Misfit

Misfit

 

Rejected before first contact –
I remain in my own world
isolated by choice.

Safe.
Protected.
Lonely.

My brain is swimming
in muck and confusion –
vulnerable words to a fault.

I don’t live in stability
but rather a fleeting reality.
My comfort wanes
as opportunities tick by.

Seasons change
when I’m willing to venture out
but most days, my fear holds me back.

Powerless.
Tired.
Forgotten.

Ridicule doesn’t exist
if I don’t open my mouth –
a fortress of lipstick and secrets.

My smile is my armor
and every day is a battle.
I don’t want to be a soldier
but this is a fight for survival.

Shots fired.
Confidence gone.
Retreat.

Do you think you’ll ever “come around”?

Tonight I went to the store with my husband and daughter, and while my husband was waiting for his allergy medication, I was running up and down the aisles with my daughter. There weren’t many people in the store and we were having a lot of fun. An older lady noticed us and asked about my daughter. She said she looked a lot like me and asked if she was my only child. I realize this is the Midwest and strangers talk to each other here, but I’m not really one for small talk. I answered her questions and then joined my husband in another aisle. 

We went to check out and the lady was ahead of us in line. She looked at me and asked me what church we go to. Oh man, here we go. Unfortunately, asking someone what church they go to seems to be common small talk around here. Personally, I feel it’s an intrusive question. I told her we don’t go to church and nervously waited for her response. She said, “I used to feel that way, too.” I felt she was a little condescending but thankfully she dropped the subject.

Why do people assume one day you’ll “come around”? 

This made me think of an ex-boyfriend’s father who said, “If you’re not a Democrat by 20 you have no heart; and if you’re not a Republican by 40, you have no brain.” 

Just for the record, I’m 40 and I am not a Republican. I don’t see that changing any time soon.

Once again, we’re expected to “come around”. Is there something magical about getting older that makes you want to conform? 

Back to the church thing, do people ask you what church you go to? What’s your response? Do you feel it’s an intrusive question? 

Also, do you feel more pressure to conform as you get older? Unfortunately, the Boomers in my family are concerned about keeping up appearances, so I feel there is pressure there. I’m not saying all Boomers are like that, but I can definitely see generational differences.

Do people assume you’ll come around? I can understand older people turning to god because they’re afraid of death, but it still seems so strange to me. Can a fear of mortality make you lose common sense?

Where do you get your news from?

A few days ago, my daughter asked me who my favorite YouTuber was when I was little. I told her that not only did we not have YouTube, we didn’t even have the internet. She just couldn’t comprehend. 

But now we do have the internet, and there are a million places to take in information.

Does anyone still watch the evening news? I did for a while but it was mainly for the cute weatherman. Since then, my husband and I have gotten rid of cable TV altogether. We just don’t need it.

So where do you get your news from?

The other day I was watching Good Morning America on Hulu. Well, I wasn’t really watching it; it was more for background noise while I was cleaning. My husband came home, looked at the TV, and said it sounded like one big advertisement. He’s totally right.

My husband hates anything that smells like capitalism. I agree with him although I’m not as passionate as he is.

My husband listens to a podcast called Breaking Points. That’s where he gets his news.

I think I mainly get news from social media, and I now get the weather forecast from an app on my phone. Sorry, cute weatherman.

I’m really curious; Where do you get your news from? Is it trustworthy? Reliable? How do you know? Give me some new websites and podcasts to check out.

Is ambition caused by a fear of mortality?

Why do I pursue the things that I do?

I have really grown as an artist and writer, but my projects are a double-edged sword. While I want to get a lot accomplished, I also get overwhelmed very easily. I’d like to blame my mental illness, but I know that it can happen to anyone. I’ve always taken a lot on regardless of the inevitable consequences.

But why? You can strip me of my projects and accomplishments and I’m still a complete person. 

I’ve always found being an atheist to be motivating. If you only get this one life, you don’t want to miss out, right? Turn your dreams into goals and do as much as you can.

If that’s my attitude, does that mean I’m scared of dying?

As humans, we are insignificant in the universe, but I think it’s human nature to want to be remembered. Will my words live on after I die – even if it’s just to a few people?

My mom died when I was a little girl. She was an artist and I have her paintings all over our house. The paintings are fascinating to me because they show her growth. Some of the paintings were done when she was in high school and college and some were completed later in her career. I was too young to remember my mom after she died, but seeing her paintings every day reminds me that she was still a part of my life. 

When I think of my projects, I am for the most part proud of the final product. However, the actual process of completing a project is really difficult for me because I’m a very impatient person. Which do I enjoy more, the accomplishments or the process? Which is more important?

Why do you pursue the things you do? Sure, we all have things we enjoy, but when you take it to the next level, is there another motive behind the ambition?

Are you doing anything to be remembered after you die? Do you feel a need to be remembered?

How do you remember your loved ones? Are there items you’re holding onto?

