LYL: Corona My Friend

:a series of original quotes about what all this is and how to love it even more.

LOVE YOUR LIFE QUOTES
Poems

Photo by Anthony Tuil on Unsplash

After returning to a sense of balance since the start of this crazy Coronavirus scare, I have finally been able to bring myself to post something again. Instead of a quote, I have a poem reminding us, Love Your Life, through all the joys and sorrows, adventures and terrors, loves and losses. This is our life. We must love it; all of it!

corona my friend

I looked in and saw
corona of the sun
unexpectedly
was it there 2 days ago?
corona came knocking
didn’t mean no harm
mostly wanted a cozy space
to hang for a spell
and really she gives back
more than she takes
ask what she’s been up to
and she flashes that bright light

lighting fire rolling over dark countryside
slashing slick billboards of dull hope
we scurry like roaches
ashamed not of light
but of what light exposes
we can see all that sparkles
in our dim little world
brought to grey
and fade away
when light hits dark
in such a way

corona came in as a friend
didn’t bring the party with her
real friends bring light
distraction’s quick wit can’t outrun
light touches every dark place
every corner and crevice
each hole and niche
what can we see with corona
so near, so here
let us each see inside
what we can see
with this viral visiting

with each new friend
open a tiny bit more
and each ray of scorching light
we see who we are
and we use it to see
where we want to be
not where we were
no returning or before
pillars of salt stand at the ready
separating our destiny
from sudden demise
look to the sky
the teachers will say
corona will be there
lighting the way
lets see what we can see
with our infectious friend
keep what needs keeping
and discard all the rest


Mental Health Meandering: A Pretty Big Concept

Mental health is a pretty big concept. Who decides what’s healthy and normal? Healthy and normal in my culture can mean watching men physically attack each other for fun. It can also mean applying a lot of paste to my face to make me look different. These are strange habits, indeed, when I really examine them.

Sometimes, the only way I can feel normal is if I sit completely still in silence, with my eyes open and unfocused, and wait for the world to disappear. I didn’t learn this from anyone in my culture. No one that I knew told me this was normal. But, for some reason, this makes me feel more human and normal than putting on makeup or watching football.

I have a mental health disorder.
What’s your excuse?

Photo by Jason Pofahl on Unsplash

L.Y.L. – We vilify each other and sanctify ourselves.


:a series of original quotes about this thing we call life and how we can love it even more

LOVE YOUR LIFE QUOTES


“We vilify each other and sanctify ourselves.”

Lately, if I pay attention to the news, I see every part of the world showing signs of unrest and deterioration. I see so many of us uncomfortable, upset and in discord over the atrocities we witness each day that affect fellow human beings, animals and our whole natural world. And I see so many pointing fingers away from themselves.

Who among us can say she is not part of this whole? Who can say he doesn’t benefit here from the atrocity committed over there? Truly, there are little to none who can claim innocence.

Who’s the worst? We all think we know the answer to that question. But what do we do about it? I’m not willing to commit genocide, even against genocidal psychopaths. Wouldn’t that make me a genocidal psychopath too?

Photo by Hasan Almasi on Unsplash

Being one of the culprits, along with 8 billion others, I don’t have all the answers, but I have some. One idea that I’ve had recently, and I don’t think I’m alone in this, is before I point my finger at something outside myself to blame for the world being as it is, I should probably make sure that I’m doing everything I can to minimize my personal contribution to the mess.

Once I turn my finger on myself, I begin to realize all the ways in which I benefit from the same conditions that are harmful to other parts of our world, and my previously stick-straight pointer finger loses it’s rigidity.

Photo by Brandi Ibrao on Unsplash

“Who among us can say she is not part of this whole? Who can say he doesn’t benefit here from the atrocity committed over there? Truly, there are little to none who can claim innocence.”

Finger wagging can be a fun game, but we’re past playing games, aren’t we? Let’s put away childish games and come together to find real solutions that will result in actual progress for all of us; and more importantly, for our descendants.

Mental Health Meandering: Everyone Feels That Way

A short ramble: Everyone Feels That Way

This week feels like falling without a net to catch me. I’ve struggled to find something worthwhile to write about in this week’s post. Though, simply getting out of bed has felt like preparing for battle this past week, so why should I think writing would be any different? Why do I think anything should be different on a day when I wake up in the morning wishing I hadn’t woken up in the morning. 

