Mental-ity

I don’t read re-posts. We-e-e-e-ell once in a blue moon I will.

Accordingly, I don’t like to stick them into my own blog (the one you’re currently reading). I often read great things I’d like everyone else to see as well, but feel like I’m stealing someone else’s brilliance and pasting it over my lack of writing anything for that day.

‘Tis true, however, that I’m sometimes at a loss for time because of my dear, sweet, distracting children. Summertime’s here, which means they’re wild and free and completely under my tutelage.

I can be creative, though. I can! I’ve written some wonderful things. Some of those are contributing posts over at The Bipolar Writer.

If you haven’t been over there, go right ahead and check it out. If you’re lazy like me and don’t want to bother, I’m doing you a solid and pasting an article right here that I wrote back in April. It’s titled What’s So Normal About Labels?

 

I was conversing with my dear, oblivious husband the other night. I’d had an epiphany about my negative perspective of everything. Beginning to expound, I said something about depressive people thinking one thing, then moved on to try to finish with what other people thought.

The hubby helpfully suggested, “So, you mean what normal people think?”

Normal. People. They’re not normal. They just like to be called “normal.” Pshaw, I say.

Given that there are probably just as many wizards -er, mental illness sufferers out there as “normal” homo sapiens, things really seem to indicate that they should have the nickname, and we should be called normal.

What can we name them, then? How about “Aberrants?” “Defects?” “Outsiders?” or “Vulcans?” -You know, because they clearly aren’t feeling human emotions, so they’re overly serious aliens.

All right, all right. I’m sure we can come up with a more flattering name. In our spare time. Perhaps we can brainstorm during that extremely small window of time when we’re awake, and the sun and distractions are not.

Got anything yet? Yeah, not a good time for me, either.

Since coming over here to James Edgar Skye’s enlightening blog, I’ve felt a lovely camaraderie. It’s like the dark little corner of the party actually had people hiding there that I just couldn’t see before.

“Oh, hi!” I whisper to a fellow curled-up body. “Depress here often?” We cry a bit together, agree that cynicism is the best outlook, and part ways when one of us pretends to need a drink.

Since this discovery, I’ve been wondering how many people out there fit into one category or the other. Confirmation bias keeps telling me that most people struggle with mental illness. As I said, doesn’t that mean weshould be normal?

Checking out a more reputable site than my own mind, I learned that approximately 1 in 5 adults in the United States experiences mental illness in a given year. That’s freaking high. Despite all these people hanging out in closets or staring morosely into the bottom of glasses, that still means that MOST PEOPLE (4 of the 5) are not.

Dangit.

I guess we actually are the ones out of our Vulcan mind. But that doesn’t mean that I want to be grouped in the dark corner, apart from those who think they don’t have problems.

If they’re “normal,” that makes us “abnormal.” And we ARE NOT abnormal. We are fighters. Deep feelers and thinkers. We are authentic, strong, emotional, real -and tired of being labeled as defective.

Eureka! The real problem here is that we need a label besides all the others slapped on by those 4 out of 5 liars.

I vote for Human.

So, you Vulcans: listen up. We’re not broken. We’re not useless, imperfect, or crazy. We are Human.

Now, fellow Humans: get out of that corner, and let’s show them what we’ve got.

Go ahead; I’m just going to grab some punch.

Award Thingie

Liebster

The way cool and twisted guy over at There Be Monsters Here nominated me for the Liebster Award. As far as I can tell, awards are blogging chain mail. Ignoring that point, they’re a great way to learn about site writers and find more blogs to follow.*

The questions he presented us with are below, with my answers.

1 – What was your favourite scary story as a child?
In terms of scary, I’m a wuss. I got nightmares (as an adult) from watching Scary Movie 3, for Pete’s sake.

As such, I read all the classics that children did in the 80s and 90s like Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, and several Goosebumps books -and could not be around empty cars or dark bedrooms without expecting an ax murderer who feasted on brunette children and came out the second my eyes were closed.

