#Before30BucketList: Read A Classic Novel About Women, By A Woman

(First, go to this post if you don’t know what my #Before30BucketList is. I’ll also be going back to that original post and noting each goal accomplished if you want to keep up but miss out on some of my posts.)

I got pretty excited about this one. I found it on another list about things for women to do before they turn 30, not just anyone in general. Although I have weird views on what a woman is and all that, I do identify as a woman in most instances and have dealt with society’s views on women for my whole life. Plus, reading is pretty much my life, and for some reason I find that I haven’t read nearly enough “classics” that I should know like the back of my hand by now, so I jumped on this pretty quick.

I kind of chose this book randomly. First, everyone knows about Sylvia Plath. I follow a blog called The Belle Jar. I’m deeply affected by mental illness (though I’ve never been suicidal), and am constantly interested in how women lived during different eras because fuck, man, I couldn’t even imagine.

I was afraid it would be slow-reading, as many older books are to me, but I delved right in and didn’t stop. Between all of other lifely duties, it took me only a few days to finish the book. Some parts were riveting. Some parts were confusing. Mostly it left me with a sense of empathy and pride — because I understand what it’s like to not understand, and because so many of us have persevered to make a different world from the one in which Sylvia Plath lived.

Sylvia Plath The Bell Jar

Do you think she imagined someone like me reading someone like her when she was alive?

(I’m not going to write a book review or summary because that’s not really my style.)

Thankfully, I didn’t get depressed after finishing this novel, as I usually do when I read (or finish reading) books, which is kind of odd considering the material. Maybe it’s because I was more excited to have crossed another item off my list.

I absolutely recommend this book to everyone. Whether or not you take anything away from it is up to the way your brain interprets things, but either way it’s a good story.

Companions: Sylvia Plath

Cost
Book: $9

Goal Total: $9

9th Goal Accomplished
List Item #15: Read A Classic Novel About Women, By A Woman
On 4-23-2017

Bucket List Total: $167

Manic Holidays

The last time I was really, truly experiencing a full-fledged manic episode was about this time last year.

Since my diagnosis I’ve been able to look back and understand what was going on. Back then I had no idea.

There are “yard sale” pages on Facebook. It’s kind of like Craigslist, but some are only for certain towns, other for certain items, and it’s just all much easier and more legit and less murdery than Craigslist. I adore yard sales and good deals and secondhand items, so of course I started doing all of my holiday shopping on these Facebook Yard Sale pages.

I got really into it. Really, really into it. I spent every waking moment scouring through the postings trying to be the first one to comment “INTERESTED!” so I could get my son everything he never even dreamed. I got a scooter for three dollar. Three dollars. He still rides it.

Things were going splendidly. I mean, Jack and my dad weren’t exactly happy that I was spending all my time online and all my money on shit my son didn’t really need, but I found such good deals they were also somewhat proud of my mad bargaining skills.

Then I became increasingly aware of families in need. You may not recall, but there were a lot of fires in South Jersey last winter. So many unfortunate families lost everything right before the holidays. There were posts begging people to give anything they could, even just a pair of socks. I gave what I could, when I could.

Then the posts got more specific. Eight-year-old girl, four-year-old boy, nine-month-old baby; girl likes this and that and boy likes that and this and baby needs whatever. So I started searching not only for me, but for them. I found a great deal on a shitload of The Littlest Pet Shop pets and homes and case for ten dollars. I bought it for one of the little girls. I went to Five Below and bought one of the boys a toy train for five dollars. I gave away all of Holden’s baby stuff I had held onto for no apparent reason.

In the midst of all this, a friend of mine reached out. She had been having a very hard time financially and was afraid she wouldn’t be able to provide a proper Christmas for her children. I went into full gear at this point. I made post after post about how I knew families in need; I started collecting donations; I would drive up to an hour away to pick up a bag of clothes or a box of toys. Now I was spending every waking minute online, driving, and sorting through the mountains of crap collecting in my basement.

