Sunday, February 28, 2010


Last night I was stirred not shaken like a mixed-up martini when I realized I have a ton of clothes.

I've decided to bring another bag to the Salvation Army-this time a bag solely of clothes. You see: I use the stylist to guide me in the direction of my future wardrobe. So I begin over the next five years to discard what no longer works.

On the chopping block: an ivory GAP long cable-knit cardigan and a red cotton turtleneck and a black turtleneck with red-and-white stripes. This last item reminds me of a sweater I had for a number of years that I bought at the Limited. Parting is such sweet sorrow. I will also donate to Sal's one of the three black wool sweaters I bought in Benetton that I rarely wear now. Also the Ann Taylor bamboo-print shell and skirt that I told myself I would hold on to just in case I needed it. Chances are the opportunity to wear it will not come up any time soon.

The jeans I did buy and I hope they fit as they are measured by your waist not your regular size. I saw a pair of midnight navy denim flare pants that I also want to buy as well. The stylist can help me find a pair of white pants.

It feels like some kind of shaky reality.

The truth is this winter it was incredibly cold more so than usual and it snowed often so I could not wear some of the sweaters I have. Two are lighter weight cardigans. I also did not wear the other sweaters. The sheer amount of stuff is unbelievable. I have no recourse but to get rid of some things to assuage myself that I'm not tied to my things.

This coming week it's supposed to be in the 40s so I wear some sweaters I haven't worn all winter and I wear the cashmere long sleeve tee shirts on their own without a jacket.

This is true: when I was in high school I browsed the FIT course bulletin because I thought I might go to school there. It was a passing fancy yet in retrospect it hints that I was pulled this way.

Also: sometimes you just have to get rid of clothes you've had for years that are in good condition that you've grown bored of. I'm my own strictest critic when it comes to this. I remember that when I was a teen and a young woman I dressed almost exclusively in black: even at every holiday. I can remember one Easter at my parents house wearing one of my usual black outfits. This is interesting because today I feel that when I wear all black I look severe.

Ironically: I haven't dressed in black from head-to-toe in a long time. The critic in me feels that if I were a therapist wearing all black would create a buffer between the patient and me and I'd come across as cold and indifferent. This is just an idea I have that is possibly not true at all. Right now I wear black sweaters with jeans or with my gray pants and I wear the black jacket with the cashmere long sleeve tee shirts and jeans.

This is. Something else entirely. Yes: I think of these things.

All these prescriptions I write for how to dress. You realize it is kind of Type A to want to dress so that you convey the effect you intended. That is the heart of the matter.

I'm proactive in how I shop now because I want to keep an eye on the clothes I'd wear in the new career. I remember two art therapists I knew whose style I coveted. One wore sweaters in the winter and the other dressed more formally yet did not wear suits. I will not have to wear suits as a therapist so that is good yet I do want to dress in a professional way. The stylist can steer me in the direction of this new wardrobe.

It is supposed to snow again on Wednesday. Heavens. It has been too much with this cold slushy weather and I hope next winter we have a better time of it.

OK: I've sent out this SOS because I've spent the whole weekend staring at my closets and drawers. Something has to give.

I had this conversation with someone who claimed comparing ourselves to other people can be a good thing when we want to emulate their positive qualities. So I understand how I coveted the style of the art therapists. I also was impressed with the clothes a woman in my original writing workshop wore because she had a great sense of style that reflected a sense of personal unity.

Right now you most likely want to tell me: basta. Enough. I understand. Not a lot of us have these kinds of fashion awakenings-or do we? I set the appointment with the stylist within two weeks.

Wish me good luck with this. I'll be sure to tell you the wind-up after she analyzes my wardrobe. Hopefully all is not lost.

Good day.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

As Time Goes By

Whoah. Just a minute. I must have lost my good sense. I realize I have a ton of clothes. A friend tells me I'm a fashionista and I have to admit she may be right.

In March I switch out the clothes: place the spring pants and shirts in the bedroom closet and store the winter clothes in the under bed boxes.

Funny how you see other people's closets in magazines and think they're the ones who have a ton of clothes when all along you're blind to the fact that your own wardrobe comes darn close. Maybe I was in denial. Now I'm distraught thinking how would I make space in my closets and drawers if I had a husband. It astounds me that I could have all these items hanging here there and everywhere.

Help! Help! I can imagine what the fashion stylist will tell me: I buy things I like piece by piece without achieving a cohesive look.

I wish it were spring already. I wish I could transfer the winter clothes to the under bed boxes. Frankly now I'm obsessed with what the stylist will pronounce when she looks over everything.

Here there everywhere. No kidding.

I didn't think I could be this hopeless.

Though to my credit everything is neatly organized on matching hangers.

Matching hangers. That's another thing.

Towels lined up from dark to light.

I'm not in my right mind folks.

Bless me father for I have sinned.

Nobody needs all these items of clothing.

Should I get married I enlist the fashion stylist to overhaul my wardrobe so that I can buy fewer things of better quality so I don't junk up the closets and drawers and leave my poor husband out on the fire escape in terms of storage options.

I use any tax refund I get to buy a pair of white pants and a pair of jeans that will fit me and that I'll look good in. For sure. Then I stop buying clothes because I have all I need for the spring and summer.

I'm aghast-that is the word-I'm aghast that I could have all this stuff. Shocked. That's what I am. Beyond belief.

I have gone on the Sartorialist web site and it is beautiful. Looking at the photos is a way to pick up ideas for my own wardrobe and get inspired.

It would be different if my apartment were in disarray and the contents were bulging. Then again I'm just rationalizing things by saying that so don't quote me on this. It would be different if I bought more expensive clothes as I wear out the things hanging in my closet now because then I wouldn't have the closets stuffed to the gills.

So that is my goal dear blog readers: to shop with a trained eye in the future.

I wish it were spring. I wish I could begin wearing the spring clothes. At least we have only three weeks until the season changes. Round here that does not mean instantly warmer weather however as soon as the calendar hits March 20 I'm going to do the closet switch.

This I can tell the stylist: I sometimes wear jeans to work and at other times I'm all decked out for business. A friend claims she's never seen me in the same outfit twice. That's fruit loops folks.

While the weather is in-between in the coming weeks I will wear a sweater I haven't worn all winter and wear the cashmere long sleeve tee shirts on their own without a jacket. I can return to wearing the navy tropical wool blazer in the early spring. I can begin to wear the black rayon jacket with hidden buttons.

I had no energy before and now I'm revved up thinking about this. Eating dinner most likely gave me the energy I lacked earlier in the day.

I don't need all these clothes. There's no excuse.

Let the three-week countdown begin.

I would love to use the stylist again if she works out this time. That's because there's no way I want to amass all this stuff all over again when the items I already have are discarded. I will only buy good-quality items that I can mix-and-match for a cohesive blend.

Yes I do wonder what the stylist will tell me when she takes a look at the two closets and the clothes hanging on the rod in the armoire.