You think, so what; big deal, everyone feels like hiding under the covers some days. Maybe that’s true. I don’t know what other people experience, all I know is what happens to me in my life. If everyone else out there also spends most mornings trying to convince themselves that it’s okay to get up and do life, that the world around them won’t crumble or implode on them and that they aren’t worthless piles of nothing that would be better off simply disappearing into a poof of vapor, then why aren’t we all talking about this horrible experience? Because, if everyone else experiences exactly what I do on many mornings, then FUCK, we should do something about this!

Oh no! You think, it’s not all that bad. Okay then, so if it’s not all that bad for everyone else, then I guess everyone doesn’t have the same experience. That makes my experience different than everyone else’s. That means, maybe I need different support and care than everyone else needs. 

Photo by Nicholas Kusuma on Unsplash

“…if everyone else experiences exactly what I do on many mornings, then FUCK, we should do something about this!”

Once, I knew someone who struggled with food. Her weight had reached a state that would be considered obese. I don’t think she enjoyed being so overweight because she often commented about the difficulties for someone her size in a world not built for someone her size. Sometimes, I thought to tell her, you should just go to the gym and start exercising. Other times, when I saw her eating a package of Famous Amos Cookies, I thought to say, you might lose some weight if you didn’t eat a package of cookies every afternoon.

Though I’m not the perfect picture of health, nor do I have a super taught, sexy body, I have not struggled with food the way some others do. I don’t gain 10 pounds just from looking at a slice of cake. And I don’t have to workout like Denise Austin to feel fine about my weight and size, even if I am considered thick. I don’t understand what it’s like for someone who sees food differently than me. 

“I don’t understand what it’s like for someone who sees food differently than me.”

Photo by Sara Bakhshi on Unsplash

I never said those specific and particularly insensitive words to my former acquaintance. Though, I might have said or done other insensitive and uncaring things, simply from ignorance. She never called me on anything, though, I’m not sure that she would have, even if I had said something triggering to her. I only hope that I never said anything as insensitive, dismissive and triggering as, that’s no big deal, everyone feels like staying under the covers some days, is to me. 

Photo by K. Mitch Hodge on Unsplash

I have a mental health disorder. What’s your excuse?

LYL – It ain’t about you; but, it’s about peace, so it’s okay.


:a series of original quotes about this thing we call life and how we can love it even more

LOVE YOUR LIFE QUOTES


“It ain’t about you; but, it’s about peace, so it’s okay.”

Photo by Cole Keister on Unsplash

Humans are pretty selfish beings. We’re programmed that way to survive. Think about what would happen if we weren’t selfish about eating when we were hungry or pooping when we had that uncontrollable urge?

We have to think about ourselves in certain circumstances in order to live, but not in every situation. We all know what they say about too much of a good thing. So, if I understand that being too selfish can lead to painful situations for myself and others, how can I tell if I’ve crossed over into that borderline narcissistic territory we can spot two stoplights ahead in our friends, but always seem to miss the turn when it comes to self-regulation?

…if I know that being too selfish can lead to painful situations for myself and others, how can I tell if I’ve crossed over into that borderline narcissistic territory we can spot two stoplights ahead in our friends, but always seem to miss the turn when we’re following our own directions?

Recently, I got the thought that peace could be the deciding factor. I know it’s not always about me, though at 7pm, after a long day of giving my time, talents and attention to others, it is definitely all about me and feeding this hungry body. It isn’t good for anyone when this woman’s hangry side is showing her face. But other times, after I’m satisfied with all the basics, why should it continue to be about me? I’m not saying that it can never be about me once I’m fed, have shelter and water, etc. But, why do I feel the need to continue to focus on just my needs if I already have everything I need and other people around me clearly don’t? Why can’t I make it about something greater, like peace?

Buddha Shakyamuni in granite, taken at Chicago’s Art Institute 2016

I could say more; give examples and offer scenarios, but, I won’t. An understanding of this concept has to come from inside a person. No one else can tell you when you already have enough and are ready to become greater than what you have been.

Mental Health Meandering: Just Talking

Just Talking: A short story about every day life.