I was obsessed. I would stay up until 4am searching for the perfect postings on the Facebook pages, afraid to miss anything good. I would then wake up at 9am and immediately rush out the door to meet someone. One time I had the car so packed I was literally sitting on top of a bag to make enough room for me.

Holden never saw me. Whenever I was home I was in the basement, sorting through all the donations I had received, separating clothes by size and toys by family. I was supposed to be attending college at the time, but my self-made / self-run charity quickly overtook any responsibility I had to anything else.

My best friend’s mom also experienced a fire, and I drove several towns away in the middle of the night during a snowstorm to pick up a couch for her. I then kept the couch in the bed of my truck, covered with tarps, for weeks until she was able to move it into her apartment.

I cared about everyone else far more than I cared about my own well-being.

After Christmas, once most of the families had everything they needed, I crashed. And I crashed hard. I didn’t get out of bed for two weeks. I didn’t check my computer or play with my son or do my homework or even make food. There was no point to my existence.

Once I went back online, I had several livid messages from people who I had told I might be able to help. When I first felt the crash coming on, I had told mostly everyone that I was dealing with personal stuff and would do the best I could, but would be dialing it back for a while. They didn’t care. One of them attacked me for trying to sell some of my own stuff, instead of giving everything I own to needy families. Another cyber-yelled at me for hours because I wasn’t able to help a family she knew. More and more people were coming out of their hiding places blaming me for all of their problems.

That’s when I decided to stop. By this point I could barely handle my own thoughts, let alone others unloading all of their crap onto me.

Now I still have a basement full of stuff and, a year later, haven’t managed to sort through any of it. When I said my crash was hard, I meant it. I suffered the longest depression I have ever known, and am just now beginning to pull out of it.

And now I know. I know that the holidays are a trigger that can send me into mania. I know I can go overboard and I know I’ll put others before myself and I know I’ll crash again, and I can’t afford to do that anymore.

Big Brothers, Big Sisters is coming to pick up some of the bags in my basement next Saturday. I’m slowly chipping away at the pile of mess, at my own pace. I’m still offering to people in need, so long as they do things on my terms. I want to help, but I sometimes have to put my own health first.

Sometimes I have to be the one in need.

Tempestuous Living

This is an average day in my life — the life of an addict, a mother, a writer, someone with bipolar and anxiety. It’s boring, and it’s missing pieces, and not every day is the same, but it is what it is.

3:30am I wake up. I need a cigarette. I feel around the bed, Holden’s there. Can’t smoke. I squint to see the boys cuddling and smile to myself. I go back to sleep.

7:30am I wake up. I roll over. I try to go back to sleep but I know it won’t come. I check my phone and my computer and I forget to put my glasses on until the tenth time of wondering why everything’s all fuzzy.

7:35am I need a cigarette. I look around the bed again. Holden’s gone. He must have woken up and gone back to his room at some point in the last four hours. I light up. I take a few drags and hear his door. He’s up. He comes into my room and I beg him to let me finish my cigarette, but he doesn’t. I need to turn on his show. We yell at each other for a few minutes, but I don’t want to wake Jack. I get up.

7:37am I go into the living room and turn on the TV. I go into the kitchen and throw some frozen french toast in the microwave, playing on my phone as I wait for it to be done. I get juice ready. I bring everything into the living room and make sure Holden’s all set up.

7:40am I finish the bit of my cigarette that hasn’t burned away. I check my Reader for attention-grabbing headlines and my favorite bloggers’ names. I scroll through a few posts and save a few more to read later. I light another cigarette. I waste away precious time scrolling through my Reader and playing online games and staring at the computer screen, hoping it will give me something to do. Eminem (formerly known as M&M) messages me a Good Morning and things look up a bit.

