Women’s March 2018

Yesterday I looked out in front and before me I could see

Thousands with hope just like me

Hope for what? why do we stand and scream and beg?

Is anyone listening?

 

I look beside me, and I see my friends

women just like me.

Their hearts are warm their brains are strong

but their voices are gone

 

On the other side is a woman twice my age

She reminds me of my grandmother

She’s standing alone in the sea of other women

I fear being alone.

 

Behind me are 3 women together

They are with Planned Parenthood

Their mission is clear

They can’t break through

 

This is not my March

This is not my home

This is not my solution

I am all alone

 

In the distance a voice yells

“black women Started ME TOO’

They are right, and they are silenced

And they are tired

 

It turn to my friend “wanna rush the stage?”

I just can’t listen anymore

We join arms my friends and me

We gather strength and begin to move to march

 

The mud squishes onto my shoes

The signs are held high; I think of how long this has gone on

I put one foot in front of the other

I notice our march is in unison

 

Where is the passion that was here last year?

We should be angrier

The laws are worse

The injustice has glaringly grown

 

This is not my March

This is not my home

This is not my solution

I am all alone

 

I see a sign and so does my friend

“Red hair soaked in the blood of my enemies”

My friend has red hair she pulls us ahead

We never lose each other as we run

 

We are together

She saw the sign first and wanted to take a picture

I saw the sign and wanted to yell “FUCK YEAH!”

That’s the spirit of my march

 

Why are we slowing

We have stopped

Much like this movement and much like my heart

Not with my friends, now sisters, not on our watch

 

Our linked arms grip tighter as we work up the crowd

We ask as we go by “will you go with us if we go first”

We are met with judgement

The oppressor is here I can feel him looking at me

 

This is not my March

This is not my home

This is not my solution

I am all alone

 

We get to the crossing the three of us yelling

“WE WONT STOP TIL THEY STOP”

Someone, a woman, grabs at my new friend to stop us

But our voices only escalate

 

They can hear them now, our voices

We march fast, we yell, we are pissed the fuck off

I think of all the times I have been dismissed by a man

I think of all the times my friends have been silenced by a man

 

Our anger grows as we run up the crowd

Yelling and laughing; we get stronger the further we go

Don’t try to stop us my sisters and me

We know our mission, we have a plan, we have organized

 

We are going to take a seat at the table

And if there is none we’ll bring our own chair

I am woke to what is happening and I’m done

Playing nice and I’m not backing down

 

This is MY march

This is MY people

This is MY answer

WE are not alone

 

We march all the way to her car and we drive

To the stoplight where my sister was halted

We park in the middle of the street

With our Fists held high as the music blares from the open windows

 

Keep marching I know you’re scared

And Keep moving though I know you’re tired

Stay energized I’ll help you through

Cause that is what sisters do

 

Horn’s sound is loud they turn their heads

We are putting the passion back into this crowd

Feeding them what they are craving

Reminding them of what they have forgotten

 

I am emboldened as I look to my sister, my friend

She is smiling and happy and I can tell she feels alive

I feel it too and realize I have not forgotten

What it feels like to motivate a crowd

 

This is MY march

This is MY people

This is MY answer

WE are not alone

 

I come home energized and refreshed

I no longer feel silenced or scared or alone

I am bold and fierce and empowered

I am alive there is still fight in me and I will be free

 

 

Inside My Suicide Brain

Burning brain in flames on a black background

I want to talk about something that makes a lot of people uncomfortable, but is part of my every day. Suicide.

I was diagnosed bipolar about 20 years ago. It was after a long battle with depression, suicidal thoughts, and psychosis. I’ve written about it here. Mental health disease carries with it a stigma. There are 3 groups of people in my mind when it comes to mental health. 1) Those that have it. 2) Those that try but don’t really understand it 3) Those that think it’s bunk. This is written to group #2. Group #3 can fuck off.  Group #1- solidarity to you my brothers and sisters.

