Well, it has been a busy day in the life of a post-mod anti-pop phenom. Yup. That’s what I have decided best suits me, culturally. I am not sure what it means, but I like that it seems to accommodate and legitimate in a way that is comfy to me…
It is a lot to keep up with, isn’t it? I recorded a nice little instrumental called ‘Song for Diagnosables’ – I asked in my youtube comment on it that people send me some phrase or lyric. I am really determined to use every resource I have to amplify my voice. Not because I want to be heard, but because I feel like there are a lot of people who are unheard and it just seems to be getting worse, not better. This is not okay with me.
Here is an email I sent out tonight, to Mr. Will Hall – who I have found to be an oddly clarifying point of reference for me. He clearly has better organizational skills than I do, but the strong activist-streak and the Southern outsider factor is dead-on. He wrote me back. I love it when people write me. Please, feel free to write…it doesn’t even have to be about anything. Send me the things you have to say, but have nobody to say them to. I will turn them into songs.
(Also, note Mr. Hall’s awesome cloud picture! The angular striations are quite familiar. Oh, those silly clouds.)
This letter is strong evidence that I am entirely way too intense. It has gotten to the point of odd desperation that, any chance I get – I just lay it all out on the table, for fear I won’t get another chance to explain.
I, for some reason, feel like I have nothing to gain by mincing words. I know my verbosity and familiarity of tone is a hindrance at certain gates. However, there are ways over and around every fence. I am not a fence climber by nature, but I feel that – given my purpose – I am worthy of a boost.
It is, I have found, a huge relief of anxiety to just be honest and forthright. If people don’t respond, well – that is okay. People have a choice about the ideas they consume. I am a very small voice (though not the smallest, by far) (compared to some, I am HUGE!) among many.
My highest of hopes is that somehow I will be able to continue writing and photo-ing and playing and figuring and that, somehow, I can use these things to remind people that it is okay to ask:
Example #217 of the many ways I am just too intense for words…with words:)
I need to help people. I have – as a volunteer – been meshed with peoples lives (and deaths) in ways that, frankly, hurt. However, it was in that hurt that I saw our capacity for grace. In a world that increasingly makes no sense at all, a reasonable person such as myself finds all sorts of heartbreaks. I am lucky. I have a good brain and my family never let me die or disappear. I am educated and attractive and thus could buffer the tragedy of mis-managed mental health with a smile and a well-worded resume. I have a choice. I can go back to ‘passing’ and trying to ‘fit in’ my advocacy work. I can kill the blog and start looking for some sort of work that I can do for a while. Ever since I was a child, I have felt an aversion to being in a structured and mandatory setting. School made me sick (literally) from the beginning. It overwhelmed me. College was okay, because it wasn’t mandatory. I could sit in the back and not talk to anyone. I went to PSU – which had an average student age of 28 when I started there, at age 18. I have been loosely involved in subculture, but even it is confusing. I am at my best as a teacher and an activist and an artist and there must be some way to use these attributes to help people in bigger ways. I still volunteer here. I plan to do more. I am a resource for anyone who has ever had to take pills they didn’t need or understand. One of the things I have witnessed with increasing frequency is the administering of drugs such as risperidone to kids in state protective custody. I don’t think it should be legal to give a child – ANY CHILD – a drug that has potentially life-altering (not in a good way) side effects – like pituitary tumors. I think it is criminal that children who are in state custody – children who have been abused – are given this drug (and others) with such frequency, because of their ‘behavior problems’ – I am tired of the medicalization and mental illness-ification of wounded humanity responding with honest reaction. I am sick at heart over the way that mental health systems confuse and nullify the truth of these kids’ (and others) stories by deeming their reactions to their circumstances as being ‘inappropriate’ – talk about insult to injury. I am willing to speak and write about my own experiences as well as some of the trauma I have shared with people who needed help. Among those traumas, the most powerful was and is the realization that some people – regardless of what they do, think, or feel – are simply not heard. Imagine all the stories we are missing by hiding in our homes! I want to help people, Mr. Hall. In a way that is huge enough to make a difference for more than one kid, here or there. I want to help people to realize how much grace can be found in extending your hand…and how much power is taken away from us when we are placed in the hands of those who neither know us nor care about us…for whatever reason, be it school, a hospital, a last resort that leaves you trapped. Whatever.
