I’m Still Here


I’m Still Here…………

http://youtu.be/BbhEo-4_ETc

Mable Elizabeth Palmer
Mable Elizabeth Palmer

Today I am 55 years old.  It is a Blessing to be this age.  I have depression, anxiety and panic attacks. I’m also a domestic violence and sexual abuse survivor.  I’m the person sitting next to you on the bus, subway, at work and in church. No I don’t want pity just acceptance. Recently I had a conversation on my Facebook page regarding mental illness. It was good sharing with my FB buddy who works in the mental illness field about the obstacles and hurdles faced not only by the mentally ill but their families.  The government just seems to put more roadblocks in our way so we wind up taking many detours towards a place called Wellness.   My mother Mable Elizabeth Palmer lived most of adult life as a functioning schizophrenic. There is a serious lack of support services for the mentally ill thus we read of all these horror stories in the newspapers but for the most part many mentally ill folks carry on with their daily lives.  Despite all that I’ve been through as a child and again as an adult I’m happy to be alive.

Sometimes when I tell my story people who have these “happy lives” meaning a satisfying long term marriage, house in New Burbia, kids, grand-kids, successful careers feel sorry for me, pity or think I’m a walking tragedy living a substandard life. Not true!  I live in full life in spite of my numerous desert and valley experiences.  Perhaps an even fuller more substantive life than those who eat from silver platters.  Mine is not a half-life of only the sunny side of the street but a full life that includes the alleys, back-roads, ghettos, and dimly lit streets populated with voices yearning to be head.  I like it that way.

Nothing to be sorry about. Despite all the things my parents went through, especially my Mom’s battles with her demons, she was also an alcoholic, overall I had a good childhood. We have a choice to dwell on the sad past or the fond happy times of the past. I think about the good things.  The fun stuff our family did when I was growing up. Of course now being an adult I have a different perspective. I was not so accepting myself when I was younger but age, maturity, experience and time changed my viewpoints.

It’s the government and people’s approach to mental illness that needs to be healed. It should not be a stigma. I readily admit to my struggles with depression, anxiety and panic attacks. That’s my life. It is not a tragedy.The tragedy is other peoples reactions and perceptions of mental illness. My Mom was a good wife and mother. I served my country in the Army, earned my BA in English, held down jobs all my life, went to church, now a full participant in Shinnyo-en Buddhism etc… It would be good if people with mental illness were more accepted. If there was more help for those of us suffering. If people would stop trying to impose their expectations on me of what happiness means. Everybody has a past. Everyone has a story. Life goes on. I’m just happy to be alive.  Pitiful prayers, slapping oil on my head, telling me the latest New Age positive thinking strategy 12 Steps to Happiness, and sad sack face looks going tsk, tsk, tsk are an insult to my intelligence as a human being.  It is what it is. Raw, exposed and uncut.

I have health insurance so I do have the option of returning to those mind-numbing anti-depressant drugs I took after my mother’s death but I choose not too.  I choose the full gamut and range of my emotions and feelings as opposed to being a drug induced zombie.  During the high points in life I love my odd slightly off center sense of humor. The times when I’m at my lowest are the times when I’m most creative.  I’m a better writer, a better photographer because I know what it is like to live life in the margins, the outskirts of society, to be a misfit and an outcast.  I’m drawn to people living alternative lives.  That’s why I love Street Photography.  I don’t want what’s staged, posed or set-up. I want real. The nitty gritty. The down and dirty. The quirky and unusual.  If life was meant to be perfect happiness or total sadness the books of Job and the Song of Solomon would not be in the Holy Bible.

What would the world look like if gave a helping hand to the Mentally Ill by supporting organizations like NAMI, prosecuting men who abuse their wives and girlfriends and pulling the collars off ministers who are rapists.  What if we weren’t treated like modern day lepers?  Instead of further victimizing people living with mental illness write to your Congresspersons and Senators to create laws that will enable us to receive the treatment and support systems we so desperately need.

No I don’t need to be “healed” but our society does.

