Archive for the ‘love’ Tag

Sweet Things   Leave a comment

Dear friends,

I love you all. First and foremost, let me just say that because I, by now you know, don’t wait for “special occasions” like Thanksgiving to say sweet things or show my emotions. I have been bitten once too often by the misfortune of time to know that we don’t often get to reach the anniversary of milestones before the definition of our existence is qualified by the manifest of our character. By that I simply mean, it is not the memories of those gathered around a table on holidays that make me filled with love and gratitude, but instead all of those times past when minutes slipped by silent and unknowing and one of you or another had helped me justify my reality that lends to me now this feeling of such full honor and reward. As I prepare for a quiet celebration this Thursday, just a small meal that I will prepare myself for the two of us and then in the evening meeting up with my dearest friend for some not-so-casual conversation, I am thinking of everyone living up to their traditions who are surrounded by families and friends and busy with the coming of Christmas. I don’t celebrate Christmas anymore because I live its message all year round and no longer believe in its foundational origination. The same as I gave up faith for knowledge and prayer for learning, I have given up telling stories for sincere communication and dwelling on the past for weaving my timeline so that I can constantly be present while ever moving forward, slow and with purpose. I come to you now, humble and with a sincere heart, offering you with all the hope, honesty and innocent commitment I can muster, my love and friendship and my constant effort to be a quiet place where your weary heart may find comfort, your tired soul may find peace and your restless mind may find refuge. As you have all done for me, from time to time, whether you know it or not, I extend to give you now and always. I love you, my friends. Thank you for bringing me to this place of self love and acceptance. I could never have found me without you.

Enjoy your holiday,
Jen

Karen’s Got Pneumonia And I’ve Got the Blues   1 comment

 