Now: it is crystal-clear to me that I was born this way, with a love of fashion. I can honestly admit that the eras in my life dictated the kinds of clothes I wore and so I'm not alarmed like I used to be about the rocker chic clothes I wore in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

The changing seasons of our life warrant new approaches to shopping and dressing. In some ways I was possibly always ahead of the curve and then I settled down in terms of fashion. I regard my younger self with awe and respect for the choices she made: her life choices as well as fashion choices.

Do you see how it is? Look at yourself with a kind eye. I have learned to do this. It is easier said than done for a lot of us.

I have itemized in here the contents of my wardrobe when I was a young woman so I will not repeat the litany.

One thing I can tell you: find out what makes you happy and pursue it with zeal.

See. I've spent a half hour talking only of fashion. Not about anything else.

Sometimes I can believe it's what makes me tick. Not the schizophrenia. My love of fashion undoubtedly saved me and helped me recover and make my way in the world.

I owe this debt of gratitude to my younger self for daring to dream and then daring to dress herself according to her dreams.

We all have made fashion mistakes. Mine was a pea-green blazer silk-screened with punk rock images that surely didn't flatter me. What was I thinking? As a young woman I was fascinated with the unusual.

That is how we learn: as time goes by. We learn from our fashion mistakes. We live and learn.

I will now go and leave you to enjoy the rest of your night.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Run Baby Run


I've done the laundry and stored away the items.

Earlier I ordered a banana leaf wicker magazine rack to place at the side of my bed so I can corral my notebook and books inside it in the morning. All the better to make it easier to make my bed to give me instant cheer.

The Norah Jones CD Feels Like Home is on its way here. I'm missing only one of Norah's albums-is it New York City?

Don't feel like cooking as I have no energy. Will most likely have some cereal and cook tomorrow night.

My love of order is most likely an inborn trait. I responded to a Real Simple question: how do you keep the main areas of your home clutter-free?

First: I detest knick-knacks so don't buy anything thus my coffee table and buffet server are neat. The only items ever on my coffee table are the wooden egg carved with an African design, the trio of candles I received as a housewarming present at my other apartment and a tiny book of beautiful photos titled Face Time. On the server is a photo of my parents in a maple frame, a bowl with turquoise stones and a crystal jam jar a long-lost friend gave me.

On top of the bookcase are three picture frames. My desktop has the most clutter.

The trick is to stop yourself and not keep buying things. When one new thing comes in one thing should go out. I also don't have "collections" like some people do: knick-knack graveyards out in the open for everyone to see. Your apartment is not a diary so keep private things private while you're at it.

My secret to maintaining order is that I don't create messes to begin with! I can live with a little dirt however I cannot live in a mess. I hope Real Simple uses my suggestions in one of their magazines.


Have finished reading The Sartorialist and will buy the book to use as inspiration for dressing. It's a look book of people on the street that Scott Schuman shot for his web site, I'm particularly inspired to loosely recreate a look styled by a young woman in Italy.

I would love to be singled out for such a photograph.


Well now: I decided I had to have matching towels so I'm going back to buy two towels in a lighter shade of pink. I can store them from the darkest on the bottom to the lightest on the top-from hot pink to rose to peppermint. A little bit Type A do you suppose? Of course.

Also wanted to buy a moss-green-and-white striped pitcher that was featured in the O magazine however I'm going to quit while I'm ahead. I want to organize the storage boxes on the bottom of the coat closet so that in the off-season I can store the air conditioner there.

Right now I have no space on the bookshelves for any more books. I could buy maybe The Sartorialist and that is the only book. I wish I had space for more books. There's an IKEA black wooden bookcase I could get down the road however I worry it would monopolize the wall where the smaller bookcase is now. I could always weed my books, right?

Most of the books in my collection are fashion and poetry and memoir with a smattering of useful and practical self-help guides like Don Greene's Fight Your Fear and Win. I suppose I could buy notable books and read them and then donate them to a thrift shop as a way of supporting authors and giving the books a second life with others who cannot afford to buy them retail. That would be the virtuous thing to do.

Yes: I will donate to the Salvation Army three books. I have two full bags to send to the thrift shop and a third bag full of wooden skirt hangers.


I bought the towels and shipped the bags to Sal's so now the apartment is neat and tidy with no bags cluttering the floor. I donated the book Target Underwear and a Vera Wang Gown because I wasn't impressed with it so didn't feel the need to keep it on my shelf. Browsing my collection: I've decided to begin reading the book Brown Girl, Brownstones that I picked up at a book sale years ago and have yet to read.

Right now I'm between books waiting for Patti Smith's memoir Just Kids to arrive. I bought her poetry collection Babel in the early 1980s when I was a teen. She is a great talent.

Alas one of her albums I couldn't bring myself to buy because one of the song titles had a racial epithet in the title. I do not know why she chose that word or what the song was intended to be about. Maybe she was referring to the fact that she was someone cast out of the mainstream rock-n-roll arena. That I do not know. I would rather not hear that word bandied about in a song. I have a Fugees CD and it's a great album however there's one song where that word is repeated over and over and I just don't get it.

I'm listening to Sheryl Crow's Tuesday Night Music Club as I type in here.

It's so good to have no demands just for one day. All I did was go to the gym and do 30 minutes on the treadmill. Nothing else beckoned. Tomorrow I will return to the gym and do the treadmill again. That is all I do now. I want to lose 4 lbs. I give myself until my birthday to do this.

Would like to buy a pair of striped jeans I saw on the Loft web site. I have a $25 savings card so I hope the jeans are still there when I want to buy them. One of the books I browsed in my collection as I weeded it was a fashion book written by a woman who is the "Dr. of Closetology." I took the quiz and found out I'm a Modernist Natural style type whatever that's supposed to be.

I'm having an image consultant come to my apartment and look at the clothes in my closet and suggest new additions. First she talks to you about what you own and then you go shopping with her to find new items. All I want: a pair of white pants and a pair of neat jeans that will fit and that I'll look good in. [I'm not convinced I look good in jeans. I've told you this before.]

Now. I'm fatigued. As I've been lately: fatigued all the time. Would love to talk on and on about fashion only my energy is beginning to flag so let me go.

Enjoy your day.

Beautifully Combined


In Starbucks I bought k.d. lang's Beautifully Combined CD that features songs she hand-picked as her greatest or favorite hits. I like "Black Coffee" a lot and of course "Constant Craving."

The idea that a person can beautifully combine with another person is not lost on me.

Elizabeth Gilbert makes peace with marrying Felipe in Committed-her book about the year leading up to her wedding that saw her researching the topic of marriage and interviewing her friends and the Asian women she met in her travels.

To me marriage is like buying another coffee mug: nice yet not necessary. I'm the last of the independents. I have too much work to do otherwise to be able to cater to someone's needs 100 percent of the time.

Gilbert was forced to marry Felipe because otherwise he couldn't enter the U.S. legally. They had already bought rings and gave them to each other in a commitment ceremony yet had no intention of officially tying the knot until the Department of Immigration tied their hands.

