Choosing the Smoke

6/24/2019  11:38am

What did I do to make the fire so upset that it had to burn the forests, the homes? Chasing the smoke doesn’t put out the embers. The beautiful glow envelopes me. Is controlling the fire like killing the Jews? Emotional holocaust? Can’t put out the fire by chasing the smoke. When it no longer appears, I’m not gone. Am I just hiding or have I found my home? Stop pursuing and the smoke may kill me. Alas, we chase my smoke. We dance.


Inspired by a story about being a log in a burning fire and instead of others taking you out, them chasing the smoke instead. For me – chasing the smoke is maintaining the secrets & lies. Sweep the path. It’s all in my head. Nothing is actually real.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2019

The Grand Kidnapping

I wrote this in a group I was supposed to be paying attention to. Something really caught my attention and I found myself in a place I haven’t seen in years. Blessed and understanding. I was close to God. I’d like to spend more time there.

The Grand Kidnapping (1 of 3)

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© Michelle Routhieaux 2019

I don’t understand

7/27/2018     4:26pm

I don’t understand. I may have written about this before but I don’t remember and I don’t really care.

I don’t understand. To me it’s a simple phrase with a simple meaning. There is no extra fluff attached, no alternate meaning. Last year my therapist and I got into it because I kept telling him I didn’t understand what he was saying and he told me he believed what I meant was that I didn’t agree. Nope, only disagreed with that.

I don’t follow like other people do. Or maybe I follow too closely. I am cursed with the ability to spot errors, omissions, incongruities, however small. I need the info coming at me to make sense and if it doesn’t I will say that I don’t understand. I am blunt. I ask questions. I have no qualms with raising a stink to get an answer. It is especially disturbing to me when someone “answers” my questions with responses that are unrelated. I will state so and repeat the question, rephrasing it if necessary. A few years ago I started giving up after a few tries but not before stating that my question had still not been answered. I have somewhat of a fan base in some settings because of it. It’s not fulfilling to engage with someone who’s not the slightest idea what I’m talking about. In fact, it’s maddening – probably to both sides but for different reasons. I’m looking for information. If the person doesn’t have it, or won’t give it, it would behoove them to just say that.

People think I’m being rude or annoying. They jump to conclusions about my motives or what I really think or mean. I’m accused of alternate intentions. They tell me what I should say or do or think or not think instead. They often get very upset that I don’t understand and/or that they don’t understand what I mean when I point out whatever they said doesn’t make any sense – in general, not just to me. If they stop to follow the line of thought and learn what’s missing, sometimes they will admit that it really doesn’t make sense. Usually instead I just get confronted with anger, accused of things or people just walk away or insult and then ignore me, then pretend it never happened.

Sometimes the topic is important to me and I’m upset AND don’t understand. Usually though, I’m somewhat devoid of emotion or visibly confused or disturbed when asking questions attached to, “I don’t understand.” I can’t always communicate very well in that state. It’s the mockery and invalidation that usually push me over the edge. I’m not stupid. I can read body language and I understand your words.

Over the years I’ve learned how to convert curiosity/question/notice/wonder straight to bitter hopelessness and move on with my day. I can feel my self turn to ash and float downwards inside me as I do nothing or walk away. Fighting the thought that I don’t matter isn’t worth it because in those moments it’s completely true. What I have to say or my concern or thought doesn’t matter and if I pursue matter-ing it could (and has) make things worse. I ask much like Sheldon Cooper, with a level of non-intellectual understanding only slightly higher.

So I end up hating people. That I very much understand. I “speak Michelle,” as a provider of mine said long ago, and not many others do. I am cross-lingual in a few other person-dialects, but in observation the two-way mirror only reveals one side. This morning’s argument was me asking for details about an event I was asked to donate something to for a raffle, which I believe is questionable but didn’t point out.

Excerpts from convo this morning:
Person B: We always have raffle giveaways at our events to promote wellness…
Me: Why?
Person B: Why what (sic)
Me: Why have a standard of giving things away?
Person B: It’s not a standard. It’s something we like to do for our members. Why not? It’s generous. Omg!! You don’t like free mental health stuff??? Interesting.
Me: Don’t put words in my mouth. Free mental health stuff is fine sometimes, but it all costs money and at the end of the day I have to sit with and justify on paper what we spent the group’s money on. Does that make sense? I don’t mind contributing to your raffle. I just wanted to know the details.

