Friday, May 27, 2016

Outside the Lines

Every once in a while you get those moments when you get hit by something small yet powerful. They change your outlook on life and give you the opportunity to hit refresh and do things better. You want to be better.
That something small for me often happens to be my youngest daughter. At 5 years old she packs a lot of wisdom.
For example…
A few days ago my family and I spent time in Santa Cruz, CA. My husband had to be there for work and we all decided, due to spring break, we would go with him. He worked and we relaxed. He enjoyed having us with him on this trip. He hates being away from us for too long.
We decided to go to dinner on our first night there.  At dinner, my younger daughters were given a child’s menu. These menus (for anyone that has never seen them) have things to color, games, puzzles and mazes for the kids. They always give crayons with these menus. They are great because my girls get easily bored and when they are bored they can be quite…annoying? No…irritating? No, I want to nicer. Extremely talkative and full of question…that works.
Anyway, my daughter was coloring. I watched her for a second and saw she was kinda making a mess of the picture.
“Dee, try to color inside the lines.” I said to her.
It was nothing new for me to tell her this. She will be starting kindergarten in the fall and I want her to be prepared. She knows this but on occasion I remind her. This day was different. She looked at me and put on the saddest face.
“Awwww…I wanted to color outside the lines today.”
My husband and my other two daughters laughed. I laughed too. I wasn’t sure if she was really sad or if she was being sarcastic with me. You never know with this kid. After dinner we went back to the hotel for a late night swim. As I watched my family play I realized my mind was focused on the words my daughter said to me.
“…I wanted to color outside the lines today.”
I remember when I was a kid and how scary those words would have been for me.
We are always told not to color outside the lines. That is how I lived my life. I always did what I was told and I wanted to be seen as the good and obedient child. I never fully understood why. I guessed I just never wanted to disappoint my parents. I was the kid they didn’t have to worry about. I never skipped school or missed a day. I went to school in blizzards.
I wanted to be good because I felt so bad and dirty inside. I felt ashamed that I was dark skinned. I was scared and afraid I was being a terrible kid and going to hell for being bisexual.
I spent a good deal of my life being ashamed of myself and feeling out of place. Because of that I invented a new me. I invented a person that would be a suitable member to any group. If they wanted me to be nicer, funnier, smarter, quieter…I was that. But only for so long. All that fake emotion builds up and what I truly felt always bubbled up to the service. .
I always tried to color inside the lines. I thought it would make me happier and make people like me more. I cared what others thought about me…think about me though I do not care to admit this. I feel I have been denying who I truly am for so long that I did not truly know who I was. I had lost track of what was real and what I had invented.
After our little vacation was over we came home and settled back into our normal routine, yet those thoughts plagued me. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I dreamed about it looking for some answers. Then I realized. The problem was that I was thinking too much and worrying too much. I was spending my life surviving and not living.
A few days later I went to see my therapist.  We gave the usual greeting and she began as always does,
“How are you doing?”
I sighed and rubbed my hands over my eyes.
“What’s going on?” she asked.
I looked up at her.

“I’m ready to color outside the lines.”