Just talking? Isn’t that like saying, “I don’t really care about your problems?” she thought while driving east on I55, heading to the city; back home. She was returning from lunch with her father, who she hadn’t seen or spoken to in a few months. The morning had been difficult. She woke with that sick feeling in her gut. It wasn’t quite nausea; more like the beginning stages of a wave of nausea that never quite passed into actual nausea, but also never passed at all. She described the feeling to her therapist as gross and inhuman, which was certainly accurate, because when this feeling took over, she felt like something other than what she was; not a woman, but a creature.

Photo by Logan Fisher on Unsplash

In the past, on mornings like this, she might slip into full-on panic, messaging friends or family randomly, frantically trying to feel normal enough to go into the office.

She knew this feeling wasn’t from anything she had eaten the night before. She hadn’t been drinking either; though, if she told anyone in her family, she’d be accused of suffering from a hangover. The feeling came often in the mornings, along with uncontrollable crying and a tightness in her chest. In the past, on mornings like this, she might slip into full-on panic, messaging friends or family randomly, frantically trying to feel normal enough to go into the office. Sometimes that worked, other times it didn’t. On other mornings, she couldn’t get back to normal quick enough and was forced to call in sick. Thank God today was Saturday, which meant no work and extra time to fix herself. 

Though it was the weekend, life still had to get done. She still had some adulting to accomplish before she could put aside the outside world and seek comfort in her own again. Part of what we like to call adulting included lunch with dad, which went fairly well given their history. She took special care to steer the conversation away from family matters, politics and the past, to focus on more benign topics, and had been grateful for his cooperation.

Just after the waitress brought out small, lily-shaped clear glass dishes of rice pudding and placed the check, face down, on the heavily lacquered table, she received a text from her mother who wanted to discuss the article from Psychology Today she’d shared about a week ago. She had sent the article to her mother in a moment of weakness, a momentary lapse of judgement brought on by the desire to be open and vulnerable with another human who might empathize. That was probably a mistake. She thought now, pulling out of the parking lot next to the diner and onto the main street. 

Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash

She texted back, I don’t need to talk about it. I was just sending for your own knowledge. She hoped her mother would respect this; hoped her mother wouldn’t press the issue and try to force a conversation. Please, God? Not right now. She prayed silently. Her text alert went off again just seconds after she hit send, and she knew her hope was based in pure fantasy. Her mother wouldn’t be her mother if the woman didn’t press and force issues. That’s what mothers were supposed to do, weren’t they? Mom’s text said she really wanted to discuss the article on how to help a loved one with GAD and wanted to know if she could talk now. Positivity never hurt anyone, she thought, and hit call. 

After pleasantries, her mother said, “So I thought it was a really interesting article, and I think that I already do all those things it recommends.” Her mother paused for a moment; her tone sounded way too cheerful. “Well, except, I think it’s going to be difficult for me, with the whole irrational thinking thing. Because, I’m a logical thinker and it’s difficult for me to think in ways that aren’t logical.”

Her insides sunk. Why did I think my mother would actually want to help me, she thought. Then said, “I really can’t believe you, Mom. THAT is your response? To insult me by implying that I’m not a logical thinker?”

Rather than answer the question, her mother sprang into defense, “Who told you this anyway. Have you even been officially diagnosed?” She doesn’t believe me. She thought and started to explain, feeling less-than with each word she spoke: Less like she mattered, less like anything other than a creature to be questioned, disbelieved, mocked and finally, ignored. So, she recounted the story of how she came to define what she had been suffering from for much of her life as this official diagnosis. This label would forever make her different, though different than what, she couldn’t tell. After finishing, she said to her mother, “You know, this is not helping me at all.”

Was wanting empathy the same as asking for help? Maybe. If having a witness to your suffering is help, then it could be.

Photo by Jack Sharp on Unsplash

Had she sent the article to her mother in hopes of receiving help? Maybe. She’d sent it with the intent to inform. She wanted her mother to know what she’d been dealing with and to understand why she’d done some of the things she’d done over the course of her life. What she wanted was empathy. Yes, that is why she had sent the article. Was wanting empathy the same as asking for help? Maybe. If having a witness to your suffering is help, then it could be. 

Is it natural to think that a mother would want to help her daughter in a difficult situation? Whether or not empathy and help were synonymous, it was becoming obvious that, although she would have wanted nothing more than to help her own daughter in a similar situation, her mother did not share those values. 

