Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Butter and Sugar.

Here's the recipe for...


 Grampy Jim's Candied Sweets:



4 large Sweet potatoes (enough to fill a electric frying pan in one layer, flat)
water (enough to just cover potatoes)
butter
sugar

Start day before Thanksgiving or Christmas...
Cut large sized sweet potatoes into quarters and place in electric frying pan in a single layer.  
And then you just add butter and sugar, (as Stella has learned), whenever you feel like it.  (Grampy Jim told my aunt that the recipe was "about a stick of butter and a cup of sugar," but my mom watched him make them for many years and said any time he walked past them he added a little bit more sugar, and a little pat of butter." (You end up using about a cup of butter, and 2 cups of sugar). 

Add enough water to just cover the potatoes.  
Bring to a boil, then turn it on low.  
Cook on low for a lot of hours.  Yes, just a lot.  I have never measured how long they cook, truly. (You'll get the hang of it. 
Begin by adding a stick of butter and about a half cup of sugar.
Let them cook on low... for a long time.  (Yes, a lot of hours, haha).
Cooked on low, the butter and sugar cook them through, and they will become "candied" through--stick to your teeth and delicious.  
They cook all day (Just keep watching them, making sure they are cooking, and not just sitting in warm water, butter and sugar, or burning on the bottoms.  

The water should cook off within an hour. Put the pan in the fridge and then keep them on warm, to keep getting even more sticky all morning the next day until you are ready to eat.   

Flip the potatoes gently, because as they cook, they will get soft, and you want to them to stay somewhat solid, and not get all mashed up.

Stella makes the Candied Sweets, now.  She started helping me make them when she was 4.  I cut the potatoes up, of course, but I let her add the sugar and butter, (which I would put on a low, little bench so she could reach it all), as much as she liked, and she flipped/mixed them by herself. 
***
My mom taught me how to make Candied Sweets, and Grampy Jim taught my mom when when she was young.  She grew up in a multi-generational house.  Her grandparents lived right upstairs, in a two level, large old house.

It's a tradition to make them every Thanksgiving every Thanksgiving and Christmas.  We make them every year.  And I make all the pies, now too, because Grampy Jim taught my mom how, and my mom taught me that too.  I know how to make Grampy Jim's flaky crust perfectly, now.  Stella does too.


***
It's funny how the repetition of an action or event or occurrence over years, and through generations becomes expected, and most often something that family or friends cherish and look forward to.  It becomes tradition.  And we adopt and cling to these traditions at a young age.  Change is difficult for everyone.  We want some things to always be the same.  We need some things to never go away.  We need some things we can pass along to our children, knowing they will continue with them, because we've instilled in them the love and family history that holds our lives together.  Tradition.

It took me too long to fully grasp that I can't recreate entire experiences for my children, (which were filled with bountiful and beautiful traditions when I was a child), but instead pull out the ones I know I can teach my children and pass along without any help from anyone else.

Because.

Even as a very grown up (old) person, now, I still have a difficult time letting go of what I knew and wanted my children to know.  I had to accept that traditions fade as generations move along, if we let them.  No, I guess we don't always have a choice.  My children have different grandparents then I did.  They have different extended family.  They have different parents:  That would be me, and that would be Sam.  We aren't my parents.  I am glad we aren't my parents.  I want to be who we are and have been for them, because I know they are them, because of who Sam and I are as parents...

No matter all the craziness I know has existed in myself, and in our adult lives, (And damn it.  My kids are so smart, they know more than we want to think they know), the twins are little people who love deeply. My children want things to "be the same."  My children understand tradition, and the depth of family love, whether they have it tangible and live-and-in-color as often as they should.  They have listened to every story about every loved one I could ever remember to tell them, and every memory of all the people they may never have had the chance to meet, or who left when they were too young to remember fully.  They know. They already know.

This Thanksgiving was quite different than any they had experienced in the past.  It was just the four of us.  We didn't have a lot of warning that it would not be the way they expected... tradition... but things had been slowly changing for years... People in our family have changed, and moved apart from us, even if they weren't moving away.  They still lived 2-20 minutes from our home.  We had never had a Thanksgiving with just the four of us.  We'd never known a holiday without extended family.  The kids were happy, just the same.


***

When I child, we had to sit on the stairs on Christmas morning and sometimes sing holiday songs until my parents would let us go into the kitchen and look into our stockings.  We'd dump them out on the kitchen table.  We had hooks on a kitchen fireplace.  We always had to go to the kitchen first and look in our stockings and eat some breakfast first.  Usually my mom made us Candy Cane Coffee Cakes, and I think it was their chance to make sure everything was still in order, (and that the cats hadn't knocked over the tree, or the "Santa" presents were in order [which were never wrapped, always put out in front of the tree], and they could drink some coffee and prepare themselves for the crazy day).  And it just stretched out all the fun, the anticipation...  I never, ever peeked into the living room even though we could see the tree from the kitchen table if we had looked.

My children never peek, they really don't! They are just like me, or how I was as a child.
They love the magic and the anticipation of the holidays, (however it is conjured), and they don't want to ruin it.

They have even woken up hours before Sam and I even felt capable of functioning properly after a long night of putting together some dollhouses or other toys that seemed to have a million pieces and directions in foreign languages.  And they would lay on our bed, or wait on the steps, or climb back into their beds if we told them it was too early and would giddily chat and giggle and keep calling down, "Is it time, yet?"

(My best childhood friend, Heather, used to unwrap her Christmas presents carefully and rewrap them weeks before the holiday arrived.  I couldn't imagine not wanting to be surprised.  I wondered how she could be surprised or excited on Christmas morning, let alone act like she was anything at all).

Anyway.  It only takes one parent and one child to keep a tradition alive, I've realized.  And I also know I can't try to make anyone else do what I hope and think they should do, and to understand the powerful importance of family traditions.  I know I have to think about my kids.  I must keep them moving along, through time, collecting memories.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

The Night of Scissors and... Fire?

The other night I pulled my ponytail to one side and cut off a huge chunk of it with a pair of scissors. The scissors happened to be on the bedside table, so it was easy peasy.  I just did it.

Children do things like that.  It's a story as old as time.  Girl, did you not cut your Barbie doll's hair off?  You thought you were doing a good job, right?  I always did.  But some kids see scissors and can't help but cut a couch cushion (my child), or a tablecloth (my little sister), or their sibling's hair (my big sister).. It must be a sense of rebellion or freedom?  Scissors!  Cut, cut, CUT!
Cut all the things!

Yeah, my older sister cut my hair, (secretly of course), when I was about three or four, and I have had bangs ever since.  My mom said, "I was so upset, but then I realized you looked a lot cuter with bangs."  Nice. Thank you Marguerite.  I am prettier with bangs.  (Hey, At least she didn't stab me with them.  My older sister tended to want to hurt me for various reasons, quite often, when we were kids).