I'm almost done reading Committed- I have maybe 10 pages to go. About 20 pages left of Traveling with Pomegranates.


The thing about recovery haunts me now although I can work it a different way. It is true that for a lot of people the medication doesn't control their symptoms. OK then: what do you do? You do what you can do to make a good life for yourself even with the limitations presented to you. You choose recovery and soldier on in the face of someone like E. Fuller Torrey telling you you haven't recovered and have no chance of recovering.

Torrey's beef is that the recovery movement is not rooted in a scientific method or quantifiable outcomes. He is a dinosaur in that regard. What would he have to say about cancer patients who use creative visualization to help in their recovery? Creative visualization is not a scientifically-proven method.

Are we to infer from Torrey's medical model that the recovery movement is not a useful accompaniment to psychiatric treatment with medication? In the absence of the recovery movement a lot of people diagnosed with schizophrenia would live lives of despair with no hope that they could make their way in the world.

We cannot parrot Torrey's statistics about the number of people who completely recover versus the ones who don't versus the ones who fall somewhere in the middle. These figures are not based on research. Even were the numbers true that doesn't mean one should give up hope. You can live in supported living with dignity and attend a Clubhouse and consider yourself to be recovered even though E. Fuller Torrey doesn't believe you have.

Recovery is in the eye of the person living with schizophrenia-not in the eye of the beholder. This is how I see it and where my thinking could be considered radical. Torrey should not use the word recovery when he is talking about differing levels of remission. You can be in recovery and not be in remission. I'm clear on this when I give talks to mothers and fathers who want hope that their sons and daughters can recover.

That is why the recovery model is not and cannot be a medical model: remission is the accurate term that describes the medical model. Torrey would better serve his readers to make this true distinction because doing so he could offer real hope instead of striking out against those of us in recovery who believe others can recover too.

Not everyone in recovery would consider themselves to be in the recovery movement which is not a distinction E. Fuller Torrey is capable of making either.


My second book is now 112 pages long. I couldn't sleep and began working on it at six in the morning. I added content to one section that strengthens the message I was giving. Tonight I will add a new section to the chapter I've been working on this weekend. That chapter should be done by Saturday. The book is 32,000 words.

Now I will go sign off and get ready to go out.

Enjoy your day.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


In the farthest city light:

Cars slosh down the street in the night rain.

I have walked down this road and back again.

The wind howling sounds like I live on the edge of the world.

Slosh howl slosh howl howl slosh howl.

Twilight speaks.

Monday, February 22, 2010


Just sayin':

This is the way I see things.


All I can do is this: listen and understand. I wouldn't dare judge someone else's pain as less than my own.

The author who wrote the memoir Piece of Cake had a life that wasn't a piece of cake for her though she triumphed. Wouldn't dare presume that anybody's life is a piece of cake.

I wrote about this in my second book: that we must reserve judgment.

There is another option: to hold someone's hand and lead them away from the ledge.

You cannot know how close to the edge or the ledge anyone else was unless you walked in their shoes. Empathy is not a dirty word.

The Third Eye Blind song where the singer tells his friend to step back from the ledge and that the singer would understand always resonated with me.

To remember is to understand.

I will never forget the night of September 25, 1987 when I had my breakdown.

How many of us cross back into a better life?

We scramble to pick up the pieces of our shattered lives and move forward forever changed.

I cannot separate then and now: the storyteller in me will not be quiet.

Life goes on on. We wake up each day grateful that we have this day. Grateful. I am. Are you? Having been there I stand in solidarity with others.

In March I give a talk titled "Recovery from Schizophrenia." I talk for 20 minutes and then take and answer questions.

No. I will not discount anyone else's pain. I make this promise to everyone diagnosed with a mental illness: to listen and understand.

You do not know until you walk a mile in someone else's moccasins whether their life is a piece of cake or a burning mess of candles.

I would extend to anyone in pain the offering of a piece of cake:

Chocolate. Or cheesecake. Something sweet to take away their pain.

In the end it comes down to this:

I have schizophrenia. At the end of the day it will always be true that I succeeded despite having this diagnosis. My achievements are not entirely my own. I did pretty well for someone who has schizophrenia. That's the truth.

I do own a pair of moccasins by the way: red ones. I've been down this road so long they're worn and scuffed.


Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Recovery Model


I was just reading Kate K.'s blog entry about E. Fuller Torrey's book, Surviving Schizophrenia where he maintains: "The problem with the 'recovery model' is that it places unrealistic expectations on individuals and their families. If the person does not recover, then it must be because they are not trying hard enough."

He has connected two unrelated dots that are as far away from each other as Russia and Africa. Nobody working in the recovery movement would dare suggest somebody failed because they didn't try hard enough. He has a narrow view of the definition of recovery and assumes that most people don't recover when in fact long-term studies have proved up to 60 percent of the people diagnosed with schizophrenia recover fully or significantly improve.

Courtenay Harding's famous "Vermont study" tracked patients released from a state hospital in the 1950s up through the 1980s and most had no signs or symptoms of the illness they were diagnosed with. The anti-psychiatry contingent loves this study because a fair number of the participants stopped taking their medication and were able to function just fine.

E. Fuller Torrey is in no position to criticize a movement he will never be a part because he has no inside track on how it works.

You see: my definition of recovery encompasses multiple differing versions of how people live their lives. E. Fuller Torrey seems to buy into the myth that if you're not the CEO of a corporation you haven't recovered.

That's not how it works Fuller boy. Plenty of people can and do recover and it is by their own yardstick that they measure their success, not yours.

What part of the "help" in self-help does this guy not get?

Interesting: nowhere in my second book do I extol the power of positive thinking. I do mention that a healthy dose of ambition is not a sin. However nowhere do I presume to tell anyone they are not trying hard enough.

The esteemed Torrey forgets that when it comes to schizophrenia the severity of the illness is often determined by the luck of the draw. So it is possible that some people will not recover to the level that other people recover. Yet no one in the recovery movement itself would claim this was a personal failing.

My book is aimed at the great number of people who want to recover and are capable of recovering.

I read the original Surviving Schizophrenia in 1987 after I came out of the hospital and was not impressed.

My Twitter says it all: Here's the playing field. Please join in.

E. Fuller Torrey does a great disservice with his reverse stigma: he is actually projecting onto other people his own belief that recovery is not possible. I always felt that if a line were drawn in the sand I would stand on the side of everyone who had been locked up regardless of their level of functioning. I see no difference between back wards patients and me except that I was on the lucky end of the luck of the draw. And I'm not proud that I recovered whereas a great number of people do not. I don't consider myself to be a special person either. I'm only grateful that God gave me a talent to use to help make the world a better place for people living with schizophrenia and other mental illnesses.

Torrey claims only 25 percent of the people diagnosed with schizophrenia completely recover which is another lie. Define completely. Define recovery. He paints things in broad brush strokes as if you're either institutionalized or some kind of wonder kid. The far more accurate picture is that most people live in the middle and there's no shame in that.

