Tuesday, March 13, 2012


My mother and brother are both diagnosed, medicated bi-polar patients.  (Mental illness is like eye color in our family; it's not so much a matter of if as it is what shade.)  Sometimes I wonder if I inherited some of their tendency toward extremes. 

The last time I posted, I felt awful.  Useless.  Lethargic.  Those are normal down-day feelings.  Judging by the excitement I felt about vacuuming my window sills and then the overwhelming need to take the vacuum apart to clean it, today is an up-day.  For many years now, I have been aware of this cycle in my moods, and while it isn't so pronounced that I feel like I need treatment, I sometimes really wonder if it's completely normal.

But normal or not, it's me.  And since today is an up-day, I'm going to enjoy it while it's here, and get some things done before the energy levels off and I start downhill again.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Constantly Inconstant

I spend a good deal of my time mentally and verbally beating myself up.  I don't do it because I want to hear people contradict me, tell me how great I am at this or that.  I do it because, deep down, I believe I'm a pretty shitty person.

I'm the friend that doesn't call, the housewife that doesn't keep a spotless house, the mother who spends more time annoyed and exasperated by her children than adoring and enthralled, the daughter who shames her mother by using words like "shitty."

But then I have other times, times when I am Awesome at Life, when I am wise and patient and gentle with my kids, when I call a friend to talk about her troubles instead of my own, when my husband comes home to a clean house and a hot meal. 

There's really not much in between these two, because I am a person of extremes.  Balance and consistency are not my wheelhouse.  They sit on me like a Starbucks cup sits on top of a car: they don't belong, and you know they're going to fall, sooner than later.

All my life, I have tried to set different schedules and routines for myself.  The first time I remember trying, I was ten, and I made up a chores-and-exercise schedule for myself so I could get better in P.E. class and also be a good helper for my college-student mom.

It was a total waste, as has been nearly every attempt since then.  I don't do routine.  I want to; I long for it, romanticize it, put it up on a pedestal and admire the idea, but I have never been able to accomplish it.  I don't do anything every single day (except brush my teeth, but even then I sometimes miss either the morning or the evening go-round).

I don't even pray every day, other than the garden variety thank you and please help kinds of prayers.

Writing, to me, is praying; I feel such a close connection to words and language, that any time I put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), it's such that my heart is just pointing itself toward heaven and opening itself up.

But I don't write everyday, of course.  I wish I did.

But the more I pray, the less I feel stuck inside my own head.  Which is good, because most of the time, my head isn't a good place to hang out.  Like today.