Money Money Money

July 21, 2012

My dad has been having trouble paying the rent. And our internet is going to get cut off today. Programming will be suspended until further notice!

I’m still trying to get that job back with the help of Mansie. (It would be contract work kind of hush hush for now since I’m still undocumented.) Let’s hope this immigration thing works out so I can work.

But I’m afraid that if I’m ever actually legally able to work, my mind-fuckery will ruin it and I’ll self sabotage again. And I won’t be able to handle it.

I’m trying to be like The Little Engine that Could. Any of yall seen it?

Mouse love xoxo

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Los Caminos de la Vida

July 20, 2012

I don’t know why, but I woke up with this song in my head (also had another zombie apocalypse dream; I’ll have to write a vignette of those).

Anyway, this song is so special to me for many reasons. For one, it’s sung by an old school Colombian duo–two guys that came from the same town my mother was raised in. And two, it’s in the vallenato style. I don’t like merengue, I don’t care for cumbia and I only like salsa from the 60s-70s but I love vallenato. Something about it–the accordion– is very folk and tropical at the same time. Maybe it’s also because my aunt loved vallenato.

My aunt commited suicide when she was 27 (same age as Monkey Man). She drank a bottle of cyanide, spent nearly a week in the hospital’s ICU until her organs just gave out. The doctors had said there was no chance of her surviving the extent of the internal damage, but while in the hospital bed, between brief moments of consciousness, she kept saying that God was going to give her a chance to live for her kids  (a three year-old boy and an infant girl) and that maybe she’d made a mistake.

She passed away in the spring of 1993, and my mother always tells me about how much I remind her of my aunt, her sister. I only remember her in pictures and vaguely in my early, early childhood. I’m often told my aunt was the artist, always painting and drawing. My mother also says she was a comedian. When she was ten, she’d stand in the street corner of la vecindad and the wealthier kids would pay her part their allowances just to hear her make jokes.

She’d been raped at the age of eight and lived in the highly aggressive/violent family my grandparents formed. The home where the oldest boy had to knock out his father with a stick so he’d get off of his mother; the home where his mother nearly stabbed her husband to death on several occasions. (Not to mention the poverty.)

My aunt didn’t mention the rape to anyone until after she’d married, and my mother was the only one she told.  My aunt, ED, married a cop who only seemed help her create yet another aggressive family. She was the “darky” or “la negra/negrita” meaning “the black one”. She was the wild one too, always dancing and carrying a big Afro-puff above her bobbing head. My mom was the quiet, white one. Chalk-skinned-stick they called her because my mother is fair, the whitest of the siblings and was a very thin girl.

“Your butt is just like hers too! She hated having a big butt,” my mom tells me.

“Well, I both hate and love my butt,” I reply.

We laugh about it now, but I know it’s torn her up not having had a chance to see her at the time of her death. We were living in the States by then and being undocumented meant that if she flew back to Colombia for the funeral, she couldn’t come back to the U.S. to us, or rather, if she did it would have to be through the river or Arizona desert and risk death or deportation.

The lyrics of the song are so raw, simple and pure:

The Chorus
The paths of life are not how I thought
nor how I imagined they’d be when I was as a child.
They’re not how I believed them to be.

The paths of life are so difficult to tread,
difficult to walk down
and I can’t seem to find the exit…
etc.

“The Paths of Life” by the Little Devils aka Devil Brothers. (They should hook up with my Pretty Little Demons, huh?)

The Abused Becomes the Abuser

********

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.

****

“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.

****

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.

****

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.

********

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.

********

Orgy’s remake, 1998

New Order’s original version, 1983

My heart’s made of parts of all that’s around me

And that’s why the devil just can’t get around me

Every single night’s alright, every single night’s a fight
And every single fight’s alright with my brain

I just want to feel everything

~Fiona Apple

********

The fever hit again in the afternoon.

Yep, I’m fighting a cold guys. It started Saturday when I hit my goal of fourteen laps in forty-five minutes at the pool. It came full swing at me Sunday night and yesterday morning. But yesterday was also my first day at the job, so I couldn’t back out.

I got to the office at two and Mansie showed me a few things since she’ll be my supervisor. I wish I could tell you guys what it is exactly that I’ll be doing (truth is I don’t even know yet), but all I’m going to say is I’m the “New Media Intern,” and H, Mansie’s boss wants me to have as much creative freedom as I can possibly get. That’s what she said he told her. He did tell me he saw something in me and that’s exciting but also very scary considering how unstable I’ve been.

What does he see? What is expected of me? I’m too much of a perfectionist to not drown in my own questioning and self doubt. Maybe that’s why I’ve never responded so well to compliments.

