Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Q4

I forget what the Q stands for, but it means a call night--which means that Justin is working a 30 hour shift and I am home alone tonight. That's right, got the whole bed to myself.

So, I'm sitting here blogging anyway.

facebook is a marvelous invention. I have reconnected with friends from high school and college. High school friends.... these are people some of whom I have not seen since 1991 or 92--a number of years I do not care to calculate just now.

Especially with Justin on call it makes me feel like I didn't come home to an empty house. I mean, I know I am alone, but I feel like I have some contact with the world. Like someone knows I am in it and functioning. Justin called and left a message--he says it's a hectic night in the ICU. He's what they call a black cloud--whenever he's on call something happens, in manner of patient-care-needs-increasing. To be opaque about it, you know, due to HIPA and all.

I miss Justin. But I think Q4 is better than when he has four days in a row of 4 p.m. to midnight shifts, or midnight to 8 a.m. shifts. This way at least I get to see him the day before he's on call and the day after he returns from call... it's funny math. But I didn't do well this last time when he was sleeping all day and I was sleeping at night and then during the day too. The house was too dark all week. It aided and abetted my depression, and that monster certainly doesn't need any help.

Coming home to facebook is not really like coming home to a husband or a roommate. Not even a little bit. But it is better than coming home to an answering machine, like in the 1990s. Remember that? When you'd hope for a blinking light and push play and hope for a friendly voice rather than a telemarketer? Now at least there is potential for immediate interaction (ie. the facebook chat I am carrying on with an old friend as I type this blog entry), or at least immediate response on my part (ie. the gmail I was able to send in the middle of the night), instead of having to wait until the next day and a decent hour to return a phone call. It's the implication of human contact that feeds me.

Is that too lonely of a thought?

I always said people need to learn to be alone without being lonely. I think I can do that. But I think given the quantity of time I spend alone, I am bound to be lonely sometimes.

I wonder if it would be different if we had kids. I mean, HOW it would be different if we had kids. I wonder what it will be like when I do not have to work as a waitress anymore. I'll have to do something. The idea that it could be something of my own invention startles me. What if my goal were not a dollar amount to help pay the bills, but instead were a feeling of fulfillment or purpose?

What would the world look like and feel like if we did have kids?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Staying Alive Staying Alive, oh oh oh oh....

Nothing like photographing a leather and lace party at the restaurant, going to Disneyland, serving food at the AVP and working a night shift in between two days of the volleyball tournament to jump start a depressed girl.

But now that I have pulled out of the spiral and face quiet days and working nights, I have to find a way to keep myself feeling good... or at least stable.

It seems for me the key is to stay busy. But I need to find the drive to be busy without having obligations to other people. God knows there is enough for me to do around the apartment, I could go for a bike ride along the beach or a walk, but self-motivation is elusive.

I am going to try to make a schedule for myself now. Something that involves 8 hours of sleep after I get home from the late night shift at the restaurant, and then exercise and productivity for the day.

I have to be my own boss.

Managing health is quiet a job.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Bowling with Doctors

"What do you do?" one asks.

I gave him the line about freelance photography but felt like I was lying the whole time. So when the next one asked, I tried a joke. Or the truth.

"Nothing."

The woman who's been a doctor for four months laughed a little breath. "Housewife?"

"No," I said. Though I resented the implication that being a housewife would be nothing--I just did the laundry and have things to clean up and should make a dinner. I sleep the doctor's schedule--and then some but that's because I'm in the midst of a probable depressive episode.

That's what I wanted to say. 'I'm a manic-depressive. I'm sleeping a lot these days. I'm lucky I dragged my ass out of the house to go bowling with you people. I don't even know you; do you have any idea how much work this is?'

But I just laughed her laugh and said, "I'm a freelance photographer, and I work in a restaurant. Nothing much..." I didn't feel like telling her I'd been an honors English teacher and a journalism adviser. I didn't feel like justifying my life with the awards and titles of years ago.

I didn't feel like being a nothing in the midst of doctors either.

When I'm a girl who works in a restaurant and I'm married to a doctor, a resident, do I become a trophy wife who isn't even that pretty?

I told Justin I felt embarrassed and inadequate, but he assured me he was not embarrassed by me, that he's proud of me, that he doesn't care what I say I do.

I thought of how I love my work as an art model the most, and how I'm actually good at it, and considered using that as an answer.

"You could say you're an artist. That would cover the range," he said.

The problem, I know, is that I should not care what they think of me. I know that I am not the sum of my income, the title of my job, the level of my education. I am not a doctor.

