i got nothing on this

torture. self torture. punishment. atonement. making them realize how despicable they are. making them suffer. making them pay for what they’ve done to me. see all the damage they’ve caused.

hate. self loathing. hating my ways. my habits. my thoughts. my memories. my behaviors. my desires. my fears. my goals. my shadow. my dreams. my words. my movements. absolute hatred. detested.

as my young brother said, “i want to annihilate myself”

or my other younger brother saying, “i’m a worm. scum of the earth”

or my father saying, “you’ll never change the world”

or my mother saying, “you’ll be sorry when i’m gone” “at least i loved my mother” “even though my mother was crazy as a loon” “they’re all going to laugh at you”

i often wonder why no one knew how to help me. why strangling and choking continued. why sexualized shaming comments poured out of her mouth and washing over me like gray water. why it seemed like she hated me. loved to pick on me. treated me as if my pain was not existent, or not real. treated me like an extension of herself, like one made to serve her, appease her, redeem her.

 

last night i called my youngest brother. who is in some kind of long term depressive, anxious, break with reality and autistic regression. he asked, “what’s up” and i confessed. I’ve been having some – depression. “depression” he said and through the phone it sounded like amusement, wonder, smiling? why was i so afraid to confess. that i’m struggling. that i question my motives every day. that i wake up wondering why i fail in life, why i feel alone in life, why i am so low that i take friends and privileges for granted, why i feel sorry for myself, why i hate myself, why the world seems to hate me. why i go on. what would it take for me to quit going on. when will i know i’ve quit. can it happen without my knowledge and at some point i’ll just realize it. i often want to quit. but i feel ashamed and angry with myself. hearing the voices of others. those who care about me and with whom i’ve established friendship. and those who grew up with me and feel bound by familial experience. “i come from a mentally ill family.” “do you want to call it mental illness? does that really make you feel better? do you like using labels?” “stop feeling so down. you have to feel grateful.” “you don’t have it bad at all.” “you’re a spoiled brat.” “this cannot be what breaks you.” “oh, you say you don’t have friends. you’re delusional, like an anorexic who looks in the mirror and sees obesity.” “oh, you say no one loves you nor is your friend. that is hurtful to me. how could you say that?” “people who are depressed…” “people who want to die…” “if you really want to die, then maybe…” “maybe you don’t want to die. you have to take action. you can’t just feel this way.” “therapy – isn’t it helping you?” “everyone’s is a little depressed. it’s not just you.” “everyone has a quote mental health problem. it’s our society.” “think of all the people worse off than you.” “i’m crazy too – look at me!” “if i haven’t committed suicide, then you definitely shouldn’t.” “get over yourself.” “get over it.” “you have to have willpower.” “not disabled enough.” “there’s no such thing as mental illness.” “medications are all placebo effect.” “when i was depressed i didn’t use medications.” “everyone is traumatized.” “it’s selfish for you to talk like that.” “why focus on personality disorder?” “why not focus on something positive?” “you are thinking too narrow, you want something that’s impossible.” “no one has all the answers.” “no one else can tell you what is right for you.” “you are saying this, but acting like that.” “be grateful you are alive.” “why don’t you just stop talking to your family?” “how are you?” “no really, how are you?”

 

i told him i was feeling depressed recently. i did this in spite of not wanting to say that. feeling dread about disclosing. feeling like if i told him about this weakness, this flaw, crack in the armor, that it would destabilize him, destroy any progress i’ve helped him make. felt it was my responsibility to protect him from how i feel. the complexity of my experience. from my pain. i don’t want to inflict my pain onto others like i felt my mother inflicted onto me. i wanted to be strong for him. i want to be strong for my siblings. i want to be strong for my parents. i don’t want to be the one who falls apart. not while they are falling apart. i want to appear i am keeping it together. i want to appear like a mature adult without a severe set of mental illnesses and trauma experiences. i want to have an easy life. i want to be more normal. i want to be satisfied more easily. i want to stop questioning my every move and judging myself so harshly. i want to drop the self loathing. i want to feel loved and accepted no matter what. i want to stop fearing that i will destroy myself. i want to stop feeling that i am fragile and will disintegrate. i want to stop dreading that i will destroy all of my relationships. i want to stop claiming all the responsibility, blame, and guilt for lost relationships, broken bonds, regrettable behaviors, and bad decisions. i want to stop believing it is all my fault. i want to stop believing i am a victim of circumstances and psychotic family background and lots of trauma and pain. i want to stop believing that it is all one person’s fault and that maybe they did this stuff because they didn’t care about me enough. how can i excuse it all with a plea of insanity, ineptitude, incompetence. i want to be able to trust. i want someone to tell me how they made it through. gently. with patience. with affection. letting me know they care about how things turn out for me.

