Graduation Day

The change started slowly, one scale at a time. The gleaming curves of the small silver scales had the same consistency as her fingernails. Their appearance was accompanied by itching and burning, and a strong fishy smell. For the high school senior, self conscious Lena, it was a special kind of hell. A swimmer since her toddler years, now she spent nearly every waking hour in the pool or river. The scales were scary, but kind of cool too. So far, she’d been able to hide them under old t-shirts, but lately she’d taken to wearing long tight skirts as well – they made her feel better. Her legs had begun to ache unbearably  – “just a growth spurt!” her mother cheerfully told her, but she couldn’t help but worry.

Late the next May, when the weather was warming up and everything was bursting into bloom, she woke up in the middle of the night. Cotton sheets soaked in sweat, entire body seized with pain. She convulsively reached for a cramping leg, and shuddered in shock at the feel of her own scale-covered limb. The remnants of her dream remained in her head – visions of deserts, heat, dry, and without even thinking about it she bolted out of bed, yanked open the door, and ran down the hall, down the stairs, and out the frontdoor. Her parents, jolted awake, sat up in alarm at the sound of running footsteps and a slamming front door. Larry looked out the window to see his young daughter running down the street in her white nightgown. He shook his head, certain he was still asleep, because Lena seemed to be – gleaming in the moonlight?

The river called, and Lena didn’t feel the rocks, pavement, grass, and finally sand underneath her feet as she ran. The pain was too great in her legs, and she could only focus on imagining what a relief it was going to be to get in the water. By the time she made it to the nearest dock a half mile away, she was completely winded, her parents were calling the police, and the entire neighborhood heard her screams – although no one was exactly sure if they were victorious or painful. When it stopped, people flooded the streets of the tiny town, stopping in shock at the sight under the lights of the beach. Lena had been born again, flesh and bone bonding, changing, and turning into a long tail. Scales of blue and silver reflected the sparkle on her skin, and her long silver hair blew gently in the breeze off the lake. She was clearly enjoying the spectacle she made, sitting in the shallow water, a real life mermaid.

Mayor Hadley was the first to realize the possibilities, and he let out a whoop of joy and started clapping. After a hesitant pause, everyone joined in and crowded forward to marvel and exclaim – was it science, magic, and where were her parents? Larry and Grace burst through the crowd and didn’t even stop in their headlong plunge into the water to embrace the new, startlingly fishy form of their child.


That was fun; I had that story idea stuck in my head for a while. Not sure about the ending though.

Into The Ocean – Blue October

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The Carolinas

One more week before I get on a plane and go somewhere new, somewhere with stories I’ve never heard but have read a lot about. I used the $500 I had in savings (don’t laugh, that’s more than I’ve ever kept, it’s expensive AF to battle for mental health for so many years).

The decision to go was easy when I realized I was so depressed that I couldn’t see much of a future. Those are the times when I have to hit the reset button in a big way. Sometimes that means an infusion of healthy food, sleep, mountain biking, and/or social connection, or whatever I can manage. Other times it’s something like skydiving, travel, or changing jobs. I’m sometimes sad that I don’t have the daily terrors of roofing (ie the effing ladders from hell, and my cursed fear of heights/vertigo) to reset my brain chemicals, so I have to use other methods.

I work hard to have good habits, pick healthy things, but I understand very well the urge to go with whatever addiction gives you that rush that makes your brain feel better. How many people just made bad choices in their quest to self medicate their mental state?

I’ve certainly racked up some terrible choices, and I’ve had professional “help” all along the way. Sometimes I imagine it like “How would I phrase this in the form of a Catholic confession?” Bless me father, for I have sinned. It’s been 7 years since my second suicide attempt and I haven’t been to confession since I stopped seeing my last therapist. I don’t want to shock you with all the other stuff: Can I say a few prayers and let the past go?

What the hell, maybe some travel will help. I already feel better after camping with friends, perhaps this will give me another, much needed boost.

I’m Not Over – Carolina Liar

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Carrying a torch

What a night; camping with some of my old roofing buddies – damn, I love those guys. I went with a female friend – she and I roofed together and she’s pretty damn fearless and awesome for a whole bunch of reasons. It was balm for my soul to be invited to hang out with her and to go camping with a huge group of guys – with their kids running around and learning to drive out in the fields, and us just throwing discs and hanging out around the campfire with beers and intensely delicious BBQ. Roofers though – of course they light their flammables/campfires with a giant propane torch. Classic.

My one buddy took me on a motorcycle ride and that was exactly what I needed. Add that to some time at a good river swimming hole in the sunshine, and then a quick stop on the way home at the dude’s for a quickie, and that was a nearly perfect weekend. It certainly helped me feel a LOT better.

