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I’m Off to See the Wizard…

December 20, 2014 Comments off

I’m off for my
second treatment
with the LMT.
Oddly enough, I’m tense
and anxious.

She emailed me this week
and suggested I see a homeopath
but I just can’t get on board with that.
Seems like a load of hocus pocus.

FB is trending some story about a guy
named Dr. Oz.
evidently, no connection to
the “Wizard of”
so I googled him because
that’s what I do.
I’m into the sensational
but only enough to
gain a glancing knowledge of it.
One article mentioned he was
a proponent of homeopathy
and down that rabbit trail I
fell because I didn’t really
know what it was.

I look stuff up…
only to end up following
whatever bunny trail it leads me.
I am a possessor of tons of small
pieces of information.
I did not like what I found
about homeopathy.
Placebo? It works because
people want it to?

It was a huge step of faith
for me to step out and do
this visceral massage.
A huge step with a big
price tag.
I felt excited in the beginning
but this week I felt pain I have
never felt before.
My movements were
more restricted
than they’ve ever been.

My innate cynicism
reared its nappy head.
And I started to doubt.
“What if” took on a darker shade.

I have no way
of  knowing if this is going
to work and no guarantee.
I could spend a boat load
of money only to find
out that cynicism trumps
placebos.

But on the flip side…
I have tried everything
else and it didn’t work.
I have no other options.
It would be so much
easier to just bail
on this and make
excuses like the guy
at the pool who met
Jesus.

“Do you want to get healed?”
Or maybe he asked if the guy
wanted to be “well.”
In any event, Jesus
was asking him if he wanted
to be well enough to stop
making excuses or
looking at the obstacles.

Ok. I am not on board with
the homeopathy stuff.
Nobody is forcing me to do it.
If Jesus EVER wants me to go that
route…
he will surely guide me.

Right now I’ve got just
enough faith to
go see the LMT.
My faith might be small,
but Jesus can work with that.
He sees my anxiety
but he says to cast
it to him.

He sees my doubt
and tells me of little faith
to bring it to him.
He says that faith the
size of a mustard seed
can move mountains
and he knows that I
just need it to remove
a few adhesions.

Po-TAY-toe… Pa-TAH-toe

December 18, 2014 Comments off

After writing my last post I went to bed and even though it was late I felt compelled to read my bible. Since I was talking about David I randomly opened my bible to a Psalm and got this:

 

Psalm 56

A psalm of David, regarding the time the Philistines seized him in Gath

O God, have mercy on me,
    for people are hounding me.
    My foes attack me all day long.
I am constantly hounded by those who slander me,
    and many are boldly attacking me.
But when I am afraid,
    I will put my trust in you.
I praise God for what he has promised.
    I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?
    What can mere mortals do to me?

They are always twisting what I say;
    they spend their days plotting to harm me.
They come together to spy on me—
    watching my every step, eager to kill me.
Don’t let them get away with their wickedness;
    in your anger, O God, bring them down.

You keep track of all my sorrows.
    You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
    You have recorded each one in your book.

My enemies will retreat when I call to you for help.
    This I know: God is on my side!
10 I praise God for what he has promised;
    yes, I praise the Lord for what he has promised.
11 I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?
    What can mere mortals do to me?

12 I will fulfill my vows to you, O God,
    and will offer a sacrifice of thanks for your help.
13 For you have rescued me from death;
    you have kept my feet from slipping.
So now I can walk in your presence, O God,
    in your life-giving light.

 

…. so, again I ask, “What’s the difference between “whining” and “writing a psalm?”‘ I might whine and complain a lot, but in the end I know who owns my life and I trust him with it.

The Anti-Grinch

December 17, 2014 Comments off

So after making all those
cookies and cupcakes
I finally wound down enough
to sleep.
I got about five hours
which is not good.
People with Bipolar
need their sleep
or things can get ugly.

And after all the ugly of yesterday
I really didn’t need to start my day stomping
around and complaining,
but that’s what I did.
Y’know… God killed people in the bible
for grumbling and complaining.
Praise GOD he doesn’t adhere to
this now… because I’d be long dead.
I comforted myself by thinking of David
and what a big whiner he was.
Psalms is full of his mood swings
so much so I believe, without doubt,
that David had Bipolar and it manifested
when he was hiding from Saul…
so I tell myself that I’m in good company.

