Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Woke Up This Morning A3

You woke up this morning
The world turned upside down
Things ain't been the same
Since the Blues walked into town
But you're one in a million
You got that shotgun shine
(shame about it)
Born under a bad sign
With a blue moon in your eyehttps:/

Shotgun Shine: The Bipolar Blog


I prefer myself a little wild and on the predictable side but I've come to see with medication that others may prefer the quieter side. It's a huuuuge soul searching thing to decide to become medicated or not because acquiescing to the doctors and others is very much about deciding to let others tell you how you should be. But.

But it makes life a little more manageable. If that's what you want. Not sure I do, on some days. The meds will take some of your creativity. If someone tells you differently slap them. My psychiatrist is an angel and it was only because she believed in me that I tried it at all. She's small and gentle and Asian and brilliant.

"The disease is not your intelligent," she told me, mixing up the English words a little here and there.

In the beginning it's very tough. I can't tell you how difficult. For four months I was day and night in the clouds. But not in that sublime, high, ecstatic way that I am in my manias. You get those natural highs when you're in your manias and no drugs are necessary. I wouldn't really know because I never experimented but I've read enough to think that the stimulants would give you the best approximation of a manic episode. Those up-for-days power-through-anything high-and happy bursts. You can probably take coke or meth and get something like that but I can't imagine it would be as fun.

But here we are again at the BUT. The problem was that I'd be up for days at a time. Days. I could write and talk and move and do anything I needed to do really. And that made me a very successful person. Like many people with bipolar disorder I was good at what I did. I was successful and happy with myself.

It's the depressions. That crash you get off the manias. I'd complete all my work with masterful precision and then retire to bed for a week or more. It gets hard to hide that. You call into work a lot but you do such a good job when you're there that everyone allows the lapses. You make excuses that aren't excuses. Because when you can't get out the black moods there's little else to do but stay in your bed, in the suicidal darkness, in the silence,  It becomes like a dirty little secret that only those closest to you know about.

And then there are the rages. I'm as mild and even when I'm well that you'd never know I had a temper until...until you know. But they  were bizarre outbursts only a few knew about.

So that's why I decided to sacrifice my highs. It was a hard decision. I'm not as creative as I was and if you don't believe me all you have to do is look at how often I've updated in this past year. I've maybe written three poems in the past year. I hope there will be more but just now the well is empty. Even writing this the fountain isn't flowing with its customary gush, I'm working harder for less product. It makes me wonder if the decision I've made is a deal with the devil. It's why you can't allow yourself to be pressured into anything if you are bipolar. You have to know yourself and know how the compromise will cost you.

I'm glad I powered through the muddy minded side effects of the anti-psychotics but I'm grieving as well. My psychiatrist gently pushed me through the fogginess and the flatness. You find other ways of getting those highs. For me it's music, I play my Spotify loud and often. You have to avoid the impulse to get high with artificial drugs and it's a very tempting prospect. The downside is that drugs are way more uncontrollable than even the manias. And it'll fuck with your medication, if you decide to go that route. Drugs and bipolar disorder and unholy, treacherous frenemies.

The upside of medication in the 20th century is that you no longer have to worry about gaining twenty pounds in order to stay sane. The old school drugs came with nasty consequences including the fuzzy thinking. Truthfully the fuzzy thinking, that slow drudging sensation is something you learn to contend with.

But after months and months if you don't cheat, if you take the meds everyday without fail, if you train yourself to new habits, then you begin to get better. Bipolar disorder plays second fiddle to schizophrenia and in that I'm grateful but I can't say my experience has been all bad; I always say the opposite in fact.

But I'm healing and learning so much about myself. I'm getting better. I still feel conflicted about the medication and folding to patriarchal norms, but it may be that the meds saved my life. I'm coming to terms. If I can help anyone reading this then I've done one thing to help myself.

I'll share more as I learn to navigate this experience.

Friday, November 11, 2016

White Women and the Pedestal of Pussy Power

 It was no secret that this election hinged upon white women. Who would white women choose? A hardened politician from the first wave of feminism or a non politician white man with a history of racist, sexist, and general -ist behavior against vulnerable demographics, and a nasty mouth. 

And you know the answer by now. So why did this happen?

