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African Renaissance

The talented scribe: Everybody has to grow up sometime

Abigail George

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Whenever disaster strikes me in my world, I think of home (home as sanctuary, soft place to fall in flight, and adrenaline rush), or I go home. Welcomed by elderly parents, a happy dog licking my hand.

An old man forgets everything. Daughters though, have long memories.

Memories of their wasted potential, and their mother’s wasted potential, memories of the tender eyes of the first high school boy they kissed, memories of painful things, memories of regret, and desire, and of wasted pain. I always thought, I don’t really know why, of angels hiding in the dark ocean. Coming out into the light like volcano-lovers, or smoking, and drinking like Hemingway and Fitzgerald in France.

I thought of the poet Sharon Olds, and the writer Patricia Highsmith, oh, gosh, how much I wanted to be like them, how much I didn’t want to enjoy sex, being kissed, pulled in close, and held in a man’s arms.

But for most of my life, I was a blind oak, a sleeping woman, in pieces, in phenomena of constellations, found in galaxies of other worlds, dominated by the guy in quasi-relationships, and in the end, I forgave my father, what else could I do. He was in a wheelchair in the autumn of his years.

I thought that marriage could save you pain, but it only illuminated my mother’s. Sex was non-existent for her for years after my birth. I forgave my mother for staying with my father when I was an atheistic- teenager. I looked at her, and wanted to be her. In control without anti-depressants, and sleeping pills, sane, with a half-man, half-female, sane, without a man. There was something about her intuition that was divine, almost natural in the supernatural. Then there was her faith, her courage, the price she paid.

I was raised in the household of a strong woman, leaf falls to ground.

Belief defies religious belief, norm becomes opinion, girls have fun, let loose at university, but I did not. I lost myself in films, and art exhibitions. The rain always took on a pensive transformation for me, for the sea I would dress in skinny jeans, comfortable sandals, and t-shirt if it were warm outside. It was always important to me how I looked to men first, and women, girls second. All women were affectionate girls to me.

My father always had self-destructive patterns in his behaviour. He used to drink, was popular with men and women, and dreamed him up a bisexual persona that I had to live with; my mother had to live with.

There was always talk, Sunday mornings he was in church beside my mother, and my mother ever protective of me, her only child, her only daughter sheltered me from my father, the cheat. Told me to grow up to be a radical, politized feminist writer, and thinker. To be an intellectual. Nothing like her.

She was a homemaker, and sang in the church choir, sometimes taught Sunday school, the piano, and participated on the stage sometimes, acting a bit part here and there. Always a supporting role though. She was a dreamer, everybody said so. Then they looked at me and said that I was just like her. We had the same large brown eyes, same hair, and same dreams. I had to have goals, and plans, it made me forget about the time I found my father wearing pink lipstick, and peacock-blue eye-shadow sleeping it off.

Summers meant holidays, hiking, and in my own writing, it meant wilderness. Anything could be planted there, stemming harvest, and my history with boys in high school was always complicated, but not my writing-history. It made me feel complex, the writing one of my teachers said once, unfairly, was more quantity than quality. How I hated her for that, planned her death from a mugging, a gunshot wound to the head, and I even planned my own death from an elixir of sleeping pills, and neat whiskey.

There was always an emptiness in my life, even when I was with other people, a person, or my closest girlfriend, we would be laughing, talking, drinking, but there would still be this void inside of me.

The bullets would be heart-shaped, and I would be playing Russian roulette with a make-believe gun. Now, I think of my mother, of my own androgynous beauty, what had attracted her in the first place to my father, that first sexual impulse, the first time he touched her, that was the catalyst for my own writing, touch.

I remember my writing from childhood, and adolescence, how dark it was. The colour of the day, the stolen blue in the middle of it, a sea of wave after wave that belonged to the ocean of my youth. My ex-lover is at work. I wonder who he is attracted to now, if he’s fallen in love, who is the secret object of his beloved affection, and I wonder what her name is, what she tastes like, smells like, moves like on the dancefloor in a nightclub, sounds like in church, how she walks, how she talks on the exhale.

Books always tasted of sea light to me, the thrilling cadences, and rhythms of borders, and salt, and air. That strange hissing sound as meat touched grease in the pain that hit the air, a woman’s perfume like a risky adventure with an exciting, and tall, dark, and handsome stranger from an off-campus bar, sea air in my lungs, the vibrations of classical music reminding me of waves hitting the shoreline. Peak breaking, trough meeting trough, and light. The sea, like the kitchen table was always sacred to me.