I believe my favourites were The Witches (Roald Dahl), Voices After Midnight (Richard Peck), and the Blossom Culp series (also Richard Peck).

Ghost

2 – Who is your favourite book character of all time?
Seriously? Who can ever pick that? For one thing, I always have characters I love to hate; when the author does such a good job fleshing him/her out that I can’t help but admire the work going into absolutely despising someone in a story.

I also tend to love the side characters more than the main. Even when I relate to the hero/heroine, I find such depth and respect for those who help in his/her development.

Oooh! I thought of one: Eugenides from The Thief and its series (Megan Whalen Turner). He’s a very well thought out character; one you want to go to a party with, but never turn your back on.

Image result for the thief megan whalen turner

3 – When did you first begin writing?
Preschool. ABCs and all that.

4 – Who of your friends have you used as characters in the things you have written?
I haven’t really used any, though I did somewhat reference the name of someone who is a real jerk as a jerk in a short story. She deserved it.

5 – Were you a ghost, where and who would you haunt?
First, I’d pick major leaders of countries. I’d be like Spy Ghost.

Then, I’d leave nice things for the people who deserve them, like Robin Hood Ghost?

6 – If you were given the opportunity to live in any era, what and where would it be?
I love the romantic notions of past times, but really enjoy modern conveniences like toothpaste. Given the permanency of “living” there, I’d pick future America.

7 – What noises can you hear right now?
The lovely, twittering chatter of my darling offspring, heatedly discussing who has cheated at Exploding Kittens and in which ways.

Exploding Kittens Game Box

8 – If you could make one blog related statement, what would it be?
Live long and blogster.

So, this is the part where I nominate other blogs. If they want to participate, cool beans. If not, no hard feelings. Mostly I hope readers use this list to meet and read some amazing people.

Candace at Revenge of Eve, an honest writer who is open and encouraging about mental illness.

Steve of Steve Still Standing. He’s a word artist who writes quite a lot of excellent poetry.

Babbitman, an absolutely smashing storyteller and complimentary person.

How I Killed Betty, written by Kate. She’s basically my hilarious UK soul sister, if I wrote better.

Sweeter Than Nothing, another excellent writer who primarily addresses mental illness.

Nitin, who bleeds on the page at Fighting the Dying Light.

I could keep going through my entire Reader’s Feed here, but think I’ll cut us off while we’re already bored.

If you feel like it, nominees, here are some questions to answer:

  1. What is your favorite music video, and what character/psychedelic element would you be in it?
  2. What is the best dessert you have ever tasted?
  3. Who would win in a boxing round; rock, paper, or scissors?
  4. How would you finish the following limerick: There once was a man from Nantucket?
  5. Who is the most misunderstood nursery rhyme character?

Thanks!

 

*Fine print/explanation of how to avoid dying in the next seven days:

The Liebster Award is an opportunity for bloggers to recognize and support other bloggers for their achievements. It’s available between January 1 – December 31, 2018. All nominations are voluntary and geared towards blogs with 1000 readers or less. The Rules are below if the nominees choose to accept.

IF YOU HAVE BEEN NOMINATED AND YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT, WRITE A BLOG ABOUT THE LIEBSTER AWARD, IN WHICH YOU:

*Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog.

*Display the award on your blog, by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or “gadget.”  (Note that the best way to do this is to save the image to your computer, and then upload it to your blog post.)

*Answer 11 questions about yourself which will be provided by the person who nominated you. Provide eleven random facts about yourself.

*Nominate 5-11 bloggers that you feel deserve the award, and who have fewer than 1000 followers.  (NOTE: you can always ask the blogger how many followers he or she has, as not all blogs display a widget that lets the readers know this information).

*Create a new list of questions for the blogger to answer.

*List these rules in your post (you can copy and paste from here.) Once you have written and published the blog, you have to:

*Inform the people/blogs that you have nominated for the Liebster Award and provide a link for them to your post, so that they may learn about it.

This Blogging Thing

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Guess what?!

