There is no actual Psychiatrist in our little town. I was seeing one in Lubbock who really didn't give a damn about much except getting his $75 dollars every month. I was just one in a long line of "crazies" who supported the doctor's trips to exotic places. But at the college I teach there is an instructor who is liscenced in Psychiatry, although he is a practicing professor and not a doctor. My mother, who has lived through my struggles for the last 35 years, has been consulting with him about me. It is now suggested that I not only suffer from depression, but from something called "Quick Change Bipolar Disorder." This disorder is a subset of the "Manic-Depressive" disorder, but the ups and downs are much quicker and more short-lived than the typical manic-depressive's. That would explain the very quick mood swings, irritability, irrationality, and all the other unpleasant personality traits I have.
Today, and the last few days, I have been very depressed. I'm not depressed because I suffer from depression, but because of putting my family through Hell for almost 35 years. My parents did their best, but while I was growing up depression was not seen as a serious disorder. I "wanted attention," I felt "like my parents gave too much time to everything but me," I was "selfish and immature." None of which was true, and just made me even more depressed. My parents have seen me through several suicide attempts, two month-long stays in the hospital, alcohol and drug abuse, and every other thing that goes along with this disorder. My daughter Alyssa is old enough to know that Mommy is "sick," and I can't stand to think that I am letting her down. The last time I tried to commit suicide was when I was 3 weeks pregnant with Aislin, but I didn't know it. That I will hold heavy in my heart until the day I die.
What's most depressing is that Dr. "S" at school is concerned that I am a danger to my children. Who cares if some guy has his 5 year old son's little battery-powered jeep tethered to the back of his pickup, dragging him down our dirt road at 20 mph. Let's worry about Sandy, whose life revolves around her girls and would kill for them. We should worry that she might harm her children, like that woman in Texas or Susan Smith. The only person that Sandy is a danger to is Sandy. Which is probably the most selfish thing I can do, considering that I would be leaving my children without a mother. But wouldn't they be better off without a mother like me, someone who is normal, without mood swings, without migraines, without having to worry if Mommy going to be alive for another day? I am selfish, because in a depressed state I don't consider how much they need me, but how much I need them. They are the blood running through my veins, the sunny bright spots in the dark shadows of my life. They give me warmth and my heart beats when I am near them. Their smell is like ambrosia to me, and I thrive on it.
They give me so much, but what do I give them, my beloved girls, my family, my dear Justin. Not much I'm afraid. Just a bunch of heartache and regret...
And they don't even have a receipt to make an exchange.
Anyway, this poem I wrote in my "Bible as Literature" class a few years ago (1999?). We had to wrote a love poem per the Song of Solomon. But as everyone else was writing some serious love poetry, I had to go against the grain (as usual) and write something not so serious. So here it is...let's point out all the cliches, shall we?
An "X-Files" Kind of Love: A Parody
by me (Sandy)
blue as the deepest, clearest oceans.
I see your thoughts swim
through those oceans
I always know
what you are thinking:
"Hey Baby, let's get it on."
I close my eyes
and I can still smell you--
sweet, like mocha-flavored coffee
and some shampoo
that I don't remember the name of.
I imagine you standing there
in your brightly colored
and your Edmonton Oilers hockey jersey,
which I so lovingly picked out for you
from a mail-order catalog.
Oh, how I long to have you with me.
Later, you come to me in a dream.
I feel your skin and
run my hands over your body
and through your chest hair--
so stuck in my teeth
and the once-virginal bar of Dial soap
that sits on the edge of the tub.
My walking, talking,
proof of Darwin's theory.
I sweetly kiss your lips.
A spark of excitement
runs through my body
and my toes curl when our tongues meet.
After a lifetime, we separate
and I softly whisper,
"Less spit next time."
and garlic toast.
was a fragile, gelatinous eyeball
squitting across the dirty floor of love.
You picked it up,
carefully plucked off the lint,
and kept it for your own
before it could be squished beneath
the dirty, dog-shit covered
sneakers of life.
