INTO THE LIGHT/SURVIVAL TIPS FOR THOSE WHO SUFFER BI-POLAR DISORDER/BY MARANTHA D. JENELLE


INTO THE LIGHT

BY:
A VICTIM OF BI-POLAR/SCHIZO-EFFECTIVE DISORDER,
ADHD AND SEVERE AGORAPHOBIA


Hello world. I will start of with a copy and paste excerpt from a response that I gave to someone’s response to something I had said.

It is about facing your demons, no matter what they might be, and the importance of remembering that all of us-no matter our age, race, religion, language or yes, disability or handicap-are human. as such.

We all experience the heights of great joy and the depths of equally great despair. I have removed the identifier of the person this was originally addressed to for their privacy…they had mentioned the possibility of becoming lost in the world of cyberspace.

[Yes, you are right about the chance of becoming so lost in cyber space that you literally do not eat, sleep or do any of the other things necessary for survival. I know…I fell into that trap for over a year when I had to give up being a self employed sign painter. It had been my only income, as I live in public housing. I am on disability and cannot work in the public as in being surrounded by people on a round the year basis. With the sign painting, those that I did the signs for knew about my illnesses and allowed me to “time out” when I was having problems with being around people.

It is really weird, but the times when I was actually working on a sign, feeling the brush move…seeing the ideas in my head come to colorful life…was the only time that I did not freak out when people tried to interact with me.

As long as it dealt with my art, with my talent, I could communicate and they actually seemed interested. But for all other subjects…uh uh…forget it…I end up left feeling like I should just find a rock, crawl under it, and leave the planet to those who deserve it.

Believe me, when your own mother tells you to your face that you aren’t even good enough to deserve breathing the same air with “real people” and that you were a mistake god made, it leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to building one’s confidence.

The only time I even feel sub-human is when someone just happens to notice that I am possessing of a modicum of talent in art, poetry and writing…at those times I feel at least a little worthy of the air I breath that might belong to another life traveler.

But I do have this to say to those who would seek to mock or revile or ridicule me for “stepping out of the closet” about my illness…I have never and will never deny that it is a reality for me.

And here is something for those who seek to throw stones and call me crazy….

Actually, I…and those like me who face the truth about their illnesses…are actually the sane ones!

“SAY WHAT????????!” You stammer in incredulous horror. “Admitting you have an emotional disorder is SANE?”

Yes-it is-for in facing the truth of the beast…rather than denying it…

I am turning and facing that very thing that casts the shadow upon my life.

I am turning and taking back power over my fears…for you cannot fight something you cannot see.

There is an old adage…”seeing is believing”…well…this is all too bitterly true when you have an illness…be it physical, mental or emotional. You cannot admit the reality of any of these till you turn and face them…till you look them in the metaphorical eye, so to speak.

Only when you face the reality of whatever demon haunts you…be it alcoholism, overeating, depression, or yes, being emotionally challenged…will you be able to know the true nature of your foe…

And learn what weapons to use to defeat it or them.

Yes, I freely admit that I suffer an emotional illness. I have never once sought to hide it. But it does not denote that I am unintelligent or that I possess no normal human feelings, frailties and strengths. I…and the millions and billions of those like me…are still human. And this also goes for the physically and mentally handicapped or challenged.

Always remember this, any who should read both this post…

A candle, though it may light a humble poor man’s stick and wattle hut just as easily as a majestic cathedral has no choice in where it is lit. The soul that dwells in each of us is just such a candle…it had no choice in the vessel into which it was put, but that in no way detracts from its ability to shine.

There is another old adage…”KNOWLEDGE IS POWER”. Only in facing and learning to know your foe can you determine the weapons to use against it.

For me, my art, poetry and writing are used for precisely that purpose…I use them as coping skills to help me to deal with the symptoms.

Some time back I wrote a small article on living “enhanced” (the ‘politically correct term for someone suffering an emotional or mental illness, sounds a lot better than ‘crazy’ you know, when such a sufferer just happens to come up in ‘polite conversation’.) in a non-enhanced world.

I am sharing that article, which is called INTO THE LIGHT, here. The artwork is my own, as is the cover design…

 

I N T R O D U C T I O N

The most common misconception made by people on the whole, when they discover that one of their fellow life travelers suffers from BI-POLAR DISORDER, is that they immediately assume that the person suffering from the illness is mentally deficient, which, in many cases, simply is not true.

Being BI-POLAR simply means that, just as a diabetic suffers from a chemical imbalance in their body, a person suffering from the bi-polar disorder suffers from the shortage of certain chemicals in their brains.

The bi-polar condition causes the person suffering the illness to experience rapid, and often inexplicable, mood and emotional changes, changes which can, admittedly, sometimes cause them to act out of normal character. It does not in any way denote their mental acuity.

In fact, some of the world’s greatest artist’s, author’s, musician’s, statesmen, thinker’s, and yes, even actor’s in today’s modern world, all either did suffer, or do suffer, from this illness.

Abraham Lincoln was a great president, but he suffered from this illness his entire life. And he is only one among many. And this is not only true of those afflicted with this particular illness, but it also includes schizophrenia and other forms of emotional or mental illness.

Though admittedly I do not know as much about the schizophrenic side of my particular illness, being diagnosed as schizo-effective (I sometimes hear things that are not really there, but only on rare occasions, usually when I am in a hyper manic phase, do I ever see things which are not really there.), rather than fully schizophrenic, as well as being diagnosed as bi-polar two (an explanation for the difference between bi-polar one and two will following in a separate section), I none the less, do know a little bit about being bi-polar, and the stress it can cause just getting from day to day.

And it is from this vantage point that I have composed this, what I guess could be called “a mini-help guide”, to explain what living with this illness has taught me.

This little piece of my life that I am sharing with the world is called, rather aptly ”INTO THE LIGHT” for the simple fact that I am hoping that perhaps some of the information contained within these pages may help another fellow sufferer into the light of somewhat self reliance out of the dark of total imprisonment by their illness. This page will contain information on the importance of learning everything you can about your illness.

Some of the things which will be covered in this article are…..

*about facing the truth that your illness is real. This is the first and most crucial step in being able to gain some modicum of control over your illness. Only when you face the reality of the situation will you be able to institute steps to cope with it.

*about the importance of not only faithfully adhering to any medication schedule you may be on, but of knowing what medications you are currently taking, their side effects, what each medication is for, and what medications, or yes, even foods, that might be taken or eaten in conjunction with the medication regime a person might currently be on that could cause an adverse reaction,

*about various ways you can learn to recognize and watch for things that act as ”triggers” (I will be discussing ”triggers” later on in this article), to an episode,

*about ways you can learn to monitor yourself for indications that you may be fixing to be headed for an episode. This means looking back and analyzing what you were feeling, emotionally, and yes even physically, right before you started feeling bad. This is extremely important if you are to learn to know when to begin instituting your coping skills…..

*about various coping skills (these will be discussed and explained later in this article), that might be tried, (or developed individually, for no single coping skill works the same for any two people), that can help the afflicted person to get through the episodes when they occur, or even, in some cases, prevent them from occurring at all,

*about how your attitude, how you feel about yourself, can have either a positive or a negative, effect on your illness. If you have a low self image, you will find it much more difficult to cope, as you will already be in a negative frame of mind. It is far easier, and much less stressful, to fight, say, severe/clinical depression, if your thoughts and attitude are already somewhat positive, at least then you will think and feel that you are worth the effort required to institute means of trying to help yourself.

*about the importance of having faith in SOMETHING, even if it is only yourself, that you are worth making the effort to stay well,

*and last but by no means least, about the importance of the power that positive thinking can have on how one reacts to an episode and to their illness in general. The power of the human mind is an incredible thing. It has been proven in actual clinical tests that, when two separate groups of people, all suffering from the same illness, were given both a real medication to help with the symptoms of the illness and a placebo, the group that was given the placebo actually had a portion of the group that recovered. Their minds were so convinced that they had received the actual medication that it produced actual, tangible, physical results…..they got better. And thus is it the same in the case of a mental illness, a person who has a positive mindset will do far better at being able to help themselves than someone who has a negative mindset.

How, you might be asking yourself, can this lady write about something of this nature. The answer is simple, I am fifty one years old at the time of this writing, and I suffer from bi-polar/schizo-effective disorder.

I was diagnosed in 1995, but the illness goes back much further than that. And one thing I will tell you now, you are not to blame for your illness.

This illness, both the bi-polar and the schizophrenia, can quite often be hereditary. So let your hearts be at ease on that point at least. It is not something to be ashamed of, and it can be controlled to a certain degree through faithful adherence to medication schedules and dosages, to coping skills utilization, and to many or all of the things that will be, or have been, mentioned in this message to the world.

And the most important thing for everyone to remember, you are a person too, and you are worth making the effort to stay well. You can, by utilizing some or all of the things I will mention in the following paragraphs, be capable of leading a somewhat normal life.

F A C I N G    T H E    T R U T H


This is the first, and perhaps hardest, thing you will ever do in your journey towards learning to live with, and function with, your illness….facing the truth that it is real.

Until you are willing to face the truth of the situation, you will never truly be able to learn to deal with the situation. Just because you turn your back on a snake does not mean it is not there and will not bite you, and it is the same with your illness, just because you refuse to admit its reality does not mean it is not real.

As long as you refuse to face your illness’ reality, you will never be able to find, and effectively utilize, means by which you can cope with it.

Once you have faced the reality of your illness, the next step is learning how to live with it. There are some very important steps that can be utilized to accomplish this.

M E D I C A T I O N S

I will begin with medications, for they are the center around which all the other things I will be addressing revolve, and they are the main key to a person suffering from this illness to be able to function from day to day. This information, when learned and instituted, can, in many ways, put the person suffering the illness back in charge, instead of the other way around.

The first thing I would like to make very clear is that being on medication does not stop at simply taking it. There are many other factors involved. The major ones are as follows:

BEING MEDICATION COMPLIANT

This means that you take your medications exactly as prescribed, both in dosage levels and on time…..

KNOWING YOUR MEDICATIONS 

This is important on several levels, the primary one being that if you ever have to go to the family doctor, you will be able to tell them what medications you are currently taking so that they can work to find something to help you with the problem for which you sought them out without the medications they might prescribe conflicting with the ones you are currently taking.

It is also very important to know your medications, names, dosage size, dosage levels, and frequency of usage, should you ever have to go to a pharmacy for any reason to get over the counter medications. Then the pharmacist will be able to advise you on what you can safely take.

LEARNING THE SIDE EFFECTS 

This is extremely important. Only in knowing what side effects might occur with each of your medications will you know what to watch for should something out of the ordinary occur either in your physical, emotional, or mental well being.

Many medications share the same or similar side effects. Knowing what these are could not only save you expensive, time consuming trips to the doctor, but they could give you warning signs ahead of time that there might be something wrong.

The more you learn about the side effects possible through any and all medications you take, not only those you take for your illness, but also any across the counter drugs as well, could save much trouble in the future.

Remember, forewarned is forearmed.

And one further thing, though it is not commonly known, some foods, especially highly acidic ones, can cause serious complications with certain medications. The best thing to do is to read all literature that is provided when you pick up your medications, or you can request information on each medication you take from your pharmacist.

The better you educate yourself about your medications, the better off you will be.

KEEPING A MED JOURNAL 

The first, and perhaps most important reason, for keeping a med journal is to let you know when you have already taken the medication so that you do not repeat a dosage. Always put down the date and the time you take each dosage.

By keeping up with your medication, you will also be providing a record for any home health or home nursing personnel you might happen to have so that they will be kept up to date.This means that you record each time you take your medication. There are several good reasons for doing this…..

Also make notes in the medication journal of any unusual changes in your physical or emotional state each day. These notes, when your provider or doctor (you should always carry the journal with you to any doctor’s visits so that he is aware also of what is happening), review them, will better enable them to know if you need any medications titrated, changed, or, in some cases, completely discontinued. This is one of the primary reasons it is necessary for you to learn as much as you can about the side effects that might be caused by the medications, for the more aware you are of those possible side effects, the better you will be able to work with the doctors and providers.

BEING PREPARED

Get a small notebook, one that can be carried in a jeans or shirt pocket, and put any and all personal information in it, name, address, birth date, social security number, any insurance policy information, allergies, person to contact in case of an emergency, the name and phone number of your counselor and doctor who are in charge of helping you with your illness, the name and phone number of your family physician, the name of the hospital (both physical and psychiatric), where you usually go when things get bad, and the name/names of the doctor(s) who usually attend to you there, and last but not least, a list of any and all medications you are taking, for your illness, any that your family physician may have prescribed, and any across the counter medications you may be taking at that time. Carry this little information booklet on your person at all times, it could very well save your life. Nearly all of the time, in the event of an accident or if medical personal are called in for an emergency where you cannot communicate on your own, one of the first things they usually do is search you for any identifying information. By having all of your important information in that little booklet on your person, they will have nearly everything they need to care for you. And it is very important that you keep this little book updated if your medications change.