Me in 1961
1961- A Very Good Year

I’ll Cry Tomorrow


The Struggle of the Two Natures in Man George Grey Barnard (American, Bellefonte, Pennsylvania 1863–1938 New York)
The Struggle of the Two Natures in Man
George Grey Barnard (American, Bellefonte, Pennsylvania 1863–1938 New York)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Struggle of the Two Natures in Man

George Grey Barnard (American, Bellefonte, Pennsylvania 1863–1938 New York)

We all face this struggle of good and evil within ourselves whether we acknowledge it or not. Refusal does not mean it ceases to exist rather it hides like a caged angry animal ready to leap out and cause destruction at the least provocation.  The dual natures is an ever present battleground existing within our various selves.  We are in one body a mixture of the sacred and the profane. We seek sanctuary from the island of lost souls populated but shades, ghosts of formerly flesh, blood and bone humans.  We bear the stigmata and battle scars of imploding internal battlefields.  Redemption and refuge will only be found by acknowledging our weakest points, applying salve and seeking greener pathways. Lest we fall into the rabbit hole. Drowning in quicksands of pride and stubbornness.  Our decisions. Our choices.  Help is available if we clasp the outstretched hand.

As the Apostle Paul states in “Romans 7:15-20

New International Version (NIV)

15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[a] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.”

 

I’ll Cry Tomorrow

 

Self-Trust, Inner Guide, the Knowing Voice Within, Strong Internal Core, Ignoring the Experts; These appear to be the latest Buzzwords in the ever present Self-Help craze that has been going on since the 1970s.

Well I beg to differ.  I know I’m about to stir up a Hornet’s Nest but that’s what writers do, create controversy, ignite debate and hopefully make readers think.  Much to the consternation of the New Age Gurus yes there are wrong choices and bad decisions.

I’ve learned to run major  decisions by  trusted friends and professionals.  Got tired of making bad decisions which  backfired on me.  You need a few good friends as sounding boards because most of us cannot be objective regarding our problems, thus wrong choices.  You need someone or several somebodies to hold you accountable, slap you upside the head and say, “Get with the Program before you Kill Yourself!!”

Friends, ministers, pastors, some co-workers and close family can give objective advice.  Sometimes we are way too caught up in our emotions to make correct  or wise choices.  That guy may be so in love with yet who is violent and abusive is the wrong man.  Time to  take off the Romantic Blinders and see him as others view him. A violent, abusive, evil tempered jerk.  Poor financial choices.  Buying a home, car or some other big ticket item could be a very bad choice if you don’t have enough income to cover the outgo.

People have lost homes, jobs, their families and even their lives behind bad choices.  The lesson is learned too late for correction.  It’s like being a little bit pregnant.  No such thing.  As humans we are influenced by our fickle emotions, family backgrounds, how we were raised, and society’s expectations.  We can’t see the forest for the trees.

For years I was a prescription drug addict.  Though the doctors who liberally dispersed the pills are somewhat to blame the lion’s share of the blame is on me because I made the choice  to  keep taking them nearly to the point of death.  Now that I’m in my mid-50s  and living a cleaner life, yes my “Internal Core” has improved but it is still not as strong as it should be.  Also I still must live with the consequences of  previous dumb stupid decisions.   Yes I’ve lived through being evicted from my apartment in Queens, been in and out of various   hospital emergency  rooms, I have a terrible credit rating, plus certain health issues that I’ll be battling the rest of my life.  My Inner Guide was a damn fool and an idiot.  No I should have gotten professional help.  I put my trust in people who I thought loved me and who I assumed would help me.  I made choices out of fear and poor health and an addled mind.  Finally after seven years of struggle I’m beginning to see daylight.  I know my limitations.

I also know that at any point I could backslide but I believe I’ve finally reached the point where I no longer want to live in the Valley.  I want a Mountaintop experience.   Trust me when I say this wisdom  and insight I now possess has only come with fighting depression, fear, panic attacks, and anxieties.  Once you hit bottom and you’re tired of living there you’ll find a way to go up.  I learned to stop make excuses for my bad behavior, stand up for my rights as a middle-aged Black Woman living in a racist, sexist, ageist society, stopped dating men who don’t respect me, my dreams or goals and who really mean me no good, junked all the pills except for my high blood pressure medication, eat right, exercise and renew my faith.  I’m now an active member of the New York Shinnyo-en Buddhist community.  Through Buddhism I’ve become a stronger Christian.  Truly I’ve begun to understand what it means to work out your Soul’s Salvation.  The means of escape you seek is only a delusion. Life is meant to be faced head on.  This life is only yours to live.  No one can live it for you.  Now I’m on a better pathway because I have a clearer more focused mind.  I still have some setbacks but my life has improved 95% in the last two years.   

