This blog, like my other works, is a child of mine. It has been nourished from my mental umbilical cord. It is a living and breathing document of my life for over a year, one of which I had crashed again and nearly burned to ashes. I’m past the tragedies of 2012, but I’m also aware that they will never be erased from my memory no matter how much I want them to be sometimes.

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How do I feel about my blog thus far? I feel like it has matured. It may well be a teenager; I can feel safe letting it wander on its own. It found a community, a family of friends; It has an extended family , one is called A Canvas of the Minds, a blog that allows those chronicling issues of their personal mental health experiences and general inquiries about mental health. And I do not know where the course of my blog (read: its little life) would be now without you readers or Canvas.

I don’t have to feed it, my little Melancholically Manic Mouse, any longer. I think this is one reason I have stopped posting as often as I used to (that, and my other life got in the way meheh).

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Like all living things in life, it will eventually reach its end, it’s death to ashes in the Earth. But for the time being, it will be here and continue living.

It’s not saying goodbye forever, not just yet. No fuckin’ way.

mouse love.

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addendum:  How do you feel about your blog’s life?

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Janis had a voice in tune with the angels and demons. Her Pretty Little Demons must have been beyond pretty, gorgeous even, much like mine. And I’m not saying I’m gorgeous here; it’s just my demons are.

So, today’s song is “Summertime”. The mood in this song is so melancholy and yet the lyrics have a mixed tinge of humor and sadness, of sarcasm and anger, of positive and negative thougths battling between this girl from a rich dad and gorgeous mom. A girl who will someday fly. I love that thought as trite as it may seem. Will she fly as an angel in death? Or will she do great things in her life? It’s up in the air.

It’s like the essence of the song describes my childhood, my youth.

I know all about having a gorgeous mom, about melancholy and being mixed up with ambivalence, confusion and ambiguity. But my dad on the other hand lost his business in Colombia when he decided to move to the States for me. He sacrificed everything he’d worked up for until that point. I always felt so guilty about it. Ironically though, the guy who took over his photography studio after we left was shot while some hoodlums broke in to steal anything they could. Colombia was in deep political unrest at the time.

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Well, it’s summer and summertime living is easy for us southern girls. ha! Somer time is ‘a leavin’.

Summertime for me has often been a time of remission from the “mentals” (usually, not always); the only brief remissions I recall. And this summer seems to be no different, despite the burdensome circumstances. I have been getting relatively “better” since July.

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I also recall many melancholy summers in my childhood. I was a melancholy child even before the suicidals hit. Oh I do.  Child melancholy. Adolescent melancholy. Adult melancholy. It just gets worse. It’s just another bucket filling in the well.

Oh summertime though. Weren’t childhood summers the best? If I recall clearly, even my childhood melancholy summers where better than my remission adolescent and adult summers.

Summertime is  ‘a here y’all. Don’t you cry girl. Don’t you cry. Remember you’re the “mean challenger,” the “brave girl” who never cries.

Yet I’m crying now.

Oh I have so many stories about what this song means to me. So here’s just one of the many….

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Once Upon a Summertime

I became extremely close to a dirty-blond haired girl way back in 2003-2004. She had big eyes like mine, only hers were green–mine are brown. And she had gorgeous big, pursed lips. It got to a point where I had an intense crush on her. I’m still not sure why.

Back then, I was involved in this organization called the International Order of the Rainbow for Girls and used to joke that they were a cult of lesbians–I wish they were because at least then I wouldn’t have to wear white dresses and do stupid rituals for Jesus. No offense to Jesus. I’m sure he was a cool dude. I’d have kicked it with him, but I doubt he enjoys all that adoration.

This organization was VERY religious and very strict. I caught hell for wearing a brow and nose ring. Anyway, that’s were I met this wonderful girl. The day I met her, we laughed at the rituals and the white dresses.