I was livid but calm in text. If in her language “always” doesn’t equal a “standard,” there is no purpose in trying to get through.

It’s harder for me to interact with other humans I don’t understand than to harm myself by attempting to fill my own needs without engaging them. This afternoon’s debacle is within myself about why the HELL I can’t do anything today because I can’t think because my head hurts on the one day I have actual time. (PRN)

So very alone. I hate myself.
I don’t understand.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2018

 

On Zumba…

6/30/2018

I don’t understand why more guys don’t do Zumba. It’s free or cheap live exotic dancing in a socially acceptable setting. No one expects the dance to look great. In fact, most of us hate those skinny bitches who do it all perfect and sexy. Fuck them. Since I’ve lost weight and can dance I think I might be one of them now. But I don’t care. It feels fucking good.

I do things in Zumba I’d never do in “real life.” I want to be watched, complimented, to be in the dance and then walk away. It’s all a practice. This one’s just more sexy. And currently mostly a reprieve from men seeking women. What a comedy that might be…

© Michelle Routhieaux 2018

Soundless Emerging

6/27/2018

As I stared out from the log/cave (bottom center of the page), S- asked what I saw. Squirrels. There were two squirrels eating nuts at the base of a tree. There was a black bear and a mountain lion, each peaceful. The air was hazy, debris floating free. I could see the bottom of the legs of two firefighters as they ran past me in slow motion. I couldn’t hear. It was that soundless-emerging that happens after an explosion or emergency, sometimes with loud high-pitched ringing. This though was a thick lack of sound that stopped communications, put itself between me and everything else. The sound becomes the glass that separates me…
And as I drew I remembered the reddish glow of the sky. I wasn’t sure what words would accompany. Since I drew the other half of the fire-people I thought they could use a hose. And out of the hose came PRESENCE, and it put out the PAIN.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2018

The Only Safe Space

5/30/2018

We talked a lot about the concept of impermanence. The colors were bright and the idea scared me. I was present, some of the time, but answered, “Bubbles!” at a less than ideal moment. I went outside in a very dark space and started blowing bubbles I had in my purse. As I pondered, I watched the bubbles pop – like Cinderella does when she’s scrubbing the floor and singing. I watched the bubbles pop. And it dawned on me that they were proof I am capable of accepting an impermanent thing without freaking out.

Then I figured I should probably go someplace safe. At first nothing came to mind, but then I remembered I have a list of places on a crisis plan in my journal. I tried to recall them instead of looking and, as the places came to mind, I asked myself what they all had in common… The only thing these places had in common was me. So, the only safe space is me. It’s a lot to take in.

Session 5/30/18, Drawing 6/19/19, Description 7/7/18
© Michelle Routhieaux 2018

 

Permission to Breathe

From Session Work – 5/15/2018

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Excerpt from related writing:

“S- is right. I have been losing weight… If I inhale just right, like in lyrical dancing or turns, that feeling comes back. Bone sticking out, ribs expanded, hollow underneath, organs hug my spine, shoulders down, hips squared, head high, sometimes on my toes with beautiful arms, or just the torso part with the rest dancing in my head. I haven’t had the privilege of that feeling in a very long time. And if I can do that again, then it’s okay to make shapes when I breathe. The crescent moon – belly soft and round on one side but when you spin it around the other side is concave. Just like my belly when I breathe or dance. I’ve been thinking about this symbol. I drew it on my hand so every time I look down I see it. It gives me permission to breathe. I AM the crescent moon… I even hate my body less today.”

© Michelle Routhieaux 2018

God Loves

2-12-2018When I was really little I used to get bored in church. I was that kid that couldn’t stand children’s church when it was really daycare but had no idea what the pastor was talking about in actual church. So my mom and I would pass notes and sometimes she’d write phrases for me to copy.  This is one of those phrase papers. I found it in a box of things from before I was 5. :)

© Michelle Routhieaux 2018

Stroke Code Thursday

2/1/18 11:07pm

Today has been one of the most harrowing days of my life. I’m currently propped up on pillows on the couch staring, half-watched the tv. Mom’s falling asleep with Ellie in the chair, intermittently telling me random things. I’m trying to to type but it’s extremely difficult.

