The Strength of Shadows 

I haven’t written a blog post in a while. I haven’t been doing well, and I haven’t been posting all over about it. No anguished Facebook statuses expounding on my less than coping condition…with the exception of last Thursday, when I admitted that I had to take a double dose of duloxetine in order to make it through the day.

In one sense, I am better than ever. Musically, things are happening for me, things that should’ve happened years ago. And, I am grateful for finally being in (somewhat of a) demand and appreciated for this music that IS me. I have a diary full of gigs, and I’ve been asked to play and sing on two different artist’s albums (one of which is a national artist). 

This keeps me busy. This also keeps me tired. Tired, on top of the chronic fatigue and pervasive everyday weariness I experience. Am I glad about my musical opportunities and successes? For certain I am! Does it change my brain chemistry and my worn out body? Certainly not.

It’s hard. My musical partner doesn’t know how I struggle. I hide it from him (thus the afore mentioned double dose so I wouldn’t fall apart in him during rehearsal).

My kids are an added stressor and cause of anxiety. One is facing her own set of health issues (‘gee, thanks, mum, for the lousy genetics’)…and, I feel guilty and frustrated because of that. Fucking bad genes! 

I have to force myself out of bed. I want to hide. Escape. The music is worth it, and I feel free and as close to ‘good’ as I get when I’m doing it. But, the anxiety and exhaustion persists. It waits until I step off the stage and then jumps on me with a vengeance. 

Sometimes, I am the shadow. Without substance. Waiting, longing even, to fade out of existence. Other times, I am all too real, heavy, and the shadow over me makes me heavier yet. 

But, dayum, do I sound awesome!

Thoughts Spilling Out of a Brain Left Ajar EPISODE 3

So, I went to see the psychiatrist today… watch how the day went. It was rather surprising. Also, you get to see my cat, Rincewind, acting cute in this vlog post; it’s worth watching just for that.

Life, Death & Coffee 

​Some people require a visual. Some are more auditory. Others still prefer the written word. This vlog/blog post has it all.

I actually have a friend who prefers my vlog posts, where I TALK, more than she does listening to what I – and many others feel – is the considerably better use of my voice. 

Personally, despite having a good vocabulary, I find it difficult to verbalise my thoughts and feelings. I am unable to put these things into SPEECH. So, I put them in songs (one uses a different part of the brain when one sings than when one talks… this is the reason why some people who have suffered severe strokes, rendered speechless, can sing just fine…it is also why a stutterer can sing perfectly and clearly) or in visual art which illustrates how I’m feeling.

I find talking overrated. When I’m forced to speak, I do so…but, it’s rarely willingly. And, inevitably, I never end up saying what I really want and need to get across. It’s very frustrating. I don’t stutter badly, but I have elements of the problem. Speech is just hard work.

Of course, the problem with art, in any form, is that once it’s ‘out there’ it’s open to all sorts of interpretation. You see, hear, read and feel it through YOUR filter.

Sigh. It is the human condition. 

But, I continue to try to communicate, for what it’s worth.

 Life is hard. One could say, life is hard as speaking, and life with ANY chronic illness is a prison. Here’s an animation illustrating the daily struggles and dreams thereof:

This next video is a music video… I’m not explaining it. Just watch and listen. 


And, ending on a fun note. One of my grandfather’s favourite jokes was about a guy who needed to pass his school exams, but he was woefully stupid. His teacher, trying to be kind to him, decided to help him out by marking him a passing grade if he could spell just one word correctly. The teacher thought about it and realised that the student was too dumb to even get one word right, so decided to let him pass if he could just get ONE LETTER of one word right. The teacher thought that, surely, even this idiot could at least get one letter in a word correct. So, the teacher said to his student, ‘Spell the word coffee.’ The student replied, ‘K.A.U.P.H.Y.

And, thus, I give you this:


May your coffee be good and may you always be heard.

Life As I Know It | an animation

This goes out to the precious extraordinary carers of those of us with bpd.  What makes these people so unique (and rare) is their ability to accept us as we are (when that is so hard to do) and not do the typical abandonment of us when we are difficult. This love and support makes all the difference to a sufferer. Specifically and personally, this is dedicated to my carer and husband, Jamie, with my unspeakable thanks.

The One Thing

The one thing that I like about myself, the one and only thing I am good at, is the one thing I can’t get people to take notice of.

The discouragement is immense.

And, it makes a person question themselves. Terribly.

