844a 4th july 2020

This a thousand million googol times.

This different kind of imposter syndrome, what would you call it?
nothing reliable, nothing real
no sure footing
feeling fake all the time, having to adjust my face, my

The thing that most gets me through is knowing
(this tiny, blurry, hazy beacon in the fog)
knowing that it will indeed end, that it will shift because it always does.
not always for the better and many times for the much, much worse
But change, indeed, will happen.
Change always (eventually) for the good
for the evolution
for the revolution.
let go or be dragged.

I am long enough into this diagnosis,
my clinical history starred and asterisked and underlined
drugs and cocktails of drugs given and discarded
I am long enough into this life to know that I am a compliant patient.
I am long enough into this life to know my own body, and what feels right for it.
I have never misunderstood the importance of taking all the medicine.
Following the directions.
Being a good girl.
but what happens when you do everything right, when you do everything you are supposed to do and still nothing works?
When you “soldier on”
as opposed to what?
You wait patiently for spring, then summer to end.
You lean on your friends, your lovers as much as you think they can stand
always risking oversharing, overeverything
reaching the point where it is your literal life on the line and you are
Depending on

I can barely breathe for the tension I feel
not wanting to overstay my welcome
not wanting to overwhelm others as I am completely overwhelmed
the noise in my head is unending

the thing that keeps me here
the knowing that it will shift
that it will change
that it won’t always be like this.
Until it is again.

whale + bee 5:02p 17 july, 2019

There is an incredibly talented artist that I love, and who loves me. I am proud to call Jar my friend. They post their work on Instagram here: @artbyjar. In every flash special they post, there’s always at least one piece that catches my eye, but never anything that has spoken to me. Until now. So this little beauty comes up on my screen and I zero in on the whale. Whale! A humpback whale! needneedneed send the DM get your spot. DONE. I look up from my text to see directly above the whale is a bee. a bumble bee. ughneedNEED. Here’s why:

Songs of the Humpback Whale, on vinyl released in 1970, was the first record I was given as a child, I was maybe six or seven. It opened like a double album, had a book inside that talked about the people who recorded it (Roger Payne, after research by Frank Watlington in 1966) and highlighted the problems with the whaling industry. There was a graphic photo of a dockside with the aftermath of a slaughtered whale. There were also five pieces of the most incredible abstract music I had ever heard in my (admittedly short) life. I have since listened to that album countless times, no bullshit new age music muddling the perfect pitch of whalesong, no dumb “inspirational” assholes spewing useless tripe. Pure, mournful, insistent. Funny, at times. Comforting. Reliable.

Over the years, I replaced the album with a CD, then digital download. I still have the album, probably warped from the heat in the attic but still. 

1988. I was working at Waldenbooks in the Galleria. We sold movies on VHS and played them on continuous loop on the two overhead monitors above the cash wrap to entice customers. My friend Stef and I had the movies memorized and would run lines along with the videos. National Lampoon’s European Vacation. Dirty Dancing. And Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Featuring the whalesong discovered in 1967 and recorded by, you got it, Roger Payne.

(somewhere between 2007 and 2014) One day after Gary and I had been at couples’ therapy with a woefully underskilled and underwhelming therapist named Gil, we sat in the car, I’m imagining warming up the interior. I’d just gotten the aforementioned CD in the mail, and wanted to share it. I explained why it was so important to me; Gary, impatient, gestured “all right, already.” I hit play.

I closed my eyes, feeling the familiar cries wash over me, smiling as they filled the cabin. Shortly, I heard an intake of breath, and opened them. Gary was wide-eyed, tears spilling down his cheeks. “Stop it. Please. Make it stop.” his voice breaking. I stopped it immediately, grasping his hands, terrified. “Tell me,” I pleaded. “What’s going on?”

He took time to catch his breath, dry his tears, drink some water. Took another breath, let it out. “It’s absolutely excruciatingly obvious that these are incredibly intelligent creatures, communicating with each other. It is abundantly clear that we have no way of communicating with them. We can’t understand them; they can’t understand us.” The enormity of the parallel intelligence of these beings with no Rosetta Stone was too much to bear for him, that the only thing possible was to appreciate the song for what it was: abstract expression. As we would discover, that was something possibly impossible for him to do.

I never again played that album where he could hear it. I’ve played it a lot in the past twenty-two months. Mojo goes on high alert. I wonder how whalesong translates to him. 