T R I G G E R S

Triggers” are things that, in certain situations, can either aggravate or accelerate symptoms when a person suffering from the bi-polar disorder is either in a ”hyper-manic” (bi-polar two, suffering from both hyper mania and/or severe/clinical depression) or ”severe/clinically depressed” (bi-polar one, suffering primarily severe depression), phase of the illness. Persons in a hyper-manic phase, when confronted with the ”trigger” often display extreme reactions to the occurring event, and can sometimes act out aggressively, while person in a severe/clinically depressed phase can slide even further into depression, so much so that they might even think of harming themselves out of the belief that there is no hope.

Some of the primary triggers that can cause these accelerated reactions are…..

FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH MEDICATION SCHEDULES

NOT GETTING ENOUGH REST

NOT EATING RIGHT

STRESS, BOTH MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL, WHICH CAN BE CAUSED BY BOTH INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL FACTORS

CONSTANT STRESS FROM OUTSIDE FORCES OR SITUATIONS

People suffering from this disorder can sometimes be very volatile and unpredictable in their reactions to certain situations. There emotional responses to things are very accelerated and heightened. In the manic phase they can often be very impulsive, which can result in actions that could prove harmful to not only their physical well being, but their emotional and financial as well. They may act impulsively and out of normal character, they are easily excitable, and are often easily angered, which could prove harmful to both their own well being and the person with whom they are angry. Good judgment often falls by the wayside in a person suffering from hyper mania. Because their thought patterns are so scattered, common everyday tasks such as paying bills, managing their checkbooks, and other such functions can often become too overwhelming for them to stay focused on (and I speak from experience on this point, for I have to have an assigned payee to handle my finances, or my bills would probably never get paid!).

On the opposite end of the spectrum, for someone suffering from severe/clinical depression, it can often seem that just breathing requires more effort than they have to expend. They have a tendency to let both their environment and their own personal selves go, they lose interest in just about everything around them, and all too often try to withdraw as completely from the world as they possibly can. They tend to withdraw into themselves, shutting out everything around them in an attempt to hide from the unutterable sadness that seems to go soul deep and which seems to have literally no end. They often lose their appetite, their energy level, their interest in anything around them, and all to sadly, the interest in even living. Many suicides have been caused by depression, especially in preteens and teens, due to peer pressure and social expectations. It can also be found in adults due to social and economic factors., as well as the simple act of trying to survive.

A person suffering from severe/clinical depression’s main goal will be to seek to find a way to end the pain that seems to swallow their very souls. For them, hope is merely a word, not a reality. Their world is one of darkness, a world which, to them, will never see the light. They are often caught up in dwelling on the past to the extent that the present is a living nightmare in which they see no future.  They often, quite literally, lose their very will to live.

In order to recognize what might act as triggers, you must first be willing to examine in close detail what was occurring just prior to the onset of the episode. Were you overtired? Were you overworked? Were you physically ill, thereby weakening you and exposing you to the possibility of an episode occurring? Were you upset about something? Had you been in a high stress situation for an extended period of time? All of these these, and more, can act as ”triggers” for an episode of your illness to accelerate. And perhaps the most important question you could ever ask yourself is….”what emotions were you experiencing just prior to the episode?” In learning to recognize these warning signs you can better be able to at least have some hope of possibly controlling, if not totally stopping, an episode, for the knowledge you gain can help you to prepare when you again experience that emotional state, or are in those types of situations. The more aware you become of the warning signs of an episodes imminent occurrence, the more you will learn to recognize, and institute, steps to, if not completely stop, at least reduce the severity of, the episodes.

RE C O G N I Z I N G    T H E    S Y M P T O M S

Learning to recognize when you are beginning to feel bad is one of the very important steps in keeping yourself well. It means you will have to go back and examine what you were feeling, both emotionally, and yes, physically, right before the episode occurred. That way you will know that when you begin feeling that way again you can start utilizing your coping skills right away.

C O P I N G    S K I L L S

But there is a small ray of hope, a tiny fragile light at the end of the tunnel, for those that are suffering from this very real and very debilitating illness, and that is through not only the faithful adherence to their medication regime, but also through ”coping skills”…..

Coping skills can consist of anything that allows you to ”step back”, or temporarily ”switch mental tracks” when you are experience an episode. Coping skill are, basically, anything that you can become focused on almost exclusively, allowing you to step back from whatever is contributing to the symptoms you are experiencing, or from the symptoms themselves.

Some of the coping skills that I personally use are drawing, painting, writing, working with simple origami, reading, calligraphy, and creating pop up designs. Performing these activities give me a chance to withdraw for a short time from what is distressing me or even to help cope with the symptoms themselves, as when I am hyper manic and my mind is racing, I choose one of the activities and allow myself to become so lost in the performance of the activity that for a short time I actually am able to control the symptoms instead of them controlling me.

For a man who is experiencing the symptoms, he might work on a car, mow the lawn, or even just go out for a drive or a ride on a motorcycle. For a woman she might cook, clean, sew, knit, or any other activity that allows her to withdraw from the symptoms for awhile.

Although coping skills vary from person to person, for no two people either suffer their symptoms exactly the same nor do they react to the use of the same exact coping skills, one fact remains, any activity that you are able to do that allows you to step back from the symptoms, especially if it is something that you can use your hands as well as your mind on and that allows you to, for all intents and purposes, find a ”quiet place”, can be utilized as a coping skill. Any activity that allows you to ”unwind” and ”slow down” can be used as a coping skill.

With practice, anyone can develop their own set of personal coping skills. And coping skills can be useful not only for those who are “enhanced” (the ”politically correct” term for anyone suffering from an emotional or mental disability), they can also be developed and utilized by those who are non-enhanced as well, for we all go through times of stress, anxiety, and confused feelings. And yes, coping skills take time to be developed, and sometimes you make have to ”tweek” them here and there to make them work for different situations, but the very fact you have them to fall back on can make a big difference in whether you control your illness or it controls you.

A T T I T U D E

How you think of yourself will have a definite effect on how you are able to handle your illness. Your attitude about yourself, about whether you are worth making the efforts needed to help yourself, will play a large part in whether the coping skills work well. If you have a positive attitude and truly feel you are worth making the effort to learn your symptoms, and how to know when to react to those symptoms and begin instituting your coping skills, you will find it far easier to stay in control than someone who has a negative attitude towards not only their illness but themselves. And keeping that positive attitude will help to give you the strength and will to even want to institute the coping skills in the first place.

F A I T H

It helps also to have faith in something. Even if you do not believe in a higher power and have faith in it, as long as you have faith in SOMETHING, even if it is only in the fact that you are worth making the effort to stay well, will go a long way towards helping you to attain that goal. You have to have faith in something in order to have hope, for if you have no hope, you cannot maintain your desire to even make the effort to keep yourself well.

T H I N K I N G    P O S I T I V E

To you who are reading this little message, I have this to say, you can make a difference, you can have a life despite your illness and you are worth fighting for. You can do this. Yes, it may be difficult at first, but with patience, determination, and a strong belief in yourself, that you are worth the effort, you can do it, you can take back you life.

Think positive! The power of the human mind is amazing! Just as in the example I gave earlier, where the two groups of people were given the actual medication and the placebo, you can, in many ways, strengthen yourself by thinking positive and trying to view things in a positive light as much as possible.

Some ways you might accomplish this are:

TRY TO TELL YOURSELF AT LEAST ONE POSITIVE THING EACH MORNING AS SOON AS YOU WAKE UP, EVEN IF IT IS ONLY…”TODAY WILL BE A GOOD DAY”

TRY TO SURROUND YOURSELF WITH POSITIVE UPLIFTING COLORS AND ITEMS AROUND YOUR HOME (NOT TOO BRIGHT OR THEY COULD REACT AGAINST YOU IF YOU SUFFER HYPER MANIA AND NOT TOO DARK OR THEY COULD FURTHER INCREASE YOUR DEPRESSION)

TRY KEEPING SOME FORM OF UPLIFTING, SPIRIT BRIGHTENING MUSIC GOING IN THE BACKGROUND AS YOU MOVE AROUND YOUR HOME

COPY LITTLE INSPIRATIONAL VERSES YOU MIGHT FIND AND LIKE AND PLACE THEM WHERE YOU CAN SEE THEM THROUGHOUT THE DAY

TRY TO AVOID WATCHING SHOWS OR VIDEO’S THAT ARE EITHER FULL OF EXTREMELY AGGRESSIVE OR MANIC TYPE ACTIVITY OR THAT ARE SAD AND DEPRESSING, FOR THEY CAN, IN SOME CASES, ACT AS TRIGGERS

(SPEAKING OF MOVIES AND VIDEO’S, NEXT TIME YOU BEGIN FEELING DEPRESSED, TRY BEING A CHILD AGAIN, GET SOME CARTOONS, MAKE SOME POPCORN, KICK BACK AND JUST CHILL, YOU MIGHT BE SURPRISED, IT ACTUALLY WORKS!)

AND ALSO IMPORTANT, IF YOU HAVE FRIENDS WHO USUALLY HAVE A PESSIMISTIC, DOWNTRODDEN ATTITUDE, TRY NOT TO DEAL WITH THEM ON DAYS WHEN YOU ARE SUFFERING FROM PERIODS OF DEPRESSION, THEY WILL DRAG YOU FURTHER DOWN. AND THIS ALSO APPLIES TO BEING AROUND HIGHLY EXCITABLE, ENERGETIC PEOPLE WHEN YOU ARE MANIC. IT IS FAR BETTER TO BE WITH FRIENDS WHO HAVE A CALMING INFLUENCE ON YOU WHEN YOU ARE SUFFERING THE EFFECTS OF YOUR ILLNESS.

P A N I C    A T T A C K S

These debilitating occurrences can, quite literally, make you think you are having a heart attack. In the event of a panic attack, if at all possible, try to get some place quiet, find a place you can comfortably sit back, place your hands on your knees or at your sides, try to relax and begin breathing in..one-two-three-out…one-two-three. Continue to do this, and try to keep your mind as clear as possible, block out everything around you as much as you can and just stay focused on the rhythm of your breathing. It actually does help.

F I N A L     N O T E S

In closing I would like to say that you have the power to take at least a small amount of control over how your illness affects both you and your life. By following the steps and advice presented in this message, you can, with time, patience, attention to what is going on within you, and persistence, make a difference in whether your illness controls you, or whether you control it.

One final note, ALWAYS FOLLOW YOUR MEDICATION REGIME!

It is my hope and my prayer for you, the reader, if you are one of those that suffers from a mental or emotional illness, that you may hopefully have gained some helpful information from this, my little message to the world.

Amber Michelle/Marantha Jenelle

SPECIAL NOTE: THIS IS MARANTHA JENELLE, IF ANY WHO READ THIS EITHER SUFFERS THIS ILLNESS, OR ANY OTHER EMOTIONAL ILLNESS, AND WOULD LIKE A COPY OF THIS ARTICLE, EMAIL ME AT words2ponder@gmail.com AND I WILL SEND IT TO YOU FOR FREE. I AM NOT A DOCTOR, I HAVE NO MEDICAL OR PSYCHOLOGY TRAINING AT ALL…EVERYTHING IN THIS ARTICLE CAME VIA “THE SCHOOL OF HARD KNOCKS” IN MY JOURNEY TO LEARN TO FUNCTION WITH, DEAL WITH AND LIVE WITH THIS ILLNESS. AS I SAID, IF YOU LIKED THIS ARTICLE AND SHOULD WISH TO OBTAIN A COPY SIMPLY EMAIL ME AT words2ponder@gmail.com AND I WILL DO A REPLY AND THEN DELETE YOUR ADDRESS. HEAVEN BLESS ALL,

MARANTHA JENELLE

THE WOMAN IN THE MIRROR


I sit here tonight, my mind in turmoil. I have been reading over some of the posts that I have made in the past. One of them, MY JOURNEY, got me to thinking. For those that have read any of my posts that deal with matters pertaining to my relationship with my mother and family, my illnesses, or, for that matter, the world at large, you will have more than likely already figured some things out.

One of the key things is that I have known a lot of pain and suffering. Mayhaps not as much as some, or mayhaps more than some, but enough. Another thing that may become apparent, the more one reads of what I have chosen to share with the world at large is that I am very lacking in self confidence. Due to this, I constantly find myself seeking validation that I even have a right to exist. When one spends a lifetime of being told that they are worthless, they come to believe it. This is something that I touched on in my post, MASKS.