Moving Forward.

Please check out the link for a Bio on the actress Susan Hayward star of the movie I’ll Cry Tomorrow.  Susan Hayward a BadAss Brooklyn Beauty who even with her cracks, fissures and faults didn’t take shit from anybody.  Susan Hayward’s story resonates with me.  We are both Fiery, Hotheaded Strong Willed Redheads.   Hers was natural.  Mine is from a bottle.  I Love actresses from the 30s, 40s, and 50s because they overcame so much and were some of the best actresses ever to grace the stage and films.  Exotic Beauty, Fame and fortune do not always bring happiness, sometimes just a new set of demons to conquer.  Ms. Hayward’s pain made her a better actress because she approached each role from her gut.  My pain has made me a better writer.  Like her there were times when I did not want to live.  I wanted to leave this earth because the pain was too great to bear, yet God sent someone my way to save me and make me realize the foolishness of my actions.

I suffer no fools and I pull no punches.  Shipwrecked. Lost.  Perhaps. But learning to rely on G.P.S. ~ God’s Positioning System. Shattered Portraits, we picked up the shards, put them in the kiln  to create an entire new piece of pottery changed but not consumed by fire.

Like her I struggled with substance abuse.  Mine was prescription meds, hers alcohol.  Like her I’ve had many failed romances.  But through it all we Strong No Nonsense Women prevail, persevere and triumph over defeat.    As the title of Susan Hayward’s movie states, “I’ll Cry Tomorrow.”

Ready for my Second Act.

 

  http://youtu.be/jh_Q9BOVUyo

 

Being In Total Control of Herself {B.I.T.C.H.}


Bad Ass Bitch Does Overtime ~ B.I.T.C.H. ~ Being in Total Control of Herself

Well those lazy hazy days of Summer have nearly come to an end and full swing overtime is in the house. It’s full speed ahead at the Gotham Art Gallery. Crazy hour’s Double shifts are back. Made it home before 2am despite the fact that the L Train tried to thwart my efforts. Made everyone get off to catch a Shuttle bus to the rest of the L Train line. Oh Joy the normal workings “Chaos of the MTA workings” driving Brooklynites crazy!!

Honey the cheese done slid off your cracker!

 

Asshole Repellent
Asshole Repellent

Kraftwerk – Trans Europe express

http://youtu.be/qBGNlTPgQII

Of course this being Brooklyn the wackos, drunks, hoes, druggies and mental cases were out in force. Brooklyn a borough inhabited by residents escaped from Flip Mode Squad and Insane Clown Posse.

I really thought two big psycho heifers were gonna throw down on the platform or in the Shuttle bus. I swear they take courses in Creative Cursing 101 because they called the MTA and their fellow riders, everything but a child of God. The kids riding the bus with their parents will have an entire new vocabulary in time for the start of school Sept. 9th.

Fully expected Old Skool dwarf rapper Bushwick Bill to make an appearance along with a strange new group called the Flatbush Zombies. I kid you not! Brooklyn, never a dull moment day or night!

MC Dee Righteous bids you a fond Good Night!

Baby Boy

Baby Boy Got $200 sneakers as a reward for cussing the teachers and failing in school. Teacher or principals fault. Grades all F but it ain’t me you fucked up can’t you see! School’s for Fools. Some place I don’t want to be.

Baby Boy he never wrong. They got it all mixed up seeing me strong. Y’all know I’m the King of my crew. God’s Gift to everything.

But in the back of your head all you can see is yo’ no count Daddy, welfare system and crackhead Momma staring back in the mirror saying you gonna be like me.

Hanging out in the upper class nabe with my hoodrat crew. See a few things I wanna take. Wait a minute! What’s that I hear! A siren in back of me. Starting to fear. Next thing I’m on Lock down in Juvie Hall. Where my crew at now when as I’m taking this fall.

 

Baby boy lying in a ditch. Off to Rikers to be somebody’s Bitch.

Baby Boy. You Done. You Done.