Bumble Bee. My nickname for Gary, one of. The Bumbliest Bee. The Mister. Mr. Grumblebee. I was glitterbug to him, his Glitter Girl. He used to mimic John Belushi in the Blue Brothers “King Bee” bit. He could be soft, and fuzzy, and sociable, and helpful, and he also had a very painful sting. It made perfect sense that the only medicine that helped for his allergies was honey, lots of local honey. He was my Bumble Bee for years. Forever. 

So I see this juxtaposition, and I dive in. Book the appointment. Right around the 22-month mark. I woke this morning of the appointment after not managing my expectations the night before and am still feeling the sadness of it, even though I know what happened and why. Knowing how to not have that particular scenario play out again, while not scolding myself for allowing it to happen in the first place. The weight of summer is upon me in full: soggy, homicidal, blanketing, dysphoria and depression cycling out of control. My good friend John reached out, early this morning, asking how I was. I was honest. “I can’t get out of bed. I don’t want to.” He was gentle with me, as he always is, asking if I was off work today, what I had planned (not if I had plans. Important distinction), being empathetic as I wound through feeling frozen, not wanting to leave. Listing all the things I still haven’t done. John asked, “Do you feel like leaving means he’s really gone”, to which I replied, “I know he’s really gone. Yes. I won’t be able to look around and see him here, hear his voice here.”

Unprompted, he budgeted my time for me. Told me what to do; gave me guidance. I explained the meaning behind the whale and bee. That I need the physical pain that will come with this new tattoo, this catharsis. Even as I dawdled, started the shower and returned to my bed, John pressed, gently nudging me to get ready. That yes, you need this. I showered, dressed, drove. Started listening to The Ethical Slut on my way. Liking it a lot. 

The pain is sharp, and necessary. For the first time ever it doesn’t take my breath away; no, it rides alongside the pain inside, keeping it company, letting it dissolve. Allowing it to be free, to let go. As we talk, as she works, as we work on ideas we’ve shared, plans for a future in which strong women help each other grow. In which good men are welcomed and embraced. This future that I am embracing whole-body, whole mind, whole heart. 

I get to Jar’s, walking a few blocks in the 90° heat. It feels like a steam room, the entire Bronx is one big sauna. We can’t even embrace for a hello it’s so hot. Upstairs, their AC on full, greeting friends, settling in, discussing the artwork. Telling them the story I just told you. Feeling the weight and weightlessness at once, knowing that this is perfect. We settle in to our positions, discussing the next piece, and the next. They begin. 

I take a few pictures of my new ink, send them to friends of all flavors. Obviously I do this for validation (miss me with your armchair therapist observational diagnosis of codependence, savvy?) and not because I want to share my happiness. OBVS.🙄🙄

I’ve been obsessed with this piece, as I see it as one piece, not two. Whale + Bee, that’s how I have it in my calendar. I’m running through names, permutations for a website, something easy, something memorable. It isn’t gelling. The Whale and The Bee. Nope. Nuh-uh. And then, a question from someone I’ve been spending time with recently. He asks, “Is that like a blessing: Be Well (bee + whale)?” 

I didn’t think about the visual pun. That never happens. I don’t know how that happened. I relayed that to him. Then I said, “The whale and the bee are much more personal images with very specific meaning. Be well. It’s fucking brilliant.” The more I sit with this revelation, the happier I become. I promise everyone who asks for context (because I’m not the type to get inked for no reason) that I’m writing a blog post about the meaning. TL:dr “Be well.” It’s something I say to people instead of the ubiquitous “take care” (ugh), or “be good” (vom). Be well. 

Be well. I keep saying it. Be well. It hits me again; my current favorite ceramic glaze (well, the past three years, my entire high-fire career anyhow) is a beautifully imperfect thing, a Bruce Dehnert recipe called BwhaleD. Be well.

Here ends the first part of this tale. 

Stay tuned. And be well.

Whales Weep Not!

They say the sea is cold, but the sea contains the hottest blood of all, and the wildest, the most urgent. 

All the whales in the wider deeps, hot are they, as they urge 
on and on, and dive beneath the icebergs. 
The right whales, the sperm-whales, the hammer-heads, the killers 
there they blow, there they blow, hot wild white breath out of the sea! 

