I Weep

I weep
when I get the chance
when it is proper
when it is true

I weep
when I need you
when you aren’t here
when I picture your smile

I weep
at the drop of a hat
when it doesn’t seem warranted
when I am happy

I weep
when I experience vicariously
when I am wrong
when I am right

I weep
because I am human
because I feel
for the sake of weeping

I weep
because I know the ending
because I am in pain
because there is no antidote

I weep
at personal triumphs
at goodbyes
at the first sign of kismet

I weep
when I am trapped
when I don’t understand
when I see the forest

I weep
when I’m on the right track
when I am frustrated
when I can’t keep my eye on the ball

I weep
when I examine my life
when I feel broken
when I can’t see the next step

I weep
on St. Patrick’s Day
when I have let you down
because I miss you

I weep
Because I am at home
Because you are too
Because 3172 miles

I weep
When I open a box of your things
When they still smell like you
Because I can’t put you away

I weep
Because that song is stuck in my head
Because I don’t want it to stop
Because it stopped

— GLB

Dad

There is no place to begin
Except…
He has been there
At all of my beginnings
Too many to list
Though, all of them have meant my life
To me
A firm place to push off from
A gentle place to land
When I hover or falter
Then fall,
A constant continual
Voice of encouragement
Helping me brush myself off
And try again
Through everything he has been there
My constant companion
Pushing me to be
My best
Not for him
For me

— GLB

It Happened

It has to have happened
One time
Someone believed
The story I was telling
Someone picked me up
Looked into my eyes
And saw that
I was still there

It has to have happened
One time
Someone saw past
The gibberish
I was speaking
To an empty chair
And put their arms
Around me
So I wouldn’t have to
Go through it alone

It has to have happened
One time
I sat and stared
Out the window
Trying to convince myself
That I had
A place in this world
And someone
Encouraged me
To take inventory
Of my life
To look at everything
That is inside
To be proud
Of who I am

It has to have happened
One time
You took a chance
On loving me
Wholly
Giving me
A place to rest
Something to count on
The ability
To be free

It has happened
Over and over again
I fall asleep
And wake up
Knowing that
You are with me
Holding my hand
A kiss on my cheek
Smiling with me
Feeling more love
Than ever before

— GLB

Start Again

“There are millions and millions of people with mental problems.  They work regular jobs, irregular jobs, they work at home, they don’t work, they’re married or single, they have kids or don’t, they do laundry and fall in love and have opinions and grieve their losses and, if they’re lucky, take their meds.  That’s what I’m learning.  I am a person with mental illness. So it takes some extra effort.  So sometimes it’s debilitating.  But now that I’m learning to manage it, it’s becoming not my entire life but simply a part of how I live, something people around me live with as well, something I can accept.  I have to, that’s the only way this works.”             —  “Madness: A Bipolar Life” by Marya Hornbacher

This extended quote gets right to the heart of where I am right now.  As someone with Bipolar Disorder, which appears to have been put in my rear view mirror for the time being, I am trying to figure out where I go from here.  What I need to do is figure out how to stop being afraid of things I perceive as being outside my comfort zone.  I’m not sure how to do that, if any of you have some suggestions I would really appreciate it.  Some of the questions I ask are:

Can I get a job?
Can I handle a career?
How about a significant other, or a family?
What happens when I fall apart?
Where does it all go when the only thing I can focus on is me?

defeat is just an
opportunity to
start again

I don’t know where I heard that but it seems like a good motto.  I think I’ll take it as my own.  Now I need to do some serious work on me.  I hope nothing gets in the way.

California

“…and it’s California, where everything is powerfully strange. Everyone wants it to be home.  Everyone left where he or she was from with dreams of transformation.  Everyone runs away to California once, or at least all the lonely, hungry people do.”  “Madness: A Bipolar Life” by Marya Hornbacher

California, I can’t say it is where all my problems started, but it is where I started to experience the most prominent and life changing events of my existence.  My move to California was preceded by my two best friends moving out there.  One, with his growing family, to San Diego followed by the other and her new(ish) husband to the L.A. area.  Before those two moves, California never occurred to me.  But I visited him in San Diego and drove out to L.A. with her and I guess it was just a matter of time before I was on my way West.

Now, it’s not as though I wasn’t leaving anything behind.  I had lived Virginia Beach for seven years, my parent’s were in Southeastern North Carolina and my sister and her family were in the Washington D.C. area.  On the other hand, Northern California from Sacramento, to Petaluma, Elk Grove and well all over Northern California was packed with relatives.  Let’s see, two grandmothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins, a third cousin twice removed or, I don’t know, just a load of relatives that I never spent a whole lot of time with.  There was that opportunity as well.

So, my friend talked to some people he knew, and then I talked to those people and after a bit of time I was on my way to San Diego.

Virginia Beach is a Navy town.  Everything is geared towards the Navy.  There is a Naval Air Station there.  Jets fly directly over the beach, and houses and the mall.  Right next door is Norfolk, a Naval Base, the across the river is Newport News and Hampton, where Navy ships are built.  To me it was a big place with a small town feel.

San Diego, on the other hand, is a Navy City.  There is so much more going on there than Navy or Marine Corps.  San Diego is where “Top Gun” was set.  The Naval Air Station is now a Marine Corps Air Station.  I think the biggest shock for me was how big it was.  There were so many freeways, 8, 5, 805, 15, 163.  So many things to do.  Sea World, The San Diego Zoo, Mission Beach, Pacific Beach, I could go on and on.  That was just San Diego.  The other friend I mentioned had moved to the L.A. area.  You can just imagine how overwhelming could get.

I was a bit overwhelmed and to add to that I had a brand new job I had to excel at. (I don’t think I knew any other way to work)  Not to mention, I was looking for a way to transform my life.  I was hoping I would find something in California that would be different, better, something else.  I was looking to escape some of the horrors Virginia Beach held for me.  My friend J, overcome by breast cancer, my own bout with cancer, starting to deal with depression.  It was time for me to leave.

After moving and finding a place to live (I stayed with my friend and his family for a few months) things started to settle down.  Work was good and not too hard, I started exploring the city some.  I was getting to know the people I worked with.  We were going out to bars and restaurants, pretty much having a good time, I didn’t drink so I was commonly the designated driver.  At the time, I had a blue Ford Expedition and everyone loved to pile in.

A few years later, my friend and his family have moved away, my relationship with my friend in L.A. has soured.  I was spending too much time at work and with the people from work.  The next couple of years are a blur to me.  When I concentrate hard on what went on in those two years all I get is working way too many hours at the office and at home.  I see going out a lot, in spite of all the work, and I see my mentor and now friend being diagnosed with cancer.  The cancer diagnosis is very clear in my mind, the rest is just a flurry of activity which ends with me in the hospital having just come through a psychotic episode.

Some days I have clear memories of sunny skies, a light breeze and a feeling of well-being.
Others are roller-coasters of faces and noise that are completely terrifying.  Those days I feel like California, at least San Diego, chewed me up and spit me out.

I loved living in
San Diego but it did
not like me at all