I didn't care. I mean, I didn't care about cutting the end of my ponytail off with kitchen scissors the other night.  It wasn't about rebellion, I truly just didn't give a fucking shit.  I just became the kind of girl (woman ?) who does that kind of shit.  I'm the kind of girl who doesn't give a shit.
Fuck it.
Maybe I was making a statement that would be very difficult to interpret, because I really wasn't and I'd like to write about something amazing that I was rebelling or doing when I cut my hair, but I can't think of a damn reason.

Yet, I'm a little crazy if you didn't know.  I really just saw the scissors, and did it without even thinking.  I know Sam walked into the room and I filled his hand with hair and he ripped the scissors away from me telling me I was acting crazy.  "What the fuck?  Why would you do that?"
I didn't feel so crazy at the time.  I was like, "Who cares?"

Just how they like it.
I used to like to look nice, and I cared a bit more about my hair.  I know I don't have a perfect face, and I'm not beautiful, (certainly which would be revealed if I was bald).  I know my hair can easily affect my appearance.  I cut a chunk off without really caring about anything like that.

Maybe I am sick of being blonde.
I'm sick of having to damage my hair to try and make it just right, and compliment my skin tone, or spend a crap-ton of money at a salon to have it highlighted and "look natural."

I'm not blonde.  Well, I did dye my hair all blonde.  Sam has been asking me to do this since we got married. When I went in the other direction and dyed it all brown, he hated it, and has said he doesn't want to see any brown in my hair at all.  Ever again.  Bad.

Some people have to keep everything together--use a flat iron, and apply makeup every day!--or they look like a mess, or feel like a mess.  I guess I'm lucky that I don't look like a hot mess unless I really, absolutely don't do a darn thing when I wake up in the morning (Like I don't smooth my hair into a ponytail, or wash my face, or change out of pajamas, or...)  I might feel like a mess, but I also don't really look in the mirror very often. I haven't worried about being perfect for such a long time, and I guess that's part of my problem?
Maybe I'd feel better if I looked better?  Or if I cared?
I'm low maintenance if no one expresses expectations for me--That just freaks me out.  Even with my job, I will tell you my students thought I looked pretty fabulous every day.  (It was the shoe and boot collection, am I right?). Messy bun, and just a swipe of mascara, before I rush out the door to teach?  I showered. I'm dressed. I'm good.  

So.

Where was I?
I have recently... Let's see...  Yes, I cut my own hair without even looking in a mirror.
I also "high-lift-blonded" the shit out of my hair, until it was just about platinum.  (I don't think anyone reads this who knows anything about hair coloring.  I could have said I bleached the shit out of my hair until it was blonde, but I didn't actually do that, because I didn't want all my hair to just break off.  I actually cared!  See?!  I do care.  High-lift color is more gentle... so there you go.  (Hair color 101).

I also care about making Sam happy, yet I don't want to pay $120 to go to a salon (I really like that salon, and I have very good friends who work there), to get highlights anymore.  We can't afford that.  We haven't been able to pay for that kind of hair maintenance luxury for awhile now.  The last time I went, in June, 2016, it was because my mom gave me money to go get it done.  "You need blonde hair!"  She saw me and was aghast...  because my hair... it looked... so...  brown?

I look prettier very, very blonde, don't you know?
That's what I'm told.
Often.
No, that's not true.
It's just whenever my mother sees me, or my husband feels like commenting about it.

"You are just a blonde," I've been told.  That's the way it is.

Me at 12?
I was born with brown hair.  My hair is brown.  It's not growing from my scalp with the lovely pale, buttery highlights.  Nope.  Just plain brown.  I actually don't remember caring what color my hair was.  I remember not liking having big feet and a big nose, and no one wants pimples, but I don't remember ever thinking much about my hair.  It was a whatever type of thing.  Don't care if I have brown hair, or long or short fingernails, or that I had freckles across my nose and cheeks.  I didn't really think about that stuff.  I wasn't sexualized, which honestly has to be when girls start worrying about stupid shit, until older boys started paying a lot of attention to me.  And even then, my mom had to tell me they were paying attention to me.  And she explained to me what I had to do...  to be... blonde.

Blossom and Six.
I know it was time to not have the brown, straight hair that just happened to me genetically, after I was 13 or 14. Maybe it was not the people around me who made it impossible for me to just be "natural."  I mean, it was the early '90s, and it was all about perms and "frosting."  (Oh my.  Luckily I made it through the last part of that before I graduated from high school).

Blossom was a popular show on television at the time, and people at our middle school called my best friend and I, "Blossom and Six."  I was Blossom.  I swear I even dressed like her.
I didn't know if I should embrace how I looked, or know I could look a whole lot better than... Blossom.  I didn't want to be compared to her.  I also didn't want to be rude, or think, "She's not pretty!" if people really thought I looked like her.  I did have a long face and my nose looked bigger when I was in middle school.  I was growing into my "looks."

"Blossom" on "What Not to Wear."

Let's see, how did those actresses age?


"Six" wearing not so much.
Oh goodness, and being tan became a super big deal!  I remember my mom bought me Coppertone QT self-tanning lotion, which was the first "sunless tanning lotion" ever.  It is so ridiculously funny to think about how bad that stuff was now that they have made advancements in the self-tanning lotion science.  Anyway, I was prettier with a tan.  Don't get me wrong, I sound like my mom was putting me down.  No way.  I had the coolest mom in the 90s, and I really did need a confidence boost.  The "ugly stage" some kids go through during puberty, well, it was traumatic for me.

Obviously being tan was better, too.  Blond hair and a tan.  I had pale, Irish/Russian skin, and I slathered on the QT.  I remember the first time I went to 8th grade all tan, after lathering that stuff all over my body.  I felt awesome, and I totally looked hot for an early 90s 8th grader.  However, after school, during track practice, the sweat made orange streaks run down my arms and legs.  I remember just spraying my water bottle on my face and rubbing it all around, because having a runny orange face could be a disaster, yeah?  Then I just let all my friends pay tic-tac-toe on my legs, because you could just lightly use a fingernail and reveal my pale skin under the orange.  I let my team write funny things on my skin with their fingernails.  Hey, that's grace, I would say, for a middle school age girl.  I thought it was funny. One of the female track coaches saw my body on the bus ride back to school and said, "Oh, that's disturbing," when I explained why I had words and patterns all over my visible body parts.
Nah.  I had a sense of humor about it all, at least!  I could have freaked out.  I didn't.
 I just realized that stuff sucked and I wasn't going to use it anymore.