On Monday and Tuesday there were several stories trending on Facebook about the white suffragist movement and the women like Susan B. Anthony who pioneered legislation for the female vote. There were also stories about those same suffragists who actively excluded black women from the movement. The story of white women offering preferential treatment to their own is an old one and it takes Sojourner Truth herself to take this old bugaboo to task. Her speech "Ain't I a Women" was delievered at a convention of white feminists about that very exclusion.

For black women seeking allies white women have long been unreliable.  It’s an old and treacherous story. It’s not that unusual for that treachery to be so blatantly expressed.

The post mortem on the election is not yet complete so it’s difficult to apportion blame as completely as must be done. Soon we’ll know exactly how many blacks and Latinos voted, how many women versus men, how many black men and black women blah blah blah. My first job out of college was in the congressional offices of Eliot Engel D-New York. I can tell you that the focus groups can get very, very specific. Age, race, gender, class: we’ll know it all as soon as the numbers crunchers get to doing their thing.

But the crunchers can’t tell the story of the historical pedestal that elevates white pussy above all else. The whole gendered angle of whiteness always dictated that white womanhood was a sanctified almost holy eminence never to be sullied by contact with blackness, male or female. But in the supposedly post racial 21st century, this election has turned race relations back to the racial politics of the early 1900s at the least. In an age where our own president is a product of a mixed race relationship of a white woman and a black man one would think that those old time values had died. If you thought that then you got the surprise of your life on Tuesday.

The question is: how has whiteness preserved itself with such pristine glory in this day and age. And the answer lies very much inside privileged conversations of white men and white women. I haven’t been privy to these conversations for obvious reasons but I’m so very curious. I can only imagine what goes on but the desire to be a fly on the wall is all consuming.

I want to know but I don’t want to be a part of it.

I want to know but it feels dirty somehow. The compromises that have to be made between white women and white men feel unholy.

Why would they basically sell out one of their own, as women, for such a piggish man? I mean, let’s call a spade a spade, or an orange an orange, as it were. Why would a nation of women feel more comfortable being governed by Trump than Hillary Clinton?

I don’t have any answers here only suppositions and questions. I can’t understand it. But if I could understand whiteness I wouldn’t be black. I don’t know the rule makers but I do understand the rules. I know the rules because they apply to me whereas the rule makers can break them at any time. How else was Barack Obama made except by a first class rule breaker?

White women know the rules too but being above the law as they are by the nature of whiteness means they are privy to a loftier dialogue than I can claim.

I want an explanation from the rule breakers themselves but the damage is already done.

Monday, November 7, 2016

A mirror's reflection can never tell you who you are. It's in the dark and deep silence that the voices of identity whisper their truths. Fear of the dark  is more a fear of your true self  which often resists the noise and the clamor of daylight. The journey between light and and dark takes you into the Self and away from the garish and false imagery that fools us about who we are, who we want to be. Darkness has its own blessings for those with the courage to brazen out the fear. Ultimately you bring gifts of awakening into the light.

I'm  learning to write all over again. Bipolar disorder is no joke, the brain is a complicated, delicate beautiful organism and I miss the old me. But without the medication I might not be here at all. So I'm relearning myself and my art. I'm writing one sentence at a time rather than books or pages and it feels like mental constipation but all writing comes to life one word at a time and I've come come back to life one breath at a time. Breathing my art and living my words one heartbeat to the next.

The most wicked foe that I regularly battle is the fiend who tells me that my creativity is trivial, silly, and more worthy of silent distegard than sharing. I see every sentence that I write as a declaration of war against self censorship, against disease, against self destruction and I choose my facebook,  my blog and my beloved private journals  as the playgrounds of self expression, artisic  reward and affirmation. Some of my spaces are public some are private but I'm practicing the risk of sharing publicly more and more because if a writer doesn't  write then you're only a wish without the hope. These are my spaces of freedom, of retaliation against the mind's dark places; this is my field of words and joys.

By Jnell Jordan

On Trump

Trump is about to revisit a form of racism on black folks with 19th century realness and our white brothers and sisters have decided that's perfectly okay. I'm over the delusion that Hillary can save us. Black and brown people are the sacrifical lambs of this election. We've been sold down the river again.

