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.

Of Kings and Royal Moments

I need to take more time to post the positives when they happen. I get so worn down – am so worn down – by the negatives and the depression and other chronic illness that it can totally obscure those small – but beautiful – moments that happen. Pardon me, while I relate this story.

I still remember the first fan letter I ever wrote to a celebrity crush when I was a little girl.  It was Ricky Schroder of Silver Spoons (oh, gah, am I ever dating myself now). I was properly obsessed. I think I was hoping for a marriage proposal to come from my letter. I’m sure I would’ve been thrilled with just a response from his management team and a signed picture or something.  I received nothing.

I was disappointed, of course. I continued to crush on other celebs from time to time, but real all out fangirling was something I kept to myself and, as much as was in my control, avoid. Years and years later, and I eventually began to feel that maybe fangirling was a symptom of bpd and my obsessions were not something to encourage. However, sometimes one can’t help themselves.

Then came the emergence of Twitter. And, regular people were actually conversing with actors and artists of all media. I, of course, took my little stabs at being noticed, tweeted at, etc. It was Ricky Schroder all over again.

Now, the thing is, even with only my extremely limited success (read failure) at the music business, I realise that being in the public eye and desirable can be full of pressure. And, there’s the politics of it. You can’t be seen to be favouring one over the other when you’re trying to keep all your fans happy. Sometimes it’s easier just to ignore everyone who messages, mentions, tags, etc. you, rather than taking the chance of offending some by missing them out. And, I’m certain for many celebs who have millions of fans, there simply isn’t the time. One must work and sleep, after all…or the rest of us would have nothing over which to fangirl/boy over. And, believe it or not, they do deserve lives of their own.

There is a point to all this. Please, stay with me.

When the BBC first aired The Musketeers, I was enchanted. Here was swashbuckling adventure and beautiful (and talented) actors and actresses to gaze upon. ‘All for one and one for all’ come alive on the screen. Loyalty and love and gunpowder…and…

The best King Louis has EVER been portrayed, played by the exceptionally talented and simply gorgeous actor Ryan Gage.I tried my damndest to keep Mr Gage and his smile out of my heart and only on my screen. Have I mentioned, I’m good at failure.

But, look how strong I was. I managed to get to the third and final (sigh) season before looking to see if Ryan Gage was on Twitter. I managed to nearly make it to the middle of this last series before tweeting ‘@RyanGage is the best King Louis ever’. I didn’t expect anything at all…I just couldn’t contain my enthusiasm anymore. 

But. I did get a response. One of the writers of the show liked my tweet. Really, just that made my night. It was nice to have the comment noticed and appreciated. Especially by someone who worked so hard to bring us this quality entertainment.

But then, there was the next day. I posted something else Ryan and Louis related…and…  Holy French curly wigs, Batman! … I got a notification on my phone that the man himself had liked it!

I posted a few more things. He liked them, too!

Shit. I mean, it was awesome and it made me smiley. Very smiley. Elated. Ricky Schroder, Neil Gaiman, the entire cast of Buffy the Vampire Slayer WHO?! But, it also threw me immediately into full-on fangirl mode.

‘Oh, Autumn, you’re too old for this. You’ll get annoying. You always do. Stop it. For goodness sake, you’re flirting. Surely he gets tired of all this. You’re going to make a nuisance of yourself. He has better people than you to pay any attention to.’ And, then, the running negative track in my mind turned even darker and more tormenting. 

Now we come to the specific moment this post is about. Yesterday, feeling particularly rough with the depression I suffer, my 9 year old daughter, who has a talent for drawing, drew me this picture to try to cheer me up. 

Last night, I posted it on Instagram and tagged Ryan Gage in it. Not only did he like it, but he posted it, too! Now, my little girl suffers from low self esteem a lot of the time. She loves to draw and has an eye for art, but all too often she feels bad about herself and thinks she isn’t good at anything. I got to see the joy in her face when I showed her that Ryan himself had liked and reposted her drawing; I got to see her light up at the comments others made about how good her work was. 

So, while I can’t promise that I won’t get annoying – I hope I don’t; but, I know how I am – what I’ve found is that this gifted actor is as sweet to his fans as he is beautiful to look upon. The time he takes to look at fans’ posts and acknowledge them makes him very rare and special…and even more worth fangirling over. 

So, thank you, Ryan Gage, for being you. And…if I get annoying…just go all Louis on me and have me beheaded…kiss me first, though.

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.