Bowling with doctors, looking at the bench, I imagined the probability that I was bowling with all the nerdy-kids from high school. And now they were all doctors. I, a nerd among them, became nothing. Just a waitress.

I love what my friend says about us being human beings, not human doings, but it is what we do that makes a conversation topic.

I am a human being who bowls with doctors that want to know what I do.

Laundry.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Kids These Days... and me

I thought you might be interested in this article about bipolar diagnoses in children, The Bipolar Puzzle. I recognize some of the symptoms, though to a much less dramatic degree. Which maybe means I was a normal kid, or maybe means I have always been sick. Right now I am in bed still. I could live from here, you know. If I didn't have to get up to make an occasional buck at the restaurant. I will start the new dose of one of medications tomorrow--the pharmacy had to order it. Hopefully that will help. Justin confirms I have been irritable--mean to him; depressed--sleeping or lying around a lot and not getting ready for the day or leaving the house; anxious--worried about everything from money to what people think of me to what to have for dinner; and generally not as good as I've been before. He's being his usual champ self and not getting mad at me for all this craziness. I hope it settles down soon, though I'm forgetting what normal looks like again.

Oh well.

It will get better one day. It always does.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Fog is Rolling In

As much as I hate those commercials for Abilify and other mood disorder medications, I know I am that woman.

When I am well, I hate hate hate those commercials. They are so depressing.

When I am already sitting in my pajamas in the dark watching TV feeling too heavy to do anything even while knowing getting some exercise or answering the phone might help me pull out of the grip of depression, I don't even have to watch those commercials, they just play through my head and I know I am not alone.

As though I have a navigator for my brain, I called my psychiatrist when I noticed the symptoms coming up, and she has suggested a small change in the dose of one of my pills. This, I know, will require a trip to the drugstore, which will require clothes and conversation, which I know could be helpful. Maybe I'll even force myself to stay out there and go somewhere else too.

The fog may be rolling in, but I am not going to let it envelope me. I will find a clearing in this madness; I will make a light.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11, 2008

Seven years ago.

I was a teacher.

I was driving to work at 5:46 a.m., getting on the freeway, starting a day in the second week of school.

I told Justin, my mother, my brother to turn on the news.

I listened to NPR.

I saw a building fall while I stood in my co-worker's classroom quickly revising our lesson plan because we just couldn't give a writing test when the nation had just been attacked. When buildings had fallen. When children's parents were in New York and we were in San Diego and no one knew why or what was happening. We gave them the homework assignment, color a map of Greece to prepare for our Oedipus the King reading. Watch TV if you want to, go back to the other room and do not look.

I still remember that one boy and his question. "Miss Gupta, why did they do it?"

I still remember having no answer. Being offended and bewildered at the very idea that I might know. Why? Because I am Gupta because I am a teacher because I am the only adult in a room full of 15-year-old sophomores.

Just before 6 a.m. I heard the news on a music radio station and did not believe it.

Now, seven years later, those kids were just fifth graders when it happened. What was the impact on their lives? They don't know much about living before 9/11; what does a kid know of politics before they've even stopped playing after school.

Seven years later 9/11 is just one of the reasons I can't teach anymore. One of the reasons that teaching is too much. One of the reasons I serve food instead of knowledge and literature and do not have homework--because I just couldn't stand needing to have so many answers any more. Those kids are in college now. I wonder what they remember, what they think.

It will be a quiet night at the restaurant tonight.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

live music

live music
makes me believe

for a little while

that the world will be fine

no matter who

is elected to be President


live music
makes me feel safe

for a little while

that my life will continue

no matter what

is wrong with my health


live music is a cocoon
I must wrap myself in
as often as possible
so that my brain
can rest
and prepare
for the wrath of days

live music
jazz
makes it safe
to be alive

Monday, September 08, 2008

Being Me

I wake up and my head spins with
what-I-did-wrong
what-I-should-have-done
what-I-should-do
what-I-could-have-done

I remember that I am not
a should've-would've-could've girl

But I should myself to death

Then I remember there is a pill for this
not to change my shoulding so much,
but to slow down my head
one should at a time

I repent for the mislabeling of people
I repent for the customer mistake
I repent for the mistakes of language and labor
I repent

The pill makes me sleepy
I slow down

I slog through the necessary
I do the laundry
I go to work
I grocery shop

I slog slog slog
And soon here I am
Me
Whether anyone likes me or not

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Some of the Truth about Sarah Palin

http://www.snopes.com/politics/soapbox/kilkenny.asp


An Alaskan's Opinion


Claim: Letter written by a resident of Wasilla, Alaska, offers viewpoint of Alaska governor Sarah Palin.

