I am from…

7 minute writing from the prompt “I am from…”

3-21-12     2:52pm

I am from brown carpet and air, a place the sun sometimes shines.

I am from stripped cars and “don’t make any noise” and “get down.”

I am from “hide.”

I am from hospitals and nursing homes.
I am from watching the almost dead.

I am from the place in my soul that screams DANCE!

I am from me.

I am from the places I try not to remember – of pain and drugs and heartache.

Sometimes I forget where I’m from.
Sometimes I try not to remember.

I am from “do it perfect or I’ll leave you.”

I am from “you’re a horrible person.”

I am from the place that pushed me to move on, to run away, to save my life.

I am tired of being from. So now I just am.

I was from.

Now I am.

(thought continued in “Now I am…”)

© Michelle Routhieaux 2012

I had a birthday recently

3/21/12     1:45pm

I had a birthday recently. I just remembered this. I never responded to the 150 or so posts on FB – not because I’m rude. I just couldn’t deal with it.

It seems I have a birthday every other year. One year of party, one year of hiding. This was supposed to be an on year. My prediction was wrong.

This year I wanted to celebrate being alive, to treasure the gift. It didn’t quite work that way.

(too painful)

Breathe…

Need to sing it or throw it up out of me. My head hurts. The words are backed up in me. About to explode – no sound. I think I should take less Seroquel. Three pounds of water weight in 3 days.

I’m sitting in my yard pulling cattails (the weed). Jenny’s excited to go to Possum Trot with us. I’m second guessing my offer. I am SO tired. SO hurting. I cannot make it rain.

I had a birthday recently, a great lunch with a friend and an entire day’s meltdown. Loud weepy crying spells. I locked myself in the garage, bathroom & car. I smartly went to hear music and unsmartly tried to drink. I had a birthday.

I am now 26. I never celebrated 25. Like it never happened. I don’t want to be 26. I want to be 25. Divisible by five, a nice round number. I don’t like even age numbers. 26 starts the Sex & the City part of life. I don’t own enough pairs of heels. Yet somehow I’m here, sitting barefoot on a towel on my lawn in the shade of shirts on the clothesline pondering my age. I don’t even feel 18.

I don’t want to remember but I hate that I can’t. I see snapshots. Re-experience. The rest is blank. Sometimes I ask people what they remember about me because I can’t. They’re confused. Well, honey, so am I.

Angela (my birthday lunch friend) said she’s been honored to watch me grow through the years into who I am now. Who am I now? I don’t remember. I tried to think of what changed me, something. The only thing in my mind was when I thought I was dying. It really shaped who I am, gave me a platform. I don’t take as much shit anymore. I appreciate. I hold dear. I am more grounded in my work. I feel steady knowing I know my shit and that no one can take that from me.

(pause to freak out about new freckles)

11 years ago yesterday I entered the hospital for the first time. 11 years ago tomorrow there was a shooting at my school. It’s been a long 11 years.

(call from S- to say M- is married. tears.)

I’m tempted to say I’m happy for him, but I’m not. Good people have good people. I’m not one of those people. Why didn’t J- just tell me instead of saying it was crazy, I was crazy? Why not just wear a ring or post it on your FB profile? Much easier. Nothing is easier.

(hear “Do You Love Me?” from Fiddler)

Watching a dizzy ant.
Sometimes crazy doesn’t deserve to be loved.

I would like to throw up my gut. Then maybe I wouldn’t hurt so much.

There is a place in everland.
Fall behind the glass.
Where people fall out of touch.
They lie right on the grass.
Behind the glass
For all to see.

Happily ever after land,
A place that taunts me,
Haunts me.
I watch them go there.
(quiet)

It all falls away.

I had a birthday recently. I’d rather not remember.