Wednesday, May 25, 2016


If you know anything about classical Greek mythology, then you have heard the story of Pandora. Pandora was the first woman created by the gods. Created by Hephaestus at the request of Zeus, Pandora was given gifts from the gods and goddesses. One gift she received was a canister that we know today as “Pandora’s Box”. Hidden away in Pandora’s box were all the evils of the world.
Looking out at the world today it’s hard to feel very hopeful. Read the news online or go on social media and the stories are bleak. Recently there was a mass random shooting spree in Kalamazoo Michigan. That was very frightening for me because I have a good portion of my family living in Michigan and some who even live in Kalamazoo. These types of events have become commonplace lately. Mass shootings on top of police brutality, an abundance of guns and an increase in racism, sexism, homophobia, biphobia and transphobia give the impression that all hope is lost.
It is no wonder that the country is at war with itself. Those on the right are marching further and further to the right. Those on the left are marching further and further and further to the left. That is why idealistic political candidates and opportunity candidates like Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders are popular. The people in both parties seem to feel that the sky is falling. Hopelessness and fear has brought about an epidemic of panic that has been exploited.
I admit, I have felt the deep-seated despair rising inside of me. How could you not when you see so many people homeless, suffering, poor, in pain, being killed in movie theaters, being shot for no reason other than the color of their skin, pro-choice, of a different religion, or because someone with mental illness has access to a gun.
It’s so easy to fall into it.
When Pandora opened her box, she released a plague on humanity. Exiting the box was famine, death, fear and because she closed the box before all could exit… Hope was trapped. With all the ugly and evil released onto the world we had no hope. We were deprived of that and if you listen to the politicians now you would feel the hopelessness.
Yet, as I approach my 32nd birthday, I realize that despite it all I do have hope for the future. It sounds weird to me because as most people know, I am a pessimist. Yet I have to have hope. I don’t get a choice. I have to have hope that the future will be a place worth living and that the world will get better from here. Every time I look at my three amazing and beautiful daughters I have hope that through them the world become a better place. Even on days when I lose my faith in humanity, they show me just how amazing they can be.

So despite it all, we must not let hopelessness consume us. There is darkness in the world but we must overcome that darkness with light. The more light we shine the closer we are to a better future.

Monday, May 23, 2016



My eyes have seen
more than my age can tell,
More than my heart can confess.
They have seen pain.
the beauty in civil unrest,
As I corrupt my spirit

My ears have heard,
More than my heart can comprehend,
More than my mouth can say.
Through the passage of time,
I have weakened my voice.
I exploit myself.

My heart has felt,
More than my youth can handle,
More than innocence can take.
While I journey toward acceptance,
I degrade my fate.

My soul has suffered,
More than my mind can bear,
More than my body can withstand.
The pain of being alone
Leaves me dying from the inside.
I devalue my existence.

Farther than my eyes can see
More than my journey reveals.

Friday, May 20, 2016

My Truth With Mental Illness

I have a mental illness.

I rarely say that out loud. When you say “I have a mental illness” there are many societal stereotypes that surrounds those words.
We portray people with mental illness as unstable, dangerous, need to be locked away. They see people with mental illnesses as those that shoot up places and/or kill people. Then we also downplay those that have mental illness as “just has the blues, need more vitamins, should relax more and take more time for yourself.
I’m reluctant to tell people I have bipolar II disorder. In the back of my mind I wonder how they will react to me once they know. Will they be afraid of me? Will they dismiss me? Will they amplify the inadequacies that already haunt me?
There are so many things that those around me and everyone in general should understand about people with mental illnesses. I have decided to write about.  These are things that I feel can affect those with mental illness the most.

·         Mental illness affects people in many different ways.
If there were three people and they all suffered from schizophrenia, neither of them would experience the illness the same way. The same can be said for any other mental or physical illness. Of course there are similarities and staples of the illness that allow health care professionals to diagnose patients but no two people have the same experiences with a particular mental illness.

·         Having a mental illness is not just a state of mind.

There are days when my depression takes over. I can’t get out of bed, I can’t shower, I don’t want to meet up with anyone. I barely want to eat. It does not help when I try to confide in someone and they tell me to cheer up and everyone gets the blues. If they tried just a little to understand that I have no control over my depression and that includes the ability to just snap out of it. I have a blessed life, three beautiful children, a loving husband and I get to do what I love to do everyday…write. What could I be depressed about?

I HAVE NO CONTROL OVER MY DEPRESSION. My depression, my anxiety disorder and my bipolar II hypomania is not based on my income, how close I am with my family and rather or not I am doing my dream job. It comes and goes when it pleases and the only thing I can do is try to survive. My medication prescribed to me by a doctor helps me to survive and have a better quality of life.