We are super close to my one year anniversary as a blogger. I’d like to thank The Academy, the search engines, my husband -but, really, all you people with eyes and fingers who help me believe that my writing’s worthwhile.

A year seems hardly that much older, yet I feel more comfortable about the whole blogging thing than when I first started.

I’m sure you know the questions I had when first starting: What if no one reads what I write? What if no one likes me? What am I going to write about every day? Will a talent agent ask me to publish right away, or do I have to wait a few months? What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?

So, yes, I have learned the answers to these questions. The short answer to all but the last is that people will read you if you read them, and no one on this ole internet thingie gets anywhere without a lot of work.

As part of being all experienced and whatnot, I decided to create a WordPress site solely on the topic of the book I hope to one day publish: I Didn’t Want to Be a Mother. This, right here, is a self-promoting blog post to get you to check it out sometime.

….I’d better go write some more entries over there.

Until then; thanks again, and keep reading!

A Little From Column A

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I’m fairly private about religion, political opinions, and social security numbers of family.

I keep the last item private for obvious reasons; the first two are more complicated. Mostly, I hate being categorized. My husband doesn’t get it.

“I love being put in categories,” he says. “I don’t understand why you don’t.”

I sigh. “Because I’m not ever put into good categories.”

My 18-40 white male breadwinner who works in the technical industry and has above-average intelligence looks back at me, confused.

From the limited mental capacity of over a decade of child-rearing, stay-at-home housekeeping, and intentional numbing; I attempt to talk expound.

Problem is, I have difficulty. Maybe it’s that limited mental capacity thing I admitted to just now. That, and I am nearly crippled at the idea of conversation. Challenges within conversation take out any other remaining limbs. Finish off with a general uncertainty and low self-esteem, and you’re lucky you caught the words I thought to type tonight.

I do not want to be categorized because of the limitations that puts on my character.

know that others’ opinions ought not to play into my self-esteem at all. I hear that I should just be me and everyone will love me for it. I think, sometimes, to try it out.

Then, telling the mother of an acquaintance that I think unborn babies preaching the gospel to spirits in heaven sounds wonky gets me labeled as anti-her religion. Asking a close friend to not disparage feminist viewpoints lands me in his radical/liberal/male-stabbing/unreasonable/lesbian camp. Suggesting that making one’s kids dress nicely for special events causes a sudden drop-off in the number of texts from the mother I suggested this to.

Where are all these people who will like me for who I am? Are they hiding in their own categories somewhere?

How can I expect to enjoy the sensation of being stuffed in a box when I’m left to sit uncomfortably, in the dark, and listen to the retreating steps of the one(s) who put me in there?

Picture Source: Pixabay

Mrs. Owens

Agent Smith

As you can see, some bloggers have been reading my posts for some time now. I admit, however, to writing on two blogs. In one site; I am Chelsea Owens, freelance blogger for my own whims and devices. I have a registered URL, I pay an annual fee, and I respond to people commenting on my garbage.

The other life is lived on James Edgar Skye, where I go by the alias of …Chelsea Owens, and am guilty of indulging in every idea regarding mental illness my personal experience allows for.

Whether either of these lives has a future or not, is irrelevant.

Part of me believes that I’m wasting my time writing about this, but I believe you wish to understand a few things. I’m willing to write a parody of a Matrix interrogation scene, give new visitors a fresh start on navigating; and all I’m asking is your cooperation in following along with my winding train of thought.

At some point in the blogging process, I was followed by Skye. Many of my posts before that point touched on mental issues; say, like futility involving procrastination, frustrations involving housework and an inattentive husband, or poetic breakdowns inside my head.

I’ve noticed a personal decrease in posts involving mental conditions since contributing a few posts in my other site. Perhaps those who find me over here, from there, are disappointed. Advice regarding blogs is usually to keep to only one subject.

I’d hate, however, for readers to experience déja-vu.


via GIPHY

That, and I want to write without limits; “without rules or controls, borders or boundaries.” I aim to create in “a world where anything is possible.”

