Whisper of Hope

•July 11, 2007 • 7 Comments

Blogging has become far more difficult than I ever imagined it would over these past several weeks. There is reason to be happy about that and there is reason to be unbelievably sad. 

Which do you prefer? The glass half full or the glass half empty?

Let’s start with full. I’m feeling better. A lot better. This cocktail that the doctor has prescribed me this time around seems to be doing the trick better then the one before, and the one before it, and the one before that one too.

The half empty part of the deal? Along with feeling better has come a much less creative girl. I felt much more inspired, stimulated and imaginative when I was cycling more frequently through manic states. It was a lot easier to write. To create. To have vision. Now I’m a little more even keeled. I’m thinking through things before I actually do and say them a little more. And while I am not doing this all the time, even some of the time, is more than I was before. And so the blog has often become dormant, a remnant sometimes of what was formerly me, and yet at others, it is a whisper of hope that remains.

I return to this place at times. Staring. Hoping something will come to me. I bide my time. I wait. I tread water. I anticipate, watch and wonder. And yet so many times, in so many ways, I have failed to see anything come to fruition. It has been frustrating to know that in my healing I have lost the ability to find solace in one of my greatest outlets. Yet I am bound and determined to be assured that the creative well is not completely dry.

So never fear, I’m not giving up on this place– this road I walk is far too long not to come back here and find my comfort in something witty, something poignant or something far less than either one of those things…just a place to be…me.

A Case for Little White Ball Therapy

•June 28, 2007 • 5 Comments

Nightfall came, as the car tore down the street, winding its way through the woods. The sky had grown dark though the night was still warm. Hurrying along, making each turn more sharply than the one before, the car ended up underneath the blinding stadium style lights. Relieved to have arrived at their final destination, the trunk was popped and the driver, hurried out of the car and moved quickly inside the building.

It was obvious that they had arrived just in time. The young woman behind the counter had just moments earlier, on the phone, warned them of the need to hurry, and now, she took the cash, and watched as the man and a young woman left the building and walked swiftly to accomplish their mission.

 Pulling out her weapons, the young woman began to fire away.  

Ping

Ping

Ping

One little white ball after the other representing so many things in the woman’s life.

An outlet.

A release.

A need to put a name on each and every little ball and smash it as far as a golfing novice might be able to do so. Words like:

Failureping.

Inadequateping.

 Imperfectping.  

and Incompentent…ping…were all written on those balls, if only in invisible ink.

Mentally, it was just the right place to be, at just the right time. Who would have known that a driving range at 9:30 at night (for the record, they close at 10, hence the need to drive like rushing a woman in labor to the hospital) could actually become a place of healing, a place to wrestle with those demons? And for the record, who needs a $160 psychiatrist when a $6 bucket of golf balls will do the trick?

Go figure.

Toasting Marshmallows

•June 22, 2007 • 6 Comments

First of all, is it toasting marshmallows or roasting marshmallows. I’m thinking toast because don’t you roast hot dogs?

Confusing.

 The point is, if you read the blog prior to this one and happened to glance at the comments, you’ll know that my former roommate from college, Susan, made this comment, “You didn’t tell us… what is your creative outlet these days? I found some of your art work not long ago when we were moving. It was a big white acorn that sort of looked like a marshmallow. As I remember, it didn’t meet your standards for the classroom, but it hung in our dorm room for a while. Anyway, just wondering if your creativity has you dusting off the ol’ el ed scissors?”

No one else would find that comment to be all that captivating, but I nearly fell off my chair in both hysterics and disbelief when I read what she wrote. The reason is, that as I’ve tried to put together the puzzle pieces that scatter the table of my life, one of those pieces resembles this acorn-marshmallow type looking thing.

I remember it like it was yesterday.

And in the last four months, this little acorn, that caused me so much angst, but was suppposed to bring so much joy to the faces of the little kindergartners I was student teaching for, has actually become a story in my repertoire that I have sorted and sifted through and now share with those therapists who have seen me.

No kidding.

And to know that that little acorn was still around somewhere, in Susan’s house of all places (she’s the only one who can tell us what has become of it now though I fear it has met its demise by now for sure) is one of the funniest things I’ve heard in a long time.

The story is simple but it goes something like this. The doctor asks me, “Beth, do you ever remember a time in your life where you’ve been obsessive, like in college or before then?”

And that’s when I break out the acorn story.

It was fall semester of my senior year and I was student teaching in kindergarten. I had to make a bulletin board and being that it was autumn, I had decided upon making this large acorn to put in the middle of the board. It was cartoon like in nature and surrounded by other smaller acorns and for the life of me I can’t remember what the board itself said but I was obsessed with it. Completely precocupied with the notion that this acorn look exactly like I wanted it to look.

Cute…animated…but most importantly, perfect. Perfect in every possible acorn like way.

