Borderline Personality Disorder Blog. Bipolar Disorder Blog. BPD. DBT. Cleveland. A Fragment in Orange.


He watches as I put on my fishnet thigh highs. The right leg first, the left leg second. The band on the left leg won’t lie flat. It rolls downwards and becomes a tourniquet. I grunt with the effort of rolling it back up, flat. Two more tries and then Fuck it. He watches like I’m some girly girl with mystical sensual powers.

He got here late tonight and I berated him before he walked through the front door. “Come in,” I finally said, and turned, to let him stew as he followed me down the long hallway to the living room. Sitting on the couch he had a funny look on his face. I don’t know him well enough yet to read such a look. “What’s wrong?” The same funny look. “What’s wrong?” A tear dropped from a dark brown eye and rolled down his cheek.

I am irreverent about death. I’m irreverent about most things. There was a death, close to him, just a few hours ago. “But that’s not why I’m late,” he said. He also uses humor to mask the real deal.

I wasn’t looking forward to him coming over. I invest very little of my emotional self in the people I draw near. I am cold. I’m the proud owner of a big tall wall. The wall is up. Always. A few nights ago I told him I was done. With us, with all of it. It was a misunderstanding, he said. But I was done. No remorse. No hard feelings. Next.

I later played the scene back to a friend and she advised me to give him another chance. You have to stop walking away so quickly, she said. Give him another chance.

I no longer trust my own judgment. If you tell me what to do, I’ll do it. Because god knows I don’t trust myself any more.

Tonight I held his hand. Held him close. Sucked his cock. Twice. Fixed him a drink. Soothed him. It’ll be alright. You poor thing.

Inside, I felt nothing.


please don't reproach me
for how empty my life has become

. pj harvey .


I am anger. Hurt from inward blown outward in hate. Self-loathing turns ugly when spat into the faces of those who cross my path. My brow is perpetually furrowed. My jaw perpetually clenched. Angry me in this blue collar town.

Driving home tonight you said that you've never seen me this quiet. I smile at your remark because on the inside I am screaming at the top of my lungs. I am screaming that I hate you. That I hate everything about you. Go home and go to bed. I hate you.

I am not from this town. It chose me. It defeated me. It beat me down. And here I stay.

I couldn't keep my eyes off of her tonight. Off of her slender fingers and stick-straight hair. The twist of her lips into a sly, shy smile. Steal me away. Take me from this town. Fix me up. Make me whole. Let's cut ourselves up and open, and bleed together.


There is you and me in the dark, and you and me in the light; two separate entities that rarely coexist peacefully.

I try to imagine what it must be like to be loved, fully and completely. Accepted for who and what I am. Loved, in spite of it all. Loved, because of it all. I try to imagine what making love might feel like in this ultimate scenario. Love and sex mixed together, seamlessly. I cannot say with absolute certainty that this coexistence is impossible in real life. I hope for it, but I don’t expect it. The ideal, in practicality, is bits and pieces from this person and that person, at this time, and at that time. Never all at the same time with the same person. This idea doesn’t sadden me. Instead, I am happy to have had the realization. It’s certainly better than chasing a fantasy, to be eternally disappointed with the same lackluster result each and every time.

In you I experience the acceptance of another. I do not need to hide myself. I’m sure I hide some things some times, but it’s not intentional. You never know what tricks the mind will play. I trust you with what you see in me. Good and bad. In the dark you embrace me, seemingly enraptured by all you see, hear, smell, feel and taste. In the light, I don’t trust you at all.

I am not a patient person. I want it all. I want it now. I want more. More and more and more until I have too much and I’m not at all happy with what I’ve got. Are we all like this?

We have tried it many different ways, at many different times. Each new attempt embraced wholly as if we had never failed before. I would like to know what you’re thinking. Something much simpler, I’d imagine. It doesn’t really matter. My perception is reality. As long as I don’t expect anything from you, we’ll be just fine.

But I will expect something, and we will fail again. This is the last time. I promise.
from her, with love:

My answer to every passionless day is to remember you. I think about the first time our tongues met and how for that second I was so swept away that nothing existed but that kiss. I remember not wanting to tell you that I loved you, and I simply couldn't NOT say it because it was too right. I think about how you stopped touching me long enough to say that you loved me too, and how much I wanted to hear you say that. It was like the words went from your lips right down my naked spine and into some part of me that even I can't seem to reach. And I think about how even now, when I remember it, the memory has that same effect on me. If for a second you felt the same way, then this has all been worth it.