8:30am I find Holden’s clothes and get his food ready and put everything in the car and make sure the only thing I have to do is put his clothes on and go. I chase him around the house for what feels like an hour and throw my hands up in defeat at least three times and throw his clothes down on the floor at least four before I nearly chokehold him into his pants and shirt. He’s bawling and I’m screaming and my dad’s giving us googly eyes and Jack’s in the bedroom on the computer or sleeping. I make sure, one last time, that everything is ready.

9:00am We’re already running late and Holden has taken off his pants. We go through the routine mentioned above, again, only with a little more gusto. He doesn’t want to go to school.

9:15am After successfully bribing Holden with treats or technology or toys or friends, I get his pants on, throw him over my shoulder, and put him in the car. He’s fine until I go to close the door when he sticks his little hand out and I catch myself before crushing it. I tell him I’ll get whatever he wants when I get him, but it doesn’t please him. Instead of slamming the door on his hand I slowly place it closed and bump my butt against it to finalize the deal. He screams.

9:30am We get to daycare and Holden walks in just fine but clutches my leg when I go to leave and it turns into a big thing with his teacher having to grab him away from me as I scurry out the door. I am free. I head home, big things are planned for the day.

9:40am I stop at WaWa and get my coffee and breakfast and keep my head down but take in all the people. There are too many of them; they are too close to me. I put my head down further — maybe I will radiate off a forcefield and they will stop getting so damn close. They don’t. I pay and hurry to my car.

9:45am I am home. Sweet, sweet home. I bounce onto the bed and light a cigarette and grab my computer and tell myself I have hours to do my chores so a little writing won’t hurt. That’s my mistake. I thought about the chores. I shouldn’t have thought about them, I should have just done them. They won’t get done for hours. I try to write but nothing comes. I put on a TV show and rock and sway and think maybe just this once some heroin would calm me down. It takes a few hours to get that thought out of my head, to subdue the rocking.

Noon How did it get so late? What have I even done? I look at my computer and seventeen posts are waiting for me to read them and my new post area is blank. What happened? Why am I still rocking? I obviously must get up — something has to be done. I go into the kitchen and then into the living room and back into the kitchen. I think about all that needs to be done and retreat back into my room. Maybe I’ll take a nap. I look over at my meds and decide I need to calm down, maybe I’ll just take my nighttime med now. Maybe. Yeah, right. I do it. There’s no maybe. I tell myself I’ll skip tonight’s dose to make up for it but I know I won’t. I’ll just run out sooner.

2pm I force myself up and about and do whatever chore is on my chore chart for the day. Maybe it’s dishes, or vacuuming, or mopping, or laundry. I half-ass it, but at least it’s done. I get myself a cute owl sticker and place it over today on the calendar. I feel successful. I’ll try to write again.

4pm I’m squirming around in bed and wishing heroin wasn’t so damn addictive. I’m paralyzed from moving but I can’t stop. I’m not even making sense to myself. I start talking to people online and I get awfully nervous for no apparent reason and it takes so much out of me I have to take a break. I rock and I sway.

5pm It’s time to get Holden from school. I force myself up and out and through town to get him. When I arrive, he doesn’t want to leave. I let him play for a few more minutes, obviously overstaying my welcome because his teachers just want to leave. I drag him out the door after they’ve bribed him with a balloon. We make our way home.

5:30 I keep myself busy doing I-don’t-know-what. Holden and I fight about something, Jack and I fight about more. I can’t sit down or I’ll rock.

7:00pm I get food and drink and DVD in hand and get my son all set up for bed and listen to his demands and run around doing everything he asks and change him and put his blanket on him and tell him I love him and Goodnight.

7:20pm I try to get to bed but Jack has to fix it because it’s messed up again and then he needs something and our space is so small I can’t get around him and I finally do and I light a cigarette and down my meds. I try to watch TV and I rock. And I stand on my head and I rock. And I watch some TV and I play a computer game and I rock.

