January 30, 2009


Sometimes I miss the movement and noise of Chicago. The brightness of night. The invisible noise of darkness when not a person is seen but you can feel their ghosts shuffling around you. I miss falling asleep to the cacophony of no one.
A constant chatter as the city breathes for itself.

January 21, 2009


the friendship game

i had a conversation with my friend steve yesterday, (as we were devouring burritos after a mad target run,) and we began talking about bipolar and relationships. now steve is bipolar too and while we only met last summer we have an affinity towards one another and a knowledge of each others struggles without even having to say a word. so we began talking and we went on about certain friends and major relationships in our lives. and i realized that i am still healing. 

three years ago i remember sitting on my couch in chicago crying with my roommate over lost relationships. prior to that conversation i had had dinner with my ex and the man who i still tell people saved my life. he and i talked about where i was in my life and how i was healing. and then he said he wanted his stuff back. now, i thought i had given all of his stuff back given that it had been about a year since the break up, but i suppose distance and time makes it easy to forget your own familiar possessions. so he wanted them back, the "stop making sense" dvd, the bob dylan cds, and the "speedology" book written by speed levitch. in this conversation he also gave back the love letters that i wrote him before i ever met him. they were the letters i wrote to the man that i would love forever, the man that would change my world and the meaning of love in my young eyes. and he did. and though our relationship is vastly different i will never argue my love for him. he will always hold that space in my heart. even josh knows this. but anyways, back to the story. he wanted his things back and he gave things back that were his and only his. and after the exchange took place and he left the apartment i fell apart. and then i cried on my roommates shoulder. i cried over the fact that it was my depression that prematurely ended our relationship and made it impossible to reunite. i cried because it was what i thought was my inability to truly love and have a healthy relationship because i was diagnosed as bipolar. 
i then thought about the rift between my childhood best friend and our broken relationship after a series of events that tore us apart as i spiraled around death and she ran to save herself. i cried and cried and told my roommate that i didn't think i was worth having as a friend, i didn't think that i was worth loving and that i was some diseased person that would only ruin lives and break hearts. and my roommate said that it wasn't true and she wouldn't leave me.

back in my conversation with steve i explained these things and went on to explain that it wasn't actually anyones fault. i told him how i have come to realize that i actually did the best i could and so did they. some people don't know how to handle times of trauma. i now know that i didn't know how to handle it and neither did they. we all just needed to ride the ride and then we all grew from there. i have now reconciled with my best friend and we are closer then we ever have been. i will always keep my ex-boyfriend in my life and though it might take him a long time to come to terms with everything that happened we will always hold a connection that few people can experience.
i then told steve about what seems to be my growing distance with my old roommate. the roommate that i cried to the night my relationships fell apart. i don't know if our new distance comes from our physical distance or our busy schedules, but i always find i hold a certain amount insecurity and fear. i am still recovering and still realizing that sometimes relationships are hard and terrifying, even when you are "normal" and not bipolar. some people float in and out of our lives, some people are like ghosts that appear when you least expect them then disappear, but some people find a place where they become a constant and a power that can never be lost in your mind. these are the good ones and the good ones always come back.

that terrible T word


i have a confession to make: i have been worrying alot about the current season of 90210. now you see i am not a tv fan, and this is what bothers me. you see i happened to watch one or two episodes late at night when i was alone and had nothing better to do but eat some fatty food and be a closet television fiend and ever since then i have been worrying about them. there is this girl who is a drug addict who is now pregnant, and this other family who had this guy pop up and say he was a long lost son. its just all so hard sometimes.

so heres the dilemma: football seasons almost over which means the tv is going back in the closet. that is where it lives during the off season and i think after this whole conversion box thing it will live their indefinitely. so what do i do? do i admit my 90210 problem to josh and keep it out so that i can check on that pregnant chic? or should i just purge myself of the addiction and say goodbye to those cliche ever problematic children?

i don't know. its hard thing to do, but the first step is always to admit your problem. and in the long run, theres always the internet...

January 20, 2009


(The first picture was Josh's idea and I feel I need to give credit to the true artist.)

January 19, 2009


Its MLK day, and so I think it is important to speak a little about heroes. Heroes to me are people who are able to weather horrible tragedies and yet continue to lead. People who, though their heart may be breaking, are still able to inspire. People who are willing to put their own lives in harms way simply to show people that we must move on, we must move forward, we can move forward. Heroes to me are people like Mr. King, Ghandi, the 14th Dalai Lama, Desmund Tutu, and Nelson Mendela. These people are the ones who were there to lead people in times of extreme tragedy and trauma. These were people who remained steadfast to their cause and willing to risk everything just to help others move forward.

