30 Days of Truth, Day 1: Don’t Believe P, She’s Flaky As All Fuck!

I’m not sure who began this project, it’s called “30 Days of Truth”. I’m not even sure why I’ve decided to take it up, but I’m guessing it has to do with my rampaging self-absorption brought on by my ego (brought on by a switch to fluoxetine aka the infamous Prozac, fuck, more drugs) thus causing a new found urge to tell truths about myself, or in other words, I suddenly want to reveal more of myself because I’m so stuck inside of myself. (Disclaimer: No body parts will be revealed during the posting of this post).

The first time I saw this little 30 Days of Truth blogging project was in Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars‘ blog. She was my first follower! Back then I didn’t know people could or would actually follow my rambling. So thanks Halfway! Also, thanks to Halfway, I ran into dozens of mental health (really just mental ūüėČ ) bloggers who were also doing this little truth telling challenge. It’s because of her links and their links that I’ve had the pleasure of cybernetically¬†meeting so many amazing bloggers.

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So, here I am! I’m jumping on the band wagon y’all! So unlike me to jump in. Or is it? (oh oh borderline identity disturbance in the process here¬†)

Whatever. I’m gonna do it! Besides, National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo) is over, and I need something else to live for. It’s also a good excuse for a blog topic.

Day one is to write about something you hate about yourself. Really? Why make the first one so hard? Do I have to choose just one thing? That’s so haaaard. And why you trying to get me to hate on myself when I’ve worked in therapy all this time not to?¬†Hate is such a strong word too; I try not to use it in my trying-to-stay-sane vocabulary.

Man… pffft.

Alright, I realize now as I’ve grown older– and maybe, hopefully even wiser– that I no longer hate things about myself like I used to when I was say, a teenager. I no longer beat myself up about the fact that I was born with brittle and malformed bones, therefore, I no longer hate my body like I used to. I no longer hate the fact that my sternum sticks out like a third boob. I do however, currently hate the way this damn bell’s palsy has left me unable to make certain facial expressions the way I used to, but I’m working on it. I promise myself.

But has a lot of the other, non-superficial, self-hatred left me?

Sadly, no. I can still say I hate my short temper. I hate my angry, violent and¬†aggressive¬†ways. I can sit here and talk endlessly about how much I hate my depressive ways. I can talk about so many things but I’ll have to choose one, so I’ll go with my volatile flakiness, my indecisive and fickle ways. Can I combine those four just like that? Does it count? They are related, right?

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Today is May first, not just May first, it is May First: International Workers Day. ¬†<— (Click on the link, why won’t you?)

Why am I bringing this up for my first 30 Days of Truth?

Because it relates to what I hate about myself. Bare with me. No, no. May First is great! May First is the shit! I mean good shit! Not shitey shit! None of that stinky stuff. I love it. It’s got a wonderful history to it but I’ll refrain from telling it because I know this post should be about HATE and about ME, and general strikes for workers’ rights is something I LOVE, something to love, not hate. I do encourage you to look it up though.

So May First, aka May Day aka International Worker’s Day, is a day to strike for worker’s rights, this encompasses any worker rights and over the years has shifted directions, that being said, migrant workers are a big bunch.

Here in Houston, Texas, we–by we, I mean those actively involved in political movements–organize the strike into a march not only for worker’s rights but also immigrant rights because, often times, immigrants are the ones that are most abused at work, that have more work related abuses in this region. Wage theft, for example is a huge problem for the “illegals” or more correctly stated, for the undocumented workers. There is also a VAST immigrant population here, most notably Latinos/Hispanics (that’s a given), Vietnamese, Chinese, Nigerian and Indian. There are a ton more I’m leaving out. Anyway, the Latino/Hipanic communities are very much affected by the shifts in immigration laws. And I’ll talk about that later in another post.

Here’s where I get to hating myself. In the last three and a half years, I’d been heavily involved in organizations and activist groups, some of which organize the city’s May Day March. But because of my¬†flakiness, my indecision, my fickle ways which stem from anxiety, identity disturbances (which further stem from self-esteem issues and self-doubt) and of course depression, people have gone from seeing me as a “community leader” within these organizations to someone they do not call to organize events with because I’m unreliable.

I know I may view this in a distorted way–black and white thinking and whatnot. I know that’s not always the case. I have been contacted this month, a little. I know that if I pull away from people and groups, I can’t expect others to include me in things the way they used to, right? It’s only logical. But the depressive, the bipolar or the borderline does not see logic in these cases!