(rocking)

© Michelle Routhieaux 2012

My bitter love isn’t

3/20/12     10:25pm

Something magical between S- and M- tonight. I am left with a feeling of peace, calm. The most beautiful set – emotional, powerful, soft. He had a realization. He shared some music with her. I watched. I treasure the privilege. It was a moment, her listening, him watching intently. A love. A piece of magic.

I wish I had something like that. Not a romantic love, but a trust. A history. A hug.

I am so grateful to share in the energy, to talk with S-. To pretend. Maybe if I imagine it I can live it in my head. I’ll be loved and no one can get to me. Love will protect me. Bitter love.

– doesn’t know I like him. And he doesn’t like me back. And that’s okay. Bitter love. The silence doesn’t go away.

Dear God,

I watch the dots pass by me.
I am not in control.
You drive my car down many paths.
I am not in control.
The dots pass by. I fill with light.
I am fire. And then I am ash.
But I am not in control.

Be, they say, not do. But how?
Please, God. How?

The dots pass by.
I listen and breathe.

-M

My sadness fills rivers.
My heart, it shrivels.
My body is in pain.
I am alone.
I am alone.

Jesus, I can’t feel you. Are you there? I’m scared. I choose love but feel fear. I feel alone. Am I alone? Why can’t I feel love? Is it a brain thing? It just is. Everything just is. Could you make everything isn’t? I’d appreciate that.

My toes are cold. The tv is on. I’d like it if is were isn’t. Would life be better in isn’t? I don’t know. Please, bitter love, love me or go away. My bitter love isn’t.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2012

When I lost…

4 minute writing exercise at a workshop

3-17-12     11:30am

When I lost my faith I stopped dancing. When I lost my dancing I lost me. Somewhere in a corner she is locked up, crying quietly. I lost me. I don’t understand. She understands less. When I lost my faith, I lost me.

I used to believe I could do anything, that somehow God had blessed me and I would do good. But now I do this. They say this is me. But in the mirror she’s not what I see. When I lost my faith, I lost me. I miss being me.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2012

Killing Demons

12-26-11     9:42pm

I told Mikan I’d been transported to ‘Ice Castles’ tonight. He said, “That’s the point.” “To transport me to ‘Ice Castles?'” “No, to another place.” But you do that every day.

And it got me thinking a) that I really shouldn’t eat the shrimp and b) what is another place? And what is here? Reality is subjective but my own reality is subjective to itself. How can I be transported to another place if I don’t know where I am to start with? I don’t know where I am, much less WHO I am. How can I be moved? (easily) And how do I know that I’m moving?

I close my eyes and rock. I feel dizzy, but alive. Which is a much different feeling than dizzy and dead. But I still don’t know where I am. What is am? Can I be am and was at the same time? What about will be and used to be? Does be require motion?

GPS. GPS my ass. Where am I in the great scheme of things? Seriously? If I knew where I was on the great unknown I might just freak. WHERE AM I? (music land)

I don’t know why I think of this just now. I wonder who I am at length often, which I guess is less freaky but equally as disturbing. I don’t even know who is writing this. But I like her and she likes music.

I feel dizzy, high. I smile drunkly, yet sober. I feel planted in my seat yet my body floats. It is foggy and my thoughts are pink. The music moves through my body, eating me, refining me like worms. Need dance me. Need dance me.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2011, drawing by Jamie Shadowlight

Writing Towards Happy

9-6-11     8:03pm

What is happy? What does it mean? What does it look like? I ask myself today.

I’m sitting in Domino’s waiting for a pizza. I don’t even want a pizza today, but Mom does. So we’re here.

Someone asked me at a party recently, after several hours of conversation, “Have you ever been happy?” I paused. “What exactly do you mean?” I asked. He just stared at me. How long does it have to last to count? And what if it goes away? And what kind of question is that anyway? (An awesome one.)

Have I ever been happy?

I remember moments of happy. I know what happy feels like. Largely in part to the two blog posts What does happy feel like? and What makes me smile automatically? I know when I feel happy. I don’t feel it often now.

