all the dark places

August 30, 2017

"black holes are the remnants of former stars; they're so dense that not even light can escape; they lurk inside every galaxy; they're the most destructive force in the cosmos; as a black hole passes through space, it engulfs everything that comes close to it, stars, comets, planets..." (theodore finch in all the bright places; niven, page 304).

the whole time i was reading this book i thought of things i wanted to say, comments in concert to content of this novel. i almost posted about it first before the book because the thoughts were swirling so close to the surface but didn't because: a) i blog about mental health a lot, i think -- maybe too much -- and people are probably as tired of my depression rants as i am of others' political tweets; b) i felt i should at least wait until i'd finished the book -- that blogging about it before wouldn't be right. and then i wasn't going to post about my thoughts at all because there's a hurricane and environmental and political unrest and... i kept telling myself that my voice doesn't really matter all that much.

and in the end, that last thought is exactly why i am posting. because that is exactly what's wrong with this picture.

i watched pieces of some documentary about walt disney last night, of how he'd built this amazing studio to accommodate the growing number of employees contributing to and carrying out his ideas, of how he'd created a pyramid system there, a hierarchy... that if you did this much work, you could have this many perks. and if you went around that system and tried to share your perks with others, you would be stripped of those perks.

i'm reading the beginning of everything by robyn schneider, and in it a character becomes more aware of social status and how the elite feel that only their voices matter. he'd not been listening to others, had not even thought to do so because he'd believed himself to be fairly content with his world and how it revolved.

of all the passages that i felt best summed up what it's like to have bipolar disorder, the one above about black holes does it the best. the last therapist i saw said she thought i had major depressive disorder, and not bipolar disorder as so many of my counselors and therapists suggested in my twenties. maybe that's true. i can tell you though... there's a point in all the bright places in which theodore is so overcome by his emotions, so exhausted from trying to be good, as he put it, that he moved into his closet and hid there. i can tell you that i've come out of my room a handful of times today, and only briefly -- trips to the kitchen and the bath. i've not changed out of my pajamas. the only self care i've done today is brush my hair and teeth. i made a half a sandwich for lunch. i had a small bowl of ice cream and a handful of saltines. i've drunk two coca-colas and am sipping on ginger ale. i am not hungry. i am eating because i know i should be. i threw up the sandwich, by the way -- maybe twenty minutes after having eaten it. not by choice, yall. i didn't stick a finger down my throat. i HATE being sick that way and would never choose to be so.

i am not doing well right now, which is why i'm in my room. i've not slept well in weeks. last night was the first night i'd not taken some sort of sleep aid because i thought maybe i would sleep better if i didn't, but i had bad dreams. i did awful things in them.

the only people who have texted me today are my writing friends with updates on their status regarding the damage from harvey, and that's because i'm in a group text. were i not to be in that group text, i would not have heard from any of them. the only other person to text me was the daughter-in-law of one of my mother's oldest friends, wanting to know how things were for us.

i text friends, and with the exceptions of a couple of people, it may be days before they reply. and when they do, i think they're only doing it because they feel guilty for not having done so sooner.

i think -- often, much too often -- as theodore does: i am broken, i am a fraud, i am impossible to love. i feel like that. all the time.

and there's the guilt. that i cannot be good. that i cannot be better. that i can't shrug this shit off. that i can't suck it up and plow through my day like so many others do. that i think it would be better if i drove my car onto the three-lane frontage road in front of pappadeaux's restaurant, where i go to write, and let the oncoming traffic traveling at fifty miles an hour or so t-bone me. that i have to remind myself how wrong that is, how selfish, how stupid, how costly. that i can't tell my parents or my friends when i'm being tossed about in the tempest because they won't understand and it's wrong to burden them with my troubles when they can't comprehend them. that i cannot appreciate all the good in my world (and i know it's there. you can't have a category four hurricane strike texas and put a shield over my home as karma has somehow done and not know of the good) as fully as i should. that i cannot be what the world wants me to be. i get up out of bed every morning and put on a mask the moment i go downstairs. and then i go outside, and if i'm lucky, i can wear that mask for the entirety of the time i'm around others. and sometimes it's not so much a challenge to wear it because somedays i'm stronger than others.

