Archives for May, 2010
On Tuesday morning at 4:45 a.m. I was sleepless. I got up, walked into my study and cozied up to my 24" iMac. To write. On hope, of all things. I was sleepless because I was feeling hopeless. Rare, for me. I was exhausted. I couldn't sleep. I couldn't turn off my thoughts. Sleeplessness is my arch-enemy... Sleeplessness is a serious trigger for me and my hypomanic mind. In no time sleeplessness ushers in twinklings ~ bizarre interpretations of a reality smacking of mania, psychosis, madness. Bit-by-bit, but fast. I can tell when I'm this way. When and while this is happening. I can see it happening from an onlooker's viewpoint. It's curious. I've been manic ~ full-blown and floridly psychotic ~ so often, I'm used to the signals. There's a certain comfort in that, strange as it may seem.
I have decided not to write too much more "On lemons..." as I had planned when I posted it yesterday. In my reply to the only comment On Lemons provoked from Jessika ~ thank you Jessika ~ I explained in detail, why I think On lemons was, indeed, a lemon. You see, because that post only received Jessika's comment ~ a good one, but only one ~ maybe it wasn't a good enough post. That's what that one and only one comment means? To me? Today? In my present mood at 7:06 a.m. on Saturday morning?
Something just occurred to me. With all this talk of turning lemons into lemonade, I confess, I dislike lemonade. Never drink the stuff. Too sickly sweet for my savoury palate. So, why turn luscious lemons into treacly lemonade? You probably think I've lost my mind. Maybe I have. I'm allowed. After all, why else be "Coming Out Crazy" ~ it's liberating. The point is, would you really want life to be all that sweet? Isn't living more exciting with a little zest and zing? I happen to love lemons ~ not their "ades" when their luscious pulp is brutally smashed and squeezed. Lemons are so multi-faceted. Magical. Divine. The word "lemon" is tainted... Its "other" meaning is undeserved ~ "disappointment" when a car or some "thingy" is a a dud or disappointment from the get-go. How unjust to "link" discontent to this delightful citrus fruit. I adore anything lemony... The smell of lemons. Their freshness. Their tartness. Their flesh. Their peel. Their zest. Their oil. Lemons "prick me up" emotionally. How can you not resist them?
Yesterday, I engaged in a short email exchange with friend. A smart, wise, scholarly man I have known for many years. It began when he called to speak with my husband … to offer his ear and his time. Time ~ the most priceless of gifts... He is a busy professional. For him, as for all of us, time is his most valuable asset. Priceless. You cannot really buy time. You cannot go back in time. No matter what you to do to stop time, the clock relentlessly keeps on ticking. His offer was completely unexpected – generous and kind. When I heard he had called and why, I started to cry. Weep. Then, after my tears had dried and I could no longer hear them in my voice, I called to arrange a meeting. That was it.
The origin of this post lies in a reply I began writing to several of you ~ and your candid and courageous comments and conversation ~ sparked by my posts "Coming Out Crazy" in Class... and Living Fast... published earlier this week. Your dialogue with each other teaches us all life-lessons... I love following your online discussions ~ and believe you me, I do. I read every word. Even if I cannot reply personally to each of you ~ though I try ~ your words mean a great deal to me because I learn so much from you and about you. Your dialoguing defines the essence and spirit of "Coming Out Crazy" ~ both the process and your processing. Noun and verb. As you find words for your feelings, you're evolving. Sharing. Learning. Growing. You delight me and you make me feel proud and worthwhile. You validate my dream for this blog. Kudos to all of you. Bravo! Embedded in your conversations is a powerful theme... This discussion is exploring a powerful theme in mental health, wellness and recovery. I haven't yet addressed it directly here, but now seems like a perfect time.
I'm fast. Not romantically. In that department, I'm a very late-bloomer. But in terms of the way my mind computes. Speedy. I think fast, mostly. Often backwards. Usually upside-down. That's why I'm a cockeyed optimist. Here's me at five at a friend's July 1953 birthday party. Happy-looking, wasn't I? The cute little blonde in the matching smocked dress is my three-year-old sister Elayne. My mother loved to dress us the same ~ like little dolls ~ though we're as different as night and day. Sometimes, I don't listen as fast as I think. That gets me into trouble. I am learning, though. Learning all the time. One thing I've learned is to have an open mind and to be prepared for anything, including chaos. Sudden chaos. Actually, I like it. It adrenalizes me and gives me a natural high. So I don't need or drink alcohol or use any recreational drugs. Never have. Except nicotine. Broke that nasty habit. Now, my only vices are food and caffeine. I need one cup of caffeinated coffee and breakfast in the morning or I'm wobbly all day long. Even half-decaffeinated and half-caffeinated will do. That's me. Can't help it. You're probably different. Isn't that great? I love difference. It's so interesting. It makes me tick-talk.