Status: True.

Example: [Collected via e-mail, August 2008]

Automobile...

The Nissan Rogue.

We are now a proud Nissan family. We are also "officially married," as Justin put it, with our biggest joint purchase--a car to replace his slowly ailing Pontiac Grand Am.

Off to work we go so we can pay for this thing.

sleeping it off

I slept yesterday.

Which is to say I slept until noon.

Then I woke up and ate and blogged and slept until 5 p.m.

Repeat--add an episode of Law and Order: Criminal Intent.

Then I slept for the night--just a little intermittently.

The only sign that this sleeping is not depression is that I eat. Unless, my new MO is eating instead of starving through sadness.

Or I'm fine and I just needed the sleep. Because I had a headache. But no one needs, like, 48 hours of sleep in a row with breaks.

I am supposed to write a super long e-mail about my last therapy session. I think I'll go back to bed.

Friday, September 05, 2008

When did Democrats become the Elitists?

I've just been wondering, since the Democrats have been known for championing the poor, not sheltering the rich like the Republicans do. I also don't get it because Republicans are often rich, whereas I seem to remember Democrats who come from poor backgrounds, ie. Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

Of course once again, a New York Times article says it all for me. So here it is:

The Resentment Strategy, by By PAUL KRUGMAN

Published: September 4, 2008

Can the super-rich former governor of Massachusetts — the son of a Fortune 500 C.E.O. who made a vast fortune in the leveraged-buyout business — really keep a straight face while denouncing “Eastern elites”?


Can the former mayor of New York City, a man who, as USA Today put it, “marched in gay pride parades, dressed up in drag and lived temporarily with a gay couple and their Shih Tzu” — that was between his second and third marriages — really get away with saying that Barack Obama doesn’t think small towns are sufficiently “cosmopolitan”?

Can the vice-presidential candidate of a party that has controlled the White House, Congress or both for 26 of the past 28 years, a party that, Borg-like, assimilated much of the D.C. lobbying industry into itself — until Congress changed hands, high-paying lobbying jobs were reserved for loyal Republicans — really portray herself as running against the “Washington elite”?

Yes, they can.

On Tuesday, He Who Must Not Be Named — Mitt Romney mentioned him just once, Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin not at all — gave a video address to the Republican National Convention. John McCain, promised President Bush, would stand up to the “angry left.” That’s no doubt true. But don’t be fooled either by Mr. McCain’s long-ago reputation as a maverick or by Ms. Palin’s appealing persona: the Republican Party, now more than ever, is firmly in the hands of the angry right, which has always been much bigger, much more influential and much angrier than its counterpart on the other side.

What’s the source of all that anger?

Some of it, of course, is driven by cultural and religious conflict: fundamentalist Christians are sincerely dismayed by Roe v. Wade and evolution in the curriculum. What struck me as I watched the convention speeches, however, is how much of the anger on the right is based not on the claim that Democrats have done bad things, but on the perception — generally based on no evidence whatsoever — that Democrats look down their noses at regular people.

Thus Mr. Giuliani asserted that Wasilla, Alaska, isn’t “flashy enough” for Mr. Obama, who never said any such thing. And Ms. Palin asserted that Democrats “look down” on small-town mayors — again, without any evidence.

What the G.O.P. is selling, in other words, is the pure politics of resentment; you’re supposed to vote Republican to stick it to an elite that thinks it’s better than you. Or to put it another way, the G.O.P. is still the party of Nixon.

One of the key insights in “Nixonland,” the new book by the historian Rick Perlstein, is that Nixon’s political strategy throughout his career was inspired by his college experience, in which he got himself elected student body president by exploiting his classmates’ resentment against the Franklins, the school’s elite social club. There’s a direct line from that student election to Spiro Agnew’s attacks on the “nattering nabobs of negativism” as “an effete corps of impudent snobs,” and from there to the peculiar cult of personality that not long ago surrounded George W. Bush — a cult that celebrated his anti-intellectualism and made much of the supposed fact that the “misunderestimated” C-average student had proved himself smarter than all the fancy-pants experts.

And when Mr. Bush turned out not to be that smart after all, and his presidency crashed and burned, the angry right — the raging rajas of resentment? — became, if anything, even angrier. Humiliation will do that.

Can Mr. McCain and Ms. Palin really ride Nixonian resentment into an upset election victory in what should be an overwhelmingly Democratic year? The answer is a definite maybe.

