A letter to my nephews and nieces. Hi Kids, I am not really crazy.

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Hi Kids, Before you make up stories about me, I want to set the records straight that I am not really crazy as you think. Crazy enough that you guys had so much fun being with me doing all the … Continue reading

Letter to Premier of BC and Ministry of Education

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Today, I e-mailed the Premier of BC, Christy Clark, and Ministry of Education, Mike Bernier reminding them their responsibility as elected officials. As much as I want to remain quiet about what is happening in Vancouver public system, I am … Continue reading

It made my teeth hurt, so I wrote.

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Talking is part of communication. I must have talked so much for the month of April that it made my teeth hurt. April 1 is a fool’s paradise. April 1 is the time when we play practical jokes. April 1 … Continue reading

A Letter to Neil Gaiman

Dear Neil:

I hope you don’t mind me addressing you on a first name basis, Neil.

Your commencement speech to the  2013 School of Visual Arts graduation ceremony is entertaining with so much wisdom and advice not just on art but life in general. The graduates were laughing  so was I. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

You may call me, Perpetua.

There is part in the speech that I find fascinating, compelling and disturbing. Allow me to quote you:

“When things get tough, this is what you should do: Make good art. I’m serious. Husband runs off with a politician — make good art. Leg crushed and then eaten by a mutated boa constrictor — make good art. IRS on your trail — make good art. Cat exploded — make good art. Someone on the Internet thinks what you’re doing is stupid or evil or it’s all been done before — make good art. Probably things will work out somehow, eventually time will take the sting away, and that doesn’t even matter. Do what only you can do best: Make good art. Make it on the bad days, make it on the good days, too. “

 You may call me, Perpetua.

Before I continue, please pardon me for intruding. As an esteemed artist, I think highly of you.

You see, Neil, I am thinking of the cat that exploded. Translating that in my mind it goes: Dead Cat – make good art. Death – make good art, Anxiety Recording – make good art, Suicide – make good art.

I am in a very tough situation. There is a funeral going on in my brain. My nephew’s friend committed suicide. This bothers me. A lot. They grew up together, studied at the same school and graduated. My nephew just turned 25. She must be the same age. Young. Too young to die. This is so close to home.

What I want is to make good art out of the recording from her heartfelt experience of illness on anxiety. I tried writing it in a poetic way, but, I don’t have an ounce of artistic mind. The purpose is to use this as a tool to educate people.

This is the transcript of her recording five months ago.

On My Anxiety

I am cut to the core by a beast I can’t control. Not cut as in my wrists, as in my legs because, you know, that beautiful woman next to me in the Psych ward does it there.

The beautiful woman in the coffee shop a 5-minute walk away, which is 5 minutes too long  of a walk when you’re depressed, ornaments her arms, her legs with deep and close bloody gashes. Gashes that I want to bandage with love and heal, but “I have too many problems, I think, I don’t know how to help you.”

Nonetheless, I am cut.

Cut by the words of people who don’t understand what it is to live with a demon inside your mind, your chest, your shaking hands, and your body that is wretched and dried out from all your tears and is so nervous that you have to pray you are always near a bathroom because even your insides don’t work properly.

But, of course, you don’t really pray. Not by this point at least. By now you know if there was a God you would be better, that none of this would have ever happened.

If you don’t see the stigma against mental illness then you probably don’t have it or you’ve never used the internet or stepped outside.

You’ve never had to write a heartfelt resignation letter to end a job only to be eliminated from the workplace silently without any acknowledgment of your soul-bearing words.

None.

You’ve never had your own family tell you to suck it up or not dwell on things so much.

Do you think I WANT to FUCKING DWELL on the things I dwell on?!

Dwell on the fact that I would rather have suffocated myself to death than have attended my Grandma’s 75th birthday because there were gonna be too many people there.

Dwell on the fact that I’ve had to stop seeing all my friend because I’m so anxious.

Dwell on the fact that I can’t see my in-laws without feeling nauseated by my anxiety.

I cannot SUCK IT UP!