****

I think the job has been a blessing even though it’s stipend pay, even though I have some immigration concerns, even though the pay is next to nothing. Why? It’s something that will keep me busy for ten to twenty hours a week. Keeping me busy, means I’ll have no time for tears.

At the same time, I’m afraid I’ll break down at the office. I’ve barely been there one day and already I feel I’m having to fight the Pretty Little Demons (PLDs) to the point of exhaustion. They’re a funny gang, these demons.

*******

There’s so much I want to write, but I haven’t been able to get my head around any of it. Or rather, as Fiona Apple sings in this lovely song, “the devil just can’t get around me”. Oh but it does. It just comes back with its gang of PLDs.

Speaking of devils and demons, I used to have night terrors as a kid and one of them was a recurring dream of the devil coming after me. It was like the devil lived in my closet. Damn Catholic superstitions! And now I’ve begun to have them again, only I can’t remember much.

****

I’ve been swimming as a way to pacify the PLDs but today with the cold, the coughing, the phlegm, I had to hold it off. The fever in my body is down today thankfully, but the fever in my brain burns on. A funny thing this fire–this raw emotion. Kiera Van Gelder, the author of “The Buddha & The Borderline: My Recovery From Borderline Personality Disorder Through Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Buddhism and Online Dating,” mentions this fire a lot. Ever seen the picture of the famous monk that set himself on fire? Kiera mentions that monk and says that that’s how she feels, though much less noble. That’s how I feel, like I’m burning myself alive. It shouldn’t have struck me as odd though because fire has always been a metaphor for intense and passionate emotions.

****

What did strike me ass odd was the fact that the emotion comes with a fight. An inner struggle that is almost unbearable sometimes. Kiera always comes back to the metaphor of a “burnt patient” with no “emotional skin” which Dr. Linehan, the mother of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), first gave in her manual on treating borderlines.

Last night, Kiera’s words stuck out and struck me:

I try not to let go of the mindfulness practice. I observe the emotions crest and clash, tidal in the coming and going of perspectives. Opposing forces battle within me: I want to get better. I want to die. I want to be loved. I want to spit on the face of everyone I see. Such drastic shifts exhaust me, and I know they baffle others. And it’s gaining momentum again. My mercurial self is clamoring for a foothold, and I’m slipping. Borderlines are experts at wrestling with demons; the problem is, we always seem to lose. Fight long enough, and it only makes sense to join the demons. What other choice is there?

Every single night I fight the gang of Pretty Little Demons, and they seem to have recruited new members in the last two months. Every single night is a battle with my brain as Fiona says. But it’s all right! The Mouse is having ping pong matches with them every day, and when I swim, I can drown them out a little. Sometimes, like on Saturday, I’ll get a crying fit while a do a lap, but it’s alright. It’s alright honey.

If there ever were “borderline girl” songs, they would be in Fiona Apple’s entire discography as it is a reflection of my very being. Thank you Fiona for doing what you do best, write about your PLD’s, sing about them, and smash your angry hands at the piano. Kiera, like Fiona, like myself are drawn to the creative fields. “What other choice is there?” Kiera asks but answers by knowing that she just has to “transform this despair into power”.

That’s what Fiona has done with her music and what it means to me. That’s what I hope to do.

********

Does life have to be a battle? I don’t know. Life just is. Yet seeing the way impalas run from a lion, seeing the way they clash their horns when fighting over a female makes me think differently. Seeing my own survival, seeing my owns demons clash makes me think differently. And I know that for some of us, it’s an all out war–those of us who, as Jill over at Not Quite Lost, mentioned “live in survival mode”.

addendum: I recently found out Fiona Apple’s fourth albums is complete and will be released soon! This song is from the new albums. Check this out! Yes, I’m going to marry her someday though neither of us cares for marriage.

And forgive my rambling, off-beat writing. These days I’m not so coherent.

********

Then brother get back ’cause my breast’s gonna bust open
The rib is the shell and the heart is the yolk
And I just made a meal for us both to choke on ….

And maybe I’d relax, let my breast just bust open

*************************************************************************************************************************

DISCLAIMER: I’m using the “borderline girl” phrase as sort of a mocking/sarcastic term. There’s no such thing as a stereotypical “borderline girl”. You can have a condition, but you are NOT the condition and these songs aren’t necessarily written by or about borderline girls; they merely reflect certain parts of my life as I see fit. This is what they mean to me, someone who has been diagnosed as having BPD and is only beginning to work with herself and her deadly emotions.


********

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and substance use disorders (SUDS aka drug abuse and addiction) have high co-occurrences.