By selecting Barack Obama as their nominee, the Democrats may have given Republicans an opening: the very qualities that inspire many fervent Obama supporters — the candidate’s high-flown eloquence, his coolness factor — have also laid him open to a Nixonian backlash. Unlike many observers, I wasn’t surprised at the effectiveness of the McCain “celebrity” ad. It didn’t make much sense intellectually, but it skillfully exploited the resentment some voters feel toward Mr. Obama’s star quality.

That said, the experience of the years since 2000 — the memory of what happened to working Americans when faux-populist Republicans controlled the government — is still fairly fresh in voters’ minds. Furthermore, while Democrats’ supposed contempt for ordinary people is mainly a figment of Republican imagination, the G.O.P. really is the Gramm Old Party — it really does believe that the economy is just fine, and the fact that most Americans disagree just shows that we’re a nation of whiners.

But the Democrats can’t afford to be complacent. Resentment, no matter how contrived, is a powerful force, and it’s one that Republicans are very, very good at exploiting.

Why Being a Regular Person is Not that Important to Be a President (Exhibit A: GW)

I was going to write about why people should, or should not, vote for a person for political office. Most notably, why people should not be President of The United States of America. Then I read this article and figured I'd just post it because Judith Warner does a great job of focusing on my topic of the day: gender.

I will not vote for a President because he is Black.
I will not vote for a President because he was a POW.
I will not vote for a Vice President because he has experience.
I will not vote for a Vice President because she is female.

September 4, 2008, 8:41 pm
The Mirrored Ceiling by Judith Warner, New York Times


It turns out there was something more nauseating than the nomination of Sarah Palin as John McCain’s running mate this past week. It was the tone of the acclaim that followed her acceptance speech.

“Drill, baby, drill,” clapped John Dickerson, marveling at Palin’s ability to speak and smile at the same time as an indication of her unexpected depths and unsuspected strengths. “It was clear Palin was having fun, and it’s hard to have fun if you’re scared or a lightweight,” he wrote in Slate.

The Politico praised her charm and polish as antidotes to her lack of foreign policy experience: “Palin’s poised and flawless performance evoked roars of applause from delegates who earlier this week might have worried that the surprise pick and newcomer to the national stage may not be up to the job.”

“She had a great night. I thought she had a very skillfully written, and very skillfully delivered speech,” Joe Biden said, shades of “articulate and bright and clean” threatening a reappearance. (For a full roundup of these comments go here.)

Thus began the official public launch of our country’s now most-prominent female politician. The condescension – damning with faint praise – was reminiscent of the more overt misogyny of Samuel Johnson.

“A woman’s preaching is like a dog’s walking on his hinder legs,” the wit once observed. “It is not done well; but you are surprized to find it done at all.”

Palin sounded, at times, like she was speaking a foreign language as she gave voice to the beautifully crafted words that had been prepared for her on Wednesday night.

But that wasn’t held against her. Thanks to the level of general esteem that greeted her ascent to the podium, it seems we’ve all got to celebrate the fact that America’s Hottest Governor (Princess of the Fur Rendezvous 1983, Miss Wasilla 1984) could speak at all.

Could there be a more thoroughgoing humiliation for America’s women?

You are not, I think, supposed now to say this. Just as, I am sure, you are certainly not supposed to feel that having Sarah Palin put forth as the Republicans’ first female vice presidential candidate is just about as respectful a gesture toward women as was John McCain’s suggestion, last month, that his wife participate in a topless beauty contest.

Such thoughts, we are told, are sexist. And elitist. After all, via Palin, we now hear without cease, the People are speaking. The “real” “authentic,” small-town “Everyday People,” of Hockey Moms and Blue Collar Dads whom even Rudolph Giuliani now invokes as an antidote to the cosmopolite Obamas and their backers in the liberal media. (Remind me please, once again, what was the name of the small town where Rudy grew up?)

Why does this woman – who to some of us seems as fake as they can come, with her delicate infant son hauled out night after night under the klieg lights and her pregnant teenage daughter shamelessly instrumentalized for political purposes — deserve, to a unique extent among political women, to rank as so “real”?

Because the Republicans, very clearly, believe that real people are idiots. This disdain for their smarts shows up in the whole way they’ve cast this race now, turning a contest over economic and foreign policy into a culture war of the Real vs. the Elites. It’s a smoke and mirrors game aimed at diverting attention from the fact that the party’s tax policies have helped create an elite that’s more distant from “the people” than ever before. And from the fact that the party’s dogged allegiance to up-by-your-bootstraps individualism — an individualism exemplified by Palin, the frontierswoman who somehow has managed to “balance” five children and her political career with no need for support — is leading to a culture-wide crack-up.

