Hope, Despair and the Right to Die with Dignity 101

pablo 3

I very tentatively and intentionally watched Anthony Bourdain’s PARTS UNKNOWN SEASON 10 (CNN).

Bourdain is an unwilling participant and reticently, sarcastically and often in his caustic rapid fire spitted out, “… what do you want to see?”

Waffle House fills that deep homing context and Bourdain proves it. He’s satisfied downing a pecan waffle at Waffle House with a 5 star chef. It’s followed by a t-bone and fried eggs, spearing and breaking the soft yellow orange egg yolks dripping from the toast onto the platter with hashed browns. He says one word in Japanese to the guest chef that translates into, “I’ll suck your cock for that (porkchop)” and the chef and Bourdain fall into hysterics.

Fun aside Bourdain says at the top of 10 about believing in hope over despair and I get the need to lie about one’s belief in hope when you actually don’t trust that hope will stay with you (anymore)You can’t bullshit a bullshitter, friend.

To be alone

It is of a color that

Cannot be named:

This mountain where cedars rise

Into the autumn dusk

[12th Century Poet, Jakuren]

My girlfriend asked me a few days after the Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain inundation and my comments here and there, filled with thoughts of death, dying, despair and a total acceptance of living life on life’s terms’ meanings to me. “Are you doing ok tonight?” she asked me when I laid in bed, my voice low and we were whispering together quietly now, again, in ritual and in an easy beat. I said, “… you mean, am I thinking of suicide?” and I knew full well that only I could see my face in bed, under the bed sheet. It was a hot Atlanta June night and I wasn’t smiling and I just laid in bed in the dark listening to the quiet whirring of the fan overhead. Thinking.

“No, I’m not,” I whispered quietly and I went on to describe that because I forensically and behaviorally am talky to the point of being rude while in my own parts of despair, I often resist stubbornly, reaching in the dark and groping, working to be socially appropriate. 

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“But it is always a question whether I wish to avoid these glooms. . .  These 9 weeks give one a plunge into deep waters… One goes down into the well & nothing protects one from the assault of truth.”

[Virginia Woolf]

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Tower 1, Acrylic on Canvas (c) Jen Padron Imagery 2018, Atlanta, Georgia

Completing is one’s inherent truth to living a life that is fully cognizent of one’s mortality and living it fearlessly of death or of dying in this physical body.

Dying a good death is, “… tangent to reason and consideration and is almost always… (and) seemingly best way to end (the) pain, the futility, the voices, or hopelessness… decisions about suicide are not fleeting thoughts than can be willed away in deference to the best interest of others. Suicide wells up from cumulative anguish or is hastened by impulse,” (Jamison, K.R., 1999).

This opting-out has greater permanence because Bourdain shares death with us so publically. My fascination with death and dying has to do with my own experiences of trauma, of loss, of near deaths, of seeing people die, of holding them near and dear with the death knoll morphine drip (ICU) ending the writhing pain from invasive cancers of the body, mind and spirit.

I see that blank lie in the eyes of many of my professional Peers, Colleagues, Leaders. I’ve shared drinks and listened to birds singing at 4 AM with the sun not too far on its’ way, talking smack and ingesting anything to abate my own numbness. I’ve sat in cars listening to, “… I’m ready to go” uttered a colleague who remains a national suicide prevention expert, an innovator and leader but also painfully, a survivor lover from a long gone love and it comes out barely, quietly as a whisper.

I get it. The national Peer communities direly require all supports to sustain physically, well and to grow whole. I care for longevity in sum.

The uneasiness, the disruption, the slap in your face, the quick right to the side of your cheek will make you bleed and sweat and hurt when life happens. Discern the greater good for how you live, truly. “The meanings of life aren’t inherited. What is inherited is the mandate to make meanings of life by how we live. The endings of life give life’s meanings a chance to show. The beginning of the end of our order, our way, is now in view. This isn’t punishment, any more than dying is a punishment for being born, ” (Jenkinson, S., 2017). For Bourdain, “… having a conscience (now) is a grief-soaked proposition,” and “… Dying is active. Dying is now what happens to you. Dying what is what you do. We should be able to tell the difference between dying and being killed,” (Jenkinson, S., 2018).