Not just that, I can’t do anything except unexpectedly write poetry at 3 am and this has only happened  through a careful balance of Lithium, Clonazepam, Abilify, Olanzapine, and Zopiclone.

If those sound scary it’s  because they are.

It’s scary to have your brain need to be invaded. To experience the world drugged. To experience the world drugged and still want to throw up at the thought of having to attend a social function.

Andrew Solomon writes on depression and says: “If you said to me, you have to have acute anxiety for the next month; I would rather slit my wrist than go through with it.”

If you’re looking for a way out there may not be one.

Suicide is so seductive. I almost gave up. Almost walked through that exit.

But I’m still here.

Here because of support. Here because of that place. Because of the psych ward that they only seem to ever let you know about when you’re at the point of actually killing yourself.

The ward is full of some of the nicest people you could ever meet but they’ve been so hurt by the world they can no longer function.

We are there because we feel too much. Hurt too much. We are sponges for negativity, depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and more.

It’s taking drugs, love, support, and money to recreate myself.

To pull myself away from that place where your sob to your husband, plead with him to let you die because your anxiety is so bad, so bad you can’t take a breath without feeling the tight know of pain in your chest, the French brain in your stomach, the shaking of your insides, the hot tears streaming down your face.

Not everyone pulls away from that. Some of us are gone forever.

Unfortunately, Neil, she did not make it.

With my nephew’s farewell note to her, I played with it to read like poetry.

Like a quake in an ocean
A Tsunami of emotion
Waves upon waves of memories
Come flooding back.

I had a feeling that last conversation
and parting hug would be a while until the next.
I never imagined it would be our last
of this life until ‘The Next’.

Well my Friend, rest peacefully.
We can catch up once we meet.

How can I make good art on this? Can this be written in a poetic form? Or should I just leave it as is? What do you think? At any rate, your comments would be much appreciated.

With warm regards and respectfully yours, Perpetua.

A little girl’s letter to Einstein: Do scientists pray?

einstein
The Riverside Church

January 19, 1936

My dear Dr. Einstein,

We have brought up the question: Do scientists pray? in our Sunday school class. It began by asking whether we could believe in both science and religion. We are writing to scientists and other important men, to try and have our own question answered.

We will feel greatly honored if you will answer our question: Do scientists pray, and what do they pray for?

We are in the sixth grade, Miss Ellis’s class.

Respectfully yours,

Phyllis

***************************************************************************************************

January 24, 1936

Dear Phyllis,

I will attempt to reply to your question as simply as I can. Here is my answer:

Scientists believe that every occurrence, including the affairs of human beings, is due to the laws of nature. Therefore a scientist cannot be inclined to believe that the course of events can be influenced by prayer, that is, by a supernaturally manifested wish.

However, we must concede that our actual knowledge of these forces is imperfect, so that in the end the belief in the existence of a final, ultimate spirit rests on a kind of faith. Such belief remains widespread even with the current achievements in science.

But also, everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that some spirit is manifest in the laws of the universe, one that is vastly superior to that of man. In this way the pursuit of science leads to a religious feeling of a special sort, which is surely quite different from the religiosity of someone more naive.

With cordial greetings,

your A. Einstein

 

source: brain pickings

Thursday – Begin the day…

thursday

This is one of many notes posted on the door of the fridge in my sanctuary.  This is actually a stationery of a letter I kept, a table mat used in a restaurant.  For each day of the week, there is a saying and for Thursday; wishing you a happy day.

Letter to your future self

Have you ever written a letter to yourself only to be opened in the future?  I did.

In one of the retreats I attended, I wrote a letter to myself, sealed it in an envelope, addressed to me, left it at the retreat office and mailed it to me a year later.  I completely forgot about the letter until I received it.  Excitedly opened it, read it, put it back in the envelope, stored it away and cannot recall the content of the letter.  Currently, I don’t know where I have hidden it.  Maybe one day, I’ll find it before I die or maybe my family will.

What brought me to write this is due to Taylor.