8:25pm I sit at my computer. My legs are crossed. I uncross them. I stare at the screen. I re-cross them. I click on a post saved from this morning and I try to read and I skim and I make myself go back over the skimmed parts and I try really hard to devour every word. Eventually I give up and scroll to the bottom and click like. I open a new post and force myself to read every. single. word. and it still doesn’t sink in so I comment on the one paragraph that took. And I feel horrible because this has nothing to do with the writers’ abilities and everything to do with my fucking brain and its rebellion. I repeat the process of skimming posts and reading posts and crossing my legs and uncrossing my legs and chainsmoking.

8:32pm Sometimes I try to write. Like now, right now I’m writing and it feels good and everything is okay for a minute, but usually I get something like this:

My brain isn’t working and it’s driving me fucking mad.

My son’s hair looks cute.

BFEKuhdsfuihesnuigkbsjifnd

I just want to feel the keyboard under my fingers so it seems like I’m doing something remarkable.

On good nights, I will continue to write and write and everything will remain wonderful and I’ll go to bed around 10:30pm. On bad nights, I’ll give up and watch TV until I pass out around 9:00pm.

*  *  *  *  *

I want to thank walkingcontradiction for this idea, and actually giving me inspiration to write something for once.

*  *  *  *  *

What about you? What’s a day in your life?

Hair Cuts and M&Ms

I cut my son’s hair today and now it’s super short and I’m kind of mad but also very happy because now I don’t have to deal with those ungodly knots.

But it made me think about Bipolar parenting and how it affects our children. Other than depression, I haven’t had the chance since my diagnosis to sit and really see any cases in which my illness impacts my son. Until now.

Supposedly I’ve been hypomanic for a while now. I’m so confused I didn’t even know I could be hypomanic because I have Bipolar I and I thought that meant I only got full-fledged mania, but I was wrong. I can get hypomania and I have it, but none of the good aspects that come with it.

I mean, I’m getting shit done so that’s cool I guess, but I’m always anxious and irritated and making such rash decisions. Like, did I tell you that I am meeting Married Online Man? (Well we’ll obviously have to come up with a better name for him because that acronym is MOM and that’s just weird. And “Online Man” would be OM which is also “Other Man” so that’s out. Maybe just “Married Man”. My delightful M&M. Which I still don’t like because I don’t like to think of him as only married because there’s so much more to him but I guess it’ll have to do for now.)

Anyway, I’m meeting him soon. I probably won’t write about it much, but it’s happening. And while I’m fairly positive he’s not a crazy murderer, Luke seems to think otherwise and Nate is slightly uncomfortable with the whole thing but doesn’t want to tell me what to do so really I can’t know for sure. And either way, it’s pretty damn impulsive for me to meet someone from the internet. Even if I feel like we know each other because we talk every day.

Anyway anyway, Bipolar parenting. Cutting my son’s hair. It was so impulsive. I was giving him a bath and BAM I just couldn’t handle the knots anymore and got my rusty, dull kitchen scissors and chopped that shit off. And what if my son didn’t want his hair cut? What if I have a mini-meltdown once reality kicks in and I notice it’s really gone? What the hell have I done?

I mean, I know it’s only hair and it’ll grow back and it’s not a big deal but what other selfish, impulsive decisions could I make regarding my son’s life that my illness helps fuel that could actually harm him? Would I ever make such decisions? Will I be in the right mind enough to realize how idiotic I’m being?

This is the shit I get to think about now. I hope it will never come to that, I don’t think it will ever come to that, but something is absolutely going on. And I just had to write about it.

(p.s. Don’t forget to check out today’s guest post!)

Also he was not feeling getting his picture taken but this is the best I could do:

Why Nonsense & Shenanigans?

There is a lot of blogging advice out there. Comment, like, post so often, don’t use foul language, do use foul language, don’t alienate your followers, don’t use certain post openings, have a niche.

Have a niche. Huh. For those who don’t know what a niche is, it’s kind of like your forte. If you don’t know what either mean, you should probably open a dictionary, but since I’m kind I’ll explain it.

Your blog’s niche is something specific you write about. Your focus.

niche blogging

Continue reading