And that, confused followers, is why you will find such a hodgepodge of expression over here.

“I don’t know the future. I didn’t come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell you how it’s going to begin. …Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you.”

The real world is a place of myriad lifestyles, environments, perspectives, and ages. Even our personal mindset evolves over time. Variety is more than a spice of life; it’s the constant throughout our lives.

So, go on; have some variety.

The Oracle

And keep reading.

 

All quotes and parody material obsequiously taken from The Matrix.

G2K: Get to Know

I don’t talk much about me, but the sons have gone to bed and so must I… So, now seems a good time to answer Revenge of Eve’s G2K questions:

Who does the cleaning in your home?
Since I do nothing outside the home to earn money, I am the defacto maid around here. I have recently hired a house cleaner to come every other week for two hours to help alleviate depressive episodes. So far, I rush to clean so that she can clean -so I’m not certain how helpful this experiment is.

What pets do you have?
We own one betta fish at the moment. His name is Toothless. Technically, he belongs to my son as part of one of those agreements to show how responsible he can be (the son, not the pet). It’s a good thing he’s a hardy fish.

When did you have your first boyfriend/girlfriend?
I was the sweet, young, innocent age of 16 when my now-husband asked me on our first date. The rest is history, mostly because there’s not enough time or readers’ attention span to go into the sordid happy details.

And, I haven’t had a first girlfriend. Not that sort, anyway.

Where do you live?
In a house.

How did you decide on your career?
Welp, my husband couldn’t grow babies so that’s pretty much how I landed this mothering job.

Why do you blog?
I originally set out to write online because I had a strange burst of self-confidence culminating in the erroneous notion that what I wrote might appease every person in the world and get me (ensuing) worldwide acclaim and riches.

Since then, I’ve found a lovely community of excellent writers, sympathetic peoples, similar perspectives, different perspectives, and mutual respect and encouragement.

 

Thanks to Revenge of Eve for posing these questions. You can follow along next time she posts another G2K, as well!

Cooking With Mum

Cookbook

Unlike many people raised these days, my mother (who forbade us from calling her the formal title of “mother”) stayed home to raise us, made dinner every night, and frequently baked extra treats or tried new recipes. We are requested to name a location and generation for this prompt; so I’ll say that I was “cooking with Mum” when we lived in Ridgecrest, CA and for most of my childhood outside of Salt Lake City, Utah (both in the United States). I consider myself both a Generation X and Y member.

I was always encouraged to help my mom in the kitchen. Perhaps, at my earliest memories, this was more of a “help,” than actual assistance, but I never recall her pushing me away or telling me not to bother her.

In fact, I know this was the norm even from toddling age. I remember reading over a cookbook in her collection compiled and printed by my first preschool teacher. As a child, I remember finding the page with the recipe I’d submitted: Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies, and thinking of how they were my favorite to make with her. I would have been three years old when it was printed.

My mom loves to try new things, and that was reflected in her cooking and baking. (That’s another thing -I never knew the two were separate classifications till recently because we did both, in equal measures.) She had cookbooks, yes -but also folders and a terribly-messy plastic container full of magazine clippings of myriad recipes.

My parents always insisted on us hand-making Mother’s or Father’s Day presents. In keeping with that tradition, my sister and I decided to tackle THE BOX of recipes one year. We were newlywed adults at the time, and probably could have gotten away with bending the rules due to age -but thought it would be great to finally have them all organized.

It. Took. Hours.

Days.

There is no way I would be able to complete such a task now, with my own family and a large house to maintain. We clipped recipes joined at the page, photocopied the backsides, and typed up handwritten ones with dubious titles and barely-legible handwriting. Then, we organized them by categories and alphabetized them and completely burned out at the idea of typing up tables of contents.

A surprising upside to this venture was that I made copies of my childhood favorites for my personal recipe collection. I’m smart, though; mine are kept in an expandable folder thing. I even have a couple of copies of my mother’s mother’s recipe cards (remember cards?!).

