Heya, Monster.

A SoberBlog by a TallWoman.

Archive for the category “Bi-Polar”

April: I Was Here.

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(Aren’t drama masks creepy?) 

Good morning!

‘Theatre is a lifestyle’ is not an exaggeration. My sister summed it up beautifully, painfully, and accurately….. *smile*

This month has seen the first big musical production at my new school. Production staff was fabulous to work with, the kids have been positive and have grown even from just a few months before, and the families have been so supportive. Now that it’s over, we’re all exhausted, happy, and proud. A good combination, I think.

My own parents were also able to make the show, which was my favorite part. And they came to the show that far-exceeded any of the others. Which makes the time and the sharing all the sweeter. Pluuuuus, the show was being recorded that same night – something that never happens!

This morning, I actually slept in a bit. Luxurious!

And now, I am about to get ready to go in one more time to run Strike – when everything gets taken apart, cleaned, organized, and put away. My favorite day actually…. Because it takes us back to zero, and that is the place where the next show will start from…. I love it. So cathartic and healing and satisfying. And beautiful in the promise of the unknown and the daydreams and the what if’s….

Still here, still sober, folks. Two loooooong weeks away from my fam, but in actuality? The demand seemed better-balanced and shorter in duration than it has in the past. When I dug in two weeks ago, I could visualize the ending, and knew it wouldn’t be too bad. Plus, lots of podcasts to keep me busy while I worked kept me happy, and the nutritious lunches I ate at school (fact, not facetious) kept me better fueled and even-keeled than I usually am eating gas station snacks and coffee. *smile*

Day 691, What’s up next?!

 

Heya…

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Day 619, Just to say. *smile*

Made It.

Hello, everyone.* Yow. I’m here and almost missed the month of January. It’s been a busy one (as per usual). After about two-and-a-half weeks straight, I finally had a day at home today to be lazy, rest, and spend time with the fam. Opened my first real show at my new school on Friday evening. It was beautiful and b889325f0a0775c5dcb14de9156018d8strong, and I was so proud of everyone. We had come a long, long way, particularly in the last week. To send it all into even more of a whirlwind our girl was incredibly sick from Wednesday evening, through the night, and up until this morning. Poor babe. The days have been long for this artist-mama, and I am glad to be sitting here in slippers and sweater, listening to two sweet babes play in the tub. Tomorrow starts another week of school, but with this past week’s mountain climbed and conquered, I feel able to enjoy the work. Thank goodness I am not drinking, or these past couple of weeks would have been infinitely more difficult. ….. I look at my life now and wonder how I even made it through my days and nights the way I did. I can’t even believe it. It is truly unimaginable how I managed. I don’t dwell often on this thought, but when I do, it makes me savor and appreciate my life all the more Now…. Even Especially when it’s challenging.

Day 600, Yow! What an awesome surprise to accompany a very mundane check-in. *smile* I am going to have to start planning my next star tattoo to mark Year 2….

2016 Word in Review.

Ah, what a full, full, incredibly full year it has been. Of course there are the memes and the constant barrage of Facebook notices (I’m not hip enough to be on Instagram – not yet anyway (*smile*)) decrying the sad losses of so many artists who have been nearest and dearest to us. As a US citizen, it has also been an incredibly full and turbulent year in our government. No matter your political leanings, we have been through the ringer as a country. And on a personal level, with the exception of parenthood and sobriety, I have gone through the biggest, seismic shift of my adult life, which was losing my job at a school I loved with all my heart, to finding a new position in a new school, and adjusting. Adjusting to so much – place, people, history, the way things were versus the way things are now. … Oh! And I almost forgot. I hit my first year of sobriety on June 9, 2016 and commemorated the totally tubular event with my first ever, honest-to-goodness tattoo.

Man.

2016, you have had a lot goin’ on with your bad self.

And the word that led me through all of these many ups and downs?

kindness

Such a simple, simple word, and yet? So profound.