Taylor was a vibrant 12-year old girl.  She died young due to pneumonia-related complications.  When her parents were going through her things, they discovered a sealed envelope addressed to her future self:  “To be opened by Taylor Smith on April 13, 2023, only unless said otherwise,”

The letter reads:

little girlDear Taylor,

How’s life? Life is pretty simple right now (10 years in your past). I know I’m late for you, but as I’m writing, this is early, so; congratulations on graduating high school! If you didn’t go back and keep trying. Get that degree! Are you (we) in college? If not, I understand. We do have pretty good reasoning, after all. Don’t forget, it’s Allana’s 11th birthday today! Sheesh, 11 already? In my time, she just turned 1! I didn’t get to go to that party though, because I was in Cranks, Kentucky for my first mission trip. I’ve only been back for 6 days!

Speaking of, how’s your relationship with GOD? Have you prayed, worshipped, read the bible, or gone to serve the lord recently? If not, get up and do so NOW! I don’t care what point in our life we’re in right now, do it! He was mocked, beaten, tortured, and crucified for you! A sinless man, who never did you or any other person any wrong!

Read the rest of the letter here.

Related articles: WJHL story ~ Johnson City girl’s life remembered

July Peace: A letter

Dear Ann:  Please repeat your column. The Ten Commandments of How to Get Along with People.  I read it every day for years whenever I opened the medicine cabinet, and as you can see, my copy is faded and torn. – Faithful in Florida. 
Dear Florida:  Here it is.  Thanks for asking. 
1. Keep skid chains on your tongue.  Always say less than you think.  Cultivate a low, persuasive voice.  How you say it often counts more than what you say. 
2. Make promises sparingly and keep them faithfully, no matter what the cost. 
3. Never let an opportunity pass to say a kind and encouraging word to or about somebody.  Praise good work regardless of who did it. 
4. Be interested in others: their pursuits, their work, their homes and their families. Make merry with those who rejoice; with those who weep, mourn.  Let everyone you meet, however humble, feel that you regard him as a person of importance. 
5. Be cheerful. Don’t burden or depress those around you by dwelling on your aches and pains and small disappointments. Remember, everyone is carrying some kind of burden. 
6. Keep an open mind. Discuss but don’t argue. It is a mark of a superior mind to be able to disagree without being disagreeable. 
7. Let your virtues, if you have any, speak for themselves. Refuse to talk about the vices of others. Discourage gossip. It is a waste of valuable time and can be destructive and hurtful. 
8. Take into consideration the feelings of others. Wit and humor at the expense of another is never worth the pain that may be inflicted. 
9. Pay no attention to ill-natured remarks about you. Remember the person who carried the message may not be the most accurate reported in the world. Simply live so that nobody will believe him. Disordered nerves and bad digestion are a common cause of back biting.  
10. Don’t be anxious about the credit due you. Do your best and be patient. Forget about yourself and let others “remember.” Success is much sweeter that way.

Article I kept

Article I kept

 

Little Things Mean a Lot

As I sip my coffee this morning, I looked around taking stock of what little that I have in my sanctuary.  I have already shared with you how small Room 306 is in my previous post. 
Come to think about it, there are a few items that are irreplaceable that has so much memories attached to it.  Little things mean a lot that money cannot buy. 
Mother kept this one and only letter that I wrote to her when I was just a mere child.  I only found this when we were going through her belongings when she died.  I should really move this to the bank’s safety deposit box. 
There is a pencil sketch of me that another pilgrim did, he was a Franciscan priest.  I was actually surprised when he called me to sit for him.  Hmm… my dirty mind working.  Mea culpa, he meant well. 
A cutting of the “bamboo plant”, Mother started this as single piece of stick.  Now it has grown big, bloomed and I have given away some cuttings for others.  This is the “Mother” plant.  But then again, how am I going to carry this out. 
I have an altar that has a couple of items that belongs to Mother; they are antiques of Madonna, Our Lady of Perpetual Help and Our Lady of Lourdes.  Mother has a devotion to Our Lady. 
Finally, I want to keep Mother’s fur coat.  I know, fur coat is now passé.  Wearing this occasionally makes me feel the warmth of Mother’s arms around me. 
Wishful thinking in response to Daily Prompt: Burnt.  Come and join us, it’s fun.