You’re probably wondering a bit about who I am and what business I have putting my thoughts here for everyone to read. I’d say that anybody should be able to put their thoughts out there. But then I’d be getting defensive and we’ve only just met…
I am a young thirty-something, though I was only a twenty-something when I started writing this… Where does the time go? I do not like long walks on the beach because I don’t like sand very much, but I very much do enjoy candlelit dinners. And candlelit bubble baths and the candlelight Christmas Eve church service. Bonfires, fireworks, sparklers with their cinders bouncing off of the pavement, having so many birthday candles that you need help blowing them all out at once; beautiful light overcoming the darkness. I’ve studied a little bit of everything and I think I have more books than I’ll ever have friends in my entire life. Reading is one of my greatest passions and fills more of my time than I’d like to admit. Hours with my nose out of a book are spent mostly sleeping, eating, sketching, pinning the products of other peoples’ glorious exploits in cooking, traveling, making art, and speaking wise and beautiful words, and sometimes doing (I hope) a bit of that wise and beautiful writing myself.
But, if life was dinner by the lake on the fourth of July, replete with fireworks and sparklers and laughter and glowing candles, life would no doubt lose its brilliance by the light of day. So there must be darkness. Just like I was born on a stool in the kitchen honing my craft by the blazing stove at my dad’s elbow, I spent my younger years soaking up pain and regret like a sponge, so by the time I was skilled enough to put on a Toque, I was no longer fit to fire up a stove. When I spun life’s wheel, I landed on ‘gifted’ and ‘sick’. The ‘sick’ is schizoaffective disorder. SA is a chimeric beast molded from psychosis and depression, less common than other psychotic illnesses. I am the 1% of the 1%, my doctors have remarked. A highly-intellectual, cognitively-intact, socially-capable and self-aware warrior woman giving a monster that chews up your consciousness and spats back out some kind of fluid nightmare a swift kick in the pants. Nearly one percent of the people around us are living in the ‘reality soup’ of schizophrenia, SA’s more popular cousin. Some are drowning in it. Psychotic illness claims more lives than you might imagine. Sadly, it has nearly claimed mine at least five times now.
On some days, it feels like I’m up to my chest in a shark and my feet are already digesting. Or I’m sinking in a tar pit and there’s nothing to grab on to. Other times, I might complacently dangle a leg in the water without concern for what might be circling just below the surface. But I’m not in this alone. I’m in a committed relationship with God, who just keeps pruning away the shriveled bits so they can be supplanted by new shoots of spirit and strength. He, and a bunch of really committed people in my world are helping me keep this thing called ‘life’ going. I’m jotting down my thoughts and feelings in virtual ink here and throwing them out into the constellation of virtual life for anyone who can benefit from them. Being human, I am occasionally in need of major catharsis; that may happen here as well.
Thanks for listening.