Sorry for the somewhat morbid post, but I think it’s really fascinating to figure out what makes us tick – even if you’re just exploring your own motives.

Weight: A Poem from My Book “Unsettled”

Weight

I take up space
because I’m allowed to.

My place in this universe
is forgiving, soft, and flexible.

The outside doesn’t always match the inside;
but what if it did?

What’s wrong with the outside?
I’m larger than life with a body and mind that’s thriving.

Head up. Chin up.
My defiance brings me home.

My curves are gorgeous,
my freedom is mine,

and I relinquish the weight of your words.

Physical Pain and a Wake-Up Call

This post is about my physical health, however, I am going to keep my issues vague because I am not a medical professional. I am not qualified to give advice. I’m just curious if you’ve had a similar experience.

A few weeks ago, I was having a lot of pain in my knee and my coworkers noticed I was limping around the office. My boss said I looked distressed and asked me if I was okay. I ended up calling off work a couple of days before finally going to the doctor. 

I did receive a diagnosis but unfortunately, because of other health issues, I am unable to take pain medication. I didn’t know that. I knew I had a few small problems physically, but maybe they weren’t as small as I thought.

This was a wake-up call.

After thirty years of an eating disorder and twenty years of psych meds, it’s probably no surprise that I have a few health issues. The line between physical health and mental health has blurred – they’re intertwined and now both require my attention. 

Could it be that after forty years on this planet, I’m finally going to take care of myself?

My concern about my knee bled into other areas of my life. I am taking doctor appointments more seriously. I’m doing well at work and I appreciate my coworkers’ concern and support. I’m also addressing issues in therapy I’ve never talked about before. I am actively recovering from a destructive youth and toxic people while also healing my body.

Older and wiser? Maybe. A little scared? Probably. 

This may sound weird, but having knee pain – while it sucked at the time – may have had a good effect. I learned more about my body and looked at my health as a whole. Also, if this hadn’t happened I still wouldn’t know that I couldn’t take pain meds. Now I can prevent further damage to my body.

My knee pain has subsided and I’ve really thrived in the last few weeks. I hope it continues, but if it doesn’t, I know to ask for help.

I would love to hear your stories. Have you ever had a wake-up call? What moves you to take care of yourself?

Aliens vs. God: Who explains the unexplained?

I have had a fascination with UFOs and aliens for a long time. This fascination tends to surface when I am a little inebriated at which time I lay around and watch extraterrestrial documentaries. Don’t judge. It’s kinda fun.

Do you see any similarities between aliens and god? Hear me out. I think aliens are used to explain the unexplained almost as much as god. God works in mysterious ways, but apparently, so do aliens. 

I’ve often heard aliens are responsible for our ancestors’ impressive ancient monuments like Stonehenge and the pyramids in Egypt. Sure, these monuments were created with precision – incredible feats that we don’t always understand and would have required an incredible amount of manpower. We don’t know just how they were made, but if ancient people were alive today, don’t you think they’d be a little insulted that we didn’t think they were capable on their own? I would be.

Have you heard about technology being created by reverse engineering of alien space crafts? (Maybe I’ve watched too many of these documentaries.) Again, are we not capable as humans to develop our own technology? 

Things are sometimes fuzzy. There’s a lot we don’t understand, but that doesn’t mean we explain the unexplained with god or aliens. Let’s give credit where credit’s due. It’s okay if our ancestors had some secrets. As humans, we are capable of amazing things. 

Are aliens real? I don’t know. Is god real? Nope. But sometimes we just have to sit with the uncertainty.

 

Do you watch UFO documentaries? Are you sober when you do it? What do you think about aliens? Do you think they’ve visited or influenced humans?

What’s popular today that will be considered unsafe in the future?

When I was a little girl I loved spending time on my grandparent’s farm. My grandma always called the refrigerator the “icebox”. I thought it was a little strange and didn’t understand what it meant. I know now that it was just a habit since she probably had an actual icebox growing up. Can you imagine a time before refrigeration? When I think about it, having known someone who had an icebox at one time in their life makes me feel like it really wasn’t that long ago.

What about smoking? I really don’t know many people who smoke nowadays, but I know there was a time when it was popular. That was probably before my time – but not too far. I remember playing with and eating candy cigarettes when I was a kid. That probably wouldn’t fly today. 

Here’s a scarier thought; I was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder in my 20s and still take medication daily. Thanks to medicine I live a somewhat normal life. Had I lived a hundred years ago I would’ve been put in an asylum. I couldn’t imagine that life. It sounds barbaric to me, but will there be a time in the future when people will view my current treatment as barbaric? I have experienced some pretty nasty side effects from my medications but I tolerate it because I want to work and raise my daughter – I want to have a life. Maybe in the future patients won’t have to deal with that.

I’m not young but I’m not old either, and I’ve seen a lot of changes just in my lifetime.

I want to know your predictions for the future. What advancements do you think we’ll see? What are we doing today that will be deemed unsafe or ineffective in the future? Will anything that’s popular now be considered inhumane?