And they rock, and they rock, through the sensual ageless ages 
on the depths of the seven seas, 
and through the salt they reel with drunk delight 
and in the tropics tremble they with love 
and roll with massive, strong desire, like gods. 
Then the great bull lies up against his bride 
in the blue deep of the sea 

as mountain pressing on mountain, in the zest of life: 
and out of the inward roaring of the inner red ocean of whale blood 
the long tip reaches strong, intense, like the maelstrom-tip, and comes to rest 
in the clasp and the soft, wild clutch of a she-whale’s fathomless body. 

And over the bridge of the whale’s strong phallus, linking the wonder of whales 
the burning archangels under the sea keep passing, back and forth, 
keep passing archangels of bliss 
from him to her, from her to him, great Cherubim 
that wait on whales in mid-ocean, suspended in the waves of the sea 
great heaven of whales in the waters, old hierarchies. 
And enormous mother whales lie dreaming suckling their whale-tender young 
and dreaming with strange whale eyes wide open in the waters of the beginning and the end. 

And bull-whales gather their women and whale-calves in a ring 
when danger threatens, on the surface of the ceaseless flood 
and range themselves like great fierce Seraphim facing the threat 
encircling their huddled monsters of love. 
and all this happiness in the sea, in the salt 
where God is also love, but without words: 
and Aphrodite is the wife of whales 
most happy, happy she! 

and Venus among the fishes skips and is a she-dolphin 
she is the gay, delighted porpoise sporting with love and the sea 
she is the female tunny-fish, round and happy among the males 
and dense with happy blood, dark rainbow bliss in the sea.

D. H. Lawrence

11:13a, 26 april, 2019

The promises of normalcy
Quietly withdrawn, scattered
This to me is the most disappointing of all, the most heartbreaking

I understand
I understand
I understand.

I understand the desire, I understand what you were looking for.
I understand you did not expect to find me.
I understand that I am your Muse whether you know it or not (you do know it though)
I understand the intensity, the depths of feeling
and all of the unknown unknowns that attend it.

I understand feeling out of control, tethered to something completely foreign in feel
I understand not wanting to name that, either.

The silence may be the hardest thing of all.
Especially since you promised you would never do that.

(more promises.)

I understand.

My patience may be Legion,
But my heart is always open, and there may not be room when you are ready.

7 april, 2019. 10:16pm

today i wanted to be dead.

i didn’t want to kill myself,
i didn’t want to die.
i wanted to be dead.
i wanted to not be anymore.

i was dysphoric and abyssally depressed and griefstruck and i
had to pull the car off the road because i could not see the road through my tears.

music blasting, car rocking from the drafts of the other cars speeding by, shoulders shaking. screaming into the sky. i can’t. i can’t. i can’t do this anymore. why? why? why?

weeping. wailing. shrieking. howling in pain.
desperately calling up mental images to save me, of those i love, of those i do not want to live without. replaying their voices, their words, their murmurs of love, of promises. bring me back. keep me here. keep me safe.

i am having a very hard time wanting to be alive right now.

this too, shall pass. and it is all for the good.

i didn’t want to kill myself,

i wanted to not be anymore.

i got back on the road, got to where i’d set out to be, inexpertly rolled a joint, smoked half of it, got to work. two and a half hours later, my rage was exhausted, driven out by the tediousness of the work, for when your work, your passion requires exquisite concentration you really can think of nothing else. or at least, only the good things. and as i listened to delicious music and smoked delectable herb and mesmerized myself thinking about delightful people and mindbending experiences, this beautiful thing came to life in my hands.

stage 1 — porcelain greenware

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.

Chariot. 9:49p 16 March, 2019

“Just imagine, we woke up in paradise
Don’t need magic, let my force just carry us home tonight
Future’s golden, don’t let go don’t give it up
Just keep holding, even when you had enough
I will be your light

“When you’re low, I’ll lead you home, Chariot
Take you back to where you’re from, Chariot

“One step forward, on the road ahead of us
Don’t look back, no…” — Chariot by Mega

I’ve been having the most strange and wonderful feeling, way down deep to the very core of my soul. Don’t get me wrong; my life is utter chaos for the most part but I cannot even with that yet. I just cannot. It’s just… amidst the bomb cyclones and tornadoes and lightning storms there is this oasis, this ethereal calm that I am experiencing. This absolute letting go. Of letting pleasurable feelings suffuse my entire body, take over every atom of my being, to submit fully to them, to abandoning myself to them. Of inspecting unpleasant feelings, tasting them, knowing that succumbing to those will sicken me, and allow them to pass with as little interference as possible. To apologize without being sorry because that will cause me the least pain and give them what they want. To apologize in addition to being sorry, not receiving any acknowledgement, and being okay to walk away from that. That I don’t have to make the offending party see my side. That I can truly be done and walk away. That is a fucking alien concept. Foreign. Strange. And wonderful.