Tanning beds.  Those were great when I was in high school.  No one got to use them, but my mom let me.  I remember after the school's spring break I was sitting on a bench where all the "cool" kids hung out as school got out, in the lobby area, and a girl, (let's be honest here, I was her biggest threat.  She got best dressed in middle school in Springfield, I got best dressed in Bellows Falls Middle School...  I was killing it. She was no competition...  Anyway...), asked me if I had gone somewhere spring vacation.  I remember saying, "Florida...  The Bahamas... No, just kidding a tanning bed."  And she was more jealous that I got to use a tanning bed, than if I had actually traveled to a tropical location.

I wonder what I would have been like if I was just myself.  I mean, I loved fashion, and nobody could tell me how to dress, but I didn't really know that my brown hair was "mousy" until my mom told me it was.

I think I would have done okay with brown hair.
But now I'm a blonde.  B For life!
Can't stop.




Sunday, November 13, 2016

Black out.

I tried to stop drinking alcohol completely.

I don't want to drink anymore, so I stopped for awhile.  I knew that I was only drinking to numb myself, and try to make myself feel something (anything!).  And I was hiding from things I didn't want to think about, all at the expense of my liver.  It worked well to drink until I couldn't quite think at all.  I thought it all worked quite well.

But every rational and intelligent parts of me can admit it:  Alcohol really makes things worse, when it comes down to it.  Yet, when I was doing it, every time I was actually drinking, it felt like it was helping.  I was not rational and I was not myself.

 I hated myself.
 I wasn't in reality.
I didn't like reality.

I drink now, but occasionally, and try not to do so excessively.  I at least know why I am drinking, and I think about those reasons with every swallow.
****
It was a few months ago that I started blacking out completely when I drank a certain amount.  I would have no memory of anything that happened after I crossed that certain limit.

Blank.

Completely darkness.

I remember nothing of those nights.  I remember absolutely nothing, and I can't bring any of it forth in my mind.  It's just not there.  Apparently I can be very hilarious when I'm not even aware that I'm...  awake?  I am doing lots of things, and walking and talking and apparently thinking, yet I am in a black out.  I don't remember any of it.  I don't know any of it.  It is as if I wasn't even there.  I mean, I wasn't there, was I?  I wasn't there.  I was absent.

I could also be really scary.  I would spend hours telling Sam about every single thing he had to make sure the kids knew if I died.  I wanted to tell him every family story, and memory, and make sure he knew what each thing was in my jewelry box, or in our cupboards that were family heirlooms.  I would know I was going to die, I guess.  I don't remember.  I did know every single thing that I needed to tell him and it was a lot.

That scares me, to black out.  It scares me to have Sam recall hours we spent together "awake," when that time is completely gone for me.  I don't want that.  The kids are never awake when I drink, and I don't like it... I don't want it... and I try not to do it at all...

Having a little champagne or wine on a romantic date, or a beer on a hot summer day... I want to do those kinds of things... but I want them to be memorable and infrequent... special.  I'll admit it.  It became a daily thing... drinking at least a few glasses of wine every single day.  And some nights we would drink so much that I stopped remembering those nights.  Drinking became more than unhealthy and self-destructive. It was terrifying.

I was scared I couldn't remember.
But I was scared that I couldn't stop.
It wasn't so scary, and I could... I did it.
And I feel better.

God.

It feels better to wake up, and actually remember the falling asleep part

Saturday, October 29, 2016

New Mexico.

I went to New Mexico.  It was two summers ago.
I shouldn't write about it like it's something monumental... Not now...
But when she is here, I remember, and I think about that time.  It was different than her being here, at this house.  I'm remembering, now.  Looking back.

I went to New Mexico because my sister was there.  I needed her: I admitted and acted upon that feeling. She needed me:  I had known that for years.

It was two years ago, yes.  It was August.  She and I were there, in the middle of the Southwest, far away from Vermont, and it felt like we were ourselves, and we were sisters, and we were all we should be... together.

I had never flown in a plane alone before.  I was scared.  I didn't think I could do anything by myself anymore.  I had become what I ought to be:  I was a mommy.  I was a wife.  I was a mother.  I was a housewife.  I was a stay-at-home-mom.  Ought that have been my life?  I was a teacher before that.  I was a sister.  I was a daughter.  I was a granddaughter.  I was an artist, and a reader, and a writer, and a lover, and a liver.  I mean, I lived. I felt alive.  I was a woman.  I was a woman.

Not a piece of meat.  Not an organ.  Not a category.  Not a peg.  I didn't fit into one hole.  I was never that kind of girl.  I was a dream. I dreamed.

New Mexico is the "Land of Enchantment."  It's so beautiful.  It is a land of dreams.  It looks like a dream.  I mean, it felt like a dream on my skin and in my mouth.  It felt like a dream, drowning all my senses.  I had never seen anything like New Mexico in my life.  Seeing something so new, so different, so scary and beautiful is jarring.  It is a shock to any system.  It is electrifying.  It stimulates.

And I never knew all those nerves that were zinging and zapping.  I didn't know how to feel that way.  I didn't know how to live that way.  I didn't know a life like that.  I didn't think I should know it.  I didn't think I was supposed to know any of it.  And I was scared to feel any of it.

New Mexico.

How life changed for me after that.  I guess it just confused.  I just became confused.  I didn't want to leave. Honestly, I didn't want to go home!  I wanted to stay with my sister!  I wanted to stay with my little sister.  I wanted to be a part of all the next parts of her life there.  It felt like I was supposed to be there, and know what to do next. I was flying away from her new adobe rental. I was convinced I was supposed to caulk her bathtub/shower there, and I knew how to build an enclosure around the water heater, and I knew what to do to make her bedroom cozy, and the living room just right, and the kitchen livable...

Or I was supposed to help the Fretwell's make space for her... the upstairs, glassed in porch... I was supposed to make her a space there, and help Zeno make room... because that's what Craig, his dad, would have wanted. He had shoved stuff into that space to get it out of the way.  It was convenient storage, not sentimental... He would have wanted to make room for Mikhaila in that stone house in Las Vegas, NM.  God.  I wasn't supposed to leave before I had done all those things... but I did leave.  I left.

It was almost September. My twins were starting school.  I had to be in Vermont.  And Mikhaila was just starting her college classes.  I was distracted.  I was pulled away.  Not by Vermont.  I was pulled away because I was not confident enough to know I was capable and worthy on my own.  As soon as someone, anyone who seemed consequential, made me feel like I wasn't strong enough to do anything by myself...  I listened.

I can't explain why I have always listened to everyone but myself, for several years, now, but that's what I have done.  I look around for someone to tell me what to do.  I look for someone who knows what the fuck is going on... I mean, I don't feel like I know what the fuck's going on, really.  I really don't.

That makes me sick, that I listen and need someone to tell me what to do.  If anyone, looking back at my life, my little sister should be the one who knows me best of all and most of all and I should trust her.  She always, always says:  "You are strong.  You are Joanna!"