but my head hurts. every day. i hurt. EVERY day, and it's not just because i have that mild case of cerebral palsy. it's that my head's FUCKED, and tylenol or advil, vitamins and claritin and wellbutrin... they are drops in the bucket sometimes.

i am a black hole. and the best place for me to be is in my room, in my jammies, bundled in my blankets, resting on my pillows. banging on these keys or reading a book... or best of all... sleeping. because sometimes being awake sucks ass.

i hear all the time how nice i am. like yesterday, when the guys who take care of our pool texted to say they'd be by this week, i told them that our pool looked pretty damned good and they could put us last on their list. i was told of how sweet i am. instead of saying thank you, as i should have, i texted: actually, i'm not.

because really, i'm not. i have to do nice things to combat the evil within. i have to do nice things to remind myself that i am capable of good. i have to do nice things so the madness doesn't win.

they say you get what you give. i'm of the mind that you give what you get. and what i've gotten, since birth is the notion that i should be hidden away -- first by my doctors, then by my teachers and peers, and after college, the world, really. the only people i can say who truly care for me are my mother and my father.

i type that, and there's a part of me that knows it's wrong of me to say. there's a part of me that weeps because i feel that way. there's a part of me that is desperate to say this isn't so. it's not true. it's your mind lying to you.

i don't have the energy right now to find evidence to the contrary. were i to make the effort, i wouldn't believe what i found, even if it were in black and white.

i am a black hole. i keep everything, good and bad. the trouble is, there's so much more bad.

maybe i was capable of shining once. maybe. if so, it was so long ago i don't remember.

add it to my list

August 29, 2017

hello from harveyland! i mean houston.

it's still raining. in case you were curious. unlike every other instance of heinous weather, we still have power here. so many other places don't. so many others don't have homes to which they can go. many of my friends have evacuated. some evil bastards are looting properties -- because our police officers are a little busy saving people right now. there are many from a distance who are saying things like why doesn't houston evacuate? because there are millions of people living here and only so many places they can go, and so much more importantly, the folks on the coast need to get out first. i'll get pissy if i talk about this too much, so let me digress...

so i live right off interstate forty-five, north of the woodlands. on the other side of the freeway from me is a group of apartment complexes. i was driving down magnolia parkway (something i wouldn't've been able to do yesterday because the san jacinto river's over its banks and has flooded many a roadway) when i noticed old glory: shredded, but damned if that banner yet waves. i had to stop and snap a shot of that. i was nearly in tears at the sight. 

the river, by the way, is on the other side of those trees in the background. the river's made the entrance to my neighborhood look like this:

this tweet. i swear to god it's one of best things i've seen in my twitter feed. ever. and i've been so tired of twitter lately, yall. this did make me cry.

i read all the bright places by jennifer niven yesterday. this needs to be on your to be read list.

the things i've been craving... because when a storm's coming you think canned goods, bottled water, batteries, charcoal... essentials. you forget about vices: coca-cola and dutch chocolate blue bell ice cream, for example. thankfully there were a couple of twelve-packs stashed. but damned if i couldn't eat a half gallon of chocolate all by myself right now. and pappadeaux's. i've not claimed my spot at the bar in several days. not that i can. it's been closed since friday. first world problems, i know. but yall, that's my happy place. there's no sun right now, hasn't been for five days. it feels like five weeks. when you take away a girl's sunshine and happy place, it's a hell of a lot easier to succumb to moodiness (probably didn't help that i read that book yesterday. but whatever). so for those of you who are to the east of us... from what i understand, that rat bastard harvey's coming at yall and the atlantic. when you make your lists of things you need -- and god i hope it doesn't come to this for yall, but just in case -- make sure you consider your cravings when shopping for those essentials. helps with cabin fever to have all the goodies.

the fall film challenge begins in THREE days, and i've got half a dozen folks or so who've signed up for the thing. i'd sure love it if more people played along.

and i'll be resuming the picky scavenger hunts in september. i'd love it if people would participate in those, as well.

check out what lauren and bre have put on their lists!

tuesday topics: casting mistakes in films

one. ansel elgort as augustus waters in the fault in our stars.
he ruined this movie for me, and it could've been AWESOME.

