Woke up this this morning and I saw that World Bipolar Day was trending on Facebook. First of all, thanks for creeping me out Facebook Algorithm. Second, I’m going to need you to send me some gifts. Here are a few ideas: Continue reading It’s World Bipolar Day. What are you getting me?
Mile marker 262 of any stretch of highway is as good a place stop as any other.
On the eastbound trip along I-80 into NYC, one knows there’s only fifty more miles of Pennsylvania. Better start prepping your mind and your bladder for the descent into the City.
On the westbound journey, one pulls over to steel themselves in the face of the 262 miles of Pennsylvania that lies ahead.
“It’s sooooo long,” people you talk to always seem to know the exact mileage, “311 miles!” And it not just any 311 miles of Pennsylvania, it’s 311 miles of Pennsylvania laid out as to avoid major population centers. You’ll pass by such landmarks as State Game Lands Number 331 and State Game Lands Number 54. The cruel joke here is the original name of the highway was the Keystone Shortway. “You want the shortest way through Pennsylvania? Well, it’s 311 miles. Fuck you. Call it the Shortway, you rest stop fouling bitch!”
“Shortway…” you grovel.
“Good. That’s how Pennsylvania likes its motorists.” Continue reading A review of the Wendy’s at Exit 262 of I-80 in Hazleton, PA…
SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP!
There. I said it. It needed to be said. You are hurting me with each post. Every “funny” meme you shared feels like an interestingly treaded boot on my chest. Every poll from an organization I’ve never heard of that you’ve clicked LIKE on is a knitting needle slowly inserted into the empty space of my eye socket. Every think piece from liberalspanktwaddle.org showing why whoever has no chance or every chance feels like watching this week’s Super Bowl Halftime Show again… without Beyoncé, or Bruno Mars, or even Coldplay’s hot drummer. Everything you post is pure torture.
Yes, I am a delicate little flower.
More correctly, I am an empath. Now you may only be familiar with empaths from the character of Deanna Troi on Star Trek: The Next Generation. You remember her –the woman with the curly hair that sat next to Captain Picard on the bridge and said things like “I sense deception” whenever the plot called for it. Most of the times being an empath came in handy. However, once a season, whenever the actress’ contract called for her to be the focus of a story, Troi would clutch her head in pain and slump against the bulkhead because the vibes or whatever were just too much to bear.
It seems every time I log on to Facebook lately, I end up slumped against a bulkhead, and I’m sick of it. Continue reading Bernie’s Bullies, Hillary’s Harassers: An Empath Tries To Survive Facebook During the Democratic Primaries
First of all, I would like to point out the not-inconsequential fact that it’s two and a half years later, and I’m STILL HERE. I am not dead. I did not do myself in. Obviously, this must be a bit of a surprise for you, considering how close you must’ve thought I was to… to…
Just how did you fantasize I was going to do it? It’s still an odd feeling that someone besides me was contemplating my demise. How far along in the planning stage were you. There has to be some point where thinking about someone else’s upcoming suicide turns into plotting their murder.
Especially when you turn your back. Suddenly. After eight years of friendship.
I still remember that night you cast me out. Things weren’t going so well for me: I had just spent a week on a disastrous vacation that I thought would relax me but turned out to be basically was one long, extended panic attack, and also I just found out that I was in real danger of being evicted from the apartment I loved. I had had a therapy appointment that evening. The therapist, realizing I was in a fragile state, told me to call a friend to talk when I got home –just to stay connected.
Before I left her office, she made me write out and sign a sheet of paper stating that I would not harm myself. I know that might sound stupid to you, but making a promise to someone in writing really makes you step back and think about offing yourself. She also made me promise that I would call a friend. She asked me whom I could call. Yours was the first name I said.
That’s how much you meant to me. You meant so much that I felt I could actually call and talk to you. On the phone. With voices.
I’m not sure you remember the message I left. It was nothing special, just something along the lines of “Hey, it’s me. Had a really rough therapy session, and she said I should call someone to stay connected. Could really use to hear a friendly voice tonight.” Something like that; I can’t remember the exact words I used.
I ordered some pad thai and waited for you to call. When you can’t talk to someone, occupying your mouth with pad thai is the next best thing.
You never called. I went to bed, taking an Ambien to make the day go away.
Then, just as I was drifting off, you TEXTED back. Texting to return a phone message is always a bad sign. Right off the bat, I knew it was bad: “I don’t think I can do this any more,” you wrote. After going on a bit about how I was shiftless and lazy –“At least get a job at a grocery store! Do something!” –you got to the corpse of the matter. “I think you’re going to end up killing yourself, and I can’t be around for that.”