I am, at the time of this writing, fifty four years of age. In that time I have been ignored, reviled, mocked, scorned, hated, abused-emotionally…mentally…and yes…sometimes physically. I was told by my own mother, after I brought home a failed report card when i was eleven, that I was “too stupid to teach and too dumb to learn”…”a waste of skin and air”…and that she “wished she had drowned me at birth”. This was stated by my own mother. Any who have read my posts pertaining to her already know that she more or less ignored me during my childhood, and that she forced me to sleep with her current “flavor of the month” “companion” or she would take custody of my daughter and kick me out with nothing. You already know that she punished me when I tried to tell her when one of her other “companions” raped me, sodomized me, and forced me to go down on him when I was eight. If I have ever honestly hated anyone, it is her…and my sister.

Ah, now therein lies another story. My sister, apple of my mother’s eyes, thief of her love and affection, self appointed “behavior, attitude, appearance, and outlook nazi”…and thief of monies entrusted her by the courts when she was appointed my assigned payee.

The same person who, when she could no longer safely withdraw funds from my back pay, pawned me off onto another assigned payee, who is taking thirty five dollars a month to do practically nothing.

The same person who only gave me fifty dollars a week to live on, and only took me on two shopping trips a year, spending less than one hundred dollars each time.

The same person who took me to birthday lunches and then paid for them out of my funds, and who bought my birthday and Christmas gifts out of my own money.

The same person who lives less than five miles from me, yet, in five years, did not come to see me or call me, save for my birthday, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The same person who would invite me for the holidays, and then proceed to totally ignore me while I was there.

The same person who-knowing that I do not react well to strangers-made certain that there was a house full of them during those holidays, thus further alienating me. She disowned me a week before Thanksgiving, last year, after I confronted her about my suspicions about the back pay money.

My pain does not stop there though. Oh no, add in a daughter I damn near died twice having who took great pleasure in lying to me, and then disowned me without saying why.

As the icing on the cake, I have been trapped in a government housing project for twenty two of my fifty four years, surrounded by drunks, drug takers, drug sellers, abusers, pimps, whores and people who just sit on their backsides taking “THE MAN’S” handouts without even trying to better themselves. It is enough to drive a person mad…if they possess any sense of decency, morality, integrity, or the drive to want more…to dare to dream of a better future. I am not as they are, perhaps it would be better for my peace of mind if I were.

So, as I stated, I have been reading through some of my older posts, trying to edit them based on new knowledge of writing skills that I have gained through the working with of my new copy editor. Many of those same posts will be gradually edited based on that new knowledge. So I will apologize now to any who might read them in their current format. I fear that at the time they were written, I was rather lax from a punctuation standpoint. All I can do is throw myself on the mercy of my readers, whatever few those might be, and pray that they will bear in mind that about ninety five percent of those posts were done when I was either extremely manic or very depressed. You can always tell the manic ones, for the entire paragraphs are usually one long “freight trained” sentence! (Uh, I might add, that is exactly how I talk in real life as well when I am manic.)

Anyway, back on track. As I stated, when I read my post MY JOURNEY, it got me to thinking-who exactly am I? Am I the woman who has known enough pain and rejection to embitter her for the rest of her life? Or am I the stubborn woman who refuses to validate every negative thing that my family and the world at large has ever said about me?

One would think, given what I have endured in my life, that I would be hard, bitter, hateful, yet I am not. Well, let me amend that, I AM bitter about a lot of things, I would not be human if I did not hold some resentment for the pain and rejection that I have known in my life. Believe me, I am no saint, far from it. I can be extremely vindictive and hateful when I am lied to or crossed. But for the most part, I try very hard not to inflict on others the pain that I myself have known. I have a saying that I devised: ONE WHO HAS FELT THE STING OF THE LASH ON THEMSELVES IS FAR MORE RELUCTANT TO USE IT ON ANOTHER. If you stop and think about it, it is true.

When I look in the mirror these days, I find that I like myself a little better than I used to, for I am finally realizing that I do have things to offer, despite my illness. Now let’s just hope the world will see those things and accept my stories with more grace than it has ever accepted me.

Special notice to those currently following me: Many of the posts that I have already made will be undergoing changes in the coming days. I just ask that you bear with me.

The woman in the mirror is smiling, for she is growing, and she is learning to give herself the love that no one else will.

marantha d. jenelle

DOUBLE-SIDED BLADE


One would think that I would be comatose by now, given the fact that I have only had seven hours of sleep in three days. The mania is bad enough, but when you throw depressions into the mix, it makes for some rather interesting results.

Sleeplessness.

Edginess

Racing thoughts

Nightmares

If it were not for my meds and my coping skills, I would more than likely be one of three places…a psych ward…a straight jacket…

Or the cemetery.

Big choice.

My illness is a double sided blade, it keeps me under constant stress just trying to develop coping skills to deal with it, and it seems to be the source of my talents, for I can neither draw nor write the rare occasions when I am calm.

And in the highest of ironies, the very gifts that seem to find their roots in my illness are mainly what I use as coping skills to deal with it.

So, for a coping skill right now, to try to slow down my thoughts, I have chosen to share how I use one of the selfsame talents, writing.

I will be truthful, I do not know if anyone will actually read this, much less care enough to comment, but perhaps another who walks this road may gain some ideas through my words that might help them. I have little knowledge of the world outside my home, as I withdrew from it shortly after I ceased being able to work as a sign painter over ten years ago. That world has brought me nothing but pain, rejection, ridicule and even at times physical abuse because it simply could not accept me as I am, so I withdrew from it for my own well being.

I will say this straight up front to any who read this or may consider following me, if you are expecting witticism, humor, trendy discussions, cutesy-cutesy stories or sayings, or things of that nature in following me, then I fear you are going to be sadly mistaken. It is rather difficult to crack jokes when you have been the butt of them most of your life. I have little to no sense of humor and I do not see things the way most people do.

I do not think as most do, nor do I express myself in their way. On my fiftieth birthday I woke up and realized I had wasted my whole life trying to change and hide who I was in the fruitless pursuit of approval and acceptance and I made a decision, or, you might say, a vow…

For whatever time is left to me, I am going to be true to myself, and to heck with what everyone thinks I should be. I am tired of dancing on my hind legs like a trained poodle hoping for a handout only to get kicked in the ribs or handed poison.

If you read my pages, stories or verses, and you do not wish to comment, then so be it. I guess my words won’t be accepted any more via written form than they are vocally, but to those few who do take the time from their own busy lives to not only read but to comment on my words and my thoughts that I share with with you, as long as the comments are not hurtful, derogatory, or demeaning, then I thank you in advance.

This is MY page…MY blog…MY words…

Just as the stories I write are. Those who either have or may in the future choose to follow me will quickly learn I have a proclivity for both unusual means of expressing myself and also in the usage of descriptives. I do not write flat, cookie cutter renditions of stories that are ghost images of a thousand like them by the time the agents, editors and other “crystal balls of the wants and opinions of the masses” demand that I remove the very things that give the story life…that paint pictures with words, I write from my heart.

Which is precisely why I got permanently banned by a bunch of arrogant, supercilious supposed be-all’s and end-all’s of knowledge of what the masses want because I refused to follow current trends and made my opinions and feelings known with regards to becoming a pre-programmed little robot, churning out color-by-number stories practically devoid of any life at all once you remove the paranormal, violence, sex, crime, immorality and special effects.

And before someone jumps up and starts waving their finger in the air shouting “Ah, but you write fantasy!”, yes, I do, but I write in a style that is distinctly my own, with emotions, as the story tellers of long ago would have told them, with all of the descriptive detail.

For any who are interested, read what I have here and on Scribd, the link to my page which is  http://www.scribd.com/jparupai and decide for yourselves if you like my style of writing. If you do, I would welcome your comment or a follow and will try to reciprocate, if you write in a genre I favor, but if you do not, then that is alright too.

But do not demand I change.

Those days ended the day of  my fiftieth birthday. Which is why I will be using CreateSpace or Lulu to publish my books, for they will be in my words, my voice, and not a story that has had the life sucked out of it by those who claim to be the all knowing god’s of what the masses desire.

In short, they will be written from the heart, for the sake of the story…

Not the bankbook, power, prestige, or my name on billboards.

I am fifty three, agoraphobic, and reclusive. Let those who favor center stage frequent it, I am content to be the one changing the music to which they dance, but I will be true to myself and hold my own music within my heart and soul. If I make enough to get myself out of my current depressing conditions and maybe afford a few extras now and then, I am content. Beyond that, money has little interest to me, nor the things it gains.

Nothing purchased by mortal coin can be taken with you when you depart this earthly prison.

A simple two bedroom little home, if it is mine and mine alone, is enough for me, for you can only occupy one space at a time, and if it keeps me warm, dry and sheltered, then it is enough.

The clothing I wear need not be high class, for it merely performs a function, to hide my nudity and to protect me from the elements.

The food I eat need not be gourmet, as long as it nourishes me.

I have no need of fancy possessions, for I have no friends to worry about impressing.

At least if people do choose my company and companionship, I know they are choosing me, not what I can do for them, or how they can brag that they know me in order to build their own self worth. I almost pity those with wealth, for they go to their graves never knowing if those who claimed to be their friends really were, or if it was their money, position and social standing that kept them tagging along.

Better to live completely alone than to live a life of doubting your own self worth.

I am not now nor ever will be the worlds best writer, for I speak in my own voice and I refuse to become a drone. I tend to use phrasing and terms that may not fit into what is acceptable “by the masses”, but somewhere out there, maybe only a handful, there are those who think somewhat as I do. And I will make no apologies for that. Either accept me as I am, or accept me not at all.

For those who should read this, or any of my other posts, if my words find favor in your eyes and you should wish to comment, then feel free to do so, I am no longer basing my view of my own worth on the “notches” in my mental comment tally. But if you do comment, please have the common courtesy and decency to refrain from derogatory ones. If you have nothing good to say, then say nothing at all. I am not a target for you to sling your poison penned darts at.

Nor are my posts and pages places for you to leave your advertising, for whatever purpose. I am not your personal billboard.

Many will view my words with disfavor, and this is their right, but I tender no apologies for those selfsame words.

At least I am honest and do not wear a mask.

MARANTHA D. JENELLE

TORN


 

Yet once again I put fingers to keys as my mind races and whirls and sleep lies just out of reach. I have been working on editing my newest book, CHILD OF DESTINY, trying to make it to where, hopefully, it will be accepted.

I mentioned in one of my other posts that I had been banned from one of the critique sites, but I did not explain why. The simple truth is they kept wanting me to change my stories, kept telling me to read loads of stuff in the genre I want to write in, and never seemed satisfied with the changes I made.

I posted the first two chapters four or five times on that site, and every time I changed something, they wanted more. The fifth time I had had enough. I had changed my original voice, my original words, to the point where they no longer were mine, they had begun to be a frankenstein-type mishmash of what my original creation had been.

By the time that I had followed the advice of those that had found my words unworthy, I had stripped my story of the very things that painted a mental picture of not only the characters themselves, but of the emotions I had originally been trying to convey, leaving nothing but bare boned skeletons performing on a nearly empty stage that was almost completely devoid of setting or atmosphere.

I was recently accused of being self centered, stubborn, and whiney, always complaining about my bad luck, and that I basically used my illnesses as a crutch and as an excuse not to change. Well folks, I have a few things to say about that.

First off, let me make it unmistakeably clear that I am very aware than not only am I not the only one that suffers the things I do, but also that there are others that endure a lot more or worse.

I am very aware that there are those out there that write a thousand times better than I do.

I am very aware that there are those out there that know a lot more than I do about writing.

And I am very aware that I do dwell on my illness, that I do focus on myself, and that I can be stubborn.

But I want one thing understood quite clearly, or rather several things…

One…I spent the first fifty years of my life bending over backwards trying to change every time someone told me they didn’t like something about  me…till I woke up the morning of my fiftieth birthday and realized I didn’t even know who-much less WHAT-I was any more…and I decided that enough was enough, what little time I had left on this miserable mud ball of a planet I was going to be true to myself…

Two…I am not twisting anyone’s arms to force them to like either myself nor my words or stories, but I am through trying to please everyone else…if those who read either my posts or my stories and like or dislike them, at least I will know the words were mine and not words that I had been forced to say or write in order to be accepted. If I make any changes, it will because I choose to make the changes and not because someone else thinks I should just to fit their preconceived idea of what I should say or write!

Three…I write using descriptives, period. When I write, I do so from my heart, building not only the characters through description, but the stage settings and emotions as well.

And no, I do not chop up-compress-dilute those tellings, I write them as close to what I am seeing in my mind, heart and soul as I can, trying to paint a word picture of those images.

And yes, I often uses words, terms and phrasing that may be considered “out of vogue” in this modern age, but my writing is still comprehensible to those that take the time to read it.