To be, well I wouldn’t say comfortable, but certainly 100% okay with others’ uncomfortability at my own fuck you-ness at things I just don’t wanna. My fuck yeah-ness at the things I do. To throw caution to the wind and say the things I feel when I feel them because LIFE IS FUCKING SHORT. To not feel guilt for unfriending, for ending things and blocking, for being blunt when it is the least bit necessary.

To say that I don’t think I would ever have evolved to this state had Gary not died is painfully sharp and bright. I wouldn’t have had to. It is me against the evil in the universe and I have become much cleverer at spotting it before there’s too much damage done. I also feel a greater, deeper capacity for empathy, for gentleness, for softness. The obverse to my pointy, barbed side.

“Future’s golden, don’t let go don’t give it up
Just keep holding, even when you had enough
I will be your light…”

We ride across the sky in a golden chariot of hope, fully cognizant of the eventual fall. The ride is worth it.

Eighteen months. 13 March, 2019

The juxtapositions of today are incredible. 
Eighteen months ago today I was sitting in a waiting room at Westchester Medical Center with my mother and one of my best girls, knitting, while doctors were feverishly working to save the life of my husband. They wouldn’t be able to. I have Become The Salty Widow, much as The Velveteen Rabbit Became.

Today, a year and a half later, I sat with a wonderful man in this lovely window seat at Kurzhal’s Coffee and began to teach him how to knit (at his request six months prior) in and around coffee and conversation. A normal coffee date. Normal conversation. Things that normal people in a relationship do. Everyday things, out in the sunshine.

I didn’t think that I could be this happy again. I didn’t think I deserved to feel this way again, for someone to feel this way about me. Someone who I’ve told some of my darkest secrets and has not only embraced me, but has promised to only use my confidence in him to help. Someone who is mindful of triggers. A careful, caring person. An interested, interesting person. A partner who wants the same things I do, not just in one area but all. Someone who meets me on every level, again, with feeling.

I can, I do, and he does. 

Compersion is an amazing thing. Communicating fears and feelings only helps, only makes things better, easier. The last year that Gary was alive we did a lot of work, a lot of talking about what made us us; what we meant to each other, what we needed, what we wanted from and for each other. The only people outside our marriage who knew are those directly involved, and my backup, my besties beyond besties. My best girls. 

Thank you, my love, for setting the bar high. Thank you, my girls, for reminding me to keep it there.

99.13% sure. 8 March, 2019

My younger sister and I, the day our parents brought our brother home. June, 1974
I’m six; she’s three-and-a-half. Our mother shot the photo, it’s one of her favorites of us.

For someone who lost her virginity at the edge of the beginning of the AIDS epidemic (1982) to a boy she loved, as much as a 14-year old girl just coming into her bipolar disorder can love anyone, including herself (heya, Gregg!) without much sex ed at all (I used to sneak peeks at my parents’ copy of The Joy Of Sex when babysitting — so much hair everywhere!), birth control wasn’t a subject discussed in our house. It was, however, discussed amongst my friends in middle school and high school, at least to the point where we’d arrange trips to “the mall” (conveniently located along the same bus route as Planned Parenthood). We lied about our ages and didn’t share much ooey-gooey sex stuff the way my friends group does now but then again, this was the eighties and “Like A Virgin” was top of the charts with all its mixed messages.

What I did know, what I always knew was that I had some seriously conflicting feelings about having children. On the one hand, I felt expected to go to a good college, get a degree, get married to a husband with a good job. Have a house, two kids, the dog, and a cat. Join the country club. Etc. (Newsflash: I don’t have a degree, I’ve divorced two husbands and outlived the third one, the house is in foreclosure, no dog, two cats. You can guess about the country club.)