Originally, I had chosen the word in order to be aware of the need to be kind to myself. Being someone with a need to please, as well as a good dose of perfectionism, and trying to juggle more than I should – and all of that done, until very recently, with a hangover the size of the Northern Hemisphere…. It was pretty rough going for a long, long while. I needed something, some word to anchor me and to remind me, ‘Oh, yeah. Look out for yourself.’ Throughout this year, I found myself saying “No” more times than I have in the past (Maybe 10? Still! A good start.), and I often took time to relax or, especially, to savor moments with my family, rather than thinking about all the things I should be doing. I found the word grounded me in the important things – my babes, my hubs, my immediate family, my friends – in ways that I don’t know I’ve really been able to appreciate until now. Of course, much of the enjoyment had to do with being present rather than drunk. There is that fact. But still. The reminder to be kind to myself really gave me the gift of my People again. And for that, I am incredibly grateful.

In terms of the year itself, I will echo many similar sentiments that 2016 was not, in and of itself, a very kind year.

However.

The pain and loss I felt in the process of losing my job and then finding and transitioning to a new one was constantly led by ‘Kindness’ at the helm. Truly. The people around me were full of generosity, compassion, support, and above all, kindness. Again, I find myself so grateful…. And feeling so humbled by the hundreds of people who showed me kindness and love. I feel so lucky. So blessed. I cringe thinking what this year would have been like without all of those kind hearts around me. So, so lucky.

My word of the year surprised me in the many ways it showed up, and with whom it accompanied. I feel rather giddy just thinking about it and its many facets.

Day 570, Goodnight, Year.*man_in_the_moon_stock_by_jinxmim-d74sgx0.png

 

Princess Leia’s Sister.

I have always felt alone with my diagnosis of bipolar. I don’t know anyone else who has it and who speaks openly about having it. In my life and in its circles, I feel like an anomaly. Like I have something no one else knows about. Something that makes me different and other and a little separate …..

I’ve also had these feelings about being an alcoholic. (Ugh. That word is so ugly, isn’t it?) Feelings of isolation and difference. I have found myself wondering ‘Why me?’ I get over it and get down to living, but sometimes I catch myself feeling alone.

Growing up, and Now – especially in adulthood – I’ve always had the vibrant Carrie Fisher somewhere in my peripheral vision as someone who gets me. Who knows about Life. Who has lived hard. Loved much. Been loud and outspoken and True to Herself. And I have always admired her for living her life unabashedly. And I find such inspiration in her living her life out loud so that others (me! and people like me!) would know that No. We are Not Alone. Nope. No way. No how. Not a possibility. In fact? There are many, many, many other people like me. Like Us. And all because this Woman, this iconic, emblematic, die-hard feminist Fisher said who she was. What she was. No apologies. No justifications. She laid it all out there. She gave her Truth to us – to me – and her example frees us to be who we are. Empowering. Hopeful. Connected.

Day 568, May the Force Be With You.

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Artwork by Katie Cook

 

Last Night…

I did a huge sink-full of dishes after my babes went to bed.

And then I corrected work and reported final grades for my students.

Played a little of a silly video game just because I wanted to.

And then I read a bunch of political articles on Clinton and Trump.

Watched several hilarious video shorts on the same subject.

Coordinated my new book club’s next meeting invite.

Took my vitamins and meds in a long-series of nights taking vitamins and meds (the longest consecutive stretch of nights in my life).

Read a book.

Visited with the hubs.

Fell asleep.

All sober.

Day 515, and still surprised by the little things sobriety gives back to me.large_happy-birthday-present

501 Blues.

Not actually Blue at all. *smile* A nice shift from my last post.

Some time off on the weekend. Time with babes, the hubs, friends, my books.

For your viewing pleasure…. A blast from my past. This commercial makes me giggle.

Day 501, Take it away, Neil….

Sick of the Sick.

My, oh, My. Our household cannot catch a break! Since our babygirl is now a kindergartner, she is in a (cess)pool of new people and new germs. While I, at the same time, am a new teacher, and am similarly surrounded by said (cess)pool of new people and new germs. We have been in-session for the past 6 weeks, and we have lost 3 of our weekends and several weekdays due to calling in ‘sick.’

Argh.

This is round 4 for my girl and myself. Our boy (3-years old) keeps catching it from one or the other of us. It is like a merry-go-round…. Ridiculous.

This weekend, my daughter and I were basically quarantined from Friday night until this morning around 11 am. Being sick and taking care of someone who is sick is not the easiest thing in the world. However, I found my adrenaline would kick in when my girl needed me (needs me), so in some ways, it makes my illness less pressing. It’s interesting how our bodies are biologically programmed to be able to prioritize someone else’s needs over our own, isn’t it? I’m just thankful it happens at all. Yesterday, I had practically rolled myself into a ball of shivers, chills, and aches. But anytime she needed me (for strep test, x-rays, blood-draw which went horribly bad, followed by a massaged finger-prick (any 5 year old’s worst nightmare)), it all dissipated to some extent so that I could care for her. Of course, my symptoms came back eventually, but for those important moments, I was mostly okay and could help her.