Which got me thinking. I write a blog called Writing Towards Happy, but I’m not happy and it’s hard to remember what it is. Doesn’t that make me a hypocrite? I sat and thought for awhile and recalled having this discussion before with myself.

The goal is to get to happy, Michelle. You don’t have to be happy now.

Gosh, that’s a relief.

I need to go back and read some of the stuff I posted last year. I think it may unlock some secrets and push me further along. I need to unlock some secrets. They must stop eating me. 

© Michelle Routhieaux 2011

But I want to like me

9-6-11     6:45pm
(written at a cognitive therapy lecture about procrastination) 

This lecture is confusing.
Too many ideas.
Thinking about the future, bills & organic food, & saving for the future makes me more nervous, more likely to procrastinate.

All these people are family.
I can’t help but compare me.
I don’t hang out with normal people ‘cuz they make me feel more crazy.

They do dishes. They read. They have families. Some of them work. Man, Come on. This lecture is not for folks who are crazy…

Crazy.

I consider myself crazy.
Not a word I think about.
I don’t consider myself “mentally ill.”
No, that’s scary.
I’m just crazy.

 I don’t think of it when I’m alone or when I’m with other people who are crazy. Or on the bus or trolley. Or when I’m in therapy. 
I really want to be close to other people but they make me feel crazy.

Good crazy. Bad crazy. Creepy crazy.
All different things. I like being crazy. But I want to like me.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2011 

Doesn’t hurt

Today I still feel confused and in touch with the energy of the universe but it’s not orange. It is light blue and it floats me on a cloud.

9-5-11     12:41pm

Last night a few hours of mania. Today the desert rain.

I am so tired. SO tired.

It’s Monday.
The air is quiet. Empty…
I still feel confused but my head doesn’t hurt.
Doesn’t hurt.
Doesn’t hurt.
I hear the rhythms of the rain that isn’t falling.
Summer rain.
And I am hungry.
Doesn’t hurt.
Doesn’t hurt.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2011

Pure Orange Light

Last night I lied in bed for awhile experiencing the orange energy of the universe. It was just shy of scary, just beyond fascinating. I knew it was not standard but wrote through the experience.

9-5-11     1:10am

She lives just beyond the bright lights I see when I close my eyes.

I feel dizzy.
And confused.
And off-balance.
And it’s hard to breathe.
My body tingles.

Take your angry energy out of my room.

If I wasn’t lying down I would prob’ly collapse.

Very weak.
The spirit moves through me.
And the spirit is me

My father is talking to me.
All I hear is gibberish.
I keep thinking of different people.
They join into the chorus.
They’re all talking to me.
What do they say?

Someone I don’t know grabs for my right boob. I need to fall asleep.

Tell me a story.

The energy of the universe is open to me, orange at it’s mouth and breathing.

Goodnight, moon.
You see me.
Goodnight, moon.
You be me.
I not be myself, the who I be?
I like be me.
Goodnight, moon.
I miss me.

God, take me into the light.
I made love to the universe.
I now carry its child.
Our child.
The dark itchiness is gone now.
Only pure orange light.
Feel the glow.
Do you feel the glow?

I am part of the light & it’s part of me.
The darkness within it now owns.
Every part of me.
The orange universal light.
7 in the night.
We are owned by the light.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2011

And the story is me

9-5-11     12:18am

I feel like there’s someone telling a story in my head. I can feel the rhythm but I can’t hear her. She stands behind a screen telling her story in a mic.

“Once upon a time,” she says to a captive audience. I listen. I hear her and I listen. There are no words. I hear her. She fascinates me.

I hear purple and the sound of hoof-beats. I hear the sunset. I hear the birds. She sings to me the story that has no words, the story that lives in me.