On the other hand, I really didn’t want kids. Didn’t feel anything but frustration at the idea of trying to reason with something unreasonable. Even now, I hear babies crying, in the supermarket usually, that newborn caterwaul, that inconsolable howling and something inside me twists so painfully, as if the wails were coming from me, some primal, unfettered demand for attention. Because I have let those cries loose as an adult, usually in the privacy of my car with the stereo blasting and the windows shaking. Screaming into my pillow, sobbing and heaving in exhaustion. Overtaken by dysphoria and grief and depression and pushed past the point of clarity, of sanity. Of reality.

I got pregnant at 15 (heya, Pete!), bent over a snowy rock in the woods. Consensual, subpar. No condom, no Pill. Stupid, horny, most definitely stoned kids. I felt like I knew that I was pregnant when he came. I mean. Has anyone else ever felt that and been right? Like a godsdamn bell went off. I don’t remember when I realized I was late, but I knew what the ept was going to say before I used it. I went with at least one and probably two friends to Planned Parenthood, tested positive. Made an appointment for an abortion at another clinic. Decided that the best idea was to just tell Pete that I needed $65 from him “to take care of business”. He looked at me and knew what it was for, that it was his half. I don’t remember if he apologized, maybe he did. Probably. I probably responded, “don’t be sorry, just get me the money.” There was never any question not even for a second about what I would do. I was fifteen, couldn’t keep a clean bedroom to save my life (still true), how on earth could I be adult enough to be a literal slave to something for the rest of my life? I resented walking the dog half the time and she was the sweetest thing on four feet. Gymnastics would be over for me, I’d never have the life I wanted. Besides, if I was so good at getting pregnant, I could do it on my own terms if I really wanted to.

I remember two of my girlfriends going with me, S and J, might have been as many as three. It was a rough day. An early Saturday morning. Giving some false information at the desk but mostly accurate. Being told that since I was under 18, I needed a family member to consent. Yeah, I don’t think so. A quick, scuffled conference later, I found a pay phone, called my best guy friend R, who looked enough like me to pass as a cousin. He was 18, was a living angel, and came down to the clinic at somewhere north of 9am on a Saturday.

I remember being afraid of the pain. No remorse. A terrifying box of opportunity sealed shut forever. The nurse was comforting, the doctor terse. There was no levity in the room, in that place. No one was carefree there. I left something of myself there besides the clump of unwanted cells. One version of myself was gone.

We all went back to the house that R shared with his brother. He put me in his bed, spooned me until I fell asleep. I remember crying from relief. I’m pretty sure we had ice cream and pizza later, or maybe I’m making that up. Maybe it was Chinese. Pete still owes me five bucks; he only came up with $60. I ran into him when I was with Gary once. I didn’t introduce them.

I got on The Pill as soon as I could, stayed on for years, sometimes switching to a diaphragm (ew, gross), sometimes a contraceptive film (frustrating and gross for oral sex), until I was married to my first, sociopath husband (heya, Jonathan, you piece of shit). I know exactly when I got pregnant. The first of May, an “early birthday present” gee, thanks). It was the only time we had sex after our honeymoon in September. He was an abusive, violent, blackout alcoholic. When I went to the doctor in the rural Virginia town where we lived, they congratulated me. I looked at them and asked “Why? I’m getting rid of it.” You would have thought I’d announced I was a cannibal. I briefly considered the ridiculous idea that maybe a baby could fix the nightmare that was my marriage. Of course it couldn’t; it never does. Even when the husband isn’t a homicidal, deeply closeted, narcissist. The night everything changed was during a drunken blackout. He admitted to having killed one of our cats. On purpose.

We were living in New York by then, my parents were separated. I’d told my mother that I didn’t want to be pregnant anymore. I know I didn’t tell her why, only that it was non-negotiable. We went to her OB/GYN, who I didn’t tell of my decision to not include my husband in my choice until after I was recovering. The doctor was pissed. Tough shit, dick. My body, my choice. I told Jonathan that I’d miscarried, and refused to discuss it any further. He was less than empathetic and I’m sure, relieved. I don’t remember how long after that I made the decision to leave him. That abusing me was one thing, but to lay an angry hand on our cats was indefensible and disgusting. I left him. A long, ugly story for another time. More versions of myself stoppered and silenced. To echo into the future as ghosts.