I remembered Paul’s words, but what could words do anyhow. She, (he was talking about me), does not even know how to do sex, how to kiss even. That is not all she does not know how to do in bed. The people guffawed. The guys cheered him on him to tell them the whole story, the sob stories, the scenario in the bedroom. He said, she said, the talk got louder, the conversation boisterous. I turned inward. My identity cemented in this crowd of strangers.

What could intimacy between a person, and a girl possibly mean, he is infatuated with her looks, she is infatuated with the vision that he has of her. It is a lonely hunting-and-gathering game between the two parties. One searching for meaning, and respect, the other a sign of devotion, admiration.

Again, I turned inward, felt like an orphan from a country orphanage like Coco Chanel, self-pity rising up in me like an award for the role I was playing.

Abigail George is a feminist, poet and short story writer. She is the recipient of two South African National Arts Council Writing Grants, one from the Centre for the Book and the Eastern Cape Provincial Arts and Culture Council. She was born and raised in the coastal city of Port Elizabeth, the Eastern Cape of South Africa, educated there and in Swaziland and Johannesburg. She has written a novella, books of poetry, and collections of short stories. She is busy with her brother putting the final additions to a biography on her father’s life. Her work has recently been anthologised in the Sol Plaatje EU Poetry Anthology IV. Her work was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She briefly studied film.

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African Renaissance

Beauty, imagination and enchantment in a COVID-19 world

Abigail George

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Everything about being in love is supersonic-personified. I don’t know yet if I can change the world, but today for a smart change I am going to try. I am not going to explain to my inner girl child anything about the torment of the world, I am going to talk about finding the joy, the giddiness of falling in love with your soulmate, falling in love again with humanity, falling in love again the with the universe like I did when I first read A Brief History of Time. You are the master of the universe, I am the master of the universe. See what I did there. I made a breakthrough. I broke through the “human stain”and the inequality of inequality and it feels as if I, yes I just invented the belief of gravity. Its urgency and its push and its pull.

Its sway and roar. The fact that it is a champion and a well-built machine. It feels as if I invented the sea. I remember the sea of my childhood. Teenage couples on the beach.

Married couples on the beach holding hands and with their children. I remember that every day I went to the beach how spectacular the people were. I wanted their happiness. To want happiness is never feeling fulfilled. I certainly never felt fulfilled as a child, growing up. It was tough. It was insurmountably hard to find myself. It took the better part of twenty odd years to find the purpose and meaning in life, in my own life. It took me twenty odd years to fall in love, to fall in love again with me. And realise this. That you should always be the most important person in your life. I don’t know if I can change the world yet. These I know, I know, are not the last words I have. These words are my own. They belong to the elements and dimensions and particles of the universe. It is exclusive to nature.

To the wind and the rain. These words are amazing to me.

Uncomplicated, not as complicated as I am. Simple, not as complex as I am. Have I said yet, that love, all of love, the return to love, the spiritual awakening of love is supersonic-personified. I am trying not to think of COVID-19. My life is a dream with words in it.

When I wake up it turns into reality. It turns me into a storyteller.

It turns me on a good day into a poet, a diary page, an entire journal filled from beginning to end, and a wristwatch. This is me, waiting for my turn to talk in that moment when I met you, and COVID-19 that turned the world into a pandemic.

So, I release my potential into the world as an empath and as a storyteller, as a poet and an epic communicator. Whether there is love and injustice in the world, know this, know this sweet and indefinable truth, that we are all inter-connected. That we are all loved. That we are all spiritual disciples. That we are all poets. For me, words are like an art. Art is what I know. So, I write these words to you, VIrgil, because you have become all my reasons, my art, my philosophy for living. You have inspired me to greatness in my own life and most all, you make me laugh with your cute self and your noble smile, and your forward-thinking ideas that are innovative and phenomenal and all I want to do is inspire greatness in your own life.