two. eric bana as henry detamble in the time traveler's wife.
he ruined this movie, too. 

three. tom cruise as jack reacher in jack reacher.
this guy's supposed to be HUGE; his size in the books is a major factor in who he is and what he does. so they get a guy who's like a foot shorter to play him. right.

what casting mistakes have you seen in films? share links for your blog posts in the comments.
(i'm having issues with link-ups at present. sorry, folks.)

all the bright places

August 28, 2017

why i wanted to read it: this is one of those that i always saw on display at barnes and noble for the longest time, like the fault in our stars, but would pick up and put down again and again. on a visit to the lovely, independent blue willow bookshop in west houston many, many months ago ago, i purchased an autograph copy, but it sat in my car for weeks and weeks. it finally made it into the house, only to be stashed on the bookshelves. one of the categories for erin's book challenge is mental illness in fiction, and it suits. god, does it suit.

what i liked: theodore finch. "what in the hell were you doing in the bell tower?"

the thing i like about embryo is that not only is he predictable, he gets to the point. i've known him since sophomore year.

"i wanted to see the view."

"were you planning to jump off?"

"not on pizza day. never on pizza day, which is one of the better days of the week." i should mention that i am a brilliant deflector. so brilliant that i could get a full scholarship to college and major in it, except why bother? i've already mastered the art (page 13).

it's my experience that people are a lot more sympathetic if they can see you hurting, and for the millionth time in my life i wish for measles or smallpox or some other recognizable disease just to make it simple for me and also for them. anything would be better than the truth: i shut down again. i went blank. one minute i was spinning, and the next minute my mind was dragging itself around in a circle, like an old, arthritic dog trying to lie down. and then i just turned off and went to sleep, but not sleep in the way you do every night. think a long, dark sleep where you don't dream at all (pages 15-16).

apparently, i'm tragic and dangerous (page 26).

someone has come in late and dropped a book and then, in picking up the book, has upset all her other books so that everything has gone tumbling. this is followed by laughter because we're in high school... and so, because i'm used to it and because this violet girl is about three dropped pencils away from crying, i knock one of my own books onto the floor. all eyes shift to me. i bend to pick it up and purposely send others flying -- boomeranging into walls, windows, heads -- and just for good measure, i tilt my chair over so i go crashing. this is followed by snickers and applause and a "freak" or two, and mr. black wheezing. "if you're done... theodore... i'd like to continue."

i right myself, right the chair, take a bow, collect my books, bow again, settle in, and smile at violet, who is looking at me... (page 29).

outside of class, gabe romero blocks my way. amanda monk waits just behind, hip jutted out, Joe wyatt and ryan cross on either side of her. good, easygoing, decent, nice-guy ryan, athlete, a-student, vice president of the class. the worst thing about him is that since kindergarten he's known exactly who he is...

"pick 'em up, bitch." roamer walks past me, knocking me in the chest -- hard -- with his shoulder. i want to slam his head into a locker and then reach down his throat and pull his heart out through his mouth, because the thing about being awake is that everything in you is alive and aching and making up for lost time.

but instead i count all the way to sixty, a stupid smile plastered on my stupid face. i will not get detention. i will not get expelled. i will be good. i will be quiet. i will be still...

i've made a promise to myself that this year will be different (pages 32-33). 

worthless. stupid. these are the words i grew up hearing. they're the words i try to outrun, because if i let them in, they might stay there and grow up and fill me in, until the only thing left of me is worthless stupid worthless stupid worthless stupid freak (page 63).

i sign onto facebook, and over on violet's page someone from school has posted about her being a hero for saving me. there are 146 comments and 289 likes, and while i'd like to think there are this many people grateful that i'm still alive, i know better. i go to my page, which is empty except for violet's friend picture (pages 75).

roamer mumbles. "maybe you should go back up there and try again."

"and miss the opportunity to see indiana? no thanks." their eyes bore into me as i look at violet. "let's go."

"right now?"

