8:18a 12th june, 2020

I don’t know, how I don’t know how it got to be a thousand days since you’ve died.

A thousand four days. How?

I don’t know, I don’t know how that happened.
But I know that I’ve missed you every fucking day. And I justโ€ฆ it’s only and already two years and nine months tomorrow and I just keep talking to you, I just keep talking to you. I keep talking to you because I don’t know how else to, not.

We always talked. About everything. We did that really well, talking. Sometimes not so nice. But we always talked.

So now what, do I just ask questions at the air? Do I just keep doing what I’ve been doing and uh, keep talking to you this way, writing, andโ€ฆ

I found pictures of you.
Well, Brian found them in the attic. I’ve never seen these pictures of you before. There’s a really hot one.

I miss you.
Every goddamn day.

Love you more.

Gary, age 20. 1990. Killer smile, wink, and dimple ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

pandemic diaries: 7:41a international star wars day 2020 | birthday thanks

“I don’t know how it’s possible, but I, I think my birthday this year was possibly the best one I’ve ever had. It’s certainly one of the most special, and I want to thank everyone for being a part of it. 52 on 5/2 I’m certainly not playing with a full deck it’s more like a deck full of jokers.
So thank you everyone for being part of it.”

for the record (and as far as i know you look it up if you donโ€™t believe me) for the past fifty-two years it has been shitty exactly once on my birthday. That was 2001, the year I turned 33 and one of the years I was in and around dating Noel. I’m sure he had just recently broken it off again. Anyway.

my parents built the house I grew up in in 1970. A typical, split-level ranch. Right outside my bedroom window they planted this glorious cherry tree, a Kanzan Sakura, with the big, fat, pale pink marshmallowy blossoms. I love that tree, it’s my favorite flower of all. Blooms every year on my birthday.

I don’t remember how early on but it was early, I told Gary that when I finally owned my own home I would plant one of those trees in my yard. The first spring that we were in the house we planted our tree. We didn’t plant it in a good spot, it didn’t get anywhere near the kind of sunlight it needed underneath the massive canopy of maple and oak. I could, however, see the blossoms from my bedroom window.

Last year, after the house went into foreclosure, I knew that would be my last birthday with that view, of cherry blossoms from my bedroom window. And then the neighbor went ahead and chopped down the maple and oak, that gorgeous canopy of green that had been protecting my head for 13 years. A full backyard of sunlight meant that the cherry tree would have a chance to grow properly now, reaching up towards the sun instead of slinking around corners to find it. Only I wouldn’t be here.

This year however, with the world on pause, I got one last, magical reprieve to spend with my tree. So I went to my backyard, prepared to see admirers as any queen would, and enjoyed my day under the cherry blossoms.

prescience. 6 August, 1991/19 March, 2019

8:32p cleaning my studio, trying with every nanogram of fortitude that i have to do everything i can to distract myself from the sheer rage and dysphoria of the past few hours. microdosing because while i need the edge off i need to function. i found a folder, a thick, purple folder. loose papers, typed, dot-matrix printed, mimeographed, handwritten. love letters. prose and prose poetry from school: from high school, from Purchase, from Sarah Lawrence. from Columbia. Powerful fucking shit, all exhaled before I turned twenty-five, before I was finally properly diagnosed. Before I was medicated with any stab at accuracy.

Ultra-ultra or Ultradian Rapid Cycling Bipolar Disorder Type 1. Genetic. Incurable. Barely treatable in any humane way. I have been on every med, every cocktail of meds from A to Z. Abilify to Zyprexa and everything in between. Nothing helped. No thing. Nobody useful understands it. But that is an extremely long and twisty tale for not-now.

My throat is raw from shouting, nay, screaming into the air at my phone, venting and shrieking with rage, crying, weeping, wailing. I haven’t plummeted into a pure dysphoric state like this in a really long time. But spring is here; the Northern Hemisphere is humming with growing energy and my mania is at 11. I’ve always done my level (get it? level? ha!) best to ride the euphoric waves when they come, ride them like the most skilled of surfers, to ease s l o w l y into the shallow waters of normalcy. And instead of coasting, I have been relentlessly nudged, pushed, shoved, and finally kicked over the edge of the tsunami.

Add the advent of Springtime? Mother Fucking Nature giving a big double-fisted flip of the birds FUUUUUCK YOOOOOU to a great many of us with bipolar 1, with all her manic growing energy exploding everywhere. You tell someone, anyone not-bipolar that you hate spring and they look at you like you’ve sprouted a second head, Zaphod Beeblebrox-style.

it’s now 10:03p. I’ve chilled down considerably thanks to virtual handholding by some of the very best people I know (I know a lot of really amazing folx), liberal amounts of cannabis, chocolate chip cookies (the chewy ones), and music loud enough to drown down most of the noise in my head. Chilled down enough to lower the volume, even.

Back to 1991. A love letter to the man who would become my second ex-husband (there are two of those). As with most of my writing, untitled save for the (time and) date I put pen to paper. Unedited, below.

august 6, 1991
this void before me
dark and deep as oblivion
the blackness so complete
so in/visible
so thick it offends my tactile senses
tries to seep into the crevices of my mind and heart like molten tar
to sink me into its depths
one would expect its silence to be absolute
at times it is
at others it is a manic chatterbox, radio static
words, images surface then fade away
i try to tune in the message being sent
listen very hard and close
i get an inkling of its purpose
strain to make it come clearer
a silence, then singular sound
hesitant and specific both
the velvet drape that has laid so heavily over my heart lifts
eyes open, wide with realization and more than a little fear
your intent is clear
you mean to sweep me off my feet
make me incapable of speech, and breath
even in my joy your words keep me on edge, waiting
will forever if necessary
for you are

When explaining about my illness I generally use a similar, while less-lyrical description of what it’s like to be inside my skull: imagine you’re at Best Buy. On a Saturday. At Christmastime. Every single noisemaking thing is turned on. Full blast. To a different channel. And no one can turn them off. And you’re locked in, can’t escape.

Vague, hazy memories I can dredge up about what prompted the above were very simply bullshit fabrications, smoke and mirrors meant to accomplish what they did: transparent wisps of promises of promises posed to seduce, only to ultimately disappoint. To expertly feed into my addiction to normalcy.

When I think about the time and energy and tears I have wasted fearing I am too much or not enough, when I count up the ways in which I was told I was not good enough, when I am presupposed, underestimated, predetermined, dismissed, I want to scream into that void. What will it take? No amount of explaining, of showing not telling, nothing. No thing. No proof is enough.

I am, at this point in my life, exquisitely aware of my words, of my face, of my tone. Words are everything to me; they are my primary Love Language, with touch a close second. I don’t ever say things I don’t mean, I do not wield barbs haphazardly for I am acutely aware of the lifelong damage they can and do inflict. It takes everything I have within me to maintain an outwardly even, if carbonated, persona.

It has taken everything in my power, every trick in my book to come back to the barest semblance of order. I screamed, and cried, and was explicit in my description of the depths of my rage, but I was also able to listen, and to be calmed, and to be cared for. To be validated, not coddled but heard. That is the most important thing in the world to me: to be heard. See me.

Know who I am.