you are allowed to be crazy so long as you read the fine print

art by lora mathis

Last night I took an inordinate amount of shrooms and I suddenly found myself feeling every repressed feeling surrounding my father’s passing. I was just out with a friend and then BOOM! I was pressed down by the immensity of the love and loss I quieted nearly six years ago. And obviously because I am the most irrational rational human this side of the Mason-Dixon line then I decided I needed to go see my dad.


I wanted to be where my dad was. I wanted to fly directly to Kenya and sit with him for the first time since the pallbearers lowered his casket into the red soil of the village. I wanted to feel his presence one more time by any means necessary.

I regret now that I tried to share my experience with various family members and friends. I regret that I was vulnerable and naked and I showed the part of myself I worked so hard to hide from the world all these years.

And the emotions I felt were not limited to my father’s passing. I was also feeling the entire weight of years of repressing my emotions and ideas in order to make other people feel comfortable. I quieted my own heart song in order to allow other people to feel more at ease.

I wanted to go to Kenya because that is where it all began and daily I wonder who I would be had my parents not decided for me at such a young age that I had to grow up in America. That I had to be oppressed and silenced and broken down because of the color of my skin or a difference in chromosomes.

So I went to the airport. I made the decision to purchase a one way ticket and just go home. I just wanted to go home and be next to my father. I wanted to see my family. I wanted to just give the big ole middle finger to this American dream and go back to where my dreams all began.

I made the mistake of calling my mom and one of my best friends to tell them where I was and where I was going and of course they attempted to intervene. Christ, I have had so many interventions that I could probably start sitting in on them and guiding people as to the correct and incorrect modus operandi.

I was met by a delightful young man named Rod who worked for United Airlines and he told me he didn’t think I really wanted to go to Kenya with just a backpack and two books. He kept telling me what I wanted as if I wasn’t fully present and fully capable of discerning what going to Kenya on a whim meant.

But I did understand and I still understand. And when two paramedics showed up with six police officers I fully understood that what I wanted was irrelevant. I understood that it didn’t matter if I recited Dante’s Inferno in its original language and told you all of Anna Karenina’s family members names or what Sylvia Plath was wearing when she died.

None of that mattered because everyone else saw what they wanted to see even though I was trying to show them what I was seeing. I was seeing my truth. I was seeing things more clearly than I had ever seen them before.

I am back in Logan Square after signing an AMA form for the paramedics and rolling my eyes at the people in blue. Because I might be crazy but I am free from the chains and weight of other people’s expectations. And next time I’ll just smoke a joint and buy my boarding pass before going to O’Hare and I certainly will not call my mom or my best friend.

I am a smart, strong, and genuine individual and gone are the days of asking permission to be who I am. Gone are the days of feeling as if I am stepping on someone’s toes by experiencing the world the way I experience it. I have spent time being psychoanalyzed. I have taken the countless medications. I have talked to multitudes of people and no one has ever offered me something even close to insight as to why I got the brain that I did.

Why some days are technicolor and other days are grayscale and other days are a mix of the two.

Honestly, I don’t even care what color my days are anymore. I’m just happy I’m alive to see the entire rainbow and then some.



not so great expectations

art by wastedrita

I am currently living with my mother for a few months after yet another emotional breakdown…manic episode…depressive episode…growing pains? Whatever we’re calling it, I’m twenty-six and I live at my mom’s house. I have lived with her on and off for the last seven years and more recently I’ve lived with her while in and out of hospitals. I have talked it over with my therapist; this constant cycle of feeling good, productive, and happy for a couple months and then feeling hopeless, apathetic, and inexplicably sad for another couple months. It’s been nonstop for so long now I can’t remember my life being any other way.

It’s hard to accept these setbacks when I think about where I thought I was going to be ten years ago. I was supposed to be done with law school. I was supposed to be engaged or married and have a cute apartment in the city. I was supposed to be more than, than this, I guess. Everyone says not to compare yourself to others and I’m not. I’m comparing myself to myself…who I thought I would be.

I struggle with the fact that some of this is out of my control. I didn’t know when I was sixteen that my moodiness and constant desire to die would one day be diagnosed as depression. I didn’t have the vocabulary for it and neither did my parents. We all thought it was just a phase I would eventually grow out of.

Well, look ma, I’m twenty-six and I ain’t one bit grown.

It’s hard coping with the realities of my depression. I go to one doctor and they prescribe me one anti-depressant and then I go to another and they say the last doctor was wrong. I have some side effects with one medication but not enough to stop and then another makes me projectile vomit. And going off the medication entirely is not an option so I am left to drift about searching for some answers, some solution, to enable me to fucking manage my life.

It’s easy to feel sorry for myself and I do, quite frequently, actually. But it doesn’t help the situation. I am learning to manage my expectations with my depression, myself, and the world around me. When I was in the hospital a few weeks ago my doctor asked me what I wanted to do/how to proceed with my anti-depressants and I asked him if he could just give me a new brain. Because that’s a lot of what it is, this fucking brain that won’t quit with the overanalyzing, the paralyzing thoughts, the suicidal ideation…you name it, my brain probably did it within the last minute.

I don’t profess to know exactly what managing my expectations looks like but I imagine it involves a little more patience and kindness than I have shown myself in the past. Of course it’s not easy, nothing ever is, but I think eventually I’ll get a hang of it.

I guess I’m figuring out that while expectations are great and occasionally give the individual something to strive for, they can also cripple you and those who you push them on. God, remember Miss Havisham? She fucking sat in her wedding dress for decades.

killing myself in order to live

Image via Tumblr

I have died so many times. I have slit my wrists. I have drunk poison. I have driven drunk. I have taken way too many medications all at once and drank too much whiskey. I have been trying to leave this party since the moment I RSVP’d.

But yet for some reason I am still here. Day in and day out I am still here by some miracle.

My grandmother, Serah, decided one day after having fourteen children that she was done walking. Done talking. Done leaving her house. And so she remained for many, many moons after that day. My father paid for her to go to doctors, paid for her to be driven to Nairobi and have all of the tests done.

Unfortunately, she didn’t see a psychiatrist.

I have the luxury of a therapist in 2016. I will never know for certain why a woman would stay in the house for over thirty years and refuse to go to her eldest son’s funeral. But I also will always understand her choice.

Because, life.

Because life demands so much of us when we didn’t even ask to be here in the first place. My existence is pure chance. I am a genetic coincidence. I am the strangest mix up to ever grace the planet.

And yet, I am here.

I am here living in all this life. I am here sure that I am going to be murdered or a car is going to run me over because I was supposed to remain depressed forever. My sadness was a sure thing. It was reliable.

It is reliable.

And yet.

And yet.