my thoughts on 9/11/2014

In Uncategorized on September 11, 2014 at 10:21 am
every year on this date, i post this video. it still resonates – especially the last 2 minutes.

my hope for america: that the compassion and solidarity that prevailed in the wake of this tragedy returns. that instead of arguing about guns or climate change or economic equality, we remember that we are all in this together. that a person who disagrees with you is still a person. that the anger and stubbornness that permeate the airwaves no longer trickles down into the hearts and minds of americans who know better. who know that we live in the best country BECAUSE we can disagree. BECAUSE we can speak our mind without fear of imprisonment. BECAUSE we live in a democracy with people we elected to represent our best interest (even when we don’t choose that well).

my hope for america is that instead of just remembering the attack, we remember the aftermath. we remember people coming together, regardless of their socioeconomic status, race, sexual preference, religion, or place on the political spectrum, and helping each other. there was no drug test to determine who should be rescued. there was no background check on someone who wanted to help. there was no refusal of aid because someone was lazy or someone was intolerant or someone wasn’t like you.

somehow we lost that in the past 13 years. now it’s democrat vs. republican; conservative vs. liberal; us vs. them. there is no place for that in the world we live in now. don’t just remember the attack. remember that men and women, gay and straight, black and white, all of us – all of us would deserve rescue. and all of us would rescue any of us. THAT is why we won. THAT is why we cannot be defeated. THAT is why when the world trade center came down, the view was the statue of liberty.

do something nice for a stranger today. read an article from a viewpoint with which you don’t agree. make your voice heard, because it can be heard. give what you can, think before you feel. hug someone you love. don’t just remember the attack. remember the dream.

right here, write now

In Uncategorized on April 14, 2014 at 5:45 pm

Pretty fucking clever song lyric this time, eh?

Every so often people ask me what’s going up with this and other blogs. For a long time, it’s been because meh. I didn’t have anything worth saying and couldn’t make anything I said worth anything.

Now I’m writing a book. It may never actually get written; I may only ever make it to “I’m writing a book.” Not I wrote a book, not I sold a book, not I quit my job and am making money that makes Saudi princes look like [joke deleted]. But I’m writing one nonetheless. If it doesn’t work out, I’ll throw the content up on this free blog because I don’t know how capitalism works.

Love and hugs, motherfuckers.

she drives me crazy

In Communication, Health and Wellness, Relationships on June 2, 2013 at 12:47 pm

I am pretty open about having bipolar disorder. If someone sees a stigma in it, they would have probably found in me another unforgivable trait like how often I mention poop. Some people ask questions; most don’t. I’m fine with either. But since my diagnosis, I have learned a lot about the disease – just as you would if you found out you had diabetes or cancer or herpes. It’s been especially on my mind in the past year and I’ve felt called to talk about it.

What has spurred this deeper study in the past year was a new psychiatrist. I am no longer seeing the kind of assembly line doctor who made me feel like I was in line at the methadone clinic. We have started tinkering with my medications, finding out that not only could I sometimes feel not shitty, I could even feel good once in a while! This was a major breakthrough in what is essentially a terminal disease. A correlating diagnosis of ADD to add to the OCD and anxiety platter made me the wet dream of pharmaceutical companies everywhere. But the brain is a complicated thing, and it’s very inter-connected. So what makes one neuron manic or depressed can then also make me count my steps and forget most of my life experiences. Anyway, that’s just technical stuff – I’ve also been studying neurology in general so I get really excited about generating new connections between the brain cells I haven’t killed yet.

What spurred me to pick up the laptop and write the first post on Snarkler in over a year was a tweet. Stupid fucking Twitter is going to go and affect my life again. Mandy Stadtmiller, a writer at xoJane, tweeted to Amanda Bynes that she should DM her about writing for the site.

I am a fan of Mandy’s writing, although I don’t always agree with her. She’s smart and she gives good advice. Her writing is open and raw without reservations of vulnerability. When I read her popular article about the hit piece written about her, I was disappointed that she called being labeled bipolar a libelous act. It’s a disease, as indiscriminate with its destruction as any deadly illness and should cause no more shame than a congenital heart defect. Then last night, I saw her reach out to Amanda Bynes.

Wednesday, former Chappelle’s Show writer and current stand-up comic Neal Brennan tweeted this:

You know Amanda Bynes is mentally ill, right? You might as well be mocking someone having a heart attack or a seizure.

I don’t think Mandy is mocking Amanda Bynes. And this post isn’t about Mandy Stadtmiller. It’s about not understanding mental illness as what it is: a disease to be managed, a part of one’s self but not its totality, and impossible to understand with a normal brain. Like white people can never truly know what life is like as a black person, and men can never truly know what life is like as a woman, the sane cannot comprehend the distortion going on between our ears.

The empathy is kind, but trying to relate to the symptoms of true illness only keeps you from learning what you need to know. 30% of people with bipolar attempt suicide. Your rainy day doldrums are not comparable. I don’t mean to diminish the real struggle people have with depression, anxiety, and the stresses of the shit show we call life. But there is an instability at work with bipolar that makes it more of a tornado than a hurricane. It’s unpredictable. Its intensity and direction swing wildly such that you aren’t quite sure where you landed. There is no control. Your mind cannot defeat matter. (Please appreciate that I didn’t go for the very punny reference to gray matter in that allusion.)

These words aren’t meant to invoke sympathy or debate and most certainly are not intended to diminish the struggle of every human life. It’s just to point out that it’s serious shit. Amanda Bynes’ behavior (and Britney Spears’ before her) reminded me of my own psychotic episode. It was about 10 years ago, and fortunately only lasted a week before my very smart mother determined through conversation that I was having delusions and hallucinations. Amanda Bynes doesn’t have my mom. She doesn’t have Britney’s dad. I don’t know who she has. I do know that it should be treated as gravely as a heart attack. This shouldn’t be a story. This should be a mission.

Don’t let all this bummer shit think I don’t still love life. I manage and monitor my disease carefully and lead a pretty normal life, or at least a safely interesting life. It’s just… this.


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