There was  surprise site meeting this morning
that put a crimp in my nose hairs.
I had already set up my class for the first party.
The meeting started late and ate up forty minutes
of class.
Grumble.
Complain.

My students, however, restored
my faith in student-kind.
They were all that was gracious and kind
and it soothed
my wounded soul.
The best part came during the movie “The Grinch.”
I’m not a Jim Carey fan… so I’ve never actually watched
more than minutes of the movie.
It got to some part where this little girl was singing
a rather tinny song about something
and I was just about to find
other things to occupy my time
when I heard this feint singing
coming from this rather
large, masculine Hawaiian guy.
He was singing the song perfectly in a really
high pitched girlie child voice.
It was CLASSIC.
I couldn’t stop laughing.
I begged him to sing more because I needed
To feel better. I needed my Grinch to be defused.

Turns out he has three younger siblings who
watched the movie almost every day.
He stopped singing because people were watching.
I kept begging him to sing more
but when he self-consciously refused,
then the young man sitting closest
to me (with eyes like that cartoon
puss and boots) looked up at me
and started singing where the other kid had
left off…
in an even higher pitched, girlie voice.
It was HYSTERICAL.

God in all his mercy and grace
gave me laughter today.
Turns out most of the young men
in my class know all the lyrics
to that song
which only served to remind me
that these big tough guys
 aren’t as tough as they want us to believe.
They are somebody’s older brother
and somebody’s son.
They are young guys
on their way to being men.

Days like yesterday make me forget
that these students come from troubled
and/or underprivileged homes.
The expectations I have of them aren’t
always realistic.
I kept saying that my last class students
acted like they’d been raised by bears.
In some cases, that might not be too far
from the truth.
But I need to look at the bigger picture.

I have built a rapport with my first class
so it wasn’t unexpected or unheard of that
they would want to do something to make me smile.
My second class also received my Christmas offering
and there were lots of hugs and smiles.
One guy even hugged me when we took a group photo.
They know that I care about them.

The last class and the fiasco yesterday?
It was unrealistic of me to expect much from them.
I hate to  admit it, but there is a clique of students in the class
that I don’t like and they know it.
I try to control my attitude, but it’s like they go out of
their way to mash my buttons
and I always react with anger and nagging.

Why WOULD they be grateful
for a Christmas party
from me?
Anybody will take free food
without worrying about the feelings
of the people who prepared it.
Getting mad was unavoidable.
Staying mad was unforgivable.

I forgive them even if the feelings
haven’t caught up yet
because Jesus never has to
wait for his feelings to catch up
when he forgives me.

And The Grinch?
I sat and watched more of
the movie than I ever had.
Who knew that it explained
WHY he was such an angry man?
If that wasn’t a direct hit
for me I don’t know what was.
I feel like I’m always angry.
The bible says that we shouldn’t
“let the sun go down on our anger.”
I think it should also say that if you
do… you could end up like a furry
fat guy who is all alone
because he’s angry at the world.

I still didn’t watch it all…
but the movie struck a chord.

I don’t want to spend
the rest of my life alone,
afraid, and angry.
But since that’s
how I am now…
something’s gotta give.

I been telling God that
for years now
with no real change…
but I’m not yet ready to paint myself
green and let my leg hair grow.
Though I don’t see the change
I have to believe
by faith
that God is remaking me
in the image
of his Son.
God will turn me
into the anti-Grinch
the fear and anger
will dissipate…
but it will be in
his timing
not mine.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , , , , , ,

Jesus Doesn’t Live in Who-ville

December 16, 2014 Comments off

One of the most draining aspects of Bipolar
is the tremendous amount of self-control
that you have to exert on a daily basis
to present “normal.”
By the time I get home I’m
generally exhausted
because “normal”
isn’t cheap.

I strive to keep the look
on my face
at neutral
because what I’m generally feeling
is anything but.

When I’m screaming inside
and wanting to throw things?

The world sees neutral.
When I am so angry
my spleen is about to rupture?

The world sees neutral.
Shades of gray
are better than
violent streaks of red.