Don’t get scared; they didn’t harm me. Well, they did once when we went to Corpus Cristi but that’s another post altogether. This Rainbow for Girls thing was more like a cult of Mason’s Christian daughters who claimed to do charity work (the reason I’d joined was because I wanted to do charity work), but instead of doing charity, they only bickered. Anyway, me and this girl (I’ll call her Emma) connected because we both felt out-of-place there. We were both outsiders.

Emma was a wild one, a  free-thinker like me. We had one of those intense connections that immediately sparked! And one summer, we had a road trip with the other Rainbow Girls, the not-so-free-thinker-ones. In the car, Emma and I jammed to Joplin. Me and her, her and me. We laughed a lot that girl Emma and I.

This girl, Emma, knew ALL ABOUT Janis Joplin. I mean, if you know anything about Janis Joplin, you know that she was from Texas. You’d know she was born in January 19, 1943 and began writing plays in the first grade (oh how I’ve always had a thing for most Aquarians I’ve met). You’d also know that she went to Lamar State College for a stretch between gigs before becoming famous. And since you’d know she grew up in Texas and that Lamar State College is where she went for a while; you’d know Lamar State College is also in Port Arthur, Texas, not too far from Houston where I grew up.

Yep, you’d know, you’d know how inadequate she must’a felt there. You’d know that in high school, she’d earned the name “pig” for being pudgy and “nigger lover” for her “tolerance” and love of blacks and her hate of racism–which she witnessed a lot of in Port Arthur and at Lamar, I’m sure. You’d know that that’s why she often left to live with her aunt in Venice Beach, California.

Surely, you’d know this, but even so, you wouldn’t know all the things this girl Emma knew. Emma and I felt her PAIN. This girl was a DEDICATED Joplin fan–must be still. I became a hardcore dedicated fan thanks to Emma.

A year after that summer, in the spring of 2004, I went on a road trip to the northwestern plains of Texas with Emma. Just us two. We went to visit her then-fiancé in prison. She and I had a thing for bad boys, only she’d slept with many and I hadn’t… yet. She was only a year older than me but had been engaged more than once. I hadn’t even had sex or a boyfriend.

I remember getting so upset when I was in that line of booths where you talk to the prisoners through a connected phone behind the windows. I got upset because the people next to us was a family of five–a mom and her three little kids. The dad was a prison inmate. The oldest child was about ten. They were all visiting their daddy, and to me it was so sad. I just sat and watched the man talk to his kids behind the glass while Emma talked to her fiance. And I wondered if it were better for those kids to visit that man, their father, or not. I was so depressed then. I remember wheeling myself to the restroom past these gates where men in solitary confinement stayed. And I just sat on the stall and cried and cried. When I got back, I sat there just looking at them but trying not to look too hard. I always felt things like that, intensely.

Springs have never been good to me, but sumertime is a little different.

****

On our way back from the prison–oh those lovely Texas prisons and there are loads of them– we stopped at this old ma-and-pa shop looking for a place to eat spaghetti. Emma got herself a Southern Comfort plaque, and we planned to see if we could sneak our way into buying some Southern Comfort whisky back in Houston.

Janis had been a “troubled girl” like Janis and I, so she drank a lot of that Southern Comfort whiskey (we ended up not getting the whisky after all).

She was my “date” at my senior prom. She wore a tucks with high heels and I wore a beautiful black and green dress. I didn’t enjoy myself. I only cried after it was over.Then Emma told me that she was planning on going to Lamar State College. She never did. She went somewhere else. She also told me she had BP (bipolar disorder), but back then I hadn’t had my monumental mental breakdown, so I hadn’t been diagnosed or sent to any psychiatric clinic. I was still struggling in silence. So I felt awkward telling her about how much I empathized. I did tell her I empathized but not REALLY EMPATHIZED like I did on the inside. I guess I paid no mind because I was trying to put “mind over matter” like a good Christian Scientist would. I still suspected BP or something similar in myself.

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What do you think happened between me and dear Emma?

Yep.

