishwasher. I don’t use my dishwasher, but I do have one. I also have a microwave I use to heat water often in order to make coffee. I have coffee, by God. No, God has nothing to do with my coffee, but God has given me life; I’m talking spiritually. I say in respect to my sister, “there but for the grace of God go I.” I spend time in the hope of growing my spiritual condition. If I were on the streets, would I do this? Probably not. Where is God in my sister’s life? Maybe that’s not a question for me to ask.

I love easily today. I love my life today. Any problem today is a luxury problem. And have I mentioned?…I have two cats who curl up to me as I write in bed. Heaven.

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

The first thing my sister said to me when I ran into her after 7 years of no contact was “Wow, you’re still alive.” And then my uncle said to me yesterday “I bet you didn’t think you’d see 53.”

It is true. I had no intention of living to 53. A driver has no intention of holding up traffic when her truck stalls out. I have had somewhere between 15 and 20 suicide attempts in my lifetime. The last one was in 1999. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to die since then; that’s simply the last time I attempted. Maybe the East Indian doctor with the soulful dark eyes, smelling of lavender, rubbed off on me. She told me at my bedside in the hospital ICU that I had a lot of life to live. That I had something special to offer. A five-year-old gets excited when she opens the door of the restaurant for her mother for the first time, offering entrance. I got excited about my book being published in 2014. It documented my recovery from schizophrenia and alcoholism. And yes, my time away from my last suicide attempt.

I have been free from the obsession to die for sometime now. That thought had plagued me like wanting a cigarette, needing a cigarette, in a smoke free coffee house. All thinking got set aside as I prayed for God to take me after swallowing handfuls of pills.

I am very bad at dying. It is hard to kill one’s self. I believe that those who do die from suicide were meant too….I can’t tell you why I believe this. Some ice cubes in a glass of tea float to the top while others remain at the bottom. I can’t tell you why all the ice doesn’t float to the top, getting in the way of the straw.

I am in the way of death. I have floated to the top. God removed my obsession to die. Life is new to me on a daily basis.

I remember the first time I tied my own shoes. I was excited to be able to do this on my own. On occasion, my shoe becomes untied while walking on the treadmill. I push the pause button and then bend over to tie my shoe. Ready to walk again, I hit a button and the treadmill resumes.

Life resumes. I love breathing. I love eating cake with butter cream frosting. I love that my cats woke me up this morning wanting kibbles. I take care of two living things. They thank me by curling up against me while I’m on the bed napping, writing, or reading.

There is no time to die today. Afternoon approaches. I know I will eat vegan chili, salad, and cornbread. I know I will wash my hair later. I will leave the house today to go to a sobriety meeting. I am 53 and loving it. So I say to my sister “I am alive and well.” She responds with a “thank God” and “it’s good to see you.” It is good to be seen. It will reach a 115 degrees here in the desert. And then there is air conditioning to be found inside.

Today is March 23, 2017. I am alive and well.

I haven’t posted a blog in several months. I was unable to got on Word Press. Thank you to all who have recently become followers. And always, thank you to those who have been with me for quite some time.

I just started looking for an agent to represent my second book. My query letter is as follows:

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 alcoholism and 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 waiting for 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.

Today, I am comfortably single with many friends to be responsible to. I am loved beyond the edge of language. A great sense of peace occupies my days. This is what this book is about; my journey to peace and love.

I’ve had one rejection stating that she “wasn’t grabbed.”

I appreciate any opinion you might have regarding my query. Hope you’re having an inspiring day.

Kristina

Today is April 24, 2016. I am alive and well.

I don’t like my ankles to itch. Another lifetime ago, with Guy, I had two little dogs. Shih Tzus. They would come in from outside and bite my big toes. I don’t like my feet to tickle. I would discourage them from their activity by kicking my feet forward from the chair upon which I sat.

A lady bug flew in from the open window. She settled nearby. The little dogs went after her in a black, brown, and white fury, their paws the size of a quarter. The lady bug is sharp; she flies off before her impeding death.

I no longer fly away. My body is of earth. The bloom that I am flourishes with clean air. I no longer seek gas or exhaust.

I would wake to walk the little dogs. They vibrated with excitement as I clipped on their leashes. I can only wish to be that excited, to have my skin tingle in anticipation of connecting with the sidewalk, of leaving the safety of wood floors and lowly light for the far reaching sun.

