June 23, 2011

This little thing

There is this little thing inside of me. This little thing with this tremendous presence. Being held by a little girl with a tremendous spirit. She holds this little thing with reverence and with awe. Shielding it from the world with her tiny hands. Cooing to it, comforting it. Letting it comfort her.

I'm so curious to see, but I don't want to pry. So I just watch quietly from a distance, wondering what could be so captivating and so precious. It glimmers and shines as she turns it over and over, adoring every bit that she sees. And each time I think I might steal a glance, she's holding it close once again. She is so little, yet so fiercely protective.

And then one day, she feels safe enough to share. She extends her tiny hands, a sweet smile on her face, and reveals what she is holding so dear.

She is holding me.

June 22, 2011

Why I'm not posting today

Because I'm afraid I might say something like:

"Back the fuck up with your patronizing know-it-all bullshit and educate yourself before you go telling me I don't know my own goddamn brand of crazy like the back of my hand. Or better yet, like the curve of my sweetie's neck or the adorable half-dimples my child gets when he smiles, both of which I know FAR better than the back of my hand."

Oops! Was that My Outside Voice?? Damn me, there I go again. :)

June 17, 2011

Hi, my name is Natalie. We met a while back.

Oh my god, I actually want to write! And more than that, I have the energy and an actual moment to do so.

Halle-fucking-lujah! The angels are singing, and no, they aren't just in my head this time.

Things have been...well, crazy since I last posted. Some good crazy. Some bad crazy. Some paint-me-red-and-call-me-a-doughnut crazy. But, surprisingly, in the midst of all of it, things never got big-ol'-bipolar-crazy-train crazy.

Everyday madness. The great equalizer.

May 10, 2011

Wait...was that my outside voice?

I recently heard myself say a few things that almost knocked me over. Not because they were horribly offensive. Not because they were shocking. Not because they were earth shattering.

No, because they were so very calm, cool, and collected.

And because they involved confrontation. And potentially uncomfortable things. Things that in the past would have either had me charging full steam ahead, both barrels blazing...or more likely, stuffing it down and keeping quiet like a good little girl, only to have it explode elsewhere at some wholly inappropriate moment. I was so taken aback by my utterly matter-of-fact demeanor, I almost assumed I'd just played the scenarios in my head the way I wished they'd gone down.

But wait! It was actually me saying actual things to actual other people!

April 30, 2011

The Muck and The Madness and The Perfectionism

I lost my grandmother. Just as I realized who she really was, she was gone. Clearly, she communicated what she needed to communicate, did what she needed to do, and then she was ready to go. When I found out after the fact she'd started clenching her teeth and refusing food in the last two days, just days after I'd last seen her, I was super fucking impressed and super fucking saddened all at once.

Death. Yes. No denying it's kind of...a lot.

Preceded by the tornado anticipation, the travel, that final visit. Bookended by our pup having a seizure out of the blue, and some other fun stuff hitting the fan unexpectedly. It's been an interesting couple of weeks.

Shockingly, I felt Normal for a few days there in the midst of it all.

At least I'm guessing that's what Normal feels like. I don't know that I really remember Normal. What it looks like. How it carries itself. What kind of breakfast cereal it prefers. My life turned upside down when I was seven, and I'm pretty sure Normal and I parted ways shortly thereafter. (I've perfected acting normal - pretending like I belong - but that's an entirely different beast.)

Then The Muck started to creep back in a couple days ago and told Normal to take a hike. Nothing serious. Just the underlying tension and dis-ease that has become my reality. The state which I am diligently chipping away at in my ongoing reconstruction efforts (thanks for putting that out there, Rossa).

But the thing is, The Muck has come alone this time. Even with a fair amount of emotional baggage being unpacked, there's nary a rabbit hole in sight.

So, yay...right?


April 13, 2011

To the grandmother I never knew, until now

I just saw you, really saw you, for the first time in my life. A gift for which I will be eternally grateful.

Who knew you'd spent these years of silence working your ass off on some other plane?


But there is no doubt. You have changed. You have grown. You are different. You are finally...you. I had no idea of your strength. Your resolve. Your courage. Your power. Your wisdom. You caught me by surprise. You caught all of us by surprise, including you.