Very borderline is what happened.

Our intense friendship broke–just as intense of a rupture as its union. We dissipated from each other as quickly as we had bonded. I see our little summer escapades as a chemical reaction between atoms, forming new molecules, new bonds–that became our friendship. Then, the borderline in me and the bipolar in her was the catalyst.

Then again, I could over analyze it like I tend to. Or oversimplify it.  Of course, life is just like that. Some people drift in and out of our lives. But for me, it’s everyone I’ve been close to. Maybe that’s just how life is for some of us.

In 2006, Emma and I rekindled our friendship online. And for a brief moment, all was well between us again. Then one day, she let me down. She asked me out to a Greek festival and the day of the festival she didn’t return my calls. I instantly went from loving her to hating her guts! I wanted to tear at my skin and pull all of my hair out.

“How could she do this to me?” I thought. “Why wouldn’t she at least call back and say she was sorry, that she wasn’t going, or that she couldn’t pick me up because something held her up?” When I emailed her about it, she didn’t reply. “What did I do? She obviously hates me. No one will ever like me.”

I insulted her in another email and cut her off completely though I missed her terribly. Now was that just life or some of the “borderline” in me?

Soon summertime will become “autumn time” in this part of the world. Molecules come together; molecules break apart. Warmth becomes cool.

****

Enjoy!

addendum: Monkey Man L. had a vinyl record of hers I really wanted. mmmhmmm. I would have wanted it as a memento. I think his sis too it. Well, she deserved it.

An Old Sketch

August 23, 2012

I’ve been filling out the applications for immigration (USCIS)– well, as much as I can get done on my own–before I see the lawyer at the university next week.

Last night, my dad gave me a folder of some of my old elementary and high school grades/teacher reports since I’ll need proof of records that I studied in the U.S. for many years. It’s required for the DACA (Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals) application which would give me a work permit. No legal residence, just a work permit (aka SSI#) valid for only two years. So much for citizenship. Twenty-two years in this country and I’ll only have a work permit to show for. Ain’t that a motha–?

Well, somethin’s better than nothin’.

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There were some funny comments from old teachers. How I had potential and needed to apply myself more.

“P has potential. She does good work when she applies herself!” and “P is receiving an hour tutoring from —-” and “P, remember to finish your homework!” and “P has improved this quarter. She is in ESL Level II [that’s English as a second language]” and “P does really well when she’s able to concentrate” and “P, keep reading every night! Good job [smiley sticker]” are just a few of teacher’s notes from third grade.

What’s funny is my dad kept them but he never really read them due to his limited understanding of English at the time. I’m guessing he saw the smiley stickers and thought, “Ok, she’s good”. I could’ve easily sneaked by with failing grades in high school because my parents never knew when progress reports came out. Good thing I was a damn good student, despite the depression. I could see when I was depressed because my straight As would fall to all As, two or three Bs and an F. Id go from being on the honor roll to being in academic probation. Every time.

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This got me to snooping around some of my old notebooks I have hidden in my room. ha. And I found this from when I was 16 years old.

God, that was a depressing year.

Jan 2003 (c) paz

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On the page next to it, I have a sort of poem. It says:

written when high…

These are my snow-covered dreams.
I’d take back all that shit I said to make you feel like that.
I’d give it all to have the thought of me in you again.
These are my snow covered tears.
I try… but I fall apart…
Thwarted tattered imbecile.

I don’t think I was in a very coherent state of mind then, obviously.

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Note: I think, if I remember correctly, this was written the first time I tried weed. (It would be a while until I’d try it again.) I was out in the backyard all by my lonesome self, freezing my little ass off. I lit a match and accidentally burned a few eyelashes since the wind was howling. When I drove the wheelchair back inside, I ate a whole bag of pretzels and wrote that “poem” and then crashed. I also used to have an eyebrow piercing at the time. I guess that’s what that is on the sketch’s eyebrow.