Control – Broken Bells
Fight Fire With Fire – Kansas

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The searing light of reality

One of the worst things is waking up and the first thing you think is “Holy fuck, what did I do???” Whether it’s opening your eyes to see an ICU sign and equipment everywhere, or the cold light of sobriety giving everything the searing dose of reality. So it went this morning. I should have realized how deeply it was affecting me – the suicide of yet another beloved celebrity artist. Reading about that all day yesterday hit me all the way down to the bone, but I’m so used to acting like I’m fine, hoping that my emotions and brain chemicals catch up.

Realistically I know that I’m only ever a few steps away from that dark place of grief and pain, where despair and isolation are like quicksand. It hasn’t really been that long since I came back from the worst example of getting sucked down in it. Then I went out last night, had a few drinks and was surrounded by hardcore sexual activity, and boom, I cycled straight into full manic hypersexuality. It’s not ok, even though it sometimes seems fun as hell in the moment to go out of your mind in that phase. Today I crashed hard and want to crawl in a corner and die. Funny how not much alcohol when I’m vulnerable, and shit gets completely off the hook. I’m incapable of saying no at those times, my brain stops working normally, and waking up the next day is horrific. I didn’t even drink that much – three drinks over several hours but oh my god. I can’t even handle how crazy and irresponsible I acted last night. FML

Down In It – NIN

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Mother nature throwing down the gauntlet

Apologies to my readers for the swamp of depression instead of the auto porn or travel writing that I prefer to post. Shit gets messy sometimes. I write about my battles with PTSD, depression, and anxiety because it helps me process things, and  the act of formulating it into words is vastly therapeutic. I also dream of moments when someone who doesn’t understand these things, reads a post here and there and suddenly has an epiphany and a bit of sympathy for those who walk with these issues. We all got issues – mine aren’t unusual at all, but they are stigmatized still and intensely isolating.

This never ending panic attack feels like maybe it’s also allergies and some sort of vitamin deficiency. I can’t tell, nor do I want to be one of those annoying types who spends all their time obsessing on diets, vitamins, whatever. However, I should stop taking the pollen count as a personal challenge. I biked a huge 10 mile loop yesterday, and normally exercise helps, but breathing was rough even with my inhaler. So hard to tell sometimes if it’s a panic attack or a breathing issue – which comes first?



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ghost writer

Listening to the fire trucks and watching the fireworks from the deck, wishing I could make things work out better. Knowing already what I want to do, have to do, will come back as a ghost  if I don’t do in this lifetime –  is write and illustrate my own book. FFS, I need to get my ass in gear. I always have a bunch of stories in my head, and what would really be perfect is if I could get past my fear and write them down. Sadness is currently extra distracting me, and an undercurrent of despair keeps sucking me down.

I’ve been biking, and eating well, and focusing on doing all the things that make me feel better. No distractions are working, and I finally have to admit that I feel heart and soul crushed like it will never get better. My life feels so empty and painful, and it’s not helping to see fire trucks everywhere – another reminder of disastrous dating, and old wounds, and emotionally unavailable men who only offer sex – even though they try to wrap it up differently.

Thanks to that last dude, I discovered that I need to explore my sub side a bit – too bad men scare the living shit out of me, and that damn fireman was the only dude that I’ve ever met that I trusted to tie me up and explore that side. He was also the only guy I’ve ever brought to this house – which I regret, as I now have that energy haunting me here. Not that it matters, as he seems to be haunting me everywhere. I’m glad he doesn’t know.

Ghost Town – Cheap Trick



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The plan

I accidentally ended up chatting with the director of the ER when I went to scope out a potential job.  It looks fascinating but potentially high stress but wowwwwww so cool, and very different from the ER where I used to work. It felt like home though, maybe because if there’s anything I think I understand, it’s humans in crisis… and the intense organization and teamwork it takes to get them urgent health care. Being able to help in some way always makes me feel better. If nothing else, it takes my mind off of my own issues and forces me to see other perspectives, which is very helpful.

Given the number of cases that I see passing through the ER every day, particularly in the psych area – I guess I’m not the only one dealing with some emotional challenges at the moment. Such high energy out there, lots of people on hair trigger alerts. With the amounts of stress going on all over our country and in hot spots all over the planet – and everyone is getting connected enough to see these things – it’s no wonder people are losing their shit. I want to take more Emotional First Aid and Situational De-escalation classes, because you never know what’s going to happen out there. Wishing and hoping don’t help when physical or verbal action is needed.

