why i don’t say anything

you pointed out the fact that i often don’t say anything to people about various situations, and instead i get upset about them and have a lot of energy around the situation. perfectly true and a long-standing pattern of mine.

however, i have learned over a long period of time of experiences — both real and anticipated — that i would rather not say anything, that to say something and have someone ignore me or blatantly disregard what i have to say or just not give a fuck about me. that is so, so painful. and it leaves me with a host of other problems.

i’ve just gone into the kitchen and looked at ANOTHER set of changes …. sigh. and the fact of the matter is … i already asked ONCE that my shit be left alone. so, already my direct request has been ignored. what makes me think that asking again is going to be honored when i’m dealing with someone who clearly cannot stop re-arranging things and definitely wants to have things exactly the way he wants them to the exclusion of others?

i came home after that month to find that the ORDER OF THE SPOONS, KNIVES and FORKS have been rearranged in the fucking silverware drawer. i’m going in there and grabbing for shit and pulling out the wrong utensil. it had been like that FOR MONTHS and i go away and he fucking changes it!?? are you SERIOUS?

YES!! I’m FUCKING CHARGED. that sounds god damn insane to me. again, i feel fucking gaslighted. like WHAT? my reality is being fucked with.

1. why wouldn’t you just change it when i first moved in?

2. you wait until i leave for a month …….. BECAUSE I AM DEALING WITH MY DAD’S DEATH? WHAT?

3. GOD. and this is the kind of stuff where either no one else acts like it’s a big deal or then i’m the fucking crazy one because I AM the one who is so whipped up. and it’s like … fuck that. i guarantee if you lived somewhere and came back from vacation (MUCH LESS your dad dying and the funeral and all your fucked up family stuff) and every time you went to the kitchen to get something … it wasn’t there or it wasn’t where you put it or you couldn’t even get a fucking spoon the first time when you reached into the drawer, you’d get a little batshit.

SO … it’s like … why don’t i want to say something? why should i assume i’m dealing with reasonable people here? (a reasonable person)  he’s nice and kind and does a lot of things that are fine … but again, that’s the part that makes me feel crazy, cause when it comes right down to it, it’s going to be the way he wants it around here, period.

and it’s like that with a bunch of different scenarios … asking people to do certain things or show up certain ways or whatever and just not having people be there. i can’t do that. i can’t handle that.

i had a friend tell me that when i came back to chicago, i could come over and she’d let me cry it out or whatever. that she’d be there for me. okay. that was HER offering that to me.  then she texts ME out of the blue the other day and asks me how i am. i tell her that it’s been hard as of late and that it’s (grief?) probably going to be slow going.

there was no response. literally not another text after that. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?

like i don’t even know what to do with that. i want to call her out, but what? seriously? i’m going to what? beg someone to be my friend? get mad because they won’t?

i don’t know. i realize how i don’t really have any friends anymore. i don’t know if i reached out again if any of that would change, but something like that really shows me that i don’t even want to risk it anymore. it makes me wonder what my life is really going to look like, to be honest.

i don’t know. i am sad. and i am lonely. no doubt about it.  i wish drinking and drugs could work for me. it would be so nice to have something to dull the pain.

you just never know

Strange what will get me to write, I guess. I’m hearing something about changing your links on your blog — that is, if you have a blog — to a setting called “no-follow” or something. So, being that I have 10 (TEN!) years of material here, I wanted to know a little more about this … cause, yeah, no. I’m not doing that.

And maybe that’s the problem … there are just so many things that I feel are .. dishonest, selling out, something.  But I’m always so jealous of all my friends who are bloggers and getting free this and trying out that and getting to blog about some product or something.  But, I feel real creepy championing my own blog or asking people to subscribe.

I can definitely see how SEO could become a part-time job, and I don’t see how that’s going to pay me in any way, so I don’t know if it’s worth the time … since I can barely manage to write. But it’s the ol’ Catch-22, because I guess by not doing any of these things, I limit the opportunities I have for people to see my work and be interested.

Part of the other problem is that I don’t have a mommy blog — I’m not in that great demographic of desired debutantes. I want to drive your Ford, cause I’ll make an amazing road trip video and get people hyped, not because I’m going to give a review of how great it is with the kids. And let’s face it, I don’t know when I can even come close to affording a car, much less a new, fancy one.  (But maybe I could get people INTERESTED in buying a new, fancy one.)