I keep making things up.  I suppose I could just settle for some definition of what I’m doing that leaves me sounding creative and daring, but really I think that I’m just bored and a slight touch demented.  I come up with some other person I’d rather be; a name, a personality, a complete background and family tree and just live out a few days or even a whole lifetime as this new creation.  If I could be organized enough, motivated enough to write it all out and do something with it then I could say that I was an artist of some great means, but really it’s all just for my own entertainment.  It keeps me from hurting myself and lashing out at others and I know that there is some great benefit there.  I mean, any day that I wake up and know for a fact that there are no victims from the day before I can open my eyes and feel victorious.  But I am starting to worry more and more about all of this wasted time.  And I don’t just mean wasted as in “where is my life going” or “what am I amounting to with me doing nothing but daydreaming?”  I am referring to the actual loss of time that has been occurring.  I mentioned it to the psychiatrist and he made notes about it in my file.  It concerned him enough to discuss it with me again the following visit but of course I am now done with my time at Kennedy so all of the progress I have made with him is now dust in the wind which is always the case.  I never seem to get anywhere with anyone in therapy.  Just as we start down an interesting road I stop seeing that particular person and never because it is what I want.  This time it is because my 12 weeks of Intensive Outpatient is completed.  I have to start going to Catholic Charities now.  I don’t much like the idea of it, but what can I do?  With the limit Medicaid that I receive currently it was that or Drenk and Drenk had a 3 month waiting list.  I am a bit mistrusting and paranoid actually and not sure I believe Drenk.  I preferred going back to them for my individual therapy and medication monitoring, but I truthfully believe that my old therapist is still there.  She was supposed to be leaving their employment in late August, but when I called her extension it was still set up with her information.  I don’t think she wants to continue with me and I don’t think they feel I am stable enough to walk into that building, see her in person and not freak out and accept another therapist.  I admit, I got way too attached to her and I understand their concerns.  But truthfully, for as much hassle as going to a new place will cause me I would much rather go back to Drenk and see another therapist and just leave things be.  But they don’t know this and are probably just being evasive to keep things calm over there.  So they are saying they can’t take me back and now Catholic Charities is my only option.  From how it’s been explained to me, I will probably do a weekly therapy, see a nurse practitioner for medication and maybe have to attend a group.  I’m not sure how often the group will be, maybe weekly or bi-weekly.  I hope not much more than that.  They are located about 10 minutes further than Drenk and my old car has had enough of all these trips.  But regardless, it will be closer than Kennedy which was roughly 45 minutes and 28 miles away for me.  I must admit, the groups that I attended at Kennedy did help me.  They let me feel comfortable joining in discussions and being a part of the entire process of sharing and opening up.  So I am must more inclined now, I think to take part in my own therapy, both group and individual.  I don’t think therapy is something you are just born understanding out to utilize.  And that’s a shame because when you really need help you go for so long and it’s wasted just having you go and sit there and be afraid and closed off.  But now I know I will walk into any therapist office or any group setting and barring any bizarre scene I will do my part to get the most out of the help offered.  It makes me really full of hope and possibility.  I also know now that even though a lot of why I start going to therapy is because of anger and such what I really need help with is my PTSD.  My anxiety and fear is what leads me to my anger, but if you need to know where it all begins and what really stops me in my tracks from leading a healthy, happy life it’s the overwhelming fear and nervousness that I live with on a daily basis.  Out of the 24 hours of each day, second by second, I am spending so many of my hours consumed with doubt, paranoia, dread and an agony of disappointing people and being alarmed by the simplest of things.  I am at a constant level of stress and anxiety that I have just grown to expect it, but it corrupts everything about me, about my life and about my reactions.  And now I’m at a point where I am so tired and overwhelmed that my ability to manage it and hide it has fallen apart and what the world is seeing is anger and this violent, agitated, near demonic side of me that was always just below the surface and aimed at myself but now, more often than not, pouring over the brim and effecting them.  I don’t know this wasn’t a story or typical blog post.  My girlfriend is in the hospital with pneumonia and my head is frazzled because I’m alone and feeling too much freedom and way too emotional.  I know I haven’t posted in a while and I just wanted to say something and this is what came bumbling, stumbling out of my head.  I feel like there is a chance I could accidentally hurt myself while she’s gone.  That is such a strange thing to say, to admit to.  She drives me nuts and I spend a lot of time taking care of her when she’s home, but she still manages to keep me safe.  With her in the hospital I am alone and unattended and I feel like I want to do something risky.  Like I could cut myself or take a lot of pills just to do something dangerous.  I don’t know why I have these urges.  I just do.  When my old girlfriend would spend time in the hospital she always knew that as soon as I made sure she was ok I would go out and spend all of our money on drugs and just get totally fucked up.  It was like our routine.  I don’t do that anymore.  But in the absence of that plan I still want to do something risky.  I just am older now and tired and not feeling well.  But those demons still want to play.  They are still digging their claws into my brain and taunting me.  Who knows how I will shut them up?  I’ll have to figure something out.  I think I have 3 more days till she comes home.  And it is officially the first day of FALL which thrills me to no end.  Maybe when I wake up I’ll go get some hot coffee and spend the day out and about.  Anything to keep me from sitting in this house alone with sharp objects and pill bottles that sounds like a good idea doesn’t it?

Fuck it.

Wish me luck and shit.

Jen

Storytellers   Leave a comment

 

 

I grew up hearing people say to my mother that she should write a book.  It’s true, to hear her tell her life out in story form made her sound like some sort of wild and crazy character who had not only herself been interesting, but had also been invested and involved with other such colorful people and plots.  But as I’ve gotten older and I’ve met my fair share of people and as I myself have had many experiences, I realize that nearly everyone should write a book if all that matters is the story involved.  We all have something interesting to say.  What makes it worth telling isn’t the story, it’s the storyteller.

It’s a rare breed of animal that can captivate you with a tale.  Someone who makes you want to sit, mouth hanging open, eyes wide with wonder, ears pricked in awe and heart pounding with suspense.  It’s not the story; it’s the person telling the story.  Think about it.  Think about how many times someone has told you about something as simple as a trip to the store and it was a revelation.  We need to cherish our storytellers.  We need to prop them up and ask them, beg them if necessary, to tell us their tales because they are the essence of what it means to be human.

But my guess is it won’t take much to get them to start talking.  After all, a true storyteller is always merely awaiting her audience.

Seek these people out.  Live and learn and pass along the passion of this amazing art.