Yesterday, my youngest daughter (who also suffers from BPD and struggles with controlling her emotions and knowing her worth) came home from school in floods of tears. She was sobbing uncontrollably because she hadn’t received an award for anything when every one else in her group of best friends had received recognition for something. Many of the things the others had got an award for were things I have been told by her teachers are things in which she, herself, highly excels. She came out of the school yard, wailing, ‘I’m rubbish. There’s nothing I’m good at doing.’

I know it isn’t true. But, when everyone else in your circle has been publicly  recognised and you haven’t, one begins to doubt themselves, no matter how many times one has been told how great they are at something.

I took her home and showed her BBC Introducing, where I have submitted many of my best tracks. All of which they have refused to play, while other musicians with equal – or even less – talent get featured by them. I asked my daughter if she thought I was rubbish at singing and writing songs. She responded, ‘No! Of course not, Mummy.’ I pointed out that, by her logic, I must be rubbish. I hadn’t been played on the radio while these others had.

I made my point which ended up with her saying, ‘BBC Introducing is stupid!’

Just because others get the recognition you don’t doesn’t mean you’re not just as deserving, and it doesn’t mean that you aren’t just as good as the others (or, better). Life – and school and bloody BBC fucking Introducing – just isn’t fair. And, it sucks. But it doesn’t mean we’re rubbish.

But, it’s one thing to preach this to someone else and quite another to believe it yourself.

I’m struggling. So, thank you, Life, for once again being a bastard. Thank you, school, for overlooking my daughter’s achievements. Thank you, BBC Introducing, for not actually championing talented and unique independent musicians like you say you do. Thank you, all, for making people feel worse about themselves. You’re doing a great job!

Patina

If you leave sterling silver on its own, to the elements, it will turn black with tarnish. However, if you wear it, it will continue to shine while developing a patina that protects it from tarnishing. There’s a metaphor here. Clouds and their silver linings and such. Life IS the cloud – dark and thunderous and ocassionally viscious with lightning strikes. But, there are shining moments; there are the precious, small, silver victories. I would right a song, but the whole thing is so all over the place that it would be difficult to get the lyrics to coalesce. Instead, what I am going to do is write some prose here. Perhaps the song will come later, but I’m not going to obsess over it.

Last night I suffered a disappointment when a gig was cancelled. Last night I felt shock, this morning I feel discouraged. But, before the malicious pain of life hit me in the teeth again, I had been thinking about some of those small victories. I’d like to wear these, so they will continue to shine in my mind.

Tuesday night at The Y Theatre, my hand being held tightly by a dear friend, the warm glow of both my performance and simply my PRESENCE being appreciated.

Wednesday afternoon coffee with another friend, just because she wanted to come and hang out with me…  and, now I’m crying as I write this, because to me it’s such a major thing, such a precious thing, and I wonder at the pain I feel because of years of being rejected and unfriended, the sheer amazement I feel at someone desiring and choosing to spend time with me. The dam just seems to break and flood me, when what I want is to feel the happiness of this, not the pain of the past or the fear that life won’t allow me to keep such friendship. And so, I dry the tears and compose myself, and write it again: Wednesday afternoon coffee with a friend, just because she wanted to come and hang out with me.

Winning over another mum at the school who used to ignore or avoid me/avoid making eye contact for whatever reason, but now she smiles, waves and says ‘Hi’ when she sees me. Small victory, huge triumph.

These are the things I want to put on and wear around my neck and on my fingers, that their sparkle could be seen in my eyes – could continue to be seen BY my eyes, which now, writing this, fill with tears again. Tears I have to wipe in order to keep typing. There really is a song in this somewhere…

I have another friend who longs for acceptance in a certain place.  I feel so for her and her struggle. She and her husband came over last night after my gig had been cancelled (they had actually been the ones who were supposed to babysit for me so I could do the gig), and we caught up on what’s been going on with them of late. A sad tale, really. Rejection and prejudice has wreaked a toll, and yet she goes back for more. And, even though this woman is so very different from me, I can see myself and the years I threw myself at the walls of various humanity, looking for entrance in their world(s). I have come to see so many other things. I let the rose-tinted scales be ripped from my eyes and, finally, I never went looking for them again. The BPD will often make me start to tilt at those bloody walls again, but I’m quicker now to see the bruises when they start to appear and not keep hurling myself at the same human walls over and over again until, broken and bloody and irrevocably scarred, I limp away with what’s left of my heart. I hear that song again…

I have succeeded in writing this post. See it shimmer , a whisper of light within the hard steel of the grey. Today, let me wear the silver. May I keep on wearing the silver.