Okay, I’m going to test this link out and see what’s what. Drop a hybrid link in there — because if I’m going to drive this car around the country, I need to save on gas. Aww, fuck it, let’s go big or go home — who’s going to let me make a road trip video in a Tesla??

getting specific: life list

Originally posted 4.13.2013

So. I saw this 1,000 things list on Amy Guth’s blog the other day. And as is my habit, my first reaction was just pure jealousy. Like, gah. Why does she get to make this cool, rad list of shit to do? I’m sure she’s going to get to do it, too.

And then I heard the god voice: HEY! Make your own list. You’ve had a running list of shit that you’ve had floating in your head since ever. Just write it down. You’ve probably written it down on the blog before. So what? Write it down AGAIN.

She references a couple of other lists in her list. This guy’s 1,000 things list. The impossible list. How to write a life list from Chris Guillebeau, who Margaret loves.

So. I’m going to write my life list. I’m just going to start writing, and then maybe I’ll come back and re-organize. I’m going to link it to “Best of Smussyolay” so I can come back and edit, cross out, etc. I will also borrow from those other lists things I like. Here we go.

1. Learn to play guitar.
2. Ride in a hot air balloon.
3. Learn to speak fluent Spanish.
4. Learn to speak fluent French.
5. Drive a race car.
6. Drive the Autobahn.
7. Travel Europe for at least a month alone.
8. Travel Europe for three months total.
9. Obtain dual citizenship in another country.
10. Go to India.
11. Learn American Sign Language.
12. Have my own national talk show.
13. Be in a major motion picture.
14. Write and publish my book about manic-depression.
15. Write and publish my book about M*A*S*H.
16. Write and publish my memoir book(s).
17. Write and publish my book about Jesus/Christianity/spirituality.
18. Write and publish a daily meditation book.
19. Get a installation in a contemporary art museum.
20. Do a one-woman show.
21. Create a successful stand-up routine.
22. Meet Paul McCartney.
23. Meet Alan Alda.
24. Create a music festival with The Avett Brothers, Centro-Matic, Lucero, and others.
25. Write and publish my book about Frisbie.
26. Get the Avett Brothers interested in doing a book/s of sheet music for their records.
27. Get the Avett Brothers interested in doing a coffee table book of lyrics/illustrations/interviews with me.
28. Get Scott Avett to do a portrait of me.
29. Get new headshots done.
30. Lose 60 pounds.
31. Take a 500+ mile train trip.
32. Spend at least a month in Austin, TX.
33. Spend at least a month in Los Angeles, CA.
34. Spend at least a month in Portland, OR.
35. Spend at least a month in Alaska.
36. Spend at least a month in Hawaii.
37. Spend at least a year in NYC.
38. See the Redwood Forest.
39. See the Grand Canyon.
40. Go to Medieval Times.
41. Go to a Renaissance Faire.
42. Own a Greyhound.
43. Own a Wire Haired Fox Terrier or an Airedale.
44. Learn how to become a beekeeper.
45. See the Christmas Tree lighting in NYC.
46. See the Rockettes.
47. See a Broadway play during its first run.
48. Go to Thailand.
49. Learn to tap dance.
50. Learn to play harmonica.
51. Learn to play piano.
52. Read every work of Shakespeare and learn to speak intelligently about it.
53. Learn to start a fire from scratch.
54. Learn to shoot a gun.
55. Learn to waterski.
56. Visit the Vatican.
57. Visit the Eiffel Tower.
58. Visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
59. Visit the Smithsonian.
60. Visit the White House.
61. Meet Barack Obama.
62. Meet Bill Clinton.
63. See a taping of The Daily Show.
64. Meet Jon Stewart.
65. See a taping of The Colbert Report.
66. Meet Steven Colbert.
67. See a taping of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.
68. Meet Craig Ferguson.
69. Finish my “famous meetings” list.
70. Go to law school.
71. Go to seminary.
72. Take a cross-country road trip and make a film about it.
73. Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge.
74. Walk across the Golden Gate Bridge.
75. Visit the Gentle Barn.
76. Visit Cline’s Antiques.
77. Learn how to do a handstand.
78. Buy/own a graystone.
79. Own a sports car — Porsche/BMW, etc.
80. Write a screenplay.
81. Go apple picking.
82. Go strawberry picking.  Did this summer 2013 with Melisa Wells, Tracey Becker, Tracey’s daughter and my niece!!!
83. See the Northern Lights.
84. Learn to surf.
85. Have a garden.
