I grew up with a mother that loved reading and a father who valued education above all else. These traits most definitely stuck with me and growing up I read so many books, that when I ran out of children’s books; I read my mother’s books. By the age of 10, I was well versed in the signs and symptoms of menopause and could recite a good majority of Edgar Allan poetry. Reading was an escape for me, it provided a gateway to other worlds that my imagination could take hold of. You see even though my parents were intellectuals and instilled education as the forefront to my life, they had flaws that overshadowed all the words they spoke. Their actions determined the truth behind it all and I was fully aware of it. I chose reading and writing to escape the reality of it all.
My mother was determined, smart and loving but with age I came to realize she wasn’t like most mothers. It would take many years and many adversities until I found the truth, my mother had untreated Bipolar Disorder. Learning that softened my heart and allowed for forgiveness. My father on the other hand was a functioning alcoholic and drug addict. There were more disappointments than a girl should ever have to endure from her father but the love that I had for him was immense and no amount of pain he caused, could ever deter me from loving him.
Writing became my peace that can only be described as serene. I’ve always been compelled to tell a story, always had a talent in seeing beyond just words. I felt the meaning behind the smallest of things. As a writer or artistic person, there is an understanding and a connection of the world around you. I can feel and hear the whispers of life because I simply sit back and soak it in. I can embrace the elements that fearlessly embrace back.
True writing cannot be taught or learned for that matter. It can be enhanced, nothing more. The creativity that compels someone to express themselves fully through art, words, photography and more is a gift. A gift that requires a vision.
I have always had a knack for writing and poetry. I felt deeply, hurt intensely and loved courageously.
When I saw the sun, I not only felt its warmth surrounding my arms and face as I enfolded in the new dawn.
When I was by the sea, I envisioned the sand between my toes and the sound of the waves clashing in the distance. It created a melancholy symphony of music that intertwined with the winds various movements.
The stories in my mind were not only easy to write, they were widely vivid and enticing. My mind took reality and captivated it; in doing so there was only manifested beauty. Many people can write on specific genres and subjects, mine has always been humor and sadness. I know… what an odd combination but hear me out if you will. I could always encapture sadness and in that sadness, I cultivated humor. Its my defense, my shield and my only tactic for handling the issues that I have had to endure. I always felt that if you couldn’t laugh at yourself, you could easily cry for an eternity and where’s the fun in that! In my life I have felt so much sadness that I felt it only fitting to claim it as my own, it seemed appropriate to say the least.
In this bullshit world of social media, selfies and primitive behavior; I choose books, writing and education. I have always dreamed of a life unscathed by the 9 to 5 work flow. You need the experience of life, pain and beauty in order to be inspired and triggered to create something into existence.
Writing has gotten me through the hardest moments of my bipolar disorder and its not easy to present it to the world but I know that many are alone in their struggle. I know I was and when I began writing and opening up about my disorder the outpour of relief from others that felt the same was up lifting and presented an opportunity.
Writing can be a beautiful and mysterious experience as I always envisioned long nights of words and wine; as I reach an oasis of elevation.
Not everyone feels they have a story to tell and for me my life was enough to fill multiple books. Though for now we shall concentrate on the subject at hand; Bipolar Disorder. My life contains so many anomalies that it begged to be told.
A girl raised in a small and stuffy apartment in the Bronx slums of New York City. The smell of urine intoxicating the elevators and the litter that filled the streets of my neighborhood. It was all I knew and to me it was simply home. In a home that consisted of domestic violence and an untreated Bipolar mother whom did the best she could with the tools she had. My mother was a fierce woman and she was capable of more than she gave herself credit for but as a single mother with 3 kids she was limited in her time and patience. That frustration eventually caved in and spilled over onto me. With no possible understanding as to why my mother acted the way she did, I rebelled. In that rebellion it only made matters worse and I was homeless by the age of 16.
My father was a fun and adventurous dad that most kids wished they had. He had no fear and did as he pleased. As a young girl I idolized him and he could do no wrong in my eyes. He was the center of my love and though he was what you would consider self-centered, a drug addict and an alcoholic, my feelings and outlook of him remained the same. I never understood why he failed to show on many occasions; when it was his turn to spend time with me. I was young but I wasn’t too young to see the pity in my families eyes. I wasn’t too young to know, that there was a routine of either showing up extremely late or not showing up at all. It didn’t deter me though from grabbing my grandmothers rotary phone and calling him repeatedly. I knew he would never answer but I always kept the faith that one day he would.
As the years past I needed him more and more and as the relationship between my mother and I worsened, I frequently wished and dreamed for his insight. I carried pain in my heart, pain because I felt he didn’t love me, pain because my mother had disposed of me, pain because I was alone and pain because I had a grim outlook on my life. Though there were moments of sadness there were also moments of joy in the little things and I remained hopeful that one day I would be the woman that I dreamed of being. I would be successful and then, only then would my family accept and love me again.
With education, hard headedness, determination and my boyfriend -who’s now my spouse – I managed to become a writer, mother, wife, accountant and somehow trudged along; even as I was eventually diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder tearing at the very seams that I worked so hard to pull together.
The only way this works is by allowing the words that I have held in for so long and have waited so very patiently to express. To use the gifts given in order to fight the demons that stand at bay. Isn’t it funny, that for a good majority of my life I resented my mother for her mistakes, to only then commit the same ones she endured. Isn’t that the paradox though, its assumed to be the cycle of life, all that your mother endures at some point you will endure the same and the level of understanding awakens within you. Though I do not agree with all her choices, I know that Bipolar Disorder controls every part of you and logic is non exsistant. As she did it all alone with no family or spouse to bring her back down to earth, she managed somehow to gets us all through this alive. I may not have been around much but the moments I needed her and came for help she assisted despite her doubts. My mother is the reason I am who I am today and dispite the everything she has also provided, loved me and guided me; even when I fought to not listen. The good and the bad molded me and allowed the same sort of fierceness and independence to flow inside of me.
My weapon is my truth along with my mind which carries racing thoughts that have flown through as an uncontrollable tornado. Pounding down the shed door as the latches give way, these words need to be portrayed.
As I sit here I hope you see the deeper meaning behind my words, read as if your the writer. Analyze and maybe you can even feel what I failed to acknowledge for so long.
My life is not dictated carelessly and its hard to share such intimate details of my life and the struggles I have endured with alcohol, drugs, family and bipolar disorder. This memoir is a reflection of all I have overcome and still overcome on a daily basis with the inconsistencies of life, mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse. Coming from my own family, my upbringing and my adulthood. Though I carry no certainty and pride in the drug and alcohol addictions that I have carried, I feel like it has played a role in shaping the woman I am today.
Drugs…Alcohol…They were my solitude and they were my poison. Its crazy to know that the one thing that kept me sane, played a major part in my illness. The drugs and alcohol only magnified the mania and the depression which in turn amplified the realization that there was a problem. A problem that I was never truly ready to face or even admit.
If I could ever give something back; let it be my words, stories and visions. Let it touch those that know my struggle but lack the direction, the approach and the ability to elevate and share with those around them. For those that have a story they cannot tell, may my saga speak for you. May it embrace and comfort you when you are at your loneliest and most misunderstood.
“You are not your illness, you have an individual story to tell. You have a name, a history and a personality.
Staying yourself is part of the battle!”