Tag Archives: friends

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.


Today is October 17, 2015. I am alive and well.

I have a friend who is suicidal. Last time I attempted suicide was in 1998. It’s been years since I’ve even thought about it. The dragon use to catch me in his flame; ten to fifteen times in my lifetime. Sometimes, I’d be so burnt, I’d have to spend days in the Intensive Care Unit.

I am bad at dying. My cats keep me loving. My friends keep me loving. My God keeps me loving. All this love distances me from the flame. When I was in his clutches, alone in his cave, no one could reach me. I want to say something to my friend, more that just “I’m hear for you,” but when you’re where she’s at you’re like a dried popsicle stick. There is nothing left to melt.

My last stay in ICU, a beautiful, tiny, East Indian doctor woke me simply to tell me I still had many things to do in my lifetime. I was 34-years-old. I blinked, then closed my eyes. I couldn’t hear her footsteps as she left the room. She was tiny in body but large in soul. I’ve never forgotten her.

I would love to say I wanted life right that minute; I didn’t. I still had months in the cave. I finally looked in the door and saw sun, saw moon, saw grass, smelled bacon, felt warmth…felt. I felt something other than despair. I wish love for my friend. I will offer her a popsicle . Grape may be the wrong flavor, but if she holds it long enough it will melt leaving her hand sticky, able to grasp something other than despair.

Today is May 9, 2015. I am alive and well.

Saturday morning. I’m on the treadmill at the gym taking care of cardio. I see him from the corner of my eye. When I shift my view to full frontal, it is not him. I remind myself that he is in Florida with the other woman. I still fluctuate between sadness, anger, and acceptance. If a tulip could talk, she would be angry from being pulled from the earth, sad that she is no longer rooted, but pleased she could show off her bulb in a beautiful bouquet of a variety of flowers.

I am moving through life as a single woman. Stress moving. It has been a year since he left me. I marvel often at how well I am doing without him. My movement takes me to the grocery store on my own where I buy spaghetti squash and blueberry jam, washed spinach and almond butter. I no longer need to buy with him in mind.

He asks me if I’m over him. Answer, no. He is deep under my skin. I find no reason to tug him off my bone. He is my friend, never to return as partner or lover. Damage does not make this possible. Water can be frozen. I am the cube in the ice tray. Warmth can return me to water. My fluidity circles friendship, circles love. The tips of my fingers tingle as I pet Grams and Annie, their cute cat selfs impossible to ignore.

I am a woman with a great many friends. The kind of friends who would walk through mud for me, and I for them. The kind of friends who cup my tears and then show me how to dry my hands.

He is one of these friends. I have quit trying to explain my love for him. It just is and I am glad for it.

Today is December 7, 2014. I am alive and well.

My poetry and experimental writing doesn’t go over too well. It’s safer to say “I ate a bowl of soup flavored with garlic. The garlic overwhelmed the smell of burnt toast; the toast something I was going to dip in the soup. The warmth of the soup burnishing my cheeks with its heat livens me.”

I love to be livened. I love to live in joy. Pat recently asked me what brings me joy. First to mind, I said “my kittens, Grams and Annie.” After that, I was stumped. I feel like I live in joy a great deal of the time. It’s an electricity that begins in my toes, pulses up my body and exits my mouth as I breath out. Breathing in fuels the electricity, so the loop through my body begins again.

So what brings joy to my life? My friends do. I have an outstanding drop of friends who cover the entire socio-economic spectrum, who are all amazed by life, who all are empowered by love and deep spiritual beliefs. They bring me joy. Hot water in the shower, a piece of red velvet cake, wind behind my ears, fit sleep, a soft shirt, shaved legs, coffee with creme brûlée and sweet n low, thick socks, clean laundry, a place to sleep, lotion covering my body, and clean hair. All these things bring me joy.

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.

Today is September 8, 2014. I am alive and well.

New poem.


She doesn’t know how the drapes came to be zippered shut. But they did. And locked. His light got tied back behind his ears. The ball cap helped keep the light in its place. So when she met him that day for lunch, she was blind to the beauty he offered. No light pushed the sounds of love forward onto her plate of food. The meat was tough and the barbarian within signaled to her to take it into her own hands. Bite hard and pull ferociously at what remains outside the mouth. Just yesterday she accused him with small words of cheating. He assured her with bigger words that that was not the truth. At lunch it became all too much and he cried tears onto wilted lettuce. They left for home without finishing eating, her hand in his. She doesn’t know how the drapes came to be open before the window. In tender light she lifted her skirt and invited him to come home.

This poem is not my truth. Guy is never coming back. Nor would I invite him to. Third time cheating is quite enough. I will not become blinded by the love I still have for him. What we shared is over. It has been 6 months since I’ve seen him. I am free to shine in other places with other people. And I do shine. And I do love. My friends are fabulous.