If I am to be persecuted and rejected by the masses for that, then so be it, there must surely be at least one or two in this world that will appreciate my style of writing, but I refuse to alter myself or my words simply to garner that world’s approval.

In short, either accept me for myself or accept me not at all.

There are those who may read this post and take exception to my words, but I refuse to hide my true self.

If my style of writing will not be accepted by agents and editors, then I will save myself the heartache and disappointment of rejection after rejection and simply publish my stories myself through places such as lulu or createspace.

I may never become a “household word”, an “icon” or a “literary marvel”, and I may never sell millions of books or be listed on any major “best seller” lists, but that is fine, as I do not seek the publicity anyway, only a way to better my current situation.

I do not have that many years left and money is merely a means of attaining a possible home of my own and independence. If I make just enough to get me out from under the restrictions currently keeping me in this situation, so that I can use my other talents to better aid myself, then I will be content.

As I said, either accept me as I am or do not accept me at all, but do not demand that I change who I am, for your demands will not be met.

I change what I want to change based on what I feel will be best for me, not based on what someone else feels would be best for them in order to accept me.

I have been torn into too many pieces for most of my life…

I intend to spend what is left of it trying to put myself back together again.

That being said, blessings to all who have taken the time to read this, even if they don’t agree with my words.

And one thing, these words are not meant to offend, anger, or belittle anyone, fellow writer or otherwise, but are merely a statement of fact and personal opinion.

 

MARANTHA D. JENELLE

THE MONSTER WITH MANY FACES


Living with an emotional or mental illness is like living with a monster with many faces. Your emotional and mental state is never constant, but can change at the blink of an eye.

One moment you are so hyper that you feel like you will explode…the next you might feel so low it would take a hundred foot pole to touch a snake’s belly…another you might, just out of the blue, be so frustrated and enraged that you want to punch something, or, god forbid, someone.

Some days you feel so edgy that it takes very little to set you off. Your reaction could be laughter at the weirdest, or in some cases, most inappropriate things or times…a sudden onset of extreme hyper wordiness…an inability to sit still or to focus on any one thing…or it could be flashes of rage that hit so fast you don’t even have time to try to prevent them.

And then some days you are so sad, so depressed, that just the act of simply breathing doesn’t even seem worth the effort. You simply do not care about anything, or any one…including yourself.

I would like to reach out to any that should read these posts that suffer an emotional or mental illness yet are still able to think and reason and function more or less rationally and ask you  to share how you handle living with the symptoms.

Do you use coping skills?

Do you take meds and if so, do you take them faithfully?

Do you ever have days you just want to say “To heck with the meds!” and simply stop taking them, even knowing what will happen if you do?

Do you ever feel rage at the fact that your independence and ability to function on your own, more or less, revolves around taking meds?

Do you ever feel sometimes that you have your illness permanently branded into your forehead for all of the world to see and judge you on?

Do you ever feel that the world treats you like a moron, like you have no sense, no brains, once it learns you suffer an emotional or mental illness?

Do you ever feel like you are shunted aside…ignored…a ghost simply because people who know about your illness treat you as if you have nothing of worth to say or offer?

Do you ever feel like a failure because no one seems to notice you have talents or things you can do?

Do you hold your illness within, trying to act like others, out of fear of rejection, ridicule, or even possible physical abuse if others became aware of it?

Are you afraid to get close to others, or let others close to you, out of fear of their reaction if they find out?

If you answered yes to even one third of the above questions, then please know that you are not alone. There are literally millions of us in this world.

And there are places that can help us, but first we must face one of the biggest decisions we will probably ever make in connection to our illness…

To deny it

or

To face it

In trying to deny it…trying to pretend it does not exist…we, in the end, actually give our illnesses more power over us, for we allow them to deny us not only the comfort of possible friends and other supportive human contact, we deny ourselves the choice to seek possible help.

It is somewhat comparable to that “monster under the bed” that frightened us so much as children. We lay there, night after night, afraid to move for fear of awakening that beast.

Only when we gained the courage to grab the flashlight of truth and shine it beneath the bed of that fear did we discover that the monster we had been so afraid of turned out to be dirty socks, dust bunnies and pieces of pizza that would have qualified for exhibits in an archeological display.

But to turn and face that monster head on only to find that the shadow of fear had been much larger than the monster itself, ah, now that is a heady feeling.

Denial, of anything, not just an illness, is like placing the thing that you deny behind you, allowing it to dog your footsteps, with the light of denial throwing that things shadow ahead of it…over you…and enlarging it. It is impossible to fight shadows.

Only when you turn and face the thing casting that shadow, when you view it in the light of truth, then and only then can you see the reality of that thing you feared. Only then will you see the true nature of the beast and know what you are up against, thereby giving you an idea of what weapons you need to deal with it.

Remember this, just because you turn your back on a venomous serpent does not mean that it does not exist and will not strike.

Only when you face the truth can you begin to take steps to find ways of coping with and even possibly conquering the problem. And this is true of all things that we give the power to harm us, destroy our live, happiness and futures through denial.

Only when you turn and face that “monster with many faces” will you be able to see behind the masks.

UNHEARD VOICES


I sometimes wonder if the world realizes just how much art, music and poetry is lost to us simply because the world did not deem the creator of those things worthy of notice. As I mentioned in my post, “DOUBLE SIDED BLADE”, the very thing that sets me apart from society, my illnesses, also seems to be the source of my talents, for I can neither draw nor write on the rare occasions when I am “stable”. And this has also been true of the few of my contacts who had talents that were willing to admit that they suffered emotional illnesses.

But what really shocked me is that many of them told me that they do just as I do-use the talents to help them deal with the symptoms of their illnesses.

For me, when the symptoms are riding me the hardest, I have found that  by working on a painting-whether “real world” or on the computer-or writing, I can lose myself for a little while. Working with those projects almost seems to build a wall between myself and the symptoms the more involved I get with whatever project I am currently working on. And the ones that I have talked to have told me it is that way with them also.

When I first began posting the truth about Publish America, I had created a video and posted it on YouTube. I received seven response to that video…

Four of them were bi-polar, and one of those was also paranoid schizophrenic and very nearly a total recluse, just as I am.

Well, every now and then that fact pops into my head, and it makes me wonder how many others are there out there who suffer emotional or mental illnesses that sit, hour after hour, day after day, creating works of art, music, or poetry…works that will never be seen, heard, or read…

Simply because of the stigma attached to mental and emotional illnesses and the fear of rejection or ridicule.

The simple truth is that society absolutely has no room for anything that does not fit its concept of what is acceptable.

And that goes not only for mental or emotional illness, it also goes for physical handicaps or what society considers to be “imperfections”, such as those, like myself, by my own admission, who are overweight, plain in appearance, or have speech problems or physical imperfections that set us outside “the accepted norm”.

I have seen videos on YouTube that showed people that had physical deformities or were plain or sometimes unusual in their appearance, and I have seen the hateful, derogatory comments posted on those videos, both on the videos themselves and in the comments sections, and it nearly brings me to tears.

It makes me wonder how those that take such delight in mocking those of us who do not fit their ideas of what is beautiful, intelligent, or worthy of consideration and respect would feel if the tables were reversed and it were they who were on those videos, if it were their souls gazing through the eyes of those they mock, ridicule and revile.

I wonder where their mockery and hurtful words would be then.

Those of us who are victims of an emotional or mental illness, a physical deformity or imperfection are human just as much as those how mock, revile, and yes, in many cases, abuse us. We have hopes and dreams, we have disappointments and fears, and we have feelings. We have hearts that break when our fellowman mocks us and reviles us with hurtful comments, we also feel joy fill those same hearts when someone see’s beyond the shell to the soul that dwells within.

I composed this verse sometime back, when I wrote my first two books, but it sums up what I have been stating.

WE HAVE FEELINGS TOO


WHEN YOU’VE GOT A MENTAL ILLNESS

YOUR MIND ISN’T QUITE RIGHT.

UNQUIET THOUGHTS SHIFT AND MILL AROUND

EVERY DAY AND NIGHT.

YOU VIEW THE WORLD QUITE DIFFERENTLY

YOU SEE A WIDER VIEW

THAN ‘NORMAL’ FOLK WITH THEIR BUSY LIVES

TAKE THE TIME TO DO.

SOMETIME S YOU’RE UP AND HYPER

FILLED WITH GREAT JOY OR WRATH

OTHER TIMES YOUR EMOTIONS

TAKE A SADDER PATH.

TO ‘NORMAL’ FOLKS OUR DIFFERENCE S

BRING OUT MISUNDERSTANDING AND FEAR

BECAUSE THEY DO NOT UNDERSTAND US

THEY SELDOM WANT US NEAR.

BUT THIS BI-POLAR AUTHOR

IS STANDING UP TO SAY

WE REALLY AREN’T THAT DIFFERENT

SO PLEASE DON’T TURN AWAY.

YES, WE ALL HAVE A PROBLEM

BUT THEN SO DO SOME OF YOU

WE ALL HAVE TO REST AT NIGHT

WHEN EACH DAY IS THROUGH.

WE ALL HAVE DISAPPOINTMENT S

AND JOYS THROUGHOUT THIS LIFE

WE ALL CHEER UP WHEN TIMES ARE GOOD

AND WEEP WHEN THEY’RE FILLED WITH STRIFE.

WE ALL HAVE HOPES AND DREAMS

AND KNOW THE DISAPPOINTMENT S LIFE

SOMETIMES SENDS

WE EXPERIENCE EMOTIONS JUST LIKE YOU

AND CAN OFTEN BE QUITE GOOD FRIENDS.

ENHANCED’ IS WHAT THEY CALL US

(A TERM THAT’S SOFTLY SPOKE)

IT’S JUST A ‘POLITE’ WAY OF SAYING

WE’RE DIFFERENT THAN OTHER FOLK.

SO IF YOU MEET SOMEONE WHO IS ‘ENHANCED’

DON’T TREAT THEM CRUEL AND BAD

TREAT THEM KINDLY, FOR THEY MIGHT SOMEDAY BE

THE BEST FRIEND YOU’VE EVER HAD.

And I think that pretty much says it all.

THE CHRISTMAS BOX


NOTE: LET IT BE NOTED THAT, WHILE MOST OF MY POSTS THAT REFERENCE MY MOTHER AND SISTER USUALLY DO SO IN A SAD OR ANGRY WAY, THIS IS ONE OF THE FEW THAT DOES NOT. REASON? IT CONTAINS ONE OF THE FEW GOOD MEMORIES THAT I HAVE THAT RELATE TO THE TWO OF THEM. DO NOT, HOWEVER, LET THIS STORY BLIND ANY WHO HAVE READ MY OTHER POSTS TO THE FACT THAT THIS IS ONLY ONE TINY MOMENT OF HAPPINESS AMONG A LIFETIME OF MISERY DEALT TO ME BY THOSE TWO.

FURTHERMORE, I WILL STATE THAT IT IS THIS VERY POST THAT GOT ME PERMANENTLY BANNED FROM A “NOSE IN THE AIR” WRITING SITE, DUE TO THE FACT THAT I ACTUALLY HAD THE TEMERITY TO NOT ONLY DEFEND MY POSITION ON SOME THINGS THEY WERE DOGGING ME ON, I GAVE AN EXAMPLE THAT THEY FOUND DISFAVOR WITH. SCREW THEM, I DON’T NEED THEM.

 

MARANTHA D. JENELLE

05-13-2012

Hello, I will call myself Marantha, and this is my story. It is a story of a far simpler time…a time when it was safe for children to ride their bikes blocks from home…a time when people could sit on their porches in the summer twilight, sipping tea and talking, without fear of someone driving by and shooting at them…a time when the word “family” meant more than just humans linked by blood living under the same roof…a time when there were no video games, no computers, no cell phones to block a child’s imagination and make them blind to the wonders and magic of the world around them.

It was a time when we, both young and old, could curl up in a comfortable chair and lose ourselves between the covers of a book, a book that was not simply a cookie cutter shadow of every other book, a book that was judged not on its saleability, but was judged on the story’s ability to ”paint a picture” with words that transported the reader to mystical, magical, and sometimes frightening, places limited only by the reader’s ability to imagine those places in their minds as they read.

I was raised in a what today would be called a “poor white trash” family environment. We had little money and had to often depend on charities or the government food program just to have food. We wore hand-me-downs that other people no longer wanted.

But somehow, some way, my mother always saw that there was one thing that we did not do without…books.

Whether they were old copies of National Geographic that local libraries let her have that they were going to throw away, or copies of bible stories given to her from local churches that they had used in their nurseries and that, quite often, had pages torn away or colored on. But she read them to us anyway, filling in the missing parts with her own words. And we listened, spell bound.

