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


Boy Drama

slight drama with the ex boy via text today. he's the one who called it drama. i call it conveying my feelings. but boys will be boys and anything emotional is labeled drama. we are both equally annoying as genders. i won't deny that. so i sent a few texts. haven't had contact with him in two weeks and thought that today was a good day to share my feelings and get some closure on the deal. but he ignored me. finally realized that talking (texting) was pointless so i sent him a final text saying sorry for the stuff i'd fucked up in the relationship, that i wished it could have worked but that i wish him well and hope for no hard feelings. it really sucks to be a grown up sometimes. now i just have to put those thoughts into action -- no hard feelings, wishing him well, and moving on. it's hard when relationships don't work out. you put your heart into something, into someone, and there's no pay-off. maybe some insight into how to do it better next time. i'm trying to be less melodramatic in my woe-is-me-i'll-never-get-into-another-relationship-again stuff. it is what it is. hopefully one day i'll find the right person for me. if not . . . well, i'm okay with that. i'll be lonely, but loneliness is manageable.


q: what do you call a gay dinosaur?

a: a megasoreass

that joke courtesy of an er nurse. never sure with these gay jokes if i should be offended or laugh. i chose to laugh. everything is funny.
made brownies from scratch, waiting for them to cool, protecting them from the dumbo fly fuzzing around here, will eat one or two or three and then to bed i go for a glorious eight hours. i welcome my crazy dreams now. so many different lives lived in the twitch state of rem. rem and i have always gotten along well. loads of sex dreams. not good sex dreams. no happy fantasy thrill. instead it's manipulation, threat, force. no matter -- i enjoy the change of scenery.

busy work day. not much exciting to say. a few loonies. a few near pee emergencies. i saw nine patients. my evil coworker saw two. breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out. i will not let this frustrate me. my screensaver at work says "breathe". just in case i forget to. and go postal as a result.

the depression continues. my body drags. my eyelids droop. my brain semi-mush. try to do something, even if it's just a little something, every day to see progress. even if it's just making brownies. or doing the dishes. riding this out. i'll be okay.


becoming more anti-social. it's easy for me to do. it is me. being anti-social at work, except with my patients. i close the door of my exam room and listen to my ipod all day and people say, oh, you're here? i haven't seen you all day. i like working independently. no one to answer to. no one to answer to me. just do a good job. that's the easy part. my patients seem to like me. i hear a lot of interesting stories. have a lot of laughs. feel a lot of peoples' pain -- makes me feel connected. respect for the living and respect for the soon to be not-living.

still overwhelmed by the silence, this intense relationship with myself. too much sometimes -- i come home and go to bed. try to sleep for an hour or two, but that rarely works. so i get up and watch tv and worry about doing what i have to do tomorrow. every day. every tomorrow. not sure what meaning there is in this type of existence. i get by. nothing lasts forever. just the state i'm in. the state of today. not good. not bad. the heart still ticks. the heart still feels. the earth living and breathing around me. leaves turning. anticipating the cool crisp breath. blazers. boots. winter coats. mittens.

and this life i have is better than most peoples'. enjoy it for what it's worth. feel the cold tile beneath my feet. dog hair on the sheets. too many rumpled socks lying around in every room, but they are friends now. what to do when i grow up. oh wait, i am grown. this is me. this is how it is. this is how it will be. unless . . . i make change. don't think i need to. don't think i want to. just wait it out and see what happens. not good. not bad.


you take the good you take the bad you take them both and there you have the facts of life.

and that's all i have to say right now. but give me a moment.

blah day #2. work was slow. i ate two muffins, two donuts and one bag of corn nuts. i don't know if that's progress, but it's something. today's patient (i only saw one today) was a 94 year old woman who has outlived her husband, all of her siblings, all of her friends, some of her grandchildren, and one of her great grandchildren. and she's still full of happiness and optimism and giggles. it was inspiring to spend an hour with her. you think, wow, good for her. isn't it amazing. 94 years old and strong and healthy and not on a single medication.

later, having let the experience sink in, i thought fuck. look how far a positive attitude will get you. and fuck, i don't have one of those.

there's really no point to my story. i'm just saying.

i've made a resolution to just be myself and let it all hang out. people tell me all the time that i'm far too critical of myself. and that's true. i might argue later that it's being critical of myself that's pushed me to achieve what i have achieved thus far. but that's an argument for another day. i can't change my habit of being critical of myself overnight, so while i work on that (hah) i'm going to just let loose and be me. no apologies. no censoring. no bullshit. no wait, scrap the bullshit part. i'm human. humans bullshit all the time, most of them not realizing when they're doing it. i know i'll go back and reread the stuff i write and say, HA that's BULLSHIT! a little bit of distance from a matter will do that for you. then maybe it's not bullshit at the time. maybe if at the time you don't know it's bullshit then it isn't bullshit at all. where am i going with this? even i don't know.

well. let's see. i'm 34 years old and it's pretty safe to say that if i'm the same person now that i was ten years ago and twenty years ago then i am who i am and nothing's going to change. perspective will change. mine certainly has. but personality won't. so then i should just embrace my personality and say to myself, hey, shit, i forgot what i was going to say.

my mind is a sieve. depression has hit. i'm not saying that to be a drama queen or anything. it's a fact. i am depressed. it's not likely a big one -- i think the big ones are in my past. but it's a situational one. if something in my life changes, positive or negative, a mini depression soon follows. (side note: this is weird. i just looked up "moon" in an online dictionary and my search yielded "no results found for moon". wtf? and this reminds me of what ex-guy said to me on that fateful last day -- 'so you believe everything you read on the internet??' yeah, i do. and apparently moon is not a word. you heard it here first folks.)

blah. depression. not the sitting around contemplating slitting my wrists kind. no ridiculous crying or tantrums or pulling out of one's own hair. no pulling out of other peoples' hair either. this depression is a lot less interesting. it hits my body first. everything feels heavier. standing upright is more of an effort. breathing is more of an effort. sleeping is a hell of a lot more of an effort. i'm way more sleepy than usual, but i can't sleep. it's awesome. then once your body is wiped out, the depression hits your brain. i'd imagine that this is what senile dementia is like. my brain locks up for a few seconds here and there, and i'm thinking whatthefuckwhowherewhy? i get stupid.

going to bed soon. off to read some poetry. and no, that's not codespeak for something else.


Dear Diary,

I've been stupidly moody the last few days. One minute high as a kite loving the world appreciating everything and everybody and myself especially myself and couldn't be better. The next minute major suckitude. Can't come up with a better word than suckitude because I have zero energy or desire to reach into my brain's thesaurus. Now I'm in the suckitude state (because when I'm not in the suckitude state I'm not sitting here glaring at the computer in melancholic disgust) and I'm somewhat hungry, but have no real desire for anything that tastes good, and as per usual, I have no desire to make anything. I've eaten two large bags of corn nuts today. And two muffins. Unhealthy eating is best done in twos apparently.

I am suddenly, unexpectedly alone. All by my lonesome. First my parents left (which yeah, was a blessing because they sucked away all of the good self-esteem I had left), and then I broke up with the boy. We didn't actually break up though. We parted ways without really even talking about it. I told him "Just go!" meaning get out of my face right now or I might kill you, and he went, completely. Haven't talked to him since. All a little odd, but it might make for an interesting story at some later date. And honestly, it's kind of nice to end a relationship without having to discuss it. Kind of nice to flip a switch and be on to the next thing, no muss no fuss.

The thing that sucks is now I have all this time on my hands. All this quiet time. Admittedly I do enjoy my quiet time, but there is such a thing as too much quiet time. I wasn't prepared to jump back into my head so fully and so completely. So here I am, talking to you dearest diary.