Jen Czahur

1st Mother’s Day without Mom   Leave a comment

 

It’s Mother’s Day.  I know that I should be missing my mom, that I shouldn’t be able to stay composed what with this being the first time I have to spend this holiday without her, but I promise you that I am truly OK.  My mother was a pure delight of a human being.  She was laughter and dignity and charm and compassion.  She could take care of you no matter what condition you were in and always leave you feeling as though you were the most important person in the world and at no time did she ever make you feel as though you were putting her out.  Her love and care were effortless, she was able to comfort you without putting someone else down, she was able to build you up without setting someone else to take the fall.  She could spot a liar from a mile away, but she wouldn’t always call you on it because she knew sometimes it was just what you needed.  She was nobodies fool, but from time to time, she would let you get away with murder.

My mother had a strong faith, she talked about God and Jesus all of the time.  So often that it was easy to forget everything you had ever heard about them from anywhere else and find yourself starting to have a relationship with them through her.  But she didn’t use this to her advantage like most people would have.  She wasn’t interested in controlling anybody or gaining an upper hand.  She just wanted everyone to be able to have the same peace, the same satisfaction that she was afforded by sheer virtue of her closeness and trust in what she believed.  Her faith was so simple and pure that when we discussed it later on in life and came to points where we disagreed about religion and even the existence of god, she was very comfortable letting me have my own mind provided I allowed her to have hers.  She didn’t need to dominate my lack of faith.  She just didn’t want me attacking her need for it.  And I respected my mother’s beautiful relationship with her religion so much and was so grateful for all of the comfort and strength her faith and concepts of god had provided her over the decades that I never wanted to debase those ideals now at the end of her life when she was so frail and ill and they could stand to serve her most.  It was a deal I was more than happy to strike.  I found no greater joy than in merely accepting my mother for whom and what she was and in being accepted for the same by her.

My mother and I always had a close, odd relationship.  It evolved like everything does.  We were very dependant on one another the last handful of years even when I lived in Georgia.  I would make calls to her several times a week crying about how sad I was in what I could only classify as the “completely backwards, backwoods south”.  She always urged me to come home, which might sound like a typical mother but it wasn’t my mother, not typically.  And when she needed money or advice, she would call me, her youngest.  And when she was ill, she called me.  And I came home to care for her because my heart was always with her and in her illness I was dying and being reborn.

But the last two years of our time together were two of the best years of my life.  Yes, my mother was dying.  And yes, I was basically jobless, near homeless, suffering from a manic episode that would not pass, in and out of mental health treatment, dealing with many other family crisis-type issues and flat out broke, but I was there for my mom when she was sick, when she was scared, when no one else could figure out how to be.  I was the one she called and I was able, while going through all else, to be there for her.  We would stay up all night talking and laughing.  We got to discuss things that I’ve always wanted to, we got to gossip, we go to philosophize, we got to hold each other while we cried, I got to spoil her rotten on whatever food she wanted to eat and all the ice cream and back rubs she could ever want.  It was like heaven for me because for a while there my mom got to finally be the center of the universe and in my mind that was what she always deserved.  It took old age, 4th stage cancer and an overall tiredness to allow her to let me give it to her, but finally I was able to show her just how special she was to me.

I wasn’t perfect at it.  I would go a few weeks here and there where my own mental illness symptoms would flair up and she would have to take a back seat to my raging.  But in a way, that was a certain kind of blessing.  I needed some of my mom that I hadn’t been able to get up till that point.  And having me on my best behavior 85% of the time gave my mom a clear comparison to see just how hard being bi-polar really is and she could finally sympathize with my struggles.  It broke down walls for us so that I could explain what my life was like and so she could ask questions and get more involved.  My mother passed on knowing all about therapy, medication, symptoms and other treatments.  And that’s really important to me because now when things get hard on me it helps me to know that my mom understood and would want me to seek help and take care of my problems and not just hide or deny or pray it away.  She was proud of me for all that I dealt with and she loved me for exactly who I am.