The last two years I had been involved in the May Day March planning. Two years ago, in 2010, I came up with the idea of making t-shirts for a student group I was involved in.

“Hey guys! We should make shirts that read ‘NO PERSON IS ILLEGAL’ and sell them after the march to save up for our trip to Detroit!”

my t-shirt, i kept a small one for myself.

“Yeah P. That’s a badass idea!”

I smiled smuggly at myself for thinking up of such an idea, an idea people actually liked! And that idea turned out pretty good once we sold enough shirts, $3.00 to $5.00 a pop. The march turned out well too (even though a self-proclaimed Minuteman almost hit me with his American flag pole while screaming at my little group to “Go back where you came from! Go back home!” and I ended up having a panic attack, but more on that some other time).

Then, for last year’s May Day, I designed a banner for a non-profit that works with wage theft abuses as well as other worker related abuses (that’s the org that called me the week before last). I also designed a poster for another student group, this was a group I’d actually helped found. The poster was based on the ideas I came up with on these sketches I did.

mayday-amp-voice-1 mmm/paz 2011

© mmm/paz 2011

Last year however, I was in a deep depression around this time. And once I finished the posters, I sent them out to everyone and crashed. I did not return phone calls. I did not send anymore emails about the location and time of meeting. I did not coordinate with anyone to get a ride for the day of the march. I vacated completely, inside and out.

Vacating and emptying out completely is something I tend to do after I take on too much.

“Oh I’ll do this and yes, I’ll help out with that and don’t worry guys, I got that too! ¬†And that! Ooooh, I wanna do that. Yeah, I’ll get it done in a week….” [two weeks later] “Guys, give me another week. I promise!”

I do tend to finish the bigger, important things, but all of the¬†little¬†promises placed in between get shoved around; I re-prioritized other things in the utmost illogical fashion and thus, I lose what I intended to get at in the first place. Those big things only get done with¬†excruciating¬†effort. I even go as far as making promises I know I should NOT make because trying to keep them all would be senseless, would only make my stress levels rise out of proportion and thus make my anxiety explode. All of a sudden, EVERYONE starts asking for favors. “P, can you do this? P, can you do that? Oh, yeah, just call P, here’s her number, she’ll design that for you!”

And I CAN’T SAY “NO” to others! Even those¬†weaseling¬†fuckers I don’t know. “Who are you? What’s your name again? Oh really,¬†so-and-so told you I would design that for you? Ok.” Then I want to scream at everyone: “FUCK YOU AND YOU AND YOU. FUCK YOU ALL! FUCK, YOU ALL ARE JUST FUCKIN’¬†USING ME! ESPECIALLY YOU, YOU LITTLE UNKNOWN¬†WEASELING FUCKER WHO’S NAME I DON’T EVEN REMEMBER! And on second thought, NO, I WON’T DO THAT DESIGN FOR YOU!”

Then I’m. No one will see or hear from me for weeks. I run from it all. I roll out of there as fast as my wheelchair can haul me (usually speed #5, if it’s fully charged). I leave myself with no other option left. Well, that or combusting in front of everyone, and no one wants P guts all over them.

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Last year, when the day of March 1st march came rolling in, I got a call from Mansie, a friend from the Students Against Sweatshops group.

“We are renting a van and heading out. Do you want us to pick you up?”

“Yeah, sure thing! Thanks Mansie! Un beso!” I said. But I wasn’t feeling it. My anxiety was at a pain and vomit-inducing level.

“Ok, we’ll call you back in an hour. Try to be ready by then P.”

“Ok. I definitely will.” Note how I said definitely, of all things.

Here’s what sucks. I didn’t get ready. I didn’t answer her calls. Instead, I left a text that read, “I’m not going to be able to make it. No need to pick me up.” before she even had a chance to tell me what the plan was.

I was also angry at my group. The group I’d started and designed the flier/poster for. “Why did the Sweatshop kids call me and intend to pick me up but not my own group?”

What sucks is that I actually cried¬†all afternoon after sending that text because I’d spent the entire hour debating on whether I’d go or not. What’s worse is I fell into a self-loathing moment of ,”Why do you have to be so indecisive? Why do you change your mind so much? Why do you drop out of events last minute? You let people down!”

And not only was I angry at myself, I was frustrated and hurt by the ones who hadn’t called, though it wasn’t their fault if I never gave them a definite answer, right? I couldn’t just simply be glad at the fact that the other group had offered me a ride with them!

