“If I ever feel like life isn’t worth living, please feed me some of this bread,” I told Ming. It was cheese garlic naan from Gandhi’s in Tucson. Wow, amazing. Better bread than I could have dreamed.
Ming was turning left, driving us back to our airbnb. “I guess it’s the bread of life. Maybe that’s what Jesus was talking about,” I said.
True confession: red cranberry beans are the most beautiful beans, but not the best tasting. I cook them a long time, but they retain their shape. “Call me old fashioned, but I like my beans to fall apart, kinda,” I said to Ming. Then I laughed.
White beans have that lovely creaminess. Ah, so good. The red cranberry beans seem more starchy.
My mom had some Christmas beans. I glimpsed Christmas beans in a photo, the other day, and felt a sick grief feeling. Not the ok, it hurts a lot but I’m making progress, bittersweet heartache grief. More the terrifying, this is not right, I can’t live without my mom, stark harrowing horror movie barf-grief.
Yikes–zero stars. Would not watch my mom die of cancer again.
Today I was telling Ming the confusion I have about emotions. He hurt my feelings, the other day, in a way that was simple and took only a minute, but I was ragingly angry and anguished for hours. That no one cares for me, I’m alone in the world, he is selfish, intimacy fails, love is not real, and I can’t live. Took only a minute, for him to hurt me and inspire all that, but also a lifetime.
Then we talked about it, and days later we were in this stressful stairwell–he turned to me and reached his hand to help me. I was fully elated.
So I had felt the emotional pain around a 9–deeply uncomfortable nihilistic rage. Almost violence. Then the elation I felt in the stairwell was around an 8. My chest was fluttering with warm joy. I smiled, thanked him, and said, “Oh, sweetheart. That’s so nice.” I felt cared for and profoundly well.
And that also, maybe someone could consider stupid. His ten seconds of care made my heart grow golden wings and soar up to a cloud. There it played a harp and hung out with random cloud-angels.
So I was telling Ming–I feel too much, and it’s both directions, or all directions. Not like I’m only stuck in sad-mads, though I’m there more than I want to be lately, since Mother’s Day. All the feelings, maybe most people would be more like a 4 on both of those, or even a 2.
And that’s partly what medicine is for, that I was on–the bipolar cocktail sedated me, for 11 years. It made my reactions more tame. In a way, life was easier, to be sedated–I slept 10 to 12 hours a night, wrote less, and didn’t make art. But do I really want to feel less? This intense life now is way better.
The feelings are part of me–that’s what I believe. Many people take the medicine like daily bread. Partly it’s so they can work at a job and have kids maybe. Mow the lawn, watch tv, fry chicken, and make chocolate pie. Tend the starter for their sourdough bread. Even on the medicine, I was still disabled to the point of no possible jobs for me, and a judge ruled that.
Some people see extremes in a diagnosed person and are like–it’s not her; it’s her illness. They think a person is some cool, reasonable, regular Jane deep inside, and the illness makes them act out and do things they normally would not.
But I believe that about myself for zero seconds. My schizoaffective disorder is me! I’m wild and brilliant. The label is a way to conceptualize my mind and body working together to feel extremes, hear voices, disturb my sleep, have profound creativity.
A diagnosis is one way to see the struggles I have. But my struggles don’t need to be pathologized. I’d rather pathologize the world–it’s set up for making money for a few rich people, rather than the well-being of humans, other beings, and Mother Earth.
I could be ok, if I lived in a functional culture. It’s not my fault, the trauma plus genes made me super crazy. I would never choose to fabricate that crazy, but it’s what I have to work with now, so I do, and I love myself.
Feeling so much can have consequences besides work-disability. If I get very attached to someone and need things from them they can’t give, because my heart rushes in and loves first, asks questions later, that can cause pain. It’s happened with many people over the years, with varying results.
Someone can feel surprised, I’m loving them at an 8, while they feel for me a solid 3 or 4 or whatever. They almost never get up to an 8–that would be for a person they’re going to marry. But 8 is common for me. I can be nuts about a lot of people. I can get my heart badly broken that way.
That’s a lot of work for Ming too. Not that I cause drama–there’s nothing manipulative or deceitful in what I’m doing. But that much emotion flying around means confusion sometimes and pain. Add to the mix dudes with poor communication and who don’t want to clarify, and things can get hella messy.
what to feel
Swami told me euthanasia is a bad idea. Not that it’s wrong, more that it’s pointless. He told me people will just have to come back to go through the experience, if they skip it.
Sometimes I think emotions are like that. I could take more pills to tamp down my emotions, and is that best for everyone? Ming and I work very hard to create a life where I can feel what I feel. I do self care and inter-dependence all day, so I can be resilient enough to feel.
I’ve been the designated feeler before, in a group, such as my family of origin. Not kindly, sometimes, if I’m expected to feel a lot, yet criticized for it.
I’d like to say it’s not that I over-feel–it’s that other people under-feel. I’d like to help create a culture where feeling a lot is considered an acceptable way people can be. A lot of life, I need more options. There’s a narrow range of what’s ok, but I need a larger range. I’m an outlier in too many ways, and wish more people felt free to express more of who they are, so we all could.
That’s probably why freedom is my favorite value. The wiggle room is really important to me. As long as I can manage, I want to keep feeling a lot. Thank you for being who you are, for yourself and to help liberate others.