My husband’s prediction is cell phones and capitalism. I’m thinking of changes to our food and medicine, but maybe that one’s too obvious. What’s your prediction?  

Questions About Love and Socialization (Plus a Little Art)

I have so many questions for you!

Love

Do you need love to survive? I know there is a love hormone, but is it vital? And what kind of love are we talking about here?

I know it’s really important to show children love so they thrive in development, but is that love or caring? 

Is it in our genes to fall in love? If you’ve never been in love do you actually know what you’re missing? Can you crave something you don’t understand?

What happens when we’re adults? Some people are afraid to be alone and I am probably one of them. There’s always been a man around throughout my adult life. Would I have benefitted from more periods of alone time? Is love as important as independence? 

Some people are so afraid to be alone that they will stay with their partner no matter what leaving the people around them baffled. How much will people tolerate in their quest for love? I’m not really talking about abusive situations here because I know a person can become trapped and not have many options. I don’t know what that feels like in a relationship but I have felt trapped in another sense and I know it’s horrible. I can’t imagine what that must feel like with a partner.

But what happens when you put your own needs aside to please someone else?

When does love for yourself come into play? Is it more important to love yourself or others? Can you love others without loving yourself?

Socialization and Depending on Others

As someone with a mental illness, I greatly depend on my family. I drive. I work part-time. I take care of my daughter to the best of my ability, but there’s still a lot I need help with. I look to my husband for validation. Are my feelings valid? Was my reaction appropriate? I look to him for reality checks and he lets me vent about my frustrations with stigma and many other things. There are very few places I go alone. I feel my experience is not typical, so how much does an average adult need to depend on others?

Are we really social creatures? Do we have to be? I personally find being around others to be overwhelming and exhausting. I talk to my friends via Facebook and texting sometimes, but I hardly ever hang out with anyone. I like being alone with my sketchbooks and journals. I would rather be home than out.

Is there ever too much alone time? Can alone time be detrimental?

Then there was the pandemic. I finally returned to work last summer. That really fucked me up as I’m sure it fucked up a lot of people. Obviously, I spent a lot of time at home and it was devastating to my mental health. It makes me wonder what exactly the problem was. Did I need to be around other people or did I just need more to do? Boredom has never been good in my life so I try to stay busy under normal circumstances. But for once, did I crave to be around others?

I want to read what you think. How important is love? Do we need to be social to thrive? How often do you crave to be around others? Do you find it as exhausting as I do?

 

Update

I haven’t been posting to my blog as much because I have been writing articles for a content marketing agency as well as focusing on my artwork. I am sharing a few pictures of my paintings and I am also including a couple of drawings I did this week. I have spent so much time painting but my husband told me yesterday that he actually likes my drawings better. My husband is incredibly supportive but also very honest. He tells me when my artwork doesn’t look right and my poems don’t make sense. He’s probably the best kind of partner you can have as an artist or a writer. 

I forgot to mention that the paintings are finger paintings, acrylic on canvas and the drawings are Sharpies and colored pencils.

 

Are you different? Is that normal?

Navigating life with schizoaffective disorder has left me with more questions than answers. I’ve had this mental illness most of my life and still don’t have it figured out. I have a hard time – more than what I let people see.

When you have a mental illness it’s easy to feel different, maybe even like an outcast, but how different am I truly from the average person?

I tell my story through art and writing, and I’ve always got this sense that people don’t understand or they understand all too well…like there’s not much in between. 

My emotions are very intense. Are yours? Are my feelings really any different than anyone else’s?

Of course, I feel like people treat me differently, especially if they know my diagnosis, but are there times when I want to be treated differently? My employer often makes accommodations for me, but I’d like to think they would do that for anyone who needed it. I work for a mental health organization and my boss and coworkers are very understanding. I feel like it would be difficult for me to work outside of the mental health field.

My mental illness is mentioned in my artist statement. It not only affects the subject of my paintings but also the way I make my paintings. I always hope people will find my story interesting, but as an artist, I really don’t know if it has affected whether or not people accept my work. 

On the other hand, I’ve dealt with a lot of stigma, from strangers and even my family. Why are people so judgemental? I want to prove the stigma wrong, and despite everything I do and have accomplished, some people won’t even give me a chance. It’s best to stay away. 

So maybe feeling different has had both positive and negative experiences for me.

Do you feel like you’re different? Do you want to be different? How does it affect you? I’m sure different people deal with all kinds of stereotypes. I know I’m not alone in this but it still hurts nonetheless. Most of us have probably felt judged, left out, or like the black sheep at some point in our lives.

Do you have the confidence to be different and thrive? Do you believe in your abilities? 

Do you need to be different to be successful? Does it pay to be different but not too different?

Are you unapologetically you? How do you stay true to yourself in a world full of judgment? 

How do I teach my daughter to do the same?

 

I would love to hear your stories, whether you have a diagnosis or label or not. How do you feel different and how does it affect your life?