My sissy and I, we should both be, (and have always been), a wall of strength and power.
We are strong and powerful, especially together.  But I think we both quietly wonder if we are any of that stuff.  I know we both hesitate and think:  "Can I? Can we?"

Yes we could.  But we haven't, I know.  We have stopped short, pulled the emergency brake, and skidded to a stop with our eyes closed.  We open one eye at a time and say, "Oh, phew."

"Wow, we're still alive."

Like we wouldn't be... Like we should only just be relieved... When, truly, we should have our boots on the gas pedal, with the windows down.

It's okay if we are laughing when the wind whips through our hair and makes us feel disoriented.  We are still driving.  And It's okay if we stop, if it is to dance in the dawn sunshine.  It's not just okay:  It's good if we dance in the early morning sunshine.  It's nice to be awake and feel the warmth and headiness.  We can feel dizzy in fear, but freedom.

Our long shadows dance with us.  We don't need anybody else.  Not to live.  Not to breathe.  I mean, no one person should need someone else to help them live and breathe.  Not me.  Not her.  Not nobody.





Sunday, October 16, 2016

When.

Is there always a when?

You know the questions: "When will it happen?  When will that change?  When will it grow?  When will it explode?  When will he call me?  When will she write back?  When will I feel better?  When will I know..."  They are endless, the questions.  When?!  

We ask over and over, (to ourselves, to God, to others), these questions, based on expectation and hope that something is going to happen...  Because we still have faith.

Hey.  Let me tell you something...  Maybe it's just never, sometimes.  Maybe there isn't always a when, but instead nothing.
NEVER!
And being human, even when nothing comes to us, we still end up looking for an explanation of why not... why it never will...  We can't stop asking questions.  We can't stop wanting an answer.  I know I can't.

But part of me, the dark, lonely, depressed part of me understands that maybe it's just an empty, condemning thud--A steel door, with an airtight seal, that can't be opened again. No questions asked.  Just stop asking fucking questions.

Maybe it's just the way it is.

For some things, some people, some situations,  there is no answer, no solution, no change... nothing. There is no future.  There is no when. 
It's what it is.  
"It is what is it," people say.  

Wow, I sound so well adjusted, when I write about this thing... the understanding we can't control all things.

But I am not.  I am not a person who has ever been well-adjusted in any way.  I have never accepted an obviously impenetrable door, once it is closed, to be shut in my face.  I try to stop it from shutting, throwing my shoulder against it and pushing against it with all my strength.  Then I kick it and scream at it.  
I scream, because I keep believing that it's only a matter of when someone finally comes and opens it.

I lean against it and cry, thinking "When will you hear me calling to you? When will you open it?"

And no matter how exhausted i become... years... and I get so tired... I never stop thinking that there is a someday....  a, "now."  

Now, Joanna.
Now.
Now.  


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

September When It Comes.

September also goes.
September comes and goes so quickly.  It's races through my senses, my memories, my emotions.  It is a month that leaves a fast, clean cut: A cut that heals, but it deep and bleeds bright red.  
It heals.
It hurts, but it heals with no scars.
It comes and goes.
I barely have time to breathe air that isn't August or already October.
September.

There's a light inside the darkened room,
A footstep on the stair.
A door that I forever close,
To leave those memories there.

So when the shadows link them,
Into an evening sun.
Well first there's summer, then I'll let you in.
September when it comes.

I plan to crawl outside these walls,
Close my eyes and see.
And fall into the heart and arms,
Of those who wait for me.


I think I always plan to start anew, and let September in... when it comes...  It used to be a marker of great significance when I was a teacher.  In September I was always a teacher again...  I was a teacher in September.  I would regret that summer ending, but find joy in the beginning of new learning and teaching and knowing and feeling.  That's what teaching is. It is all those things.

I mourn not being a teacher in September.  Every September...  I wish I were starting with new students and new ideas and a new year: I feel that loss inside me... In September.

And then, when my babies were old enough, it marked them going away, each day, into a new school year, which is difficult. I get used to it.  But September is the hardest month.  It forces me to see that my children are growing up, that life is moving on, and we are all getting older...  Older.  


I cannot move a mountain now
I can no longer run.
I cannot be who I was then
In a way, I never was.
I watch the clouds go sailing
I watch the clock and sun.

Time marches on, yeah?  Cliche.  But that's what it does... Tick, tick, tick... Head down!  Forward March... and we hear the cadence of time... whether our head is laying on the shoulder of our grandfather, or resting on a pillow, when we are alone.  
I'm alone.  
I'm alone because I am not teaching.  
I am alone every day.  I lay my head on my pillow, and stare out the window, and think of being a little girl.  I think about my babies, (well), being babies, and not fourth graders.  I think about them resting their heads in my arms.  I wonder if  my head will ever feel safe on a shoulder another September.  Have my Septembers marched along, and somehow I didn't keep up?  
Damn it.  
I should try to run... to catch up...

Oh, I watch myself, depending on,
September when it comes.
So when the shadows link them,
And burn away the clouds.

They will fly me, like an angel,
To a place where I can rest.
When this begins, I'll let you know,
September when it comes.




Sunday, September 11, 2016

Warm Ginger and Coconuts.

Sense.  
Senses.  
Five.

Of the five, olfaction has given me the least amount of trouble...  (I mean, until I was pregnant with the twins, and then it was like, crazy-town, I-can't-eat-with-that-woman-sitting-next-to-me-wearing-that-noxious-perfume-Can't-you-smell-it-?-can-we change-tables-?-OMG-I-can't-sleep-with-this-dog-smell-in-this-room!-We-have-to-remove-this-old-carpet-immediately-or-I-will-suffocate-in-this-freaking-bed-one-night-I-know-it's-12:30 am-but-please-move-our-bed-into-the-living-room-or-I-will-die...  That passed as soon as the babies were born:  No more sensitive nose.  Poor Sam.  Oh, my poor Sam.  [He installed new flooring in our bedroom in one day].  That was the worst of my pregnancy/hormonal symptoms at the time.  I promise.  I was a lovely, low-maintenance pregnant wife...  Really!).

I mean, I barely remembered those sensations, and think of that time... becoming a mother, in the most sentimental of ways:  The smell of the tops of my babies' heads, when I brushed my lips over them, the smells of their clean baby skin, and their sweet, mommy-milk breath.  Oh, gosh... I could go on.  I can smell my newborn twins in my arms right now.  I can smell them at 6 months:  apricots, and rice cereal, and bananas, which they'd get all over themselves when I fed them.  Oh! My babies... Dreft detergent, Aveeno baby shampoo, natural lavender baby powder...  Pure happiness in those smells.  

I can bring a scent to mind, better than I can remember a feeling, or visual, or sound...  