i want respect for all that’s happened

i want my pain to be honored

afraid to live

yesterday i burst some bubble

i texted my friend, whose calls i’ve been avoiding

it’s hard to say why

i feel ashamed of my thoughts

my thoughts are swarming like dozens of ice picks attacking my mortal mind

saying i’m shit

i’m worthless

no one loves

could love

no one fucking cares

i’m completely uncared for

in the ways i need

i need too much

an endless

infinite

unstoppable

unsatisfiable mountain of needs

a bottomless well of needs

that will never be filled

and of course no one would want to

because i ask too much

sometimes merely my presence

saying some of what’s on my mind

like how i presume most of my friends secretly detest me

for my vile pessimism, self centeredness, paranoia, tediousness, and dragging them down day after day

thinking that my life is over

that if i do die soon

it will be just another one

biting the dust

in the form and fashion of mentally ill and terrorized young family lineage

trying to escape the pain and deepest wounds

with suicide

hanging from the ceiling at the top of the attic stairs

waiting to be found by a sister

avenged by a psychotically enraged father

who will bang his head against the wall

on his side of the house

while blaring music from his stereo

to torture the wife and surviving children

everyday after work

and on weekends

mourned forever in the denial-bargaining-hopeagainsthope phase

frozen in time

incest covered over

and shunned away

so that no one again reconnects with one

who tells

whispered

in an email

on facebook

in a confessional

self destruction

self sabotage like trying more and more drug combinations

under no one’s supervision but their own

in a party house in nashville

plastic bags

rubber ties

needles

joints

pills

booze

plus psych meds taken intermittently

too long

too much

people afraid to call ems because of all the illegal shit they thought they’d get busted for having

afraid to save a life

afraid of jail time

let an overdose go

sleep it off

until death

no second chances

until the entire surviving family

remains

afraid to live

believing they are afraid to die

but actually in fact

quite

afraid to live

 

i wrote this for the arc when they asked me to share ‘my medicaid story’

In 2014 I began receiving access to medicaid in PA. I had no idea what this meant, except that I was directed to apply for medicaid during the Affordable Care Act application process on healthcare.gov. It asked me if I had a disability or pre-existing condition. Yes. So, I was one of the folks who had a low income to benefit from medicaid expansion and to benefit from state health care. This care helped me because eventually I could no longer work and had a struggle to get by in that situation. Due to an assault, I sustained a traumatic brain injury, which went undiagnosed at the time of the violent attack (random crime incident where I got brutally beat in the head) in 2010. I was dizzied with the many symptoms of post concussion syndrome for three years, and I began to speak up and say, something’s wrong. In 2013 I finally got referred to a concussion rehabilitation program from a knowledgeable therapist. Thanks to medicaid I was eligible for quality care that I could afford from the regional concussion and head injury specialists who understood my condition. In addition to the acquired traumatic brain injury, I needed doctor’s care, specialist care, and mental health counseling to manage conditions I have had since adolescence, which are a sleep disorder similar to narcolepsy (idiopathic hypersomnia), panic attacks and long term depression. Now after being attacked you can add PTSD and chronic pain, and for sure the depression and panic only increased. I was able to get the physical therapy sessions, cognitive (brain retraining) therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, vestibular therapy (helped with vision and balance impairments after tbi), psychiatrists, neuropsychologists, group therapy for women with tbi, psychotherapy for managing my symptoms, the aftermath of trauma, losing my job and normal life, as well as the lingering depression and anxiety that cut into my daily ability to function as I would hope to. If not for the PA Head Injury Program (a state waiver that allowed me access to 9 months of multidimensional rehabilitation) and 2 years of medicaid to ensure I had access to medicines, check ups with my doctor to manage my different care needs for different conditions, and to help me with frequent mental health counseling sessions, I would not have been able to make any improvements or lessen any troubling symptoms, I may not be able to read or write now , I may not be able to go out in public alone or at night, and I may not have been able to try out different work options to help me find out and adjust to my new capacities. Let alone, I would never have been able to maintain social connections or afford any medication or the wraparound rehab services that were so significant in adjusting to life after acquired brain injury and trauma. At the end, when I was moved from medicaid to medicare a few months ago, I began to think about how instrumental PA medicaid was in reshaping my life by providing me access to the multiple kinds of health care that I needed. Who knows if I would even be here without it, or if I would have lagged behind or been trampled over years ago. medicaid made an astronomical different in my care and my life during the years of 2014-2015-2016, as did the state head injury waiver program. I can say that with confidence and I am asking all to consider stories like mine, where my life was upended in a random tragic incident, and where I also had long term pre-existing conditions that were worsened by the injury I got as an adult. Consider me and others who have health care needs that are as diverse as we are. It is our human basic right to have access to appropriate and dignified care. Give us our rights!