The eyes, the mouth, the body shape, all of it had to precisely resound with the thought that it was for all intents and purposes, the cutest, sweetest acorn you’d ever laid eyes on. And so I set out to work on this thing. And when all was said and done the acorn turned out just fine. Cute? Check. Animated? Check. But not. . .perfect. In fact, too marshmallow like is a great way to describe it. Yet, like most things, I had worked hard on it and it certainly would have sufficed. No one would ever have known it wasn’t perfect. Some may have even enjoyed the marshmallow nature of it.

But I wasn’t happy and so I set out yet again to do it, but this time it would indeed be perfect.

And so it was.

And if I had a scanner, I’d break out my old student teaching pictures and show you that acorn because I know I have a picture of that bulletin board in my files. Unfortunately, I can’t do that right now but one day, the aforementioned acorn will show himself. I tell my doctors this story, because that imperfect acorn that sort of looked too “marshmallow” like instead of acornish, is exactly the sort of thing that I began doing during that time of my life. Obsessing. Seeking perfection and being compulsive enough to do what I needed to do over and over again until I achieved it. That little acorn is a small, but very significant representation of what began over ten years ago. Nothing was good enough. And if I had any control over the situation, I would do it until it was good enough. And so, I am, indeed, just a little OCD. I was reminded of this just recently as I cleaned my parents house last weekend and found myself checking rooms and rechecking them, walking in and out of them again to be certain that they were still clean just as I had left them and nothing had been moved or was off too much.

So, Susan, the OCD you were witness to was some of the first times the OCD in me started rearing it’s ugly head. Now it’s about countertops and thoughts. Did you know that being OCD doesn’t mean your house is necessarily neat as a pin? IT can also mean just flat out being fixated on thoughts. Thoughts that you obsess over in your head…again and again and again. Even irrational thoughts. Thoughts that aren’t true. Thought’s that don’t make sense within the logical, rational human being. That’s me.

This is all a part of what I’m learning about myself. That obsessing over the right gift wrap for the right gift that meets the criteria of the person and event for whom the gift is for have got to stop.

Relax, girl, I tell myself–go toast a marshmallow. Heck, grab some chocolate and graham crackers while you’re at it and make a smore. Just not the perfect smore.

The Remodeling Process

•June 21, 2007 • 3 Comments

Comments. You left ’em–Lots of ’em–Thanks for ’em. As usual–overwhelmed.

I do have to say to Lisa, that I knew as soon as I wrote that line in my first blog referring to changes/choices that heal, that immediately a reference to the book Changes that Heal would be headed my way. I almost mentioned it in the blog and made reference to you making sure not to dust that ol’ book off again. Let me explain.

One thing I am often asked by doctors is, “Beth, how’s your concentration today?” If you know anything about being bipolar or about what I’ve been through in the last four months, it’s that my mind races. Races in circles. Leaps through hoops. My thoughts jump as if on a trampoline–up and down, in and out of my head. Hence, the ability for me to sit down and read anything has become non-existent. Not only is it hard to read but I don’t even watch tv anymore, all because honestly. . .I just can’t. Too many things are going through my head at any given moment to be able to do those things. Thankfully, with medication I am beginning to see this change a bit but right now the only books I’m reading have lots of pictures and aren’t too taxing on the brain cells. However, my dear friend, Lisa, I love you, and I promise you that one goal of the grown up Beth is going to be to read that book. The real deal is that as a grown up I get to make the choice to tell you that right now I won’t be doing it, but one day, yes one fine day, when my concentration returns from it’s semi-permanent vacation at the beach, I will pick up the darn thing that you’ve been recommending (at the very least) every 3 months for the last five years.

As for the title of the blog, nice job MaryAnn–and Megan too for having good taste in music girl. It’s one thing to google the name, (which I, by the way, would have done myself if given the the same question and didn’t know the answer) but the fact that MaryAnn knew it without the help of that means she earns an extra star for the day.  

I am always amazed by the talented people who make up this amazing world of ours. Some of my bipolar tendencies have made my creative side explode. Often times, late in the evening, which makes for a rough go in the morning. Unfortunately, music is not one of those things that I have acquired a talent for–I must admit I’m really disappointed about that– you’d think that if I was going to go through all this I could come out on the other side with some amazing creative ability to play the piano, write music and sing–but alas, I don’t think that’s going to happen. Initially when I first heard his music, I had no idea how young Teddy Geiger was–but it comes as no surprise to me now that I know (he’s about 16 or 17) that I’ve related recently to a lot of his music. Despite being almost 15 years older than him, we have one thing in common: we’re growing up. And all the angst and revelations that come with that are beautifully explored in much of his music. I have one song in particular that’s a favorite (the subtitle of the name of my blog would reveal that–hurry, go google) and so I’m happy to hear that there is someone else out there who knew what I was referring to.

And finally, Holly. . .I, like Peter Pan don’t want to grow up seeing as how there are lots of hard parts about it, but the guy wears tights for heavens sake, should we really take him that seriously??

Growing up is a good thing. No matter what age you finally get around to doing it.

Growing up is inevitably what will and in all honesty, should, happen.

But everyone does it differently, in different ways, at different times.