I went to the VA MH Council meeting this morning – no problems. I mean, I didn’t want to go and felt a bit out of sorts but no more than normal. I was running late but participated a lot and socialized with Jean & Howard and McCail after, walked down with everyone. I didn’t want to leave just yet, wasn’t sure about plans for the day, so I sat down in the lobby and journaled and charted. It’s something I’ve done before. I like having moments to myself, unrushed, and I like watching the volunteer interactions there at the front. I was starting to feel like my blood sugar was low, getting a bit weak and disoriented. I wrote it down. I was alarmed when I got up to leave and began stumbling to the right. My purse is heavy and I used it as a counterweight. I figured if I could just get some food I’d probably be just fine. I made it to the Valet, ate a glucose tab, made it to the Chipotle parking structure, thought things were fine. I worked on something on my phone before getting out of the car. But when I did I was still falling and stumbling to the right. I had a heck of a time trying to get up the broken escalator stairs. I was starting to freak out as I waited at Chipotle. It was hard to breathe but I wasn’t feeling anxious. I made it through the line leaning on the counter, could barely hold myself up. I held myself up on the table until I could sit down. A growing portion of the right side of my face felt pressure, then tingling, then burning. Lips sat in a pout. My right hand and arm were shaking so bad I couldn’t eat more than a few bites. It wasn’t like anything I’ve ever experienced and God in my head kept telling me, “GO.” I knew I wasn’t safe to drive. I drank half my soda, bagged the food, and called an Uber. Thankfully, there are many around me.

I was lucky to arrive at the hospital in an utter lull. I knew what would probably happen and did – Stroke Code. Front of the line, many nurses and doctors all around testing everything under the sun. I was having trouble speaking clearly, moving my right side purposefully, holding a steady gaze. I had no pain. I wasn’t anxious. I was actually quite peaceful. All I’d wanted to do that day was get my nails painted but that would have been after Chipotle. Lots of blood tests, urine tests, eventually an MRI.

They were much less interested when they figured out I’m a psych patient. Reminded me SO much of Adrienne and scared me, but I was exhausted – both from shaking so much and fear and from the Ativan they gave me to try to stop the shaking for the MRI. I couldn’t move if I’d tried in the MRI thanks to drugs but I couldn’t stop the twitching/shaking. It’s been like that sometimes in the past few weeks. I don’t know why. The MRI people were nice. The last doctor not so much. The nurse came in and said great that my mother was there and she could drive me home. Ummm, excuse me what? The doctor came in and said my MRI of my brain was perfect and there was nothing wrong. I looked up at him and said, “I’m gonna have to call ‘Bullshit’ on you for that one there but continue…” He gave no explanation of any of what happened or why, how to prevent it from happening again, what to do if it comes back. Nothing. He just left. Dickwad. It’s really hard to type this ‘cuz my fingers are unpredictably shaking and I’m mostly lying down ‘cuz I’m too weak to continue sitting.

I didn’t call my mom ‘til just before the MRI. I knew she was off work then and she’d want to know. I didn’t ask her to come or for anything. I specifically did not need people freaking out around me. Minus all the patient reports outside, that room was so peaceful. I prayed and watched and felt. I listened. I tried to write. It worked a little. There was no tv or music, just me. And that was okay. The Ativan toward the end made me really tired and I know it’s still making me tired now. I’m still getting waves of confusion and dizziness. I contacted Dr. M but I think he wasn’t there.

So what do I do now? I asked David and Soleil for cancellations tomorrow and David called me. After talking a little, I get to see Soleil tomorrow. He says if there’s nothing wrong with my brain then it’s all psych and I’m under a tremendous amount of stress. Don’t you throw that psychosomatic crap at me. When I’m stressed my pain gets worse. I don’t go ‘round fake believing I’m having a stroke. Too much work if nothing else. I told him I agree I’m under a shit ton of stress but ALSO that something neurologically is WRONG with me, STILL. Fluids don’t solve that. Neither does the Chinese food I ate after. Nor will a few hours’ sleep. Today, though, wasn’t stressful before this. I wanted to get my nails done!

I need help but God only knows what with. I’m SOOOO tired and sore. God save the queen. Here’s to a tomorrow sans weakness, shaking, falling over and pretty large needles. Here’s to a tomorrow that’s not so scary and more easy to understand. Please pray if you do. Thanks.

Ⓒ Michelle Routhieaux 2018