Well, I know you can’t be around for my suicide. That would be sick, just sitting by and watching as I… seriously, how did you imagine this would go down? I bet you were thinking pills. I’ve always have had a lot of pills hanging around because of my Bipolar II condition.
I know you thought you knew all about Bipolar because of that one friend you had who experienced the manic episodes. Not to diminish her suffering, but she has Bipolar I, a disease as different from Bipolar II as Diabetes I and II are from each other. But no matter how often I tried to remind you of this fact, you always insisted on telling me that she had it a lot worse than me.
And on a side note: Never compare one person’s mental illness to another’s, especially when they are different types. You will look like a fool, and will make at least one of the ill people feel even worse.
That’s what sucks about Bipolar II: It doesn’t have the spectacular manias of Bipolar I. Instead, it has a guy sitting on the couch in his underwear watching an Ancient Aliens marathon. I spend a good chunk of my days praying for just a sliver of mania. That what hurts so much about you wishing I would just pull myself together. You don’t get it… That’s the main symptom of Bipolar II –not being able to pull oneself together. Sorry it, and I, wasn’t exciting enough for you.
But I’m used to friends breaking up with me over it, though none have ever done it as cruelly as you. Mostly they just got sick of my whining or whatever. “You’re so passive,” said one. “You lean on me too much,” said another. I could go on and on. Yet, however horrible I feel these guys may have been at the time, I know they would’ve stuck around long enough to make sure I didn’t slit my wrists. (I have a funny feeling you think I would’ve slit my wrists. I don’t know –you just give me that vibe.)
Now, after two and a half years, I still trust people just a little bit less. I had always felt that most of my relationships were on a knife’s edge –that’s just the way it goes with mental illness –but what you did to me intensified that tenfold. I felt I had a special relationship with you, that I didn’t need to sugarcoat what was going on. It may sound weird, but it’s like we shared responsibility for the friendship. Listen, I know it’s hard being friends with the mentally ill because we don’t do normal things. But I like to think that at least 51% of those not normal things are somewhat charming and more than make up for the other 49%.
However, apparently I did need to sugarcoat. Looking back, it seems to me you were you silently judging me every time we hung out for those eight years. I still hardly trust anyone to know what’s really going on mental-wise out of fear that they will throw up their hands and say, “No màs,” the way you did. I have a very small circle of friends left, whom I cherish, but thanks to you, I’m constantly expecting THAT text. And that’s not fair to them.
That night I texted back, “Just wanted to talk to a friend.” That was the last time I’ve ever had any communication with you.
But I’m still here. I’m slowly learning to trust again. And I want to thank you. Not for the trust stuff. You can rot for that.
I wanted to thank you because each time I have a suicidal ideation –and with Bipolar II, they come fast and furious –I know that NOT killing myself would be the biggest “fuck you” to you imaginable. And that “fuck you” is a huge incentive to keep going.
Try to type “affirmations” without sounding like a d-bag. Go ahead, try.
The first week of 2016 has been full of affirmations. I’ve been encountering the word everywhere –in print, on signs, in casual conversation. Even my friend Damian referred to his liking a photo I posted on Facebook as “affirming the photo.”
But before I go into detail about any more of the instances, I need to acknowledge how silly I feel writing about affirmations. Yes, I’m a silly, self-centered man for foisting my New Year’s affirmation encounters upon you, but it’s deeper than that… I feel silly even typing “affirmations.” I wish there was a font that adequately conveyed the voice I feel I need to use to whenever I say the word “affirmations.” My normal voice will not suffice, mainly because it feels weird to hear “affirmations” in my own voice, in my own head, thru the bones in my face. I feel that “affirmations” is best said in a voice and timbre similar to that which I use for the outgoing message on my phone –the voice that’s acutely aware it had to go thru speech therapy in the fifth grade along with all the other boys who couldn’t throw a ball.
Affirmations: I say it deeper, but more out of the body. Like there’s a speaker playing a self-help cassette an inch in front of my face. And I’ve taken a couple Quaaludes.
You may have noticed in recent days that you haven’t been seeing any pictures of my cat in your Facebook feed. That’s because I’ve unfriended you. I hope you can live with the barren cyberscape your life has now become. If you can’t, then you should have thought about that before you posted that picture of a handgun you got for Christmas on Facebook.