save title for last

this is going to be

some kind of

grand

literary

psychologically raw

uncomfortable

master piece.

i do believe that i used to grandiosely aspire

to masterpieces every time.

now this was when pcs

were the new work station.

when typing on a word processor

was still a revolution in manuscripting editing.

when the cathode ray tube in the back of the monitor

seemed normal being as big as the whole desk.

before many of my regrets.

but still after and during lots of them.

see there are myriad regrets.

waiting to be transformed,

reperceived, thanked, released, remembered more lightly

as lessons.

knowing i have existed through all these lessons,

what are the lessons now

i can treasure from this time

this time of 2017 after obama

during deportations

and immigration bans on muslims

this time of giving power to racists and corrupt business men.

owners who are owning all of us.

they are coming in. this clown show

with sinister un feeling masterminds behind the strings

this time of confusion for – i am every day people –

who are moving about out there, alone, together,

with palpable dread, unraveling, anger, paranoia,

learned helplessness.

i’m nurturing this nostalgia for other

for other places

other people

other centuries

other concepts

other unsolvable problems

other hopefulness.

so immersing in fictions,

memoir,

buddhist essays,

korean drama period pieces,

writings about undermining whiteness.

which this last phrase reminds me

i want to write a thank you

to whatsup

the organization.

which over the last seven years

has provided space, meaning, hope, learning,

connection, work, understanding, emotion,

validation, identity, refuge, counterculture, norms new to me,

something to be anti, something to struggle for, something to emulate,

what is all of this…

it’s what i needed at that time

and now its shell i may need less

or in different senses,

still trying to figure out what i can give to it and what i can get.

maybe i took things too far,

that’s lessons.

i felt like no one understood unless they had done a thorough study of systemic racism,

from the roots, had analyzed whiteness and its toxicity, had read

all the articles and been to the anarchist bookshop plus the actions and held signs.

what did it help me to feel.

it helped me learn about the projected and invisibilized identity of whiteness that i didn’t choose and that in some sense contributed to my getting hurt.

was it about race. was i attacked more, beaten harder, with more rage, as a white woman. was it the same as would be for anyone. people said it was because of this. who said this. people like police officers – ha. mental health providers i sought out in the traumatized haze. coworkers. anyone who heard the story, who was white.

so what did it mean that i could be so hurt, felt confused like did i deserve what i got, for what has happened on a larger scale, in the bigger picture of oppression, due to white fragility and toxicity. due to the violent nature of racist society. where did i fit in there.

and actually only when i began to operate

by picking into pieces

who i was, what this identity, what about this fluid sexuality, what about this messing with gender, what about this abuse, this class, this mental illness, this particular situation i’ve grown through. i realized, i learned by lesson, i don’t want to be the protected white woman. i am not her. i am not that. leave me out of this. i will unlearn and act of my own accord to dismantle this system and to exist with presence and awake, alive.

unlike before awake, alive, i think were far far away. there was thickness, hardness, layers of sound barrier, and bubble wrap, between me and the real things. between empathy and my heart. between narcissism and fantasy world. between isolationism and pride.

broken barriers. broken body. broken self. free from psyche. from from self. free for construction. free for being with. free for escaping. for blowing away like smoke. it’s ok to be – who am i. it’s ok – really. it’s ok to be – not who i was. in thich nhat hanh’s words – not the same, not different. not the same, not different. me before – me after. that’s not separate, not one. and now i’m learning. because of the seven years cycle. the seven year itch. not the same as before. not the same as right after. now on to another way.

what is this way. learning. what is this another. lessons. i can’t see it. i don’t know it. it is a combination of the multiples i’ve already lived. plus a combination of infinite combinations of the days from now until the end. which of course is not exactly the end.

the third way. the middle way.