I don't know if I can adequately explain how fearful it is in any era  to be  black or brown. The fear of America is something we live with daily but in my lifetime I've never seen such a collective nervous breakdown of the white mind to compare to this. We have always had to fear white people and even with the election of President Obama we've seen him accomodate the baser natures of haters over the love and hope of black folks whom he took for granted with shocking ease. The price of this democratic experiment has always been at the expense of every black or brown soul in this country.

For a brief eight years the myth of the post racial era has been the delusion of white liberals to the rage of white conservatives. When George W. Bush won the second time I was in shock but that doesn't compare to the cold insidious nature of this election. This election was always Hillay's to lose and with four days to go it appears she's done it. I was never under illusion that she would be some gift to black folks because even Obama denied us the justice and compassion that was so needed to address the sins of the white fathers and brothers and sisters, but the horror I feel at the likely reign of President Trump is all encompassing.

The dirty secret of race in America is that black folk and brown folk  and white folk have never trusted one another and the proof exists in the superficial fabric deep through to the very soul of this country.

I dont think anyone in my generation has ever seen this kind of rank and overt distuption to the point that a majority of Americans have decided not to even pretend to  respect the polite eyes-averted semblance of mutual peace, that pretense of equality that we rely on to interact with one another.

If you don't speak out against atrocity then you implicitly support it; if you voted for Trump you explicitly support it. The only power that we have is the power of our voices and the screaming is set to begin. Holla if you hear me and don't stop. What do you have to lose he asked and the answer was always self evident; the least of the of those losses is that transparent film of (dis)trust because we know where we stand now if we never did: black folks were a subjugated people before and that's where some feel we belong.

The soul rides upon the wind like a whisper travels upon an echo's cloak. Unseen, its shadow reflects in a mirror like smoke, like fog, like invisible breath as immeaurable  as the sky. The shadow that greets the dawn is raised upon the wings of the soul expressed by the language of love. The dawn is here, its luminescence and joy as  infinte as the holy ghost thst is the heart.

Navigating Homelessness: The Need To Know List

Having experienced homelessness against all the odds of a wealthy upbringing there were many, many things that I needed to know in order to navigate the experience. Hopefully I can help others with what I've learned. Here's a list of vital things to know. Please share.

- Make sure that you are in possession of all identification documents. You'll need your birth certificate, state ID/driver's license, social security, and health insurance info. Make a packet of all documents and keep with you at all times.

- Before leaving home call your state's non emergency services line (usually something like 211, 311 or similar) find out all the service providers including shelters and food banks

- There's a lot of drama involved in finding shelters. Call your local shelter and find out what organization runs them, the length of stay allowed, accomodations and rules. Be very careful, despite being a literal beggar you may have to be exceedingly choosy. There are many shelters run by strict religious groups that essentially amount to cults and agreeing to their rules can lead to some frightening compromises and often there is no recourse if you are mistreated. If you have the option Salvation Army is an excellent resource, humane, clean, compassionate with very good services and accomodations.

- The sad fact that no one can tell you is that to be homeless you often may have to relocate to another city with better resources.

- Ask for help from friends and strangers. There is no doubt that when you fall into indigence many people will not answer calls for help and it is a profoundly humbling experience to ask for help. However you will also find that kindness comes from surprising quarters. There are times, quite frequently when you will feel abandoned but continue to work the system and take goodness with you in your heart. There are blessed breakthroughs to the light more often than you can imagine.

- Find out where you can stay to avoid being on the street if you can't find shelter. Libraries and hospitals are often the best options.

- Designate particular friends and family to keep in touch with for your safety. It's easy to disappear but never succumb to the temptation. You may not want certain people in your life to know where you are or what's happening to you but make sure someone close always knows where you are and what's going on.

- Work the resources. You may not be able to afford simple necessities like a phone but there is a federal free phone program affectionately called the Obama phone. They're easy to qualify for when you're indigent and literally a lifesaver. Assuming that there will not be a Trump presidency ( something I'm fearing) medicaid is readily available. You will need health insurance because many services that you'll need to access come through medical and behavioral centers.

- Particularly in the case of homeless women more than fifty percent suffer from physical and/or mental illness. The treatment services exist. Become your own best advocate by seeking help from community behavioral resources. Be diligent in following up on your health and wellness. It's the first major step to bringing yourself from poverty