olympic peninsula

I don’t have anything of substance to say, so I’ll post a few pictures. In 1997, while working in Vancouver, I was sent to a 3-day workshop in Seattle that began on a Monday morning. Of course I didn’t go directly there. I spent the weekend looking at stuff on the Olympic Peninsula: rainforest, moss, elk, wetlands, beaches, Indian museums, forts, bridges, and ferries. It was a great weekend … until Sunday night, when I didn’t feel very well. I went to the Kingdome to watch a baseball game, and I became violently ill with some kind of intestinal distress. Ew, enough said. I was sick for the next three days, but I still attended the workshop for my boss. That is dedication.

Anyway, here are a few poor quality pictures from the peninsula.

lake_crescent
Crescent Lake at dusk. This photo was taken with a cheap plastic 35mm camera, then the paper photo was recently scanned. No color fixing. Despite the poor quality, one of my favorite photos ever.

ahlstrom_prairie
Dead Elk, Ahlstrom Prairie

ozette_trail
Boardwalk trail on the way to the beach.

whidbey
Whidbey Island Bridge (I know, too much dust!)

shame on me

Most of the memorable times in my life have been moments of shame. I continue to feel ashamed of stupid things I did or said many years after the fact, when everyone else has forgotten about them. Memories of particularly embarrassing moments burst into my consciousness whenever I am feeling down on myself. I remember these things more clearly than other people, internalizing all my shame rather than laughing it off as a simple mistake. To this day I am easily embarrassed over the slightest detail which other people probably don’t even notice.

Shame has always been a dominant force in my life. I can remember being embarrassed of things at 5 years old. I was ashamed of my situation at home, and I didn’t want anyone to know about my life. I was afraid of interacting with other kids in school for fear I would do something to make them laugh at me. I learned that people who were pretending to be friendly were really making fun of me, and I never forgot that. I faced the embarrassment the same way I do today, pretending it didn’t bother me, when in reality it hurt me deeply.

I have always had such low self-esteem that I felt trapped by my negative thoughts about myself. I have so many reasons for feeling less than adequate: I’m overweight, I’m not attractive, I’m a slob, I’m damaged, I keep secrets from my family, I’m awkward around people, I don’t fit in socially, I’m lazy, I fail at stuff guys are supposed to know how to do. I’m ashamed of myself. I know some people are comfortable being themselves, but I never have been.

I know I have some good qualities, but when I am depressed it is too difficult to find those positives. That’s why I feel like a wounded person pretending I’m all right during the day, then I can relax and wallow in self-pity in the evening. I am encouraged by other people’s words, however. It helps me to read other blogs and understand that I am not the only one with problems.

mediocre and okay with it

I am so average. I have my cars, my house in the suburbs, a decent job where I perform just ok. I went to an average school, and gave enough effort to get an adequate education. I have a big screen, a slow computer, and a cheap phone. I have a wife and kids and two cats. I have mental health problems, but hey, who doesn’t these days, right?

I’ve always been too scared to try anything extraordinary. I’ve never been a daring risk-taker. I didn’t ask out the prettiest girl, I didn’t try to go to the best college, I quit things and sabotaged myself. I set my sights lower so I wouldn’t fall too far if I failed.

I failed anyway, but I also succeeded, and my successes and failures probably average out. Somehow, despite the bruises and the bullshit, things turned out okay. Not great, not terrible, but somewhere in between.

For today at least, I can accept that. I’ll see the negative side of this reality on some days, but for now I can let the glass be half full.

discarded

I feel like I throw away people when I want to run away from or forget certain parts of my life.

I ignore all my adopted mom’s friends and family because I am slowly purging those memories from my mind. I abandoned all my friendships in my hometown because I wanted to break all ties with that place. I have the opportunity to keep in touch with former coworkers-turned-friends, but I choose not to. I even deleted my former blog friends when I rebooted my digital life. I’m sure they have forgotten about me by now.