Another traditional activity associated with Mom and cooking was Christmas cookies. This is a bit of a baking/cooking crossover because most of the recipes were baked. I’m not going to classify something like Rice Krispies Treats as baking, however, and we frequently made a no-bake Corn Flake Kisses cookie that is similar to those gooey cereal bars.

Just before Christmas every year that I can remember, we would mix and bake at least four varieties of cookies or bars. Besides helping, our job as children was to deliver finished plates to all the neighbors. Each plate had several samples of each of the four or so varieties of baked/cooked goodies. Some neighbors reciprocated; though most did not hand-make their gifts to us.

This was an activity much like childbirth: I didn’t appreciate how much work my mother went through till I did it myself.

I have tried to continue this Christmas tradition. I even get my boys involved; they sincerely love cooking and baking with me as I did with my mom. However, I cannot get through the holiday event without shaving a recipe or two from my agenda and/or screaming in frustration at some thing that invariably delays production.

I only remember loving all the cookies and making it all happen with my mom, so hopefully that’s what my own kids are retaining.

Perhaps my mom found the tenacity to persevere because desserts have always been her favorite to make. She even bought a cookbook titled The All-Butter Fresh Cream Sugar-Packed No-Holds-Barred Baking Book. Truth be told, it ended up being one of those that you leaf through, decide you’d better not make anything inside, and stick back on the shelf.

Cookbook Fat

The picture I included waaaay up at the top is an image of my Betty Crocker cookbook, turned to the page on how to make pancakes. I can’t remember where my red cookbook came from, but I do know I thought it imperative that I own one. This is because the main source of recipes for us growing up was my mother’s red Betty Crocker cookbook.

Every time we wanted to make pancakes, we’d pull the book down and let it fall open on the counter. It was always on the page we wanted, through years of training. That, and there was enough spilled and splattered pancake batter to weight them down. We could barely make out the ingredients, so it was a good thing we knew the recipe so well.

In looking over my own well-loved page, I can’t help but feel proud to have inadvertently continued that tradition in my own family. We may not be quite as blotched-out as my mom’s pancake recipe, but we’re getting there.

 

Thanks to Irene A Waters over at Reflections and Nightmares for the writing prompt: Cooking with Mum.

Which Side Will Ye Choose?

Introspection has left me a bit concerned.

It comes from Disney movies, really. Those seemingly innocent graphical displays for children planted a seed in my developing years, one that was never really meant to flower or even grow. This is because the packets I was attracted to, amid the vast array of smiling Princess Tulips and Prince Charming Roses, were always those meant to shrivel and die.

I speak of The Villains.

Just think: if they were to be represented by some sort of vegetation, would it be a healthy variety? A pleasant green thing? A flower?

Rafflesia
“The Rafflesia is considered one of the ugliest flowers in the world and on top of that, it smells like rotting meat… It feeds on other plants to survive.”

Maybe the sort of healthy, living thing that could EAT YOU.

No, villains are the scapegoat. They’re the blame for good, noble characters ever needing to do something questionable. Unfortunately, they must also suffer the worst typecasting, character motivations, and evil characteristics.

Does one really need a maniacal laugh to be considered for the job?

Strangely, I am not attracted to villains because of concern for any of these things. I’m not out to get them sympathy, a decent backstory, and equal rights. I’m pretty sure I like the dark side because it’s awesome.

I threw Disney under the bus initially because those are the earliest memories I have of being drawn to the films’ antagonists instead of the ones I’m supposed to like. I’m talking Maleficent, Snow White’s stepmother, or Mad Mad Mad Mad Madam Mim.

Maleficent of the 1959 animated film is so purely cliché, but this doesn’t phase me. I can only respect a villain who is clearly evil for evil’s sake; bestowing a curse, cackling, destroying her own minions, and transforming to a dragon to finally kill that pesky prince.

As one can imagine, my aberrant obsession has just gotten worse over the years.