“I wasn’t trying to HELP you! I was JUST TALKING!” Mom replied to her plea to redirect the conversation with a plateful of emotion she could not understand. The statement shook her into silence for a moment; the words, just talking, seemed to echo and then hang in the space between her head and the roof of her small coup. Her mind could not compute this data. But, she was also very aware that everyone isn’t programmed with the same software. 

Using her logic, such a statement should never have been made given the particulars of the situation. Why would a mother insist on just talking about something so serious, so personal and so potentially destructive to her own offspring? People just talk about who won the Super Bowl or weekend plans. Conversations about the abnormal psyche should be given more thought; shouldn’t they? But then, as mother said earlier, illogical thinking is an issue for someone like me. She thought, as her inner bitch yawned and stretched. And then, the conversation ended abruptly when she yelled at her iPhone, “You can never admit when you’re wrong!” 

And just like that, it was back again: The sick feeling from first thing that morning. She had come to label this feeling, Anxiety. And now, she was reminded of its origins in her life. Maybe all of this just talking was actually the real problem. Because really, she thought, there is nothing helpful, empathetic or productive about just talking. But then again, she was the irrational thinker in this situation.

Photo by K. Mitch Hodge on Unsplash

I have a mental health disorder. What’s your excuse?

Now What? Making Creative Space for Mental & Emotional Health

On December 23rd of last year, I began a series featuring 30 original posts to promote my new coloring book and journal, Mandala Musing. I wanted to jump start a daily writing habit, so I created a reason to make myself come up with 30 days worth of unique blog posts.

I heard somewhere that it takes about 21 days to create a habit, healthy or otherwise. So I tried it, and it worked. Kind of. I did create a daily writing habit. But, last week, after posting the last of the mandala drawings from my book, I felt a lack of purpose and focus. I didn’t know what to write about in this new space I’d created.

Today, to kick things off in this new space for mental meanderings, I offer a poem.

Photo by Ian Espinosa on Unsplash

I have thought about this a lot over the past week and believe I’ve come up with something worthwhile. I’d like to use this space to speak, write and create openly and plainly about mental/emotional health: Wellness, disease and anything in between. Lately, the media has been giving a lot of attention to health of the mind and psyche. We’ve seen Kanye West dealing with the effects of bipolar disorder in a very public way; and Lizzo post about battling depression on social media. In fact, many people in the public eye are showing courage through vulnerability by sharing their own stories about struggles with depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, eating disorders and a host of other mental and emotional human struggles.

In decades past, those of us suffering from mental and emotional diseases were shunned from a society which chose to shut people away rather than acknowledge their humanity and right to exist.

sketch by Billie Marie Moore

In the past, those of us suffering from mental and emotional diseases were shunned from a society that chose to shut people away rather than acknowledge our humanity and right to exist. Today, the atmosphere has changed and we are told it’s okay to be who we are, get help and learn about our unique differences. Now, we see a culture that is starting to encouraging us to ask for help if we find difficulty coping with daily life; a progressive cause I can feel good about supporting.

In the spirit of open, approachable and honest human progress, I have decided to use my blog space – at least part of it – to focus on the health of the psyche. All of it. The “good” and the “bad”. Because really, it’s all just us and the whole of who we are here.

To kick things off in this new space for mental meanderings, I offer a poem.

my old friend, anxiety


This day is a bitch!
Old girl, Anxious wants to play
extra hard today.
But she don’t know 
I’m not impressed with her dramedy. 
Her silly, willy-nilly moves. 
Her dangerous, gonna-get-you play.
Her bubbly, effervescently maniacal fun.
Her conjuring up rage and terror for strength 
that can’t help but implode all over me.
She wants to protect – guard – watch.
I get it. Really, I do. 
There are vultures, skunks, scorpions and snakes 
all around and lookin for love. 
We all gotta have it. 
Don’t they too? 
And like her, they’re going at it from the corners, 
or maybe from the backside. 
Though, I can tell you
they ain’t comin’ up the middle.
Definitely not sniffin around
in any of the right places. 
The stalking and slinking ones don’t get it,
though they think they do.
Anxiety? She ain’t lookin for them anyway. 
But they sure see her comin’. 
And she must look like somebody they know.
Or, someone they wanna know;
cuz she gets caught up just about every time. 
That’s why I try to tell her about herself.
She don’t listen though. 
She charges up from all that poking. 
I just don’t get it. 
Refuels with the electric buzz
from not so gentle prodding. 
I’d like to smack the shit
out of whoever taught her those tricks.