Last summer I was given the most amazing opportunity, I got to attend the Seeds of Compassion conference in which the Dalai Lama and dozens of others heroes, role models, and inspirations came together to talk about peace and compassion. I was lucky enough to attend the spirituality discussion where leaders of all different faiths came to talk about inter-spiritual dependence. There were many many amazing speakers at this event, but what stuck out to me the most was the interaction between Mr. Tutu and the Dalai Lama. Those two acted like Kindergarten best friends. They giggled and hit each other. They flowed gracefully between an eloquent serious answer and complete overflowing joy.

It is people like them that inspire me to go forward everyday.  Both men were put in leadership roles during horrific and painful acts of injustice in which their lives and those of their people were in great danger. As His Holiness was forced into exile, making him leave his people, country, and life behind, Tutu was dealing with the massacre that was South African apartheid. These men were the happiest people I have ever seen. They laughed and giggled and danced. They smiled and joked. And they demonstrated that they had survived. They lived through that cruelty. That pain. That fear. And they lead there people to peacefully and compassionately show resistance to the prejudice of the world. It is through heroes like these that we are reminded that no matter what happens in life, no matter how bad it gets, you can always move forward.

Now sometimes, no matter what things don't turn out the way the should. Sometimes our heroes are taken too soon, or our lives don't change fast enough. But in our honoring and still loving and cherishing the memory of Mr. King we remind each other that we can move forward, and that we are moving forward. I am so proud and happy that 41 years after the death of one of our greatest heroes we have moved to the point where we are finally okay letting a person of color lead us in one of our most important roles. Though I feel this has taken much much much longer then it should have, (and though I found myself in the past feeling that we are never going to get any better,) we are doing it. We are truly beginning to live the dream that was awakened in us so long ago. We are finally beginning to love and treat each other as we should. And tomorrow, in about eleven hours from now, lets hope that a new hero will lead us and shows us that we can move on. I hope that through our increasingly tolerance and love for each other that we can all come together in this new year to pass on the love and compassion that so many beautiful people have taught us in the past.

To see true inspiration and joy please watch this short clip of Desmond Tutu and the Dali Lama: 

January 08, 2009

a found lost

i found a rather eerie picture of myself at 19. it appeared through an email from a past internet self.

i feel that the look in my eyes can only truly be described through part of Jane Kenyon's "Having it out with melancholy:"

 8  CREDO   
Pharmaceutical wonders are at work  
but I believe only in this moment  
of well-being. Unholy ghost, 
you are certain to come again.   

Coarse, mean, you'll put your feet  
on the coffee table, lean back,  
and turn me into someone who can't  
take the trouble to speak; someone  
who can't sleep, or who does nothing  
but sleep; can't read, or call  
for an appointment for help.   

There is nothing I can do  
against your coming.  

When I awake, I am still with thee.

today i remember that look, i remember that feeling, and even though it has been years since my last major bout of depression, i still find myself fearing the worst. i was always watching, waiting, and almost welcoming it back like an old friend. today however, i have come to realize that if it does return, i can handle it. i can get through it just like every other time. in the past i used to get paralyzed by my fear of its return and it wasn't until i began to trust the ebb and flow of life that i finally allowed myself to breathe.

January 07, 2009

my fish axel...

i liked what people used to do in the old days when they took pictures of the dead, so when my dear beloved axel passed i felt it right to preserve his memory through one last portrait.


Six Random Things...

I was tagged for the meme- 6 random things about me by: The Safety of Madness

I'm not sure what a meme is, but thought I would give it a try. I am supposed to post the rules, but given that I am not going to follow them exactly, I will just tell you that I am supposed to write six random things about myself and then pass it on to six more people.

I am not going to send this to six people, so I hope I don't get something like "fifty years bad luck" or whatever it is you get when you don't forward emails. Anyways, here are my random facts:

1) I have one sister who is 8 years older then me. I often forget to tell people she is my half sister because I don't ever think about it and find it irrelevant because she is just my sister, no half about it. This is never an issue until I say something about her "other" family and people get confused. For example: "my sister's dad designed the boats for two James Bond movies." This is true and people always get really confused. "your sisters dad? isn't he the same as yours???" Look him up: Doug Riddle. Riddle Marine Boats. yep yep.