 

 

 

never a title

dream of an old apartment

it looked like the southside building where i lived with ryan

the penn ave bloomfield lawrenceville second floor studio

for a single old woman

or a single young one

what was the neighborhood?

i’d call it hospital-upon-cemetery

which is basically just another name for pittsburgh

in the dream

which is a dream i had while lying in bed

while my premenstrual cramps began to beset

while the cat or the crumbling plaster

or some other house mystery

caused a crash so loud i jumped right out of bed and ran downstairs

which is never how i wake up in the morning

it takes willpower

i lack

and i dreamed i was going to live in something like an old college student multi room apartment

and i was to stay with my siblings, all three

plus some random young men who seemed student age

i don’t remember my concerns

but it in the end

something

while driving down the street with windows open

i was admitting

i was confessing

i was opening

to accountability

i was accepting

responsibility

that it’s possible likely true fact opinion and pervasive dream mood

where i have harmed the people closest to me

in my dream i had ruined someone’s credit by stealing an object

some device or tech thing

that in fact they had to return

was this from rent a center?

i don’t know but i knew in the dream

i had kept it

out of spite

desperation

seeking love and attachment

seeking loyalty

like love me even when i’m kicking and screaming

and you have to fight to love me

even when i pushing you away

and who does that sound like?

and so i saw myself coldly clearly in dream

i said here it is

i had it

i know it caused problems for you

that i did this

what can i

how can i

what makes it right?

what does that even mean

it means nothing

really

this dream is shameful

i’ve been giving myself french homework

and abusing library card privileges

which i fondly call

my entitlements

my sacred rights

and don’t fuck with me

to make ashamed

to embarrass

to turn red

to put on weight

to faire une promenade

all these inifinitives

that represent what i will never

learn practice understand have cherish dread

i do cherish

i do dread

WHEN I DO DIE

I WILL HAVE DESERVED A GOOD LONG SLEEP

thank you h.c.

i will credit you when it matters

when someone gives a shit

what is stirring

and maybe you will know before i

when that happens

i began reading h.c. once again

which is really just

again

and it takes me back

and it also takes me around

like a tree whipping branches

in a hurricane

but this storm

is more of an eye

all the way through

but the floundering

is what i’m after

in the description

it’s a flailing

and a casting about

and it’s stirring my undercurrents

which is so fitting

because i can barely journal

with all the psychoanalysis

and really

don’t i wish

i was in new york in the 60s

on the streets

in the elevators

under the ground

along the tracks

out on the island

spanning all manner of bridges

lurking museums

haunting parks

smoking joints and discussing theory

and studying at the institute

of any thing i could get my hands on

and would have me

is it really true

that i’m like that joke

where

i’d never be part of a club

that would have

someone like me

as a member

because when i woke up

i felt free

because of the dream confession

dreamy apology

and also a sense of

it’s me

what if the monster is me

because i fall apart

when i realize

i can’t even keep

from damaging you

i can’t even

be good to you

be a positive presence

be loving

be inspiring

be supportive

beginning to hate that word

and here i upload cds

to my itunes

like it’s 1999

and i like it

so i paused to change a disc

excuse me

but who were my elementary school friends

and were they expecting me to still be a catholic?

really, people are still into that?

yes i understand

the mary figure

i want a mother of god too

i want a veil

a golden crown

a soft halo

a blue robe

which is actually a cape

bare feet

and magical powers

of course that’s true

but in this toxic and wizardous time lapse contextual soup

where you and i and 8 billion humans and many multiples of billions

i can’t even

i can’t even imagine the creatures

they have no number

but really

still catholic?

what kind of sad central european morgue festival is this?

the destruction

is why they left right

the oppression

but brought and revived the repression

i don’t know

are people just doing what they think is right?

what is happening…

if i really think about it

and consider the notion

we are sharing a collective unconscious

then i feel confused

what is in there

what is roiling

what is rolled flat

what is extracted

and what is freely floating

up above

to the every day consciousness

awareness

or some other cuteness

funny i thought

if i began again

began writing again

i would like it

and i feel the hate

come rushing right back

or am i just numb

and trying to name names

 

 

 

beginning to write

again

what has happened

i’m reading and that’s where it’s started

reading again and specifically

trying to read

pushing through trying to read

in spite of the fact

inspite of

despite

it doesn’t feel

doesn’t feel seem taste

it seems not same

doesn’t feel like before

what was it like before?

how could i remember?