Thoughts on dating: I shouldn't do it. Ever. When I'm not dating anyone I have this general feeling of restlessness, thinking that life could be so much better if only I had someone to share it with. Then I find someone to share it with, but life doesn't get better and I start missing being single. The no win situation. Let's be honest here -- I wouldn't be happy if I didn't have something to bitch about.

And thoughts on sex: I'm a total guy when it comes to sex. I do it for sport. I do it for fun. I do it to celebrate the fact that there's someone to do it with. Sometimes I do it because I feel an intimate connection with my partner and want to make love. But that's more of a special occasion type of thing. Does that make me cold? I don't think so. I'm very affectionate. Love hand holding and cuddling and making out. I can do lovey-dovey. But I can also fuck. I'm not too shy to say it -- I love to fuck. You're hanging out with your partner, have a few hours to kill, are totally comfortable with each other naked, find each other attractive -- so let's fuck.

The last guy took issue with me announcing "I'm horny." He said it wasn't very subtle. Wasn't very romantic. Such a woman. I don't know what kind of vibe I give out, but I tend to attract men who are uber-sensitive and totally in touch (maybe too in touch) with their feminine side. "I couldn't have sex with someone I didn't have deep feelings for," they say. Seriously? Where are all the good old fashioned men who think about sex 99% of the time and have the sex drive of a nerd going through puberty? Alas, these sorts of men do not like me. I guess.

If it were so easy to look to the fairer of the species, I'd be there in a heartbeat. But my attraction to women is a much more complicated thing. For one, a good woman is hard to find. And I'm picky. I don't have some long list of attributes I want in a woman. There's actually no list at all. But my heart is fickle when it comes to women. Damn my fickle heart! I certainly wouldn't have any hesitation about jumping into bed with most women -- My fickleness or fickleality or whathaveyou does not apply to physical attraction. But how many women are out there with my sex drive and lack of sexual inhibition? With guys you can pretty much stick your head out a window on a busy street and yell "does anyone want to have sex with me?" and you'll find a willing participant in about a minute. Maybe two. Or maybe I have it all wrong. Maybe I'm sticking my head out of the wrong window. Maybe there's some magical place where wanton slutty lesbian and bisexual women sit around LONGING to get laid. But I don't know where that place is. Dear diary, do you have any suggestions?

Bah humbug.


firsts. the first date. the first kiss. the first i love you. then the lasts. the last kiss. the last night in bed together. the last load of laundry, separating his clothes from mine, the last folding of his clothes to go into the basket and then into the garbage bag and then onto the front porch so he can pick it up without having to make contact. the last full ashtray, his cigarette butts (camels) with my cigarette butts (marlboros). the last tube of toothpaste we both used, now in the garbage so i don't have to be reminded of the loss of him every time i brush my teeth. the sweatshirt of mine he wore -- i find it on the floor between the mattress and the headboard when enough time has passed that the very discovery of it takes my breath away. the last text message, now deleted so there's no beat skipping when i see his name in the inbox. the removal of his phone number from the top speed dial spot. washing the last glass he drank from. rinsing away the last stubble from the bathroom sink. the last beer. the last bottle of iced tea. i keep the roses in the vase, the roses he gave me on the day it all abruptly ended. these roses, still yawning wide in the morning, holding fiercely to their petals as if they know their significance. i keep the roses in the vase on the fireplace, where my eyes fall easily. a little bit of make believe that it's not over. that you're coming back. with each passing relationship i marvel at how little is left behind. less and less with each passing partner. like it never happened at all. i protect myself.


I haven't written here for quite some time and since it's early Sunday morning and I'm actually awake I might as well do a little something.

Happiness, it seems, does not lend itself to creative inspiration. Not that I'm complaining.

My ex sis-in-law and my two nieces just left after a quick one day visit. Time spent with family feels good. Even though my five year old niece at one point said to me "You're very fat. You shouldn't be so fat." Even though my seventeen year old niece, while I was taking a picture of us, said "You smell bad." Coffee and cigarettes will do that. So you have to work on developing a thicker skin when hanging with the fam.

This afternoon I'm off to B's place. It's a different world when I fall into his arms for a weekend. My life is so compartmentalized these days. My parents are still staying with me. They announced that they'll probably be leaving at the end of the week and my reaction was No, I'm not ready! It hasn't been long enough. A month and a half this summer. Strange how easily I fall into the child role when my parents are here. It's truly lovely. Dad mows the grass and explains my taxes to me. Mom vacuums and cleans. I haven't been to a grocery store since they got here. The fridge is always stocked. It's not just what they do for me, the chores and such. It's this peaceful sharing of space, sharing of memories, sharing of old patterns. Lots of laughter. Cherish the little moments because one day all of this will not be possible.


Happy to Hurt in Sixty Seconds

Falling in, well, dare I say it? Love? Is that what's happening?

After the initial lust and infatuation comes the abrupt 180 -- finding faults, flaws, failings. Everything becomes a red flag. No no no. Not this person. Never ever forever. There is the familiar disappointment as highs drop to lows. And the realization, again, that it's easier to be alone than to be in a relationship.

This is where I typically end it. Say goodbye. Move on.

But not this time. Strangely, this guy held on. Willing to take the ride. Like a kid that clings to your leg when you try to walk away. Persistence pays off.

At some point you have to stop running away from that which scares you. Stop kicking. Stop screaming. And then? Peace. Maybe. For now.


Neuroses and the Romantic Relationship

That would be a good title for a novel. Now come up with a story of your own.


change, in moderation

my house is alive. mom. dad. brother. niece. the hours after they have gone to bed are now especially beautiful. in those quiet hours, when the house is asleep, i watch sad documentaries on my computer and cry big silent tears.

the family has changed. the dynamics have changed. it's nice. nice is not a very descriptive adjective, but it sums things up nicely. having family around, having this new family around, is nice. i've never appreciated my brother, for too many reasons to list here. now i see him in the role of daddy, and my perspective changes. vulnerability, truth, imagination, effort, weakness -- and now i see some other sides.

i will miss them when they go. i will miss the murmuring muffled by bedroom walls. the flush of a toilet. the slam of a cupboard. i will miss these sounds. the sounds of a house breathing, pulsing, retreating, expanding.

but i will celebrate the first night that i'm back to sleeping in the nude. i'll celebrate the 3 a.m. raid of the cookie jar. the 4 a.m. cigarette (or two). the dawn breaking beyond the fucking.

freedom is nice. family is nice. independence is nice. responsibility is nice. all in small doses.


What you are is what you have been. What you'll be is what you do now.



I have a cold. My head is fuzz, my lungs are raging, my limbs are heavy, my mind is mud. I'm at work, not working, on a beautiful Sunday morning, sitting in the dark of my room drinking rooibos tea and listening to the sandstorm wind-roar of the air conditioning. Lull. Lulled to sleep. Almost. On the weekends I'm the only one in the department, the only one on my floor. And there are nine beds up here. SO SO hard to resist.

My parents arrived a week ago from Arizona and will be staying with me for a few months, into September or so. This is the second year of their summer-in-Cleveland thing. It's not bad. A bit of a mind fuck at times, but worth it in the grand scheme of things. The other night my dad reminded me to turn off all the lights and lock the doors before going to bed. Uh, yeah, thanks Dad. When they're staying with me it's like my house becomes theirs and I become a teenager again, existing within the confines of parental control. I've told them that they can do whatever they want with my house. Mom likes to rearrange and reorganize. Dad likes to clean and fix broken or less-than-satisfactorily-working things. Now the drinking glass cupboard has become the plates and dishes cupboard. The sharp knives drawer has become the measuring cups and spoons drawer. The cupboard door under the sink that opened with a clank/drop/whine now opens with a, well, opens normally. The guest bathroom toilet that once needed a jiggle of the handle to stop running, now stops running on its own. Good toilet! Smart toilet! I am stranger in my home. A stranger in a marvelously clean, well-functioning, well-organized efficient grown-up house.