OK. I will stop. You understand. What I'm trying to say.

Now I will go sign off and wind down for the night.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Black Coffee in Bed


The pants arrived and they are low rise even though the web site did not clearly label them as such. I go to the store to return them and get a credit. I tried bending down to see if I could live with them and alas I flashed so there's no keeping them.

It's back to square one: enlisting the image consultant to suggest where I can buy a pair of white pants and a pair of jeans that will fit me well and look good.

I'm going to contact Organization by Design in late March and take it from there.

Surely there has to be a vendor that cuts a respectful pair of pants?

Sunday I went to the boutique and added money towards the layaway so soon [as of next Friday] the necklace will be mine. I would love if the shop owner offered layaway for the pocketbooks and scarves too.

In just four weeks it's spring and I cannot wait. That does not always bring warmer weather round here though. At least I will be able to wear my short pink punch coat instead of the long winter coat. A dose of optimistically inspired color to float on.

It is quiet here.

I've been obsessed with writing my second book which has 95 pages now and there's no stopping me. It could get published before the memoir. I have 20 copies printed to distribute to friends and colleagues for their honest feedback. I do this in July when I have some extra money. A friend has signed on to read the book.

In my fifties: fiction beckons.

I get inspired by the quotes in my appointment book. This week's caption to a steaming cup of coffee: "Your life must be sweet" one barista told him, "to take your coffee so bitter."

What a sweet life: to be a writer and do the things I enjoy. I'll take my coffee bitter any time should my life be so sweet.

95 pages and counting. Tonight I will complete chapter four and print up a copy of the manuscript to give to a friend on Sunday.

OK: I would like to pick up the necklace this weekend instead.


Caroline, or Change is a great play. It was so sad and the reality shook me in a way no other secondhand account of the civil rights era has. Racism was and is inexcusable. Caroline is an uneducated woman who works as a maid raising three kids [the fourth is in Vietnam] alone in 1963. She fled her abusive husband who returned from the Navy in the 1950s and-unable to find work-hit the bottle and her. Her children would have opportunities she would never know.

The cast was great. My friend and I and some others in the audience rose up when Teisha Duncan [Caroline] took her bow.

I couldn't understand it: Why did the white stepmother need a maid? Couldn't she do all the chores herself? It was just her and her husband and his son. My mother never had a maid. One thing I wonder [and I'm not sure why]: what my mother thought about the lynchings in the South-if she thought about them at all. It chills me to think that that the last lynching took place just 10 years before I was born when Emmett Till was murdered.

Though a Yahoo answer revealed that in 1998 a trio of white supremacists killed an innocent African-American guy [define lynching].

That was what the Billie Holiday song "Strange Fruit" was about, right?

This is our history and a shameful one at that.


Today I returned the pants and exchanged them for a pair of black sunglasses. I also bought an amethyst necklace from which hung an amethyst stone. A pink tee shirt set me back only $17 so I couldn't resist buying it as well.

Now I'm home typing in here. I wear the lipstick-red cashmere long sleeve tee shirt and the Esprit collection black jeans and my black jacket with the black ankle boots and the oversize red stone ring. That was my going-out outfit.

Alas the only pants and jeans Loft sells now are low rise and they just won't do.

The Squeeze song "Black Coffee in Bed" is always played on the radio now.

I don't drink coffee however if I did I'd take mine bitter.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Three Chords and the Truth

Well I did it: ordered two pairs of pants from the Loft web site as when I logged on today they were on sale 50 percent off so why not buy two? White canvas and deep blue canvas pants with a removable braided belt. So now I have the white pants to wear with the black tee shirt and sunny yellow scarf I bought last month, or with the black tee shirt and the new necklace.

This topic is much preferable to the trend of late in JM. Though I will tell you the research proves Kendra's Law is effective at reducing homelessness and crime for individuals with a history of this. We can't argue that homelessness and crime causes untold debt in terms of the loss of the human capital of a society. This cannot be measured in dollar bills.

I could not look you in the eye and claim that this doesn't matter and that homelessness is a choice for most people. I could choose to flash naked in a park and that would be my choice too. So this argument can be shot with holes. When did civil obedience become a dirty word?

People become homeless not because they choose to be: they wind up on the streets because they are delusional and refuse treatment and do things counterproductive to their recovery.

These statistics should chill you:

"Mentally ill individuals are fifteen times more likely to be assaulted, twenty-three
times more likely to be raped, and one hundred forty times more likely to
experience property theft than the general population."

[Cornell Law School document]

If "equal protection" under the law does not guarantee those of us living with mental illnesses equal protection from these crimes: what exactly does that law provide us? Apparently it gives us the right to live above a subway grate and be raped in the dead of night.

Saturday I will go to the boutique and give the shop owner some more money towards the necklace with my Valentine's Day cash.

Want to cheer myself up and depart from this gloom.

It's time to go sign off as I feel I have nothing new to contribute to this story.

Best wishes to you.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Just now:

I have written a response to a grieving woman at the Connection that was impassioned and heartfelt. So I trust I "walk the talk" as a mental health activist.

The death of Esmin Green gave the anti-psychiatry contingent a built-in platform for the anti-recovery venom they spew. Now they can wrap their poison around the flag of compassion when in no way do they have compassion for people with schizophrenia who need to take medication in order to function.

What event could I use to galvanize others? My own accomplishments are in no way as dramatic as the video of a woman falling to the floor and dying while a security guard did nothing. If you ask me they should close Kings County down.

The thing is I wonder that I can do anything except what I'm already doing. I can only counter their hate with love.

I read in the book Cultural Creatives that Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. was only 26 when he was asked to lead the boycotts. He rose to the challenge when greatness was required of him.

26. Martin Luther King was only 26. He had a dream. And I have a dream: that one day all people will be able to access mental health treatment without fear of stigma or abuse. The kind of stigma those groups create against people who need drugs is unconscionable.

I believed in a power bigger than my pain. So I was determined to use my pain to make things better for people coming up in their recovery after me.

My great goal is to help others heal.

Anything else I could do that would not support this goal would be a waste of my God-given talent.

Peace out.

Snow Day

Hello I must be going:

I voiced my opinion in an article I sent to New York City Voices. We'll see if the editorial staff has the balls to publish it.

I slept for two hours in the afternoon. At about three o'clock I woke up and retreated to the computer to type up IMHO: Civil Liberties-shorthand for In My Humble Opinion. Should Voices not give the piece air time I will publish it at the Connection in the spring.

I take an unpopular stance yet it is the rational one: that forced treatment is sometimes necessary to prevent violent crime as well as disability. I prize above all else my rational mind. More so than I value my beauty. Once your beauty fades you have to rely on your wits. I would mourn the loss of my pretty face however I would survive because I'm sharp as a tack.

Unfortunately knee-jerk rhetoric holds sway and is given power in the media because of the death of Esmin Green. A tragedy that never should have happened.

We shall see if Voices publishes my article. This will be the test.