"no time like the present, and all that. you of all people should know we're only guaranteed right now."

roamer says, "hey asshole, why don't you ask her boyfriend?"

i say to roamer, "because i'm not interested in ryan. i'm interested in violet" (page 87).

mom says, "decca, tell me what you learned today."

before she can answer, i say, "actually, i'd like to go first... i learned that there is good in the world, if you look hard enough for it. i learned that not everyone is disappointing, including me... (page 104).

water is peaceful. i am at rest... in march of 1941, after three serious breakdowns, virginia woolf wrote a note to her husband... "i feel certain that i am going mad again. i feel we can't go through another of those terrible times... so i am doing what seems the best thing to do... you have been in every way all that anyone could be... if anybody could have saved me it would have been you" (page 106).

... a voice in me says, you're no hero. you're a coward. you only saved them from yourself (page 161).

i can go downstairs right now and let my mom know how i'm feeling -- if she's even home -- but she'll tell me to help myself to the advil in her purse and that i need to relax and stop getting myself worked up, because in this house there's no such thing as being sick unless you can measure it with a thermometer under the tongue...

i don't want to hear about the cardinal again. because the thing of it is, that cardinal was dead either way, whether he came inside or not. maybe he knew it, and maybe that's why he decided to crash into the glass a little harder than normal that day. he would have died in here, only slower, because that's what happens when you're a finch. the marriage dies. the love dies. the people fade away. (pages 185-186).

in gym, charlie donahue and i stand on the baseball field, way beyond third base... he crosses his arms and frowns at me. "is it true you almost drowned roamer?"

"something like that."

"always finish what you start, man" (page 204).

"what are you most afraid of?"

i think, i'm most afraid of just be careful. i'm most afraid of the long drop. i'm most afraid of asleep and impending weightless doom. i'm most afraid of me.

"i'm not." i take her hand, and together we leap through the air. and in that moment there's nothing i fear except losing hold of her hand (page 221).

labels like "bipolar" say, this is why you are the way you are. this is who you are. they explain people away as illnesses (page 272).

a string of thoughts run through my head like a song i can't get rid of, over and over in the same order: i am broken. i am a fraud. i am impossible to love. it's only a matter of time until violet figures it out. you warned her. what does she want from you? you told her how it was. 

bipolar disorder, my mind says, labeling itself. bipolar, bipolar, bipolar.

and then it starts all over again: i am broken. i am a fraud. i am impossible to love... (pages 277-278).

i am tired. i am avoiding seeing violet. it's exhausting trying to even myself out and be careful around her, so careful, like i'm picking my way through a minefield, enemy soldiers on every side. must not let her see. i've told her i've come down with some sort of bug and don't want to get her sick (page 281).

all i know is what i wonder: which of my feelings are real? which of the mes is me? there is only one me i've ever really liked, and he was good and awake as long as he could be (page 314).

and violet markey.

i love the world that is my room. it's nicer in here than out there, because in here i'm whatever i want to be. i am a brilliant writer. i can write fifty pages a day and i never run out of words. i am an accepted future student of the nyu creative writing program. i am the creator of a popular web magazine -- not the one i did with eleanor, but a new one. i am fearless. i am free. i am safe (page 52).

i look in the direction brenda pointed and there he is. theodore finch leans against an suv, hands in his pockets, like he has all the time in the world and he expects me. i think of the virginia woolf lines, the ones from the waves: "pale, with dark hair, the one who is coming is melancholy, romantic. and i am arch and fluent and capricious for his melancholy, he is romantic. he is here" (page 90).

he sits cross-legged, wild hair bent over one of the books, and immediately it's as if he's gone away and is somewhere else.

i say, "i'm still made at you about getting me in detention." i expect some fast reply, something flirty and flip, but instead he doesn't look up, just reaches for my hand and keeps reading. i can feel the apology in his fingers... (page 153).

the room has been stripped bare, down to the sheets on the bed. it looks like a vacant blue hospital room, waiting to be made up for the next patient (page 290).

just two lines across, each word on a separate piece of paper. the first line reads: long, last, nothing, time, there, make, was, to, a, him.

the second: waters, thee, go, to, it, suits, if, the, thee.

i reach for the word "nothing". i sit cross-legged and hunched over, thinking about the words. i know i've heard them before, though not in this order.

i take the words from line one off the wall and start moving them around (page 332).

what sucked: not a damned thing.