I am tired of this culture that is so passive aggressive about empowerment. Empowerment is not controlling your mood with a pill. It is not proving you can work 60 hours and still be in debt. It is not stiletto heels.
We need to learn how to collectively stand up for ourselves and begin actively boycotting big corporations that sell us false salvation. How can we rest well when so many are desperately crying and not being heard? I want to help people, Mr. Hall. That’s pretty much it.
My primary anxiety is that I will have to go back to wagery and I will enter another cycle of exhaustion and breakage. Wagery has always been low on my list or priorities, but reality is reality and I need to generate some income. The way I see it is: I have a lot of content already, most of it unread. I have a lot of pictures. I am making more and better of both everyday. I would like to dovetail a life doing what saves me day-to-day with what saves me in the middle of the night, which is knowing that I have done the right thing. I want to earn money for me, but not in excess of what is needed for a reasonably ascetic lifestyle. Anything else I might earn, I want to give to people who are working to hold it altogether.
That’s pretty much it:) hahahaha Faith
(Current: and then, I somehow keep writing?)
I think the right thing to do is to present me as some post-mod anti-pop freakshow of remarkable productivity. I want to use my voice and stories in whatever way I can to raise awareness. So that when I lead a march of people who were mistreated by mental health’s interest in placating Big Pharm…well, it will make more sense.
My kids are special in their own ways. Just like I was. I want the world to be better for them, but I also want it to be better for all the other kids, too.
We are playing with fire when we prescribe these powerful chemical compounds to act on developing brains. It is dangerous to individuals and it is dangerous to us as a species.
What will we, as Americans, have to contend with when we see the generational effects of abusive prescribing of poison to our most vulnerable populations – our children.
to help people see they are selling us lies.
Thanks so much for your time. You are the first person who has asked me directly: ‘what do you need?’
I am confident in a way that I’ve not been for years and even if people think I am insane – don’t you think folks ought to pay attention to a mom with wings tattooed on my palms? Literally.
Take your time, Mr. Hall. You have done an enormous amount already, just by your reply. You see, I am an unheard voice myself. I think I am ready to speak more clearly, perhaps louder.
Really – thanks so much. I may post some of our correspondence because it speaks volumes about me, and also about kindness and generosity of heart.
Which is really what it boils down to.
(of course, ‘sent by my Verizon Wireless Blackberry’
…um, Verizon – you can start paying me now.
Paypal firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks, appreciate that:)
(Seriously, if anyone knows someone at Verizon in Marketing…I have 11.23 in my checking account right now. So, um yeah – I wrote most of this blog on my Blackberry, which is really cool, I think. So…pay up folks, I know a church that needs a computer and a bunch of food to serve to people who don’t have cellular service contracts…) (Awesome, thanks.)
Now, who in the world opens a letter to someone they don’t know with: ‘I need to help people.’
I don’t think I will be inclined to go away until I feel like I have fully done my part to help this country and it’s policies toward health and children make a bit more sense.
It may be that the most I can do is offer a panel to other Guardian ad Litems here in District 5, on the importance of strong oversight in mental health decisions being made for youth in protective custody.
I might be able to motivate one or two people to consider the utter nonsense that we are sacrificing our lives to maintain.
It’s alright to get distracted or deluded for a while. It is even okay to say, “We were misled.”
I think people forget how young these policies that shape our lives are…
We can re-write the American Dream to include everybody who has been left out of this version.
We can re-route our economy so that we are not paying corporations to abuse us.
We can resolve to stop tampering with the developing minds of our children by prescribing to them increasingly heavy psychiatric medications to control behavior that is not necessarily caused by ‘chemical imbalances’.
It’s just not all it’s cut out to be, this dream. I am waking up.
“I love how the wire in the box above the cat also tries to escape, or
settle – and then somehow the rocket man above the glare speaks, and
the fur pattern and the wood swirl.” – Will Hall, in the nicest and most useful email I have received in a very long time.
Isn’t it a lovely little collection of phrases. It’d make a nice song:)