I will also send the article to NAMI-New York State to see if they could use it somehow to advocate for the continuation of Kendra's Law. What I wrote comes on like blazes.

The anti-psychiatry contingent will not be amused. So be it.

So be it.

The wind howls outside and it's too dark and the windows are snowy so I can't tell if it's still snowing. I could turn on the weather report to find out. Oddly my apartment has not been as cold as it sometimes is.

I've been so busy writing the articles today that I didn't stop to warm up the tomato soup for lunch. In about 20 minutes I will go cook a hearty dinner: chicken and spinach and bulgur. That's all I can do because most likely no restaurant would deliver food here even if it was open.

Feel closed in because of the snow.

The howling wind sounds like the end of the world.

Also feel like I should quit while I'm ahead. I will not garner fans when the article is published however that is not my concern. My intent is speaking the truth and presenting a rational counterpoint to the knee-jerk reactions against psychiatric treatment.

My friend tells me that in only one instance is an irrational mindset justified: love.


The last thing I will tell you is that I feel the best way I can help prevent psychiatric abuse is to tell my story as living proof that people diagnosed with schizophrenia are not second-class citizens to be kicked around like useless stones.

The staff at Kings County responsible for the murder of Esmin Green should be held accountable for their crime.

However that does not mean forced treatment should not ever be an option for someone diagnosed with schizophrenia or another mental illness. In some cases forced treatment is necessary. I will actively campaign to help make sure Kendra's Law doesn't sunset in 2010.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Winter Crusade


I praise the first lady's efforts to eliminate childhood obesity within one generation. My kids would eat fruits and vegetables and whole grains and lots of fish were I lucky enough to have kids.

In a New York Times article covering this initiative someone said that some schools actually have a McDonald's in them. Of course too as one commenter mentioned agribusinesses that manufacture food products with high fructose corn syrup need to be exposed.

It is my ethic to live a conscious life: conscious of the food I put into my mouth and of how my behaviors support or hinder a healthy lifestyle and of how I share the earth with other human beings and how my actions effect other people.

Everything I do I seek to do for the greater good and that is why I live a simple life unburdened by unchecked consumerism. It doesn't hurt that Mom is sending me a Valentine's Day card with a $20 bill so that I can add it to the cost of the necklace. This money will come just in time.

Honestly I don't know how someone could criticize Michelle Obama for wanting to stamp out childhood obesity as one commenter did on the Times web site. Something has to be done and I'm glad she stepped up to the plate.

So I give her kudos for tackling this 300-lb. elephant in the room.


This is all I do going into the spring: go to the gym and be mindful of what I eat. Tonight I did the treadmill at a 5.5 incline and 3.4 speed and for the last 10 minutes I upped the speed to 3.5. My heart rate skyrockets with this kind of workout. I sticker in my appointment book the days I work out with smiley faces.

You come to this on your own.

Or at least I have: set a challenge. The winter has been so frightfully cold that setting any other goal for these dark days I cannot bring myself to do. Only this: go to the gym and eat more healthfully. The perfect winter crusade. I have come at this goal without understanding why it has struck me with such force. Perhaps the astrology book will enlighten me. Will take it off the shelf and read the section on 2010.

So sad to say that I have no other goal. Yet is that sad? I will reach inside myself and do it My Way.

In the New York Times today there was an article about deadly karaoke: more people are killed during karaoke when the singer is belting out "My Way" by Frank Sinatra. This phenomenon is most often observed in the Filippines where violence is high and the police have a code name for death-by-karaoke. Some revelers steer clear of this danger by choosing not to sing "My Way" because of the threat of Sinatra-cide.

Can you imagine?


Right now it is late and I'm exhausted and praying for snow so I will go sign off.


Monday, February 8, 2010

Song of Life

You know it's not going to be good when you take one of those little black shopping totes when you enter Sephora after seeing your psychiatrist.

Yesterday: I went to the Barnes & Noble and bought the Cultural Creatives book because it was only $16 and I decided that would be okay. I skimmed it waiting in Dr. Altman's office and on the way home.

One thing: I doubt I would be willing to go to jail for what I believed in and most likely I couldn't anyhow because I'm on the Geodon and we know what happens to people with schizophrenia who wind up in jail.

Also I continue to read Traveling With Pomegranates and I'm halfway done. Cultural Creatives buy and read more books than most people and attend cultural events in greater numbers too. In that book someone interviewed was quoted to the effect that the ego gets in the way. This was the contention Eckhart Tolle made in A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose.

Always: I've had a sense of self that guided me to achieve things. The concept of failing didn't occur to me and even if it did it I set out on my merry way regardless. I admit a part of me revels in my achievements. Does that mean I have a big ego?

In ways it doesn't matter to me whether I make a name for myself as there's no glory in mental health activism: you do it because it's the right thing to do and only that.

I wanted to buy the book because I have now another book I'm reading: Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace With Marriage by Elizabeth Gilbert. So I want to wait on reading Cultural Creatives until I finish this book and the Pomegranates one.

What can I do? How can I act? Protest marches aren't my style yet I want to be certain I "walk the talk" as the expression goes. I was approached with a request to join someone in advocating for better and safer atypicals and I'm at a loss for what can actually be done. Government research dollars would need to be freed up for this effort. Could I send a letter to my elected officials? The three key factors beside education are research, research, research when it comes to making things better for people living with schizophrenia and other mental illnesses.

I feel like Isabella Rossellini who in an interview lamented that so many people made demands for her time and she could only give the interviewer two hours. Possibly I have to concede that all I do is good enough and there's not much more I can do. How many people face the dilemma of doing too much? I wonder.

A friend said one thing that needs to change is that people keep saying the mental health system is broken yet nothing has been done to fix it. True enough. Yet I cannot stand on the side of people who are against forced treatment because sometimes that is necessary and the death of Esmin Green should not be a deterrent to getting people the help they need. I'm as shocked and outraged as anyone however my contention is: if you have schizophrenia you'd better well take your medication you have no right pushing a woman in front of a subway train. What about Kendra Webdale's civil liberties? So I couldn't allow Kendra's Law [requiring forced treatment] to sunset in 2010. All the civil liberties folk rail against forced treatment well if I hadn't been hospitalized against my will the second time I would be dead. Case closed. Andrew Goldstein did not have the right to kill someone folks so get out of the way and let people be treated with drugs for their medical condition.

The laws are not perfect however in the absence of the laws there would be chaos. More than that the billions we spend on mental health might reach into the trillions if we allowed people their "rights" to go off their meds and decompensate and go off their meds again and further deteriorate.

My contention is that when you are diagnosed with schizophrenia and have to take medication to be able to function well, you give up certain rights: namely, the right to do as you please and not take your medication. I believe it is part of the social covenant each one of us has with everyone else in the world that we do the right thing not what we feel like doing. So Mad Pride and the Icarus Project can champion their right to be crazy and it holds no sway with me.

Mental illnesses are not "dangerous gifts" they are real diseases and require treatment with medication.