I can only recall one year out of my entire childhood that we owned a television, an old, battered thing that you had to use pliers to turn the channel, and that only showed in black and white, but we did not stay inside, glued to what happened within that tiny square screen, for there were far too many things outside to be seen, to be explored, to be imagined.

Through the stories that my mother had read my sister and I, we were able to see the world in a whole new way. The vacant lot that had lain next door to one of the houses we had lived in, and which had had weeds even taller than we were, would one day be a deep, dark, mysterious jungle through which we would wander, hunting the creatures in the stories from the National Geographic books, or it would be a magical forest, inhabited by fairies, pixies, elves and even, if we were terribly, terribly brave, by ghosts and goblins and wicked witches whom we would have to overcome in order to find our way home. Our world was limited only by our ability to imagine what we wanted it to be.

But my mother was not only a very good story teller, she was also a very good seamstress. So good, in fact, that the money that she earned sewing for other people, the very people who looked down on us, often meant the difference between having food or not having it. And one of my happiest memories of her happened one Christmas.

Mom had an old metal dome topped lunch box that served a very, very special purpose. That lunch box was what she called her “Christmas Box”, for it was where she would put whatever change was left when we went shopping.

And no matter how hard times became later, she never, in all the time that I can recall her having that box, took even one penny from it to use for any thing we might have needed. The only time she would open that box was the first week of December. She had decorated it with bits and pieces of wrapping paper and she would clear off the dining room table and then, as my sister and I would sit and watch her, she would oh-so-slowly open that lunch box and reach in and begin, one by one, carefully pulling out those coins and setting them, like tiny soldiers, in little stacks.

Some years, if things had been really hard, there might only have been enough for her to get my sister and I a candy bar, or maybe a package of the little circus crackers, but then sometimes there might be enough for her to get us a package of pretty hair clips or pretty socks.

But it was never about how much she could get us, or what the gift was, the true gift was that it came from her. We always knew that even if it was small and simple, even if it was wrapped in the comic pages from the neighbor’s newspaper, or in nothing more than tablet paper and held together with twine, we knew that it was wrapped in love and tied with the strings of her heart.

But that special Christmas, the one that I remember the most, was the one that was when I truly learned what love and sacrifice meant.

My mother began feeling ill about the last week of November that year. At first she managed somehow to hide from us that she was not well.

But then, just a few days before the day she usually opened the box she came downstairs and nearly fell, due to the fact that she was so weak her legs gave way as she went to step down a step. Luckily, the bannister was strong and she grabbed it and managed to stay on her feet. I had gone downstairs to use the facilities, and was just heading back up them as she was coming down. I had intended to knock on her door, as I had had a nightmare and wanted to talk to her about it.

Always, when I had a bad dream, she would sit with me and she would have me tell her about it. Do not ask my why, but somehow, talking about those dreams in the daylight somehow made them less frightening. And here is the weird part, I almost never had that dream again after talking to her!

But when I saw her nearly fall, I think my heart just about jumped out of my chest. She managed to make it downstairs and to the kitchen by holding onto the walls, but her steps were very slow and shaky. I was not very old, only about six or so, but I somehow sensed that something wasn’t right.

My bad dream forgotten, I watched as she began preparing breakfast. Several times I saw her sway and grab hold of things. By the time she had breakfast on the table and had sat down, it was plain to even myself that something was terribly wrong. Getting up from my chair I walked over and touched her on the face, laying my hand gently on it in an attempt to comfort her and let her know I was there, just as she had done so many times with my sister and myself. Her skin was burning up.

Mom had taught me how to use the telephone and shown me which of the numbers that she had pasted to the wall were for the doctor, police and other such emergencies. As I said, I was only about six, if memory serves, and very scared.

My sister was still asleep, and other than my mom, I was the only one awake. But I knew somehow that she needed help. I called our family doctor. Back then doctors still made house calls and he came as soon as I told him how she had been acting for the past little while and how she had nearly fallen and how hot her face was.

When he got there, he checked her over, then gave her some medicine. Then he told her to go lie down on the couch in the front room. I ran upstairs and got the blanket off of my bed and covered her up. She asked me to carefully bring her the oil lamp that sat on her beside table and her sewing box.

Once I had gotten those things and brought them to her, she asked me to pull out the box of cloth scraps that she saved from the various sewing projects that she did for other people, many of whom brought the lengths of cloth and the patterns, buttons, zippers and whatnots that were needed to make what they wanted to sew, and then told her she could keep the cloth that was left over. So I also brought the box of scraps to her. By this time I had begun to become curious why she wanted all of this.

I found out that night, or rather very early the next morning, before daybreak, when I had gone downstairs to use the facilities. That night I had made sandwiches for my sister and I from whatever I could scrounge from the refrigerator, as mom had fallen asleep and was still sleeping when supper time came. The doctor had told me to try to be as quiet as possible so that she could rest and get better.

When I had crept down the stairs that night, I noticed that the oil lamp, which had been unlit when I went to bed, was casting a soft glow through the doorway of the living room, which was directly across from the staircase. Curious, I tip-toed to the edge of the door and peeked around it, and froze in shock, for there sat my mother, small piles of what were plainly doll clothes scattered around her, head bent, sewing on another doll outfit.

From the number of piles, she must have been working on them for some time. I slowly crept back upstairs and used the chamber pot she kept in my room for when I was ill and could not go downstairs, and then crawled back in bed. She recovered, with the help of the medicine, in a couple of days, but I never could get the courage to ask her about the doll clothes.

When the time came for her to open the “Christmas Box” she brought it to the table and had each of us sit down. She looked so very sad this time, almost as if she wanted to cry. Slowly she opened the box and began to take out the coins.

But where always before there had been at least four or five stacks, now there was only one. It had been very hard that year, and things had been pretty rough. If it had not been for government food banks and some of the churches, I honestly do not know what we would have done.

But I had not realized just how bad it had been. When she placed the last coin on the stack, she simply put her hands in her lap and stared at that stack for a moment, and then tears began to roll down her face. Looking up at my sister and I, she told us that she was so sorry, but it looked as if she would not be able to get us a store bought gift that year.

My sister started crying, saying that Santa didn’t love us anymore. It took us like forever to get her calmed down. Nothing more was said as mom gathered the coins and put them back in the box.

Life pretty much returned to normal. But at the back of my mind two things were very clear…one, that no matter how bad things had ever gotten, mom had always managed somehow to see that there was at least one gift under the tree and two…what had she been making those doll clothes for? Was she going to try to sell them? Where they for a church bazaar?

And why had she been up so late that night when she was so weak and sick, sewing by the light of that oil lamp, as though she just had to finish?

I got answers to all of those questions Christmas morning when my sister and I came downstairs to find not one, but five presents each, beneath the tree.

That Christmas my sister and I each got two shoe boxes jam packed with doll clothes, a doll each, that though they had obviously belonged to another child, had been mended and dressed in a beautiful outfits, a doll house each made of boxes that had carefully been put together and covered in bits of paper and fabric scraps, and a shoe box filled with little pieces of furniture made from match boxes and other odds and ends.

But the most wonderful gift of all was what proved to be a sixth gift, one which had not been beneath the tree.

Mom watched us open our gifts and then went to the tiny closet that was under the stairs and returned with two hangers draped in fabric. When we carefully removed the fabric we found matching dresses for church, hand sewn, with tiny eyelet lace around the collars and little puffed sleeves, and the little poofed underslip that went beneath the dresses that had been made from netting.

Now I understood why mom had been so determined to finish those doll clothes. They were her gift to us. She had evidently realized that she would not be able to add anything to the Christmas Box far earlier in the year and had begun making the gifts them. It was then that I realized, even at that age, just what truly loving someone means.

And I have been searching for that selfsame love ever since.

And there was one very happy outcome from her gifts of love. When we went to church the Sunday after that Christmas, so many of the women were impressed by our dresses that several of them wanted her to make them for their daughters.

In the end, she made not only enough money to buy each of us a store bought dress the following Christmas, but she had enough left to get the electric mixer she had wanted for so long so that she could make us homemade waffles and cakes when we could afford the ingredients.

Which only goes to prove that there is truth in that saying…love is the one gift that keeps on giving. For in the giving of her gifts to us, the gifts that she labored over with so much love, she was herself gifted with the work that gave her the thing that she desired.

And even though she no longer walks this mortal plane, her gift of stories, and the love for books and the showing of the power that words can possess to transport us to lands and places that are only limited by our ability to imagine is passed on in this that I now share with the world.

For it was the memories of the joy that I received through the words from the hearts, souls, and minds of others, that gave me the urge to create, if only in a small way, that sharing myself.

Unlike the stories of today, which are compacted for brevity and faster reading in the fast paced world we live in, those books that my mother read to me, many of which still survive today, contained words that were like brush strokes on the canvas of our minds…each one adding to the picture in vibrant, exciting colors.

They sparked our imagination, they pulled us along from one sentence to the next, from one paragraph to the next, painting pictures in our minds as we followed their journey through page after marvelous page till we came to that last one…and those dreaded words…”the end”.

Reading those words was like stepping forward and suddenly discovering that there was no ground to support your step. For just a few heartbeats, it was as if you floated in a void between the world of the story and this one.

In today’s fast paced world, very few actually read true books anymore. Even authors that are “all the vogue” often fall by the wayside when the person interested in their story simply says “I don’t really have the time to read the book, I think I will just wait for the movie”. They do not realize that in the time they were “waiting for the movie” in the search for instant self gratification and convenience, they could have read not only that story, but many others as well.

And they do not realize what they forfeit in seeking a second hand version that has been warped and changed to fit the view of what the editor or agent deemed to be the wishes of the masses over “hearing” the story straight from the source, its author and originator. It is somewhat comparable to eating cold pizza, it is still pizza, but it lacks the warmth that brought out those wonderful, tantalizing aromas and tastes.

Do not get me wrong, I have nothing against movies or television, though I have only owned a television perhaps one tenth of my entire life and I am well past “the age of majority”, so to speak. No, television has its own place and purpose. But it, and movies also, both have several drawbacks to losing one’s self between the covers of a book.

One of those drawbacks is that a movie is told through the viewpoint of the director’s translation of the author’s story, always with the thought of how much money it will make in the box office, or how many viewers approval ratings it will earn.

And just as with real world language translations, much is added…and much is also “left on the cutting room floor”, abandoned, discarded as “not popular”, “not in style”, “not what the public wants”.

The author’s story, the thoughts, dreams and ideas that they sought to share with the world, by the time the editors and agents finish with it to make it “acceptable”, becomes little more than a pale, carbon copy image, with slight modifications, of a thousand other such of its kind that preceded it.

Television and movies present the viewer with one formatted, predefined, regimented, pared to the bone, pale ghost image of the author’s original story, no matter how many special effects they use or how much gratuitous violence they throw into them.

Television and movies only show a translation of the author’s voice that has been edited, corrected, altered to reflect what the producer perceive as something that can and will be accepted by the masses in general, usually with the goal that those selfsame masses will cough up the one thing that the producers of that television show or movie honor more highly than they do the voice and talent of the author of the story on which their pale imitation of the author’s voice produced…money.

Oh yes, the movies add glitz, glamor, loads of special effects, and lots of violence and dramatic action, but here is something to think about…

If you took all of those things away…

What would be left?

If you took away all of the “exciting add ins” and left only what remained of the actual story that the movie was based on, what would be left?

Would it be something you would pay money to go see?

Would it be something you would sit through for one to two hours?

Would you even last five minutes trying to watch something that made no sense at all without the very things that had been taken away?

Would you be able to sit there and watch what amounted to little more than a fifth grader reading a book report in front of the class? I do not think so.

And books that are accepted by editors and agents these days face the same fate.

They are edited, revised, forced to conform to a mass market that is, as with the producers, based on what the editor or agent personally consider to be the thing that “the general masses” wants, and for the selfsame reason that the producers mangle and destroy the author’s work…money.

The author, in order to even get past the critical, supercilious, arrogant “I am both your maker or your destroyer” eye of the editor and/or agent, is forced to write, not the words they truly see in the way the author envisions their story’s telling, but rather to write in empty, insipid, predefined format that is meant to please as much of the masses as possible for the sole purpose of saleability.

The authors of today are forced into little tiny predefined cubicles, boxed in, hampered by the looming specter of possible public rejection in the form of the editor or agent, who act in the capacity of gods who can, with the stroke of a pen or the tap of a keystroke, consign the author’s story to the wasteland that is wherever they send those stories that they do not deem profitable and in conformance of what they personally judge to be the desire of the masses as a whole, and who also act as the not so humble mouthpieces and “crystal balls” of wisdom and all seeing knowledge of what those self same masses desires are.