 

 

50 Ways to Leave Your Lover and Enjoy the ID Channel


Dumb Shit that Men Over 50 have said to me on dates or Why I Stop Dating Men and Started Dating the ID Channel.

50 Ways to Leave Your Lover

http://www.aarp.org/home-family/dating/info-03-2013/6-reasons-to-date-women-your-own-age.2.html

I want a woman who’s young and firm.

How you want a young woman who’s fit and trim when you resemble the Pillsbury Doughboy? And even if you have kept up your body with exercise, what happened to that Big 70s Afro you had back in the day? Hmmm…. I believe a little thing called balding has caught up with you. Looks like a job for Minoxidal. Oh yes can you do something about the nose and ear hair while you’re at it? Seems like the hair on your head has migrated to your olfactory and auditory systems. By the way did you notice you face has gotten a little craggy around the edges. I dare say most 20 & 30 somethings would find those things repulsive.

As for these Super-Size females in their 20s who are between 5 feet 1 and 5 ft 5 inches who weigh 200+ lbs at age 25 I daresay I’m more fit than they. Plus size is only cute until you hit 40 and find yourself weighed down by diabetes and on a respirator. Mickey D’s is a way of life for many 20 somethings who have never seen the inside of a kitchen except to step to the refrigerator and over to the micro-wave.

More Kids

Moron. You could barely afford the 3 or 4 crumb snatchers and rug rats you had during the 80s, why in the hell would you want more kids? You can’t even go up a flight of steps without breathing hard much less try to chase a toddler through the house. Heck if you really want to hear the pitter-patter of little feet I’m sure that those kids you had during the 1970s and 1980s will oblige you with grandchildren. At least you can give those little monsters back when you get tired of them.

Strutting down the street with a woman young enough to be your daughter or grand-daughter might seem good for a while until the young bimbo gets tired of your Geritol using, Viagra needy ass and moves onto men her own age who can actually satisfy her and will live longer.  In the evening before what you think will be a wild night of passionate love-making, seeing you take out your dentures to soak them in Polident will put the kibosh on any romantic endeavors.

And By the Way bubble head heifer will probably use Texting, Twitter or Facebook to break up with you. However as my beloved parents used to say, “There’s No Fool like an Old Fool.”

Conversations with the young hussy will only result in long drawn out explanations.  If your Reality Show Girlfriend does not remember or has not actually experienced the following, you’re in trouble.

Transistor Radios — portable and cool

Earth Shoes

S&H Green Stamps — Too much licking and sticking

Drive-In Movies — Dr. Zhivago

Ed Sullivan — I only really recall the little mouse Topo Gigo

Mitch Miller — Everyone in my neighborhood watched just to see Leslie Uggams.

Lawrence Welk – hated him, but my parents loved him so I had to watch

Records: 78s, 33 1/3rds, 45s

RCA Magnavox TV with the tubes

Ralph Kiner and Lindsey Nelson

Rheingold Beer

Schaffer Beer

Wattstax

The Automat

Stick with me Mature Man we can Walk Down Memory Lane together with our Bifocals and I’ll laugh at your corny Laugh-In jokes.

 

 

Holmesian Psychology Behind the Rabbit Hole


Holmesian Psychology behind the Rabbit Hole

Mental Orgasms

Matrix – The Red pill/Blue pill

http://youtu.be/te6qG4yn-Ps

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arcJksDgCOU&feature=colike

Addiction – some habit usually unhealthy that takes over your life, an activity over which you have no control.  For those lost in the throes of prescription addiction there is no escape from the horrors of the mind except via medications freely doled out by more than willing physicians and pharmacists. Drug induced hallucinations for those possessed by insecurities, depression, psychosis and various types of mental illness open previously closed doors in the mind.  The addict seeking to escape earthly pain often unwisely even unknowingly opens portals to new cerebral dimensions, portals that eventually lead to the gateway to Hades.

I find myself walking through Bedlam calmly and quietly observing the poor wretches imprisoned within the only separation of safety between me and they glass with reinforced steel bars.  Until I come to a long hallway on either side a series of rooms each secured with double bolt thick steel doors the only openings a slot in which to slide a plastic meal tray and a small window used by roaming psychotherapists who occasionally looked in upon the inmates deciding which mental miracle drug to dispense to these unsuspecting unfortunates.  Compelled to stop in front of one particular door I peer through the small grimy window only to be shocked yet not too surprised to find my gaze met by my doppelganger.  There I stand frozen to the spot my extremities taking root and branching out seeking crevices with which to penetrate the unyielding door that separates me from myself.