You see things which you cannot unsee. Many deaths and many times later, I remain drawn to trying to make my peace with my own death and dying, an unforeseen misnomer as I sit in my mid 50s struggling to regain ground with daily physical beat-downs in my 1st year teaching in a Title I impoverished Central Georgia high school.

We will not romanticize. We must not sentimentalize. We must see with clear and bright eyes. We must be astonished when the truth of loveliness or atrocious a reality as inevitable as our walk is quietly moving on, really.

JANE: Did I hear you say commit death?

PILKINGS: Obviously he means murder.

JANE: You mean a ritual murder?

PILKINGS: Must be. You think you’ve stamped it all out but it’s always lurking under the surface somewhere.

Wole Soyinka, Death and the king’s horseman, 1975

 

So it’s true, when all is said and done, grief is the price we pay for love. Sometimes you want to say, “I love you, but…”

Erich Seagal, Love Story, (1970)

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Listening to others, and considering well what they say,

Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating,

Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me.

I inhale great draughts of space;

The east and the west are mine, and the north and the south are mine.

Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass (1855)

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White Privilege Systemic Eradication of the Other

clouds overhead in atlanta sept 1 - Copy

I missed my trauma therapy appointment for the 3rd week in a row today and it’s showing through the cracks of my face, my hands, my mouth, my eyes, my voice… is cracking.

My primary diagnosis nowadays is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and so I wondered that my experienced childhood trauma has been exceeded by the adult trauma experienced living in the US as an out Gender Queer, polarized and profiled resistant, non risk averse woman of color raised on Queer Nation, ACT UP and fuck you bitch, stand beside me or step the fuck aside in yo face since my 20s.

Systemic White Privileged oppression, abuses, discrimination and hatefulness toward eradicating otherness based on race, culture, gender identity and/or presentation, color of skin and reversed discrimination of fair skinned people in a predominantly Black region (Atlanta, Georgia) pisses me off. It pisses me the fuck off, actually.

I often tell people that No, I do not believe in the premise and inherently false US Community Public Mental Health System, nor will I admit Mental Illness exists. The disease versus pussy recovery oriented system of care is the very basis of my work around behavioral health integration, mental diversity, substance use, isolationist first responder mobile crisis intervention (MH/SA) and finally, how I categorically espouse for  US Peer Workforce.

The hate I feel towards me when I walk into a predominantly white or BLACK environment in Atlanta is so thick, I can cut it with a brand new X-Acto Blade and leave marks, cuts of blood so deep it won’t bleed.

I listen to “Penthouse Floor” a lot and will rebel yell Resist, Fight, Fuck You in your face with my co-horts but to be reversed discriminated against because of my Queerness and because I’m not Black puts me into a position of being hated, feared, dismissed. My education, class, verbal upper class White Yankee, nay, Surfer Dude confuses, I admit.

We either work together against the real scourge of hate in 2017 or we don’t.

You can’t bullshit a bullshitter, either.

I dare you to walk your talk. Be transparent. Authentic. Speak your truth.

It’s now or never.

Step up or step aside.

Dog Eat Dog: Peer Cannibalism

betray [bih-trey]

1.    to deliver or expose to an enemy by treachery or disloyalty:

Benedict Arnold betrayed his country.
2.    to be unfaithful in guarding, maintaining, or fulfilling:

to betray a trust.
3.    to disappoint the hopes or expectations of; be disloyal to:

to betray one’s friends.
4.   to reveal or disclose in violation of confidence:

to betray a secret.
5.   to reveal unconsciously (something one would preferably conceal):

6.  to show or exhibit; reveal; disclose: an unfeeling remark that betrays his lack of concern.
7.  to deceive, misguide, or corrupt: a young lawyer betrayed by political ambitions into irreparable folly.