2) I am six feet tall. For some reason people only feel that this is justified when you are a super athlete or a model. I wanted to do both but quickly decided that that was not the life for me. I would rather be tall and myself. That should be justification enough.

3) I am bipolar. This wasn't discovered until I was 19 and had a total meltdown. In my life I have been hospitalized for a total of 28 days.  I am now working to fight stigma and have now been stable for about two years. My mom and I are writing a book and we now have a website. We are also presenting at conferences around the country and working to publish in numerous magazines.

4) I once had a goldfish named axel. His name was not meant to come from Axel Rose, I just thought it was a good name for a goldfish. That or Thor which I will someday name a dog. Axel was a manicly depressed fighting fish. One day he decided that he didn't want to fight anymore and he sank to the bottom of his bowl. I waited for him to revive himself, but he only floated to the top. I gave him a funeral at Lake Michigan where we said our goodbyes and threw both him and his bowl into the water. Right as I was releasing the bowl he came back to life. But then died again. Maybe he is still living in Lake Michigan.

5)I am afraid of the downy bear, pretend easter bunnies and santas, and stuffed animals that come to life on television. Sometimes when the snuggles comes on tv I have to leave the room.

6) When I sleep I take over the entire bed. I sleep sideways and as my boyfriend says, like a triangle. I used to sleep with my feet in my sisters stomach, but those were the days when I was vicki vale and slept with "batman," an old backpack stuffed with junk with a cape tied to it. Now I sleep so wildly that I had to buy a satin pillow case just to keep my hair from being so matted when I wake up.

January 06, 2009

this and that

i find it amazing how i tend to break things into sides. as i have been told all my life, i am very "black and white." i find this interesting considering my being defined as bipolar. is my tendency to break things into good and evil, happy and sad, beautiful and ugly something that follows these newly defined brain patterns, or is it my natural disposition? could i have instead simply been influenced by the fact that i was raised by someone who is also said to be "black and white." i find it interesting how our social labels and categories are always used as a way to explain and excuse are natural tendencies. i tend to feel that my pull towards duality has a little to do with everything. i have always been a person that is entranced by beauty, and i have always felt that what we see as beautiful or ugly are only truly complimented by seeing both sides. you can never know how bright it is until you have been in the dark. you never know how slow you are going until you have transitioned from the freeway to a small side street, or vice versa. there are always two sides and i feel that without both there is no way to truly see the beauty in the ugliness. now, i have been told that i am full of shit when it comes to this topic, but this is how i feel and this is what i will stick to.

in my life i have seen both sides. i constantly move from what i see as "the good girl" to the "troublemaker," the bad girl. i always felt strangled at one end and guilty at the other. things are always hot or cold, right or wrong, happy or sad, everything or nothing at all. These are things i need to reconcile. these are things that do need to find a happy median, and while i do love to see both sides and compare one to the other, it is not always healthy and appropriate for certain situations.

i was taking a class where we read sense and sensibility. at the end of the class we were supposed to write a paper and i remember having such a hard time because i couldn't stop thinking about what i saw as the two vastly different sides. there was the romantic world of beauty and art and religion and the enlightenment world of science and reason. i had such a hard time because i wanted both and i felt both but i couldn't find a way to bring them together. after completely panicking as to why i could not see the middle i had a conversation with my boyfriend josh. now, while most people think their partners are wonderful and perfect, josh is truly the most amazing person i have ever met. he talked me down off my cliff and explained that he can't see it in any other way. he can't separate the two because he feels that they are so perfectly connected. at first hearing this i kind of wanted to punch him; here i was trying to figure something out and he comes along and says that he already figured it out. but then i realized that that wasn't what he was saying at all. he demonstrated to me that he is just the opposite. he just works differently than i do. his world is always connected and he seems to have the opposite problem.

this is beautiful because i stopped being upset and angry at myself for not seeing it in a certain way and realized that that is how i am. i am a person that tends to see things as dualities. it is not my fault that i see it one way or his fault that he sees it the other, it is just how we are. so today i work on finding the gray area in important life struggles that need a bit more stability, struggles that don't do well when you totter from side to side. today i also allow myself the ability to be okay with comparisons. i allow myself the ability to see both sides and find the beauty in one and then the other. but even that is about balance. it is a balance of finding the right time to use my new skills and the right time to allow my natural tendency for "black and white" to come out.