Last summer, my mother and I were up in the middle of the night talking.  She was sick, coughing a lot and having a hard time catching her breath.  She was a few weeks away from going into the hospital for the last time.  She was telling me, between struggling gasps, about how when she was pregnant with me a lot of people thought she was too old to have another child and how maybe, just to keep the peace, she should have an abortion.  I already knew all about that, but I figured she needed to say it for some reason so I just listened.  She stopped talking for a few minutes and her expression changed.  I can’t really describe the look on her face.  It just warmed my heart in a way nothing else ever has.  She looked at me for what felt like forever, only now I know it wasn’t forever and a part of me wishes that it could’ve been.  She smiled at me and then said, “Can you just imagine if I did what they said where I would be now?”

You hear something your whole life and it goes from being too complex to comprehend, to too painful that first time you get it, to too numbing because you’ve just had to find a way to make it not matter anymore.  I’ve known my whole life that I was the kind of pregnancy that made my really Catholic mother contemplate an abortion and on many levels in many ways I have had to wrestle with that knowledge.

But with that one shared moment, all the pain washed away and I was reborn.  I still have a lot of struggle in me.  But my mother adores me and trusts me and knows that all the pain and sacrifice was more than worth it because she raised the kind of daughter who would always be there for her mother.  And that is because she was always there for me.

So today is Mother’s Day.  And I assure you I do not miss my mother today.  Not because I do not love her dearly, but because she is more apart of me today then she was the first 37 years of my life.  She is in my heart, on my mind and all around me.  And in her love, I have all the faith in the world.

Jen Czahur

Gust   1 comment

 

I’ve tried to learn as much as I can during this life.  That doesn’t mean I’m very educated.  It doesn’t mean that my memory is all that crisp and full of exact times, names and dates.  But I have on as many occasions as I have been able to open my mind and eyes to the wonder of a situation so that I can see things from various perspectives, challenge my own take and respect the complexities that make up the ins and outs of what is going on around me.  I do believe that the best way to know my own heart and mind is to know just what makes other people feel the way they do.  I try to listen, to debate just enough to make sure that I fully understand what you are saying, to make sure that you fully understand what you are saying.  Very rarely am I trying to convince you that I am right, because I figure that if I am you will see it for yourself if the right answer is what you are truly seeking out.

But at the end of it all, what I have been confronted with most in recent events is that people often feel the need to challenge what they are uncomfortable with and in that robust and awkward rebellion they really don’t allow themselves the bliss of being unsure.

It’s truly a remarkable experience.  To just be free of all of your assumptions and fantasies and to let go of what you’ve settled for; you need to allow for the truth and the truth is simply this: you don’t know.

I grew up with a lot of love.  I had parents who were as close to being magical and mythical as you could ever hope to find.  That doesn’t mean that they were traditional and that doesn’t imply that I had it easy.  But I see where I was blessed and lucky.  And I see where, even though I was denied and wronged, I have had an incredible opportunity to build my own magic.  Because I am able to come to you now, a 38 year old woman who worked and sacrificed to construct strong relationships with my mother and father, do not pretend to understand just how this has all come about.  You do not.  This is not a fault of yours.  But you pretending to understand, pretending to know, pretending your situation was the same is a fault because it is disrespectful.  My truth is not unknowable, but if I have not explained it to you then you do not know it.

I love my parents and I want to simply be in a positive place regarding them both now.  I was the primary caregiver to them both in their final days.  They have both passed.  I can honestly say that I was each of their best friends as they were mine the last years of their lives.  I see no reason to trash talk them.  I did the work to heal and to fix and to move on.

But this does not mean that I am at some whimsical place where I am comfortable having someone impose on me their version of my truth.  Do not tell me that my mother or father did this or that for me when you have no idea who they were or how they treated me.  Part of my mental and spiritual health comes from my journey.  And that entails me starting as a child who was not properly cared for, who was not validated or safe and who learned to fend for myself.  And then after years of struggle and self doubt, a long process of fighting demons and caring about people who left me to the wolves whenever it suited them, I found it within myself to gather strength, compassion, loyalty and self-awareness.

When I speak with love, kindness and warmth it does not mean that I have gotten over the wrong done to me.  It means that I am bigger than the wrong done to me because I have found a way to grow because of it.  I have used all of the gifts and all of the burdens to develop into the most brilliant version of me that I am currently capable of being and that is not a pursuit that I am finished realizing.  I am forever a work in progress.