having said that: read it. please, please read it. i know i shared a lot from this one. i promise you, there's so much more good than i've included here.

motion picture monday

released: 1991.
starring: alan rickman, kevin costner, morgan freeman.
what makes it awesome: alan and morgan.

two. sense and sensibility.
released: 1995.
starring: alan rickman, kate winslet, emma thompson.
what makes it awesome: alan, kate and emma.

three. die hard.
released: 1998.
starring: alan rickman, reginald veljohnson, bruce willis.
what makes it awesome: alan.

four. dogma.
released: 1999.
starring: alan rickman, ben affleck, matt damon.
what makes it awesome: matt... and jay and silent bob.

five. love actually.
released: 2003.
starring: alan rickman, bill nighy, emma thompson.
what makes it awesome: the film isn't awesome. it's one of those silly ones. but it has moments of sheer brilliance worthy of attention, most of which involve emma and bill. also the music's pretty.

six. harry potter and the prisoner of azkaban.
released: 2004.
starring: alan rickman, david thewlis, gary oldman.
what makes it awesome: alan and gary... and fred and george... and that map.

five reasons to binge the show psych

August 26, 2017

hey yall, today i've got lauren from shooting stars mag sharing her love for the television program psych.

When it comes to TV, I’ll admit that I’m not great at keeping up with shows. Even the ones that I love, I haven’t necessarily sat down and watched it from season one. However, the one exception to that is the show Psych that used to be on the USA Network. There are eight seasons, and I’ve watched every single one. In fact, the USA Network is releasing a Psych TV movie this December, so if you want to be prepared, now is a great time to binge watch the show. I’ll even give you five reasons why you should!

1. Best Bromance Ever. Main characters Shawn and Gus are childhood best friends, and they have the best bromance you will ever find. While they are simply friends, it would be easy to assume they are a couple as attached at the hip as they are throughout the seasons.

2. Mystery in Every Episode. Each episode has its very own mystery. Shawn and Gus work with the Santa Barbara police department as consultants. While Shawn is a modern-day Sherlock Holmes of sorts – he’s really good at noticing details, and putting two and two together – the police hire him as a psychic (hence the title), which he pretends to be.

3. Hilarious! This show is hilarious! From the amusing insults Shawn lobs at Gus to the fact that he’s pretending to be psychic to the combative relationship between Shawn and police officer Lassiter. You will not be wanting for laughs when watching the show.

4. 80's Love. There are so many references to 80's actors and films throughout the seasons of Psych. After a while, the show even starts having some great guest appearances. Ally Sheedy – from The Breakfast Club – appears in a few episodes. Cary Elwes – from The Princess Bride – is also in a couple different episodes. My absolute favorite? Tim Curry playing a Simon Cowell-esque judge on a singing competition. It’s one of my absolute favorite Psych episodes.

5. Best Titles Ever. Finally, my fifth reason to binge the show Psych is because so many of the episodes have fantastic titles. These definitely go along with the show being hilarious, but I thought they deserved their own point. Some great episode titles include Gus's Dad May Have Killed an Old Guy, Indiana Shawn and the Temple of the Kinda Crappy, Rusty Old Dagger, Disco Didn’t Die. It was Murdered!, Chivalry Is Not Dead… But Someone Is and many, many more!

What do you think? Have I enticed you enough to check out the show? If you’ve already seen it, let me know your favorite quotes or episodes!

visit lauren's blog and tell her happy TENTH blogiversary!
find her on twitter and instagram. 

lauren's a member of the peaceful posse, a rather sizable group of some pretty nifty bloggers who've come together to promote our pages and provide encouragement.
find out more by visiting the group's facebook page.

me in ten memes

August 24, 2017

yes. yes, i should.

throwback thursday: a truth universally acknowledged

August 23, 2017

this was originally posted august thirty-first, eight years ago. the sweatshirt in the photo below is the same one i'm wearing in that mug of me in the sidebar. it's not nearly as baggy as it used to be. it had been my favorite, and then it wasn't, but after some time passed, i can wear it again and love it as i had when i'd first bought it. but, oh there was a time i could not touch it...