The Abused Becomes the Abuser

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I’ll never forget the time he pushed me so hard I fell out of my chair. His palms hit my chest like a grenade going off.

SMAAAAACK.

then

BOOOOM.

I fell straight back.

It’s a good thing I was near the ground already. That’s the thing about having OI, you can break a rib by simply sneezing, but sometimes you fall out of your wheelchair and you’re perfectly fine like a non-disabled kid might be. Though most times it’s the former and not the later that happens.

I lied there in confusion. He actually hit back this time? He actually hit me?!

After the shock wore off, I sat up from the carpet, trembling. He knew never to lay a hand on me–or rather to be exceptionally careful– because if our parents got home and found out he’d hurt me, he’d be in trouble. He broke my arms and legs on several occasions but always on accident. This was the first time he’d put physical force to my provocation. It must have been difficult to play and deal with your little Tasmanian-devil sister who has a brittle bones condition and a serious anger management problem.

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“Aaaaaah! Motherfucker! You could have broken my bones! And my back! You could’ve snapped my back!” I yelled. I was still trembling.

“Well, how do you expect me to act when you’re so fuckin’ mean all the time?! HUH?! Always hitting and scratching me, yelling and cursing at me and throwing shit at me! HOW SHOULD I FEEL!? How do you think I feel?! You need to calm down! You treat me… I’m just… sick of it. You treat me like shit, so how do you expect ME to feel and react?”

I listened to his lecture with burrowed brows, pursed lips, flaring nostrils and a lowered head. My heart beat faster and faster with every word and I just wanted to attack. But I listened to him go on about how I’d end up an old, lonely, bitter woman if I went on like that (yes, he was saying this to a thirteen-year-old Negative P). I listened to him go on about how he was sick of my abuse and how I needed to change. On and on he went. As his voice droned over me, I began to stare down with a passive, stark look as if it didn’t faze me. As if I didn’t care.

“Are you done?” I looked up.

“No I’m not done!”

“Well, why don’t you just hit me then you fucker, push me again and you’ll see! You’re not my dad! And you’re not my mom! You’re shit!”

“See what? What the fuck P? What’s your problem? Man, I ain’t doing shit to you! I’m only trying to make you see clearly! And you’re not even listening! I’m trying to teach you something so you can learn not to act like this.”

There was a painful silence as we both stared at each other in the hallway.

“You don’t care do you?!”

I didn’t answer.

He sighed and squinted his eyes as if to search for what I held so tightly in my chest. I would not let my pain show, not even in my eyes. The tears would come later when no one could see. He stared at me with indignation until the spell in him passed. Then he stormed off to his room and I was left sitting there alone with my thoughts and overwhelming feelings.

****

I went to my room. I cried and cried and hurt myself all evening–scratching, biting and banging my head against the dresser. I had to make up an excuse for the bruises when my parents got home. They actually bought it, or so I thought. I don’t recall much of that part.

And I didn’t apologized to him until many years later, but then again, neither did he. He was only trying to do his best as an older brother, despite the futile and misguided attempt.

I was in middle school then. And with middle school came rejection and isolation. I was a tiny bottle of nitric acid, fuming at the edges, bubbling at the brim ready to spill and corrode anything I touched. It was a matter of time before I’d self destruct–explode or implode and consume anything around me like a black hole.

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Shortly after, sometime that same year, I discovered the band Orgy. They had just made a remake of New Order’s “Blue Monday” and I would get all giddy when the music video came on MTV. This week I chose that song because it reflects the transition I made from being the “abused child” to becoming “the abuser”. I’m sure my mother had the same transformation after years of being devalued, beaten and watching her parents nearly kill each other with kitchen knives, furniture and broom sticks. I don’t blame her for the violent ways she dealt with me; I know she had been traumatized, was a child herself. It still doesn’t make it right though.

