Sunday, April 25, 2010

Wear Your Love Like Heaven

I'm 45 now.

I placed a photo on the clip frame on my desk. It's a silver ball base with a wire clip that rises up from the ball to clip a photo on. I bought it in a museum gift shop. In the photo I wear my true navy floral raincoat and a friend wears a black raincoat with white dashes. We look like twins.

It will take at least a week to hear back the review of the manuscript.

I've been researching ways to promote the memoir in advance of its publication via social media tools like Twitter and Facebook. I will shortly have a Facebook fan page.

A wise woman guide told us that the key to using such accounts is transparency. That is when I realized I could no longer hide the truth of my diagnosis any more than I could cut off my right arm. Certainly I could be honest and open about this in the same way Elyn Saks is and deal with any repercussions down the road when I consider the kind of work I want to do.

The litmus test is that living an authentic life and speaking in my own voice is something I do for the greater good. You also cannot live by the what's in it for me ethic in the online age. The goal is to provide content for others to make their lives easier or help them with their own goals. Only then will they be able to help you.

This blog entry I dedicate to all the ladies out there who wonder if they should cross that line in the sand. I know why I do this: the cost of untreated mental illness is a great shame to society and is measured not only in billions of dollars but in millions of wasted lives. That is the greater sadness to me and why I do what I do.

You must compete against yourself and no one else.

I want to be a fireball igniting other people's dreams.

Do you think I have a big ego in this regard?

Well: you had to peel the other patients off the wall to get them to come out into the courtyard. A wallpaper life benefits no one. I coveted the blue sky freedom.

OK: I'm Sicilian and Calabrese so I'm a double teste dura-a real hard head. I'm stubborn: I'm convinced that if something worked for me it could work for other people. So I seek to enlighten people as much as inspire them. My life is the living laboratory in which to test what works and what doesn't. When I see I've had success with something I'm willing to use my experiences as material for SharePosts and magazine articles.

There. That doesn't seem so egotistical now does it? It seems downright altruistic. I want to be part of the solution not part of the problem of the stigma in the world. To show that it's cool to achieve things. To make living with SZ almost hip. That is how I submit I can best fight the stigma. I told a roving reporter that the best way to fight stigma is "To be brave and be yourself."

If memory serves a slogan from the sixties was: wear your love like heaven. Am I imagining that? The love you take is equal to the love you make. You must give the world the best you have. I also believe that having SZ hopefully makes a person more compassionate. I recognize there's a double standard: at all times I have to appear trustworthy because of the diagnosis and I cannot slip. The burden of the proof of my humanity is on me every day. That being so my ethic is a humanitarian one.

So. You see. It has nothing to do with ego.

I decided long ago [after years of grappling with the diagnosis] that rather than resent what happened to me I would turn things around and truly make it hip.

How now.

Exactly.

2 comments:

Wanderer62 said...

Happy belated birthday Chris! My 48th birthday is coming up on Friday. I'm going to go off my diet for a couple of days and get some pizza and wings, a real treat because I rarely eat them and I love them.

As you know, I like and admire your positive, stubborn attitude. You have helped to inspire me along the way and I appreciate you.

By the way, I've just begun an online friendship with a woman named Karen Sorensen who I'm also beginning to greatly appreciate. Maybe you know of her. She's an artist and a writer who also suffers from schizoaffective disorder. If you get the chance, check out her blog; it's listed under my blog list and it's called Dignify Me. I'm asking you to check her out because she writes really well about her daily life and her illness and she has not been getting any comments except from me, which I think is a shame.

My best to you always,

Kate : )

Wanderer62 said...

Happy belated birthday Chris! My 48th birthday is coming up on Friday. I'm going to go off my diet for a couple of days and get some pizza and wings, a real treat because I rarely eat them and I love them.

As you know, I like and admire your positive, stubborn attitude. You have helped to inspire me along the way and I appreciate you.

By the way, I've just begun an online friendship with a woman named Karen Sorensen who I'm also beginning to greatly appreciate. Maybe you know of her. She's an artist and a writer who also suffers from schizoaffective disorder. If you get the chance, check out her blog; it's listed under my blog list and it's called Dignify Me. I'm asking you to check her out because she writes really well about her daily life and her illness and she has not been getting any comments except from me, which I think is a shame.

My best to you always,

Kate : )