Real people, the kind of people who will like and identify with Palin, they clearly believe, are smart, but not too smart, and don’t talk too well, dropping their “g”s, for example, and putting tough concepts like “vice president” in quotation marks.

“As for that ‘V.P.’ talk all the time … I tell ya, I still can’t answer that question until somebody answers for me, What is it exactly that the ‘VP’ does every day?” Palin asked host Lawrence Kudlow on CNBC sometime before her nomination. “I’m used to bein’ very productive and workin’ real hard in an administration and we want to make sure that that ‘V.P.’ slot would be a fruitful type of position.”

And, I think, they find her acceptably “real,” because Palin’s not intimidating, and makes it clear that she’s subordinate to a great man.

That’s the worst thing a woman can be in this world, isn’t it? Intimidating, which appears to be synonymous with competent. It’s the kiss of death, personally and politically.

But shouldn’t a woman who is prepared to be commander in chief be intimidating? Because of the intelligence, experience, talent and drive that got her there? If she isn’t, at least on some level, off-putting, if her presence inspires national commentary on breast-pumping and babysitting rather than health care reform and social security, then something is seriously wrong. If she doesn’t elicit at least some degree of awe, then something is missing.

One of the worst poisons of the American political climate right now, the thing that time and again in recent years has led us to disaster, is the need people feel for leaders they can “relate” to. This need isn’t limited to women; it brought us after all, two terms of George W. Bush. And it isn’t new; Americans have always needed to feel that their leaders were, on some level, people like them.

But in the past, it was possible to fill that need through empathetic connection. Few Depression-era voters could “relate” to Franklin Roosevelt’s patrician background, notes historian Doris Kearns Goodwin. “It was his ability to connect to them that made them feel they could connect to him,” she told me in a phone interview.

The age of television, Goodwin believes, has made the demand for connection more immediate and intense. But never before George W. Bush did it quite reach the beer-drinking level of familiarity. “Now it’s all about being able to see your life story in the candidate, rather than the candidate, with empathy, being able to relate to you.”

There’s a fine line between likability and demagoguery. Both thrive upon manipulation and least-common-denominator politics. These days, I fear, this need for direct mirroring — and thus this susceptibility to all sorts of low-level tripe — is particularly acute among women, who are perhaps reaching historic lows in their comfort levels with themselves and their choices.

Just look at how quickly the reaction to Palin devolved into what The Times this week called the “Mommy Wars: Special Campaign Edition.” Much of the talk about Palin (like the emoting about Hillary Clinton before her) ultimately came down to this: is she like me or not like me? If she’s not like me, can I like her? And what kind of child care does she have?

“This election is not about issues,” Rick Davis, John McCain’s campaign manager said this week. “This election is about a composite view of what people take away from these candidates.” That’s a scary thought. For the takeaway is so often base, a reflection more of people’s fears and insecurities than of our hopes and dreams.

We’re not likely to get a worthy female president anytime soon.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Race with life

What is a girl to write about when she can't write about life?

"From the inside no family ever seems typical," said Sarah Palin in her Republican Convention speech. It was a line, according to one commentator on PBS, about the political news of the week--of a conservative "family values" vice-presidential female candidate with a daughter who is pregnant out of wedlock.

As David Brooks noted, there "is still no policy" in the Republican language--at least not from Palin, who spoke about Obama and McCain in almost equal parts, though not equal tones--especially not if we are to elect someone because he was a brave POW decades ago.

I have no doubt that McCain's experience as a POW was treacherous and that his manner of surviving it and the honor of extending it is more than significant. But am I supposed to choose a President because he was an extraordinary POW?

I put that aside. In fact, I put aside everything but today's experience of being alive--this past 24 hours only--as a human being.

Fact is, when you look at the two candidates you see McCain, a 72-year-old White man, and Barack Obama, a 47-year-old mixed-race man.

Mostly, people will say a White man is running against a Black man.

Yes, it is a historic presidential race, but I venture to say that the day-to-day experience of life is different for these men and that a large part of that difference is based on their race.

I cannot even write about the Presidency without talking about race. And in talking about race these days, I freeze up a bit.

Anyone should be glad of that. Any discussion of race should be carefully considered and words should be carefully chosen; here I just attempt to gather my thoughts--my blog the sifter.