I'm sorry but I gave up my rights a long time ago when I was diagnosed with schizophrenia. The one thing I did not give up was my right to have a good life. That is what taking the Geodon does: enables me to have the kind of life worth living.

Now I do believe that some people can be what a friend calls "crazy as a jaybird" and still function in society. However that is not everyone and for the great majority of people with mental illnesses we need to take some form of pills.

OK: a person could go off his meds once to see if he can live without them however if he cannot that's not an experiment you want to keep trying. I grant it that this is a natural desire and it's perfectly reasonable to want to see if you can function without the meds. Most of the time this doesn't work, OK?

Because. I'm not. The kind of person. Who would settle for less. Another life awaits me when I go back to school. Which would not. Be possible. Without medication.

I think I've made my point and there's no need to belabor it.



Days later:

The idea that some people are cultural creatives I can't square away. How did the researcher determine there were 50million of us living in America? Will anything we do actually change the world for the better when the old way of life is seductive to most people? Can we set climate protocols?

One thing: true cultural creatives do not lean to the left or to the right politically. We espouse new solutions that require a different kind of government that is neither right-wing nor totally left. That is not to say we would always be centrist.

Days later I muse on this because it seems a fuzzy concept: the idea that people can be cultural creatives. How does that translate into real life? There's an expression: "If you name it, you can claim it" and possibly that applies here too. Yet I'm uncomfortable with this label, as if I've been found out.

Maybe I'm just too ambitious to want to concede that I use my talents to better the world. I want to be recognized for my own efforts and not lumped into a category. Where does the individual and his or her accomplishments fit into the cultural creative milieu?

I understand that the ethic of "service above self" is a noble one however each of us has a self and I'm not able to subjugate my self or take a back seat, like a Traditional would or someone who is content to lie on the couch all day watching TV. I covet recognition for the efforts I give to certain organizations. This is a two-way street.

So as I type this it's hard for me to understand that I could be a cultural creative. I abhor doing things in a vacuum: I want to be heard when I communicate my message. I realize not everyone is going to want to hear what I have to say and others will not be receptive to it. That's why I can't sell my book as if I wrote it to de-stigmatize people living with schizophrenia because I did not. Indirectly it does that-true. Yet I don't allow stigma to dictate how I feel about myself or whether or not I'm going to seek to set goals and achieve them. Stigma carries no weight with me.

Funny: it feels like a stigma to be outed as a cultural creative even though we do good things and there should be no shame in living a life of service to others. I'm going to check out of the library The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People Are Changing The World because I don't have the money to buy the book.

A life of volunteerism is the hallmark of a cultural creative. When I read the book I'll be better able to sift through this knowledge and come to a conclusion I can live with.

For now I'll leave you with this:

The reason I don't buy this lifestyle is because I'm not certain we can actually change the world, as the usual way of doing things is so entrenched in most people. I would like to think our actions can have a lasting impact yet who am I kidding? I need to see concrete, tangible results to believe the tide has actually turned. Give me the numbers: tell me how many people's lives have been changed and what the results of our efforts have been. The fuzziness of it and the feel-good aspect doesn't sit well with me.

Though the truth is it's possibly not an ethic that can be defined in words or accounted for with bottom-line principles, so maybe language comes in a poor second to describe the impact of a cultural creative's actions.

Days later I'm mixed about this because I wonder if to be a cultural creative I have to live an ascetic life and the truth is I don't deny myself trinkets like the necklace.

I'm searching now. I'm searching for my own words to describe my life ethic that won't be co-opted by a researcher or a sociologist. I've been sifting through this knowledge all weekend. I will let you know more after I've finished reading the Cultural Creatives book.

You think. I'm obsessed. With this. Now.

So I'll go sign off and leave you to enjoy your day.


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Look Book

These photos are from the look book I created today. In the first one I'm the image of a latter-day punk rock school girl. The second I consider grunge-y: a typical casual outfit. In the last picture I wear the trendy necklace I bought in Banana Republic when I ended the cognitive therapy.

In all the photos my friend shot I'm wearing only lipstick, as I do on most days. In the last photo posted here I look ethnic. Thus I feel having 16 tubes of lipstick is justified: I know exactly which shade to use for each outfit to brighten my dull skin.

I look Italian. There is no way around this. I have distinctly Mediterranean features. You won't see me on a cornflake box. An old college friend [whose wisdom outlived the friendship] told me: "You look good without makeup."

Fear I look severe in black [the Sicilian widow effect] because although I do wear colors I fall back on black. Would like to buy a pair of white canvas pants I saw on the Loft web site. I'll see if I can swing that. It would be my one purchase this month apart from the necklace.

Walked past the jewelry store and on impulse I backed up and went in to see if I could find something for $10 or $15 dollars. Then I told myself I hadn't treated myself to anything in awhile so why not take advantage of the layaway plan that has generous terms. So I did. Shoot me.

The food order arrived just now. I bought a container of quinoa salad with faro in balsamic dressing that I'll have for lunch tomorrow. The bulgur cooks in 12 to 15 minutes and one serving fits the RDA of whole grains. I stored the salad and the baby beets in the refrigerator. I will try some baby beets with dinner tonight: have the crab cake and bulgur and baby beets.

2012 beckons. I want to be ready for it: fit and lean. With a sinewy mind. The way I see it: in three years I will have to make the decision the woman who gave me the reading told me I'd be faced with. That is a relatively short amount of time to make this kind of change in.

The rest of the winter and continuing in the spring I will devote my energy to the gym and to eating healthful foods. Only that. In March I will enlist the services of the image consultant.

The idea that you cannot look back in anger holds sway with me. You can only move forward with hope. To quote Linda Ellerbee: "Change is one form of hope. To risk change is to believe in tomorrow."

I believe tomorrow can only be better. I won't stress over things going on today and I won't worry about future events that are yet to happen. Always I will maintain a positive spirit. It is what I must do: keep hopeful. You would not continue to read JM if I put you in a downer. So I aim to entertain as well as educate.

Now I will go sign off and cook dinner.

Enjoy your night.

Odd Girl Out

Good morning.

Or so it seems though it's after twelve.

Skimming a weekly horoscope column: I was struck by the astrologer's use of the term cultural creatives to describe a segment of the population 50million strong. I researched this culture via the links provided and taking the quiz I was able to see that I'm a cultural creative type. Those values just made sense to me and are reflected in my decision to go back to school for an MSW.

I was born in 1965-smack in the middle of the civil rights movement-and as a young woman I was deeply impressed with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s ethic of nonviolent protest and social change. I cannot tell you why I was so affected by this great humanitarian because even to me that is a mystery.

On the cultural creatives homepage it demystified this culture for me and I could understand how I unwittingly joined the club early on in my life: first when I quit my supermarket job to become a disc jockey [a labor of love] and then when I abandoned a law library career [with its potential for me to make the big bucks] and chose public service as a writer and activist.