Headache. My head aches. Or, my jaw aches. I've been grinding my teeth in my sleep. Head fuzzy, thoughts disjointed, I palpate my eyeballs and imagine what might happen if I removed them from their sockets.

D. came over tonight, his usual spicy vanilla cookie cologne wafting into my house before he had cleared the front door. He is very thin. At work I always stop what I'm doing to watch him walk away, down the long hallway -- his white dress shirt tucked into the too-big dress pants that are cinched tightly, bunched up, at his waist. I often wonder if his wife cooks for him.

At first I was awkward around him, painfully aware of the gold band on his finger and painfully aware of my desire to kiss him. He showed me how to access the pinball game on my computer. He's much older than I (I forget sometimes) and I'm tickled by his excitement when he demonstrates this or that new technology. Boyish wonder. Glee. I see who he must have been as a child. His eyelashes are girlishly long. They splash against the lenses of his glasses when he blinks. At first I was awkward around him.

I am the cute, quirky, friendly girl in the day-glo orange and palm-treed scrubs. I find it hard to believe that anyone takes me seriously. My laugh disguises the real me. My stomach was in my throat when I first put my hand on his. Work would be forever awkward if he pulled his hand away. But he didn't. And it isn't.

The smell of his cologne makes me salivate. He grins when I lick his neck. It's only when I unbutton his shirt that he gets serious. I get goosebumps when he gets serious. Because when he gets serious he looks me straight in the eye, and I cannot hide.

He is in a bowling league with his wife. When he told me that, I laughed. Maybe he is less worldly than I like to think he is. "Do you wear matching shirts?" I ask. I like to ask questions about his wife. At first he was annoyed, as if I wanted to hear him put her down. He seems comfortable talking about her now, comfortable with satiating my curiosity, but he never brings her up unless prompted. Some nights I lie awake picturing the two of them sleeping next to one another. I must make peace with the frustration of knowing that there are sides to him that I'll never see.

Tonight he fucked me as I perched on the bathroom countertop with one foot in one sink and the other foot in the other sink. I still have the imprint of the faucets on the backs of my thighs. I end up with bruises in the most unusual places, and I admire them until they're almost gone -- the yellowing of each bruise marks his imminent return. He raised his head and gazed into my eyes when he came, and I looked away.

Tonight, as I buttoned up his shirt, he took quick, short puffs on his cigarette, in a hurry to get home. "How's seven thirty on Thursday sound?" he asked. I fastened his tie and tried to ignore the Patsy Cline song playing in my head.


Tonight I lost god.

As a child, I was persuaded to believe. I was told that I must have faith. I never achieved faith, but I did believe -- in something. Not in the good and the love and the we are the world way, but instead in the sin, shame and punishment way.

Even with god dead and buried I remain fearful of him. I think twice before I spell his name in lowercase. I am afraid to evoke the wrath of the angry Old Testament grandfather of the clouds, his long scraggly beard chock full of plagues.

To be fearful suggests that I might want to believe again.

I say that I lost god. If only I were truly that brave.


She is not one to stop moving. Up and down, back and forth, her constant activity is dizzying. Now she's searching for songs on the jukebox. Now she's talking to strangers at the bar. Now she's dancing with her toothless neighbor. In the bathroom, a dirty and smoky closet, she kisses me hard, our front teeth bashing together. She laughs, "less teeth" she says, and kisses me again, and she's out the door leaving a trail of energy behind her. I am taken aback, slightly disturbed, and wanting more. This time, a quiet, thoughtful, slow and long kiss. She is now flirting with the racist boy who never looks her way.

She drinks. A lot. When she gets up from the bar stool to do whatever it is she's doing now, I drink from her glass, hoping that it might make a difference in what happens next. Her spirit is both intoxicating and frustrating. I want her to myself. I want her openness. Her passion. Her intensity. I have my own, but it is accompanied by an ugly darkness lurking just beneath the surface.

We were not planning on staying long. One free drink. I haven't known this girl long, but I already know that one is never enough. Nothing is enough.