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In other news, the no drinking is still going okay, but I have had the craziest, strongest urges for a cigarette these past 2 weeks. I haven’t acted on the impulse, but it is so weird to suddenly be craving something I haven’t for 8 years. Maybe it’s the stress. My stress is through the roof with school, classes, making over spaces, parent-teacher conferences, etc. I am just maxed out. A lot of bubble water is being consumed, and swear words are being used.

Day 481, Still here. Still kickin’.

p.s. The book below is one of my favorites. So sweet. So comforting.images-1

 

Some Sea-Faring Metaphors….

Well, school has started. Not only for me, but for my very own little Kindergartner as well. One of the gifts of being at this new school is that it’s a Pre-K – 12, so she has the opportunity to be there as well. It’s a phenomenal school with phenomenal teachers. We are so lucky to be able to spend our mornings and afternoons traveling to the same place. I love walking her up to her classroom from my office. I love picking her up, happy and excited for what her day has been. And I love, most especially, getting to see her in the hallways every once in awhile, which of course if when I get lots of extra kisses and hugs. It is so special to have her there. To be at the school together.

As for me, in-service/workshop days were already three weeks ago. Yow! And the week leading up to the start of school was FULL of information. I felt like I was drowning. Each day more and more information, people, expectations, lists of procedures would be piled on top of the day before…. The water just kept creeping up and up over my head. Add to that I was having tech issues with my computer and everything internet, so I was behind on a practical level as well.

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However, even in the midst of the massive overload, I was so Welcomed and Cared For. Seriously. If you ever want to work at the Nicest Place on Earth, send me a personal message, because I have found it. These people are generous, empathic, sensitive, thoughtful. They have good senses of humor and will do just about anything to help. They are passionate about their students and their families, and especially about learning and creating thoughtful, compassionate, justice-seeking young people who will go out into the world to make it a better place. So, even in the midst of my own personal worries, I felt and saw some awesome and inspiring humanity all around me every minute of the day. Their presence and kindness really buoyed me up (to push the metaphor further).

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Top ALL that off with being a new parent of a new student? Well, jeez, Louise. I left every day inspired and hopeful all the way up to my tippity-top, in spite of all that was looming over my head and whatnot that I had left to do.

Fast-forward and I worked my butt off over the weekend and the few days we had for prep that first week (we started on a Wednesday), and then, tuh-dah! School started.

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Get it? It’s a School…. Of Fish. (I’m a dork.)

And all was good and right with the World. I found my rhythm. I got my shit together (for the most part). And the days have just been sailing by …

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Fun. Good energy. Promise.

Teaching is what I love. What I feel I was born to do. And even though I am in a new, unknown place, as one of my dearest friends said to me, ‘There are kids everywhere.’ And it’s true. How wonderful that it is true. And to be in a place where the adults Love kids and Love teaching, it feels like it might be just the right place for me.

Day 453, Love the Pisces Queen.* Found at: http://www.zazzle.com/pisces+puzzles

 

Hello, Out There.

Hello, friends. It’s been a little while. Yow. Time passes when you’re busy doing stuff, doesn’t it? I’ve been thinking about you a lot, and checking in pretty regularly on WP to read your words and journeys. I just haven’t had the chance to sit down and write you my own epistle until now. Sitting feels good. *smile* As does writing you. *clickityclack*

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So, the End of Shows went beautifully. Both were well-received and well-attended. The Shakespeare show (Midsummer) was love-ily to have because it kept me grounded and connected to both my past, present, and future (an 18-year history with the company, as well as looking forward to directing and being with my favorite people again next season/summer). While on the other hand, the mega-musical marked a significant Ending because it was the last show I will direct at my now-former school. The show itself was strong, vibrant, funny, and a little naughty. I definitely felt I went out with a Bang!