I'm so happy. President Barack Obama's nominee for Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan feels like my soul sister ~ her nickname "Shorty" ~ was my late father's during WWII as a RCAF/RAF navigator/bombardier flying Mosquitos. He won a DFC at 19. He was a war hero. He lived an heroic life. Today, Ms. Kagan is my newest hero. Her biggest battles are ahead of her. Best of all, I "came out" with pizazz to my first class of the term, this morning. A first for me. It was the best first day I've ever had. At 10:45 a.m., I launched the first ever summer term of my class, "Leadership in Society" or SOC300 102. This is a General Education elective at Seneca College. Students are required to take them to graduate. I was also late. Wow, that really adrenalizes you. There's nothing students love more than energy. Especially in a windowless classroom where the sunshine has to come from somewhere. And guess what ? I introduced you to my students. Psych Central. Us. Our community. This blog. On the big wide screen of my classroom. This sparked an enlightening discussion all about what the multiple-meanings of the term "coming out" means ~ "being yourself," one student said. "Being free," said another. "Opening a new door," said a third. What does the word "crazy" mean to you?
I'm far from beautiful. With wrinkles, sun damage, creases, dark patches, oily spots, circles under my eyes. Grey-streaked black hair. Weight-wise? A life-long yo-yo ~ big-time. With pictures to prove it. Under lock and key. But...once I was a beauty queen. The Toronto Star's "Most Beautiful Baby of 1949" ~ here's the winning photo. Judge for yourself... Now, six decades later, I've grown accustomed to my face. Naked. Wrinkles and all. Gradually, I've stopped wearing make-up. I'm allergic to everything. No one really notices. Not my students. Not my dogs. My husband can't see the difference. Except lipstick. It's taken me a lifetime to find my favourite brand. By Shoppers Drug Mart. "Quo" is me. I take painstaking care applying it. For one reason. My best feature. My smile. I love dazzling. This past Thursday, I was booked on a new Internet TV show. I've guested lots on TV. Written my own scripts and read them on TV. Appeared on radio for years. Even Internet radio. I have a perfect radio face...
It's Thursday night. I'm about to go to bed. But I had a thought and I decided to write it down now, right now. When I wake up tomorrow, if indeed I do ~ one never knows for sure and I do not take anything for granted, even waking up ~ it may be gone. This has not been a good day. But Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were dazzling. They were the three most remarkable days of my life. I finally had a lifelong dream come true. I "broke into the American market." For a Canadian writer, that's huge. You, down there, are so hugely powerful and influential, and the correspondence I received today, which will be yesterday when you read this, was proof. It was stunning. Here's a small sampling of your reactions: • A personal Facebook message from Judith Warner, formerly of The New York Times, asking me if I would be interested in having a look at or reviewing her newest book, called We've Got Issues: Children and Parents in the Age of Medication. An honour. • A note from a gent at The Christian Science Monitor ~ the first paper in the world to go digital five days a week and at the vanguard of newspapering ~ asking if I'd like to buy a story by one of their writers. He thought I might want to print it here. Unbelievable. • An invitation to be interviewed by Michelle Boyce of Diversity Matters Training, Patient Advocacy Office on Between the Margins, her radio show through The University of Western Ontario's CHRW. I'm doing it at 8:30 a.m. Not American, but still counts. There were others, but these are the three that stand out.
What a day yesterday was! Psych Central launched us. Coming Out Crazy settled into our new home joining an eclectic blogging community in a well-established 15-year-old landmark online neighbourhood. (Wow! Does it ever get busy around here at 6:45 a.m. on a Tuesday morning. What traffic!) My resilience is getting a workout these days... I have an ideal nickname for our exquisite, titian-haired, Colorado-based editor, Jessica ~ our only editor. She is Jessica the Great. I, on the other hand, am "Pain-in-the-Ass." I drove her utterly mad yesterday (I've been known to do this to editors, you know). Ultimately, it all worked out beautifully. We had a near-flawless launch. I'm acquainting myself with the workings of Psych Central's densely populated community. With two major moves in less than a month, I'm certainly exercising my resilience. Yesterday... I was struck by an intriguing phenomenon relating to psychological resilience – a hot topic in mental and emotional health right now. Here's what happened.