But every plus has its minus. I felt about a hundred pounds fatter when my parents arrived. They're both stick thin, and shrinking, and equate thinness with goodness. We were immediately back to the comments about me ending up in a nursing home with congestive heart failure by the time I'm fifty. From my mom I get "Oh, you have such a pretty face, if only..." types of comments. The other day I had a breakfast of cheerios with blueberries, and a glass of orange juice. Mom walked by and said "I approve of that breakfast." Oh. Great. Glad to hear it. Dad complains that I smoke too much, and that I smoke too quickly. Too quickly??? "You inhale your cigarette like it's the last one on earth", he says. If I smoked my cigarette half-assedly he would probably complain that I was too wasteful.

So, typical family shit. Thankfully, this year I have refuge outside of my house. More on that later . . .


this time. this time will be different. i have a pill in my belly and sweat on my skin and ringing in my ears and i can barely keep my eyes open. a precious high. i let it all roll off me like yesterday never happened and tomorrow will be perfect. high, high above my body, disconnected but i still feel me, only better. why does a password reset take so fucking long?



I have so much to say, but sitting here staring at the almost-blank screen I'm at a loss for words. I feel like rambling. Where did the words go?

impatient with my patients today. numero uno was a cokehead with a crap heart -- all blown out big and barely squeezing. she asked me if everything looked good. i said, i'm sorry, i don't interpret these ultrasounds, a cardiologist will read it. she is appeased. i am not. next was a creepy lady who stared at me the whole time without saying a word. granted, she's had a stroke and is no longer able to talk, but still. it creeped me out. usually i'd think, oh, poor lady. but today, all i've got is 'damn, stop looking at me creepy woman'. next was an equally creepy guy. granted, he is mentally retarded (not my words -- that's what was written in his chart), but still. he kept stopping me so he could pee in his little plastic urinal. there is something strange about seeing a guy maneuver his penis into a urinal. normally i wouldn't look but today, well, you know . . . i did look. all i was really thinking was hey, good for you buddy. your penis is long enough to fit down inside the urinal. nubs are rarely as successful. patients 4 and 5 were far less interesting and only get an honorable mention here.

i saw an interesting movie yesterday -- the dead girl. i'd expected it to be a murder mystery, and i suppose there was some mystery involved, but it was mostly brief strung-together glimpses into the psyches of five or six different characters. definitely my kind of film. the first part, with toni collette, was my favorite. self-loathing, s&m, etc. yummy good. oh, and giovanni ribisi -- super yummy good. oh, oh, and james franco -- super duper yummy good. i rented slumdog millionaire for tonight -- don't know if i should go there though. maybe tomorrow.

i feel like throwing things. like throwing breakable things at brick walls. crash bang splinter ouch. but i won't. i learned a long long time ago that throwing things is counter productive. and costly. i haven't thrown anything in five years. except for the occasional tennis ball for billy. i will now take a brief break from writing to imagine throwing breakable things at brick walls.


music is my god

little baby deeries just feet from me, timid but spirited by hunger, light me up. i was supposed to go to work today but i turned into this country music song and i pretended that work doesn't exist, because really it doesn't when i'm the only one there. it's like that tree falling in the forest. if sarah doesn't go to work on a day when no one else is there, can anybody hear it? yeah, whatever.

instead of working i took billy to the formerly-creepy vet for the verdict. the bloody wound is a ruptured cyst or tumor or something, and he needs surgery. fortunately, he was already going to have surgery to remove an ugly hangy-doodle on his leg, so the thing-removal will be done at the same time. $1200. note to self -- get pet insurance next dog.

i'm now in love with the formerly-creepy vet. i wanted to wrap my arms around his neck and let him explain splenic tumors and tooth removal to me. i'm quite sure he's gay, but that is irrelevant. while billy was in another room getting shaved and x-rayed, dr. steve and i had a chat. i started the chat with "i'm sorry to be morbid, but . . . ".

after the death of my bluedog i started mentally preparing for the death of my beloved billy. things did not go well when blue died. i mean, they went as i imagine they naturally do, but i didn't handle it well. after that experience i realized that i had to have a plan for what to do when billy, um, gets to the point of, well, you know. yeah, i'm a total planner. i plan for worst case scenarios. i'm usually pleasantly surprised by how worst case scenarios are really never as bad as i expected. i impress myself sometimes. but still . . . i need a plan. just in case.

people say i worry too much. that i'm too morbid. that i'm negative. that's all fine, but i really like my "just in case" personality. i'm not one to pretend that everything is great and will always be great. denial is gross. why am i even explaining this? i really shouldn't have to explain anything. it is what it is. i am who i am.

unrelated -- i just watched revolutionary road. it wasn't what i expected. it's left me pleasantly unsettled. i like some problems that don't have solutions. some truths that can't be changed no matter how much you hate those truths. there's something sexy about perpetual challenge. perpetual seeking. i may be a country music song today, but feeling unsettled or unnerved or un-something makes me like being alive. or makes life relevant. something. where are the words to describe?

i asked dr. steve if he ever goes to a client's house to euthanize an animal. he said in rare circumstances. rare circumstances like what, i asked. and that's when i found myself in a conversation with someone who is saying the correct things legally but dropping hints about something else entirely. and i feel relieved. my just in case plan is planned. billy can die at home with me. is it legal to bury a dog in the back yard i asked. no, dr. steve said, but i never tell anyone. love love love. then he tells me the story about his seven year old dog who had bone cancer. he removed the dog's shoulder and arm. he did chemo (which he says doesn't have the same awful side effects in dogs like it does in humans). a few months later the dog died. that's really sad, i said, walking out of the office. dr. steve smiled and said yeah, like what we were talking about before wasn't sad.

on the drive home, billy's head hanging out the window, his tongue tasting the breeze, i cried. not for long. and not for sadness. i cried because life is beautiful sometimes.


This entire blog is turning into a dog blog. Is this what generally happens to a childless divorced thirty-something woman? I'm going to try to write something of substance again soon. It seems that words come more easily when I'm miserable. I guess that being un-miserable is a good thing. Except for this blog.

So I'm washing dishes this evening (the daily meditation) and when I finish I turn around to find my dog lying on the floor licking a bloody gaping wound on his side. It's the size of a quarter. And it's bloody. Really bloody. After cutting the fur around the wound so that I can see better I discover two deep holes in his flesh. Looks like a vampire bite. But there's stuff coming out of the holes. Not just blood. Other stuff. More horrible stuff. I gag. Billy just lies there and wags at me. I gather random bandages and tape and neosporin. Neosporin is my windex. It solves all problems. Once I finish covering up the wound I tie an Ace wrap around Billy's gut. He wags at me. And I burst into tears.

Sometimes I am fragile.

Tomorrow, back to the vet . . .


I took Billy to a new vet this morning. It was a bizarre experience. First I'll say that it only cost me $77 which is kind of crazy with the amount of blood work they did. Billy's going to eventually have surgery to remove the growth on his leg, so I'm sure that will cost me, but, I'm used to a run of the mill vet visit costing about $250.

The vet spent a good hour and a bit with me. He showed me some bacteria from Billy's chin under the microscope. He drew me a complicated diagram of the relationship between liver function tests, epilepsy, phenobarbital and cushing's syndrome. After the first half hour I was thinking, what's this guy's angle? Why is he spending so much time on us? Is he lonely? Is he just generally long-winded? What does he want from me?

My point in writing about this? Well, it made me think -- why am I so suspicious when someone is nice? That's a fucked up way of looking at things. Am I the only one who does this? Are we so used to being treated badly by people? Is that our normal? Last week I was told that I should challenge my perspective. I should question why I view things the way that I do. Not to say that my viewpoint is wrong. But I have to wonder if my viewpoint is practical, or if it's a construct of my bias/judgment/self-judgment/tendency to think in terms of right and wrong/tendency to think in terms of black and white. It's interesting to question these things. Really, there is no wrong or right. It's merely perception. Where does this perception come from? Think nature vs. nurture. How much is due to genetics and how much is due to the events in our lives thus far?

