Tag Archives: relationships

Today is February 19, 2018. I am alive and okay.

I try to put my heart on paper.  –Osama Alomar

I’m actually a little depressed today. No reason…unless it’s because I’ve been silent and absent in my writing. I haven’t blogged for a couple of months. The young adult novel I’ve been working on has been quiet for a month. I miss my characters but not enough to really visit with them.

A friend asked me why I write. I had to think about it for awhile. While thinking, I thought of socks in the winter and flip flops in the summer. Writing is the best meditation and link to God that I know of. I think most people have entered the zone at some point in their lives. It’s a place of complete freedom from self. There is no depression. There is no schizophrenia. There’s a feeling of floating on my back in water during the night, the stars ablaze, the moon, large in its friendliness.

Granted, when I’m in the zone there is no human contact. After coming out of it though I am a better friend. Both my parents are dead so I’m no longer a better daughter. Why am I better in my relationships? I think it’s because my soul has rested. I’ve been imbued with God.

Writing is like having all the cherries line up on the slot machine. It’s like using a hand to lift a fork and feed myself chocolate cake with an outlandish fudge frosting. Writing is scribbling on paper writing in joy even when creating an evil character.

As I’m certain someone has already said, I live to write and I write to live. Without a pen, without paper, I flutter in the wind never landing squarely on my feet.

This blog has fueled me. My depression is a little less. I’m reminded that I don’t have to be silent. I don’t have to be absent. I wink with my friends in mind and am offered peace.

 

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

My short memoir piece installed over 4 blogs. Hospital Visit Number 19, final blog.

 

It is cool in the hospital. I am glad for my thermal shirt, jeans, and thick socks.

Bobby approaches me and says hi. I say hi back.

“Wow,” he says, “You can speak.”

I give him a smile.

“And Smile.”

“Don’t get too use to it,” I say with a grin the size of the Chesire Cat’s in Alice’s Wonderland.

Dr. Purewal arrives at noon. We meet for twenty minutes in which time he determines I am good to go home.

I am on the patio of the hospital. The Phoenix sun is strong, wood thrown onto an already burning fire. The heat reaches my bones. I will be released in an hour. John will go over my medications and aftercare plan.

My mind is a slow hum. The sound is soft like a T-shirt dropped on a tile floor. Today, my mind is my friend. My mind is something to pay attention too. It is a waterfall. Thoughts dropped entering into a pool of calm water, the ripples smoothing out and again returning the pool to calm.

I will go home today and feed my cats. I will sit in a straight backed chair at the kitchen table with my grandmother and eat soup with rye bread. My depression has lifted. I am able to wash the dishes in the sink, dry them, and place them in the cupboard. Exhaustion has lifted. I’m no longer surrounded by dust. Life is clean again, not just a mirage in the desert. I press my hand to my chest. My heart beats strong again. I will protect it, but not to the point of eliminating all relationships. I can be strong and vulnerable at the same time.

I am happy to have my psychosis end. It’s not me that is horribly affected by my loss of reality. It’s the people around me. I am oblivious. I am lost. Those outside myself are well aware. Are present. I am glad to hold hands with my loved ones again. We wish on the stars together and delight in the moon. My wish is simple, stay home and love.

Today is December 18, 2017. I am alive and well.

My short memoir piece. Hospital Visit Number 19. Installment 3 of 4.

The hospital staff and Guy remind me that I have schizophrenia. It is something that does not go away. Not like the pain of a pulled rotten tooth. I cannot pull this from my mind. I am wired, attached to hallucinations. Why do they feel so real? I am the extension of the antennae on an old fashioned television set. Aluminum foil. Yes, it is rigged. I am rigged. Through medication and support of people, they are trying to make the rigged part go away. They are trying to help me stand even when I sense that I am falling. Not falling into sickness, but falling into a different me, one I can only understand with the help of medication and clean people.

I will fall asleep in the hospital once again. I wake for medication and meals and the occasional conversation with the doctor and staff. I wake for my boyfriend. Sadly, I wake to the voices, too. They are with me like loose sleeves on a jacket that is too tight across my chest. Occasionally, they drop through the wrists of the jacket. It is in these moments that I exalt. I can count ten fingers and ten toes. I can make peace with my God. And most importantly, I can feel the love from those who touch me, warm like a wet washcloth used to remove the dust from my cheek. I am loved and I do love. This slides into my thinking like a person sliding into home plate, scoring the winning run, beating out the baseball sent from the outfield.

My mind slowly gets better. A cake bakes at 400 degrees for twenty minutes. Eventually, the toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Eventually, my mind comes out clean. I am able to communicate in simple sentences not requiring a great deal of thought from the listener. My silence is no longer the result of a sickened mind hiding from the florescent bulbs of the hospital.

It is breakfast time. All of us gather in the main area and receive a tray. I am able to enter the rec room and claim a seat at one of the round tables. French toast and sausage. Cereal and a carton of milk. The voices are soft. Thy no longer berate me. Pick up the fork, they say. Eat, they say. It tastes good, they say. I’m okay with them repeating what it is I’m doing. It is much better than being told to die or told to call the fat man obese and the skinny girl anorexic. My voices can be cruel, can ask me to do cruel things.