Ah, but isn't it the hardest to put into words?  Don't smells live in our memories, and belong just to us... almost... because all people smell things differently.  We even each have our own distinct smell.  We smell a certain way that makes us who we are.  Sam said he knew he was crazy about me as soon as he smelled the skin of my neck... my skin.  He said it was intoxicating.  It was like a drug to him, and he became addicted.  I'm not talking about my perfume or shampoo... it was me.  My smell.  

That's something everyone should know, as they navigate the world for a companion:

"Smell is extremely important when it comes to attraction between two people. Research has shown that our body odour, produced by the genes which make up our immune system, can help us     subconsciously choose our partners.  Kissing is thought by some scientists to have developed from sniffing; that first kiss being essentially a primal behaviour during which we smell and taste our partner to decide if they are a match" (http://www.fifthsense.org.uk/psychology-and-smell/).

(If you look it up, there is science behind this stuff I am telling you.  But... Then, also, I'm obviously very smart, so you can listen to me and not look it up).   

Scent is one thing I can always link to good memories...  
Smells lock into my brain.  
The scent of an important moment is never forgotten.  

Gees, and for goodness sake, the other five senses have offered many difficulties and annoyances throughout my life.  I mean, visuals can lead to actual illness, touch and taste might just be a feeling of neutrality and numbness.  Don't get me wrong, old, rancid trash, skunks, sour milk... those things are not fun times for me.  Yet in my life experience so far, seeing, feeling, or hearing "gross" "stuff", elicits a much more visceral, negative response.  For example:

1.  I have visuals, and can have a physical reaction to specific patterns and images, particularly a repetitive honeycomb... oh, gosh, just writing it makes me see it... it's repetitive, symmetrical holes, or...  AAAAAAAaaaaaaa!  I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.  I'm a freak, I know. 

2.  Oh, and I'm a complete Misophonian.  My brother can tell you how fun it was growing up with a sister who constantly said, "Stop chewing with your mouth open!"  "Stop scraping your teeth on fork!" "Oh, no!  Not slurping!"  Yeah, I was that kid, and trust me, I didn't get over it. Now, it's even worse at times, particularly when I am PMDD.  Sounds can either startle or disgust me far more than they should.  (I love music, though.  Music can have a significant effect on my mood).

3.  Taste doesn't bring me pleasure or pain.  I have always been open to trying new foods and new tastes, but most of the time, I don't care what I eat.  I don't take great pleasure in eating... anything...  Often, I even wish that there was a single supplement I could swallow to get my daily nutrition, so I would not have to even bother with eating.  I'm just not a person who has an affinity for any particular taste.  

4.   Touch.  Geeeeeeeees.  I don't like that I'm this way...  I don't like to be completely vexed by any clothes touching my body, wishing I could just wear nothing at all.  I hate how sensitive I can be to touch...  Just things touching me! Real or perceived!  I go through stages where I cringe and pull away when something or someone even brushes against me.  Aaaaaaa!
Oh, or I scratch at my body, (my scalp mostly).    I feel so darn itchy when I am Luteal for no reason at all!   And I don't want to feel tickled or itchy or... gosh... Half the time I actually feel numb to pleasurable, physical feelings.  (Pleasure starts in our minds, I think, and I'm all messed up in there, aren't I?).  Ugh.

Anyway, through it all, it seems that smells can reach parts of my brain that other senses can not.  A scent that reminds me of something or someone,  (when I'm breathing it in), transports me to another time or place.  A smell can make me feel safe, happy, nostalgic, sad...  

Scent can bring me to lovely places:
Old Spice, cedar-I'm hugging my grampy.  
Hmmmm... Gosh...  This isn't one that naturally occurs...  It's just that baby smell... Your own babies' smells... so lovely and intoxicating-I'm holding my little newborn babies. 
Cooked onions and noodles and squash and browned beef -I am eating dinner with my great grandparents. Leather:  I'm saddling up Calla for my riding lesson, or I'm driving our '68 Mustang with my friend Heather. 
The sea, suntan lotion-I am standing on the beach with my family. 
Chlorine, sun dried towels (with rusted iron, mixed with the smell of dryer sheet seasonally stored cotton)-I am swimming in my Nanny and Grampy's pool...

Smelling... Aaaaa...  I'm in a place where I was happy.  
I am with someone who made me feel good.  

Scientifically, scent is often said to be linked to memories, more than any other sense:


"The sense of smell is closely linked with memory, probably more so than any of our other senses. Those with full olfactory function may be able to think of smells that evoke particular memories; the scent of an orchard in blossom conjuring up recollections of a childhood picnic, for example. This can often happen spontaneously, with a smell acting as a trigger in recalling a long-forgotten event or experience. Marcel Proust, in his ‘Remembrance of all Things Past’, wrote that a bite of a madeleine vividly recalled childhood memories of his aunt giving him the very same cake before going to mass on a Sunday" (http://www.fifthsense.org.uk/psychology-and-smell/).

Suddenly, or purposefully smelling something that you know is linked to a memory, also brings about a profound emotional reaction in me...  Smelling something that reminds me of love and happiness can rip me apart, but also make feel like I'm breathing pure air for the first time.  I inhale, and smile, replaying the movie of my life through my brain rapidly... so fast only I can see it...  But then I remember those people or places are in my past now, and they smell associated with them might be remembered, but it couldn't belong to me forever...  Not the real thing... I'd just have to remember.  

After my Grampy John died, I didn't go back to their home, that house, for a few months.   Nanny Top was avoiding it too.  At that time, when he was suddenly not there, she said she could never go back.  My brother and his family lived in the upstairs apartment, (where my great-grandparents once lived), and I stopped to drop off some belated Christmas gifts for their children.  They were not home.  I stood in the vestibule, leading up the steps to the second floor and turned and looked at the door which would open to the living room of my Nanny and Grampy's home.  I remember touching the doorknob, watching my fingers slowly wrap around it.  Part of me wanted it to be locked.  Part of me wanted to let my hand turn it, and have it open up into their living room.  It was unlocked.  Cold air hit me, since it was not heated above a temperature to keep the pipes from freezing.  It had always been so warm, and smelled so warm... Nanny was always cooking, and grampy was always in the chair, that directly in my line of sight, now that I had opened the door fully.  It didn't smell like anything familiar.  

I became frantic, I know.  I know I'm a bit crazy.  If you read my blog... I guess you know that too...  I started to move from room to room, trying to detect love, and memories, and safety, and my childhood.  I stumbled a bit, to his chair, and curled up on it, and pushed my face into the upholstery.  Why wasn't he there?  How could he be gone?  No!