my favorite sweatshirt is one i purchased last year at aggie outfitters at the mall in college station. it's too big for me, but that's one of the reasons i love it. it falls to the middle of my thigh, and the sleeves are long enough that my hands are hidden by the fabric. and it's hooded.

i can get lost in this sweatshirt.

i ain't that scarred when i'm covered up (beth hart -- leave the light on).

and it's thick, good, strong, warm cotton. wearing it is like being wrapped up in a thick, flannel blanket.

but the best thing is the giant 12 imprinted on the front in worn white numbers, trimmed in gold. big, bold blocks of twelfth man.

i wear it when my soul is at its weakest.

i was walking the streets of cardiff at three in the morning, back to the hotel after a quest to find a debit machine so i could get the cash i needed to pay the cab fare for transit from the hotel to the airport.

like any other city, the streets of cardiff at three a.m. look nothing like the streets at three p.m. i marveled at the city's ability to clean up the excessive debris from a drunken night of debauchery in such a short time. if one were to be on those streets at ten a.m., all evidence of the previous night's party would have been swept up and tossed in the garbage. but on this night, as i was walking, i think there might have been two hundred plastic cups broken and crushed on the concrete in front of one bar. i passed a lot of bars.

at three a.m., just like at three p.m., a lot of people are milling about, but the early morning's crowd is dressed dramatically different than the afternoon's, and, instead of anticipating the fine time to come as the afternoon's crowd does, the early morning's bunch are coming down from the high of having that fine time.

and here's me, who's been up for maybe ninety minutes, who's exhausted from a mediocre vacation and a mild depressive episode. i'm shoving my way back to the surface. at least, i'm trying to do so. i've had a good day's rest, and i'm bound for the airport, for family, for home, so i'm a little better.

but better is a fragile thing.

here's me, in my comfort clothes, making my way through the crowds as quickly, as unobtrusively as possible. i'm a little scared, so i don't look at anyone directly. i try not to call too much attention to myself.

but there's that giant, white twelve, and quite a few notice it.

no one says anything. not until i'm a couple of blocks away from the hotel, just around the corner. and i'm thinking almost there, almost there. i'm reveling in the knowledge that i've made it unharmed.

three men walk by me. after they've passed, one of them calls out, hey, twelve! you're not a number! you're a female!

i'm considering saying something when i hear another say, and ugly!

mentally, everything stops. in my head, i just stand there, frozen, shocked, humiliated, hurt, and horrified that my day has begun this way. in my head, i cry. i can almost feel the breath freeze in my lungs and my heart stop, just for a second.

but outside, i appear as though i am unfazed. there's not a hitch in my step that betrays me. there's not a shift in my posture so that my shoulders seem slumped. i keep walking.

it's not normally a shocking sentiment. i've heard this more times, so many more times than i care to recall. it's not new. it's not something i've not told myself more times than i've heard it, in hopes that hearing it would hurt less.

it's that i've not heard it in a while. that i liked my face well enough when i got dressed that morning. that it's been said by someone on the other side of the world.

it's that the sentiment is now universal.

and the sweatshirt, the thing that once provided some small bit of solace, i'll have to get a different one, a new one, for that because this one is now tainted by the taunts of three men i met on the streets of cardiff at three in the morning, and every time i look at it, i'll think of them, of that day, of that ugliness.

picky peeves

August 22, 2017

about a month ago or so, stephanie posted about irrational annoyances. i've been mulling over this topic ever since. my brother's friend adam would say that everything annoys me, and maybe he's right. i do like to bitch, and i'm gifted at it. it's what i learned in kindergarten, really, and studying english in college honed those skills considerably.

so these are the most common annoyances for me.

one. people following too closely. the stretch of interstate forty-five in montgomery county is one of the deadliest in texas. coming out of the woodlands yesterday and going home, i noticed that the entire southbound freeway was shut down for what looked like miles because somebody somewhere hit somebody else. and guess what? there were lights flashing on the southbound frontage road, too. now, sure, that shit happens everywhere. i know. but more often than not, cars on that twenty miles or so of highway are packed like sardines sun up to sundown. and they're not stopped. they're hauling ass... seventy miles an hour. motorcycles are weaving through traffic like the dotted lines on the road are paths they're meant to trace. it's one car length for every ten miles an hour you're traveling, asshats. and if you're booking it at seventy miles per hour, then there should be seven mississippis between your front bumper and the bastard's rear before you. crawling up my ass isn't going to make me go any faster.