·         Dismissing someone’s mental illness is detrimental to them.

When I was finally diagnosed with bipolar II disorder, I was terrified. What does that mean for me and my family? I spoke with my husband and doctors and decided that the best course of treatment for me was medication and therapy. With that being said…it rubs me the wrong way when I get people telling me that I should not take my medication and should focus on home remedies. Telling us to just drink herbal teas, take more vitamins, get more Vitamin C or read this self help book does not help. It only makes us feel more inadequate, insecure and dismissed. Trust me; we have tried everything under the sun to feel better. When someone you love is given a treatment plan it is best to let that plan play out. The worst thing you can do is tell someone to stop taking their medication.
Now, here is what you can do to help someone you love that has a mental illness.
·         Attend some doctor’s appointments.
·         Give all the support you have.
·         Show compassion.
·         Do your research and better understand their particular mental illness.
·         Do your part to educate others and erase the stigma.

Monday, February 29, 2016


I see those quotes that say things like,
When I see my child smile my bad day goes away.
I feel guilty. My children sometimes only add to my bad day. Some days they give me more anxiety than happiness. I see that quote and I know deep down they can’t take my pain away when I go through bipolar depression. And for the past week I had been feeling just that. Depressed.
My depression has been deep lately and there are many things contributing to those feelings. I’ve had medical issues to deal with, I have weight to lose, I hadn’t been sleeping, and I just can’t seem to get it together.
On Friday nothing was getting any better but I had to suck it up and get ready to go to a Condors’ hockey game. My youngest daughter and her group of karate kids were going to go out on the ice at half time and show off their skills. I really didn’t want to go. On that day my bad mood had not gone away, but my daughter was beyond excited and she would be highly disappointed if her mom wasn’t there to see her. So despite my negative attitude, we all loaded into the car and drove to Rabobank Arena.
When we arrived, the crowds of people only made me feel worse. My social anxiety was catching up to me and I could feel tightness in my chest. Eventually I could see my family getting caught up in the excitement of the loud music and cheering from the rest of the crowd.
Throughout the game, there was a woman sitting in front of me with her family. Her son was also doing Karate. She was there as I was, to watch her child perform. It seems however, not only was she there to watch her child perform but she was also there to try and get on the Jumbotron.
Every time the camera spun around there she was standing in her seat waving her arms doing everything she could to get noticed. Ultimately her attempts failed but that didn’t stop her from trying. At one point I noticed that she was trying to take a selfie with her child. I glanced down to see that clearly my youngest daughter and I were in the photo. I remember thinking; I am obviously in her photo. Can she see me and my child are literally in her photo.
I tried to look away and pretend I didn’t see her taking the picture. But I glanced down again and realized that she was fixing the photo but she didn’t crop us out. Everyone knows how to fucking crop. I sat there trying to decide if I was going to say anything or not.
Did she really just put a fucking filter on this picture?
Deep inside I was little uncomfortable that I would be shared in her life and probably on several social media sites for strangers to see. I decided to calm myself down and not think about it. I just continued to watch the game.
Suddenly I heard her laughing and then she turned in my direction.
“Hi, I was taking some photos and look.”
She pointed her phone so I could see she had zoomed into the photo. It was so close I could make out my daughter’s face.
“Look, she smiled in every picture.”
She showed me several photos and in the back of every one of her pictures was my daughter smiling. My little girl also noticed they were taking pictures and had no trouble photo bombing them.
She was smiling and in a few of them she made funny faces

And you know what… I laughed harder than I had laughed in a week. It was the funniest thing. I hadn’t seen anything so funny in a long long time. It was as if my daughter was saying; if you get a put me in your photo that I’m not a make some faces. I hadn’t laughed this deeply in a long time and it felt so good. Actually, I felt a lot better. Because my depression with bipolar disorder is not something that I can always control, the feeling didn’t last throughout the weekend but for the rest of that night my little girl did some that I didn’t think she could ever do. She brought me out of that sour mood and we laughed about her sweet little smile and funny faces for the rest of the evening.