So many questions. No answers. I dig that.


Borderline Personality Disorder

I'm posting the following information on Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) for a few different reasons: It is an excellent synopsis of what BPD is. I try to explain BPD to people and am often at a loss for what to say. I tend to forget some of the important things. And that's the second reason I'm posting it: To remind myself of what BPD is really all about.

The third, and most important, reason: Well, I've done a lot of hard work to overcome, or at least better manage, issues associated with BPD. I refuse to believe that this diagnosis is a life sentence. I refuse to believe that a person is destined to exhibit the characteristics of the personality they are born with. There may be certain personality traits that will always be mine -- weaknesses and strengths -- but I'm convinced that weaknesses can be identified, challenged and made, well, less weak. It is an ongoing process of introspection and behavior modification. So this post is to remind myself of the exceptional progress I have made in overcoming many of the obstacles associated with BPD. It is not only a reminder of my success, but a reminder of the work that I have yet to do.

I am not a disorder. I am not automatically destined to travel a narrow path that was decided at birth. The path I take is up to me. I am evolving.

Taken from:

The main feature of borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a pervasive pattern of instability in interpersonal relationships, self-image and emotions. People with borderline personality disorder are also usually very impulsive.

This disorder occurs in most by early adulthood. The unstable pattern of interacting with others has persisted for years and is usually closely related to the person’s self-image and early social interactions. The pattern is present in a variety of settings (e.g., not just at work or home) and often is accompanied by a similar lability (fluctuating back and forth, sometimes in a quick manner) in a person’s emotions and feelings. Relationships and the person’s emotion may often be characterized as being shallow.

A person with this disorder will also often exhibit impulsive behaviors and have a majority of the following symptoms:

* Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment

* A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation

* Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self

* Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating)

* Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior

* Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days)

* Chronic feelings of emptiness

* Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights)

* Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms

Details about Borderline Personality Disorder Symptoms

Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.

The perception of impending separation or rejection, or the loss of external structure, can lead to profound changes in self-image, emotion, thinking and behavior. Someone with borderline personality disorder will be very sensitive to things happening around them in their environment. They experience intense abandonment fears and inappropriate anger, even when faced with a realistic separation or when there are unavoidable changes in plans. For instance, becoming very angry with someone for being a few minutes late or having to cancel a lunch date. People with borderline personality disorder may believe that this abandonment implies that they are “bad.” These abandonment fears are related to an intolerance of being alone and a need to have other people with them. Their frantic efforts to avoid abandonment may include impulsive actions such as self-mutilating or suicidal behaviors.

Unstable and intense relationships.

People with borderline personality disorder may idealize potential caregivers or lovers at the first or second meeting, demand to spend a lot of time together, and share the most intimate details early in a relationship. However, they may switch quickly from idealizing other people to devaluing them, feeling that the other person does not care enough, does not give enough, is not “there” enough. These individuals can empathize with and nurture other people, but only with the expectation that the other person will “be there” in return to meet their own needs on demand. These individuals are prone to sudden and dramatic shifts in their view of others, who may alternately be seen as beneficient supports or as cruelly punitive. Such shifts other reflect disillusionment with a caregiver whose nurturing qualities had been idealized or whose rejection or abandonment is expected.

Identity disturbance.

There are sudden and dramatic shifts in self-image, characterized by shifting goals, values and vocational aspirations. There may be sudden changes in opinions and plans about career, sexual identity, values and types of friends. These individuals may suddenly change from the role of a needy supplicant for help to a righteous avenger of past mistreatment. Although they usually have a self-image that is based on being bad or evil, individuals with borderline personality disorder may at times have feelings that they do not exist at all. Such experiences usually occur in situations in which the individual feels a lack of a meaningful relationship, nurturing and support. These individuals may show worse performance in unstructured work or school situations.

Click here for links to BPD resources


Burnt match smell and I'm fully present. I open my eyes just a little and find you looking at me. I grin, a shy smile, and close my eyes again. These are the best times. Us in silence. Easy. Us less the roaring thoughts in my mind. Us less the questions. Less the anger. The storm.

I will stay like this for hours. Feeling your rough skin beneath my fingers, from across the room. Sometimes the not touching is the best part. Wanting your lips on mine, your weight against me, to feel complete. Sometimes the anticipation is the best part.


Breathe in and out

It's today now and I'm content unlike any time before. In my head I hear the ocean, the way it sounds at night, white noise, breathing in and out, in and out, consistent and expected like a heart beat. In my head I hear the forest, the way it sounds at night, the occasional twig breaking beneath the weight of an invisible animal, the flesh of the trees breathing in and out, in and out. In my head I hear the desert, the hum of heat rising in gasoline waves from the horizon, the white sun breathing in and out, in and out.

Last night I lay awake and thought of the broken child. Torn from within and torn from without. I lay awake, rolling from left to right and back again, searching for the cool spot on the sheets, watching the red numbers of the clock jump to 300. Thoughts of the torn child, a little girl, suddenly homeless. I took her in and gave her love, but no love was enough and she aged faster than she should, an old soul by sixteen. I lost her to her demons then. She ran and she ran and she ran, one day to return world-weary and docile, with three little babies sired by three hateful men. She had kept her shape: she relied on her body as a commodity, to be bought and sold, the price of keeping those little mouths fed. I still see that little girl with that gaping wound in a place where no blood should flow.

When 300 hit I turned my thoughts to the man with the mild manner and the crazy brilliant mind. I pictured us lying in bed together, me reading my book and him reading his book. Limbs entwined, physically one but mentally separate, searching for truth in words and inspiration in silence. I pictured us walking in central park, beneath a night sky brightened by snow, the flakes resting on his eyelashes for a split second before turning from white to invisi-wet. his glasses fogged up by breath hot with ideas, a brain burning furiously. I pictured holding his gloved hand tenderly, taking some of his darkness into me, giving him some of my darkness in return. Fuck existential loneliness I would think in my head.

And so I say hmm, hmm, hmm. Music is like a current running through me tonight. A river wild and beautiful, black rushing water and fluorescent white eddies, all through me tonight. Open the floodgates, he sings. Damien Jurado, Will Oldham, Sun Kil Moon, Townes Van Zandt, Gillian Welch, Dan Auerbach, Whiskeytown. Jason Molina haunted me today. A familiar ache rose up within me, and it was beautiful this time. I heard the sadness and it passed through me. Gut reaction was to cry, but tears of joy this time. This time is better. This time feels good. I feel it all. I let it come. I let it go. I am alive. I can think of no better thing. No better state of being. Content.

I sing love songs to the spring air that settles on my skin. I can barely remember the words so I make them up as I go. Nonsensical and light. A love song sung for me. Self-love. Funny that. I certainly don't mind pining for no one. Don't get me wrong -- I pine. But not for a person. Not for a person, place, or thing. I pine for freedom of the spirit. Continued ache. Pain gives rise to creativity. We suffer for our art. Or not. It's a noble thought, although not entirely practical or reasonable.

Damien Jurado -- Caught in the Trees. The soundtrack for right now. Sweet, dirty, raw. Like whiskey.