She wants to take the racist boy home with us. The thought is both amusing and exciting. Maybe he deserves the exposure to this girl and her silent disease. It's a cruel thought and I'm glad when he leaves the bar alone.

I've had too much to drink and want to go home. It's that time of night when a sad and ugly glow is cast upon those of us remaining. We wait for someone to return with her five dollars' worth of cocaine. "I swear I haven't used since August," she says. "I don't normally do this." At ten o'clock the next morning she will be at the methadone clinic. I shake my head in disapproval and she gives me a look meant to manipulate me in her favor.

Back at her place I sit in her room and watch MTV. I'm desperately trying to sober up so I can go home, back to the normalcy of my own life. She is upstairs, at the toothless neighbor's, doing a few more lines. When she returns she is in the midst of a full-blown panic attack. "Do you know CPR?" she asks. "If I die, will you do CPR on me?" I roll my eyes and she gives me that look again.
My patient is a man named Albert. A pleasant man, he asks me how I'm doing today.

I work in the dark and don't notice the blood until I pull the white towel away from his groin. Even in the dark, the contrast between white and red is unmistakable. I pull back the sheet and see the long slit in his belly, lacing like a corset bringing the edges of the cut together. He is eviscerating, intestine bulging out this way and that. I look at his face for clues of pain, death. He remains pleasant.

He has been coughing and frothy phlegm has dribbled down his chin, across his double chin, and now collects in a pool on the neckline of his gown. It is pink-tinged. I wipe his chin with a washcloth, expecting the rusty metal smell of blood. Instead, it's something more familiar. Cotton candy. Sweet. Unmistakable. I laugh at myself.

I change the sheets, throw everything bloody and cotton-candied into the laundry and cover him with clean white brilliance. For a few minutes we sit together in silence.
We tell our stories.
We listen and empathize.
We don't omit details.
We don't tell lies.

And still, no one will ever really know.

There was this woman. The sweetest woman you'd ever want to meet. She was married, to a history professor I think, and had five children. One day, she stabbed her five children to death. They say she gave them something first, a sedative or something. They say the husband was having an affair. The woman jumped from ten floors up. They found her on the ground.

We tell our stories.


The familiar melancholy of your guitar reaches me and tears flow. I have no reason to cry. The familiarity, those sounds, open up a space in me that I did not know existed. Haunting melancholy and I could not feel better than I do right now. Strong. Capable. Real. Fine with it all. I will forever profess my love for you. I give you my soul. I give you my will. The familiar melancholy of your guitar, my twin. I am alright.


I like the time between eight and ten. Bellies full, but not too full. Showered, pajamaed, content. We kiss and you taste sweet, but not too sweet. I moan into your open mouth and the thoughts of fighting are gone. If we could take the time between eight and ten and link the years into infinity, discarding the time between ten and eight, we would be happy. Always. (Barring sickness and a death in the family and too-long telephone calls and mandatory overtime and holidays.)


There are things that you don't know about me. Some of these things I didn't know about myself until, well, until recently. I've changed. These changes -- some of them are unperceivable to me. I accept this. People tell me, You're so different, You've changed. I take their word for it and add those unperceivable changes to all of the other changes that I've witnessed with my own two eyes, so to speak.

Do you wonder about the difference? Of course I'm thinking of it now, but I don't know if I really wonder about the difference in you. I picture you the same as you were. As if a person can't change their stripes. With wisdom and insight, with effort, can we change who we are? Introvert to extrovert. Asshole to angel. Egoist to altruist. Glass-half-empty to glass-half-full. Maybe we'll have this conversation one day, twenty, thirty, fifty years from now.

Ten thousand years from now, will I then be able to talk to you without thinking that maybe she's just pieces of me you've never seen?


I have a yellow bath mat. The yellow of diet margarine. The color is in sharp contrast to the dullness of the rest of the bathroom. Stained-tooth white shower curtain. Day-old-cheerios-in-milk beige toilet. Big-toe-toenail yellow-grey sink.

Over the past few days when sitting on the toilet, I've gazed, transfixed, at the new stain on the yellow bath mat. The stain of one droplet of blood. I don't know whose blood it is. I suppose it could be mine, but I can't remember the last time I bled, and if I can't remember the last time I bled, I'd think I would have noticed it by now. It might not be blood at all. I don't waste the time on thinking what else it might be, because it really does look like blood.