86. Have nude pictures taken of myself.
87. Get my breasts painted for charity.
88. Record books for blind people.
89. Get paid voiceover work.
90. Visit the Holy Land.
91. Visit the Pyramids.
92. Learn CPR.
93. Travel Italy.
94. Visit the Holocaust memorials.
95. Visit historical sites in Washington DC.
96. Learn about and travel the sites of the Underground Railroad.
97. Own and raise some sheep.
98. Fast for 24 hours.
99. Do a proper juice fast/cleanse.
100. Engage in a regular yoga practice.
101. Engage in a regular meditation practice.
102. Take a cooking class.
103. Get a “good” set of knives.
104. Have a “signature” dish.
105. Visit Australia.
106. Visit Disney World.
107. Visit Disney Land.
108. Get invited to and visit Club 33.
109. Visit Costa Rica.
110. Visit Machu Picchu.
111. Do a sweat lodge with a Native American medicine man/woman.
112. Get a facial.
113. Attend a coffee club meeting in Spanish.
114. See Fleetwood Mac live in concert.
115. See James Taylor live in concert.
116. See Bruce Springsteen live in concert.
117. Go see a concert at Red Rocks.
118. Attend the Austin City Limits music festival.
119. Attend the South by Southwest music festival.
120. Attend the South by Southwest tech festival.
121. Go hang gliding.
122. See Hall and Oates live in Concert.
124. See Huey Lewis and the News live in concert.
125. Get a pedicure.
126. Ride a segway.
127. Ride a century bike ride.
128. Own a boat.
129. See the Blue Man Group.
130. See a Cirque de Soleil show.
131. Do a Polar Bear Plunge.
132. Catch up on at least 50 literary classics.
153. Own less than 500 items for a year.
154. Go have a non-alcoholic drink at the Violet Hour.
155. One at least one piece of Chanel clothing.
156. Do The Artist’s Way with at least one other person.
157. Do A Course in Miracles, all the way through for one year.
158. Read The Bible, cover to cover.
159. Read The Koran, cover to cover.
160. Try a colonic.
161. Go to a Packer Game in Lambeau Field.
162. Organize a fun flash mob.
163. Go caroling.
164. Buy a kayak and go kayaking regularly.
165. Make a cab driver documentary.
166. Get involved with Improv Everywhere.
167. Own one piece of really nice jewelry.
168. Learn how to swing dance.
169. Learn how to apply a smoky eye shadow.
170. Finish my bachelor’s degree.
171. Learn Reiki.
172. Learn how to/go scuba diving.
173. Learn how to be proficient in horseback riding.
174. Have high tea at the Peninsula.
175. Stay a weekend at the Drake Hotel.
176. Create Sleepover 2.0.
177. Go to Cedar Point.
178. Ride the Navy Pier Ferris Wheel.
179. Visit the Statue of Liberty.
180. Visit the St. Louis Arch.
181. Go to every baseball stadium in the United States/Canada.
182. See Mt. Rushmore.
183. Visit the National Parks.
184. Travel the length of the 101.
185. Travel Route 66.
186. Learn to knit.
187. Learn to code.
188. Get ordained on the internet. Universal Life 8.25.13
189. Get real ordained.
190. Get a tattoo of some Beatles lyrics.
191. Get a Chicago tattoo.
192. Get a tattoo that has realistic bees and flowers.
193. Get a tattoo of two swallows holding a banner that says “Love and tolerance of others is our code.”
194. Earn a million dollars.
195. Have a year’s worth of savings in the bank.
196. Become completely debt free.
197. Visit all of the Scandinavian countries.
198. Trace my ancestry. Started an account on ancestry.com 12.26.13.
199. Purchase an inversion table.
200. Visit the Newberry Library.
201. Visit the Garfield Conservatory.
202. See a performance in Radio City Music Hall.
203. Visit the Louvre.
204. Visit MOMA.
205. Own a first edition copy of the book Alcoholics Anonymous.
206. Own a pair of Chuck Taylors in every color.
207. Assemble a basic wardrobe list of very high quality items.
208. Get a high quality, expensive mattress.
209. Learn how to sing harmony.
210. Learn how to heel-toe shift.
211. Learn basic graphic design.
212. Walk some portion of the Appalachian Trail.
213. Perform in a play. Was in a production of Sweetie Maude this fall as a chorus member.
213a. Perform in a play in a major role.
214. Properly cut a grass lawn.
215. Put together all my mementos into proper scrapbooks.
216. Get an agent for print/commercial work.
217. Buy a piece of original art that is worth at least $500. (12.2013 — I did commission a piece of original art that was much less than $500, but I still did that.)
218. Own/ride a Vespa-ish scooter (if not a Vespa outright).