I was depressed. I was flakey. And when I’m depressed it becomes ten times more difficult to decide on ANYTHING. Depression leads to low self-esteem. Anxiety leads to indecision leads to flaky, fickle ways, leads to self-doubt which leads to self-hatred which goes back to depression. Beautiful circle isn’t it?

mayday-amp-voice-2 © mmm/paz 2011

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A few weeks after that, it was Mansie, Sweatshop girl’s, birthday. She invited me to her birthday party one day when I was over at her apartment. “Yeah, I’ll be having a party here soon, in a couple of weeks, and I want you to come!”

Well, she never invited me the DAY OF. I felt so hurt. Why did I need her to invite me the day of? Why did I feel hurt? Why didn’t I make plans to go? Did I want to go? Yes and no. And guess, what? Had she invited me again the “day of” I probably wouldn’t have gone anyway. Fickle. Indecisive. Flaky. Self-doubting. Socially anxious.¬†That’s why.

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addendum: Today was a bit sad remembering this. I hope this year’s march was a hearty one. I really should get involved again, which reminds me: This past November I was well underway helping establish a new group, community based. We’d been working at creating a scholarship fund for undocumented students. Up until last year I was also an undocumented student (I’m still undocumented), but I was an undocumented student that was fortunately able to go to university because of private scholarships–one church-related (funny story there) and another academic based–that didn’t fuss about immigration status, and those are VERY hard to come by guys. I can’t even begin to tell you how hard it is for an undocumented student to get any kind of scholarship and there’s no such thing as Financial Aide. Forget it, no FAFSA, no nothing. That’s what me and my friend and a few others wanted to give to our younger peers, so we started yet another organization. And guess what I did when the depression came hurling back mid-December of last year? Yes, I dropped out. The only things I’ve managed to do in these last months is create a basic site for our organization on WordPress. I haven’t kept any other promise except that one. Thank you WP! You helped me not be so flakey with them this time. You helped me keep at least one of my promises! Hey. ūüôā

Have I scared off all of my non-mentally disordered bloggers? So soon? ūüė¶

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May is Borderline Personality Disorder awareness month.

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Too angry to scream, too sleepy to dream.
I’m too hungry to chew, boy I am.
I’m too horny to screw, boy I am

but…

I’m the happiest girl
when I sing the blues.
What about you? And you? and

See I’m too tired to sleep and sadly
you outta know that I’m too sad to weep.
A bit too lost to keep up the trail.

Ever been so awake to not know?
But can’t show you’re too scared to grow?
Like the one you smoke, too baked to shake it off.

But..

I’m the happiest girl
when I sing the blues.
What about you? And you? and

Baby, I’m too glad to take your hand
but darling, I’m too wary to marry
and carry any kind of bundle of a man.

Too confused to choose and loosing
anything is a crime, but I’m too vile to make you mine.
Yes, I know, I’m too beautiful not to shine.

Too out of touch. I’ll need a crutch
to clutch to when I fall with you
and this is true, you know it’s true.

That..

I’m the happiest girl
when I sing the blues.
What about you?

© Paz
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Day four’s prompt was to write a poem in the style of a twelve bar blues song. Well this one’s a variation of a twelve bar, me thinks. It’s a good thing I know music, like reading it and shit but it’s been a while since I’ve sat in front of a piano so I may be way off.

Sappy and crappy and it is just for you.

I meant to do this earlier but it’s been another long day folks. I went to therapy this morning. I tried to do this little photo retouching gig I got, I then went to a gym I was invited to (one of my mom’s friend’s).

There I swam my rage all over that pool. All that rage just spilled out of me like dozens of gallons of blood and dozens of gallons of pee turning the blue into red-pee until I couldn’t see anymore ’cause I didn’t take goggles with me and that shit burns in your eyes after a couple of laps. And when you can’t see anything anymore, you run into the other lane and hit your head and swallow all that red-pee water. That’s not even taking into account that my arm still feels like it could re-fracture any¬†minute; that’s OI for you. In spite of all that, I’m a pretty damn good swimmer! Bet you didn’t expect that, did you? A mouse running laps in the water. Or maybe you did.

At least I’m busy and keeping some of the crazies out, but then again I’m a little scared that too much is happening all at once. I got a call from a non-profit I used to volunteer for. It was a good call but nerve ¬†wrecking nonetheless. Then I got this aweful letter from the university saying they are going to take my $2,000 debt to the bill collectors because I’ve owed too long. What if they send someone to snap my neck in two?