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African Renaissance

The tortured loneliness of poets, or, older males

Abigail George

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But the air is growing cold. As coldas the angst of beginners. I am not that scholarship girl in chapters and parts. I keep on forgetting to ask her how she is. She keeps on forgetting totell me. There’s a paradigm shift from her. From the seat of her lava smileto her oracle-textured and mother-in-law-spicy laughter anointed with virgin garments and coconut oil on her hands. She’s never said she’s fought for me.The architecture of her bones stays in my mind. Life with daughters, lifewith son, life with grandchild mocks

me. This vanishing tribe of family has left me to see the existential world.T he glass is half-empty. The foliage celebrated by dirt and gravity. All I can see is this downpour of grieving in my heart. She wants to take everything. She already has everything. But the light saves me at the end of the day. So, I’m tired of this loneliness. It is my heart that is supernatural-uttered. I want her to remove all of her sin off me. The sin, the sin, it lingers like shouldering vertigo. Her lack of love speaks to me of romps in decay, a wild dagga swamp where the sunlight was a harsh mad-cold. It had no maps, seasons, harvest. No rapture takes place.

No roads. Only stability in a facility that had no coastal views. Offered usno freedom. Once I lived in a different world. I was free then. She was the ghost and I was the darkness that she dared not speak of. She, the divine feminine. This bone bouquet. This flesh, this lovely olive-skin, but I’m ashamed. You see, I’ve always been taught to feel ashamed of the colour of my skin. Freedom breaks, just like a wave, just like a branch, breaks away from the trough meeting peak, and I dream of the fastening of my mother-tongue fastening itself upon your mother-tongue. You are muse, you know. I’m coming upfor air. I think of the high care ward at the posh clinic I was that. How I overcame. African blood is powerful that’s why I write the way I do. Ankles are deep in water. The sea exists to flow for another thousand years. Its purity lit up at night.Jenny Zhang, Dorothea Lasky give me back the illusion of the modern-day glamour of the contemporary female poet. The sinful phoenix in my life (my brother) wants to get away to Canada like a thief that comes in the night.

Brother, you look as if you taste of prayers, mantras, your sad guitar playing an altruistic gospel affair. Brother’s soul was as brief as the ocean and he followed this the decay of the flaming lips of his lovers (see the exit barren is a plant, moonlight like the steadfast fall of snow’s downward spiral into waterfall). Read this ignorant joy found on blue hills, the love story of the sea’s forsaken rapture and vision. I’ve known circles of pain to poison. Who you love can make you feel beautiful from the inside-out? Your tiny bones

like the stimulus and vigour of waves. Your smile promises me speech. Brother. Nietzsche. I think of his catatonic state towards the end of his life. Of how when dad went to church in his wheelchair my brother was nowhere to be seen or found. That was his act. To destroy the river in my father’s eyes.I don’t like how he speaks to me. When he speaks to me, I wish I was dead. I wish that you could understand me. I’m frightened of living now. I am fossil adrift; the shimmer of flesh and I go bone-crazy doomed valleys. You’re like chameleon music in the valleys of my inner world, my sanctum. You’re hope.

Little earthquakes inside their heart. Glass bastards every one. They eat her alive until they’re sated. Animals.

Carnivores feasting on her. They give burning driftwood, a name. Monsters. The beasts. The kiss of death on her lips. Once again, the violent phenomena of child rape in the morning newspaper, or, on the evening news. The end game, ice and glass in their eyes. It is a mad, dark sea. Hyperactive boys. Hurt and pain brutally articulate. Electric pangs of hurt are the price every poet must pay. Indentation of men on her otherness body. Flames of violent emotion. Traumatic flood of loneliness. Obsession with vice, and the surgical instruments to put her fleshly parts back together again. Light me up. Light every woman, child, boy or girl up.They have done something bad. Something evil. Currents of evil flash through the air. All ten fingers and all ten toes glimpseat what is not natural. Nocturnal devils’ devilish desires. Echoes of poison, hysteria’s grace. They want her to beg for her life.The drugs make her high. Intoxicated. She’s dead inside. Her soul withers into a numb cold, indifferent country.

They make her think it is all in her fragile head. That she was the one who made them do it to her. Out of the black comes a crying in the rain. Little earthquakes like spokes on wheel.

The sea flows lava, flows and flows, and the sea is favour, the river is grace and forms of radiance. I invest leaves into the mimic-cry-wolf of winter news that appears with the snow. I’m falling into the arms of rain. Look! The traveller has arrived. He hides the weak force of his noise in the river. The snow storm, the winter nights whirls cloud-like supported by the fresh and new threshold of the self-portrait of the reflection of Diana Ferrus, the South African poet. I watch the news. Child rape on the news again. Tragedy-tragic-breaking me into a million burdens.In each house there’s either a rape or a tragedy. I choose to go to the sea. I choose to burn up and adjust the heat of the sun. I choose to live there. Drinking in the refuge of a

tornado, the summer tunnels made out of paper beckon. I believe in you. That you’re a custom-made reckoning made from the woodland-rib of Adam. You’re no longer sin. You no longer have a sinful nature. Take this liberty. Take this. Lines composed of nature, composed of the natural. I wrote sonnets for you. You puckered up your lips and kissed me. I walk in fields of dagga. The greenness reminds me of Botswana.