I want to scream expletives for the simple joy of it. What next will enter me? I am open to it all.


a poem for you

it's not that i don't love you
it's not that i don't care
but regrettably i've seen you
in your underwear
i've been better and i've been worse. goddamn motherfucking universe.

but . . .

i just got a land line home phone dealie for the first time in years and caller id shows about 15 telemarketing calls a day. only one real person has my home phone number. telemarketers are going to make me hate childhood leukemia in a whole new way.

unrelated to telemarketing (goddamn motherfucking teles, i came up with this idea my own damn self!), but related to leukemia -- this seems like a good idea: national marrow donor program. you pay a couple bucks, q-tip the inside of your mouth, send the q-tip to the people and you go on this registry. not the kind of registry like babies r us or target has. more like the kind of registry where you volunteer your bone marrow to some sick someone who is a match with you. not a match as in romantic lifetime soulmate match. but a match as in, hey, my bone marrow might help you out. yay. so the first thing people say is, don't they stick a long needle into your hip and it hurts like a motherfucker? from what i've read, it ain't all that bad. maybe 4 days of pain. pain you can survive. check it out here:

the dishwasher is awhirl and the back door is open and the mosquitos are coming in and my spiders are happy and there is bubblewrap in my kitchen and a tickle in my throat and no end in sight for the diet caffeine free pepsi in my fridge. it's a very, very good thursday.

i'm reading a good book. well, i'm not reading it now. i can't multi-task. the book is girlfriend in a coma by douglas coupland. i sat on the picnic table outside er this afternoon, reading my book and smoking my ciggies and someone asked what i was reading and i showed them the cover of my book and she said "girlfriend in a coma" and she had a blank look on her face and she said "you should read the twilight series." i said, "is it about vampires?" knowing full well it's about vampires and she got a blank look on her face and said, "yes, it's about vampires." end of story.

Angie came to see me today. I think we've met before, but I'm not certain. She kept taking her oxygen canula off. Then she would start coughing. A thick, deep cough. "Your oxygen is off," I'd say and she'd say "Oh" and put it back in her nose. A minute later she would absentmindedly pull it away from her face. I don't know how important these things are. Who am I to judge?

She left a puddle on my floor when she stood up. Not your typical puddle. Angie has congestive heart failure and all this random fluid in her body is ending up where it shouldn't be. So much fluid that her legs are thick and heavy, and her calves ooze the stuff. Hence, the puddle on my floor. She is younger than my mother.

The other lady, I can't remember her name, was not too thrilled to see me. "Hit her," she kept saying to her daughter. I was causing her pain. "Hit her, please." "I can't hit her Mom. She's doing her job." The lady looked at me and I understood this humor. She hugged me on her way out the door. Her daughter doesn't know when she's joking.

Dog wants to play. I must oblige.


One minute she's lamenting the loss of her eyeglasses and the next she is asleep. Mouth open, at first breathing shallow and then breathing deep. I find peace in each audible breath. The calm of this room. The easy flow of ink from my ballpoint pen onto yellow paper. This is perfection.


There's no right and no wrong, she said. There's no good and no bad. There are simply choices. Be mindful in making these choices. Consider the long term consequences of each choice you plan to make.

This is an unusual way of thinking. At least for me. But it makes a lot of sense.

Maybe you're resisting growing up, she said. Thinking less of long term consequences and instead going for what provides instant gratification.

She stifles a yawn.

The goal then, is to change behaviors. That perhaps to change behaviors might change thinking and a change in thinking might change behaviors. That's the theory at least. I will throw myself into this. Wholeheartedly. Maybe this time will be different. Maybe this time I will succeed. It's about the effort -- not failure.

There is no right. There is no wrong. There is no good. There is no bad. There are only choices.


and so things change. in an instant. unexpected. familiar. intriguing. i like a man with scars. new possibilities, new challenges and the opportunity to try out the new me. do it right this time. new questions, new theories, new worries. in an instant, things change.

i am not afraid this time. i am me and it is what it is.


During the work week I want to do a million different things before going to bed, and I have to force myself to get at least six hours of sleep before the alarm goes off.  Fridays I can stay up as late as Sunday night, but I end up going to bed the earliest of any other night.  Is this an aging thing?  It's not as if this was a horribly busy week at work, which might warrant tiredness.  I suppose all I can do is make peace with it and pull the covers up over my head.  Hardships!

It was a perfectly lovely day.  The sun was shining.  The grass was growing, green and strong.  The Cuyahoga river was flowing fast and furious.  The cafeteria guy gave me a super big helping of mac and cheese at lunch (I think he likes me, in that eww-gross-why-does-HE-have-to-like-me way) and my milk at breakfast was not yet spoiled.  Fantastic.  I celebrated Friday by buying three, count them THREE, new lipsticks.  And a new brand of shampoo and conditioner.  Wheeeeeeeeeeeee!  The new me is absolutely enthralled by the simple things.  Indian food for dinner -- I'm stuffed to the gills, whatever that saying means -- chicken makhani, veggie samosas and a crapload of naan. 

In unrelated news a man pooped on me today.  He didn't mean to poop on me.  These things just happen sometimes.  When I made the discovery of the poop on me, the man looked and me and I looked at him and I tried to act like being pooped on is a daily, trivial occurrence.  Which it really isn't. 

There was a code yellow drill at the hospital today (in addition to my code brown with the above-mentioned patient).  We were supposed to pretend that our department, on the fourth floor, was crumbling.  All of the administrators and various higher-ups were running around while I drank my coffee and checked my email.  Throughout the day we asked one another "Oh, are we still crumbling?"  I don't understand why we have all these drills.  If an actual disaster were to happen, I think we'd figure out what to do.  A few months ago we had a real code something-or-other; there was an accident on 271 and we were told that all the casualties were being brought to our hospital.  Word was that it was a 40 car pile up.  While all of the administrators and various higher-ups were running around, my coworkers and I discussed the unlikelihood of an actual 40 car pile up.  How stupid would that 40th car be to not realize he should brake?  I mean really.  I was slightly excited when they began bringing patients up for triage in our cardiac cath lab, but the end result was three patients who seemed more interested in getting a free hospital lunch than getting medical attention. 

Life in the hospital has been pretty dull lately.  No big scandals.  No accidental deaths.  I'll have to find things to amuse me elsewhere.  And into the weekend I go . . .


The end of a very good day. Tonight I am at peace with everything. With the world. With myself. A kinder, gentler me is rising up from the ashes. Balance seems less future and more present. Home sweet home.


Emotion comes. Scenes from the past and imagined scenes from the present, somewhere else, somewhere secret and altogether horrible explode like fireworks in my head. Times like these I sing your songs. I wash the dishes and sing your songs. I hug the dog and sing your songs. I fold the laundry and sing your songs. I collapse on the bathroom floor, the tiles cold and hard on my naked skin, and sing your songs. If it weren't for your songs, right here right now, I'd be gone. I pass the time and sing your songs and eventually the moment passes and life goes on. You make me feel safe.
look at her
those empty, vapid eyes
thoughts wrapped up in neat little packages
in black or white
every question with an answer
she is a breeze that does not move the curtains
an old mattress with no dent
a grave with no marker
a letter with no stamp
a monday morning
last night's supper
i hate to admit it
i envy her simplicity


i'm really liking sue miller's while i was gone. this bit especially:

"I was remembering the way it feels at just that moment when you begin to turn, when you're poised exactly between the things in life you want to do and those you need to do, and it seems for a few blessed seconds that they are all going to be the same."


i am less thoughts and more images. words pass before my eyes and stick on my tongue. a caged animal, my skin crawls and i want to be turned inside out. air this out. i am fighting the good fight. becoming a softer, calmer and gentler version. fighting the good fight in an army of one. this battle is for words. energy translated to a finished product. an actual product. and not an emotion. or frustration. i tear my hair out without touching a strand. i scream without opening my mouth. i rattle the bars of my cage and never think to check if the door is unlocked. breathe in breathe out breathe in breathe out. back to the beginning.


late afternoon in winter. the sky has two layers. the overcast layer above is the smudge on foreheads on ash wednesday. the translucent layer below is the yolk of a hardboiled egg. this is the sky of old grief. when the noise of day greets the silence of night. a brief exchange as night and day punch the clock, one after the other. you never know who will go first.