I wish I understood why some people feel so compelled to dig up reasons to exploit their pasts.  Why some need to showcase their parents or others as villains and paint themselves as victims.  We all have pain and we have all been hurt and denied.  Human beings are flawed and we let each other down.  Just like you have been let down, you have let others down and yet you want to be praised and adored for what you have done well.  I find it odd how often the words vicious and cycle get placed together.  It is the nature of a cycle to be persistent.  It’s not vicious, it’s merely undeniable.

Instead of talking about how crazy you are or how abused you have been, do me a simple favor.  Make a list of all of the wonderful things you have to be truly grateful for.  Do it right now, don’t put it off.  Don’t complain, don’t compare, don’t trivialize or forget just what assets you have that you so easily forget to mention.

I’ll list mine here for you now.  I’ll list them so that you can see just how amazing my life is.  Because along with all of the sadness and hardship, I have been so incredibly fortunate and I know it.  I never let myself forget it.  And the only thing that ever takes my sights off of all that I have to be happy about are those moments when I talk to someone and they do one of two things.

  1. When I am trying to explain who I am and where I’ve been and instead of just learning about me they need to compete and tell me how rough they have had it by comparing.  It’s so sad that they waste such an intimate opportunity to get to know me by trying to play a game like this.  I’m not telling you how horrible things really were.  You don’t know the darkness I’ve lived through.  You should respect me and the life I’ve lived enough to trust that for me to be in the situation I’m in I’ve been through things you can’t imagine and just let me have my grief without trying to one up me.  (I do give a good amount of time to listening)
  2. When I am talking to someone about a third party who I know incredibly better than the 2nd party and the person I am talking to can’t let go of their preconceived notions and little fantasies long enough to trust my hard won truth.  I shouldn’t have to deconstruct someone before your very eyes.  I know this person.  You do not.  Let go of your over-romantic bullshit and consider for a moment that there is a lot you don’t know and allow me to state what I’ve stated without contention.  If you can’t allow it, then at least be respectful enough to question it as a means of seeking more information but never in a manner in which you are forcing your distorted view back onto the more knowledgeable person.

And now for the stuff that I’m truly grateful for:

  1. I have the most loyal and passionate friends who have stayed close to me no matter how much time or distance has come between us.  They found that sacred place in my soul that was calling out to them each individually and allowed for it to reach their hearts and never have they denied that bond between us.  There are many of them and they know who they are.  My grandmother always mocked people in my family for “thinking” they had friends when she thought only family could be so close, but my mother always said to me, “I cannot believe how truly blessed you have been to have such amazing friends.  You must really be something special.”  It wasn’t until these last couple of years when we were so close and honest with each other when she really got to know me that she found herself able to say, “I see now why you have such beautiful friends, Jen.  You are one.”
  2. The last 2 and half years with my mom.  She and I laughed and cried and cuddled so much that I think I honestly don’t even feel sorrow in her passing.  I feel her love so much still that I don’t “miss” her.  I still have the warmth of her with me.
  3. Being there for my father when he was weak.  My dad was a bad ass kind of guy.  I was with him in bar fights and other shady operations and I never had to worry about my physical well-being when he was around, but in the last few months of his life he was really feeling the effects of his illness.  And even though most people would be overwhelmed with the shock or sadness of it, I found myself being really content because it was the only time in my dad’s life (at least in my lifetime) where he needed someone and he didn’t have to sacrifice his pride to be taken care of.  Earlier in his life, he was ill and he had to swallow a lot of pride because I wasn’t around and he needed other people to help him.  And when they helped him it came with a lot of bullshit.  That’s just how it happens where we come from.  And my dad had a real way of making trouble for himself too.  So in those last few months, having me there to care for him and him still being my hero and still being able to hold his head high even if he couldn’t lift it himself, it meant a lot to us both.  I get upset often about being left alone to care for him because it wasn’t fair to either of us.  But truthfully, my friends and my niece were there for me at the end and it helped me realize that family is what you make of it.  I love my dad.  With all of his flaws and with all of our problems, he helped me realize that you don’t give up on people just because it’s hard going.  But you can give up on people even when you’re related if it’s the right thing to do.  He didn’t deserve to be given up on.  I don’t either.  And I’ll always be a daddy’s girl.
  4. Words.  That’s right.  Words.  Whether its poetry, lyrics, a long rant in a blog, a passage from a book or a conversation full of whimsy or conviction, words are the magic that allows me to surf the tides of this varied life.  My own odes or those of others, they are the saints of the religion of my mind.  And with them I am capable of things left only for me to imagine.