two. people invading my personal space. i keep bitching about this one. i keep thinking one day i'm going to be able to explain to people in ways they might could understand how detrimental that bubble is to my sanity and sense of security. so let's try this...

i took these photos today of the rooms i'm most often in at home and the view before the front door. i've hung out in that kitchen, living room and den for thirty-four years. i've crossed that sidewalk thousands and thousands of times. i get anxious every time i walk between those two topiary bushes. i know i can pass between them safely enough. that their leaves won't brush my sides as i pass. 

my world is as flat as those photos look to you. every time i come down the stairs and pass that chest in the foyer, round the corner and go into the kitchen, my hands are trailing on the walls, telling my brain where everything is so i don't have to wonder where i need to step. 

my left hand's on the statue at the foot of the stairs, then the chest, then it drops and my right hand goes for the wainscoting beneath the photos, trailing it around the corner. my left hand will go to the back of my father's recliner (you can see a smidge of it above the rosewood desk) as my right hand reaches for the antique icebox in the corner, then the barstools and the countertop on my way into the kitchen... and my hands are on everything at every available opportunity. it's not a conscious thing. i'm not always aware of it, but i know subconsciously i'm doing it. 

if my parents are standing too close to me, i step back to make more room between us. my parents. it hurts my father's feelings so much. it's like he thinks i can't stomach standing near him. but that's not it at all. it's that i lose perspective and without it, i panic. i can't stand the way that feels.

the floor isn't a floor at all. it's just another plane in front of me, flat as a wall. a room is not a cube. it's a piece of paper.

so i'm having to use my hands to navigate spaces i've known for more than three decades. imagine how terrifying it can be walking through a mall or a restaurant, larger spaces that don't often provide crutches like the ones in my home. when i say excuse me, please it's the most polite way i know to say get the fuck out of my way because i can't see a goddamned thing right now.

but let's talk about what really annoys me about my vision. it's not that i have trouble seeing. it's how my eyes look. 

i took these a few years ago. my hair's shorter now. my eyes drift a bit more now, but i think that you get the idea. at least i hope you do. in the left photo, i'm using my right eye to see. in the right one, i'm using my left. the eye that's not working is floating off in la la land. it sees things, but it can't focus on any of them when the other is in use. if they would both look at the same thing at the same time, i'd feel a WHOLE LOT better about the way i look. and i would haven't to tell people, on far too many occasions, that, yeah, i'm talking to you. because when i'm using my left eye, and i were talking to you, you'd have to wonder, wouldn't you? and i'd be annoyed that i had to answer that question yet again.

but mostly, i'm annoyed that i'm annoyed by this. my vision has been this way since birth. i've had three surgeries on my eyes because of it. it could be worse, though. i know this. they both could be fucked at once, like they were when i was born. wouldn't that be fun?

by the way, in case you're curious, driving's a hell of a lot easier than walking. so much. SO, SO much easier.

three. misspellings: like woah, definately, your for you're, should of instead of should have

four. people congregating in front of doorways, especially at restaurants, so no one can get in or out because your party of twelve is taking up the whole goddamned sidewalk.

five. this one's the biggest one of all: people bitching about social and political injustices. your bitching about this does ABSOLUTELY NO FUCKING GOOD WHATSOEVER except to PISS PEOPLE OFF and create more BITCHING. if you don't like the way the world works, get up off your ass and go DO SOMETHING to change it. don't go to fucking twitter (i swear to god, yall, i can feel my blood pressure rise dramatically after being on that site for five seconds) or facebook and run your mouth about how much you hate the president or those statues commemorating the southern way of life from nearly two CENTURIES ago. if you want to make the world better, sign up at big brothers big sisters. be a MENTOR to someone so that we can affect real change. if you can't do that then SHUT THE FUCK UP. hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. live the way martin luther king, jr. would have us live.

tuesday topics: four. chocolate recipes

so i've a couple of confessions: a) my friend, rebecca chose this topic and the number of recipes to share; b) cooking and baking are low on the list of things i like to do, so i've never made any of these things, but these are the four recipes i'd be most inclined to try.