Like many of those diagnosed with BPD, I’ve had an issue with drugs, both illicit and prescribed. The first drug I got hooked on was alcohol when I was fifteen. Later on, there were others. I’ve never been addicted hardcore. I’ve always had a level of restraint despite my low impulse control, but mostly, I’ve just always had a lack of access. So I was always able to maintain a strong will with an air of sobriety and a high functioning persona, but the looming pitfalls awaited throughout the years.

********

So drugs.

Isn’t this nation (U.S. of A) over-medicated? I think so. I’m currently rethinking and outweighing the pros and cons of going inpatient because of this urge to take the rest of the painkillers I have left and that just mean I’m afraid I’ll OD again. I think I’ll have to call New Male Therapist because I still haven’t heard back from that DBT group I was supposed to get screened to get into and the other three waiting lists I’m on. I’m hanging on though, barely, but I am. I’m really tired of the nonstop crying bouts, these random highs and lows, this susceptibility to triggers everywhere. It’s exhausting. I feel like fainting every morning. Ha. I just got a picture of a damsel in distress fainting and then a flutter of birds swooping in from the window to pick me up like a Disney-style Cinderella in her opening shower scene.

********

Well, this “borderline girl” P feels a tad over-medicated sometimes. I feel like the drugs given to me by my psychiatrist are gonna kill me, sometimes, like now, I hope they do. Other times, like yesterday, I worry they will. I worry I won’t make it to thirty.

And why do they call illicit drugs “controlled substances” when prescribed drugs are substances just as, or more “controlled”?

And aren’t we just mere chemicals bouncing around? You know, quantum physics and shit.

We are the essence of substances which contain energy, more or less. That’s why I love to bounce to this beat, because it’s so energetic, maybe. It’s called none other than “Drugs” by the wonderful Ratatat.

Yeah, I have nothing else of interest to write since my “Good List” went to shit after I’d only written half of it and then I got another one of my mini breakdowns this weekend and on Monday, so I figured I’d just throw in another “Bordeline Girl Song of the Week” for filler… until I get my head on straight.

********

By the way, our human bodies… I’m probably saying “human bodies” because I started watching Battlestar Galactica for the first time on Sunday to cope. Guys, I know, I have to get nerd/geek points for this or something–anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, human bodies. Our bodies produce a tad bit of DMT, one of THE MOST powerful psychotropic chemical compounds in the history of our existence. It is a naturally occurring substance that is also seen in plants like ayahuasca which is found in places like the Amazons.

The Amazonian shamans use ayahuasca it to get “into the spiritual” realm. You know, religious rituals and such. Well, I’m from Colombia, and I sometimes wonder if I ever get my legal/immigration and financial situation fixed, I’ll travel to my birthplace and after visiting family I’ve never met, I’ll go down to the Amazons and ask those shamans for a little hit of ayahuasca and give god/universe a high five, a kiss or a cursing scream (depends on my mood guys).

Then, I’ll say, “Drugs no more”.  Except love, ’cause love is also a drug.

Oh, and now I know what this song reminds me of. Ahhh, yes, it reminds me of Jaques Cousteau Escargot. (It’s French spelling guys  because he had a French name though he was adopted, so that’s what we’ll call him for now.)

Anyway, he’s the boy that broke my heart back in late 2007 (I was drinking and druggin’ every night by then). He’s the boy that triggered my Monumental Mental Meltdown in 2008. And that meltdown was what led me to see my first psychiatrist ever.

Thank you Jaques Cousteau Escargot! Thank you alcohol! Thanks to you two and my “borderline”self- destructive ways and my depressive susceptibility, I am now in a merry-go-round with the mental health system. You’ve led me to a revelation, though I happen to think I’m no better seeing it–not at the moment at least.

Drugs. Love em. Hate em. Nuf’ said.

addendum: Dear Dotty says Venus is going to fly over the Sun today! TRANSIT OF VENUS GUYS! I have not seen the news due to my current Battlestar Galactica addiction on my brother’s Netflix account and the fact that I don’t have antenae for HD conversion, so I don’t know what time it’ll be in your part of the world, but it seems like trippy stuff and you don’t have to take any drugs for the trip. Just look up at the sky (wear protective eye gear and punch a hole in a paper if you don’t have any special equipment).

Oh shit, I just remembered a little bit of French. It’s been so long. Je ne sais pas. Je suis fou.

Written by George Harrison, piano and vocal performance by Nina Simone

*Trigger warning? Read tags*

This one is self explanatory. It’s “numb” by Portishead, lyrics written by the beautiful Beth Gibbons, music by the guys. And I can tell you, from my experience, that the “borderline’s” tendency towards feeling “chronic emptiness” is embodied in this song, for me at least. These songs are only here because of what they mean to ME. Please don’t take this as my interpretation of them as what they are supposed to mean for you, and especially not the writers themselves. They are not songs about “borderline girls”. I don’t mean overstatements and overgenralizations, so apologies ahead of time.