If an author sends them a story rich with the resonance of language and phrase, a story that paints a picture so vivid through mere description on the written page that any reader with even only a minimal amount of imagination in their soul can see it as they read, I can nearly guarantee that that author would be commanded by those “all knowing gods of the desires of the masses” to “lose the imagery, shorten the descriptions, condense the character description information” to the point where what would be left would be a “paint by number’ version of the Sistine Chapel done with crayons by a five year old.

In short, it would no longer be the author’s story at all, it would be the editor or agents version of the story, for it would no longer be told as seen and envisioned through the eyes of the author. All the editor or agent would lack is their name as the author.

It would be comparable to the coloring pages we received as children in school, we were given the freedom to choose our own colors, but we were forced to all color the same exact picture, using predefined lines and images. And woe betide those who went outside of those lines, or, heaven forbid, had the actual temerity to add by even one line to that generically generated format!

Oh woe betide the child that, who upon receiving an image of a teddy bear that was an exact, carbon copy duplicate of all of the images of teddy bears possessed by their classmates, that child not only colors it in all the bright shades of their imagination, but commits the absolutely unpardonably forbidden sin of adding wings and a halo!

The teacher does not see the beauty of that child’s imagination…does not see that “seeing the possibilities” in the adding of those little extra touches…no, the teacher sees only that that child did not “conform” to what was the predefined, instructed, regimented rendition of the image of the teddy bear that was acceptable by the masses.

The end result is that that child’s work is not only cast aside, even worse, that child is left feeling like an outcast and a failure.

I, sadly, was, and even now am, one of those children, for I too strain at the confines of regimented lines, when what I truly desire is to set my imagination free, and be accepted as myself in the freeing of it.

Many of the books and stories that I grew up reading, should they be placed before an editor or agent in today’s world, would more than likely not even make it any further than that aforementioned wasteland for unwanted books.

Take for instance one that used to be a favorite of mine, MOBY DICK. It starts out very slowly, the first few paragraphs or pages devoted to little save “setting the stage” for what is to come.

By today’s standards, it would be rejected simply based on that fact alone. Yes, it takes some time getting to the action in that book, but oh, the way the author describes the setting as seen through the eyes of the character!

The words, a mere collections of letters and symbols used to convey thought, oh how they jump off of the page and pull you in! And all before you even realize it. The process is so subtle, so gradual, that you do not even realize that you left this world nearly ten or twenty pages back!

I have given the opening to that very story below. But before you read one single word, I challenge you to empty your mind of everything modern, to erase any and all knowledge of the world of movies, television, and all other imagination destroying devices that have become so much a part of our modern lives.

I challenge you to make your mind as a blank canvas for the words to perform their magic on. Though couched in the language of a time long gone, I think, if you will accept my challenge, that you will, as you read, begin to see the very things that the character is describing.

You will, for just a moment, be able to see through the character’s eyes. There is no ticket line. There is no admission cost. There are no giggling teenagers in the front row, or crying babies, or any of the other things that distract. And best of all, you are limited by only your ability to imagine and envision what you are seeing, rather than having that ability taken away by a predefined format.

CHAPTER 1
[FROM “MOBY DICK”]

Loomings

Call me Ishmael. Some years ago–never mind how long precisely–having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and seethe watery part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen and regulating the circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off–then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship. There is nothing surprising in this. If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the ocean with me.

There now is your insular city of the Manhattoes, belted round by wharves as Indian isles by coral reefs–commerce surrounds it with her surf. Right and left, the streets take you waterward. Its extreme downtown is the battery, where that noble mole is washed by waves, and cooled by breezes, which a few hours previous were out of sight of land. Look at the crowds of water-gazers there.

Circumambulate the city of a dreamy Sabbath afternoon. Go from Corlears Hook to Coenties Slip, and from thence, by Whitehall, northward. What do you see?–Posted like silent sentinels all around the town, stand thousands upon thousands of mortal men fixed in ocean reveries. Some leaning against the spiles; some seated upon the pier-heads; some looking over the bulwarks glasses! of ships from China; some high aloft in the rigging, as if striving to get a still better seaward peep. But these are all landsmen; of week days pent up in lath and plaster– tied to counters, nailed to benches, clinched to desks. How then is this? Are the green fields gone? What do they here?

But look! here come more crowds, pacing straight for the water, and seemingly bound for a dive. Strange! Nothing will content them but the extremest limit of the land; loitering under the shady lee of yonder warehouses will not suffice. No. They must get just as nigh the water as they possibly can without falling in. And there they stand–miles of them–leagues. Inlanders all, they come from lanes and alleys, streets and avenues,– north, east, south, and west. Yet here they all unite. Tell me, does the magnetic virtue of the needles of the compasses of all those ships attract them thither?

Once more. Say you are in the country; in some high land of lakes. Take almost any path you please, and ten to one it carries you down in a dale, and leaves you there by a pool in the stream. There is magic in it. Let the most absent-minded of men be plunged in his deepest reveries–stand that man on his legs, set his feet a-going, and he will infallibly lead you to water, if water there be in all that region. Should you ever be athirst in the great American desert, try this experiment, if your caravan happen to be supplied with a metaphysical professor. Yes, as every one knows, meditation and water are wedded for ever.

But here is an artist. He desires to paint you the dreamiest, shadiest, quietest, most enchanting bit of romantic landscape in all the valley of the Saco. What is the chief element he employs? There stand his trees, each with a hollow trunk, as if a hermit and a crucifix were within; and here sleeps his meadow, and there sleep his cattle; and up from yonder cottage goes a sleepy smoke. Deep into distant woodlands winds a mazy way, reaching to overlapping spurs of mountains bathed in their hill-side blue. But though the picture lies thus tranced, and though this pine-tree shakes down its sighs like leaves upon this shepherd’s head, yet all were vain, unless the shepherd’s eye were fixed upon the magic stream before him. Go visit the Prairies in June, when for scores on scores of miles you wade knee-deep among Tiger-lilies–what is the one charm wanting?– Water there is not a drop of water there! Were Niagara but a cataract of sand, would you travel your thousand miles to see it? Why did the poor poet of Tennessee, upon suddenly receiving two handfuls of silver, deliberate whether to buy him a coat, which he sadly needed, or invest his money in a pedestrian trip to Rockaway Beach? Why is almost every robust healthy boy with a robust healthy soul in him, at some time or other crazy to go to sea? Why upon your first voyage as a passenger, did you yourself feel such a mystical vibration, when first told that you and your ship were now out of sight of land? Why did the old Persians hold the sea holy? Why did the Greeks give it a separate deity, and own brother of Jove? Surely all this is not without meaning. And still deeper the meaning of that story of Narcissus, who because he could not grasp the tormenting, mild image he saw in the fountain, plunged into it and was drowned. But that same image, we ourselves see in all rivers and oceans. It is the image of the ungraspable phantom of life; and this is the key.

Now, if you did in truth read that as I challenged you, and you have even the faintest breath of imagination left in your soul that has survived today’s modern inventions, can you, in all truthfulness, not state that you could not envision the things that the character described?

And yet were this same story, this same set of paragraphs, this same voice from the distant past, to be placed on the desk of an editor or agent today, should those poor, blind souls not expire from shock and dismay, their first act would be to order it edited.

They would, from their lofty perch of knowledge of what the masses want, immediately decree that it be edited, shortened, all extraneous information and descriptions removed, all “empty words” deleted…if not the entire thing!

And this is only one among many. If those voices from the past were presented to an editor or agent today…

How many do you think would survive?

I write, I wish to be an author, and yes, I will freely admit, it would be nice to be paid for the stories, for the wherewithall from any book sales would improve my current conditions.

But the money is not at the root of the problem, what is at the root of the problem is the means by which I would have to forsake the story as I see it in order to gain the approval of the masses.

I do not care if I never become a household word, I do not care if I never become the worlds greatest author, I do not really care how much money I earn from the book’s sales, as long as it is enough to help me survive and get the basic things I need.

Anything beyond that is beyond my ability to comprehend. I am a simple person. I do not court the favor of the world, for it has always rejected me.

Let another be up on life’s stage, dancing, I am content to be behind the scenes, changing the music to which they are dancing.

All I want, more than anything, is that just for once, I could prove to the world that I have worth, that I am not a “cast aside” as I have been looked upon my entire life.

And I want to prove to those who ridicule, mock, revile, and often fear or hate those that are different that we also have things that we can offer this world.

You see, I am what, in this world of today, is, to use the current “politically correct” term, “enhanced”, for I suffer an emotional illness. Society does not look with favor on those that are different, that do not fit, that “color outside the lines”.

I just want to prove that even those that are different, for whatever reason, can still be contributing members of not only society…

But of humanity in general.

In short, I want to be accepted, not for what the world wants to form, change, shape or “edit” me to be, but rather for who I am.

Change is necessary, to a certain degree, as is gaining knowledge, but not when it means ceasing to be who I am.

I once joined a writer’s critique’s group. Many things I posted, and each had something not right. But that group coldly and uncategorically cast me out…banned me permanently…because of this message.

I have this to say to any editor or agent who should happen to read this message…I do not seek to change the minds and opinions of others, nor to change them, for they, just as myself, are deserving of respect as them-self’s, but neither do I apologize for my words nor my stand on this matter.

Just as they are them-self’s so am I. Either accept me as I am or accept me not at all, but do not seek to change me into something that is your vision of what you think I should be, for your efforts will be doomed to disappointment.

THREE IN ONE: PAIN…FEAR…FIGHTING BACK (ALL THREE WRITTEN TWO WEEKS AFTER MY DAUGHTER DISOWNED ME)


PAIN

HOW DOES ONE RESOLVE THE ISSUES THAT MADE THEM WHO THEY ARE?

THE PAIN, THE GRIEF, THE NEGLECT, THE ABSOLUTE AGONY OF SPENDING A LIFETIME OF BEING SEEN AS UNWORTHY, UNWANTED, USELESS, WORTHLESS?

HOW DOES ONE COPE WITH THE KNOWLEDGE THAT THEIR OWN FLESH AND BLOOD WOULD TURN ON THEM?

HOW DOES ONE DEAL WITH THE UTTER DESPAIR OF HAVING A CHILD THAT THEY DIED TWICE TRYING TO GIVE LIFE TO TELLING THEM THAT THEY ARE DEAD TO THEM?

HOW CAN ONE MAINTAIN EVEN A SEMBLANCE OF HOPE IN A WORLD IN WHICH THEY HAVE BEEN GIVEN NO CAUSE TO BELIEVE IN IT?

IN THEMSELVES?

HOW CAN ONE HAVE ANY HOPE, OR FAITH, OR BELIEF IN ANYTHING IN A WORLD WHERE THEY HAVE LITTLE TO NO MONEY, WHERE THEY LIVE UNDER RESTRICTIONS THAT CHOKE THE ONLY THING THAT THEY COULD TURN TO TO HELP THEMSELVES, WHO HAVE FEW TO NO FRIENDS, WHO HAVE BEEN LITTLE MORE THAN A PRISONER FOR OVER HALF OF THEIR LIFE IN A PLACE WHERE THE WALLS ARE INVISIBLE ONES OF POVERTY, LONELINESS AND DESPAIR?

I NO LONGER HAVE HOPE, I NO LONGER BELIEVE IN ANYTHING.

I MERELY DRIFT THROUGH WHAT REMAINS OF MY TIME ON THIS MISERABLE WORLD, ALONE, AS I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN ALONE.

PERHAPS THEY HAVE ALL BEEN RIGHT, ALL THOSE PEOPLE IN MY LIFE THAT HAVE MOCKED ME, REVILED ME, RIDICULED ME, PUT ME DOWN, STOMPED ON MY DREAMS UNTIL THERE WAS NOTHING LEFT BUT DUST BLOWING IN THE WIND OF A FATE THAT HAS HELD NOTHING BUT PAIN AND DESPAIR.

AFTER ALL, HOW CAN SO MANY BE WRONG?

PERHAPS I AM SO BAD I DO NOT DESERVE EVEN A SHRED OF HAPPINESS, A TINY NANO-SECOND OF PEACE, A MOMENT OF TRUE ACCEPTANCE AS MYSELF, WITH ALL OF MY FAULTS AND FAILINGS.

YES, THAT MUST BE IT, I DO NOT DESERVE ANY OF THE GOOD THINGS. I MUST HAVE DONE SOMETHING VERY HORRIBLE IN A PAST LIFE TO HAVE KNOWN SO MUCH DESPAIR IN THIS ONE.

AND NO, THIS IS NOT A SUICIDE NOTE.

YOU SEE, LIFE EVEN SCREWED ME ON THAT ONE. IT LET ME BE GIVEN JUST ENOUGH OF A CHRISTIAN UPBRINGING TO INSTILL THE FACT THAT SUICIDE IS THE ONE SIN AN UNFORGIVING AND COLD HEARTED GOD WILL NOT FORGIVE YOU FOR.