I’m going to publish this, but I will definitely be back to add to it, since I’m thinking of more things to add, all day, every day. To be continued …

Saying goodbye to Holly Laurent

Well, I guess this is turning out to be a series. Me saying goodbye to the Mainstage performers as they move on from Second City to pursue other things, namely, moving to Los Angeles and broadening their horizons. Mary Sohn is already sunning herself and Tim Baltz, who I saw for a minute last night, is hot on her heels.

Last night was another one of those nights, where I watched the third act of a Mainstage show, as it transformed itself into a combination of tribute and send-off and gratitude list and public love letter. The goodbye set has fast become a whirlwind of cognitive dissonance for me — it’s nothing I look forward to, because it means someone I’ve really loved watching is leaving; but it’s a night I absolutely love, because I laugh and cry and watch people who spend their lives sharing themselves with people for a living open up and be just alittlebit more vulnerable and share just alittlebit more in an effort to honor their friendship.

It was Holly Laurent’s turn last night. One of the things that people kept saying about Holly was how kind and generous she is. In my personal experience, I have found this to be true. I have come to understand it is always the little things in life. Always. It’s not going to be the death or the dire or the doom that will drive me to drink and despair. Instead, it will be the dreary and the drab and the last damned little thing. The devil truly is in the details.

But, where the devil is found, so are the angels. And as I heard Holly being described by her friends, I already knew. I knew that she was one of the people that people came to see six nights a week — one of the faces whose headshot is lit up underneath glass — that took the time to look me in the eye and ask me how I was doing and give me a genuine smile. This means everything. If you ever wonder if a genuine interaction means something, it does. Even the ones that take seconds. Don’t forget that those small moments are all we’re really even here for.

It’s not like everyone just clomps around here, being self-important and dickish. But some people just seem to know that they’re here to be a person first and a performer later. And Holly is one of those people. To wit: She was in the building when I was working reception once. She had her dog, Sister (pron. “Seee-ster”) with her. A lovely, goldenblondie lady.(1)  And I’m a nutter for pets, especially dogs who remind me of my family dog, Johnny.

And I talked to Sister (and to Holly), and petted her and loved her (just Sister, not Holly, although you kind of want to) and just hung out for a second. And Holly was just  … nice. I don’t know.  You ever sometimes feel like the world has run out of normal, nice people? Well, chalk one up for L.A., cause they’re getting one of the best. She’s just nice. She was always nice when she came to tell us the cast had ordered food and she was always nice when she needed tickets or had to pick up a package. Like just … overly nice. Respectful. Kind.

The proof is always in the pudding, too, because as she went down the list of people she wanted to thank (the exiting performer always goes last and gets to say their goodbyes and farewells), she had a whole section of nightstaff that she called out by name with specific thank yous and inside jokes and love, love, love. The Beatles said that’s all we need, and I’m on board.

I knew for about a week or so that she was going to be leaving, and the other night when I was walking through Mainstage, I caught a scene that she and Edgar Blackmon do early in the show. It’s an improvised scene where they are a married couple, telling the story of how they first met — sharing secrets and small delights — and it’s truly a joy to watch. One of my favorite scenes from this show.

I sat there and had one of those moments where you just know. You just know you’re just right NOW. And I also was supremely aware of fucking good Edgar and Holly are. How much they love each other as friends and performers and how many gifts they give each other on stage. How in the moment they are and how wonderful it is to be in the moment with them. And no matter how many people come through that room and watch them every week, no matter how many people just want to “come and laugh,” those moments are truly something special. They are where the real work happens. It’s like having a good meal. It’s where all the magic happens. And I made sure to remember how it was, how it felt; I made sure that I’d tell them before she left. And last night, I did.

Blessings and love and light to you on the journey, lady. Everything you give coming back to you tenfold.

(1) Note: goldenblondie isn’t a thing. I just can’t remember if she’s 100% poodle or if she’s got other snout mixed in.

there are other ways to fight

I’ve been trying to blog over at Chicago Now at An Unquiet Chicagoan, doing the spotlight on what it’s like to live with manic-depression thing, so I’ve not been so bloggy over here, but I haven’t been super consistent here recently, anyway, truth be told. But, I did want to maintain a separate blog presence here, and I hope to continue to do so.