what are your favorite chocolate recipes? share them with me!

motion picture monday

August 21, 2017

released: 1994.
starring: jeremy irons, matthew broderick, james earl jones.
what makes it awesome: the songs. hakuna matata, yall.

released: 1995.
starring: jeremy irons, samuel l. jackson, bruce willis.
what makes it awesome: jeremy. holy toledo, somebody had fun.

three. x-men two.
released: 2000.
starring: ian mckellen, hugh jackman, patrick stewart.
what makes it awesome: the special effects are pretty badass and the cast is pretty spectacular.

released: 2003.
starring: ian mckellen, billy boyd, orlando bloom.
what makes it awesome: the story and all the efforts made by cast and crew to tell it.

released: 2006.
starring: ian mckellen, tom hanks, paul bettany.
what makes it awesome: its complexity and quickness.

six. the words.
released: 2012.
starring: jeremy irons, zoe saldana, bradley cooper.
what makes it awesome: the premise, its backstory and jeremy.

released: 2013.
starring: ian mckellen, orlando bloom, luke evans.
what makes it awesome: luke.

the work in perpetual progress

five things

August 20, 2017

five pieces of music often stuck in my head
one. michael convertino's score for the film bed of roses

two. gabriel yared's score for the film city of angels

three. james horner's score for the film swing kids

four. rachel portman's score for the film one day.

five. rachel portman's score for the film chocolat.

five favorite concerts
one. tori amos at the cynthia woods mitchell pavilion, the woodlands.
two. the airborne toxic event at house of blues, houston.
three. jonny lang and beth hart at revention center, houston.
four. u2 at arrowhead stadium, kansas city.
five. korn and staind at kemper arena, kansas city.

five favorite albums
one. the airborne toxic event by the airborne toxic event.
two. the joshua tree by u2.
three. violator by depeche mode.
four. ten by pearl jam.
five. little earthquakes by tori amos.

five favorite male vocalists
one. chris cornell.
two. eddie vedder.
three. joe elliott.
four. geoff tate.
five. todd park mohr.

five favorite female vocalists
one. beth hart.
two. johnette napolitano.
three. tori amos.
four. shakira.
five. beth gibbons.

five favorite bassists
one. michael "flea" balzary.
two. reginald "fieldy arvizu.
three. les claypool.
four. jeff ament.
five. cliff burton.

five favorite guitarists
one. jimi hendrix.
two. eddie van halen.
three.  stevie ray vaughan.
four. joe perry.
five. kirk hammett.

five favorite drummers
one. alex van halen.
two. lars ulrich.
three. tommy lee.
four. chad smith.
five. matt chamberlain.

five favorite songs
one. with or without you by u2.
two. faithfully by journey.
three. anna begins by counting crows.
four. stand inside your love by smashing pumpkins.
five. crash into me by dave matthews band.

five signs i've seen recently
one. have faith.
two. believe there is good in the world.
three. whatever you do, take pride.
four. never doubt that you are loved.
five. to dream of the person you wish to be is to waste the person you are.

five stories i reread regularly
one. lovers and dreamers by nora roberts.
two. irish born by nora roberts.
three. landline by rainbow rowell.
four. eleanor and park by rainbow rowell.
five. right before your eyes by ellen shanman.

five characters whose personalities mirror mine
one. miss brill in katherine mansfield's short story of the same name.
two. liza weiler in ellen shanman's right before your eyes.
three. kate powell in nora roberts' holding the dream.
four. celia rae foote in kathryn stockett's the help (though the packaging's more like skeeter phelan's).
five. victoria jones in vanessa diffenbaugh's the language of flowers.

five favorite films
one. star wars: episode v - the empire strikes back.
two. the lord of the rings: the return of the king.
three. star trek.
four. serenity.
five. steel magnolias.

five television programs i drop everything to watch
one. game of thrones.
two. this is us.
three. lethal weapon.
four. monday night football.
five. sunday night football.

it's not a great idea to get stuck on game of thrones, by the way. lots of really, REALLY bad shit happens on that show.

check out erin's list of five things.
she got the idea from heather.