********

I just got back from Mansie’s surprise birthday party. It was wonderful! And I was ready to write one of my “Good Lists” for Saturday/tomorrow, but I had a trigger on the way home. B was driving me back. I’d drank a little at the party, and though no one from the activist group of friends besides C. and his girlfriend KJK, went out back with them. I went out and I smoked with the two of them, KJK and C, out in the back patio of the J. House. God, I’ve missed Mary J (yeah, yeah, I know it can be a depressant, especially with alcohol not to mention I’m on two different meds and took clonazepam to calm my nerves).

********

See, B and I were in the car when all of a suddenl, as if to break a momentary silence, he asked, “You ever been to Victoria, P?”

Victoria. Victoria. Victoria. Victoria. Victoria. Victoria. Victoria. Victoria. Victoria. Victoria. Victoria. Victoria. Is that enough times? God no. Victoria. Victoria. Victoria. Victoria.Victoria. Victoria. Victoria. Victoria.Victoria. Victoria. Victoria. Victoria. Not enough still? Victoria. Victoria. Victoria. Victoria. Victoria. Victoria. Victoria. Victoria. I’d say more. I’ve been to Victoria more than that.

“Yes, I have. Why do you ask?” I quietly replied. I got suspicious that someone had told him. I was still a little drunk, AM STILL a little drunk. He hadn’t drank all night thankfully.

“Uh, I was just wondering what it would be like to live in a place like that. I always pass by there when I go to the valley.” We’d been talking about the valley and an activist girl from there who was at the party.

“Yeah, well I know what it’s like to live there, at least from the times I visited. You remember L?” Tears began to swell.

“Yeah, the guy you were thinking of marrying and had the off and on situation with?”

“Yeah, he died,” I burst into tears.

“Oh no P, I’m sorry… When?”

“In March, at the end of March… and I don’t even know how he died! … Yeah, exactly… speculations… speculations…There are only speculations,” I couldn’t contain it. I didn’t want to tell him I suspect it was an overdose. It kills me, the speculation.

Poor B, he apologized for triggering… apologized to me so many times. He’d already had a bad night with Mansie, his ex. Good for me though; I was able to cry in front of someone besides my immediate family. He cried a little too. He told me about the death of three of his friends in an attempt to console me, and probably himself too. And also as a way to connect.

L was more than a friend, more than an ex-lover boy. He was family to me. I haven’t had the kind of connection I had with L with anyone in my entire life.

And when I got inside the house, I cut (just a bit), more like jabbed at my elbow with a pocket knife from my keys, and I downed four hydrocodones and a clonazepam–crushed the clonazepam. I’m still high and numb at the moment. High. High. I know, I know. Stupid. It felt good though; it helped–only momentarily, I know. It’s only momentarily relief. That’s all this shit provides. It’s superficial relief. I hadn’t done this since last September, this cutting business. It’s so ridiculous. It’s so ridiculous how much more numb I want to be.

********

Monkey Man L was raised in Victoria. I have endless memories of that place–beautiful memories, fucked up memories, lovely memories–all of of spending weekends, entire weeks with him there in VICTORIA. Oh yes, I’ve been to Victoria, Texas. I’ve been.

The good thing is I opened up a little to B. He told me about the loss of three friends. I didn’t let him get near me until I was in the doorstep in which I asked for a hug and he stumbled on his own words trying to comfort me again. He’s a nice guys, very sweet–a genuinely kiund heart.

As Beth Gibbons says in this song, I feel like “A lady of war” indeed. A constant war.

But I do need to write that Good List. So more on this in my good list because pleasant, or “good” and progressive things have been happening. I can’t think all black and white now, can I? Night. Night. Numb. Numb. Smile. Smile.

I’m going to go lie down have a conversation with Monkey Man L now. It was a long, eventful day.

May 27, 2012

Thank you for sharing this Sailor. Made me laugh. This is one of my favorite childhood movies! It took me a dozen views to realize the giant dog is actually a DRAGON! (I’m a little slow sometimes.) And the part when Artax dies is so sad, but even then I didn’t cry, even if I wanted to because I was “THE MEAN CHALLENGER!” Actually, I might have cried just a little. I mean Atreyu’s horse dying is just too sad. Any horse dying is just too sad. And is it just me, or is the “NOTHINGNESS” that takes over the land, that Atreyu and Bastian and all the other creatures have to conquer a pretty deep metaphor? I always took it as those feelings of emptiness, inadequacy, lack of compassion, etc. Damn, sorry, overanalyzing; maybe it’s the film student in me. Ugh, I want my own Falkor too!