Calling me your Zelda Fitzgerald. Your Clarissa. I gaze upon your possessions. Kneel to receive you. Give your body all the praise and worship.

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African Renaissance

Chasing the sea

Abigail George

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The voices are inside my head. Calling to me. Speaking in ancient tongues. They talk and talk and talk. The damage is done. The damage is done. I wanted a child while I was still young. They think of science in masculine terms. The humanities and creative writing in feminine terms. There’s a gap for you. There’s an excursion into the remembering mind. The shaking woman’s interesting double life. I think of the anatomy of my loneliness. How everything in life is a mystery. I am waiting for sleep to take control of my aching limbs, my physical form. I invest the past into the insomnia, for no fight is worth it. What are we fighting for anyway? He’s not here, they’re not here. No one can hurt me now. Marilyn, the hunter. Diana, the hunted. I want to live before planting love. Your fingers feel like ice slipping to the bones of me. They thread my bones to my being. Give hope to my flesh. Now I just want to live, but there are days when I am tired of wanting to live. The washing flutters in the breeze, men and woman have been kind to me, and I have a lust for the gulf between us, how I’ve imagined you my entire life. Country of Adam’s rib, country of blood, stone and wine. Her teeth bite into my pose. There’s my unbearable sadness. Watching you satisfies me. I go all cold sometimes. The tiredness, the energy. In a perfect world you would have been free. You would have set me free. Your womb fashioned me. So, I write for the passionate outsider. The woman displaced. The female dispossessed who lives from one day to the next in psychological extremes. I am that woman displaced like Jean Rhys. I am the dispossessed female. And the woman that I love, whose womb fashioned me is my mother’s.

I think of all the time we have wasted sibling. All the love that is gone. My loneliness grows like plant sap. Like water in wild places. All the fight has left me as I chase the sea. I wake, I chase the sea. Rabbit is gone. Don’t tell me about your secrets. Don’t tell me about your love, sibling. Leave me like you have always left me. Leave me standing here by the bright lights of this city by the sea. I always wanted your love. You were always high on life. The extrovert with friends. You erased me from your life so effortlessly. From your kingdom. I think we have said it all. The love is gone. Gone from your world. Gone from my life. They say I have a death wish. I’m hungry for it. The ghost of my spirit is hungry for it. It is cold here. Winter is coming on strong on this radar. This illusion sticks around like the Seine. I wish I was ghost dropping off this radar. I feel sick. You make me sick. I lost the proof. I think of all that I have sacrificed. Think of myself as crime and victim. Sibling, you’ve found love. We’re passed the object of forgiveness. Nothing I can do about it. You’re the daughter of the Czech Republic. Let me take you to the low of the city. I am wearing my glasses. Keeping my attitude. I think of your German boyfriend with his artistic fingers, sensitive face. How again someone else replaces me in your life. Bipolar takes all. Bipolar thinks that love is evil, that love means war. My mother never brought me sanitary napkins in the hospital. Never brought me clothing to wear. I walked around like a zombie. When she came, she spoke to the other patients there at the hospital. Looking for a friend in a stranger. She left me alone. Standing there. I was her mirror image.So bulimia and anorexia nervosa found me.

She holds all the power, all the cards. The woman who ate everything. I never had your heart. This takes some time to explain. Let me understand you. Let me understand this. Out of reach, you’re always keeping busy. I’ll always be the same. When I was in love, I was in love with my own shadow. My heart’s bruised. I think all the time of how close to death I was. The renal unit at the Livingstone Hospital. My life is the diary of a volunteer. On the imagined wings of a bird in flight, I come to you. This message comes to you. This love letter comes to you, my mother. Theories have long since disappeared. The image of the soul. The twin image of our soul has vanished Nothing gets better here on this side of the world. I don’t see myself in the mirror anymore. It is only my pride, your ego that lends itself to a new philosophy of the advanced world. I’d like to leave the world random. But I no longer want to examine the past, aftermath, aftershock shielding the echo of the shadow, my bruised shadow. We have nothing to say to each other anymore Only the visions remain. The words are all gone now. You grow out of it. No, not the bipolar. The vision you had of yourself in high school. Where you would be five years down the line, a decade. It is just me giving up my consciousness for another. You grow out of the authentic. It is coming back to me. The collect calls I made home from the hospital. Abandoned there. Younger, I was arrogant. Life was so easy, comfortable, happy. Not anymore. I wish I could say I have achieved my personal goals, fulfilled all my wildest dreams. What am I holding onto? The self that is a soulless misanthrope. The universe is amplified. Birdsong in the air. The leaf falls. It is just gravity.