I live with mental illness every day. It’s not something I choose to have. I am well aware that I can control my emotions and the way I “feel” is a choice, a decision. This is not that. It effects that way that I feel, and the way that I make decisions but it is not something I can stop from happening. I get up every day and because of my disease I fight my thoughts every day. I talk myself in and out of shit all day long.

Let me compare this to diabetes. Diabetics are diagnosed when their pancreas stops working correctly and the chemicals and hormones don’t respond as they should to certain body function. They check their blood several times a day, they take pills or injections when they need to balance the hormones out. A diabetic knows that there are extreme things that can happen as a result of the disease. They can lose a foot, they can lose eyesight, they go into a coma, and other less serious complications.

My brain doesn’t function properly. I check in with my doctor several times a year, maybe several times a month when things get bad. I take pills when the hormones need to be balanced. I know that there are extreme complications of having bipolar disease. I am unpredictable, my mood shifts back and forth, I think about suicide every day. That’s the reality.

I don’t believe that any sane, sober, rational, free-thinking person wants to die, that they want to kill themselves (aside from those that have a fatal diagnosis or a disease that will greatly impede their quality of life and for which there is no cure- that’s another side of suicide). It goes against how we are made as humans in every way. I, like so many others with a mental health disease, am afraid of dying. Not afraid of the act of dying or being dead, but afraid that at some point the noise in my head will take over and my brains will tell me to end it, and then it will happen. A diabetic that has uncontrolled disease loses a foot, a bipolar with uncontrolled disease slices their wrists.

It’s a complication of the disease. I have a million thoughts racing through my head at any given minute and I must constantly decide which ones to act on and how. I am sorting, sorting, filtering, filtering, analyzing millions of tiny thoughts in my head all day. It’s tiring. It’s exhausting. The medicine helps a lot. If it didn’t I’d be inpatient or dead. Sometimes the thoughts get so loud and so aggressive I start to believe them. I start to lose track of what is worth filtering and what isn’t.

Also, let’s call it what it is. It’s not “taking her own life” or “killing herself”. She didn’t kill herself, her mental illness killed her, bipolar killed her, her disease killed her. The term is suicide. And let’s stop saying that people that commit suicide are selfish! On bad days, I lay in bed with thoughts rambling on and I work every minute to talk these through in my head. It’s all I can muster on some days. I literally cannot do anything else except to keep the irrational thoughts from taking over. Those are days that I tell someone I know and trust that I am scared. I fear what my brain might tell me to do and that I won’t be able to recognize that my brain is lying to me.

On good days, there are still a million thoughts, but I may only have one or two that I have to talk myself through all day. When your aunt gets sick from her diabetes you go to her side, you ask what you can do to help, at the very least you might say a prayer or offer positive intentions but you don’t blame her. You don’t call her selfish. You don’t say “if she would have just asked for help”. People with mental illness don’t know their thoughts are irrational, that’s what makes them…IRRATIONAL! They can’t ask for help with something they don’t know is a problem and on bad days I may not know that my thoughts are putting me at risk. I may not be able to figure that out.

Don’t shy away from asking me how I am doing. If you are really concerned you can ask me if I feel suicidal, you can say the word. You saying it doesn’t plant the idea in my head. It’s already there, the question is whether I feel that I may act on it today.

Finally, let’s stop blaming ourselves. As much as your friend or family member may not have chosen to commit suicide, but it happened, they are not to blame and you are not to blame. The disease is a lying manipulative bitch that is hella strong and convincing. She will say anything and everything to get her way. While there are things that people can do, or say that might help in the moment, you can’t be expected to know when those are needed.

The biggest thing you can do is drop the fucking stigma about mental health disease. Support funding for these diseases. And TALK ABOUT IT. Talk about mental health and keep it in the light, that shit likes to stay in the shadows, lurking and nothing will ever get any better that way. It needs to become part of our conversation when we talk about health and disease. We talk freely and unashamedly about diabetes; we need to be that way with bipolar (and other mental health disease).