We showered today. First me, then you. At the end of it all, the bath mat was wet, and the blood stain had bled. Now, each time I go to the bathroom, I sit on the toilet and wonder at how that one small droplet has slowly become a very large, watered-down patch of overripe watermelon red. I wonder how it will end.


I am not impressed that you are depressed. I understand that we take turns with our moods. That's life, they say. We do not have enough time and history invested to be able to take a crap on one another, willy-nilly, guilt-free, in this love-me-as-i-am way. Don't you ever talk to me that way again. I am man enough to say that I'm wrong, when I am wrong. I am man enough to say that I'm sorry, even when I think that what I've done isn't that big of a deal. If it matters to you, it matters to me, and I'm man enough to wrap my arms around you and expect nothing in return.

You are gone now. I welcome the break, but I am a little too drunk a little too soon.


My mother has been here in my house with me for one week. When I got up this morning, on my way to pee, she stopped me in the hallway and told me that I need to start recycling, and that I need to stop drinking pop because it leaches calcium from my bones. That was just one trip to the bathroom. I've been told I need to stop eating so late at night. That people shouldn't eat after 7 p.m. I've been told that my guy friend will break my heart. I've been told "Well fuck you too" when I never said fuck you in the first place. I've been told that I will end up in a nursing home by the time I'm fifty because of the way I treat my body, and that I will be all alone. My mother threatened to clean my room so I opened the top drawer of my dresser and showed her my glass dildo. "Oh yuck" was the response. She's left my bedroom alone since then.

Guy Friend saved me from my mother and I waited in the car with my legs propped up on the dash while he went into Walmart to buy a new car battery. It's this one Walmart in a particularly impoverished part of town. My favorite one to people-watch at. The late night customers saunter in and out, unlike the daylight Walmart trippers with a purpose. Watching these late night people makes me sad, and feeling sad makes me feel better. Maybe that makes me a bad person.

Mom and I sat down to eat dinner in front of the tv the other night. The night before I'd played a detective show, lots of blood and guts, my mom grimacing as she tried to eat her food. I forget sometimes about the gore factor. When we sat down in front of the tv this time, I went through my tivo list two or three times, trying to find something upbeat and blood-free. The best I could do was play a documentary about a young woman who was raped in Sudan. We tried watching for ten seconds and could not continue. Then I chose a documentary about sexual abuse at the hands of a Catholic priest. It's too bad that I'd already watched this weeks America's Next Top Model episode.

Sitting outside of Walmart Guy Friend told me that he had a pit in his stomach. I had been wondering, since I heard his voice on the phone, what was going on. Aloof. Withholding. "I don't want to be the man who makes you give up on all men forever," he said.

I miss the relationships of my youth. Believing in romance and fate. Optimism in anything that feels good to the skin, to the lips.

Guy Friend hadn't shaved since I last saw him, days ago. He was wearing a ball cap and a white t-shirt with holes around one armpit -- holes from repeated washings and repeated wearings. I watched him walk into Walmart, the sense of familiarity subsiding when I realized that perhaps this was the first time I'd watched him walk away from me.

The most intimate details of a person -- you find it funny what strikes you as sexy. For me it's to see how he acts in public, not knowing that I'm watching. Who is he when he's not with me? Almost as good is when he knows that I am watching and doesn't know quite how to change his mannerisms into those that would be most appealing.

Sexy is the awkwardness another feels when being watched. I am cruel, lusting after that which causes insecurity in the people I claim to care about.

Before my mother arrived I imagined that she would find my bottles of whiskey in my kitchen and dump out most of the liquor and replace it with water. Like what I did to her vodka when I was in the ninth grade, the light pencil mark almost invisible on the white label. I suppose if I drink it and can't tell, we'll all be better off.

We sat outside of Walmart, in the car. I've had this song in my head for days, one that repeats a lot on my favorite alt country station. It played in my head as Guy Friend spoke about how we'd never make it work, like a soundtrack making the moment seem a lot more hopeless and sad. Thinking that at the time made me laugh. I will see him tomorrow morning and try to figure out what exactly we were talking about. Or maybe I'll ignore it all and kiss him until I'm thinking of nothing. I have never kissed anyone as much as I've kissed him. He may be the best lover I've had.