And because of the violence against me, I have zero tolerance for violence. And because of the mental cruelty against me, I have zero tolerance for mental cruelty. They have defeated me.

The family, the cousins, the aunts and the uncles. I am done looking for love in a home that puts me up against the wall. I am lethargic now. Not wanting to talk. Not wanting to talk to anyone. I am on my own now. Alone. All I have is loneliness. That’s the kind I am. The voices say, Petya Dubarova, to stop talking so much and to become a good listener, an effective listener, an efficient communicator. Revealing the purpose and value of others as God sees fit, as I connect with the universe. To transcend the negative, the voice tells me Petya, I also have to transcend the pain of the universe, the loneliness of the universe. I have to remember birth, rebirth, saturation. I have to move on from one phase of personal growth to the next level. From maturity and the confidence of maturity, to death. But it is difficult and tiring to be forgiving of myself, to be grounded in self-love and the world around me dearly, or, for life. And then there’s this nourishing sense of spirituality that strengthens me daily. I am a stranger waiting for the train worshiping sharp objects eating eggs, chicken and soup. I live in a dark house born of green figs in September on a Sunday afternoon. A dark house born of a writer in a cage sheltered and protected by the light from all the activities of harm. While watching the first snow of a June winter, with the falling snow the road inside finds bipolar me again. High on life. Low on life. Numb on life. Dead to life. And then I realise I am never going to see uncle Rabbit again.

Ever. He died on a Thursday evening of a heart attack in a hospital room while I exhaled a pose. While I overcame my evolution at home typing out my third novel. I have the fear of love, of falling in love on my side, of sexual intimacy, of being made to feel vulnerable in front of another person. I am crashing. I am crashing into the waves chasing the sea of Petya Dubarova, and there will always be those who lecture me. I think the world, and my siblings have done me toxic in. And I remember the day my sibling’s girlfriend showed me her tattoo. He must have a thing for a girl with tattoos. I don’t know. We aren’t close anymore. What happened in my own father’s life is happening now in my own. The estrangement from the middle earth of the inner family, of the immediate family. I make cinnamon toast or eat peanut butter straight from the jar with a butter knife, and I try not to think of writing confessional poetry, or, the fact that I’m not loved by sibling, or, cousin, or, aunt, or, uncle, or, distant relative. I show them my rewards like arrows. Only I see the columns of light in my arrows. Yes, I’m done in. I’m done in. I’m going nowhere. I’m going everywhere. Jagged little pill in my mouth. Rush of water down my elated throat. I really wanted to see her tattoo. Why, oh, why am I so surprised that she gladly showed it to me. Bipolar has made me frightened of everything. Of landing on the ash heap like other people’s sorrows. I think of my own sorrows. I’m left thinking of how important it is to keep correspondence, journals and copies of your work. I think of my own father and mother living out this kind of perfect life.

My mother had a spacious house, they had two cars, and she had to raise three children. Two daughters and a son. She didn’t teach me to have that. To invest my life in children. To invest my life in sons and daughters. I know my roots and they go deep like a ninja-warrior. Now I find myself living vicariously through Dorothy Parker, and Maya Angelou. I think of the mute wind. I think of the constant rain at my window. I think of what I see when I see wildflowers. Cemeteries, ghosts, the apparitions, the voices in my head, hallucinations. There are days when I am just writing to get by. I keep telling myself it is not hopeless. All is not hopeless. That this life is what I have been given. My siblings think they know it all about bipolar. Even more than me. I can’t understand a word that that they possess about mental illness. They give it to me, not as a gift, but as something to control. I think of the difficulties of my father. The difficulties of a young mother having to accept a manic-depressive husband. Nobody caught me when I fell. Contradictions keep me busy for a while. I try too hard in relationships. I was a teenage runaway falling away to the waterfront of hospitalisation. The perspective was clear. The view of my life settled. I had the beauty of language. It gave me inter-connectedness. The relationship I wanted. I was a sailing boat that caught the wind. On my way. On my way. Then the mania would come, or, the clinical depression, or, the attempt to take my own my life, or, the suicidal thought, and I would be derailed again from the perfect life that I had lived before. I would be abandoned and forgotten by my mother.