I still care about a few of those people, but I don’t do anything to let them know. When someone tries to reach out on Fakebook, I either ignore them or say things that push them away again.

I’ve even done this with my wife and her family to a certain extent. When I feel unlovable, I return the same indifference and lack of intimacy that I think I deserve.

I don’t think this is a part of the bipolar, even though the depressive mood swings contribute to these feelings. I think this is rooted in my lack of self-esteem. I feel like I’m not worth caring about, and I can’t understand why someone would want to take the time and effort to be my friend. At the same time, I feel so lonely, but I have done this to myself.

i’m not the man

It seems like I am always second fiddle. I know how to do things the right way, I just want someone else to get the credit. I’m comfortable in the supporting role, making the leader look good, and getting the recognition from only a few people rather than everyone. I like to be the understudy, learning from and emulating the ways of others. I see this as a serious personality flaw.

I have no confidence in my ability to be the leader. I have no self-esteem, and I don’t think I deserve recognition for my accomplishments. In fact, I want to avoid the attention and scrutiny of others, because I have the never-ending feeling that I am a wholly untalented impostor, a liar, a sham. I am constantly afraid I will be fired when people find out I have been faking my way through my current job without really knowing what I am doing.

I’m not good at being in charge of things, but I also complain about the people who are in charge. I know how things need to be done, but I am too passive to express those needs effectively. I avoid situations where I have to tell someone else what needs to be done. I hate to delegate work to others because I don’t want to have to tell them the things I need changed. I feel so worthless, that my ideas will be ridiculed by the other person even as they are supposed to be learning from me.

My ideal situation would be where I am in charge, but no one knows about it. Basically, I wish I were the Wizard of Oz, pulling the levers in secrecy. I would be a lonely yet benevolent megalomaniac, and not let that power go to my head at all.

broken dreams

Dreams can show us what we desire, or reflect our most basic fears. Dreams can be literal or whimsical or anywhere in between. Dreams are filled with paradoxes and alternate realities. Dreams can inspire us to do great things, but dreams followed blindly can lead to disastrous consequences.

Have a dream, live your dream, but don’t follow your dream off a cliff.

back to the 70s

Last night Mrs. Fish and I were transported back in time. We saw a concert by The Musical Box, a Genesis tribute band that recreates concerts from the 1970s era.

They are really more than a tribute band, it is like a theatrical performance. The band uses the same stage setup, projected slide show, costumes, and some of the same instruments and technology (except for possibly one modern keyboard). They play the songs the same way they were played by the original band, and I’m convinced that “Peter” tells the same funny stories in between songs. The band comes out on stage wearing white suits, with black lights making them glow in the darkness. “Peter” is wearing a dark bodysuit and giant bat wings on his head as the Mellotron intro to “Watcher of the Skies” begins. At various times he is dressed as a British flag, a daffodil, a priest, and an old man.

Musically, the band was able to perform some seriously difficult parts, especially by the keyboard player “Tony”, and there was excellent drumming by “Phil”. “Mike” had his trademark double guitar/bass and bass pedals, and “Steve” sat on a stool to one side of the stage, recalling the stage fright that Steve Hackett experienced at the time.

I have listened to the music many times, and I always wished I had been able to see Genesis in the older days. In 1973, Genesis toured North America with the “Selling England By The Pound” show. Some of these songs were recorded and released as the album “Genesis Live”, but some of the songs cannot be heard without watching this show. Since the band will never reunite in concert, this is the closest I will ever get to seeing the real thing.

The audience was mostly over-40, with some really old people and a handful of younger people in the crowd. Of course, the scent of weed was ever-present during the show. I’m convinced several people went to the bathroom to light up, then came back inside. I don’t know if they enjoyed the show more than I did, but I’m sure the strobe lights messed with their minds.

helpless

Originally posted on Bipolar Dad, Bipolar Daughter:

I feel so helpless right now. I don’t know what I can do to help Nicole get through her life with bipolar. The depression has been kicking her ass for a month, and all I can do is hope the doctor agrees to fiddle with her medication. Maybe we need to try a different drug, or just increase the current drug again.

