Saturday, January 19, 2013


September 8th,'s been 1,228 days since my last posting. I had been thinking about blogging again for some time. When I started blogging many, many moons ago, I wasn't quite sure of The Point, or if there was only just One Point. If there was just One Point, or any Point, then I didn't know what it was. Perhaps there were many Points. Hence, the crux of my quandry: am I doing this right? Do I even have a right to do this? Do I belong out here? My ex-therapist mentioned that these might be some of the questions to which everything in my life boils down. This statement of hers is not the direct reason for why she is now my ex-therapist. She's my ex-therapist because my then-not-ex and I saw her for couples' counseling consistently for over a year and a half. My then-not-ex and I were doing what adults are supposed to do in shotty, mismatched relationships: stay in and work things out. The therapist, reflective listener that she was, pulled these questions like perfectly wound cotton candy cones out of the nauseating Tilt-O-Whirl of my process about the relationship. As my then-not-ex sulked on the other side of the rusted orange Ikea couch, practicing any number of Jedi mind tricks that might have me spontaneously burst into flames and be consumed on the spot, I began to unravel in the most life-saving way imaginable. I began asking myself the same questions yet again, but the landscape upon which I stood gave me an entirely different perspective. Am I doing this right? Do I have a right to do this? Do I belong here? The answers I was waiting to receive, however, were now no longer in limbo, nor were they outsourced. I was no longer waiting for some random action of some random person to whom I had randomly assigned value to approve of me and my actions. For the first time, I actually cared to consider what my own answers to these questions would be. In regards to the relationship, when I heard the answers I actually had to those questions, I groaned out loud. I held my head in my hands, and pinched the bridge of my nose for a long time. I opened my eyes and swore. It was a happy, bright Sunday in Seattle -- one of those rare gems that made everyone slightly manic and overenthused. I had just gotten out of a cranio-sacral appointment with my friend, Teresa. I had been telling Teresa, probably for the 87th time, about how crappy things were going with my then-not-ex, when I got this time-warping flashback of every time in the last three years I had had that exact conversation. Every practitioner and sympathetic friend: Nona, Mykol, Janel, Kjersti, three different doctors, two different therapists, and yes, Teresa, more than once. In one sudden and wild snap, everything got clear. And since then, everything has been clear. I broke up with my now-ex. I moved into an urban farm house with two great roommates. I started writing more than ever. I started reading and watching other people's poetry for fun and interest. Even though I practice naturopathic and shamanic medicine by trade, I uncovered a fact long hidden underneath decades of misguidance: I am actually an artist. I have wanted to do/make/create/live/breathe/become Art from the get-go. While I got encouragement for nurturing my "hobby," it was clear from my observations that a scientific academic focus was my best shot at getting the love I wanted. Now, a half a million dollars in higher education later, here I am. Nowhere else I'd rather be. This is an important place for me to be right now: I struggled for nearly two decades with terrible feelings of great intensity, confusing and terrifying to myself and everyone around me. As I came of age in the 1990's, that decade responded with its first waves of psychiatric medication in teenagers. Labels of bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, schizoaffective disorder were offered to me and my parents as if they explained something. The labels explain nothing except that many academic white coats have thought long and hard about the wild flames of danger they have captured and studied. The labels offer this double-edged sword of Access to Services and a weighted Stigma to carry through a lifetime. I'm in the process of dropping the stigma. Me dropping the Identity of Crazy, and instead picking up the Identity of first Doctor,then Artist is a Revolution. An Act of Resistance. A Liberation Movement. But do I belong here? Do I have a right to call myself Artist? Am I doing this right? Things were ridiculously busy for me this week. I had been back in Miami, visiting my folks and my hometown for a few weeks. Upon return to Seattle, I found that my business rent was raised, I had food rotting in the fridge, the oil used to heat my house had run out, and all the bills would be due at once at the end of the month, effectively speaking for every dollar I would earn between now and the 31st. Oh, and did I mention that it was dark and cold? Miami in winter: lows in the 80's, sunrise/sunset 7am-6pm. Seattle in winter: lows in the 20's, sunrise/sunset 9:40am-4:40pm. Needless to say, I felt swiftly and simultaneously crushed, drown, and tossed down an abyss. My inner Writer did not give a shit. She stood off to one side, impatiently tapping her foot, watching my pathetic ass writhe, squirm, plead to God to save me from impending doom as I leaked snot and tears all over the nice rug. "Get the fuck up and write." "But I can't. I don't have time, it doesn't pay me anything, and besides, you saw those YouTube videos. My work is nothing compared to those hot shots. There's really no point..." She glares at me down her nose, and I know in my guts that if I don't do what she says, she will End Me. She will photobomb every linear thought I try to have regarding marketing analysis, client follow-up, roommate negotiation, food selection, scheduling decision, etc., with poetic metaphor, couplets spun from sunrise and chickadee song. She will glide alongside next to me as I drive frantic all over town, loaded on coffee, running the errands of half-hearted mundacity in hopes that my life will continue to turn without major disaster. Am I doing this right? Already she is pissed that I chose last-minute to take this weekend-long homeopathy class, when I had promised her hours of solid writing, reviewing pieces for submission, culling the free-write notebooks for gems. So I made this date with her tonight to do some of that. Instead, after spending two hours of Facebook promoting the Reiki class I will be teaching next month, checking emails, and catching up on gossip, I made cookies. They are gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, and soy-free. I didn't know such a thing could exist, but honestly, being of the breed that made cookies out of box mixes their whole life, I hadn't thought much about what actually goes into homemade cookies to begin with. Recipes work well for me: they are extensions of high-school chemistry experiments. Someone has already done the math and the measuring. I am simply a conduit of elements and circumstances colliding. While the cookies are in the oven, I recall this blog I started years ago. I can't imagine it would still be active. I still remember the name. I couldn't remember the last time I had posted. September 8th,'s been 1,228 days since my last posting. I scan back through the blog, realize that I have been trying to be a poet for years. That I had been offering my Artist the space to get free and messy over three years prior. That I had been doing things right. That I had a right to write. That I belonged here. So here I am. Thanks for reading. Here's to messy, creative solutions and the liberation, beauty and light they shed on struggle. Here's to the right question being asked at the right time. Here's to keeping promises to myself. Here's to not knowing a damn thing about anything, and doing things anyway. Here's to beginner's luck -- may I always be a Beginner.


100 Meetings said...

Absolutely wild and lovely and right!

Jeff said...

Great post, Cecily. Major props for loving your inner artist and shedding the 'crazy' stigma that was so liberally doled out to 90's teens. I crawled out from under that net myself over the last year, and I'm inspired by your resolution to find artistic expression.

An interesting book I picked up recently was Ellen Forney's "Marbles", an autobiographical graphic novel recounting her relationship with psychiatry. She is an artistic soul that doesn't fit inside the lines, and ultimately comes to take on the 'crazy' identity. I'm not sure if she ends up as empowered, but it's certainly a good read for those of us who have had dealings with that world.