“Merry Christmas to me! :-)” you tagged it in the worst use of the smiley emoticon I have ever seen. Well, Merry Christmas to me! :-)… I’ve dumped your ass. I don’t need your negative, bougie death cult in my life.
I need to get this said right away: Do you have any idea how tacky it is for a grown-up to post pictures of the expensive things they got for Christmas? Nothing like rubbing your good fortune in people’s faces. You’re right up there with people who post about getting their seat upgraded from Business Plus to Business SuperBigDick Deluxe or complain about how hard it is to find a good ‘Vette mechanic. Continue reading An open letter to the now-former Facebook friend who chose to post a picture of a gun on Christmas Eve
I am currently in my pre-Christmas scramble to complete my list…
The cat: check. Wigs: check. Monkey: check. Disco cats: check. Giant tree burned in 1988: check. The G Train: check. 19th century folk art advertising sign of a pig: check. Skyline of Columbus –canted and slightly blurred: check. Graffiti jellyfish: not check. Soviet meerkats: not check. The cat, yet again: not check. A precarious fire escape: not check.
Of course I will not be wrapping any Soviet meerkats. The vast majority of meerkats who lived under the Soviet system are either long dead or have become oligarchs. And I dare anyone to who tries to put the cat in a box for wrapping to staunch their wounds in time before they bleed out. At least try to wear a green turtleneck before attempting to do so; the blood and the turtleneck will look festive together.
The reader, unless Christo is reading this blog for some reason (In that case, I loved The Gates.), has figured out that I’m probably talking about photographs here. This is a collection of found photos and photos of found objects (and the cat, always the cat). The vast majority is my own work, but when you find great disco cats, you’ve got to grab them. Continue reading T-Shirts for Christmas
“Hey man, great shirt!” said the guy at the bar.
Didn’t he know I was storming out of the restaurant? I thought I made it very clear to everyone involved that I was storming out. I had thrown down my napkin purposefully. I had been walking in a straight line, avoiding eye contact with all the shocked (They were shocked, right?) patrons. I felt I had done everything short of a curt “I said GOOD DAY!”
Yet here was this guy looking right at me and smiling like a goon.
“Thank you,” I mustered because, let’s face it, the t-shirt was great –all pleasingly ill-fitting in all the right places, with three-quarter length sleeves and a design that cleverly mimicked the logo for the punk band Black Flag, replicating their logo with cats and changing the name of the band to “Cat Flag.”
Also I felt it was important to acknowledge the compliment because doing so would snap me back to earth, to get me back on my mission, which was to enjoy visiting my friends back in Brooklyn. My mission was not storming out of restaurants. There are plenty of restaurants out of which I can storm in Columbus.
Of course, no one walks into a restaurant planning to storm out. Yet… Black Forest Brooklyn, a very brownstone-y take on the traditional German Biergarten in Fort Greene, had messed with me before. My friend Greg, who I was with this night along with two others, and I had each had escalating bad service experiences here. I mean, the food is good and the room is pleasingly airy, but good luck getting your check. Continue reading Flammkuchen, or I storm out of a German restaurant.
The ball veered left. It went into the gutter. Less than halfway down the lane. The bowler turns around for the sad Charlie Brown shuffle back the little step at the beginning of the approach. Those strips of wood are so narrow; why don’t they use wider strips, or even narrower strips? He makes it all the way to the little fan. Can he pretend to dry his hands long enough for the ball to return without looking up and seeing the disappointed looks on his teammates’ faces?
Every pin fucking matters, and you’ve just fucking missed ten of them you fuck! This is important stuff, this Monday night league of bowling homos. People aren’t giving up their MONDAY nights to watch you throw gutterballs.
He wants to punch his head so bad, but he knows how much that scares people.
But it feels so good. In a hurtful way.
He takes a deep breath, and, in doing so, makes the mistake of looking up. One of his teammates, the one who takes care of the paperwork because no one else understands it, looks right at him. The bowler knows a lesson’s coming. He knows it’s coming from a pure place of respect, concern, and brotherly love, but he dreads it nonetheless.
The team mate, the one who does the paperwork, delivers the lesson. From back at the table he holds the back of his hands to his head and flicks his fingers out in a poof moment. It’s reminiscent of the “you just blew my mind” gesture, but the bowler knows it means “Clear your mind!” Continue reading CLEAR YOUR MIND! NOW! DAMMIT! BOWL! SWING HEIGHT! SWING HEIGHT! DON’T THINK ABOUT KITTENS!