Today I was livid.
But all anyone say was “neutral.”
Christmas is not my season.
Lots of reasons why…
and since their mine
I dub them “valid.”
Besides, I’m one of those
Christians who doesn’t believe
that Jesus was even actually born
at this time of year…
so falalalala that.

I thought I’d de-grinchify myself
by getting into the “holiday spirit”
I decorated my classroom.
I even braved Costco on Saturday
because I planned to have class parties
for my students.
I stayed up late baking stupid cupcakes.
I woke up late feeling like a zombie…
but I actually had a good day
until my last class.
I inherited this class
from another teacher…
and haven’t really bonded with them.
I thought today would help.
Serves me right for “thoughting.”
They grumbled and complained.
They broke several class and school rules.
They sucked down all the food in seconds
and trashed my room leaving me to clean it up.
Only one student stayed behind to help clean up the mess.
And only one of them bothered to say “thank you” or “goodbye.”

When my feelings are hurt I get angry.
I don’t cry. I hate when people see me cry
so I don’t.
I was angry at them for not even caring about the fact
that I wanted to do something nice for them or
that I had failed at it because I couldn’t
get through one final friggin’ Christmas party
without being mad.
WWJD?
Certainly not what I did
that’s for sure.
I know, in the scope of things, this is minor.
That’s one reason I disabled comments.
I don’t need snarky strangers telling
me what a whiner I am.
I know I’m a whiner.
But it still doesn’t mean
that my feelings aren’t
hurt.
And today was only round one.
I didn’t have all of my students today.
I get the other half tomorrow.
So here I am again, baking cookies
and cupcakes… and preparing all the other food…
Because despite the neutral mask
that I’m gonna’ cram
on my face tomorrow…
I do care.

Nightmare Before Christmas

December 8, 2014 Comments off

Despite the nightmare
my day
was pretty good.
My first class can always
put me in a better mood.
The dream seemed fifty
million miles away.

My second class brought
it a little bit closer to home.
My second class has a way of
mashing my buttons and making me
mad and I thought about the dream
because anger fuels anger.

Before reality intruded this morning
I was in a black and white world.
Not that kind of color. All of my dreams
are in color.
This dream was racial.
Growing up in South Central Los Angeles
I was not impacted by issues of race.
Seems weird, but I was really sheltered.
When mandatory busing rolled around
I got bused to the San Fernando Valley
but even still racism rarely intruded
on my reality.
I was smart, studious, and I
talked “proper.”

When I hit middle school
most of my friends were Jewish
so I wanted to be Jewish too.
In high school, most of my friends
were Latino, so I learned Spanish.
I was back in an inner city school
and the only real racism that I had to
deal with were the black kids who
didn’t like me because I was “an Oreo.”
Y’know: black on the outside and white
on the inside.
They’d call me that or “white washed” or
“white girl” or “wanna be.”
The only black kids
who actually
liked me
were the ones
who were Oreos too.

White people have always like me
so most of my friends are white.
And living in Hawaii I just don’t
relate to all of the turmoil on the
mainland in Ferguson and the recent
one with the choking
because that kind of racism
doesn’t exist here.

It is so far removed from my reality.
I have three black friends total.
I have no ties at all with my family.
I am usually the only black person present
at any gathering.
And just about every guy I’ve ever
dated has
been white.
Some people (like my family)
would say that I’ve
“forgotten my race”
while I wonder if I ever really knew it
in the first place.
I feel guilty that I don’t feel
the outrage that other blacks are feeling
but I cannot fake what I don’t relate to.

Then I have dreams like last night.
I was with a white boy on a date.
We were young and it was new.
We went to a diner like in the 50s
and there was a soda jerk.
The details are fuzzy now
but somebody called him a
nigger lover
and then shot him.
There was blood all over the seat
of his shiny red and white convertible.

Then the mob found me.
somebody called me a
nigger just as the mob
started to chase me.
I was covered in blood as I
ran
fear gripping me.
Then I was trapped.
There was no escape.
The guy called me a nigger
just as he was about to shoot me…

when I rolled over and woke up.
It is hard not to feel
in the wake of something
like that
but I’m not really sure
what I’m feeling.
It didn’t happen to me…
but it has happened.
My nightmare might not be my reality
but it has been the waking nightmare
for someone else.
The anger is my dream
fuels Ferguson.