She’s not showering, she doesn’t care about going to school, she hides and sleeps when she is supposed to be doing homework. She wants to go to college, but I’m not sure she will make it through high school. Maybe we should have done an IEP with the school for this year, but we didn’t think it would be necessary. We thought the bipolar would get better this year, but the depressions have continued one step ahead of the dosage increases.

I don’t know what else to do for…

View original 96 more words

lost day

Another lost day. Nicole missed school again today due to depression. She also missed Thursday and Friday last week because of stomach flu, and that makes three in a row. I don’t know if the school will insist on a doctor’s note, but we don’t have one.

As usual, it seems like my fault for saying something that set her off into a bad mood. Last night I was trying to get her to shower and clean her room a little. I get irritated and raised my voice and said some things that I felt needed to be said … but in her fragile emotional state, those things caused her to start crying and feel sad for herself. The conversation went from “clean your room and shower” to “I still like parts of me” to “I don’t like myself” faster than I could stop it. When she gets on a roll it is difficult to stop her, and by this time the verbal train fell off the track. I should have known today would be a problem.

While we were on the subject, she took the time to analyze me a little and tell me some problems I have:

— She says I need to look more at the parts of me that are good, and less at the parts I don’t like. I didn’t tell her that she is right, and there is very little about me that I like, and if I do I don’t get any happiness from it because of the demands of life and my non-existent sense of self-worth. I’m fundamentally different from her and most everyone else. I don’t like myself. No matter how many positive things I find, there are so many more negatives.

— She says I’m on her back too much and I don’t give her opportunity to make bad decisions, and that she can’t learn how to manage time or workload. I told her that she has made plenty of bad decisions already, and how many more should I let her make before she flunks out of school? I didn’t say that her bad decisions will cost her (and me) more money as time goes on.

— She says I am too hard on her for her problems because I am comparing my childhood to hers, and that just because mine wasn’t happy doesn’t mean I have the right to make hers bad. I didn’t tell her that she had no idea how bad she would feel if she grew up in my shoes. Then again, maybe she is right.

Turning back to herself, she first said she likes the person she is, and she sees the good parts about herself, despite having some parts she doesn’t like. Then this morning, after she had time to ruminate on it all night, she says she doesn’t like who she is.

I’m lost. I don’t know what to do for her to help her get out of this. I called her doctor twice, but have not heard back from her today. I guess I’ll try again tomorrow. In the meantime, I hope she goes to school tomorrow. I also hope she passes her classes, but I’m starting to doubt that will happen.

In the meantime, trying to deal with this makes me feel like crap. Plus I have to go to work to pay for the health care that Nicole will need forever, so I feel lovely today. I know it’s not her fault, but I wish she could try a little harder. Maybe that’s cold-hearted of me. Maybe she is trying, and it is just too much. I never can tell.

distorted dream

I was in a dream state this morning where I couldn’t wake up, and everything was jumbled. I was trying to remember a street name, and all I could do was see a part of every word I tried to imagine. My memory was simply scrambled, and I felt trapped in a mental purgatory. When I did wake up, I felt the same way, but things started to slowly fall back into place. In a few minutes, I could think clearly again. I wonder if that is what dementia feels like sometimes. I can’t imagine myself wanting to live if that condition were permanent.

Other thoughts:

  • I hope I don’t run out of posts for the new blog. An early flame-out would be a little embarrassing. I’m not a real writer, just an amateur with a few ideas and waning enthusiasm. I don’t know if I can sustain the blog for more than a couple of months.
  • I’m so sick of winter. Fuck the groundhog, I’m declaring an early spring this year. The weather will be spectacular by March 15th.
  • I don’t feel like writing or shopping or showering or cooking or anything else. I just want to watch a little tv and go to sleep.
  • It’s 10 am. Yes, I could sleep all day today.