When I hear the words I write them. When I feel the words I dance them. When I see the words I watch in wonder. The words, they live in me, and they are me. Like God. I hear the beat of the story with letterless words and it lives inside of me. Inside of me. I hear the story. And the story is me.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2011

I dabble in the secret things

9.4.11   10:20pm

I dabble in the secret things.
They are my specialty.
The things one mentions not in light, not in reality.

I dabble in the secret things that make men twist and cry.
The shame that no one talks about that hides within your eye.

I dabble in these things ’cause I have secrets of my own.
They tremble at my footsteps.
They know that they are owned.

But still these secrets eat me, follow into the night.
They fill my soul with worry they might one day see the light.

And so I keep to other’s secrets as my great specialty.
And I hope that no one finds out what is secretly eating me.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2011

Insincerity is NOT a benchmark of adulthood

9-2-11

Insincerity is NOT a benchmark of adulthood. It is a result of being brainwashed. And it is what lands us all in therapy.

What is the first thing our parents teach us when we’re little? Don’t lie. And what is the second thing they teach us? To lie. How are you feeling? No, you don’t feel that way. That doesn’t hurt. You shouldn’t say things like that (even though they’re true). Don’t lie. Didn’t I tell you not to lie? Are you listening to me? Don’t lie now. Gosh, wasn’t that movie amazing? (NO) We are taught to say only what others want to hear, that our feelings don’t matter and that we should not, by any means, ever share the ones that aren’t pretty. And definitely never tell the truth.

So when they ask us how we’re feeling, we’re “fine.” And everything inside us is a raging wildfire burning us alive but there’s no one to tell it to. And we’ve been told for so long that our feelings are not valid or real that we now don’t even know what we’re actually feeling. Or some people claim to have stopped feeling at all. And then one day we go crazy. We scream at the boss or blow up a car or run through the streets naked yelling something about George Bush and Al Gore making love at Burning Man in a pig-filled mud pit. And everyone says that we’re crazy. Oh, he was such a nice boy. But really, we’re not crazy at all. We’re just fucked up due to brainwashing that tells us we shouldn’t and therefore don’t feel the way we do and, IF we still do, that we should NEVER communicate it. (sigh) Seriously.

And it takes many years of therapy to learn to trust and to know what we’re feeling and to TELL THE TRUTH. Holy God, that’s a difficult task. Most people are truth-intolerant, you know that? They just don’t want to know. When they ask how I feel they don’t really want an answer. If I tell them, their response is certainly not helpful. Then I feel ashamed because I certainly must’ve done something wrong by HAVING that feeling AND by sharing it. Oh gosh. Now what do I do with this shame I now feel about having a feeling and the guilt I now feel ‘cuz I can’t tell anyone about my shame because that’s not something I can share either. Guess it’s another secret I have to keep.

And again, “How are you doing?” “Fine.”
Inner dialogue: DAMN, I hate my life. Nobody listens to me. Nobody cares. I’m all alone.
Inner therapist: They can’t know what you don’t tell them, Michelle.
Me: But they don’t want to know! AHHHHHHHH!

And again, “How are you?” “Fine.”
Inner dialogue: This is never going to end. I should kill myself now.
Inner therapist: Probably.

And again, “How are you doing?” “AAAAAHHHHH! I FUCKING HATE YOU!!!!!”
Other person: “What a bitch.”
Me: Damn straight. Get the fuck out of my way.

This is not a part of adulthood. This is some fucked up shit.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2011

I am the yellow clock – unabridged

6-5-11     11:12pm

I am afraid of this clock.
I found it staring up at me from a pile of magazine clippings.
This clock is my life.

I have no concept of time, which usually doesn’t bother me. But lately the things I have in place of numbers have fallen away and I am not able to navigate very well. My confusion is growing by the day, and I can’t process or remember things. I am so tired. I don’t know what’s going on.

I am the yellow clock.
My motor keeps on ticking, even though my hands are broken and my numbers have fallen away. I would buy it. The tick’s all I care about anyway. I don’t want to know what time it is.