A GOD I NO LONGER BELIEVE IN, FOR NOT ONCE HAS HE GIVEN ME CAUSE TO.

IN THE END, I AM DENIED EVEN THE COMFORT OF HAVING THE STRENGTH TO END IT, TO STOP THE PAIN.

SO I ENDURE, SOMEHOW, SECOND TO SECOND, DAY BY DAY, TRYING IN THE VAIN ILLUSION THAT I EVEN HAVE TALENTS OR WORTH.

I HAVE SPENT A LIFETIME TRYING TO BE KIND TO OTHERS, EVEN TO THE POINT OF SHARING THINGS I NEEDED MYSELF.

AND WHAT HAVE I GOTTEN IN RETURN? WHAT?

WHAT HAVE I GOTTEN FROM A LIFETIME OF “TURNING THE OTHER CHEEK”…OF “FORGIVING MY FELLOWMAN WHEN THEY DID ME WRONG”…OF TRYING TO BE A GOOD PERSON?

I WILL TELL YOU WHAT I HAVE GOTTEN.

I HAVE GOTTEN A MOTHER WHO TURNED HER BACK AND HEART TO ME THE DAY MY SISTER WAS BORN.

I HAVE GOTTEN A FIRST HUSBAND WHO STARTED SLEEPING WITH ANOTHER WOMAN LESS THAN ONE WEEK AFTER OUR WEDDING, THEN KICKED ME OUT WHEN I REFUSED TO LET HIM MOVE HER IN WHEN I WAS SIX MONTHS PREGNANT WITH HIS CHILD…

AND SHE WAS THREE.

I HAVE GOTTEN A SECOND HUSBAND WHO TRIED TO DROWN ME, WHO BEAT ME BADLY ENOUGH WITH A BELT BUCKLE THAT IT LEFT BRUISES IN THE SHAPE OF THE EAGLE THAT HAD BEEN ON THAT BUCKLE ACROSS MY SHOULDERS AND BACK FOR NEARLY A MONTH, WHO ALLOWED HIS BROTHER WHO LIVED WITH US TO PIN ME TO A WALL WITH HIS ARM ACROSS MY THROAT SIMPLY BECAUSE I BURNED SUPPER…

AND HE STOOD THERE AND DID AND SAID NOTHING…

AND WHO HELD A GUN TO MY HEAD AND THREATENED TO KILL ME IF I DID NOT STOP SMOKING.

I HAVE GOTTEN A CHILD THAT NEARLY COST ME MY LIFE TWICE JUST TO GIVE HER HERS WHO JUST TWO WEEKS AGO TOLD ME THAT I WAS DEAD TO HER, NEVER TO CONTACT HER AGAIN, AND THAT I WAS TO NEVER SEEK TO SEE MY ONLY GRANDCHILD OR SHE WOULD FILE A RESTRAINING ORDER ON ME.

I HAVE GOTTEN AN ILLNESS THAT PUTS ME IN A POSITION IN WHICH I DO NOT EVEN HAVE CONTROL OF MY OWN FINANCES…A POSITION IN WHICH I AM BOUND BY RULES THAT WILL KEEP ME A PRISONER TILL THE DAY I DIE…A POSITION WHERE THE ONLY MEANS BY WHICH I MIGHT BE ABLE TO HELP MYSELF ARE DENIED ME DUE TO RULES AND REGULATIONS.

HOW CAN I BELIEVE IN HOPE, LOVE, FAITH, OR GOD, WHEN NONE OF THOSE THINGS HAVE EVER DONE ONE DAMN THING TO HELP ME IN MY PAIN?

HOW CAN I BELIEVE IN ANYTHING….

WHEN THERE IS NOTHING LEFT.

SO I WRITE, FOR THE COMPUTER DOES NOT JUDGE ME, IT DOES NOT MOCK ME, OR IGNORE ME, OR REVILE ME, IT IS AN IMPARTIAL LISTENER IN A WORLD WHERE I AM SCREAMING IN SILENCE.

FEAR

I WROTE A BLOG POST YESTERDAY THAT MAY HAVE COME ACROSS AS RATHER SELF-PITYING, BUT IT WAS MORE AN OUTPOURING OF CONFUSION. I NO LONGER KNOW WHO I EVEN AM ANY MORE. I HAVE TRIED SO HARD ALL OF MY LIFE TO BE ACCEPTED, AND ALWAYS FAILED. I HAVE BEEN DISCARDED BY MY MOTHER, DISOWNED BY MY CHILD, CHEATED ON AND DISCARDED IN FAVOR OF ANOTHER BY ONE HUSBAND AND NEARLY DROWNED, BEATEN AND THREATENED WITH DEATH BY A SECOND, RAPED TWICE, FORCED TO SLEEP WITH MY MOTHER’S BOYFRIEND TO KEEP THE VERY CHILD THAT DESPISES ME, AND IT LEAVES ME WONDERING IF I AM EVER GOING TO KNOW EVEN A TOUCH OF HUMAN KINDNESS, ACCEPTANCE, UNDERSTANDING, COMPASSION OR LOVE.

I HAVE BEEN TAKEN FROM MY HOME, PUT WITH STRANGERS, CAST AWAY FROM THEM FOR SOMETHING THAT WAS NOT MY FAULT AND PLACED IN A PLACE WHERE I WAS KEPT MEDICATED, MY THOUGHTS NO LONGER MY OWN, A PLACE WHERE I WAS NEARLY CHOKED TO DEATH, WHERE I HAD SOMEONE TRY TO SET MY BED ON FIRE, WHERE I HAD A CIGARETTE GROUND OUT IN MY FACE WHILE THE VERY ONES WHO WERE SUPPOSED TO BE PROTECTING ME STOOD THERE AND EGGED MY ATTACKER ON, THROWN IN A FOUR BY FOUR CELL FOR TWO WEEKS WHILE BOTH STAFF AND PATIENTS MOCKED ME AND I WAS ALLOWED NO WATER UNLESS THEY DEEMED ME WORTHY OF IT, WHERE WHEN THEY BROUGHT MY FOOD IT WAS SO LACED WITH SALT I COULD NOT EAT IT.

SO MANY NEGATIVE THINGS HAVE TOUCHED MY LIFE AND SO FEW GOOD, THAT IT IS LIKE I AM A WALKING CONTAINER OF PAIN.

I HAVE HAD PEOPLE ADVISE ME TO LET GO OF THE PAST AND LOOK FORWARD TO THE FUTURE, BUT WHAT KIND OF FUTURE DO I HAVE TO LOOK FORWARD TO WHEN IF I TRULY COULD LET GO OF THE PAIN, NOTHING WOULD BE LEFT, FOR PAIN IS ALL THAT I AM.

WHAT WOULD FILL THAT VOID?

MORE PAIN?

I HAVE NO HOPE AND NO FAITH, IN ANYTHING, LEFT.

I GUESS I WILL JUST HAVE TO DO MY SENTENCE IN THIS MISERABLE LIFE AND HOPE AND PRAY THE NEXT ONE WILL BE BETTER, FOR I DO NOT HAVE THE STRENGTH TO END IT NOW, BUT I SERIOUSLY BEGIN TO WONDER IF I WOULD RESIST IF OTHERS DID. I NO LONGER CARE. I DELUDE MYSELF WITH THE BELIEF I CAN CHANGE THINGS, THAT I CAN HAVE A SMALL CHANCE OF A BETTER LIFE.

BUT THAT FAINT HOPE FADES WITH EACH PASSING DAY. SO LITTLE REMAINS THAT I AM EVEN BEGINNING TO CONSIDER JUST SIMPLY SITTING HERE IN THIS PLACE THAT HAS BEEN LITTLE MORE THAN A PRISON FOR NEARLY TWENTY ONE YEARS, SURROUNDED BY DRUG SELLERS, DRUG TAKERS, WIFE BEATERS, DRUNKS, PIMPS AND WHORES.

HOW CAN HOPE SURVIVE IN THAT KIND OF ENVIRONMENT?

SO MUCH PAIN, SO MUCH DESPAIR…

IF IT IS GONE, WHAT WILL BE LEFT OF ME?

FIGHTING BACK

YOU KNOW, FOLKS, MY MOTHER AND GRANDMOTHER USED TO ACCUSE ME OF BEING STUBBORN AND STRONG WILLED, OF BEING HARD HEADED, OF HOLDING ONTO RESENTMENT AND ANGER WHEN SOMEONE HURT ME.

WELL, I AM ABOUT TO PROVE JUST HOW DAMN STUBBORN I CAN BE.

I HAVE DONE NOTHING BUT READ THE TWO POSTS THAT I MADE, “PAIN” AND “FEAR” ALL DAY LONG TODAY…

AND THINK.

AND YOU KNOW WHAT? I CAME TO SOME RATHER STARTLING CONCLUSIONS.

I AM GIVING THAT UNGRATEFUL LITTLE BESOM OF AN OFFSPRING OF MINE EXACTLY WHAT SHE WANTS BY LETTING HER WORDS TEAR ME APART AND DESTROY WHAT LITTLE BELIEF IN MYSELF THAT I HAD LEFT.

I HAVE BEEN LETTING HER HURT ME OVER AND OVER AND OVER WITH EVERY DAY THAT PASSED WHEN I WOULD SIT HERE, TRYING TO FULFILL MY DREAM, MY PAIN AND RAGE BLOCKING THE WORDS…

AND IT STOPS NOW, BECAUSE I REALIZED SOMETHING.

I CANNOT MAKE HER LOVE ME, RESPECT ME, WANT ME IN HER LIFE, FOR NONE OF US HAS THE POWER TO CONTROL ANOTHER PERSON’S ACTIONS…

BUT WE CAN CONTROL OUR REACTIONS TO THOSE ACTIONS.

FOR TWO WEEKS I HAVE LET HER WORDS TEAR ME APART, LET HER ATTITUDE AND ACTIONS CAUSE ME ENDLESS MISERY AND SELF DOUBT, LET HER DISREGARD FOR MY FEELINGS DRAG ME INTO A DEPRESSION SO DEEP THAT I NEARLY GAVE UP ALL HOPE.

AH, BUT THE KEY WORD THERE IS “NEARLY”, FOR THERE IS ONE THING ABOUT BEING STUBBORN AND HARD HEADED, IT COMES IN DAMN HANDY WHEN YOU ARE PISSED OFF ENOUGH TO WANT TO FIGHT BACK.

AND I AM PISSED OFF AND I AM FIGHTING BACK. I NEARLY LET THAT UNGRATEFUL LITTLE BITCH STEAL THE ONE THING THAT IS MINE, MY TALENT. MY GRIEF AND PAIN AT WHAT SHE DID HAS KEPT ME FROM FOLLOWING MY DREAM, CAST A SHADOW ON MY HEART AND BLINDED ME TO SOMETHING I SHOULD HAVE REALIZED DAYS AGO…

THE BEST WAY I CAN MAKE HER REGRET HER CALLOUS ATTITUDE IS TO SUCCEED, DESPITE HER.

A VERY DEAR FRIEND TOLD ME JUST TODAY WHEN WE WERE CHATTING AND I SHARED THE PAIN I AM IN AND TOLD THEM THAT THE ONLY GOOD THING THAT HAS COME OF THIS IS THAT I WAS SO MANIC LAST NIGHT THAT I ACTUALLY WROTE THREE AND A HALF CHAPTERS ON MY CURRENT WORK IN PROGRESS, THAT WORKING ON THE BOOK WAS THE ONLY TIME THAT I WAS NOT HURTING.

UP UNTIL LAST NIGHT, THAT IS THE FIRST TIME I HAVE FELT LIKE WRITING, BUT LAST NIGHT I COULDN’T STOP.

AND DO YOU WANT TO KNOW WHAT DROVE ME?

PAIN AND RAGE.

PAIN AND RAGE AT THE BETRAYAL OF A CHILD I NEARLY DIED TWICE GIVING LIFE, A CHILD THAT NEARLY SUCCEEDED IN KILLING MY DREAM.

AND EVEN GREATER RAGE AT MYSELF FOR LETTING HER NEARLY SUCCEED.

THAT SPECIAL FRIEND ADVISED ME TO LET THAT PAIN AND RAGE BRING ME THROUGH THIS, JUST AS IT DID WHEN I WROTE LAST NIGHT.

I HAVE ONE RATHER NASTY TRAIT, I AM VINDICTIVE AS HELL WHEN SOMEONE HURTS ME.

LIFE IS A MOBIUS STRIP, SOONER OR LATER WE END UP BACK AT THE BEGINNING.