When your mind first began to wander so long ago, you became lighthearted, and witty, and easygoing. So very unlike the melancholy Grandma I'd known as a child. Just the opposite of what I've heard so many families of Alzheimer's patients say - rather than seeming angry or sullen, you seemed utterly delighted with life. And it was contagious. You were a total kick in the pants. You were fun. And we were floored. I wondered if Grandpa had ever seen that side of you, knowing it would have delighted him to no end. At that point the clarity came and went, but you still knew who we were. Short-term memory was the biggest problem. That and getting lost.

April 7, 2011

And me without my ruby slippers

I heard a voice. It told me to fly. So I'm going to do just that.

No, I promise, it's not what you think!

A few weeks ago, my grandmother paid me a little visit while I was meditating. This was a totally new and unexpected experience, but one I couldn't deny. There I was, doing my morning zen routine, and boom, grandma was suddenly tapping me on the shoulder, saying "Get your ass up here, and bring the kid."

Okay, she didn't say it exactly like that. She's actually pretty proper. And she loves butterflies. And pink. But still. Her intent was entirely unambiguous.

Despite the fact that her mind has been lost in Alzheimer's for close to ten years, she clearly wants closure and she wants to meet her only great-grandbaby. And since her doctors recently gave her a matter of months to live, the time is now.

This is why I don't think hearing voices is all bad. Yes, it can be scary. Yes, it's sometimes our psyche's way of saying "Dude, check your shit." Especially when the voices scream terrible things. But sometimes we hear voices because someone is trying to tell us something. Sometimes it's an inner voice and sometimes it's grandma.

So, yeah, I hear voices. But my guess is, you do too. And if you don't, sorry to tell you, but you're kind of missing out. And also, you're a total liar.

March 29, 2011

Buddha: scientist tested, toddler approved

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Such a simple rule for living well in the world, no? Umm...almost. But based on some recent input from my two-year-old, I propose a slightly revised version of The Golden Rule (I hope Jesus won't mind):

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
And, dude, be good to you too.


Just hours after my last post, I was in tears asking my wife just exactly who the calm, cool, collected woman in that post was. She seemed so together, so peaceful, so insightful. Don't get me wrong, every word I wrote was genuine. I indeed felt an utter calm for several days that I don't recall ever feeling before, except maybe as a very young child. I was just sitting with myself, letting myself be, and enjoying the show. No judgment. No second guessing. No constant self doubt. I glimpsed something I'd only dreamed of. I felt its soothing caress. And then...

BLAM! CRASH! BOOM! BANG!

Serene me blissing out in the eye of the storm turned into chaotic me fighting my way uphill in the wind and rain. The beauty all around me quickly turned into demons nipping at my heels. Trying to remind me of one important detail I'd left out of my peaceful little Peacock reverie. It went something like this:

YOU SUCK.

Apparently giving voice to my new-found peace was just too much. It made it real. And the pieces of me that don't believe I deserve to be happy, the ones hanging on by a few tightly clenched fingers, just had to have their say. Once I realized what was going on, I had a knee-jerk response. It went something like this:

FUCK YOU.


March 21, 2011

Here comes the sun, and I say...

Being a mom continually proves the most eye opening, soul searching experience of my life. Kids are our greatest teachers. Whoever said that knew a thing or twenty. Watching Ethan just be in the world is unreal. The way he rejoices in every detail. The way he listens. The way he engages. The way he honors and feels each moment with no inhibition. The way he revels in life unfolding within and without.

On a recent garden excursion, he was intent on hanging out with the resident peacocks and peahens. We could hear their mating calls bouncing around like cats in heat, but only caught brief flashes of bright feathers during our picnic. As we ate, he came up with a plan: dance like peacocks, sit quietly, listen, then walk with purpose. Sure enough, in the end, we were treated to quite a show of life unfolding in all its peacock glory. And my child once again reminded me of the need for both motion and stillness. And the need to honor each moment and to listen.

My journey to sort out my bipolar-ness started almost exactly a year ago, and just recently, some ideas I've pondered from the start have begun to resonate and make sense on a new level. The pieces of the puzzle are coming together, and a picture is starting to emerge. There's still a way to go, but it's no longer just a bunch of lonely pieces scattered about. I feel excitement. I feel anger. I feel joy. I feel sadness. I feel movement. I feel relief.