You are the cheese sauce on my broccoli,
the caramel in my Milky Way,
the corn on my cob,
the whipped cream in my hot chocolate.
You will forever be
the slayer of the lima beans
that are always in my soup,
even when the waitress says,
"No Ma'am, no lima beans in OUR soup."
My love, my darling,
my protector, my savior,
my hunka hunka burnin' love--
My love for you never fades,
but grows stronger each day.
Every day with you is like
an "X-Files" season-premiere day,
and when you are gone
I will die a thousand deaths because
Baby, you rock my world.
*Bow* Thank you, thank you...
Sarcasm will get you everywhere, Baby.
I am not criticizing high school teachers, nor the education my students have received. My issue lies with how my students are doing in my class. Am I failing these students because they can't even write a proper thesis sentence after we worked on it for a week? I tell myself that I have to be doing something right because in my six years of teaching I have had students go on to win writing awards, decide they want to major in English, and graduate with honors. I have a higher than average attendance rate, and a higher than average evaluation score. So like I said, I must be doing something right.
I am not a racist, sexist, bigomist, favoritist, communist, or any other word that ends with -ist. What I am is a mother to two wonderfully intelligent and beautiful girls, a wife to a handsome and loving man, a cross stitcher, avid reader, and an excellent college instructor who enjoys what I do. If I post that Alyssa made me angry today because she lost one of her ballet slippers and we had to leave in 4 minutes for her master ballet class, or won't keep her room clean, am I to be told I shouldn't be a mother? If I post that my dear Justin irritated me because he drug mud through my clean kitchen floor, should it be suggested that I get a divorce? If I post that my cat shit on my shoe in the back of the closet, would it be better if I didn't own pets? I should say not.
I will not apologize for my religious views, my political views, or my views on abortion, parenting, and treating everyone (including animals) with respect. I will not deliberately point fingers at anyone, nor will I single out someone to be a scapegoat. But I will use this journal to write about how I feel at a particular moment in time.
And that's all I have to say about that.
My Alyssa is in 5th grade this year. This is her wonderful little narrative essay that she wrote for her English class:
Three days after my sister's due date we were getting our monthly checkup. The doctor said, "The baby might be sick so we'll go ahead and put you in the hospital and start labor tonight." I jumped for joy. Waiting nine months for one baby is a long time.
At the hospital that evening I'd brought a few things. I wandered around the waiting room and looked at the babies in the nursery. I watched boring tv and had my first cup of coffee (which tasted horrible). It seemed like we waited forever. For a while I read.
Suddenly I was awoken by my grandmother poking me. She said, "Come see your new sister." I hopped out of the squashy chair and walked quickly to the door.
In the room I saw my mom, dad, aunt, and some more grandmas. Sitting down on the end of Mom's bed she handed me the smallest, cutest, pinkest, blue-eyed baby in the world. Aislin is her name; she just stared at me awe inspired. It's the best memory I have.
Now tell me that's not the cutest thing you've ever read (no bias here)! She got 100% on her essay and it's in her "great work" folder at school. Yes there are some grammar errors, dangling modifiers, etc. But she's in 5th grade.
Now let me share with you how my students, all of whom have graduated high school, put together a thesis sentence. This exercise was on a quiz. I gave them a bad thesis sentence and they had to revise it into something more specific and narrow. The sentence was, "I hate Tom Cruise." (I actually do, but no offense to his fans). So I was looking for something along the lines of "Tom Cruise is not one of my favorite actors because he "over-acts' and is not believable as a character." This is what "D" gave me (word for word):
I hate Tom Cruise because he is a woman organizer and thinks he's all that.
Most of them weren't much better than that. As I said, these are high-school educated students.
And they will be running the country when I'm old.
And by the way...for the person who has registered themselves as "Shadowkitty," thank you for stealing my name. No it's not copyrighted or anything like that. It's just that I have gone by no other nickname than shadowkitty for the last 9 years. Copycat.