Friday, February 26, 2016


They say the opposite of love is not hate but indifference. Indifference means there is a lack of concern or sympathy. You have no stake in the game. When you are indifferent to something or the plight of someone situation you neither love it nor hate it. In other words “There are no fucks given.”
I cannot speak for everyone, but when I love…I love hard and deeply. I hate or strongly dislike…nouns (people places and things) with the same depth of emotion. With love and with hate there is a burning passion that consumes you. This is why they say there’s a thin line between love and hate. If you hate someone it truly means deep down inside you care? Maybe not about the person or the object but if you didn’t care you wouldn’t feel so deeply.
I write about indifference because I have a secret to share.
I am someone who has trouble being indifferent.. This is no exaggeration. I care deeply all the time. Whether it’s love, hate, compassion or empathy to the plight of another I have learned that I do not have the capacity to be indifferent.
I am one of those sensitive people that cry at the drop of a hat and can hate with a fiery passion that can only be compared to the depths of hell. There is never any in between with me. I either love it or hate it.
Since I was very young I’ve always seen this as a curse. It was a miserable, stressful, life consuming curse.  Most people tell me that to care so deeply about so much is not a curse but a testament to my big heart. I agree. I do have a big generous heart. That doesn’t bother me. What keeps me up at night is the constant obsessing about things and feeling like I am always on an emotional rollercoaster.
My bipolar disorder takes me on a crazy ride to begin with. I never feel in control of my emotions and when I am hating or loving something my mind does not know how not to take it to an extreme. I am always on the far end of both sides of the spectrum when it comes to my feelings.
I hate it so much. (See…there I go with the hate again.)
It causes me to stress over everything. The worse part is when I am extremely sympathetic and empathetic to those that in our society are undeserving of such emotions.. Like, I could never be on a jury. I want to be on one so bad but I know that I could never be impartial.
I watch a lot of Investigative Discovery shows and I am amazed at my reaction to the things I see. When I watch these trials I notice that I always have reasonable doubt. I know you are thinking “what does that have to do with anything?” Well, it means that no matter the evidence I can always empathize with the defendant and therefore I would find it hard to find almost anyone guilty. My heart always finds the good in everyone even the worse criminals.
Having the opportunity to me to just feel MEH about anything would be a vacation from myself. I want to just be and not give a damn.
Indifference is a luxury in my world.
Sometimes I beg the universe to just give me peace and help me to not care about every little
thing I hear and see. Imagine me kneeling next to my bed with my hands pressed together in prayer and I say.
“Dear God, bless my husband and my three daughters. Bless my dad, my cats and despite how much they do not deserve it…you can bless the rest of my family too. Oh and God…can you help me not to give a fuck about life? Amen.”

