A Visual Clue

Sometimes people need a punch in the face in order to take a hint.-monkiss

Ha! quoted muhself.

I know it might be weird since my healing progress is going well, but I bought a cane a few days ago.

All the struggling onto buses by drivers who think my stablising boot is some sort of fashion statement, all the people getting mad at me for sitting in the priority seating area, made me realise people are completely and utterly stupid and need flashcards.

Wanna know who won't get up outta priority seating for me? ....this guy....and his whole damn posse

So I bought a cane and low and behold! The bus driver started using the kneeling thingy, people started offering me seats, it’s a bloody miracle!! Because the limping didn’t give it away, the brace made of steel and foam that I nicknamed the iron maiden is not obvious enough.

The crazy thing is, it actually made a huge difference in my pain, the massive overcompensating pain is less, uh, massive. Huzzah!

It’s also my first full time week back at work. Ugliness….ugliness personified. I scrabble around on hardwood floors and my motions have made my wife and I giggle our new turn of phrase for my fruitless movements…seal pupping!

This is how I get from place to place, on my belly...wooo good times

Well, I have a bottle neck situation in my brain, there’s so much I wanna write about that I don’t know where to start and so my writing is minimal. I’ll sort it out while I wait to get my computer back…the one I’m using belongs to the in-law.

g’night dear readers! monkiss

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How I Came To Blows With a Stranger On The Bus

Monkiss Fisticuffs is my name…at least today, it almost was.

Sometimes dear reader, when you live in the murder capital, you have to assert yourself and then be prepared the person you’re asserting yourself with, might have a weapon…is it worth it sometimes?

Catch me in the right mood, and I’ll say yes…for example, today.

My wife and I jump on the neighbourhood bus and connect with the rapid transit corridor where the bus is late and packed and people are pretty rude about sitting in the priority seating. It’s pretty important to me since I’m in daily pain from my hips down.

What I don’t understand, as a gentleman, is that I offer people seats and go out of my way to accommodate people. My patience with teenagers, adults and the able-bodied is wearing thinner and thinner…It’s no wonder I’m close to a snap.

Today I might’ve complained about people’s rudeness a little on the loud side and got contemptable glares from the peanut gallery. B glared at me a little hoping I would shut up I think.

Then she smiled.

So this woman, able-bodied and sitting in the priority seating gets up as the bus stops and looks me in the eye, she says to me and to B, “I’m coming back to sit there,” she says. She pushes by other standing passengers to talk to the bus driver.

“I don’t care,” I call after her, I’m wearing a walking boot up to my knee, I limped and hauled myself up onto the bus and I’m taking her seat.

B walks back to the regular seating where a seat has become available and I’m sure she’s wishing she had some popcorn to watch what happens next.

As I sat down, every eye around me widened as if I broke some sort of law. The woman to my right turned away and moved as far to the right as she could. The packed audience waited with anticipation.

I put my game face on.

Cue large angry woman.

She stands over me, even though I clearly made room for her next to me on the bench seats, her hands on her hips.

“Well isn’t that lovely?” she says, taking a deep angry sigh and squeezing in next to me. Angry words on the tip of her tongue.

In my head, I’m saying: bring it sweetheart, you’re fucking with the wrong bitch

Her: “I get up for a minute and someone steals my seat,” she mutters.

I’m furious…out of the million expletives I wanted to use, I said in a raised and angry voice…

“Do you have a broken foot?”

She looks back at me with a glare and catches a look at the contraption on my foot.

Her: “No…oh…I didn’t SEE that,” she says in a hostile tone.

Me: “Well now you do, so you know what you can do.”

My wife shoots me a look and a smile from the back seating.

The woman stands up instead and spends the rest of our ride together looking at me.

I just waited patiently…I don’t have much trouble coming to blows with strangers if need be.

Mei culpa for my lack of cool headedness alright?

What would you do?