I can’t say that the nightmare has
given me a load
more empathy or understanding
but it stopped me and made me think.
It made me pray and it made me give thanks.

I am blessed that I have not been
the victim of overt racism.
I am blessed that my physical person
has not been the victim of racial violence.
I still don’t know what to make of the violence
and anger
and hatred
erupting on the mainland
This is generations deep.
It’s not going to just go away…
and there are no easy answers,

but I wish like with my dream
we could all just
roll over
and wake up.

MUB

December 8, 2014 Comments off

This weekend was great.
Whatever the LMT did…
it created a wealth of
good feeling in me.

Last night I was
about as close to “cloud 9″
as you can get and
not be on illicit drugs.

I went to sleep in a really
really
good mood…

So I have no idea
where the nightmare
came from.

Bipolar Girl used to have
chronice
horrific
nightmares
every night
of her life for
most of her life.
Made for a really
unstable waking life.
I was emotionally fragile
because the monster
under the bed
would come out and play
and didn’t know
when to leave.

I do not know when
the nightmares stopped
but I became a whole lot more
stable when they did.

Now, I get the odd nightmare
every now and then that doesn’t
really impact me much
because they aren’t so bad.

This one was bad because it
could have happened.
I awakened with full memory of it
and it felt real.
I have that punch drunk feeling
when movement is happening
a lot slower than I’d like
because my brain hasn’t yet caught up
with the fact that my body is not in danger.
Flight or fight gone way wrong.

Fortunately, reality intruded and chased
the MUB (Monster Under the Bed) away.
I don’t need an alarm clock to wake up
so one minute I was about to be shot by an angry mob
and the next minute I’m opening gritty eyes thankful
for what is real.

Hope Deferred

December 6, 2014 Comments off

It seems like I’ve lived with the chronic pain
of  abdominal adhesions
for so long
and it’s impacted my life
so dramatically
that it started to define who I am.
I used to heavily identify with my
altered ego — Bipolar Girl,
but my mental illness does
not  hold a candle
to what my physical illness
has done to me
yet I draw the line at renaming
this blog “The Adventures of Adhesion Girl.”
Lacks panache.

As Bipolar Girl,
I survived several really
dark suicidal episodes
and I was able to bounce back,
but the adhesion pain
sucked the hope out of me.

It was like the women in scripture
who bled.
Bleeding is also something
I know about.
When I first went on the Lithium
it threw my cycle off.
I bled for six months
straight
with no relief.
I was weak and anemic
and my life was a mess.
My hope was suffering then, too.
I didn’t think I would ever
get better….
Until a doctor found out it was
all related to my meds and put
me on another medication to correct it.

Now that I don’t have a uterus
I could probably
go off the second medication.
But I digress.
This is not the point of this post.

Today I rediscovered
hope.
I went to see a LMT
who specializes in adhesion therapy.
She’s the best on the island
and comes with glowing recommendations.
Alternative medicine always seemed
so tree huggy or granola crunchy
to me and I’ve always been leery of it.
But this was nothing
like I expected it to be
and everything
that I needed it to be.

She heard me
and she understood.
She read me well
and, surprisingly,
we spent the first 45minutes
just talking about my health history.
She was trying to narrow in on what to address.
I wasn’t just a name on a chart
sitting on a cold table in a sterile room.

I have never been with a doctor who was this thorough.
She explained what she was going to do
and had 3D models.
She made some recommendations
but didn’t push.
and when she actually started the massage.,..
again, not at all what I expected it to be,
and everything I needed.
Abdominal massage
just sounds unsavory
especially to somebody
who doesn’t like to be touched.

Doing this is a major step of faith.
I have been praying for healing
for the last four years
and this has crossed my path.
Bipolar Girl is a cynic with
just a dash of paranoia stirred in
for flavor.
I shouldn’t be ok with this
And yet I feel a
total
peace.

I am indulging my “what if”
which I haven’t done in the last
four years because my hope
was dying
by slow degrees.
Today it was different…
What if this works and I am able to walk?
What if this works and I am free of the pain?
What if I have more energy
and can move from merely existing
or surviving
to actually living?