After eating, I return the tray to the cart. John, the psych nurse, approaches me, clipboard in hand, like he does every morning.

“Good morning, Kristina.”

“Morning.”

“Are you feeling suicidal today?”

Only in a psych hospital would a person start the conversation with this question.

“No,” I respond.

“And the voices?”

“Still there, but not bad.”

“How was breakfast?”

“Good. I’ll be going home soon, I think.”

“Are you ready?”

“Yes.”

“Maybe so. Maybe so. The doctor should be in soon.”

John leaves me with this parting thought. It is up to the doctor as to whether or not I go home. Dr. Purewal really listens to me. When I am able to hold a conversation with him and let him know I’m ready to go home, he usually agrees. He knows me well. He has been my doctor in the hospital for years.

 

Today is December 11, 2017. I am alive and well.

My short memoir piece, Hospital Visit Number 19, installment 2 of 4 blogs.

I miss you. I have been tucked away. The days slope near weeks like a long slide on the playground. How does it happen that you are always who you are? At least to people like me who have not seen you naked. Lights out. Bare skin. Toe nails. I see you in your favorite boots–black, cowboy, loose souls. I don’t wish to see you naked. You are too strong for me to do so.

You always wear a pressed black shirt with enough girth to disguise the belly you say you have. Black pants, smooth pockets. Empty? No. I think not. Maybe an odd tissue waiting for you to sneeze. And a peppermint. My grandmother carried peppermints in her pockets. The Tibetan prayer beads you wear hint at color. In the right light they are blue. Your long white beard is warm. Your white hair, wisdom attached to roots like a small hand on a Radio Flyer.

You touch lives.

The earth rotates so slowly that I imagine we remain standing still in a rush of daises. You see wind in breeze and send it on to hurricane across young pages the color of wheat. I am lucky to have you as a writing professor. The first time I met you, you touched me like lightening striking a tree that had been asleep even with wind. Nothing rustles in my branches. The air is so still in the hospital. If I wasn’t breathing, I would think I was living in a capsule on a mission to Mars. I send you a letter telepathically. The water you drink has a tinge of sweet this day. Thank you for blessing my life. I am brushed by your kindnesses.

The hail has yet to completely crack the lens of my glasses. I know my case manager is trying to make this happen. Where is Kristina? She is lost in the prison of her own thoughts. I try to explain to him that my thoughts don’t belong to me. They extend past the length of my arm, through my outstretched fingers. I am lost in sentences that remind me of mud. Schizophrenia is nothing to write home about. The hospital has too often been my home. I am not allowed to cook hamburgers with onions and mushrooms.

I miss my boyfriend, Guy. It is not easy to touch anyone in here. Even a visitor. He has become a visitor. I don’t feel his arms around me in a tight embrace, matching that of Santa Claus at Christmas. Am I being a good girl even when I am in trouble? The hospital staff considers me good but sick. I don’t feel sick. I feel tired. A flat tire with no donut available. It becomes necessary to tow. I am moved here to watch the tall man beg for cocoa. I am moved here to catch up with myself. The marathon is over. I am learning only now how to untie my shoelaces. They were knotted to my ankle. It didn’t matter that they had sturdy soles. I needed to feel the carpet between my toes. It is hard to be this vulnerable.

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 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 April 18, 2015. I am alive and well.

The poems that follow I wrote with Guy in mind when he was still in my life. Now that I have no lover, I wonder if I will  make one up and continue to write love poems. An imaginary lover would certainly cause me no  grief, unless of course I imagined he did. Ha. My intention is to have no lover in my life for a long time. I need time to just chill, as my niece would say. I toast to “chill in.” I can do this.

Love

She doesn’t know how the drapes came to be zippered shut. But they did. And locked. His light got tied behind his ears. The ball cap helped keep it in 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 was not the truth. At lunch it became all too much and he cried tears onto wilted lettuce. They left for home without eating, her hand in his. She doesn’t know how the drapes came to be open.In tender light she lifted her skirt and invited him to come home.

Pre-Dawn

The sun has not dreamt itself awake, yet. Nor do I hear through the open window the excited nature of birds announcing dawn.

The microwave has quit its pulse. I hear you pull your bowl of oatmeal from its stomach the other side of the bedroom door. As with most mornings, I stretch my body the length of the horizon across the bed. Somewhere in the dark are the little dogs. I imagine their eyes open to the soft dark as mine are, wonder which God they embrace instinctively upon awakening. Breeze flutters through the window, stories my shin.

You crack the door, whisper “I love you” knowing I hear, knowing I pretend sleep, knowing you won’t resist that first impulse to tickle the arch of my foot…..you don’t . I laugh. Time pauses. And then there are birds, always birds.

Today is March 7, 2015. I am alive and well.

He’s under my skin. Not like nails being hammered into my right nostril, nor like stones rubbing into my heels because I didn’t pause to empty my shoes. He is under my sin like apricots and honey softening my elbows, whipped cream resting on my tongue.