I would be abandoned and forgotten by my siblings, by relatives who told me that they wished they could be of more assistance, but they had their own problems, or, uncles and aunts would just ignore me. With the onset of mental illness in adolescence, my life became more complicated over the years. I became a hunting and gathering woman of current trends forecasting for a blog that I wrote, ephemera from my paternal grandfather’s life, and phenomenology. I became this rather complex vessel (never studied further, never had the sunny road of the marrying life, or, those sons and daughters, and strange, I had always been madly in love with children my entire life), and in the end it was language that accepted me, not family, not siblings that had looked up to me once when I had the normal life, the kind of life accepted by family. There would be all this ignorance and sham surrounding my mental illness. I became known as the storyteller, I would make up stories, and this would do the rounds. So, I am threatened and cajoled, told in no uncertain terms by my sister that I am not living. She never phones home to speak our father, elderly and infirm now. Weak and limiting and limited, and I tell myself that what matters most is recovery. Coming out of that despair and hardship and release of relapse. Now I think back to the early days of the initial treatment of my bipolar, the hospitalisation of my bipolar when I became something of a pill popping zombie, then an insomniac, and then there was this return to normality, to homelife, but also terrifying ignorance in the family, also terrifying ignorance around the sufferer, and stigma.

The discrimination of living with the bloom and smoke of mental illness. I keep telling myself pain births creativity. That it is the motivation for pursuing God. Must be more Eckhart Tolle, or, Gary Zukav than me I suppose. In hospital people maybe want to be your friend. But outside, you become like strangers again. You return to a kind of semblance of your previous life. You find people don’t want to know you anymore. Release from hospital always brings me back to writing, to my childhood. To the swimming pool in Gelvandale where I was baptised, to a picnic in Port Alfred. Yes, I found baptism and God. And sometimes, just sometimes, the writing annoys me, or, I get annoyed with myself, and sad, as if my work is almost incomplete. Almost as if I am not living up to my own expectations. And every time upon my release from the hospital after my meds have been adjusted, I have to open a new door, learn to live a new life again. It’s difficult, but I have endured this. I have survived. I remember that I have strategies, goals and actions. As my father did before me. I hate it that I blame him. I hate it when I say something that hurts him, and I see him wince as if I have slapped him very hard across the face. I mean, I am used to embarrassment, and humiliation, and people unfriending me with a kind of energetic efficiency. I have to work on self-love daily. I pray daily. I try to be kind but it is like making an anonymous donation. And every year I promise myself more self-love, more personal growth, more prayer and meditation, more reading, and I make an action plan out of it for the next six months. To the lighthouse.

To the lighthouse I go. There are days when I talk and talk and talk. There are also days when I cannot meet your gaze. When people’s faces look different to me in the morning light. When I’m afraid of Virginia Woolf. Society allows many things to happen to you when you are mentally ill. I’m always putting my trust in people, and being let down badly. Balance is everything. All I can think of is that I am a novelist now studying the craft of writing with every narrative that I write. That I am a poet. And a bipolar life can be as healing as rain with a savage kind of violence. At least that’s the way that I see it. Bipolar itself, there’s still so much that we don’t know. What I hear most often from other people who live with bipolar, is this. That I wasn’t always bipolar. I wasn’t always like this. I didn’t need to take a sleeping pill to sleep. Maybe there was a traumatic incident in your childhood, or, long term abuse, or, you were never loved by a parental figure, or, there was a kind of stress or burnout that you couldn’t deal with. I’ve been there. Uncle Rabbit is gone. I’m still here. I still get to live life with purpose and meaning and truth on my own terms, and there are days when I feel like a tragic figure caught in a storm. There are days when I want the world to see me. There are days when I don’t want the world to see me, because I don’t think that they’d understand me, but there are also days when life is infinitely more beautiful. There is an image that I manufacture every so often in my mind whenever I feel like it. I see the picture of a little girl, and she is loved. Bipolar is not on the scene yet. Her life is not derailed yet. She is eating watermelon on the beach. The sun is going down. She is laughing with her boy cousins. Smiling for the camera. Smiling for all the world to see.

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