Abundantly so…

I started making a list
of things I’m going to do
when this works:

Take a long walk on the beach
followed by a long walk in Lahaina
followed by a long walk pushing
a grocery cart around Safeway
(because I can’t do any of those things now).

Don’t get me wrong.
I am thankful for the level
of mobility that I have.
I am thankful that I can walk
even if it’s laboured.
I am thankful that I have both
my legs and that they work.

But like the bleeding
woman
in scripture,
I want Jesus
to heal me.

I have tried everything else
and I find myself at this point.
The fact that I have a peace
about it is DEFINITELY a God thing
and where there is God…
there is hope.

 

Are You There God? It’s Me, Bipolar Girl

November 29, 2014 Comments off

I met Jesus on a beach in Maui in 1994. New Year’s day to be exact and it became sort of a ritual for me to visit that beach on that day if I found myself on the island. It helped me remember how far God had brought me. It was my Ebenezer stone. A few years ago I got too busy to go there since it’s ALL THE WAY ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ISLAND… forgetting the fact that this is a rather small island and it only takes about 30 minutes in traffic to make the pilgrimage. Let’s call the spade what it is: lazy. I was lazy. I’ve been lazy. Passing up innumerable opportunities to go there for reasons like: it’s raining (it won’t be by the time I get there). I’m cold (I won’t be by the time I get there). There are too many cars and I don’t park well (true… I have hit my fair share of cars, but if I get there early enough, there won’t be any cars by the time I get there).

This beach is special to me. It’s my mecca. It’s where I go to have deep talks with God. I guess that’s my problem. IF I confine God to one place I put him in a box. If I cannot get to that box then I miss out on talking to God. Weeks and months… years have passed and if THAT’S the only place I can go to have deep powwows with my maker then I’m screwed. I could stay home and have equally deep talks with Jesus.

So why am I packed up for the beach? It does take a lot to get Bipolar Girl there with all her health problems it really is easier to just stay home. But there’s another box. The one I’m in. I’ve sufficiently walled myself off from all people that I stay in my house unless I absolutely have to leave it. I’ve locked out almost all human contact and almost all the beauty in living on an island. I’m going because I need to get outside my box and take a step of faith. I need a visual reminder of just why God loves me. The day I met him I told him all the horrible things I’d ever done. I didn’t know then, but I know now that I was repenting. I told God that if he could love me knowing all the horrible things that I had ever done, then I’d follow him anywhere.

It’s been a long time since I’ve repented of anything. I feel justified in my sins. I tell God about them… but then I quickly explain WHY I did it and that I’m generally not sorry. Today I need to talk to God about my sins. I need to repent. We don’t talk about that much now a days. People will tell you that you’re being hard on yourself and that everybody sins. Well… when I’m standing before God at the end of days “everybody” will not be standing in my shoes having to give account for me life. This is what I have to do because it is the right thing.

Somebody once told me that if I wanted to follow God all I had to do was continue to do the next “right thing.” I stopped doing that in favor of doing what I wanted to do. This morning it’s raining and I’m cold and I do not want to go all the way to the other side of the island. I don’t particularly think that I even have to go all the way over there… but if I get there and I hear him say, “Yes, Laurel. I’m here. It’s me Jesus” then the whole trek will have been worth it.

 

*editing later… or not.

When I Was I Was a Rich Man

November 27, 2014 Comments off

When I was a starry-eyed
Rhetoric major
at Berkeley
I thought I knew everything.
Who am I kidding?
Every student at Berkeley
thinks they know everything.
I was just following the herd.
Mooooo.

When I was a young-in
experimenting with
thoughts of weighty things
I thought I knew the “true” meaning
of “truth.”
I was a hardcore atheist
and thought that Christians
and Catholics
were idiot dreamers
who believed in something
that was not real.

When I was a post-grad
life happened to me over the years
and I had to rethink my position.
I mean, after all,
if your going to cry out to a god
you are totally hoping
that he’s real
and that he won’t hold
your starry-eyed college days
against you..
and that bygones will truly be
bygone.

When I was a new believer
I used to hate all the stuff
that had to happen to me
to cause me to turn to God
I could’ve accepted him in
middle school.
He reached out
to me
and I actually did
believe…
but I couldn’t accept.