I threw open his hallway closet.  It was a closet I only ever knew as Grampy's closet, because he kept papers, and old overcoats he never wore anymore, and his old hats in it.  He hid plastic tubs of gumdrops, and butterscotch candies, and taffy and tootsie rolls, on the top shelf.  When we were kids, he would tell us, slyly, to go to the closet and see if there was something special on the top shelf.  I remember when I could barely reach, and I would have to stand on my tiptoes and reach up, feeling for the candy with my fingertips.  I opened that closet and tried to find him there.  I couldn't smell him.  I didn't have to stand on my tiptoes, to see the top shelf.  There was an old tub of mixed candies up there.  But not him.  Not him.

I shut the door, and swung around desperately to their bedroom.  I went to his closet and tried to find him in the clothes that still hung in his closet.  He wasn't there.  I opened the drawers to his bureau, and leaned in, knowing--just knowing--he had to be there.  He had to be there!  But he was gone.  My grandfather was gone. 

I don't know why it happened so quickly.  Maybe it was the temperature of the house.   Maybe someone had already taken away the things that still smelled like him.  But I couldn't find him.  I collapsed back into his chair and cried until I knew I needed stop.  I wasn't a little girl.  And I remembered what he smelled like.  It was like Irish Spring soap, and Old Spice aftershave, and...  (God, I'm closing my eyes and breathing in deeply, now, as if it would suddenly come to me, so I could describe his essence more accurately).  He just smelled like Grampy John, you see?  And you never hugged him, like I did.  So you will never know.  

That might be the first time I knew how strongly some of my senses were tied to my emotions.  I didn't know what a comfort, an object that smelled of a loved one could bring to me.  I didn't know how important it felt to smell someone you love, when you are never going to be able to do that ever again.  It made me angry that I didn't know!  It made me angry I didn't hug him longer, the last time I saw him, and breathe him in.  I wanted someone to tell me.  I wanted to go back and fix it into my memory...  But I guess I didn't need to.  It has been a part of me for as long as I remember, remembering anything at all!  His smell never changed. And, although I'm terrified I will forget it, I know I never will.

It's sort of weird that my first memory, the earliest life image I can remember, involves scent more than sight or feeling or hearing.  I was toddler, because I was wearing just a diaper and crossover-shoulder-baby undershirt.  I was sitting on the front seat of a large green pickup truck, with my biological father.  Child Car-seats were not required at the time, 1970s-1980s.  I was just sitting on the bench seat.  Ah, what a peak in social history, because there was no care for child safety in cars, and people didn't really give a shit about the environment, either... recycling was not even a notion.  We went to the actual dump--the landfill--and we threw it out, into mountains of trash bags.  I remember that smell.  It was so acrid, I threw up all down my undershirt.  I probably cried.  I don't know.  I can't imagine I was happy about being so succumbed putridity, that I puked.  I do remember Brent pulled the shirt over my head, and threw it into the trash pile with the bags from our house.  He, and the man I only knew as the "'trash man" laughing, when it happened.  The smell, repeated or even remembered, brings about the visual memory... the physical memory.  That should be a terrible first memory, but I was too young to register it as anything at all.  I look back on it and think, "Well, that makes sense." 

I started this post with something else completely in mind.   I had just smelled something that transported me to a different time, and a feeling of nostalgia.  

But as I started to write this, (wanting to introduce the topic properly, before jumping into that specific experience), I realized I had so much more to think about and write about.  I smelled so many other memories; moments, marked by scents, that span my lifetime and filled me with love and happiness.  Beautiful memories.  And all of them... All of them are richer and deeper and more beautiful than that stupid soap.



Sunday, August 28, 2016

Enough... never.

My bare feet are on warm grass and I'm spinning around with my arms stretched out.  Spinning.
A kaleidoscope of fabric and nature:  A summer dress, a summer day.
My knees buckling, dizzy, I fall and lay down, looking up at the bluest sky and the scattered clouds. Cumulus.  Cumulus Clouds.  Fluffy and white...  Spinning sky. 
My mind is swimming in a funny pool of colors and laughter.  
I hear someone laughing. 
It's me, I think.

Most of the time, I can only go into that place if I stop up my ears with sleep, or music.  Music.  If I shut out every sound except the music, I can stop smelling, stop thinking, stop knowing...  As much as I am capable of letting go.


I know I've written so often when I felt most depressed and crazy and hopeless.  I don't need to express those thoughts here.  I feel that way, still. I know when I think that way, I think I shouldn't really be here at all... I don't think I should exist.  I often don't think I can keep existing.  I want to disappear.  That's what I wrote, and what I know I thought.

However!  In the years since I started writing this blog, (and saying very morbid things about wanting to disappear), I did finally and truly absorb and retain the understanding that me not being here would be horribly detrimental to my children. The crazy-I'm crazy-filter coloring my thinking was shed, and I knew I would damage my children and mess them up, (maybe make them as crazy as I am right now, at a far younger age) if I... died.  Holy shit and what the fuck, right? Of course!
OF COURSE!
I didn't always see the of course.  Not really.  I might have said I did, but I really was thinking that it would be okay if I died.

But, yeah.  Holy Shit.  A parent dying, particularly in tragic and unexpected circumstances fucks kids up.
It fucks them up.
Adults can't handle tragedy like that.
Innocent young children?  Gosh, they would be even more fucked up by it.

I got that.  I get it.  I don't want to fuck up my children. So, even in my dark mind, I began to focus on the idea that I will stay here and do whatever I need to do to stay here.  I was not going to be reckless with my well being...  I was not going to die on purpose.
That's a big step for a crazy person.

Oh, no!  Then I had to face the reality that, even if I was not dead, the way I have been existing didn't mean I was here fully.  I understood if I was just existing to not die than I was doing a shitting job at living.  I was not being a good mother.  I don't know if I am, sometimes.

But...  I am fighting one battle at a time, I have decided.  I'm onto that next fight, after realizing I can't be dead, where I start to live...  Because, Oh man, I know I am not in any way actually here.  

I can't say I know what to do.  I don't know how to be present, when I feel like I'm disappearing. 
 I have massive depression, and right now I am not existing as any Joanna that anyone who had known me for more than 5 years.
I am a mother, yes.
I love my little baby faces and give them attention, yes.
I am a good mother, yes... Good enough.

Good enough?  That bullshit-crap.  Blech.
If you knew me--know everything that I was--you would know that "good enough" is the worst kind of mother I should be, by every account.

Tears.  Lame.
Ugh.  My face is contorted in disgust and anger, now, knowing that all this has gone on for so damn long.  I'm relieved my children are not in this room to see this ugly expression.  My face reflects my devastation in my failure, whether it is something I think I can control or not.  Good enough is despicable.  

You see, my children are superior beings.  I know the Joanna inside me is the mom that they deserve.  I would be a superstar for them. I would overwhelm their awesomeness with my energy, and love, and enthusiasm, and love.


