Life/Apathy and Living With Bipolar Disorder

It’s been some time since I created a post! I’ve been down and out between the holidays, the end of the school quarter, and growing deliriously ill. I am happy to report I’m writing from a somewhat clearer perspective today than, say, half a month ago.

We continue to discuss dichotomies in class, and I am fascinated with the apparent opposition of science/magic, or witchcraft. It’s intriguing considering these two identities as fringe cultures from the main society in which they would have historically existed. It is strange indeed how the micro communities interact with the macro. The exchange between the two seems to be as “alive” as we get.

They say love and hate are two very related emotions. If we consider these two halves of the same coin, I’d say the opposite of this “coin” is apathy…and “apathy” is the opposite of the “life/death” coin as well. I guess it is the black hole in the galaxy of life. How can we combat apathy? I would argue it is the most toxic entity on earth. 

I think a lot of people play “apathetic” in order to appear coy or charming, or to sidestep a heavy feeling. I have done this myself at times which is why I write so bold a claim so confidently. How much of an act is based on truth, though? What is a lie, anyway? I have so many deep, large questions and am enjoying the mysteriousness of them.

As a person diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I find tremendous liberation in the idea of the “reality” of life as existing between two bifurcations. It makes me feel as though, as a creator, anything is possible inside my brain. This different take on my diagnosis is quite empowering, rather than hindersome, and I am tremendously grateful for this perspective.

When I found out I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, for some reason my first instinct was to write to Stephen Fry about it…I suppose because he guided me through the hell of high school via the internet and books, has always been a beacon of truth and wisdom in my eyes, and is also an experiencer of bipolar disorder. I somehow had no doubts upon writing my short letter that he would respond—and, lo and behold, he did! And, he “encourage[d] [me] not to feel defined by [my] diagnosis,” advice which took me over a year to process and appreciate. Absurd as he is wise, Stephen Fry transcended the space-time-continuum in order to deliver me a purple-inked message of support, for which I truly am enormously grateful. 

“Empathy” doesn’t mean much if you don’t know where you stand and/or don’t have healthy boundaries. Every day, I work a little more on reeling in my energies, giving my love out in smaller, more intentional doses, making myself into the “badass lone ranger” of my own fantasies. “Connection” is an illusion anyway, y’know? But, like, such a lovely, admirable pursuit all at once. “Illusion is the first of all pleasures,” to quote Oscar Wilde for the fourteen hundredth time. 

Medication frightens me, because it brings me that much closer to apathy. I would rather feel the extremes of life in all its insanity than transform myself into a pliable, dull-witted husk. Perhaps even typing that has tempted some mad furies to bat down my defenses and leave me shaking my fist at the sky…I suppose only time will tell. Until then, I will be tripping along, endeavoring not to lose my mind and doing my best to avoid any descent into apathy.

Got a Cold

I’ve fallen ill. This cold is atrocious. I’ve been knocked on my butt for the whole day, going in and out of sleep. 

Between walks with this little dog I’m taking care of, I’ve been rabbitholing on Ani Difranco interviews and live performances. 

I’ve been thinking about my energy a lot lately…how energy is composed of spectrums, and how I need to reconcile the other, darker sides of my soul. 

I’m tired of thinking, rethinking, overthinking…I’m tired of building my own reality to hide inside of. I could just be sick today, but I’m terribly tired…

“Fortune favors the bold,” but what is wealth? 

That being said, I do know somewhere that it’s all going to be ok. As long as I focus on love, it’s all going to be ok. 

One Day at a Time

“The way that you make it, that’s the way it will be…” -Gillian Welch and David Rawlings

I have to chill. I really, really have to chill. Everything changes, like the seasons. Perhaps things are just getting shaken loose this fall. Boy howdy do I have a temper on me these days. What’s it mean? Where does it come from? Why do I have such “shallow walking shoes” as Laura Marling once put it?

There is so much work for me to do…one moment at a time. One day at a time. One day at a time.

“Behaving”

Nobody quite compares to Bonnie Raitt. She walked the line so well, and with such courage and commitment to her craft. 

Growing patience is like trying to catch moonlight in a jar. You may think you’ve made some progress, but when you open the proverbial lid, there’s nothing there. How to surrender to what is…surrendering seems to be the opposite of running. Or is running the opposite of winning? 

The truth is, you have to forgive yourself for being so unbearably human. It seems even when I think I am “behaving,” there is something I’m missing, something I’m leaving embarrassingly exposed…

I have to commit to something, some skin to cloak myself in, otherwise identities will continue to flow through me at others’ suggestion. 

“Silence speaks,” so they say. 

I had a dream once that I unwittingly told everyone how they were going to die, and this was a crime I would never be forgiven for. Does every princess grow up to be the villainous stepmother, queen, or octopus woman that she faces in the story? 

Is there really no common ground between the head and the heart?

Or to just say “fuck it” to all the philosophizing, and just go for something…try something—anything—out, see what happens, don’t take it hard if it doesn’t work, but move on…

Fun in the Void

You are as divine as you believe yourself to be. 

Everything you do is evil to somebody.

Perhaps you never grew up. Perhaps you never took the time to see the wonder of all things, the beauty inherent in everyone. Or perhaps you saw too clearly…Did you bury your darkness or did you wear it in your eyes?

What good do you have to give, anyway? What is the weight of a word?

Colors are good. This seems to make real sense to me. The colors of the fall leaves is a sign of goodness.

Earth is good. Earth is as good as it is violent. What is inside of a smile? Tenderness? Violence? Tendril-soft gooey honey love, pure and evident as sunlight, or a mystery to unpack, one dark layer at a time?