That may be a good thing, but…

Oh jeezus!

Ok ok. Breath in. Breath out. Iiiiin. Ouuuut. Puff up, puff up the belly, round round, not the chest.

Ok. Ok.

I had two mini panic attacks today. Just had to make sure that wasn’t another one coming on.

Alright, here’s the deal. Dear Dotty Headbanger had nominated me and all of her other fans for the Golden Shatner Award for Blogger Awesomeness (GSABA). And even though she didn’t say it right out, she meant me¬†in particular because she knows I’m her verdadera–that’s true and real–awesome fan, numero uno, none of these other clowns compare (you read that¬†Le Don’t Compare Clown?).

Oh sheet, it's Shatner!

I nominate these people for also being awesome:

Awkward Elton
Howler and Me
Sailor Carrie
But I’m Beautiful¬†(aka Beautiful Rose)

I was going to nominate the lovely Sarah Draws but I just noticed she nominated herself, so she’s out of the batch.

Nominees,¬†apparently¬†the rules are you should only–sucks I knownominate four people or something like that. I’m going to nominate myself twice however and add another four.

My arm hurts. I really did swim more than I probably should have so I’m keeping this short.

Oh sheet, it's Shatner again!

If you’re the first four to say anything on here, you automatically get in the second batch of the Shatner awards!

It’s so golden…

Joaquin Luna is no longer a kid, though he was when he was brought to the U.S..

He was an 18 year-old undocumented high school student, an A+ student before he shot himself a few days ago. Besides that, I don‚Äôt know the details of his suicide nor the circumstances the press wants to talk about and/or omit, and I sure as all hell don‚Äôt want to think about all of the political implications–all the petty, hateful online¬†arguments about immigrants in the comment sections I used to read so much–and that, I presume, have been stirred by this kid‚Äôs publicized story.

I’ve been enjoying my media blackout lately and I hope to keep it that way for a little while, for my own sanity’s sake.

So, I honestly didn‚Äôt want to know much, if anything at all. Unfortunately, I could not resist my organizer friend’s Facebook posts and I read on and on. What I do know is that, apparently, there were notes of his with stated worries about his immigration status. Notes not dissimilar to the picture below.

Found this on Post-It[dot]com about a year ago

From Post-It.com


I found this image on Post-It.com last spring and¬†saved in my computer. I’ve had it since and use it as a reminder to stay strong; to not see myself as a victim; to keep¬†my commitment to the movement, the people in it, those who work day in day out organizing, planning, doing, and to the kids. I will continue my efforts to educate them, to tell them they can because I have been there. I am still there. I can only hope the kid who wrote the Post-It didn’t end up like Joaquin.¬†

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I was a teenager just like Joaquin. And just like the kid who posted this note, I often thought of “jumping off” a bridge or a ledge of¬†some kind¬†(though at thirteen I could barely stand). I didn’t belong anywhere. All those teenage years, I felt I had no voice. “I might as well drown with my fuckin’ voice” I’d whisper.

I often thought of how I would manage drowning myself in Buffalo Bayou or some other creek in the Southwest or Memorial Park or better yet, somewhere more isolated where my body wouldn’t scare too many people once found. I’d have to shoot myself first; then I’d fall in and drown. Wherever. I didn’t exactly matter. That was my plan. I just dreamed of drowning because it seemed better than the kind of drowning I was already experiencing. Society told me being an “illegal” was less than a person. Being an “illegal” meant you weren’t welcome, wanted, cared about, needed. You were a criminal not a human–you weren’t anyt/hing at all.

“I am seen as a waste of righteous and rightful tax paying citizen’s dollars even though my illegal daddy pays taxes too. I’m a waste of flesh, regardless.”

That’s not taking into account all of what family told me, the fears that were bred. “Don’t ever say anything you hear about it! Nunca! Don’t ever call the police, even in scary situations.” It was more so implied than actually said.

No soy de aqu√≠! Ni soy de all√°!” I used to silently¬†scream while¬†banging my limp body against a wall, a doorknob, a table corner–anything that would make my body throb, anything to quell the thoughts.

Then I realized that there is such a thing as a¬†privileged¬†class. I learned how much societal structures try to bind us and how much we willingly let them shackle our minds. I learned this thing we humans do in our wonderfully organized societies–we set classes, we classify. And by classifying, we degrade one another.