I would not judge anyone who makes the choice to chase money and the things it can buy. No no no I wouldn't do that. [Spoken from a woman who placed on layaway a polish amber necklace.] These so-called Modernists have a different ethic from mine: I would not be afraid to pay higher taxes to fund social programs or environmental measures. I wasn't afraid that Barack Obama would turn America socialist as I felt that could only be a good thing.

So even all these years I toiled away on my activism and kept my ideas to myself I had no idea I fit into the image of a cultural creative. Their core value is to live an authentic life. When I read that the word authentic was their keyword that's when it clicked with me: that I believed in a power bigger than myself and yet I intuitively knew that self-actualization results in a better world for everyone not just you.

Working on self-improvement is the core value of a cultural creative only we do not equate self-improvement with improving ourselves financially and in terms of possessing material goods. So that is the difference between a Cultural Creative and a Modernist.

My only trophy is the action I take to better myself and the world. The action itself is its own reward. Imagine: I have talked in here about living an authentic life and have done so as a cultural creative without realizing I could be considered a cultural creative. I couldn't not be one because my very act of being open and honest in order to help others heal is the hallmark of a true cultural creative.

Listen: you don't have to protest in anti-war rallies to be part of this population. The Wikipedia entry is a good start to examine this lifestyle: The official web site is another good resource:

Exploring those web sites I could understand why I always felt like the odd girl out in my family of dyed-in-the-wool Republicans. I could see that it made sense why I left the town I lived in to move to the City. I didn't agree with the politics yet never knew exactly why those beliefs were anathema to me. I would only thrive in a world where I could be free to express myself and practice my faith in humanity without fear of reprisal.

Yes: this has been a heady blog entry. What can I take away from this? I want to meet people who are committed to a sane lifestyle because unchecked economic development and overpopulation and unethical corporate business practices are not sane.

We elected Barack Obama, didn't we? Now get out of the way and let him lead this country. It might be too much to expect our president to help us heal as a country yet certainly we would not be on our way to healing had McCain catapulted himself into the Oval Office.

It's not a white house any more. Neither is the world.

I want to tell people to get real and get with the program. 2012 is not going to be the end of the world. It's going to be the beginning of healing and transformation on both a personal and global level.

Only good can come of us.

I believe in a higher power. I also believe that this higher power works through every one of us and is in us. We can sow love instead of hate. We can choose to do what's right instead of what feels good. We can change ourselves and in so doing change the world.

Peace y'all.

p.s. - I'm uneasy with the idea that I could be part of a movement. To me, I'm just one person doing my own thing. I'll have to sift through this new knowledge and see what I can do with it to use it in a good way.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Circling to the Center

Friday news:

I revised the query letter according to the first editor's suggestions. The second editor I spoke with on the phone today was a true professional as well. The tight market can only be a good thing because it will force writers to bring their A game to the business of publishing a book.

I wear the green tee shirt with the I Love Brooklyn message under my purple wool cardigan and the ivory cotton skullcap.

What shall I wear tomorrow? It is supposed to be cold again even though there's only six weeks until spring. Maybe the red hooded sweater and the black jeans.

I listen to the Norah Jones CD Come Away With Me now. I much prefer Norah. I was listening to the rock-n-roll radio and I felt sad because it was old hat. 25 years ago I was someone who blazed a trail and after that everything else was predestined.

It happens like this: in one moment-out of the blue-you realize it's time to move on. In actuality you were moving towards that light bulb flash for years.

Will buy a Rihanna CD and the India.Arie CD with the song "Therapy" on it to broaden the vocalists I can listen to at home.

It's all old-the music and that life-it's old hat. The music doesn't entrance me any more. So be it. I live in the middle now. All these years I was circling to the center.

One thing I will tell you: while the recovery of Elyn Saks with her Yale law degree is out of reach for most people I do believe my kind of recovery is possible for most.

It comes down to this: I achieved mind freedom via the medication and that is what a person can expect if she stays faithful to her drug routine: she can recover.

So each year of your life you can break down into seasons of discovery and recovery. I wait out these six weeks until spring. I use this time wisely.

I'm keen to get fitter and so I'm making changes to my eating habits: I bought balsamic dressing to use on salads instead of salad dressings made with food dyes. I bought sliced beets to have as a snack and bulgur to cook with. Bulgur-also known as cracked wheat-is a whole grain that is high in fiber and cooks quickly. So I'll add that to my evening meals instead of just having fish or chicken and a vegetable.

Slow and gradual changes are the kinds that last and so I do not dive in I make one change each week for the next six weeks.

The table top easel arrived in the mail today. I have a canvas on the easel ready to go. I want to paint a sunflower using a ceramic dinner plate pattern as my model.

Do you see how it is? I would be content to spend my days painting and writing and listening to music.

Nothing else matters.

I'm realistic: if this is as good as it gets, so be it. So be it.

Life will go on.

When you realize this is all you have and there's no place you'd rather be:

life is divine.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Poets Wear Prada

Are you a nifty Thrifty? Or a serious Spendthrift?

Researchers now believe it's a genetic trait and has nothing to do with virtue: how much we spend. Tightwads feel spending money is painful. We might just be hard-wired a certain way when it comes to our purchasing decisions.

In a study, when a subject saw an item he wanted it activated his nucleus accumbens. This area of the brain controls anticipating or experiencing pleasure. When he saw a price tag he didn't like, it activated the insula. This area of the brain reacts to unpleasant shocks.

One researcher's most surprising finding was that tightwads outnumbered spendthrifts 3 to 2.

Thrift is indeed considered to be a genetic trait, like shyness. You can veer from your natural-born tendency in certain situations yet you will not change your orientation dramatically or permanently. The same goes for spendthrifts.

Imagine: the thrift-versus-spendthrift debate hinges on the workings of the brain and could indeed be biological.

A New York Times article claimed if a person ate less, he'd have more money to spend on healthful food so the idea of thrift works in a different way here. I rarely set foot in a supermarket and buy mostly organic foods.

A friend has my husband picked out for me yet this guy isn't in my club because he has tons of credit card debt and this being part of his natural brain functioning and its chemistry I'd be unable to walk down the aisle with him: whether it's the produce aisle or the marriage aisle.

One thing: I'm not cheap by any means. I have an aversion to shopping at K-Mart and drop things off at the Salvation Army and quickly exit the thrift shop once I'm free of the donation bags. Though I haven't spent more than $150 on a single item and that was a leather jacket I bought for myself for Christmas in 1993.

This topic fascinates me to no end. I love to read articles about retailers and their sales figures at the holidays and their tactics to lure shoppers into stores to part with our money.

Poets Wear Prada is an imprint that publishes poetry chapbooks. I like that name because it implies you don't have to starve for your art and can make a profit from it. The written word can be an economic engine too. It's not a sign that you've sold out. You can wear a poet's shirt or silk either way and not feel guilty.


On the weekend a friend takes photos of me in outfits for the look book. The latest trend is for a person to brand herself to achieve recognition from others. This intrigues me and I'm going to see how I could do that.