At least the ER job would be paying. I finally decided to stop volunteering with the local emergency teams. I don’t have the time or money or heart to do it right now, nor do I feel at all able to see any firefighter – as much as I appreciate them and loved training with them. Maybe I’ll change my mind later, but the humiliation of having a panic attack and not being able to attend an event because of my reaction to the one firefighter – yeah that felt like it set me back years. Better to change things up and do other stuff for the time being.

At least trying to be of service and help others will help me feel a bit better. Super sad at the moment though. When it’s high summer, stunningly beautiful out, everything is fine… and I feel agonizingly crushed with depression like my beloved just died, it’s even harder to talk about it because people understand it even less. I feel so awful that I even made a plan, and it hurts my soul to be back to thinking that way again. Dammit. I want to work in the ER, not be hauled off to another one. Medical bills already sent me into bankruptcy once when I finally crawled out of the wreckage of that last crash. Ambulance rides, ER, ICU – that was expensive in so many painful ways.

It Hurt So Bad – Susan Tedeschi
Sometimes It Hurts – Stabbing Westward



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I can’t wait until I’m over the whole fireman thing. It was a good reminder of why I don’t date, because I always hope it will be how I meet my friends; we meet, click, and fall effortlessly into relationships that last for years and years. Men are different though; there’s no honor or loyalty left in them when it comes to dating.  This experience was extra searing and painful enough to leave a permanent mark and I’m trying to see the positive sides of it, but it’s a struggle at the moment.


Smoke Rings In The Dark – Gary Allen
Woman, Woman – AWOLNATION
You Wreck Me – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

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The right fabric

Costumes can be incredibly fun; they allow you to experiment, expand, see from a different perspective a little bit. Every once in a while I get an inspiration to create one for an event, and I generally get carried away with it. It’s fun to create a vision that’s never been done exactly that way before. I don’t think it’s good to always want to wear costumes or disguises – that speaks to a whole other kind of issue. But it’s really fun to get decked out here and there and see what fun I can stir up.

I stayed up late last night and finished my bike ride costume. It didn’t come out at all like I expected, but I love it anyway. Even though I made up my own pattern, used fabrics inappropriately (that’s supposed to be bridal fabric, not swimsuit, lmfao), and I’m an impatient seamstress, it’s exactly like I wanted. I was even going to bail out on the party, but now I’ve got other people on board so I guess I really am going to wear that out in public. Ohhhhhh. I’m thinking I might need whiskey to deal with that level of social anxiety – holy $%#&.

My friend and I went for happy hour and a walk downtown tonight, strolling and giggling in the sunshine. I love how we can talk about anything, and he’s actually a friend, unlike the “be my friends with benefits” fireman who only romanced and seduced so he could get laid – which, whatever, you do you, but it sucked anyway. None of us need someone who isn’t going to invest, who will only wear the costume, the social disguise.

Clothes help us disguise things and blend into whatever tribe we want to belong to, but there are so many other ways to put on a mask and try to hide what we don’t want others to see. I want to strip that shit down, get raw and honest, then wrap the vulnerable soul core up and cherish it. That seems like a better basis of connection and human interaction. Yup, still single, lmao, but I have some wonderful friends that I understand and connect to no matter what costume we wear. Or in this case – what we barely wear.

Forever May Not Be Long Enough – Live


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I love working in a hospital, even though my job is intense sometimes. It’s exciting being right in the middle of the action, and being part of a team that’s trying to do good things. That is helpful when I come home exhausted and super sad, in urgent need of physical activity and cerebral distractions to wash away the day. After finally getting home tonight, just dropping into a downward dog yoga pose was enough to finally let go and start crying.

Sometimes I really, really need regular release, some way to unlock what is blocked. Usually exercise and/or sex or art are super effective, which means these days it’s mostly biking. I think I wouldn’t be able to stop crying for a while if someone even hugged me right now, and sex would be way too intense – why waste that energy on the arrogant and emotionally detached dudes I keep picking? And neither words nor images are coming easily when I sit down to create. I have so many projects that I’m passionate about and in the middle of … and all I want to do is sleep. I see the waves of depression flowing in and I’m fighting them hard. Oh lord though, it’s such hard work. Having had mono for a couple of months as a kid, I would compare depression to that. It sucks all your energy, leaves you wrung out and exhausted. Above and beyond anything else, it’s frustrating to be battling my own brain when I have so much I want to be doing instead.

I’m so grateful for the blessings in my life – there are many. If I could change my chemicals, all the good things would totally help me feel better. Because honestly right now, I feel pretty crashed out awful yet again. The firefighter thing, the time of year, work stress, feeling totally isolated and like a generally wrecked out failure at everything. I hope this wave passes soon. It makes me sad to be so sad. Come on universe, how about some more happy stuff? I know I’m not the only one struggling right now.


Cry To Me – Marc Broussard


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