I’ve been drawn to The Goblin King of Labyrinth, Cardinal Richelieu in The Three Musketeers, and Darth Maul of Star Wars, Episode I – The Phantom Menace. Really, though, one can’t blame me when it’s David Bowie, Tim Curry, and Ray Park we’re talking about.

Maul
Darth Maul, himself

I like Qui-Gon. Really. And I knew Obi-Wan was supposed to live long enough to instruct a whiny Luke in the future. But couldn’t Darth Maul have lived longer than a few double light saber scenes as well?

I think I’ve gotten distracted.

Ah, yes: my distractions. In my defense, I am not drawn to lame villains. You can keep your Ursula, Jafar, Gaston, Yzma, Prince John, Governor Ratcliffe, Judge Frollo and the like. In adult films; I just can’t enjoy Raoul Silva, The Merovingian, or Richmond Valentine.

Are you thinking of pointing out a redeeming characteristic of mine? One that involves me clearly thinking a bad guy is cool only when he is? Maybe I like the ones that have something likeable so that is my motivation?

If so, thank you. BUT, the problem is that I do not like the hero in most films. If it’s likeability that draws me in, shouldn’t I extend that attribute across to the brighter side of things? I’m sorry; good guys just aren’t that interesting to me. Woohoo, they did the boring thing and saved the day -right? Yay.

As such, one might bring up Ocean’s ElevenThe Italian Job, or Batman in general. No luck. Even “heroes” who break the law, and are therefore villainous, don’t quite do it for me.

I can’t help but feel a fangirl crush at the sight of a depressed, conflicted, powerful soul. He or she destroys the weak, one-sided protagonist with a cleverly-contrived trap. Then, he turns to the camera and intelligently delivers his Monologue of Evil with a British accent.

Maybe I just need to watch more foreign films?

Or, maybe I am -as I suspect- slightly evil?

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unsplash-logoPeter Forster

Wednesday

Arthur Dent, in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, explains that he “never could get the hang of Thursdays.” For me, it’s Wednesdays.

Midweek is not only Hump Day. It’s also our Garbage Day and my all-articles-are-due-by-noon Deadline Day. And, silly as it is to complain about, my two hour house cleaner is due to arrive.

The cleaner is part of my recent attempts to not be depressed anymore. You know, because cleaning is depressing. I’m not entirely sure it’s working, however, since my overall problem is that I procrastinate and then explode.

universe-2151332_1920Yep, like that.

So…. Wednesday is really Meltdown Day. Meltnesday. Meltdownesday?

As usual, I woke up after trying to stay up late finishing stuff and now feel like I have to clean the whole house so the cleaner can see the floor to mop it and then finish typing 500-word-each content articles that are so boring I want to get in a car accident on the way home from taking children to school just to avoid it and then watch the garbage truck drive right past my house because
+I
+++forgot
++++++to set out the cans last night
+++++++++…..again.

Plus, it’s our Birthday Season. But, maybe most days are actually like this. Even in Australia.

Flights of Antsy

I used to be able to fly. I would run fast; faster -scissoring my legs and gaining altitude till I could coast in the wind.

My airstrip was the front lawn of my childhood home, the one with the steep hill. Or, it was the field with trees by my junior high school so I could fly into them and hide from my pursuers. Once, I was over a desert landscape and flew out of my kidnappers’ helicopter, landing amidst skittering sands.

Yes, usually my dreams involved exciting adrenaline escapes from hopeless prisons. I was contained for how special I was with all my powers. Sometimes I knew I must get out or my parents and siblings would get hurt as threats to me.

I passed a few years dreaming in solitude, but problems began to creep in. One time, I had to escape and ensure I also freed my helpless child. In a later dream, I tried to run but was literally dragged down by three dependents. I searched around in panic, mentally calculating the odds and knowing that it was impossible with so many.

Now, I rarely sleep well enough for my mind’s movie projector to work. When I am treated to an exclusive showing, the picture is blurry or I can’t save the world because the chores weren’t done.

Even my imagination has become hampered by the sludge of the everyday.