I'm going to stop crying about being depressed and at least believe that I can be better.  Doctors, medicine, brain surgery... somethin'.
Let's be okay with that-be okay with believing.
Whew.  Anyway!  Yes! Stop crying into your hands like a emotional basketcase!

In my delirious and darkest moments, I know what I say:  I cry and say, "I was a teacher." I cry and say, "How did this happen?"  I cry and say, "I miss my grandparents." I cry and say, "I miss my mom."  I cry and say, "I want to be a good mother."  
As if it any of my life was caused by a thing or experience I could have stopped.
I've had none of those... moments where I felt in control when I felt so very, very bad...

It's an accomplishment to feel peace in believing and hoping.
It is lovely to feel any kind of freaking peace.
It's okay to feel some peace for a few moments.
It's meditation.
It's prayer.
It's thoughtfulness.
It's healing.
And the fact that my brain can do any of that shit is wicked amazing at this point.  I thought I was so far gone off the deep end, you know?

I have to confess though... I mean...
Well...
I have to say that blocking out everything with sound, with music, (stopped right up in my ears so nothing else can creep in), is the way I have to meditate at times.  Yes, I'm not paying attention to my kids, or Sam, or anything, really.  I'm just listening and breathing and my mind is taking a gosh darn break.
I want to stop feeling for awhile, sometimes..
And that's fine.

Why do artists, over the span of humankind, write and sing songs that take us away, if they didn't mean to take us away?  If they didn't mean to move us to feel, than I don't understand music or art or anything at all.

I have to hide behind deafness still.  I'm still a mess, really.  I reconciled one truth, but realized there was much more depth to it than a proclamation or a determined thought that was in my mind at a certain moment: (I'll not make myself stop being alive!  Yes!) I knew I had to and have to actually be here All of me.  100% Joanna all day, every day, all the time.  I can't just lay in the bed and stare at the wall and call that an accomplishment in mommyhood.  I need to be a healthy mom.  I need to be Joanna.

Sigh.  (Big SIGH).  I don't know.
I don't know...
I just know it is nice to escape from the reality of what I need to be, and should be, and not think too much... Just some times.
Some times.
Sometimes.



Thursday, August 25, 2016

Glass.

It seems too frequent that I am walking barefoot in my house and suddenly feel the sharp puncture of something foreign in the ball of one foot, or the pad of my toe, or my heel, and to look down and see bright red blood, leaving a gory trail where I hobble, and I can register what the Hell just happened.
It's a shock to suddenly feel a shard of glass pressing through layers of your skin.
It's a shock to be walking in your own home and experience this pain so frequently.

Luckily the kids, also always barefoot, like me, rarely experience this.  My feet seem to find the danger and bring it with me, wherever I move, until I can pull it out, and wonder where it came from. Hopefully not something that I cherished was cleaned up poorly, after being destroyed, and long ago put in the trash...  My foot just finding a tiny remnant.  Hopefully the broken thing--a water glass, a mirror, a candle, a dish, a vase, a teacup, a wine glass--was an accident, a mistake; not just carelessness or a purposeful smash.
Smash.
Smash.

My body tenses when I hear glass breaking.   It's a sound I hear so very often.  It's a sound that makes me cringe.  I have cried, when I'm already really on the edge, when I hear that sound, (and then Sam's voice cursing), because I feel like I know when the shattering signifies something important.


I was thinking about writing about this a few days ago.  I guess it's not funny to tell you that just this evening as my husband came home from work with groceries, I heard glass smashing, and although Stella exclaimed something vague, he didn't tell me what had broken.  "A vase," Stella said.  I didn't want to know.  I often don't want to know.  And Sam doesn't tell me.  If I ask him a few times, "Was that glass I heard break this morning?  What broke?  What glass broke?  What broke?"  

Sometimes he avoids telling me.  He said he is embarrassed for being clumsy.  That time it was a crystal vase; the only large vase we own.  Owned.  It was a wedding gift from one of my former elementary school students, and her family.  We had other, small cheap "vases," however this one was used for every bouquet of flowers Sam has given to me since our honeymoon.

It was out on the counter, pushed to the back, because it is usually stored under our kitchen sink, but Sam emptied the cabinet a month or so ago because the sprayer/hose thingy was leaking into the cabinet and it started to smell funny.  He was swinging bags of groceries up onto the counter, between our sink and stove, and it was tipped over.  He told me all this a few days later.

I only asked him again, or even remembered that most recent "smash," because I was getting the kids a snack and as I was walking from the fridge sink to wash a nectarine, my left foot was impaled by an thick, clear piece of glass.  I'm pretty sure I must jump a little whenever I step on something sharp, and then lift the injured appendage off the ground, not wanting to rest any weight on it.  Anyway, I stopped to pull it out, studied the piece carefully, turning it around between my thumb and index finger, and I tossed it in the trash.  

This time I realized there was most likely more pieces of glass, like that one, around that immediate area, (since such a large piece was missed during clean up).  I thought, I will sweep, then vacuum, then get down on my hand and knees and wipe the floor down once I'm done with my task...  (Getting snacks for the kids, remember?)

Ah, the bloody prints multiplied on the maple floors, until I was finished feeding the kids.
Blood just gets sticky as it congeals--coagulates--if you leave it.
I even forget it happened.  I forget about the wound.
I don't forget to clean up the blood, I just forget that it even happened.

Anything that can puncture skin is an object.  It is a thing.  And things made of glass are delicate.  And delicate things break easily.  And even if that delicate thing was something you wanted to see intact forever and ever and ever, there is no truly safe place for it, is there?  Even if you place it away from reach, and try to protect it with soft things, there will always be a chance a piece of it will end up in your foot.  

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

I wanna know, I don't wanna know.


Well, Amy hit the atmosphere
Caught herself a rocket ride out of this gutter
And she's never coming back I fear
Anytime it rains she just feels a lot better
And that's all that really matters to me


Well, Amy hit the atmosphere

Caught herself a rocket ride out of this gutter
And she's never coming back I fear
Anytime it rains she just feels a lot better
And that's all that really matters to me

We've waited so long
For someone to take us back home
It just takes so long
Meanwhile all the days go drifting away
And some of us sink like a stone
Waiting for mothers to come 


Yeah, it's one of those posts again, and if you don't like it, I'm just going to write it anyway.  That's how I do.  That's who I be.

 I'm smiling even though I feel like shit, because I know I'm just telling myself to go fuck myself.  I write for myself, wallowing in sadness. I'm selfish.  If realize if everyone else sunk into the sadness I let myself sink into, well, they would drown them too. We'd all be fucked: Humanity would be so screwed... 

I mean... If everyone was crumbling, like I crumble every month, there would be no one left to...  live.  

Everyone would want to die, yeah?  
We'd all be dead, I think... Yeah?
Right?