Jesus explained the dilemma of mind altering drugs the best in Luke 11:24-26

New International Version (NIV)

   24 “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ 25 When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. 26 Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first.”

Sherlock Holmes is one of the most celebrated fictional drug addicts known to most Americans. As played by the late Jeremy Brett, Brett’s Holmes captures the true brilliance of a man possessed by a troubled mind. He is the quintessential eccentric elitist, misanthrope and misogynist. In between cases Holmes uses cocaine to escape from the commonplaces of existence. Subject to long bouts of depression his drugs of choice morphine and cocaine, hence the 7% solution in his reasoning clarified and stimulated the mind. Often this is the case with talented, gifted genius level individuals. They abhor boredom and stagnation; craving constant mental exultation whether through industry, work, artistic, musical or literary projects. When the normal stimulants’ of challenging work are unavailable the well respected and recognized addict resorts to any number of remedies to recreate and/or achieve the same high gotten from recreational pursuits.

Holmes is the atypical functional drug addict. This is not to glorify or elevate prescription drug use above the use of common street drugs; the results from both are about the same. Both types of addicts experience dependence, cravings, reliance, and slavery to substances that destroy mind, body and spirit, eventually leading to death.

Like many possessed of a tortured brilliance only known by members of the “Talented Tenth” Holmes is an insecure elitist. The luster and sparkle of genius seeks to be delivered from the mundane, the trivial and from the insecurities that threaten to destroy a superior intellect.  The trick is to elevate and expand the thought processes and at the same time hoping to eliminate present daily realities of pain and suffering.

Drug addiction is a false cure, a fake hope, phony sanctuary, ever failing to grant rest or repose to its seekers. If the Sherlock Holmes character was updated to these modern times his drug of choice might be Ambien the sleep aid that bridges the gap between conscious and subconscious mind.

Ambien transports ones soul to that place between wakefulness and sleep. It appears to enhance ones innate natural creative abilities.  Users of cocaine and speed often make the same claims. These drugs both legal and illegal offer a false escape from the mundane.  Substance abusers even leave the natural human sexual relationships in order to experience the multiple mental orgasms they cannot achieve through physical sex with a partner. Reality becomes the bad dream. The user finds her/himself caught up in an almost inescapable quagmire.

In one episode Holmes states that, “There’s no escape from the terrors of the mind.”  Many times I secretly wished that life was like Etch A Sketch, that famously popular toy we children of the 60s played with for hours on end. If only life were like that little plastic Neanderthal laptop where with a few vigorous shakes you once again had a clean slate and the ability to start over.

It was a secret desire born out of stress, depression, and hard times to return to a time of innocence and being care free.  However I realized that there was no turning back the clock.  I had to face my inner demons.  I had to ask myself did I want to live the rest of my life in the Twilight Zone when everyone around me constantly telling me I have a gift, a gift that needs to be shared with the world. Also what about my family? What about my beloved autistic brother?  Where would he be if I suddenly was not on the planet anymore?  In addition how could I ignore the calling I knew God had on my life?  The answer is I couldn’t.  Never at any time did God give up on me.  That in and of itself amazed me.  God kept sending people my way to set me back on the path of life.  Even when I wanted to let go of this earthly life and move onto another plane, God said not yet.  I’m not ready for you yet.  You have more work to do on this earth.

No God did not immediately take away all the problems and challenges I’ve been experiencing but He did reveal to me better ways to cope.  Through my gift of writing He has opened doors for me that never would have opened had I allowed myself to sink into the substance abuse quicksand.  Of course there will continue to be bumps and potholes along the roadway but isn’t life somewhat like an obstacle course where the prize for those of us who esteem intellect the ability to successfully negotiate those obstructions by being quick thinkers and thrill in the victory of being an Overcomer?  Enjoy the Treasure Hunt!  Enjoy the excitement of the chase while in your right mind because you’ve been given everything that pertains to life and godliness and you are Empowered to Succeed!