I am an artist at heart, from music, to painting, to furniture building. And as of recently, writing. I am currently working on my second novel. I live in farm country of Central New York with my husband and two of my children.
“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.” – Winston Churchill Three months ago, my life was different. I felt like my primary purpose or objective was to manage my bipolar disorder and the physical symptoms of my brain disorder. I kept my house clean on the days I could get off the couch. If I felt like painting wooden signs, I did. If I wanted to work on furniture pieces that I have yet to finish, that is what I would do. If I felt like writing or had something to say, I would write, only it wouldn’t go anywhere. I was not content with any facet of my life—even my marriage. I was miserable most of the time. I was in a funk of my own doing.
Fishing With Pops
(For my husband and my father-in-law, Mark Jr. and Mark Sr.) On a beautiful Friday in September, my husband (Mark), my father-in-law (Mark Sr.), and I decided to play hooky for the day and go fishing. We usually make it out fishing together once or twice a year, but we were unable to go last year due to the pandemic. My husband has a job that required him to work through the worst of it, and we couldn’t risk him picking up the virus and passing it to his father. So we did what many responsible people did and stayed away for his safety. It was nice to reconnect and spend some time together this summer.
I Hate Housework
I don’t work outside of the home. After brain surgery for a Chiari Malformation and with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, I was taken out of work. It has been five years now, and while I still struggle with the physical symptoms and am not able to do the thing I used to, I have settled somewhat. I have accepted that where I am at is as good as it gets. I will not get better. Because of the surgery, though, I will not get worse. The bipolar disorder will never go away, but it can be managed. I have a fantastic mental health team, and an excellent support system made up of friends and family. It doesn’t escape me how blessed I am to have both of those things.
The Ghost of Christmas Dysfunction
Before we get to the story, let me tell you who I am. No one talks about me on their Christmas cards or in their “Christmas edition” family newsletters, which by the way, is just to show everyone they are keeping up with the Jones’s. No group of carolers will be singing my name or singing about me. There are no tv specials or movies about me. Everyone likes to pretend I don’t exist, but oh, I do. All the drama, chaos, and general holiday fuckery you experience during your holidays? Yup. That’s me. I’m the Ghost of Christmas Dysfunction.
I feel its darkness lurking. I know it is there, so I expect it. Even so, I am never prepared for it. It's black, twisted vines reaching out like tentacles from some ancient sea beast. The vines ensnare me, grappling my legs and wrists the whole time, pulling me ever closer to the darkness. Suffocating, all-enveloping darkness. A place where my mind is no longer my own.
And So I Ramble
I collect thoughts in my head, and I store ideas in my mind. I make plans for a later time, and I dream dreams of things that could be and tuck them away in my heart. I ask myself rhetorical questions that have no answer. And I think. All. The. Time.
I'm building a kingdom with you. Only you aren't interested in making a castle. You'd rather play in the sandbox. I'm building a life with you. Only you are unable to make a life with someone. You'd rather hide your blocks and throw them all around.
This pill is for anxiety. Another pill to stabilize my “mood”. Yet another to manage bipolar mania. And still, another to help me sleep.