Side note: We do stupid, hurtful things not realizing how much hurt we cause. All we can do is feel truly sorry and try to never do it again. But we do do it again. Not the same way as before, but in another way. Stupid humans. We are. And my efforts to be a better person, to be less selfish, to cause no harm -- all of this just annoys people. Maybe we should just be who we are.

I gave head to a twenty one year old boy a few weeks ago. It was incredibly mechanical and, ultimately, a non-event. Afterwards he explained to me why superheroes are so cool, and for the first time ever, it made sense to me. Superheroes ARE cool. We all have our things. I have documentaries on genocide. He has comic books and role playing games. It's all the same, isn't it?


One lone maggot found its way to my counter top. We mused on its age. I checked my pockets for maggot brothers, sisters, mothers, daughters and fathers-in-law. Instead, I found a piece of gum, examined it closely and popped it in my mouth. The counter top maggot was not good enough for my trash can, and was deposited elsewhere. I don't know where as I did not care. I had ordered its removal by the man who had entered the room simultaneously and accidentally upon maggot discovery. He casually shrugged off my order and continued on his journey until I blocked his path and stood my ground. This is not a racial thing, but you are my slave and must do as I say. I did not put any thought into that comment until now.

I am alone in the light of one red candle. A mosquito lurks in the dark shadows of each corner in this four-walled room. I've covered much of my vulnerable flesh and am sweating bullets. One maggot's life ended and one mosquito's life begun, to avenge the death of the former. Aesop could write much about the two. I wonder what the lesson would be.

The mosquito lands on the pale skin of my inner elbow. I watch as he steadies himself, his legs thin like a beard whisker sliced lengthwise into fifths or sixths. Goosebumps appear in anticipation. Goosebumps on that one arm only. Why not a bilateral phenomenon? Bob once came up behind me unexpectedly and placed his fat hands on my shoulders, his fat, cock-like fingers kneading me in a gesture of friendship, goosebumps came up on my right arm, but not on my left. Don't leave me this way. Oh baby, don't leave me this way. Why not a bilateral phenomenon?

The mosquito is gone. Engorged, I imagine. It does not know that my blood is bad. I wonder what this will mean for the next inner elbow. This does not upset me. I pick up my fiddle and play.


I had a few patients this week who had just had strokes. The crazy kind of stroke that takes the words in your head that make sense and replaces them with nonsensical words. One of these patients couldn't talk at all. It's hard sometimes when you have so many patients in and out of your department in the day, because you only have a few minutes to assess their situation. Sometimes you think they're not with it, either loopy from meds or dementia, or sick beyond the realm of normalcy. Sometimes you mistake one of the stroke patients for the loopy ones. You assume that because they're not talking to you, or are not talking sense, they're just not there mentally. I had one patient who could only make guttural noises from her throat. She was only sixty. No matter what their mental state, whether they're sleeping, or brain dead or totally with it, you always make the effort to explain to them what you're about to do to them. You tell them your name, how long the procedure is going to take, and whether or not it is going to cause any pain. You never know if they can hear you, but you say it anyway. This sixty-year-old looked me straight in the eye as I talked to her. I began to understand that when she shook her head no, it really meant yes. This woman was very much with it. I asked her if she had had a stroke. She shook her head no. I asked her if she's been unable to speak since. She shook her head no. I asked her if the stroke had done anything other than take her speech and her ability to move. she shook her head no. I asked if she felt as if she was trapped in her body. She shook her head no. The other patient was still able to talk, but the words she wanted to say came out as a bunch of unrelated words. She was very frustrated. No doubt.