First I dress in all the outfits that require pink lipstick and then I save the outfits for last that require red lipstick. One photo will show me wearing my eyeglasses that I give to the image consultant. I give her 10 photos and fill out the questionnaire and then she talks to me on the phone for a half hour and follows up with an e-mail listing where I can buy the items I want.

Wanted: a pair of white pants and a suggestion for where I can find a pair of jeans I'll look good in. Also: a list of vendors for pants that aren't low-rise. Perhaps an idea for what kinds of eyeglasses I'd look good in.

A friend commented that she liked my eyeglasses and were they a new pair because I'd told her before that I thought I looked ugly in the glasses. I told her they were the same pair I've had for five years. That is an extreme stance I have about these eyeglasses and I know this. Please forgive me I seem to have bought into the Dorothy Parker adage that "men don't make passes at girls who wear glasses."

Though of course people who wear glasses are considered intelligent. One of the Asian terror regime's leaders awhile back issued an edict for his soldiers to kill people who wore glasses because it signified they were members of the intellectual class. This is scary and I would tell you who did this only I'm not sure it could've been Pol Pot during the Khmer Rouge reign in Democratic Kampuchea.

Certainly then I should be proud of my right to wear eyeglasses in America. It doesn't matter if you look ugly when you're dead.

I'm going to sign off now because that's a strong statement to end with.


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

La Vida Loca

Curious indeed:

An editor claimed my memoir was actually literary nonfiction and needed to be marketed like a novel. He said it was in the league of The Bell Jar.

This makes sense because I wanted to write a good story that hooked readers. I'm first of all a writer who knew when she was seven years old that she wanted to be a writer. I'm not someone who wrote a memoir because she had a gimmick and had come lately to the publishing table. I always knew I wanted to publish books and indeed after my two nonfiction books are published I will begin to write fiction. Which I must have some natural talent for as that's how I wrote the memoir: as a work of literary nonfiction according to the editor.

I can cross him off the list as he has not offered to edit the book proposal or query letter. He was a true professional though because he took a look at them and gave me his honest feedback for free. Tomorrow I contact the second editor who returned my e-mail and wants me to call him in the morning.

This opens a world of possibilities for marketing and selling the book beyond the recovery market. I trust no one wants to read about the symptoms and the dysfunction for 300 pages and then find out at the end that the person didn't recover. Where's the hope in that kind of story?

I certainly don't buy such books when you can check them out of the library for free. Hell-and-heartache stories are easy enough to come by: just go down to the local gin mill or attend a support group. No no no: a memoir should uplift and inspire or else I'm not going to plunk down my hard-earned cash on it.

At this point in my life I don't want my claim to fame to be that I recovered from schizophrenia and certainly not in the future when I'll have other mountains to move.

Life beckons. A life outside the four walls. I don't know what tomorrow will bring I can only rise up to meet it. With the courage and confidence to re-invent myself yet again at key points. I'm entranced with the idea of inventing a new persona or at least an improved version of myself. Thus the lyrics to "Into a Swan" are the soundtrack to these coming changes.

Having schizophrenia should be beside the point.

I will tell you now and I will tell you always to set the bar.

There's no shame in achieving things even if some people would try to bring you down.

My friend tells me to be proud I live la vida loca and not to settle for less.

Rise up. Lift yourself up.

Life beckons.

Live it.

With passion.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Jimmy Choos

The table top easel should arrive soon.

I go to Pearl Paint to buy dippers and other supplies. Would love to do a self-portrait in oils-I could work my way up to that. For now I paint colors because it is all I can do.

I'm on to the next thing in my head: the desire to get an MSW has hit with a gale force. I have to cool out now and first concentrate on publishing the memoir and the second book. I will never not be driven. So I chill out and wait five years to see what I do.

I confessed to a friend tonight that it was shameful to me to think I would have to collect a government disability check the rest of my life. I realize I was entitled to that check because I paid into the system however when I got sick I received only $423 a month from the government. When I lived in the halfway house I existed on $100 personal allowance each month after the rent and staff fees were paid with my SSD and SSI checks. Not only was I ashamed to collect a check it would've meant I lived below the poverty line.

I wouldn't judge someone else for collecting a check because that is their choice and sometimes it's out of their hands and they have no choice because they can't work and are entitled to benefits.

Well living on $100 per month I decided wasn't acceptable to me. Now here I am writing this blog and doing a hundred other things like a woman on the edge of her life always pushing herself beyond her comfort zone. I think it is actually a yoga term to talk about going to your edge.

Jean Cocteau is quoted: "Only by going too far can you possibly know how far you can go." Some people give up before they even start which is sad indeed.

Tonight I have no energy and I feel like I'm a mad woman who is possessed. Creating the timetable for making the coming changes has zapped my energy so I walked away from the notebook and shortly I will walk away from the computer.

I cannot tell you why I do all this except that I'm a fidget and can't sit still. Even today my couch is the most comfortable furniture in my apartment and I don't even sit on it. I'm reminded of the Jennifer Lopez song in which she boasts "Ten men couldn't do what I do in my YSLs."

Faith Popcorn got it right over 10 years ago when she wrote the book about the She-volution: the revolution of women as an economic power and force to be reckoned with.

I have ravaged myself tonight: I fear I won't be able to fall asleep when I go to bed.

This is how. I burst out. Into a Swan. Like the Siouxsie lyrics.

It is beyond my control. I'm mad I tell you: I'm a mad woman in my genetic code.

So I will go sign off now before I reach the point of no return.

Make mine Jimmy Choos.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Just Another Monday

Afternoon routine:

The blueberries bake in the oven as I type in here. I'll tell you how they taste shortly.

Now they're cooling. I baked them for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. I have one with a glass of milk for lunch.

It nears three o'clock. I head out to meet a friend later.

Anticipation is hell: I want the blueberry muffin to be ready.

OK: so delicious warm when the blueberries ooze juice.


From a street vendor I bought a parfait-pink wool scarf dubbed A.P.C. that I doubt was.

My colors: red green pink black purple. Alas last night at 1 a.m. I had the urge to hang up two tee shirts that were stored in one of the under bed boxes. Could not fall asleep until 3 a.m. Something on my mind:

Guy trouble-a friend who wants to be more than a friend has to understand my feelings and not go there. I'm not interested in him romantically. I'm sure other woman have experienced this universal dilemma: the guys we want we could wait on forever and the guys we don't want are all over us like cheap suits.

Saw O. and edited his resume at Sidewalk where we sat talking at a table all night. Right now I help people create their resumes and I can tell when a resume is terrible and how to fix it for the kinds of resumes I'm presented with. I couldn't whip a CEO's resume into shape however I could turn a so-so resume into a thing of beauty.

Well: I wonder whether I get a Masters in rehab counseling or an MSW. I have a way to test the water as a vocational counselor and I will do that in five or six years.

Where oh where will I store the mock-A.P.C. scarf? I wear it tomorrow tied snugly around my neck. It is a beautiful color and so warm.

I'm going to sign off for the night as I feel this blog entry has skirted details though women the world over have these concerns I'm sure.

Enjoy the night.