Oh there is so much more!  But why keep listing when I can keep enjoying?  I’ll write more at another time about this.  But my main point is your life is wonderful too.  You just need to enjoy it.  Stop bitching, stop complaining.  If you can’t find the sunshine, then maybe you should stop looking for it in the night!

I am mentally ill.  I freely admit this.  It’s not self-diagnosed.  It’s not a convenient way of explaining why I’m moody or difficult.  If you can “manage” your problems, then maybe you should stop trying to convince yourself or others that you have so many of them and instead be really happy that your life is going so well!  If you don’t need therapy and medication then you shouldn’t try so hard to find ways to bring negativity into your world.

Everyone gets depressed, stressed, anxious and overwhelmed.  This doesn’t mean that you’re crazy or suffering from something.  And just because you can identify with a list of symptoms doesn’t mean you have a mental illness.  When someone who truly has a mental illness has to deal with a person who tries to compare themselves over and over again not only is it tiresome, it’s disrespectful.  It’s like you’re saying, “Yes, I have the same problems, but I don’t need the help you need and I can still do all the stuff you can’t because I’m better then you.”

Well, fuck you very much!

At the end of all of this I just want to part saying the following:

Every day is a struggle for me because I am caught in the middle between a revelation and a nightmare.  I am just inches from stepping into a shaft of pure sunlight and teetering backwards off of a cliff which has me precariously perched above a hellish concept of non reality.  I am trying to, at the very least, maintain my footing if not proceed forward.

If I find you in any way a gust of wind in the wrong direction you will cease to be a part of my landscape.

Jen Czahur

All That’s Good   Leave a comment

I really thought today was going to be different
But she was watching me
Paying attention to how I couldn’t keep my feet still
The way they sway and the rest of me just twists

I wanted to have her spring forth
And find the fluttering of wings
Beneath her as she pivoted
And sought a soft place to land
The softest place possible

Taking to the air and striving, striving
And feeling the cascade of movement
And the design of all that’s good about
Hope

And effort

And just what is wrong with faith
When there are so many facts to choose from

Tomorrow I will wake
One eye to the sun and the other
Pillow bound

And try again
Again
Again

Warm   Leave a comment

Through the ages
My ages
The vast mapped out points
Those that have represented themselves
Cold, stinging and creeping into
Familiar beds
Where mothers and fathers no longer lay
But other weeds grow up
And fast to shoot
Around the tender vine
Of my fascinating and all-consuming
Recollection

Family means this to me
Because family bleeds its sickness
All over the face of a child
Only wishing for the warmth of the sun

Daybreak like a wild hunt
Pacing animals and clearing fields
Every thought of eminence
First going through the plow and then
Being shucked this way and that
Until the rhythm of our harvest
Bounces moonbeams
Off of the subtle plains
And children learn to grow themselves
In the absence
Or perhaps under the burden
Of tradition
And mindless obedience

I walk into buildings now
Head down and feet moving quickly
So that no one might see me as the ghost
I have evolved into
Instead I offer up
My heart for barter
And my insight for a sip from the water fountain

Strangers circle me and say
With kindness
That no one has ever reached out to them
Not like I do
Not with my ease, my commitment, my sincerity
They place open hands
Thrust into my direction
And offer me a seat at their table
Only a half loaf of day old bread
And some bitter wine from a rushed harvest
And yet still,
By this meager candle light
I feel more at home
More at peace
Then all of the Christmas decorations in the world
Could ever provide

I am among friends
And family means this to me now
Because family is not chromosomes, DNA and the blister
Of stories handed down from generation to generation

It is the opportunity to shine, to grow, to question and to be seen
When needed

As merely the child
Wishing only for the warming of the sun

Jen Czahur
3-3-13

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