They say sugar is more addictive than cocaine. Will a mother always depend on her child? Will a father do the same? Who leads who? And where? What good can come over mulling over what “reality” means?

I don’t seem to mind the cold, when winter comes. It’s the grey that gets to me. The lack of colors. I need color to remember how beautiful everything is. And winter is coming…

Superficial obsession is my greatest vice…not having deeper curiosity about the inner machinations of what interests me—simply delighting in the fact that something actually stimulates me—is what terrifies me the most about my own brain.

Can curiosity be taught? Is my spiritual task now patient observation…surrender to the ocean I have been churning violently around in…let myself drown? 

I don’t know why I’ve walked through so much of my life with my head bowed down. How to find my way back home…when I haven’t been looking but languidly, stubbornly, angrily, lazily…

The truth is, I’ve got a gosh darn sweet tooth. I’d skip a dang meal for a slice of cherry pie and a cup of coffee any day…

I know I’m rabbit-holing hard about reality, mystery, and connection—am I just dragging my feet on engaging with life? Where does doubt come from? Doubt—that insatiable monster…

How to have fun in the face of the void…Fun…the pursuit of freedom…

Who are you? Who, who, who, who?

Sugar and Cheese Monster

Think it’s high time I cut some of the sugar out of my diet. I’ve been subsisting lately on cheese and almond joy candy bars, hardly a well-rounded diet.

Speaking of sugar and cheese, I’m currently watching a Will Ferrell movie with the boyfriend. I’d never seen “Step Brothers” before. I am somewhat surprised to say I am enjoying it.

I don’t have much to say tonight. I hope everyone feels happy and free, wherever they are, whatever they are doing.

‘Tis a Gift To Be Simple

I’ve had Dolly Parton on the mind a lot lately. Her and Brandi Carlile. I am working on developing my musical voice, the kind of platform I want to stand on, musically. 

Country music is such an interesting retainer for storytelling. It’s an interesting paradox, that it can be simultaneously so straightforward and so profound. “’Tis a gift to be simple, ‘tis a gift to be free…”

“I hope she’ll be a fool—that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.” -F Scott Fitzgerald

I haven’t had a lot of words lately, which is unusual for me—they usually flow out of me with an intensity. As Stephen Fry once said, I’ve become “inebriated with the exuberance of my own verbosity.” But no longer. I guess an odd collection of quotes will have to do tonight…

“I can resist everything except temptation.” -Oscar Wilde

In conclusion, go listen to some Brandi Carlile. She’s doing some really groundbreaking work.

Lion Tamer

Lion tamer, what’s your aim?

Lion tamer, is it all a game?

Built for the sport of the circus-going sort

Who house the sad clowns with their makeup painted right side round

So at last they might surrender to the pleasure of the crowd? 

Get lost in that sound…

Filthy beggar, pick yourself up off that floor

Filthy beggar, don’t you know God’s made of windows and doors?

Oh and by the way, do you think you could deposit that change

Into the local convenience store?

You gotta keep that cash flow going round and round you know

And after that, why don’t you kick on a little further

Down the road.

Witchy woman, did they make you their fool?

Witchy woman, did you break all the rules?

Or were you counting on the moonlight to guide you home again like it’s done many many times before?

Or is that just a mirage of a fever dream of a thought

You might’ve had one time in a previous life before?

Or did you simply want something more?

More, more, more, more, more

More, more, more, more, more

More…

Well we keep looking up for something to fill our cups,

But when will it ever be enough?

When will it ever be enough? 

love, terror, and waffle fries

All day, every day, I have dichotomies on the brain…good/evil, tenderness/violence, liberal/conservative, past/future, William Blake’s love/terror…

I was thinking of love and terror as I ate gorgonzola waffle fries this evening. They say anger is a fear response, and I’ve been feeling very angry lately. I am cumbersome with it—it is awkward for me to hold and channel. 

I feel very bifurcated lately. Like music is stitching me together, with every strange song that pops out of me. I feel so blessed by the proverbial Muse; I am so grateful to be creating again. I am running with it…I hope it lasts I hope it lasts I hope it lasts I hope it lasts…!

I’ve also been chewing on the concept of kindness lately—what is a true act of kindness? What is compassion? How do they interplay with rejection/acceptance? It’s all very nebulous to me at present. “Everything you do is evil to somebody,” as I believe Joseph Campbell said. 

And how about the dichotomy of intuition/intellect? What good is an intellect, truly? I am learning more and more that I need to shut my dang mouth…listen more, emote more, talk less, move slower…

Getting older sure is bizarre. 

“The very essence of love is uncertainty.” -Oscar Wilde

live music and growing

I am currently reveling in some live music put on at a local venue. I used to turn my nose up at live local shows—now I see them as the heartbeat of the town in which I live.

So many of the performers tonight have been touched and influenced by my current music professor at my college. I wish there were some way to pay back the energy she has put into us, but I’m just not sure how to express my gratitude. Apparently she jokes she has started a cult. I don’t think that’s far from the mark, frankly…

I’ve been thinking about dichotomies lately. Namely tenderness/violence and virtue/vice.

I don’t know how to control the feelings I have inside me. I am struggling not to feel behind the curve, but there is so much inside me…so much I’m not giving flight to…how to grab it with confidence and ownership…how to fully believe in myself…

I got crazy angry today, which I’m not sure has ever happened…like, ever. I strode around the house crashing into things and screaming profanities until I finally surrendered to the warm embrace of my candlelit bathtub.

Loving yourself takes time, growth takes time, faith is the necessary ingredient…