 

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trust

This has come to my attention again.

Peer Cannibalism.

Those PEERS who disregard SAMHSA and their State oversight agency’s Certified Peer Specialist core principles, ethics and practice who choose to lie and cause harm to others based on untruths.

Peer Cannibalism.

Those PEERS who will blatantly withhold that which is the truth.

Peer Cannibalism.

Those PEERS who will “stab” you in your back.

Peer Cannibalism.

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(La Dolce Vita Film Still, Federico Fellini )

Peer Cannibalism.

In short and in sum, PEERS are not ALL exceptional angels. We are in the business of behavioral health (MH/SU, ID, DD). We are all for the basis of this blog, psychiatric “survivors” and should hold our basis for doing PEER work sacred.

Cause no harm to others, yourself, your community, your comrades, your friends, your place of employment.

Remember where you came from. Remember why you got into the work which PEERS do.

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underwater filmica

Since the Presidential Elections, I’ve been in hiding.

It feels as though I’ll be shot in the back or on my knees me watching the gun against my head go off and that’s all I have ever written, baby girl.

To overcompensate (because I share biomarking familial lineage of OCD), my step counting is near perfection. Steps are great for training because I love to count by 2’s on stairs and bleachers, solving for 3x.

At home, when I’m home, I have images everywhere. My art. All of it. I match my energy with flash thrillers faded b/w noir or noir green (e.g., Matrix) or di rigeur blues and blacks (e.g., FX) on screens I have (e.g., TV, iPad, iPhone, tablet). I have multiple accounts for televideo social media and have networked myself to a stand-alone server to handle my down and uploading.

My current Top 3 Distractions which I recommend to others experiencing depression and/or despair post Hitler(2)’s election for the next four (4) years are as follows and not necessarily in this order:

as i lay dying

2 sometimes 3 but usually 4 baltimore city white and blacks with the narrow strip of lights, the cameras were on nearly every major intersection on martin luther king, jr tonight here.

not that i’m paranoid or anything.

i had $33 in my wallet, a georgia driver’s license in my wallet chained to my shorts, and sported a black wife beater and had texas plates.

if i was one of the cars pulled over to questions di rigeur i have 2 numbers that usually roll immediately to voice mail if i called from jail because i’m brown, Queer, alone and don’t fit in my surroundings.

at airport security, i give myself an extra 45 minutes because i am always, always, always, always pulled over, hands swiped and ran, bags and ANYTHING ELECTRONIC xrayed at least 3 times. i am always wanded and brushed aside to collect my property piece by piece by piece while holding my jeans up, belt in hand, and slipping on loafers. they’re motherfuckers. all of them. every single one of them.

today in north beach, white mothers in family clans walking the boardwalk looked at me hard up and down and verneer of white privileged disgust in Queers with my Atlantan medicine bag around my neck brought out the presumption of my being possibly featured and read as having an Native indigenous heritage. Sneers ensued.

So by the pale faced mothers, and curious looks from males, I kept a low profile.

Back at Chris’ we shot an interview for her film with a fucking beautiful camera and hot microphone with lens that autofocuses so you don’t have to be concerned with keeping the camera level and moving manually. Nice. It was fun.

Back in Baltimore, I drove gingerly through the 3.78 miles from getting off 95 to my front door. Cops were on every corner. So were Queers. This is Pride Baltimore week-end.

I saw Cops detain female sex workers and run their flashlight up and down up and down the front of their faces blinding them and pushing the women away down Charles between 23rd and North.

As I lay dying in the hospital, I would watch the Baltimore skyline and helicopters coming and going to/fro the hospital roof.

Back in my very old JHU property, helicopters continue to light up the sky with beams of light focused onto the streets to the North, East and South of me in Charles Village.

It is what it is.