It’s just that now is my time–and it is most certainly a dirty and dusty remodeling process. Walls are being torn down, new electric is being put in (after all my new psychiatrist was formerly a brain surgeon), and top of the line appliances are a must–new plumbing would be nice after the birth of four children but that’s probably not going to happen.  The end product is worth waiting for–just be patient I keep telling myself–because it’s not really about waiting for it to happen.  It’s about working. Working damn hard.

Love you all.

This morning I leave you with the lyrics to the song that inspired my new blog’s title:

These Walls (Teddy Geiger) emphasis added by me

I can’t believe what is in front of me
The water’s rising up to my knees
And I can’t figure out
How the hell I wound up here

Everything seemed okay when I started out the other day
Then the rain came pouring down
And now I’m drowning in my fears

And as I watch the setting sun
I wonder if I’m the only one

[Chorus]
‘Cause everybody tries to put some love on the line
And everybody feels a broken heart sometimes
And even when I’m scared I have to try to fly
–Sometimes I fall–
But I’ve seen it done before
I got to step outside these walls

I’ve got no master plan to help me out
Or make me stand up for
All the things that I really want

You had me too afraid to ask
And as I look ahead of me
Cry and pray for sanity

‘Cause everybody tries to put some love on the line
And everybody feels a broken heart sometimes
And even when I’m scared I have to try to fly
–Sometimes I fall–
But I’ve seen it done before
I got to step outside these walls

These walls can’t be my haven
These walls can’t keep me safe here
Now i guess I’ve got to let them down

‘Cause everybody tries to put some love on the line
And everybody feels a broken heart sometimes, and
Even when I’m scared i have to try to fly
–Sometimes I fall–
But I’ve seen it done before

I got to break out…
I got to break out…
I got to step outside these walls
Love outside these walls

I feel my heart breaking
But its a brand new day
And I’m going down
‘Cause I’m stepping out
I’m stepping outside these walls

Renaissance Woman

•June 20, 2007 • 13 Comments

Another life, another blog.

Another blog, another life.

Renaissance of woman.

Renaissance of a woman.

Renaissance of the woman.

 …something along those lines. That’s the title I would rather you have seen when you read my new blog–my new blog–how many new blogs exactly have there been over these last 15 months anyway? Alas, it was already taken–taken by some other, I’m assuming, woman. I like thinking that some other woman has titled her blog  by that name because I feel a kinship with her– knowing that we are indeed…women.

I can probably only count on one hand how many times in my life I have felt like a woman. The girl in me has been fairly good at handling all that life has presented. But not as of late. The girl has buckled underneath the pressure to spin a cocoon. So I’m spinning. The problem is that I want to spin faster so that I might emerge faster but the faster I spin, the harder it seems life has become. But now I am here. Emerging. Doing exactly what I have been hoping one day to do.

I am growing up.

I have grown up.

I am a grown up. 

Exactly what that means is yet to be seen as the metamorphosis continues. One thing I feel fairly certain of is the fact that being an adult means making choices. Lots of them. And what goes into these decisions…my opinions, my preferences, my attitudes regarding certain topics, and my understanding of the situation will all determine ultimately what will be resolved. Sometimes these choices come with great clarity of mind. Sometimes they are clear as mud. Sometimes they demand compromise. Sometimes it means putting your foot down. Sometimes it means putting your foot down so hard it crashes through the floorboards and hurts. Sometimes it means being heartbroken. Sometimes it means breaking your heart.

These days I am heartbroken. Heartbroken, yet optimistic. I am on the warpath for change in my life. Changes that will heal hurts, mend wounds and help me to be a happier and far healthier person. That’s what I have been for too long…unhealthy. And so, as I sit here and ponder just what it means to be healthy I wonder if I’ll ever really know. My doctor assures me that in just 4-5 weeks he can stablize the mood swings that I have been falling prey to the mercy of–to someone who lives hour to hour, that can seem like a liftime to hear that time frame. But it is worth it.

Getting healthy is worth it. Laughing so hard that my sides ache is worth it. Smiling so much that my cheeks are sore is worth it.

 I looked up healthy on dictionary.com. Here’s what it said:

health·y —sound and vigourous mentality, or of a sound and vigorous mind

There are those key words again: mental and mind. Everywhere I go these days, it’s all I hear about. So honestly, it doesn’t surprise me that the definition of healthy actually speaks directly to issues of the mind. I want my mind to be sound. I want it to be vigorous. If it is these two things:

sound2 :  free from injury, damage, defect, disease; in good condition; robust, competent, sensible, of substantial or enduring character,  having no defect as to truth, justice, wisdom, or reason

vig·or·ous:  Strong, energetic, and active in mind or body

I want to be so healthy right now it hurts. It hurts my mind, my body and my spirit just longing for it the way I do. But if I can become healthy in a sound and vigorous way, then Love Outside These Walls (anyone know where this title comes from? you know I like my blog titles to come from songs), these walls that I have built and am trying to tear down one by one, sometimes slowly, othertimes with a sledgehammer, than maybe, just maybe I can not only be healthy but I can also know what it feels like to love others and just as importantly love myself, as a healthy woman.

The rebirth of a woman.

Could it be?

 
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