Bipolar Confession

“And with the strength of a thousand men,
Both before you and within,
You came clean.
You did everything but shout it from rooftops for years.
But, alas, that was never enough.
“This is me, in all my unforgiving ‘crazy’ glory.”
And now you are free
to love yourself.
And now you are free
to begin healing.”

The above was written to commend a former professor of art who recently announced that he has suffered from bipolar disorder for years. He let everyone know that he recently hit his “all-time low.” I’ve seen people suffer from this illness up-close and personal, and they have always been the kindest and most sincere souls, despite their aggressive day-to-day battles. I want to honor this man for the strength and courage it took, and will continue to take, on the long and winding road of recovery.

I can’t help but notice that all of the people I have met with this illness have all been great artists. I equate the often erratic behavior they experience to an emotional scale that surpasses what most people feel day to day. The hard and fast emotional roller coaster can take someone to their highest point, immediately followed by their lowest. But I’ve known many other people who never really get to experience either end of that spectrum, because it takes extreme emotional availability that is often unstable and frowned upon in society.

But look at the capacity for love these people have, so often juxtaposed with their prominent self-loathing and painful realizations that they are different from the “norm”. I believe this emotionality doesn’t always need to be their downfall. I believe that successful
recovery can bring people who suffer from this illness to the top once more, in a more even-timed dance with life, because they have seen hell and risen beyond it. Not above it, no, because those times still remain within them always. But with proper care and love, and at times with hospitals and medications, the people who used to suffer uncontrollably are able to love wholeheartedly and teach the world to do the same.
3.19.13

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Transplanted Thoughts

I wonder how this will fall into your eyes,
and where it will go once it hits your mind.
Alone with a pen, an intimate moment— now shared with you.
I give my thoughts to you to use as you see fit,
but please remember they’re a gift.
February 18, 2013

Enough

familyIt’s been a year since you left me and I’m struggling to say

Exactly how much I miss you.

My heart feels weak and my stomach won’t stop turning;

I miss you this much:

Enough to keep myself together, so I can help everyone else stay together too.

Enough to try harder, to work harder;

Enough to do everything I can.

Enough to be the person you treated me like,

The person you were proud to love.
October 31, 2011

Where Family Begins

When two people understand that kindness begets kindness, a family begins. You choose whom you love and how you love them; you create your own family. We all have a family of choice that becomes our blood.

I have been gifted the blessing of welcoming a new sister-in-law into my life just a few weeks from today; my brother is getting married. We have led different lives and we have seen different things, but I believe from the bottom of my heart to the top that she is my family. We are already sisters by choice.
February 2013

Continuous

We’re 5 years in and our adventure continues.
Day in and day out: learning new things & understanding new theories.
An almost constant discussion:
Everyday still learning what makes us tick.

Let us see where this beautiful life leads us–
It seems anywhere will suffice with your hand in mine,
And yet nothing will ever be “enough”
Because when we are together not even the sky is limiting.

There is no cap, there is no limit; there’s nowhere but up.
But there are still questions posed:
Why do we exist? What are we meant to be?
What are we supposed to do?

With you by my side, there is no limit to what we can discover.
There is no telling us what we can do or where we can go.
Together we just keep reaching higher.

There is no stopping us.

February 10, 2013

Rosa Parks Myth

politicsThe master narrative of Civil Rights is a very basic and sometimes misleading history of the quest for equality for African Americans. The Montgomery Bus Boycott is often portrayed as a stepping-stone towards the end of racism that was led almost single-handedly by Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr.. The assumption that America holds about the Montgomery Bus Boycott is surrounded by the idea of “Rosa Parks, the tired” instead of a more national feeling of “America, tired of racism.” Textbooks and teachers often put Rosa Parks in the front seat of the movement, but this dismisses the Montgomery Bus Boycott as a whole and causes the movement to lose a lot of the meaning that it holds.

Though Rosa Parks made a big difference, the real difference was made by all of the people who chose not to ride. There was segregation in a majority of the United States and it was more than simply “not being allowed to use the same public facilities such as restaurants or swimming pools.” Segregation was everywhere and was about everything. It was very emotionally damaging to everyone involved, especially young children.

People were trying to change the ways of segregation for a long time, but without proper support of major civil rights groups, the attempts floundered and were forgotten. Before Rosa Parks, girls like Claudette Colvin and Mary Louise Smith refused to go to the back of the bus or give up their seats for white people, but the NAACP did not support or plan their rebellions and so these acts were minimally publicized. Even the bus boycott itself was not the first of its kind; tt was preceded by the bus boycott in Baton Rouge. The Baton Rouge Bus Boycott only lasted one week but many ideas stemmed from it including tactics such as carpooling and handing out flyers to spread the word.

The idea that Rosa Parks was “tired and angry and stubborn” is not accurate. She planned her stand (or rather, her sit) as the secretary of the NAACP and it was far from impromptu. People are taught that Rosa Parks’ arrest was the reason for the boycott but that is wrong, she was really the spark for the fire that had been heating up for a very long time. “So they decided to refuse to ride the buses until everyone was allowed to ride together” is so light and fluffy—what they really wanted was equality and rights and they fought long and hard for them. They wanted to be citizens of this country just as much as any white man, and that is what they desperately fought for, for 13 months.

Another assumption that is often made is that Martin Luther King led the boycott, which is inaccurate. The people led the boycott. He was elected the president of the Montgomery Improvement Association and instilled power in the people, but ultimately the people are the ones who made the change and stayed off of the busses for freedom. Yes, Rosa Parks is a very brave person but so were all of the other people who fought for their rights.

February 22, 2010