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We all have a punching bag. Some of us only need a small punching bag. I needed one much, much larger than myself, especially those years–my angriest, raging years–so I chose my brother and myself. Even that wasn’t enough for the beast that lay within me. Then Eloise came to live with us and, to an extent, I made her my psychological punching bag too. I’m thankful the two of them are still my friends.

And that’s how the abused becomes the abuser I suppose. How does it feel? Like fuckin’ shit.

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Oh, I included both versions of “Blue Monday”. The first version represents that little abused and angry, explosive and bloodied thirteen-year old mouse bordering on psychopath-to-be mouse. It will forever remind me of that time he pushed me and the many times we fought and how he would often lecture me to no avail (it was the first time he pushed me but definitely not the last). I even made my poor brother cry on numerous occasions. If only he knew how much I was hurting though… If only someone had known, had told me I wasn’t a bad kid for feeling so angry, self-loathing, sad, suicidal, empty and alone.

I sat there with my bruised head thinking, How should I feel? No one asks me that. How the fuck should I feel? Everyone tells me how I should feel but no one really asks.

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Orgy’s remake, 1998

New Order’s original version, 1983

Little P Pictars

July 10, 2012

I had uploaded two more pics for the previous post about post traumatic stress, but didn’t think they fit. So here they be separately!

In Colombia, mid 1980s.

Second grade. Teacher was holding me down because she didn’t want me falling and breaking something. ha!

Youth eyes knowingly.
I am keen, keeping his pace.
Crisp pages, leaves fall.

More SHAMELESS self promotion in which I make more typing errors!

Ok. That’s enough for the week. I think I’ve been whoring myself on WordPress a tad too much these days. But please do check out the Broken Light Collective. They’re awesome!

By the way, my Copyright Bouncer Bear Sends his hugs and is asking me to remind you that every Sunday they’re free (today was just a special freebie from him).

Broken Light: A Photography Collective

Photos taken by Paz, who was initially diagnosed with bipolar II, but recently got a new diagnosis of major depressive disorder comorbid with borderline personality disorder. She was also born with a brittle bone condition, hence the wheelchair.

About these photos: This is a two-part piece taken in 2009. It was during a time when I was messing with a lot of drugs. I was on the way to Austin, Texas for the South by Southwest Music and Film Fesitval (SXSW), on a highway that is covered in blue bonnets and other flowers. Although the scene is tranquil and almost spiritual, I could not find any peace of mind. I was feeling very frantic and empty. I was genuinely trying to enjoy the scenery and the trip there but it was difficult. 

The first one is called “Empty”. It’s just my empty wheelchair. The second is “Paradox Road”. This one was…

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Quince

May 3, 2012

Quince

I was to be transformed
in a room full of cackling
women—
chickens in their
coops,
hair buns under incubators.
Blow driers and
snapping scissors were
drawn.

My hair was planted in rolls on a soil
of ripe skin that stretched my
temples
so far it forced a smile.

I was to receive
guests—an alabaster
carousel of motions
weaving in and out,
kissing
and congratulating.

To be a captain, to sail out;
to be sewn in Italy’s history;
to comb the thick hair of my
Colombia,
and caress the voluptuous curves
of India;
to melt into the night like a swooping
ninja.

That’s what I wanted.

Was a dove to land
above my shoulder
and shower me until I’d
blossom,
then pluck away all
fantasy
and crown me with
maturity?

I was now fifteen.
But no, there was just
a trickle of
indifference.

© Paz 2010
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A quinceañera is a Latin American tradition celebrating a girl’s transition into “womanhood” on her fifteenth birthday. It is a right of passage celebrated in most Latin American countries, though each country has its individual, differing traditions. For example, Colombian quinceañeras, as opposed to Mexican quinceañeras, are mainly celebrated by the wealthy and don’t have “chambalanes” or “damas”, which are a round house of the girl’s friends (like maids of honor) and their male counterparts chosen for the main waltz. In Colombian quinceañeras, only the father, uncle(s) or brother(s) is/are to dance the main waltz with the honored girl.