I WILL FINISH THIS BOOK, AND THE OTHER SIX  I HAVE IDEAS FOR AS WELL, AND TAKE MY WORD FOR IT, THERE WILL COME A TIME WHEN SHE IS GOING TO NEED ME…

AND I AM GOING TO DERIVE THE GREATEST PLEASURE IN TELLING HER TO GO STRAIGHT TO HELL.

AND I CURSE HER TO BE IN THE SAME EXACT POSITION IN WHICH SHE HAS PLACED ME…

THAT THE SAME WORDS SHE SAID TO ME ARE SAID TO HER BY HER DAUGHTER…

THAT SHE BE IN THE SAME POSITION I AM CURRENTLY IN-POOR, FEW TO NO FRIENDS, NO ONE TO TURN TO…

I CURSE HER THAT HER CHILD GIVE HER SO MUCH GRIEF IT PUSHES HER TO THE SAME EDGE SHE VERY NEARLY PUSHED ME…

THAT SHE SUFFER HARDSHIP, TRIALS, AND MISERY, JUST AS I HAVE DONE.

I CURSE HER TO NEVER BEING ABLE TO HOLD A DECENT JOB…

TO ONLY BE ABLE TO EARN MINIMUM WAGE OR LESS…

TO HAVING TO WORRY WHERE HER NEXT MEAL IS COMING FROM…

TO WONDERING HOW SHE IS GOING TO COVER THE BILLS…

TO DOING WITHOUT…

TO SUFFERING.

YOU SEE, FOLKS, I AM GOING TO FIGHT BACK BY DOING THE ONE THING SHE DOES NOT WANT ME TO DO…SUCCEED.

I MORE THAN LIKELY WON’T BE POSTING MUCH FOR A WHILE AFTER THIS ONE, AS I WILL BE TOO BUSY FINISHING MY CURRENT BOOK, FORMING A QUERY LETTER AND TRYING TO FIND AN AGENT.

BUT I WILL KEEP IN TOUCH.

MY DAYS AS A VICTIM ARE OVER.

MASKS


It is strange, but something I just wrote in response to a comment got me to thinking…

About masks, and the many times in our lives we wear them, both physically and psychologically. For nearly all of us, that wearing starts at a young age. It could be when we pretended to be good-or bad, in order to gain something that we might desire. Or it could be when we wanted to hide our pain when our schoolmates teased us.

Or when we grew older and went out on our own, when we searched for employment and faced the stranger across the desk. We tried so hard to “put on a proper image”, when in truth, all we wanted to do was shout at them that we were deserving of that job. We sat there, wanting to scream that just because we weren’t wearing a popular style, our skin was the wrong color, we didn’t “talk right”, or didn’t “fit” their image of acceptability, didn’t mean we weren’t worthy.

What about the times when we hid our anger, jealousy, resentment, frustration, disappointment or whatever other emotion due to a situation, occasion, location or even the person we were with?

Masks, can be physical, as in a play, or Halloween, or for a ceremony. They can also be emotional, as when we seek to portray one emotion-or none at all-when we are feeling something else. The bottom line is that masks are meant to hide who we truly are, to allow us, for the time that we are wearing them, to present ourselves as something we are not. But every mask is a deceiver, whether physical or emotional, they are a misrepresentation of the truth. In short-a lie.

The greatest mask we ever wear, though, is the one many of us present ourselves with-how we perceive ourselves. Those masks, depending on what type they are, can have lifelong effects on us.

Many of those masks are formed and fashioned by outside forces, such as spending a lifetime being told we were plain, ugly, too fat, too thin, too lacking in intelligence or too possessing of it-as in the know it all-to stand being around, that we were inconsequential, worthless, useless, and much more.

These all-when presented consistently by enough people for enough time, can actually cause many of us to come to believe the mask those things form to be a representation of our true selves. We actually come to believe the “face” of that “mask” so fully that we end up holding ourselves back. We believe that it would do us little good to be other than what seemed to be the commonly held view of who and what we are. That belief can even, in some cases, drive some of us to drugs, alcohol, depression and even suicide, simply as a result of our feelings of non-worth.

Then there are the masks that we ourselves form. Perhaps it is in how we view our physical appearance, or our talents or lack of them. It could be in how we view our intelligence, when we may not learn as quickly or retain information as well, or for a myriad of other reasons. All of these thoughts and concepts influence how we view ourselves when we look in the mirror.

Whether the mask be one of arrogance or lack of self image, or a smile that masks evil, cunning, a lie, a false tear, or even false pain displayed merely to gain sympathy and attention, they are all masks and all of them, sooner or later, slip.

None should know that better than writers. For they pursue a craft in which they literally “slip into” the characters that they are writing about in order to bring them to life. Often though, in the very doing of that, they reveal far more of themselves than they might think.

A good writer must be able to envision the actions, characteristics, attitudes and concepts of right and wrong, good and evil, realistically in the character or characters that they are writing about, to bring them to life in the reader’s mind. This means that the writer must first know at least enough of those things within themselves to have a basic understanding of them. This is necessary, if the writer is to write descriptions of those things compellingly enough to make a stranger who reads their words actually be able to picture, and feel, those things.

After all, it would be rather difficult to adequately describe and compare the sweetness of something to honey or sugar, if the one doing the describing had never tasted either personally.

Which makes me wonders about something. I wonder how many writers, in going back during the editing process, or the final reading, find that they had betrayed more of their true selves than they had thought or perhaps even intended. In one of my other blogs I mentioned this.

Writers, be they good or mediocre, have no choice in that they release a part of themselves in the words they write. How the writer views themselves, what emotional state they might be in, or even outside influences can often have direct bearing on, or affect, what occurs at various places in the writer’s work.

For instance, say a writer was in an upbeat, inspired mood, but was writing a murder mystery. More than likely, that would be when they would write parts in which things went for the better, such as perhaps a break in the case.

But conversely, if the writer was having a bad day, or was angered, depressed, frustrated, or even outright murderously enraged, those emotions would translate to the characters through acts of malice, violence or even murder. The very intensity of the negative things that happened to the characters could even be a clear indication of the knife edge that the writer themselves might be walking between light and dark.

If a writer, after reading what they had written, goes to a mirror and looks into their own eyes…

I wonder-would they perhaps see a stranger they never knew lived within themselves peering out at them, thus causing their mask to slip, and their self deception to reveal itself?

The star light cannot be seen against a sunlit sky, only against the dark does its light become visible, and likewise the darkness of the drop off to a deep chasm cannot be seen in the dark, only in the light.  Light and dark are inter-dependent upon each other…

In nature…

And in us.

Just a little something for any who should chance to read this, and who might by chance be a writer, to think about. Especially if they consider themselves to be reasonably good of heart and intention-for they must also possess at least a trace of darkness in order for that light to shine its brightest.

Just a little something to think about in those odd and rare moments of your busy lives. What mask, oh you translators of the muse’s whispers, when you look honestly into your own eyes in a mirror, do you see…

Or could there, mayhaps, even be more than one?

When you, dear writer, look into the eyes in the mirror, after reading something you have written, which seemed out of what you have always perceived your character to be…

Are your sure it will be YOUR eyes looking back?

MARANTHA D. JENELLE

SURVIVING LIVING BI-POLAR


ONLY WHEN YOU FACE THE DEMON WILL YOU KNOW WHAT WEAPONS TO USE TO DEFEAT IT.

Hello World, I will call myself Marantha Jenelle, one of the two pen names I write under. This blog will primarily be about living “enhanced” (the ‘politically correct’ term for anyone suffering an emotional or mental illness) in a predominantly non-enhanced world. It is my way of reaching out to those who suffer an emotional illness as I myself do.

I suffer from bi-polar/schizo-effective disorder, adhd and severe agoraphobia. I have never sought to hide it, as I do not see it as something to be ashamed of.

The illness itself is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. It is treatable and non-contagious, although it can be hereditary, and most importantly, a lot of bi-polar people manage to function in society without society even being aware that they have the illness.

Many famous (and infamous) people down through history have suffered emotional or mental illnesses and managed to still lead somewhat productive lives. Abraham Lincoln suffered from bi-polar disorder, Van Gogh suffered schizophrenia, and many other people in our history suffered emotional or mental illnesses.

Yet they all managed to somehow fit into society. Sadly to say, in those days, they did not have the science nor medical knowledge that we have today. In those days, severe cases were locked away to spend their lives in darkness, mocked, reviled, alone.

And in some cases tortured and killed. Yes, that is right, for people in those days were very superstitious. If they, say, saw someone walking along talking to themselves, they immediately thought that person were possessed and the poor victim was often tortured in the name of “healing”, or even worse, locked away or put to death. It has ever been man’s nature to first fear, then hate, then attempt to destroy that which they do not understand or have no explanation, in their terms or frames of reference, for.

I am, at the time of this writing, newly turned fifty three, and I was officially diagnosed in nineteen ninety five. But, in looking back, I feel that the symptoms began prior to that. I would even go so far as to say that I suffered the illness my entire life, but that it went undetected. It has only been recently that there was even much study and awareness of mental and emotional illnesses, and  cures sought.

There have been major breakthroughs in the field of medicines to help treat those with emotional and mental illness, and further breakthroughs are being made every day. No longer are we locked away, persecuted, killed, simply because we are “different”.

But make no mistake, even in this supposedly “enlightened” society of today, we are still shunned, reviled and mocked, and often totally ignored as being unfit to “mingle” with the “normal” people. And this same thing applies to the physically disabled, whether it be by birth or by accident.

For instance, has even one of you who might happen to read this ever caught yourself staring in repulsed fascination at someone suffering a physical disfigurement or a physical disability…and silently thanking God it wasn’t you? I am not proud of it, but I myself used to be guilty of that very thing, but at least I will admit it.

I did not then realize one basic truth until I myself became one of those “misfits”-those “outcasts of society”, and that truth was that those people had feelings, hopes, dreams, disappointments and all of the same joys, trials, and hurdles to overcome-often, in fact, more so-that I myself did. In short, they were human too, just different.

There is a young man, a very talented writer, with whom I feel a special connection. I talk to him sometimes, and given that he is, as I said, very young, he is extremely wise for his age. The subject came up one day when I was talking to him about the fact that there seemed to be people reading the things I posted, but none of them seemed to find any of it even worthy enough of a scathing comment, much less a positive one. He informed me that I needed to open up and not just post my stories and poetry, but that if I wanted others to share their thoughts with me, I had to share something as well, that I had to “take part” by reading and responding to others if I wanted them to notice and respond to me.

In short, I had to “step out of my comfort zone” and begin taking part in life itself.

You see, for the past eight to ten years, I have been very nearly totally reclusive. I have never, even as a child, fit in anywhere, no matter how hard I tried. I spent nearly my entire life trying to be accepted and fit in, with no success.

Then, on the morning of my fiftieth birthday, I realized something. I had spent nearly a half of a century trying to change in order to have people accept me and gain their approval, and in the end, I no longer even knew who I was.

And, as I walked through the tiny apartment that had been my prison for seventeen years I made a promise to myself…for whatever time is left remaining to me, I will be true to myself. My story, “EMILIA AND THE ANGEL”, was begun on that night. It is one of the four inspirational stories in WALKING WITH ANGELS, my very first ever book.

With the exception of meeting my guardian angel, the things that Emilia comes to realize on the day of her fiftieth birthday were in truth the very things that I myself, as I sat weeping at my dining room table, thought about and came to realize.

And one of the most important things that I realized that day was that I had worth, despite what the world at large had spent it’s time trying to convince me was just exactly the opposite.

And that is the reason that I am now sitting, at nearly three thirty in the morning, on only two hours of sleep, writing this blog. My mania is riding me hard, and with it comes racing thoughts. Amongst those thoughts were the words my young writer friend told me. And as those thoughts began to fill my head, they began to overflow into my heart and I realized that I might have something useful to say after all.

I do not know much about that very spooky world outside the safety of my home, but I do know about what is in my heart and soul and that there must be others out there who share my dark journey. So it is to them, more or less, and to their families who suffer with and for them, that I will be posting from time to time on this blog.

It will not be every day, it may only be once in a while, but I want to reach out and try to let them know that they are not alone, that they do have worth, and that with faithful adherence to their medication schedules and simply learning some coping skills, they can gain at least a modicum of control over their lives.

I will state this in closing, you do not have to suffer an emotional or mental illness, or be physically disabled to feel outcast, ignored, nothing but a mere shadow walking through life. Misery, hardship, misunderstanding, prejudice, all are “equal opportunity” demons. But there is hope, as long as you keep one thing firm in mind…

Believe in something, if only in yourself.

I wish any and all who should take time from their busy lives to read this message all of heaven’s most wonderful blessings

MARANTHA D. JENELLE

And if you who read this should find it in your hearts, and have the time, please leave a comment and let me know what your thoughts are on how you would handle living as an enhanced individual, or if you do in reality walk that path, just know you are not alone.