Stripped Down Naked

(EMOTIONALLY NAKED, move along, perverts who thought otherwise.)

I like to think I am pretty transparent in my blog about my feelings but then, I have to come to grips with my coping mechanisms of sarcasm and macabre humor, not to mention mood-fueled rants often masking the true emotions that might actually resonate with others. Those coping mechanisms have kept me alive my whole life at times when I was being so mentally beat down I could have easily exited stage left never to return again. I treasure my mechanisms even when others don’t get it, or doctors or therapists say they’re not healthy. They’re mine and they work for me.

At the same time I realize they can mask a great many things about me that might actually be likeable. In the interest of transparency…Allow me to remove my masks and strip down emotionally bare.

I wasn’t always this angry sarcastic bitch monster. Once upon a time, I was a vivacious girl who loved watching Madonna and Cyndi Lauper on MTV and mimicking their fashion. I loved cherry Slush Puppies from the gas station. Walking to this corner hole in the wall mom and pop stand with a dollar in coins and coming out with a paper bag full of penny candy. I loved staying up late, drinking Mountain Dew, eating nacho cheese Doritos with beef jerky, watching cheesy slasher flicks. I relished warm summer nights when we had an old horse trough as a pool and the water would be so warm under moonlight and I was so free, unwatched, unjudged, just splashing and having fun.

The flip side of this would come, of course, when the depressions hit and I’d retreat within myself because no one wanted to hang with Debbie Downer holed up in her bedroom listening to sad or angry music.

It wouldn’t be til many years later I’d find out that the vivacious side of me that pondered no consequences and just lived life to the fullest when I could was actually part of a mental disorder. Mania or hypomania. I was flabbergasted. Being happy and loving life is MENTAL DISORDER,WTF? I just couldn’t reconcile with what the professionals were saying about extremes. To me, happy was happy, I didn’t know you could be ‘too happy.’

Wasn’t til after too many cycles of too happy and too sad with way too few episodes of stable that I saw the damage being done to my life, and my mind. I wanted nothing to do with medication, convinced it was all artifact of a dysfunctional family and childhood bullying. Eventually, though, I had to face that happy behavior or not- it was a problem.

Money-or more aptly, spending it, became what made me feel happy and alive. Eating would take its place when it ran out. Then when money for food ran out, it would become sexual extremes. I’d draw people to me, then become some other person and drive them away. Over and over and over. And I’d always go running to the counselor, asking why, what is wrong with me, why can’t I stop???? Why can’t you just say it’s okay to be too happy and let me ruin my life naturally instead of it happening anyway even with the damned pills? Little did I know at the time thatn while the counselors had diagnosed me manic depressive, their ancient, inept shrink labeled me dysthymic and kept feeding me antidepressants that sparked the mania episodes. It would be over 12 years before I’d find a correct diagnosis and mood stabilizers.

In doing so, I felt like I finally had an explanation for so many things. But I also felt like the vivaceous part of me was dead and gone. Depression or not, everything that had made me fun and creative seemed to get sucked up by the stabilizer meds. To some extent, I still believe that, though Lamictal is the only one I can tolerate without horrid side effects and being numb.

I have been so caught up in this cycle of mood swings and anxiety and dates that ended with me throwing up after a panic attack. Hard to see the up side of life when that is your life.

So bare naked truth.

We need money. What I value most, though, what I have always value most…are words. I guess as an avid reader and writer it makes sense. I got my first pen pals when I was 15 and my name was published in Metal Edge magazine looking for other music fans to write. Over the years, I lost touch with dozens of people, then submitted my name again, and made new pen pal friends. I wasn’t a snob, I even wrote to inmates. And some of those inmates may have been working an angle, they may have been puppy smothering goat molesting scum for all I know but…words. And some would send me artwork of dragons and such and I was in awe because I always wanted to be able to draw and…I simply can’t, even my stick people suck.

Once the internet became a thing, letter writing has died off more and more. I can’t remember the last time someone sent me a handwritten snail mail letter.

During the move, I came across my stash from an old friend I met in a mental health chat room. He would write me even when he crashed and burned and had to go into the psych hospital. I haven’t heard from him in 8 years and I miss him so very much. He struggled so hard. Every part of me hopes the silence is because he found his magic cocktail and got his life on track and not some…darker reason. But I still have his beautiful words, his amazing artwork, his stark naked thoughts and feelings that he chose not to just share on line with me, but to pay postage and send to me.

Of all the things found during the move…it’s his letters that I treasure the most.

It is difficult for me to bond with people but when I do…it’s also hard for me to unbond.8 years without a word and I still love that boy like he’s my child. What others see as words on paper, I see as a beautiful treasure I can keep for the rest of my life. Knowing at least for a bit, someone cared as much for me as I did for them.

But technology has changed everything. Much as I love the internet…I am sickened by ebooks. I want paper, ink, pages, bookmarks, I want the entire writing and reading experience sometimes. It may make me a relic but this is who I am. These are the things I treasure when I am not overly focused on money and depression and anxiety and just trying not to fail my kid.

My family was non demonstrative of any feelings except anger and hatred.

So I’ve spent my life searching for someone who feels things deeply, like I do, not just the negative. These feelings, when put on paper with pen, become a thing of everlasting beauty.

If this makes me hokey, so be it. This is me, stripped emotionally naked. I am not a money grubbing bitch beast under it all.

But since letter writing has gone the way of landlines and social media basically turns everyone into 160 character simpletons…what I value most is what I cannot have. It is sad but I am trying to change with the times.

I will never forget this is who I am, though. Retro, relic, old school, nerd-whatever label you wanna slap on me. Some values should never be trends, they should just be who you are deep down.

One Response to “Stripped Down Naked”

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