Nothing thicker than a knife's blade separates happiness from melancholy.

virginia woolf


Question yourself. Question the emotion. Did you take your meds last night? Did you take your meds the night before last? Do you have PMS? Did you get enough sleep? Too much sleep? Did you have bad dreams? Are you stressed about something coming up? Are you stressed about something you just did? Ask yourself all of these questions and when it is determined that there's seemingly no external cause of the emotion, you have determined that the emotion is valid.

Rather than think and feel and act and react spontaneously, you have to do the checklist first. Question yourself. What is your motivation here? How far are you from baseline? And in what direction?

Rather than think and feel and act and react (just being yourself), there's a wait period. Instead of going into a restaurant and being seated immediately, you have to stand in the corner or in front of the door, people jostling you this way and that. You have to stand there and observe. Reflect. Twiddle your thumbs. Hum. After a long-ish wait you are seated. Never guaranteed the greatest table or the finest food. You never know what you're going to get.


Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.



Another belief of mine; that everyone else my age is an adult, whereas I am merely in disguise.
Margaret Atwood

on the phone with mom

Mom: You sound drunk
Me: I'm not drunk
Mom: You're slurring your words
Me: Maybe it's because I'm slouching down in my chair. (I sit up straight). Okay, now I'm sitting up straight.
Mom: You still sound drunk
Me: I just talked to Dad for a half hour. Ask him if I sounded drunk.
Mom: (In the background) John, did Sarah sound drunk to you?
Dad: (In the background) No. She sounded fine.
Mom: Oh, he said you're not drunk.
take away the dramatic lows. good. take away the intense highs. not good. so now i must be somewhere between good and not good. to me it just feels like not good. i still don’t understand why radical acceptance is the goal. i’ve never had an eh goal. being naive is definitely underrated.

Your absence has gone through me like thread through a needle. Everything I do is stitched with its color.

— W.S. Merwin

Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.

--Ernest Hemingway



Tonight at the movies. Hearing your laugh in the dark made me smile. We should do this more often. Over drinks I talk about my guy and you talk about your guy. We discuss the movie, me going on about F. Scott Fitzgerald and you going on about Brad and Angelina. You really don’t keep up with the goings on in Hollywood do you, you ask. No, I do not. But when I’m changing channels and accidentally stop on Entertainment Tonight I think of you. This is your version of the news. And these people, the glitz and the glam, all of it is your idea of what love is supposed to be. Real love. True love. Your voice dreamy when you talk about the love in store for us. It’s a new year, this is going to be our year, you say. I roll my eyes, like I do. With our second drink, as with the first, you raise your glass to toast and clink. I ask, Must you toast every time we drink? Jaded young me and hopeful old you. We make a good team.

I’ve been burned by friends. And now I prefer acquaintances. Casual. Cold. But tonight something changed. I saw you. I really saw you.

If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself. What isn’t part of ourselves doesn’t disturb us.
Hermann Hesse


Times like these we have to grow up a little. I don’t know anything about growing up, but I do know about growing. Remove the up and I can embrace it. Leave the up and I stick my fingers in my ears and shout until I’m far, far away.

I worry about losing my job. Every day you hear about some unlucky person who was laid off. You think god how awful and you can’t sleep at night because tomorrow morning that some unlucky person might be you.

The feeling of connection and camaraderie at work is gone. We question whether or not it ever really existed. Was this a false sense of security? Everyone is withdrawing. Drawing inward. The turtle tucks her head back into her shell. Times like these and you don’t want to expose your neck.


Old guy in ICU today. John. In the bluish shadow of the late afternoon, I'm wiping down his legs, carefully wiping around the towel I'd placed over his privates for um, privacy. 'You can clean that off too', he says in a heh heh heh perverted way. It's not the first time and it certainly won't be the last. We play these games in the hospital. He plays the dirty old man and I play the coy young girl. The old me would have blushed or, rather, burst into flames. But now I'm getting good at these games.

It's not your birthday, I say.
Yes, but it is New Year's Eve he says.
Yes, but I'm not feeling that charitable.
No? You look like a very charitable girl.

Lights go on. Game over. I think I won this round.

'This hasn't been a good year', he says. He continues with the story of his wife's decline. Alzheimer's. How she's now in a nursing home, how it was a rough two years when he tried to take care of her at home. How she starting throwing things at him. Started swearing at him. 'The turning point,' he said, 'was the first time she looked at me with absolute hatred in her eyes.' A happy marriage to that point. Fifty-four years. 'My heart never felt so heavy as it did on that day.' We share silence for a brief time.

We play these games. With each new game we get to wear a different mask. The mask is protection. Without it, everyone would see how we really feel. And that's never pretty.


such a sensitive little girl, they say
the most innocuous comment
can bruise her precious little soul

you must be careful with your words

such an unhappy little girl, they say
and they are right
she herself doesn’t understand the ache she feels
this pain of loss
when she hasn’t even lost anything yet


older now but still so troubled
she laughs when you silly-dance to ali farka toure
and wells up with tears when the dancing stops

she lies face down on the cold tile floor.
you’ve learned not to ask
for she can not explain
instead, you step over her to get to the kitchen
she will get up when she is ready

nights like this, long ago
you might have expected blood and threats
but she is quiet now; retreating within
she does this for you, out of love for you
she never expected you to carry the weight
and is relieved now that you have relinquished it

such a sensitive girl
like a wild bird caught in the house
she doesn’t know how she got here
but she has to get out
and will kill herself trying

when you feel you’re losing her,
at the worst of times
you give her a pen and a stack of blank paper
and then you leave her alone
for it won’t be long ‘til she comes back to you

this wounded little girl
with her big heart and heavy burden

she will crawl all over you
she will creep into the crooks and curves of your body
she will settle wherever you are lacking
(her dark mysterious eyes twinkling mischief)

the return is always worth the trouble
for now

orange peel sweet on his fingers despite repeated washings
orange peel sweet and black smudge from newspaper print
messy like silly putty comic strips kneaded back to plain
he hates it when i ask him to wash his hands before touching me

it doesn't matter really because i love this man
and i'll take him any way i can
he must know that, right?
the power he has over me?


best christmas ever. i’m too lazy to write for real but i want a record here.

i didn’t buy a single christmas gift for anyone — i wanted to stick to my principles this year and not feel guilted into doing the typical christmas mass-giving thing — but i did send my niece a Happy Whateverness ipod because every girl should have music at her fingertips (the down side was charitably loading it up with britney spears, american idol winners and runners-up, and other top-40 bullshit). my folks complied with my request for a simple no-gifts christmas, although they donated some money to zimbabwe relief efforts in my name. that gave the i’m-so-glad-i-don’t-live-in-zimbabwe me the warm and fuzzies.

mom and dad went to mass in the a.m. giving me space for mindless tv-watching and a breakfast/lunch combo of cheetos and heath bars. a long hot bath this afternoon with a margaret atwood book followed by cooling off out back in the desert wind and writing for a few hours. m and d made dinner, all my favorites, and for the first time were sensitive to my food weirdness — like not carving the bird at the dinner table and not talking about the bird and its thighs and wings and drumsticks and everything else that gives me the heebie jeebies.

dinner was followed by deep discussion (each of us explained in great detail what we want done to our bodies following our demise) and me asking my former-catholic-priest father if he really believes in god and him reading, out loud, an essay about the new atheists and fundamentalism, and me confessing how a lot of the time i’m wrong and they’re right (that made them happy and it was no skin off my nose) and how i’m a total instigator (which they already knew of course) and then my dad reading a story he’d written about his reasons for leaving south africa in the seventies and then me asking my dad if, before he dies, he will tell me and my mom if he’d had sex with anyone else before my mom (how can she not know that??) and then dad reading some poetry he’s written and then mom and i agreeing that his happy poems aren’t as good as his sad poems and then m and d going to bed and me following them into their room talking about nothing important and then dad chasing me out because he wanted to change into his pajamas, which are really just boxer shorts and then me asking why he wears tighty whities as underwear and boxer shorts as pajamas and then him saying that 80% of men wear tighty whities and then me saying no they don’t and then him asking how i know and then me stammering and saying ‘i know men’, and then him saying that most men wear boxers as pajamas and then me saying no they don’t and then me thinking about it and saying well honestly i don’t know because most men i’ve known have gone to bed naked and then dad locking himself in the bathroom and mom laughing hysterically. i will miss these times with the old folks. they mean everything to me. and i never would have thought i’d ever say that.

now i’m putting all of my dad’s classical music on my ipod and listening to junior kimbrough and the sad stuff of pj harvey and drinking sprite which i don’t really like and i haven't had a drink for three days now and it’s not so bad and that’s why this was the best christmas ever.