So a whole truck load
of crap had to hit the
proverbial fan
before I would come
in from the rain

When I heard stories of how
OTHER people had grown up
in Christian homes
and had followed God
since they were kids
I was jealous.
I used to wish that my pride
hadn’t brought me so much pain.
I used to wish that I’d taken
any one of the myriad of opportunities
to accept God that I’d been given over
the years but had ignored.

When I was driving home from work
yesterday
I thought about the nature of thankfulness.
A student had thanked me for a lot of things
including all the time I’d had to scold her for
various infractions of school and classroom rules.
That surprised me.
I can get on board with being thankful IN trials.
I am still still struggling,however, with being thankful FOR trials.
I usually want them to go away so that I can take the easy road.

When I reached this one curve in the winding road to my house
I started to think about the nature of my life
and what I’d “do-over” if I had the chance.
I always think about getting a second chance
to do things differently
so I could have a different life
but yesterday??
I found myself looking at some of the most
painful periods in my life
and deciding to keep them
because they had led
to various transitions in my life.
And those transitions had moved me
forward
through the pain.
It wasn’t an “It’s a Wonderful Life”
kinda moment…
but in that moment I was thankful
for a lot of the darkness and pain that has fallen
into my life.
I’d be lying if I said “all” of it
because there’s a couple of periods in the 70’s and 90’s
that I’d do over in a New York minute.

When I woke up this morning
I was thankful.
My life is not perfect
but it’s mine
and I was happy today.
I spent the holiday alone
and I was happy.
I have absolutely no idea
how this story of mine
is going to end up.
I guess I will have to save
such thoughts for when I’m old, gray,
and ready to go home.

 

 

So Ya Had a Good Day..

November 12, 2014 Comments off

Today was a good day.
One of those days where
I caught myself singing
and smiling
when people weren’t
looking.

One of those days where
you moonwalk down the
hallway when nobody’s around
or I would’ve
if I knew how
to moonwalk.

Hope will do that to you.
Things just looked different today.
It didn’t matter that it was so cold when I
woke up
that I had to try to put my clothes on
while still wearing my pajamas.
My students were oddly
well behaved almost all day
and the ones who weren’t….
I talked to them and the behavior stopped.

At lunch time my frolleague (friend/colleague)
brought in her album.
I’d asked to see wedding pics
and other pics when she was younger.
It was nice spending time talking to
somebody about something “OTHER THAN”.
Other than my health problem.
Other than their problems.
Other than our students’ problems.
Other than the world’s problems.

When all you do is look at problems
Jesus looks really small.
My Jesus has been pocket sized of late.
Rather than hoping in him
I was hoping that nothing else bad
would happen to me.
I began to expect the bad
because so much bad
has already happened
is happening
and will most likely
continue to happen.
My life seems to be a neverending
string of ridiculous and unfortunate events
(“unfortunate” because they keep
happening to me and it never really lets up)

There is a major change brewing at work.
On the surface it doesn’t look good
and I’m worried…
but rather than wring my knuckles
I enjoyed my students
sang songs in the hallway when
nobody was around
and enjoyed looking at
photos as my frolleague proudly
showed off her family.
When she asked me
about the massage therapist
I couldn’t contain myself.
The hope just came gushing out.

The best part of today?
I came home and clipped
my fingernails.
I was kinda looking like a Wookie
about the paws.

Uh? No. Just joking.
My nails looked great, but they had to go.
Seriously? I told God yesterday
that I would clip my nails
and play my guitar
once I finished braiding my hair.
I need the nails to braid otherwise
it hurts my fingers.
I haven’t played my guitar
in so long I don’t even remember when
I played it last.

I missed my nails the minute I cut them,
but playing my guitar
was like meeting up with an old friend.
I’m good enough that you couldn’t
really tell that I haven’t played in months.
I praised God with worship music…
And the praising gave way to praying.
It is hard to sing worship songs to God
and not want to pray to him.
I did pray about some of my problems
and some of my friends’ problems.
I prayed about some of my students
and their problems.
And I prayed for this world that
we live in that is so sin-sick
and lost…
and none of it seemed as big
as it felt yesterday.
I wasn’t looking at Jesus
in the shadow of my problems
I was looking at my problems
in the shadow of the Son’s light.
I had perspective.
I had hope.

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