The one patient who affected me most this week was an 85-year-old man dying in ICU. As far as I could tell, all of his organs were starting to shut down. His blood was clotting and he was throwing clots to his lungs, to his legs, to his brain. His legs were dead, starved of blood because of the clot obstructing the flow of blood from his bellybutton down. They were bluish white at first. Then darker. Next would be gangrene. I had to do a test on him that I couldn't do in ICU because of electrical interference from all the machines in his room. I told the nurse I'd have to do it the next day, up in my own department. She laughed and said that he would be dead by then. She was taking bets. When you act this way as a health care worker, is it because you're mean and evil-hearted? Or is it because we have to joke to avoid the overwhelming grief that suffering and death constantly around us brings. We all have a little of that irreverent humor. Amongst ourselves, it is normal. But we read the obituaries every day in the break room and remember our patients who have died, talking about the funny things they did, the interesting things they did in life. It's strange to see the cycle of life so up close every day. Death becomes natural, not something we mourn, but something we celebrate when the person who died was suffering and in pain. There is cruelty in the hospital. Doctors order painful tests on dying patients irregardless of the fact that nothing would be done if we found an abnormality. Sometimes we put off doing the test for as long as possible, hoping the patient will die before the pain is inflicted. We rally around our dying patients, doing our best to ease their suffering, and treating their last moments with respect. This dying man was in a horrific amount of pain. He seemed like an animal who would run off to die alone if we would let him. I was helping to manipulate his body for a coworker, taking extra time to hold his hand or foot, to show some sort of love and care. It's a privilege to be one of the last people to share a moment with the dying patient. You show them some reverence. Wish them peace. Imagine who they used to be. What they've seen in their life. How they've suffered. How they've loved. Not like this animal thing reduced to flesh with a bunch of tubes and wires sticking into him. I love my job some days. These days it's more than making a buck. It's being a presence, a friend.


Friday night feel good. Sun sets over the trees at the Russian Orthodox cathedral one street down, leaving pink fluffy elephant clouds to say goodnight to the daylight. Mama across the street screams at her kiddies. She would be ashamed if she heard herself. One house over the lesbian couple is watering their too-green lawn. They look at each other when the mama yells again. Cars begin to line the street in anticipation of busy bar night in this blue collar town. It's a funny town, this. My neighbor sported a mullet the day I moved in but he's since chopped it off and looks quite appealing. Everyone looks appealing tonight. He had two dogs, then one, then none. I wonder where they went. An inconvenient nuisance put down I suppose. The neighbors right next door to me are a single mom who dresses like me when we think no one's looking, an early twenties daughter who always arrives home in work-out clothes, and an early twenties son who wears an orange t-shirt and khaki shorts every Friday night when he goes down to the corner bar. These three have heard me having sex. I'm quite sure of that. My living room wall is two inches from their driveway. I hear them when they sit outside smoking, when they slam the screen door coming and going, when they're advising their dog to simmer down. One boy I dated thought it was funny that I didn't like to make out on my living room couch against that living room wall. He teased me when I tried to be quiet, made me come harder and louder than I thought was appropriate for the neighbors. Orgasms are one of the things I'm shy about making public. I am not an exhibitionist. I am, instead, a spy. A voyeur. I like to walk the dog late at night so I can peer into the lit living rooms and kitchens of the houses in my neighborhood. I see middle-aged women wearing nightgowns like my mom wears. The kind that are see-through from repeated washings. An unintentional sexiness. I see the flicker of televisions and feel sad for all of us who are too often bored and unsatisfied with our lives. I see old men standing at the kitchen sink taking their evening pills. They are the same men who spend the day in their yards attending to unruly blades of grass with large shears. They are precise in a way that makes me uneasy. When I walk at night, most of the houses are completely dark. I look at the inflatable lit-up snowmen and American eagles dressed up like Uncle Sam and Snoopy dogs with Halloween costumes on and I wonder what the sleeping people inside must be like. I envy their spirit. The lady across the street, her house diagonal to mine, used to decorate her yard and front stoop for every holiday. Several holidays ago she stopped the decorating. I've seen a medical home-equipment supply truck in her driveway a few times and assume that she is no longer physically capable of festivity. I assume that, as with many sicknesses and new disabilities, she is no longer emotionally capable of festivity. It is dark now and I wonder what the neighbors are thinking as they watch me here in my lit living room.
Flat ginger ale and whiskey sucked through a too-narrow bendy straw picked up from the dollar store. Ashtray full, lungs heavy, head giddy. I know what is wrong and I know what is right and I'd die for the truth in my secret life. Leonard Cohen. Legs restless, skin alive and craving touch. Moments like this I might take your breath away.

Something has happened and I'm content with right now. No tears, no desperate yearning besides the desire to have a naked body between my thighs. An evening spent alone, in pigtails and cotton, I've aged a million years, grown into my own skin and am now bursting forth from the seams in an unprecedented sensuality. A full moon hangs sluggish in the humid night air, barely keeping itself afloat. Pods from the solitary tree in the backyard, engorged after the rain, stick to the soles of my feet. I can't keep my hands to myself tonight. How do you explain these things?