Tonight my parents and I watched a movie they rented from Netflix. My mother is going deaf so every few minutes she would ask What did she say? or What did he say?

Eventually there was a steamy sex scene, which is always a fun thing to watch with one’s parents, and my mom asked Did she say ‘I don’t want you inside me'?.

My father replied, No, she said ‘I want you inside me.’

At which point I decided it was a good time to introduce my parents to the amazing technology of closed captioning.

looking through old photos tonight. years and years. birth. death. family. family no more. old loves. childhood friends. old houses. all of it. i start to cry with some, laugh with others. oh it gets the old soul stirring. but surely never enough to jump off a cliff. emotions come and go. let it come, feel it hit, let it go. this is life. i feel the enormity of it. and the simplicity. it feels good to have lived -- sorrow, joy, and all. i wouldn't change a thing. sweet dreams tonight.


I'm flying to Arizona in a few days to spend Christmas with my parents. "Oh, you're going home? How nice!" -- that from a coworker after hearing about my plans. I was quick to respond with no, that's not my home. "Oh right, Canada is home," she said. And I thought, no, Canada isn't home either. So now I'm wondering where or what my home is. Is it a geographical location? A place with the most memories? A place where I spent the most time? Where I know the most people? I'd gotten used to moving around a lot, never placing roots. Now here I am, in the same place after ten consecutive years. Is this home? Maybe home is not a place, but the people I love. So if home is the people that I love, and some people that I love have left, does that mean I have no home? Maybe home is where my dog is.

Listening to the voicemail my mother left this afternoon, I began to cry. She had called to ask if there were any special shampoos or hand lotions that she could buy so that I didn't have to bring all of my stuff with me. And she reminded me that I didn't have to bring the charger for my battery-operated toothbrush because I could use her charger.

It hit me then, listening to that message, that in a few days I really am going home.
an ache to be known
to be understood without having to find words

one man's trash . . .

goosebumps and tired eyes
clenched teeth and dry lips
like a BB through a tin can,
I am what's left behind.


Day was day. I, like the Incredible Hulk, with my temper — my eyeballs shake back and forth when I get really mad, and I can’t get any words out. Today I hated everyone and everything, which means that the problem with the world, today, was MY perception of it. Great now that I have the insight to recognize what’s really going on; I can’t place blame on anyone else. Insight = responsibility. Boo hiss. I just want to fight. Throw some punches. Kick. Wrestle. Rastle even. I want to kick and punch, to expend all of my negative energy, until meek and mild is left behind. I wonder what it’s like to be meek and mild. I most certainly will never know.


"Keepers of private notebooks are a different breed altogether, lonely and disconsolate rearrangers of things — anxious malcontents afflicted, apparently at birth, with a presentiment of loss."

Joan Didion


in the quiet of a cold, empty house you come across something you shouldn’t have. there are some truths one should never know. as you have done it to someone else, it has now been done to you. and you realize how sick you really are. sick evil twisted. a hater a demon a mistake. all of the games, all of the manipulation. you lose in the end. alone. lonely. solo. so lo.

it will take many more nights like these, in the quiet of a cold, empty house for you to learn your lesson. maybe.

instead of fighting it, fighting yourself you resolve to do one thing right: you will wake up in the morning.


Sad today. Lay offs at work. Not me, this time, but a friend. I think it's all a big conspiracy. Everyone's jumping on the "bad economy" bandwagon and using it as an excuse to get rid of people, or to threaten people. If I have to hear "well at least you still have a job" from management one more time I'm going to scream. I'm going to have to shut my mouth and stop talking to people in positions of authority, because, well, I shouldn't be talking to people in positions of authority.

I'll stop. It's pointless. I feel beaten down tonight. Beaten down by the reality of the times. And by the reality that I'm 33 years old and I'm not a little girl anymore. Grow up. Settle down. Move on. Won't someone please remind me that dreams do come true, and that it's never all that bad, and that if you wish for something hard enough, well, dreams do come true. Aren't we supposed to believe in miracles, especially around this time of year? I'm not complaining because I have it bad -- really, I'm very fortunate.


My journey thus far has been punctuated with short-lived infatuations, like sprinkles on a cake. These obsessions might make me seem a fool, but how can something be foolish if for a moment one believes in something wholeheartedly, with an ultimate passion? Crazy or not isn't it better to experience rapture than bland indifference? If I were to permanently live in this state of otherness, that might be something to question, because certainly one can't be happy/high/driven/infatuated all of the time. But for a little bit, why not?

Something I think of often, when I question myself, is John Keats' "I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart’s affections and the truth of imagination. What the imagination seizes as beauty must be truth - whether it existed before or not."

These things are difficult to explain.


Yesterday, I overheard a conversation between my coworker K. and her little old man patient. She had spent the last half hour with this guy and he had been quiet and normal. Then she left him alone in her room for a few seconds.

Here’s what I heard:

K - What are you doing out of bed?

Patient - I had to pee. I kept telling you I had to pee.

K - You didn’t tell me you had to pee. Where did you pee?

P - I peed in the sink.

K - You peed in my sink??

P - No, I peed in the cup and then poured it in the sink.

K - You peed in my coffee cup?? I’ve had that coffee cup for seventeen years!!


i try to sleep but i think of you instead. i try to read but i think of you instead. i try to get high but i think of you instead. i try to remember that i'm happy but i think of you instead. i try to find peace but i think of you instead. instead of having you i'm solo. so lo. lo.


When a confused or demented patient gets agitated we give them a big pile of raggedy wrinkled washcloths and ask them to please fold them neatly into a stack. Given a task, a way to help out, to feel useful, they fold away, happy as clams. When the task is completed they proudly hand us the stack of folded washcloths. We say, 'Oh, thank you SO much. I really appreciate your help'. And they beam. We leave the room, out of sight, and turn the neat stack into a big pile of raggedy wrinkled washcloths for the same patient to fold again. And the cycle goes on.

I need a big pile of raggedy wrinkled washcloths.


This is something I wrote a while ago. It's not nice, but it's important.

I want someone to take care of me as I fall apart. To make decisions for me. To tell me what is wrong and what is right. To tell me not to worry. To tell me that I am special. To tell me that they will never ever leave me. To make a promise and keep that promise forever and ever. To tell me that one day I will be the same person that I was before.

I want someone who will not let me push them away when I am scared.

One guy, not important enough or lasting enough to mention by name, listened to my story, THE story, saying nothing, just listening, and when a lone teardrop rolled down my cheek, he wiped it away with his thumb and just kept listening. The most tender moment ever.

One guy, slightly more important and longer lasting, punched my spine, punched my kidney, and rammed his hand into my pussy until I bled.

“Punch me,” I had said.


“Anywhere. My face. Anywhere.”

“I’m not into giving pain.”

“Please, just hurt me.”

And he did.

One guy told me he loved me the first time we met. Later, he was on top of me, his sweat dripping onto my face. I kept my eyes open for the salty sting. “Cum on my face,” I said. “Really?” “Yes. Please.” And he did.