Of course, the Universe is always there to remind in so many different ways that I am not in control, nor can I, nor should I try to control the world around me. With all the anxiety surfacing inside me this past month around the closing of my shows, the Job being well-and-truly final, readying our house for the market, looking towards starting the new-*sparkly* Job, trying to spend time with my sister-who-was-in-town-from-Australia-during-my-busiest-two-weeks-of-the-summer, leaving for vacation, and now about to hit the ground running with the new job and the house….. Well? My anxiety has just climbed and climbed and climbed. And in each of those pockets of Life, the Universe has aptly put me in my place again and again.

First. My beautiful, amazing, phenomenal sister left 3 Thursdays ago. We have a tradition in our family, that whenever someone is driving away (the Leaver), the people staying behind (the Leavees) wave until they can’t see the car any longer. And, weather be damned, the Leaver/s in the car roll their windows down and wave back until they can’t see the Leavees any longer, too. So, with this tradition well-established, my sister hopped into her rental car, rolled down her window, got the last teary hugs and kisses from me and the babes, and then turned to go down the driveway. When what should appear? You guessed it! The Universe. In the form of a school bus (in July). It came around the corner and then pulled to the side of the road with its red stop sign shining, and its red lights flashing…. We just laughed. Because what else could we do? It was perfect. And funny. And gave us the chance for a few more hugs and kisses.

Second. The last show of the mega-musical…. All day, I just had nerves. It felt Epic. Important. One of those I-am-going-to-remember-this-event-for-the-rest-of-my-life-type things. So here we are chugging along, I’m watching the show and just enjoying it and laughing at all sorts of new moments in the show, and then. Crash. At the end of intermission as I’m about to start the show again, the hubs (who was in the show) comes up to me and says another actor and the pit say the music director is either drunk or high. Oh, what?! Gah. So I race back to speak with the person and to see if they’re right. …. Yep. Sure as shit. …. He is so far gone, I don’t know that even speaking with him would do any good. I pulled a musician aside and asked him to push the show, the cues forward if the MD dropped the ball on anything. So the whole second half, I’m just holding on and hoping we make it through the show without any mishaps (we did), and also trying to figure out what to do about this man. It was just odd. In all my years, I have not had this happen to me in any way, shape, or form. And then for it to be my last. I don’t know, it felt odd, though not unexpected (I wrote about my misgivings in an earlier post). With all the adrenaline now wrapped around this problem, the significance of it being my Last Show dropped. And a bit of regret, following the show, I didn’t handle the situation very well. I skirted around it, made sure he had a ride, etc. However, I followed up the next day and feel much better about that. I know if we had had a Sunday closing, I would have fired him and told him not to come back. But since we closed on a Saturday, I just wanted to get through the show, and we did. On the phone the next day, I was angry and sad, particularly because this is a show at a high school with teenagers in the production. The choice to get drunk before a (professional) gig felt incredibly selfish. He could have compromised the entire production. …. I asked him if he thought this was a problem, and he said that he did think so, that his mother was very sick, and not for the first time. Then, I offered to send him some resources via email, and promised that I would follow-up with him in a few weeks to see how he was doing. I penalized his pay, and then later, apologized to the teenagers for not being more assertive the night before. I apologized for the MD’s behavior, and told them what he did was not okay. It was messy, but at least I followed up on all of the loose ends.

Following all of this, my mother came down for a week and helped me get a ton of stuff done with the house. The hubs and I have one more week to work, and then, I am hoping we are set to show our house starting next week. Keep your fingers crossed.

Third. This past week, we went out of town to the shores of Lake Superior. Beautiful. Majestic. Mighty. …. But my anxiety was really high. Incredibly high. About death. About losing my babes – especially in the midst of the water, which just seemed incredibly powerful. I know I was driving the hubs nuts on one particular day, because he had them in the water amidst these big waves. I just saw the immensity of the water stretching out behind them, and the strength of each wave as it rolled in and hit them, and I was just So. Scared. That they would be knocked over. Pulled out before we could reach them. Before I could save them. … So all this, and then? Oh, there’s the Universe again. This time it showed up in the form of sister-brother battles. Our 3-year old kicked his sister’s head, which banged the edge of a coffee table. Stitches at a small-town ER. Ah, vacation memories…. But really. It acted as a good reminder that I really can’t control anything. And I know that deep down, but it doesn’t always stop me from wanting to try. Letting go is a lesson I need to learn again and again and again it seems. … Also? The accident freed me up and helped me to embrace the waves and the water with my family later that day. We got splashed and soaked, and we laughed and held onto one another.

Day 432, Thanks, Universe. I needed that.

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