Monday, February 15, 2016

Fallen Angel

I have been judged.
Not by God himself but by society and closer in my own world…my family.  
I have been judged
I have been found unworthy by Christians and denying myself salvation unless I repent my
salacious ways. 
In he eyes of some of my family I am a fallen angel. I have falling from grace and need to be redeemed. 
In 2 Peter 2:4, it is said, "For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment ..."
A Fallen Angel. What does that fallen angel 1term mean to you? For most people, almost no matter what religion or those that do not have a particular religion or do not believe in God, a fallen angel is an angel who sinned and was cast out of heaven.
I grew up feeling like an outcast. I ran with the persona for years that I was a good little girl. I was the obedient excellent kid because that is what everyone expected of me. I tried my best not to get into any trouble. I was dutiful, I was a superb student, I read my bible, I came home at curfew. I was everything they needed me to be.
The problem was, I was nothing like the person I pretended to be. Well, I was a good student and I did try my best to be a good person, but the secrets that I kept to myself I knew would give others a different opinion of me. I was afraid of what my family would think if they knew the real me.
Eventually I knew that I would disappoint them. I would prove to be nothing like they believed me to be and I dreaded the moment when that would come to pass.
When I came out as bisexual, I was called wicked by some members of my family. I had some family that supported me and t
hat made it a little easier. I knew though my family did not truly accept homosexuality andfallen angel it was a sin. My sister confirmed it for me when I proclaimed to my circle that I was bisexual. My older sister, on a public forum, told me that I was wicked, damned, going to hell and that I was taking my children with me. I was heart-broken. I brushed it off in front of everyone else but deep inside I was deeply hurt.
I tried to rationalize it. I told myself, “I understand. She wants to “save” me. Her religious beliefs tell her that she needs to help me or else I will go to hell. She cares about me and she loves me.”
Then it got worse. Some of the family that seemed to support me started using that I was bisexual against me when they were upset with me. They would say things like I was perverted, nasty and disgusting.
I would have second thoughts, feeling like I should never have pierced the fa├žade that surrounded me. Maybe if I just took my secrets to the grave then none of this would have happened. My family would have never known. Yes, no one would have known but I would have continued with my miserable existence. I would never have lifted the burden that was holding me down.
So in the eyes of my family I am no longer the good and perfect child. I am the wicked and the damned. I am the fallen angel. Deep down I knew I was destined to fall. A person can only hide behind a mask for so long. 
fallen angel 3

Friday, February 5, 2016

Bipolar Disorder and Dante's Inferno

                                   “Abandon all hope you who enter here.” ~Dante Alighieri

I have always been fascinated with reading, watching and studying religion, mythology and ancient history. Lately I have been drawn to Dante Alighieri’s poem The Divine Comedy and in particular the first part Inferno.
If you’ve never read the poem please let me give you a little background.
In the 14th century not long before he died, Dante Alighieri wrote an epic three part allegorical poem titled The Divine Comedy.  In Dante’s time you either wrote dramas or comedies. If you wrote them in Latin they were for the upper class. Those written in Italian were written for the lower class. Dante chose to write his poem in Italian so all those that could read would understand. The three parts were called Inferno (Hell), Purgatorio (Purgatory) and Paridisio (Paradise or Heaven).  The poem tells of the human spiritual journey through hopelessness in order to find the grace of God.
I was most intrigued by Inferno. I was fascinated by the 9 levels of hell that Dante described. Each level covers a wide range of sins and the worse your sin the lower you are in hell. Dante categorized his personal opinion of the rank of sins based on how he perceived them in his life. Each sin is punished based on the influence it had on others causing them to sin as well. For example, Psychics and Fortune tellers were destined to walk naked with their heads turned backwards representing their backwards thinking and how they mislead people in their lives.
What spoke to me most about the poem was the thought that in order to find peace sometimes you have to hit rock bottom or lose all hope. This sounds strange but to lose all hope and to hit the lowest point in your life can lead you to finally search for or journey toward a better life. It is said that it takes hitting rock bottom before a person can truly see their plight and decide to change things.
Dante’s Inferno to me shows that losing all hope and starting the journey to betterment can be dangerous and not all will succeed or survive. That is why it was at his own peril that he chose to journey to hell. Like many others in mythology, when a living soul travels to hell you run the risk of never returning. However it was the only way. His journey through hell showed him that things in his life could be worse.
I suffer from Bipolar disorder. For most of my life I had no clue that I had this disorder. It took me hitting a very low point before I chose to start my journey to a better tomorrow. I felt hopeless and unsure of my future. My disorder was pushing those that I love away and I had no tools of improving.
It was hell getting a therapist and uncovering all my deepest and darkest secrets. I had to talk about my childhood and things I never wanted to tell anyone. It ripped me apart uncovering each level of hell I had endured.
Yet it was the only way to maneuver my way through the Inferno that was my life.
Though I do not interpret sins the same way that Dante did, I understand what he must have been feeling or going through when he wrote the poem.  
Abandon all hope you who enter here…the only way to begin the journey.