I got Norplant. Which was great, until I was put on antibiotics about six months later, and it failed. I was married to my second husband (heya, Timothy!) and was on Wellbutrin plus some other ungodly cocktail of drugs for my illness. All of which indicated that they were VERY BAD FOR PREGNANT PEOPLE in their glossary of side effects. Again, no remorse, no regret. Our marriage would survive it for another few years, this hiccup having nothing to do with why it ended. My ever-evolving persona discarding timelines like a Choose Your Own Adventure book. I still have the stupid device in my arm. Looks like matchsticks under the skin.

All along, people found it acceptable to audibly question my desire to remain childfree. “You’re young! You’ll change your mind!” “You can adopt!” “So many people can’t have children!” “You could be a surrogate/egg donor!” Um, the fuck I don’t think so, you trick-ass bitch. I’d had had enough time struggling with my illness both medicated and not to have come to the conclusion that since this illness is largely genetic, I did not wish to submit any other living creature to its fangs. That I would not, with every fiber of my being. By taking myself out of the gene pool, I could not only spend the extra time and energy on bettering myself, devoting resources to finding my own peace in the hopes of being able to help others. Which is what I’m doing here. I am finally, a few months shy of 51, old enough where no one says these ridiculous things anymore. They’ll ask if I have kids, sure, expecting me to say how many are out of the house already as many of my peers have. “Nope, just me and the cats. Two brothers,” I say, to qualify my non-crazy-cat-lady status.

So when an older guy, (heya, Howard, you asshole) eleven years divorced and overly enamored with the size and talent of his own cash and prizes (really more like pity clap honorable mention if I’m being honest), breaks up with me over text after a week of dating and telling me (all horrific grammar his): “I don’t want to argue about the merits of your poly! But…I will tell you one thing….and never forget this. One day you will be all alone…much older….without that special person to take care of you. You can’t or won’t see it now…but Trust me….it will happen! Right….I know nothing! Except….I have money to pay my bills…have a terrific son….wonderful sister and take care of an invalid mother!” That because I don’t have children, that I am not “committed” to one partner, that I have obviously never known true, deep love. That I cannot possibly have done.

Floored. Completely floored.

I took a big hit of CBD. I replied: “You don’t get to say that to me.
I am a widow.
I have been alone, and my partners are what helped me get through it, have been with me all along. That was really out of line, and hurtful. As well as untrue. Your life experience isn’t mine. You have zero idea what my life is like. That was an incredibly insensitive thing to say to me. Do yourself a favor and never say that to anyone ever again. That was a nasty fucking thing to say.”

He kept on. And on. Always replying, always poking his obnoxious little head in. I fiinally told him to go fuck himself (my nuclear option: if I say this to you, you’re dead to me.) and stopped replying. I actually stopped replying because I knew it would make me sick if I didn’t. Who is this person? My sanity became more important than telling him off. Who have I become?

I am 99.13% sure that not having any offspring was the right decision for me. But then I see a photo like this, one where I see my niece in my own six-year old face, where I see my nephew in that of my sister’s. That genetics are a wild and amazing and terrifying thing. And what an amazing child might Gary and I have had.

you see this girl? 28 February, 2019


you see this girl? this cute girl in the cute outfit with the damn-near-perfect makeup and her curls rockin’ and her outfit slammin’ and bangin’ on that sweet, sturdy little frame she’s got? yeah, that one.

She is so ready to bite people today. So ready to just end someone — anyone — whomever has the temerity, nay, the misfortune to get in her way today. She has used her high-CBD medical marijuana vape and it has provided ZERO RELIEF — the dysphoria and depression are that fucking weighty. the only thing and i mean THE ONLY THING that has worked to nudge aside, not away, mind you but at least just SHOVE THE FUCK OVER a little bit is the Jack Herer vape she only uses in this type of emergency during her workday.

She would, if she had the money, (always it’s if she had the money) reup her legal high-THC vape, but $130 is twice what the illegal ones cost for the same amount.

She isn’t high; no, not at all. What would, on a more even day, a day tempered by euphoric mania rather than its volcanic twin, get her niiiiice and toasty, instead merely cuts through the rage and depression to soften it a bit. The depression evaporates, not lifts, and the fury remains, cooled just a bit. Now she is only feeling pointy; sharp and bright, and reminded that not all things sharp and bright are good.

Three more hours at work. Three more hours. Three more hours until the commute home, until she gathers her cats to her, feeds both, medicates one. Three hours until she can feed herself, smoke until she cannot see straight, shower quickly and thoroughly, and allow herself to fall into oblivion through the embrace of a lover.

And she is grateful for the relief.