Here are a few of my thoughts on race, as a non-white, sometimes white-looking woman (pass-er) who has been told she would not be welcomed by white people if they were racist, who has been teased as a child because of her race, who doesn't fit any particular category, but who has quietly observed several categories--if people could be categorized, which they cannot. What is the right word? My thoughts:

Racism. Racists. Words that strike a chord and are not labels that most people want associated with themselves.

But what is racism? It's not just the beliefs of people that are so strong they attack people who are of different lines than their own. It's not just swastika wearing extremists or terrorists who belong to gangs and attack based solely on labels of opposites. It's also that subtle institutionalized racism--the racism that causes groups to live in separate neighborhoods or hold different levels of jobs; institutionalized racism is that which has carried on through the generations and will take years and major revolution to change.

And then there is the quiet racism of words. When I heard students tell jokes based on the race of anyone, even their own, I would stop the class and talk about why the power of those words were beyond offensive and even dangerous. I'd talk about how making fun of your own race was sometimes a method of self-protection; participating in self-effacing jokes just to be a part of high school tom-foolery. I'd talk about how making jokes about others could hurt anyone in the room--you never know who is mixed (look at me), you never know who has a best friend that is the butt of the jokes, you never know who is just wise enough to be hurt by those words and know that she wants to make changes, you never know who is pained enough by those words that she wants to disappear.

Racism is as subtle as a cell phone joke, a descriptive word that jumps into 2008 from 1950. That kind of racism is stealthy and sometimes the people participating do not even recognize it as such. But would those jokes be told if a Black person, an African-American, were in the room? If the answer is no, maybe the words should be reconsidered.

These words have power. But if the label racist is also offensive, if one is offended by the implication of possibly being considered racist, then one is either offended or actually thinking about the possibility of change. If one thinks nothing of it, what does one think?

Back to our presidential candidates:

I have actually heard someone say about Barack Obama, "I'm not one for conspiracy theories, but what if he is a terrorist and they're trying to get him elected to the White House?"

I have to wonder if anyone has ever asked that question about a White candidate. I have to wonder if that question would be asked if Obama's middle name were not Hussein. Is it just because he's Black? (It was, I should say, a White woman who posed the question.)

Monday, September 01, 2008

Where'd she go???

I have spent over two years just working on staying alive and in the past week I almost let a horrible situation cause me to lose a lot of ground.

Then I started remembering my classroom and the inspirational posters I plastered around, figuring if the kids weren't listening maybe they were still learning just by reading the walls. I am reading the walls. I learn from them.

Eleanor Roosevelt: No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

Maya Angelou:

Still I Rise

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.


The cause of my hiding is immaterial to readers at this point, but as to my rising... it is a mistake I know I made, it is feelings I know I hurt, it is a situation I know became ...what it is and I am not going to rehash it for the four people who read this blog. Every apology just digs my hole deeper, and it's pretty important that I don't fall into any holes because I have a hard time getting out of them.

But what is important to this blog that has become a memoir of a clinically depressed, rapidly cycling girl trying to still the waters of my life is that I rise.


You see, I nearly drowned in this mistake. Those old feelings of wanting to disappear reappeared. But through cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness I have learned to observe those thoughts and let them go by instead of feeling compelled to believe them or act on them. "People would be better off without me," "there goes a thought."

So I remember that no one can make me feel inferior without my consent. I contemplate the double entendre of that statement in this situation and I focus on my side. I do not consent. I am good enough at making myself feel inferior. I have had 33 years of practice. I cannot let e-mail attacks based in anger grown from hurt drown me; especially not when I live so close to the beach.

Last night I renamed this blog and I almost went into hiding.

This morning I am back.

I am back for the four people who want to know that I am alive.

I am back for the one friend who wrote, "I got worried about you when you were not blogging for a few weeks, but was glad that you had a great time with family in Virginia." I am thrilled that the outside reader got it--that I was so happy there and felt so much a part of an extended family yet also observed cultural differences between cosmopolitan Los Angeles and rural Virginia that I did not understand (but that one cousin did explain to me in her graceful response, for which I am grateful).

I am back because not writing is a death for me, and I cannot afford to die.

I rise.

I rise from my mistake.

I rise from the duck and cover I assumed to try to protect myself from the fallout.

I rise, I rise, I rise.

My sister-in-law who also happens to be from the South is visiting. She sheds further light on the differences as she observes the cultural phenomena of Los Angeles. I am grateful for her perspective.

I rise, I rise, I rise.

I am thankful to be back.