One guy wanted to use a condom. “No condom” I said. “Are you sure?” he asked. “Yes.” And he didn’t. Two weeks later I needed to take penicillin.

One guy tried to get me drunk. He kept handing me my glass saying “you’re not keeping up with me.” I laughed and said “Don’t worry. I’ll fuck you whether I’m drunk or not.”

One guy said “I’ll fuck you, but only if we keep it on the down low.” Fine.

One guy whispered poetry in Arabic as we lay together in the dark. Then he took off his clothes, kneeled over my face, and fucked my mouth, going so deep that semen oozed from my nostrils when he came.
I’ve always needed quiet to be able to think. Let’s try it this way for once. Music so loud I feel sick in my gut. Thinking hasn’t done much for me lately. Just do. Do it like this.

It rained all day. Cool breeze through the house until the rain stopped and rose from the hot ground in steam, streaming through the open windows, laying damp on the wood floors, sticky under feet, laying damp on the bed sheets. Sticky, swelling, unclean. Humidity opening me up.

Homework for the weekend is to have a pleasant experience. Some of the options listed in the book: take a bubble bath, have sex, go shopping, take a long walk, dine out, play tennis, read a book, paint your nails. My pleasant experience is music blasting, so so super loud. Only louder. No one to turn the music down for. No interruptions. I jump on the elliptical for a while to get my heart going, my lungs screaming, my pulse pounding at my temples and in my eyeballs. Then I lie in bed with the dog and kiss his head. Then I smoke a half-smoked joint on the floor of the living room, my legs hanging out the screen door onto the back patio, breathing in the humid pine tree air and thinking of New Hampshire and my great aunt who is now dead and I watch for the slow movements of deer meandering through the woods. I light a candle and watch it flicker on top of the fireplace mantle. I eat a piece of key lime pie, and not a small piece either. I try on a blouse I haven’t worn in years, fingering the buttons that I could never do up, tie the fabric belt in a tight bow at my back, cinching it as tight as it will go and still having too much room, too much fabric. Parts of me slowly melt away – I see a different change in the mirror every few times I look. As there becomes less of me, there becomes more of me.

I’m looking back today. Years back. Years and years and years. Split my current age in half. More even. I’m told I shouldn’t look back so much, but there’s a satisfaction in comparing the past to the present. This is not what I’d expected. Not the me I imagined myself to become. A different version. No better, no worse. Maybe more neutral. I’m throwing out the extremes of me. Finally seeing the shades of gray. Accepting the shades of gray. No more good, no more bad. I do miss the intensity though. The roller coaster ride. The ecstasy and the agony. Ebony and ivory. One for you and one for me. Wha?


unconditional love: an experiment

Throw your significant other and your dog in the trunk of your car. An hour later, open your trunk and see who is happier to see you.


indian summer november night. a fragment in orange. the agora too loud and the whiskey too cold. my hands crammed into the pockets of my jeans -- palms hot and sweaty and fingers minty from the pack of gum that kept changing hands. a fragment in orange.

good times. unusual friends. i'm glad to be back home, alone. sat in the lawn chair out back, listened to the dog piss, and stared at the stars. stare long enough and they shoot all over the place.

this is the new mindfulness. finding the big thing in the now. minute by minute. the new mindfulness. a fragment in orange.


A purge surfaces in a wide variety of ways. Tonight, it's me uninstalling computer programs. It's a benign kind of thing. I've got a country music song playing in my head and the smell of peanut butter on my breath. I just finished watching a bunch of videos of old people falling over and falling down; I'm tickled pink.

Words don't fail me now. Words, don't fail me now. Words (no emphasis on don't) don't fail me now.

I recently stumbled across this thing called existential loneliness. I haven't stumbled across what it feels like -- that's well known to me; to lots of people. But I stumbled across the term. I like how it sounds -- it just rolls off the tongue. I stole this from someplace: Existential loneliness is deeper and more pervasive than any other kind of loneliness. It often disguises itself as longing for a specific person or pretends to be yearning for contact with anyone, but this deeper lack or emptiness-of-being is not really a kind of loneliness at all. Being together with other people, even people we intensely love, does not overcome this deep incompleteness of being. This inner default of selfhood has never been solved by relationships, no matter how good and close and warm our relationships might be.

Previous people have bowed out of relationships with me saying "I'm not enough for you" or "I'm not what you want." It's funny that I stumbled across this thing called existential loneliness post-relationship(s). Maybe if I'd understood this thing back then I could have said, yes, you're enough for me, and yes, you're what I want. I could have said this has nothing to do with you. Maybe if I could have said these things the end would never have come.

From one of my favorite musicians: 'It's a hard thing to love anyone, anyhow.'


I don't want to be around people. Damn all the prior commitments I made. I feel as though I'm sitting back, waiting and watching to see what unfolds within myself. I picture the angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other. Not necessarily angel and devil, but definitely two parts making one whole. Opposites of each other, pulling me in two directions. I should name these two parts, because I'm not supposed to be using the words "good" and "bad" (no judgments). Sarah 1 and Sarah 2 perhaps. Sarah Light and Sarah Dark? I like the latter. Although, Sarah Light isn't some ethereal, positive, happy-go-lucky entity. Sarah Light is the part of me that strives to change for the better. Maybe Sarah Get Better and Sarah Stand Still. Better yet.

I'm watching Sarah Stand Still in action. Resisting change. Creating chaos to overwhelm Sarah Get Better. Sarah Get Better is easily overwhelmed. She can focus on one or two things at a time. Throw a few hurdles in her way and she bows out to Sarah Stand Still.

I'm observing this play as if I'm not directly involved with any of it.

Sarah Stand Still is like a demon in need of a good exorcism. She hisses and seethes. Blackness oozing forth from every orifice, hot like lava, sticky like tar, and sour like molasses.

I watch this. Hear what comes from her mouth. See the faces she makes. Lips scrunched up, brows furrowed, eyes squinting. If she were a snake, you would know she was preparing to strike. I shake my head.


A steady, gentle rain falls. If you listen closely you can hear the rustle of the leaves on the big tree out back as each raindrop lands. All of the windows are open, inviting the cool and damp into this house of dusty air conditioned dryness. The back door is wide open for the breeze, liberating and casual. I've been watching too many serial killer shows on tv lately and I glance at the open door from time to time. In my dreams last night there was sex and music. The ocean. Billy was there, playing in the waves as they rolled onto the shore.

I'm listening to Mali music, watching the dog gnawing on his new bone. I'm swiffering the kitchen floor, washing the dishes. I'm drinking water with artificial berry flavor. I'm organizing my photos, removing the red eye on those I took at the party last night. Forty women dressed in pink, a surreal scene. The Positive Pink Party. I still don't understand the theme. Most women shied away from the camera, irritated by my imposition. I've become more comfortable behind the lens, less worried about the reaction I sometimes get from being the girl with the camera, in your face or across the room. I take a thousand shots of one person hoping to capture their spirit in at least one of them. My one friend has a rehearsed smile, practiced in the mirror since the disfiguring disease that left one side of her face heavy and reluctant to participate equally with the other half. She has a bigger than life personality, a loud almost-fake laugh that I love. I cannot capture her spirit because, when the camera is around her, she gives me the practiced smile of both sides of her face in perfect harmony.

I'm fascinated by the photographs that capture a personality that in reality does not exist. If you take enough photographs of one subject you will occasionally find one that depicts the person as someone he or she never truly is. How do you take a picture of something that does not exist?

Some of us sat around a fire pit out back, not minding the occasional spit from the darkness above. People often let down their guard around a fire. The intentionally projected false personas go up in smoke, people stripped bare. When this happens, I love everybody. There is always a moment in one's adult life that you are lovable, no matter how otherwise you may be the rest of the time. These moments keep me optimistic.


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.)