And I know I'm not talking about suicide here, but I am talking about depression, and I know I write about it selfishly; I write as though I'm the only one suffering.  However, I know many people are affected by depression, and I know that even my own pain has caused many other people pain.  My depression hurts the people I love.  That's the worse part about it, really... depression.

I don't want to feel like this.  I don't want any of the darkness.  But I absolutely don't want anyone else to feel it either.  I don't want to make other people suffer because of my illness... Is it contagious?  No. Depression isn't contagious.  It does rip families and friends apart, though.  I know it does.  

 I have hurt many other people with my shutting down, "checking out," running away...  I was always trying to run away from myself, but I ended up running away from people who love me.  Loved me.  Love me...  (God, I tell you, I don't forget my babies, though.  I remember them and try so hard to protect them from this).  

Depression seems selfish, doesn't it?  From the outside?  When you love someone who has depression, don't you ever truly feel really, really fucking angry at them?  
Don't you want to shake them and tell them to pull themselves together and see all the good things?  
Don't you want to tell them to just stop making everything feel so damn sad, and dark all the time?  
Don't you want to tell them to stop ruining everything, and making life so damn difficult for you?  For you?!

You have a right to feel that way.  
You are being hurt, when they are hurting.  
I understand that more, now than ever.  I don't want to hurt.  But it's disgusting to me that I make other people suffer along with me...  They don't deserve it... They deserve light, and love.  Everyone does.  

God, in the midst of my pmdd,  I do think, on my very worst days, I am the most hurt.  I am feeling the most pain.  I am feeling the most pain?   
Doesn't it feel like I'm falling apart, and not one can see it?  Inside me it's so catastrophic, and distracting, that I think everyone else must be okay? I mean, I can see them moving, and living, and smiling, and just... being... 

Yes.  No one could feel as freaking bad as I do...  No one...  no one...

Certainly not because of me.  I suffer alone? 
I'm hurt, but I didn't hurt anyone else, right?  
I mean, the people in my life understood what I was thinking, when I shut them out...  when I blocked them out... right?  Right?  right...
They understood how much I didn't want to hurt anyone at all... not the way I hurt...  right?

I wanna know, I wanna know, I wanna know, I wanna know
I wanna know, I wanna know, I wanna know, I wanna know

It's hard to swallow right now.  My throat is tight.  Because I know the truth:  When one of us is in pain, everyone who loves us is feeling pain too.  Love means empathy and caring.  Loving someone means we need them.  We need them.  And if they are absent, physically or mentally, than we are alone.  Aren't we?  No.  That can't be.  We can't all be alone...  I don't know.  I don't know anymore.  


Sam and I started watching the Blacklist a while ago... from the beginning, because James Spader has given me the biggest creepy creeps since "Pretty in Pink," and I couldn't even think of watching a show starring him without... just feeling so many creeps... But Sam said it was so good... So I watched the first episode, and it was amazing.  Excellent.  And James Spader doesn't creep me out playing a sociopath/arms dealer/killer, as he did playing a teenage, cocaine snorting, asshole.  Hmmmmm...  Go figure.  

Anyway, James Spader's character, Raymond Reddington said something in that last episode I watched.  It was a really surreal, freaky episode, and I haven't seen any of the episodes after it.  (I will watch them at some point, probably)...  I guess I just needed that episode to settle into my head. I'm a weird TV/Movie watcher.  
I'll admit it.

Reddington said:  Have you ever seen the aftermath of a suicide bombing…  I have. June 29, 2003. I was meeting two associates at the Marouche restaurant in Tel Aviv. As my car was pulling up, a 20-year-old Palestinian named Ghazi Safar entered the restaurant and detonated a vest wired with C4.  The shock wave knocked me flat, blew out my eardrums. I couldn’t hear. The smoke… It was like being underwater. I went inside. A nightmare. Blood. Parts of people. You could tell where Safar was standing when the vest blew. It was like a perfect circle of death. There was almost nothing left of the people closest to him. 17 dead, 46 injured. Blown to pieces. The closer they were to the bomber, the more horrific the effect.  That’s every suicide. Every single one. An act of terror perpetrated against everyone who’s ever known you… Everyone who’s ever loved you. The people closest to you… the ones who cherish you… are the ones who suffer the most pain, the most damage. Why would you do that?  Why would you do that to people who love you?  There’s always a choice."  

Suicide is the result of depression.  I mean, I think it almost always is.  I think it's a level of complete, and absolute giving up of everything that is rational, and a long history of seeing no hope...  Or maybe a brief moment of complete hopelessness and despair, when a person has too easy an opportunity to end it all.

 Or psychosis.  I'm not psychotic, though.  I know I'm not.  Suicide is selfish.  We hear that all the time.  I believe that.  I also know there are times I feel like it is unequivocally impossible for me to keep thinking and feeling, because it is so excruciating...  It feels like it's impossible to keep living.  But I know that horror wanes, and then often goes away.  I also know it will come back.  I'm used to all of this now.   

Even depression is selfish, in a way, when the person who is sick doesn't ever try to get better;  I mean, when one accepts the worst emotional states are truth, and nothing else is real... 

It's when I just sit there and bury my face in my knees, hugging them in darkness.  I know I am giving up at that moment, if just momentarily.  

I know, (I know), I have often said I don't have a choice, with PMDD and that I have to ride out the hormonal insanity.  Yet I also know that I could and can do something.  Some things...  Every time.  I could do better. 

When you have depression, you might cut yourself off from others.  When you have it, if you are like me, you do want to disappear... stop existing... You sometimes want to be dead.  You think it will be so much better for everyone else...  And you think it will be so much better for yourself.
to just not feel anything.
And stop experiencing the numbness,
the brain nausea,
the mind-fuck.

When you have depression, you are in your own head.  


All I really know is I wanna know

And all I really know is I don't wanna know

Heavens, I have laid on my bed, curled up, holding my head and screaming silently.  I rip at my skin: scratch it until it's bleeding.  I punch my temples, so it hurts more than the the terrifying, uncontrollable anguish inside my head... Pain is better on the outside, I assure you.  You can put a bandaid on it, or an ice pack, or take all strengths of medications to quell it temporarily... then take some more.  There is always something strong enough for fairly immediate relief.

Medicine for depression, you say?  Ha.  ha...  It's so arbitrary and a shitshow of trial and error.  "Maybe this pill.  Maybe this combination of pills.  Let's talk about it."  What might be a breakthrough treatment for depression, or PMDD, or Bipolar, or PME for one person, could make another individual feel worse.  There is no cure for depression.  There is no cure for PMDD.  There is no cure for heartbreak.  

And all I really know is I don't wanna know

And all I really know is I don't wanna know

And all I really know is I don't wanna know

And all I really know is I don't wanna know

And all I really know is I don't wanna know