I have something today that definitely isn’t mental illness related, but still is super smussyolay. It’s something that struck me just now and something I want to write about. I saw someone post something on the old FB about how they were celebrating Labor Day weekend, and then I remembered — HEY! It’s Labor Day weekend.

Then, it struck me … it’s Labor Day weekend. Where are all the posts about how much the people before us have sacrificed for us to get us … a WEEKEND? Where are all the posts of gratitude and thanks and pictures of past strikers and riots and details about people who DIED so we could have weekends and eight hour days and 40-hour work weeks and the end of child labor and the beginning of overtime and government oversight?

There aren’t any. It’s crickets. It’s either:

Continuing posts about Miley Cyrus and twerking OR

If there are posts about politics it’s about how the government is going to continue our brutal rampage throughout the world and invade/attack/reign hellfire on Syria. How we are gearing up for yet another war.

No one is talking about why we celebrate this weekend as a honor to those who have come before us (yes! Unions!) and why we are in dire need to help more people get back into situations where they can avail themselves of organized labor (better minimum wage! health benefits! the ability to organize!). Instead, people — regular, hardworking people, who are barely scraping by themselves — people who are losing their vacations and weekends and eight hour workdays, too — are being brainwashed that these things are keeping them down somehow and that they will suffer if everyone is granted access to a better wage and healthcare. They, too, will lose their jobs and be at a disadvantage if companies have to pony up and treat people with dignity and respect.

You know who will lose anything — and then, just a little? The multinational companies. The huge billion dollar companies. It’s couched that the little guys will be forced to lay off workers or close completely. BUT — if the people who made obscene amounts of money actually PAID THEIR TAXES, this wouldn’t be an issue. Don’t you see?

The Republicans talk about personal responsibility all the time. How everyone should be responsible for their own shit, for taking care of business and handling stuff like a MAN, damnit! But these same people are the ones who allow corporations (who, apparently are people, in their eyes) to essentially act like the welfare queens they so bitterly despise. The corporations act like the most hateful stereotype the Republicans drag out, time and time again. Corporations, smoking crack, using food stamps, living in our house on our dime. And laughing in our faces. Oh, and did I mention, being heinous felons who commit crime after crime showing absolutely NO remorse? Yeah, that.

You don’t have to be a brave man or woman serving this military to fight for your country. Maybe you’re working a minimum wage job (or two) and are working with a local union organizer to try and get people interested in joining a union. If you are, I salute you. I honor you. That’s hard and scary work on so many levels. And it’s needed very badly right now. Much more so than sending people off to made up wars to die or come back maimed and permanently scarred in myriad of ways, and then left to fend for themselves.

The first union organizers fought in a variety of ways, often physically. Sometimes, they paid with their lives. I hope that the people fighting now fight so they get their lives back. Do your part — get your Labor Day groceries at Costco, yeah?

new chapter

So. I have a second blog. And I mean, a real second blog. Not the tens of blogs I’ve started and never done anything with over the years. It’s called An Unquiet Chicagoan, and it’s hosted over at Chicago Now. It’s a riff on An Unquiet Mind, and it’s my journey to, through, and with manic-depression. Stop by.

I hope that you come check out my Facebook page and that you read both site — I am going to genuinely endeavor to keep writing here about things NON manic-depression related. I just thought it was time to step up and really try and focus on something that might help me write/get that book and that can help others. Hopefully, with a bigger platform, things will start moving.

I don’t know if it was/is the right thing to do, and I definitely want to keep up with The Smussyolay. Here’s to new adventures.


So, I just found out that some women are doing a reading show called “Don’t Call Me Crazy” — where people do readings about mental illness in order to raise awareness and erase stigma.  One of the ladies, Jennifer Killi Marshall, has her own blog called Bipolar Mom Life, and I’m just getting hit with what I’ve known all along.

I AM an advocate for those with mental-illness. I am an educator. I am a writer and a performer and a person with many creative talents. I am supposed to be using this for some reason, and my fears around it aren’t making me successful, so why not just do what I’m meant to do?

Seriously — I get interviews and I don’t get the job. I don’t know if they’re reading this, but I can’t imagine that they went back to 2004 for some of the really good stuff. So, maybe I’m supposed to focus on what is in front of me — the fact that I have much intimate knowledge about how to live as a dually-diagnosed human being — and I don’t do such a bad job of communicating about it, either.

Still looking for a supportive writing group/people to hold me accountable on the reg. I definitely need that. But, I think I’m going to just try and do what I’ve always done when I’m being on point — tell the truth.