Saturday, April 19, 2008

Do you smile to tempt a lover, Mona Lisa?

Mona Lisa Mania

The Mona Lisa is over 500 years old and...she's 83% happy... so we can have a little fun with her, now can't we? This is a great website for wasting time.

Many thanks to my blog friend Ben Heine for providing the link to Mona Lisa Mania on his page.

Leonardo da Vinci

Friday, April 18, 2008

Bound By The Beauty

It was such a beautiful day but I'm so, so tired. I'll say goodnight to you, my friends, with this infectiously positive song by Jane Siberry - Bound By The Beauty and a beautiful image by Matisse.

Peace & Love,

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A Blog Award And Why I Am So Sickeningly Sentimental

My Blog Award from Bobbie
I received a blog award today. A simple, sweet message from the lovely blogger Bobbie at Almost There. I can't think of anyone in the blogosphere whom I could be happier to be considered a friend of. I hope that when I am in my seventies, as Bobbie is, I am half as sharp, active and strong of character as she is.

I'm overly sentimental. That is the truth. I'm just so full of love. Really. It's not an act. I'm not trying to hide anything. I don't twirl around or bounce or throw my arms around everyone all the time. But I'm happy inside. Sickeningly happy. Most of the time.

And you know what? I deserve it. I suffered from depression since I was about five years old. The family genes of depression overtook me despite having loving and dedicated parents and basically a pretty good life.

I finally understood what was wrong when, after having a bout with postpartum depression, I began to ask questions about what was making me feel so worthless, angry and hopeless. After trying talk therapy with an ineffective and manipulative male therapist (who, by the way never once mentioned medication as an option), I finally went to my family doctor and was prescribed an antidepressant. I tried several until I hit on the one that worked for me.

Then came the deterioration of my marriage and my daughter's diagnosis of bipolar disorder at age sixteen. Here again, the mental health professionals failed us. After taking our daughter to a handful of therapist for what we had no clue what to call, never once was the possibility of bipolar disorder or depression even mentioned to us. It was called a "family systems problem" or a "parenting problem". Until the day when I found my Supergirl curled up in a corner frightened out of her mind because she didn't know what was wrong with her. She had crashed. She also confessed something to me so horrible, that when I found out all I wanted to do was to run outside to scream and cry as loud as my voice could possibly allow: she had been raped by her boyfriend. A kid we had welcomed into our family and had treated with kindness and respect.

As if all of that wasn't enough, Supergirl also came out as a lesbian at our rural high school. You can imagine how well that went over with most of the student population. She was now not only ostracized for being a mental patient but also for being gay.

The next two years were a hell-hole of admittances to psychiatric hospitals, visits with shrinks and therapists and a roster of medications that would make you toes curl and your skin turn green. The lithium caused her to gain about 40 lbs. and created acne that left scars. Another medication caused her hair to fall out in large chunks. Imagine going from being a beautiful, slender dancer with a pimple here and there to gaining that much weight and having so much acne it was hard for you to look at yourself in the mirror. Imagine also being a brilliant student and having your intellect dulled by medications to help you sleep and lessen the anxiety caused by the disease and the trauma. It tore us up so badly that nothing, absolutely nothing could have made a dent in the pain and sorrow I felt during that time. What saved me from ending up a psych patient myself was that I had the anti depressive to keep me stable. And my daughter needed so very badly. Luckily for me, I have a garden-variety depression that is easily treated with the proper meds. Unluckily for Supergirl , she has a stubborn, very severe form of bipolar disorder and at that time was also suffering from PTSD from the rape. She was on suicide watch several times, for weeks at a time.

Amazingly, Supergirl I was able to graduate from high school with honors and in the top 10% of her class. She would have graduated with a higher class rank but naturally, her grades dropped to some extent. She was accepted early decision to her dream college and though she had to take a year off for medical leave, she will be graduating on time in 2009,most likely with honors. During the year's medical leave she was finally put on the right medication, Lamictal, which is being termed a miracle drug for people with bipolar disorder. It is indeed. SGI has experienced no side effects. She has lost all the extra weight and her skin is nice again. More importantly, she is incredibly, sickeningly happy. Like her mother.

Do you see why I call her Supergirl?

My Supergirl is in love with a beautiful, brilliant and caring young woman; her peer at Mount Holyoke College. They plan on being married when they complete their post-graduate work. We are thrilled for them and I gain another daughter. So happy.

So, you see. I really am happy. When you've traveled with your beloved child to hell and back and come out the other side into the light, you have every reason to feel happy, thankful and proud. You find out what's really important to you. You don't sweat the small stuff. You take nothing and no one for granted. You learn to love your ex-husband as your friend. You learn that it is more important to give. You learn that love is everything.

If you've made it this far, I thank you, kind people. I really needed to let that out and it feels good.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Love Is A Verb. Superlove Is A Movement

Below is an excerpt from today's post at Feministing, about the V-Day Event of The Decade in NOLA. I took this away with me to tuck away here for future thought.

I hope you check out Feministing, if you have not done so already. My twenty year old daughter, Supergirl I and I both read this blog. In fact, she turned me on to it. Shared reading of the blog gives us fodder for discussion. After frequent requests from SPI that I stop burying my head in the sand and get back to form on issues of importance, I can now say at least that I am trying.

I have tremendous respect for you, SPI, although your sharp mind works way too fast for your aging mother to keep up with! And thanks, darlin', for your constant vigilance on behalf of justice and freedom.

Then came Eve. After a few moments of pumping us up with rah rah vagina VAGINA, she got down to the overall mission of Superlove. She began by reminding us that in our daily interactions we often fail to listen to the full stories of individuals. We avoid this to bypass the yucky feelings of guilt and responsibility that arise when we come in contact with injustices. “We need to take a deep breath this weekend and listen to everyone’s stories,” she pleaded. She encouraged us to see each panel, performance, dance, and song as an offering that we could take or leave. To resist the urge to pick apart something we did not, or could not, relate to and just let Superlove be.

Click here to the video Until The Violence Stops. It's well worth the view. I cried.

"It's the time to believe in yourself."

April 13 - A Dedication


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