I was fortunate: the nineties were easier, hell anything prior to 2011 and the aftermath of 9/11 ¬†was easier. There weren’t that many Joe Arpaios in Arizona making immigrant detainees dress in pink panties to humiliate them; there were no Tent Cities in Texas; there were no private prisons who profited on “illegal” children and their mothers being detained. I was able to go to college, partly because of my tenacity and partly because I was in the right place at the right time. I got a¬†private¬†church-based scholarship and with that, and a few academic awards, I went to college. Many cannot; many will not. The limits are boundless. Yes, we are the embodiment of that very oxymoron you see in that last sentence.

***

Initially, I didn’t think to/want to write a post, especially not one like this. I just had this blog here waiting for something to strike me, to compel me enough to dive into this thing, all nervousness aside. It sat here lonely in November, my little blog.

Unfortunately, something did hit me, but not in the way I’d hoped. I just heard so much about this that I feel I should speak now. It is imperative that I speak up for all of my silent years, for those like Joaquin. Yet, suicide is something that I do not feel comfortable talking about. My thoughts on the subject would require many posts because it runs too close to home for me to even begin.

Being undocumented, however, is something still sitting on my doorstep. It scratches at the door of my thoughts like a hungry street cat that never leaves. What shall I do today? Oh, right, I can’t, I don’t have the nine magic numbers. It’s like being chained on a leash and someone–the great big hand of daddy State–smacks you with the belt and places the plate out of reach.

And so the news of his suicide did cause a strange intimate unease in me. Most suicides do, but this one is considerably different.

It was a momentary unease but it was intense enough to tear a piece off of me. It reached a core in me.

Believe it or not, each stressor–be it big or small–can dance around in an emotionally and mentally unstable person‚Äôs mind. Any additional stressor can send them spinning over the edge.

I also find both topics–immigration and suicide–are ones I know a good deal about, or think I do at least. But I can‚Äôt argue and I am not going to argue about the reasons or the causes now, because for one, to any given suicidal person there are many (mostly reasons arising from distorted perceptions) and they’re all relative; and two, I never knew the guy. So I will not speculate further.

I will say this however: Suicide is a reality in EVERY population. And there is a markedly high population of undocumented youth living in the U.S. whose mental health is being overlooked, whose lives are forsaken.  It is tragic. I cannot say there are so-and-so thousands hurting because I cannot back this up with statistic. Roughly 65,000 undocumented students graduate U.S public high schools every year. If one in four people are likely to have a severe mental disorder, I can only guess. How many feel pushed back and forth like a bobo doll? Pushed towards furthered mental instability by society.

I can only back it with personal experience, though. I was a participant of a study Dr. Lauren Luttinger conducted on immigrant youth and depression in a New York City university near the Bronx. She told me it ¬†was very telling. Some of her findings were that¬†risks are higher for “illegal” kids much like kids from, say an urban, poverty-stricken neighborhood where the daily diet is violence and hopelessness; kids who are raped; kids from a household with an alcoholic parent; or queer kids in a predominantly Baptist, conservative, rural Texas town.¬†These are just a few examples of the many “high risk” populations.

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This is not just about some bill (D.R.E.A.M Act) being tossed around for a decade by the men in black suits and grey beards calling all the shots, trowing up the bill like a rotten steak. Meanwhile, the chained and malnourished dogs can only look down and salivate.

It’s far too complex. I know. It’s about groups of people and their “place” in society, keeping order, blah blah blah. The “places,” the “classes” nations put them in. The “place” we put ourselves and each other in. It’s the way we treat¬†ourselves¬†and each other.

I just hope people take a little time to consider these things from a broader perspective. I hope they would take a step back from their daily lives for a minute to see it from a more sociological view because society DOES play a role in the nature vs. nurture dichotomy of depression as well as other mental health issues and mental disorders.

***

To Joaquin R.I.P.:

Sonnet of the Undocumented Student

Hackneyed, unkind, lost words my mind once bore
In unspoken airs of my resistance.
They‚Äôre not a love to write a sonnet for‚ÄĒ
These words barely breathe my fumed persistence.
See we, not conquerors of course, are told
And expected to pay our loyalties
To those who make social constructs; yet fold
And love to scorn whilst in their boundaries.
Gracious ports once opened no longer hear
Hope’s clangs rebound, up down, up down on stones.
Now our bodies, voices and dreams call near
To the only land that’s taxed our bones.
Students deemed ‚Äėaliens‚Äô for lack of forms,
Let’s not trade empathy for empty norms!

© Paz 2009