I hear hime in my mind telling me things:  you are kind, you are compassionate, you amaze me. I have friends who tell me these same things. But my friends are not trying to make up for the wrong they have caused. They are fresh, their actions, honest.

He wants to see me. A friend told me she thought of domestic violence victims because they, like me, will not let go. Don’t read into this…he has never hit me or said unkind things to me. In fact, other than being financially in the skids, we had the best relationship…other than his lies and another woman.

I will see him again. It’s in the stars. Just like there’s a moon and the night winds whisper tuned light, a soft chord on a guitar. It will be months, maybe years before I see him. But the day will come and there will be fire in the trees, burned to the root leaving nothing to smolder.

Or, who am I. He may tire of waiting for me. I embrace my singularity. I love my friends deeply, and they, me. And then there are Grams and Annie, my kittens who nestle up to me. I am smiling. The kind of smile that is goofy but genuine. I know the wrinkles around my eyes have come to kiss the smile. I am soon to be 51.

Today is January 31, 2015. I am alive and well.

The following is an excerpt from my second book, which still remains untitled. If the blog is too long please let me know it didn’t hold your interest. Thanks.

The Dishes are Rusted with Mash Potatoes

I telephone my case manager after coffee in the morning and tell her I have dirty dogs and a dead boyfriend in my condo. She is quiet. In the pause, my goldfish has swum three circles around his glass bowl. I watch him. I count, and then feed him a pinch of food while my case manager waits for me to speak.

She sneezes.

I ask her if she is catching cold. I can hear her smile as she says no, relieved that I have changed subjects. I’m certain she thinks my mind invented false things, a momentary glitch that my medication has not coated in pink; Pepto Bismol for the brain.

I tell her again that there are dirty dogs and a dead boyfriend in my condo.

“Now,” she says, “what can you do for the dogs?”

“Wash them, I suppose.”

“Do you have shampoo?”

“Apple scented,” I respond.

“Okay then.”

And I think, what is okay?

There are daisies littered across my floor. The dogs have dragged them in from the yard, clumps of dirt attached to their fragile roots. The dishes are rusted with mash potatoes in the sink. The drapes kiss; it is dark in my condo. I can make out the silhouette of the couch and I think to sit down rather than turn on the tub’s faucet, a move toward washing the dogs.

I have not worn shoes for four days. I have not been outside. Dust pills in little balls on my placemat; I have not eaten since potatoes on Tuesday of last week.

My boyfriend died Monday when he packed all his underwear into his suitcase, along with the rest of his clothing and left. He did not bother to shut the door on the way out, hoping I would follow him. I couldn’t bring myself to plead with him to stay one more time. I waited for blue shadows to unwrap themselves from my mind leaving me bright. I keep his towels damp, pretending he has just dried himself from his shower and is in the other room shaving.

I do not know how to tell my case manager I missed love and cried. So, I tell her he is dead.

I stil fixed coffee this morning. I told her that and she thinks I am fine because I have begun to prepare for the day. She doesn’t understand that preparation is no longer enough. So I hang on the phone with her, wishing I could ask her to come feed me strawberries and black beans, hoping she might have my life ready.

I threw pennies in the wishing pond that is slowly being drained and I don’t know how to tell her otherwise.

Today is January 30, 2015. I am alive and well.

I wrote the following blog while still with Andrew. I was told Andrew would be hurt by some of the things I said, so I didn’t post it. My decision to post it now is because it’s honest.

I was the one to break up with Andrew. I love him. The decision was not easy. I won’t elaborate any further. Just know I’m in my castle again with no knight. I’m hoping to stay single for a very long time.

Blog I delayed…..

It has been a great deal of time since I last blogged. I have been  engrossed with Andrew. He has been spending the night with me on my twin bed. I have rolled out of bed twice. I find this funny. It would be not so funny if I broke something. And then, Andrew says I snore, so he has been leaving the bed for the couch where I originally thought he was going to sleep.

I don’t think being engrossed with someone for a long period of time is very healthy. It robs me of my chance to “follow my bliss,” which is writing and reading; two things I do in solitude. Both things take large junks of time.

Andrew asked me recently if I liked being in a relationship. I said yes. But the truth is, I don’t know. I still pine for Guy even though he utterly, I mean utterly betrayed me. And I often pine for time alone. Don’t get me wrong, time with Andrew is fun and we are both very loving toward each other.

It is still winter. I am wearing coats the I bought for Guy. My hands get lost in the sleeves. There is something comforting in losing my body to cotton.

I watched two pigeons dance a jig on the sidewalk. Can pigeons really carry notes from one person to another? I would send two notes, one saying “please don’t stop loving me” and the other saying “please just give me time.” One to Guy and one to Andrew. I would let the pigeons decide which went to whom. Funny to put love in the beak of a bird. I somehow trust the randomness of this. Maybe both notes should go to the same person.

The sun rose today and robbed me of sight; robbed me of intuitive sight. The glare of truth bounces off my living room window. All I know is that right now I am at the keyboard. Grams and Annie are curled up together in a chair on my left. I am not clear on who to love and how. Thank God I don’t need to make that decision today.

I don’t mean to offend anyone with this blog. Maybe honesty is sometimes overrated. I don’t know.