This calls for some Jay-Z:

Diss-Ability

“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked. “Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat. “We’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.” “How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice. “You must be,” said the Cat. “or you wouldn’t have come here.” –Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

I laid in bed this early morning (it’s 4 am in my neck of the woods) thinking about the summer I turned nine.

There’s no real reason for it except I drank too much cola at supper and couldn’t sleep. Yes, sometimes I do things a six year old would do….Perhaps it’s just plain ol insomnia.

It was a pretty big year.

My little brother and I spent alot of time with my grandparents in a small Newfoundland town, doing what kids do: playing on the beach, spotlight in the forest, swimming, baseball games, it was pretty idyllic. And then it wasn’t too.

It would have been 1987 and our parents were divorcing and it was the first time I could remember visiting my mother in a psychiatric hospital.

She was moving half speed and seemed unable to keep her eyes open.

A while later she would show me the scar on her neck where she tried to hang herself and was unsuccessful. Our relationship was always turbulent, to say the least. I loved her and she suffered alot, it seemed through the eyes of her child.

Then there’s me, I was not left alone either.

My entire life, I cannot remember a time when I didn’t feel a persistent undercurrent of depression. Not just ‘blue’ a ‘funk’ or ‘the blahs’ but a persistent, to quote Melvin in As Good As It Gets, ‘what if this is as good as it gets?’

I tried so hard to run, to try a non-prescription, holistic method, then the alcohol and illegal drug method, the bury it method, the eat my feelings method, the meditation, exercise, vegetarian method, talk therapy, and the final, worst taboo for me = anti-depressants.

Some people think doctors give these meds out as though they kept them in a bubblegum machine in their offices. That’s ok. I’m not here to rail against others’ preconceptions.

For me, it was the last confirmation, I was indeed, ‘crazy’ like my mom, her mom, all the siblings, my brother, the entire clan.

I was brainwashed into believing it was a personal weakness, a flaw of character if you will. But medication…medication saved my life.

Before then, I thought the people I met saw me the way I saw myself, socially awkward, shy, weird, ugly, unlikeable, too quiet, maybe too loud, unworthy of friendship or sometimes, even respect.

This past couple of years has been the best of my life. I accepted medication, to take it daily, no matter how excellent or horrible I feel and it was the best decision I have ever made.

If there’s someone you know, maybe it’s you that’s scared that you’ll be thrown into the cuckoo’s nest or checking into the funny farm, I strongly recommend, when you’re ready, when you’re strong enough, ask for help, see a doctor, be your own hero.

monkiss

Women, Art and Illness

“I am not sick. I am broken and as long as I can paint I am happy to be alive.”

– Frida Kahlo

A couple of weeks ago, I pressed my face against mortality after collapsing in my bathroom at 6 in the morning. Chaos ensued.

I was not cognizant of the urgency of my wife screaming, my mother-in-law, the nurse, telling her what to do while dialing 911. When someone who is otherwise healthy loses consciousness, it is cause for alarm.

Needless to say, I survived.

Although not without some injuries.

On my way to the floor, my body crumpled in on itself like a skyscraper on demolition day. I broke one foot and damaged ligaments in the opposite leg. I still have bruises. Luckily, I did not have what was widely suspected, a seizure disorder.

But this post is not about me, necessarily.

Frida Kahlo, artist-family and friends and the writer I am linking to below are inspirations to me.

http://beautifulwreck1.wordpress.com/2011/02/17/beautiful-wreck-the-book/

Stephanie Schroeder is another blogger and writer I have gotten to know through her magazine writing and columns. She is based in Brooklyn, NY and I invite you to take a look at her work and her very personal experience as a person with Bipolar Disorder.

It is often through illness and struggle that women have found art to express their strength. As I sit at home, unable to go to a job I love or be the active and energetic woman I am, writing this blog and knowing someone is reading and perhaps relating to my posts has kept me going.

My gratitude dear reader, for being such a part of my healing and recovery.

Ciaran