or even know for sure

remind describe

i no longer know

and i’m starting again

the book

interviews between cixous

and someone else french

or american

literary

academic

critque ful

the cover is a city street

winter trees

trunks and branches only

iron fencing

sidewalk

bushes

snow sprinkled

snowy white

new

fresh like when the snow covers what i normally see

this is why i do like snow

world is quiter

softer

cleaner

less clutter and angsty

less concern and obsession when snow obstruction

is happening

it’s a simplifying

soothing, calming obstruction

not in the connotation of negativity no

it’s quite positive and useful, helpful, loving

calming and quieting

soothing like pressure

and like cleaning, clearing, like sweeping up

like putting away

like cleaning my room

like the snow is helping me clean the rooms

but the rooms are my world

shared with who

the rooms are the world

and back to writing

am i really even

am i doing

feeling jealous inspired betrayed misled dreadful disappointing and terrified

yes this is what has happened

now i want to cry because i don’t write

i make lists of reasons i hate myself

reasons i am angry at the world

how to deal with concussion headache

strategies for organizing your dinner plan

for reading without eye strain and dizziness

how should the light be

what about posture

and when the cat sits on your lap

is it ruined or is it perfectly solved

who can say and what have i written

and keeping it safely away from criticism

from exposure

from competitiveness from achievement want desire

glory academic desire and egoism

keeping it away from those dead and decayed

those ghostly parts of me

they still live in this graveyard

the neurologist wants to know if i am still narcoleptic

or more idiopathic

what even is sleep

and when i say sleep doctor i get advice from friends

on how to fall asleep at night

no no no

it’s hypersomnia

i need advice

best practices, strategies, lists of symptoms and layers of self and other help

help on how to not sleep but to actually live the day through

to stay present and to breathe

to cry and be alive

do i live while i sleep

or do i hide and hope to die

it’s probably all

everything among all this

and the internet with this language though

when i was writing i didn’t

i emailed

i researched

i libraried and searched and downloaded

downloaded!

no streams

streams of life

streaming real time

it felt safer

since then i’ve been burying myself in everything that i hate fear and want and must change

but the internet has changed me

and i do not write the same

it does not seem

like i am contiguous to that person

that whole mind

that once lived up here

in the head

i was born with

the head i was born with

i was born with

born with

my head

when was my head born

what was my head like

before my parents were born

and where are there heads

going to roll

off with her head

i could repeat and echo

echolalia

meaningful utterances

until i have no more streaming life

dead inside

never writing again

never reading with comprehension

never comprehending again

comprehension is a false

a false

a false

a true

a truer tale never told

and everything i wrote up to that point

was true

everything since false

i am false

this is why the loathing

self loathing is very productive

makes me wake up in the morning

and makes me sleep in the afternoon

and at night

the loathing is where my energy stores

the writing before

it used to give me energy

meaning

source

spring

feeling

i felt like a real person when i was writing

when i had written

i like writing at that time

i liked

and i liked having written

and now i feel fear and agony and intolerable unacceptable loss

when i know that i write again

i read again

breathe again

it’s like i’ll never breathe again

breathe again

breathe again

remember

that’s a lie

it’s gotten away from me

i’m too much

too much for myself and for the world

clearly this is all one long strange

what a long strange

this is about my plans for domination

because balance was never on the table

this is about scholarship

this was identity for me

and i was saving not just me

not just that person with the head i was born with

but the one who bore

was saving those who had given me my head

and enough to get the scholarship

to help me to save them

that was my job

and i ran away from my job

and killed myself

and killed all my relationships

and killed the idea of the picture of the head i was born with

and declared that i no longer cared

that my symptoms were the only matter now

that they presided and they were some how both my fault my burden my disgrace my terrorizers and my prison cell mates

and critical theory feels like it will never breathe again

and identity has crushed my head

but that means the one

i was born with

and the new cracks

and the ladders

and the essays that i covered my scalp with

and however i managed

to put the pieces together

with a painful glue

that wants to kill me

and i’m glad it has

 

 

tix

what value

is a free ticket

an e-ticket

what visionary

vestibular system

permits me

to turn

jump   lift   bend

raise and stoop

have you thought much recently about changing planes?

about not – otherwise – specified?

about rule/out?

about chronic, complex,

or acute?

star

star

start

starting

startup

no crystal

stair

stare

potluck

what do they mean receive poets?

to do with a receipt?

If I

If I

If I

If I,  If I,  If I

If I,  If I,  If I,  . . .

If I keep [Experience]

to myself

will I die?

If I let [Experience]

out – you might die

————————————————————————————————

perform   participation

performative particles

Particularly “Articulate” –

no – I’m talking

joints, bones, tendons

and motion

motif   motives

unmotivated

light bearer

Ashes will return

or exchange

according to 14 day policy

————————————————————————————————————————–

After jumping

how does my body feel

heart movements

breathing hefty

contrivance

sleep. don’t sleep

silence. louder

questions. no questions

is it clear? not now

can’t shoot these

guns any more

who else is alike

like cures like

low blood

pressure

sugar

vagus nerve

a man named “Natural” is staying

at my mom’s haunted house

arranged by my brother

unproduced

insights hurt my eyes