Today is my new life. The little dogs are in Florida with Guy. The two black cats I have leave my feet alone unless I have on shoes. Then they sniff. I read that when they sniff shoes, they are discovering where it is I have been. I wonder what the grocery store smells like. I avoided the spilled peach juice while my hands got lost in the avocados, hoping just one would welcome my squeeze, give in to my fingers.

I’m certain the floor of the grocery is mopped regularly. It is not the produce at waist high that Grams and Annie smell, but rather the wax that leaves the floor shining.

I am connected to the sidewalk without the little dogs. My legs bend rhythmically, no march here. The military at one time called to me just as the nun in the cathedral. I was desperate for discipline, for a plan, for structure, willing to stay my virgin self or to muscle my way through boot camp. Neither manifested.

Today, I am disciplined. I have a plan. I have structure. I fill the cats’ bowls with kibbles. Often, I miss the little dogs but Grams too gives me kisses while Annie stretches on the bed, resting her head on my leg. I have grown use to their unleashed lives. I wake to walk myself, and walk I do for an hour. My heart pumping. My mind intact.

Today is February 21, 2016. I am alive and well.

I want to have a party with fake alcohol and see how many people act like they’re wasted; rum, not rum, roars through the thin man who pinches the breasts of the host. She giggles, then slaps him after coming to her senses–the slap smells of beef, a fingerprint left on his cheek.

I want to repay all the kindnesses my friends have shown me all their lives. A sunflower bends at the neck in welcome. I hand out handkerchiefs, love wrapped  in knots of stripes and polka dots–it is simple.

I want to travel the world bagging people’s groceries. A stick of butter rubs skin with a potato in London. The jolly man in Brazil grins with green jello the color of palm leaves. Canned beets are slippery in Seattle. A banana rots at the foot of an onion in Germany. Radishes remain the dirty spice that they are everywhere I go.

I want to say meow during a speech. All the dogs will riot when they learn the bill won’t pass the Senate; it’s a matter of boxers wearing helmets in the ring, the blood loss would be cut in half with the ear out of the way.

I want to believe in God. God has come to me in the form of a twisted branch in a tree three stories high. Leaves rejoice!

I want to have a story worth telling. I wake to the woman mowing the grass outside my open bedroom window, smell the grass, chamomile with a touch of honey. Paint a purple mustache on my niece’s doll. Ask her where Ken’s head is.

I want to take a cute girl to the moon. She smiles as I strap her into the card board box. The stereo explodes with the sound of flame. I tell her “close your eyes and imagine cheese.” In no time, we hear mail being dropped through the door’s slot and know we are still grounded. The moon is another dream, like cows pirouetting to Greenday’s Awesome as Fuck.

I want to go to a city where nobody knows me and act like a completely different person. My name will be Betty, an easy name, one I will recognize on a stranger’s tongue. I will wear boots and smoke cigarettes and smile only in the grocery store from where I buy slices of cake. My downfall is butter cream frosting. I like it on toast in this new life of mine.

Today is November 26, 2014. I am alive and well.

Excerpt from my book Mind Without a Home: A Memoir of Schizophrenia…..

September 1993. I am 29 years old. At eleven years of sobriety, a heavy cloud drops on my head. Voices from other realities plague me like a gaggle of hurt geese who can’t find their way home. Men and women in black suits appear in my home and at my front door and in the grocery store aisles where cans neatly line the shelves, and boxes of cereal promise to make me an Olympian. Their presence is a plague. In three months’ time, I overdose seven times. The intensive care attendants get sick and tired of bringing me back. They refuse me cups of soda and stop washing my forehead with soft cloths in the ICU.

I move three times within these three months. People don’t want to rent me a room. Taylor comes to my rescue, as she has done many times before. She converts her living room into a bedroom.

There are three of us living in a small two bedroom apartment along with Taylor’s two large dogs. No one complains while I’m there. And no one kicks me out after I get drunk.

__________________________

not an excerpt. present day…

Life is so unlike the above today. I have 21 years of sobriety, live in my own condo, have not attempted suicide for I don’t know how many years. And I have learned to manage my symptoms well enough to have a good and full life. My past seems weird to me because I am so removed from it. I don’t live yesterdays. Today I am content with life, with who I am, wishing good cheer for all..corny, yes. But corny lights days and massages nights. I am wealthy without a dime. But I can always come up with enough to buy coffee other than Folger’s. Loving is the best thing I do in a day.