Time increases my anxiety. You have to do this right away or that by tomorrow. Hurry up. Call him now. Answer the phone. Have you sent that email? Did you prepare for tomorrow? What’s tomorrow? I don’t even know today. And I don’t care about tomorrow. Can’t you see?

I don’t know what’s going on in my brain. Whatever it is is good at what it’s doing. Last year I thought I was gonna die, and I didn’t. But I’m not convinced that I’m here to stay. Or even if I am how much longer I will be Michelle. I’m scared because I don’t know it, I can’t control it and it won’t go away. It is slowly taking me.

The clock cannot fight the clock maker. I can’t even see what He’s doing. I just watch how it affects me. I once was an intelligent person. Now it’s a struggle to order dinner. I don’t understand things. My emotions are not in my control. I don’t read. I write when I can. And can is fading. I can’t remember. (staring…) Please.

I am the yellow clock.
If you find me please tell me what time it is and what that time means.

—–

What is the purpose of a clock?
To be a foundation, a guide. To know what’s going on at all times and to be right.
To always be on, to be perfect, to propel the world.

So what happens when a clock does not work anymore? How do I become an art piece? What do I do when it’s my job to sound the alarm and I don’t know what time it is? When I am the fire alarm and I’ve forgotten what fire is? When I know what fire is but I can’t make a sound?

I don’t know how to be an art piece. I just know I need to learn.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2011

I am the yellow clock

6-5-11     11:12pm

I am afraid of this clock.
I found it staring up at me from a pile of magazine clippings.
This clock is my life.

I have no concept of time, which usually doesn’t bother me. But lately the things I have in place of numbers have fallen away and I am not able to navigate very well. My confusion is growing by the day, and I can’t process or remember things. I am so tired. I don’t know what’s going on.

I am the yellow clock.
My motor keeps on ticking, even though my hands are broken and my numbers have fallen away. I would buy it. The tick’s all I care about anyway. I don’t want to know what time it is.

Time increases my anxiety. You have to do this right away or that by tomorrow. Hurry up. Call him now. Answer the phone. Have you sent that email? Did you prepare for tomorrow? What’s tomorrow? I don’t even know today. And I don’t care about tomorrow. Can’t you see?

I don’t know what’s going on in my brain. Whatever it is is good at what it’s doing. Last year I thought I was gonna die, and I didn’t. But I’m not convinced that I’m here to stay. Or even if I am how much longer I will be Michelle. I’m scared because I don’t know it, I can’t control it and it won’t go away. It is slowly taking me.

The clock cannot fight the clock maker. I can’t even see what He’s doing. I just watch how it affects me. I once was an intelligent person. Now it’s a struggle to order dinner. I don’t understand things. My emotions are not in my control. I don’t read. I write when I can. And can is fading. I can’t remember. (staring…) Please.

I am the yellow clock.
If you find me please tell me what time it is and what that time means.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2011

Fucked-upness

I used to want to be a therapist. But then I realized I’m too fucked up to be a therapist. But many of the fucked up people I know want to be therapists. Which makes me wonder just how many of our therapists are just well-dressed fucked up people with degrees. Which makes me wonder… I just want a therapist that is fucked up enough to know where I’m coming from but not enough to kill me.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2011

Melting

1-3-11     2:46am

My eyes
They melt & run down my face
Law & Order will not make me better
I feel confused, distracted
Stressed.

I feel so sad
So desperate & lonely
I miss S-
I need a hug.

I work really hard to stay stable…
But I can’t control what goes on outside me.
I can’t be on my own.
It makes me crazy.

I haven’t seen S- in 2 weeks.
Mind keeps telling me she’s dead,
I’ll never see her again,
I’ll be alone forever.
I’m cranky.
I fight with my mom.

I don’t understand.
My brain works slowly.
Annoyed M- in the card game.
Let me work at my pace.

I don’t want to go
Please don’t leave me.
Please
Please
You’re hurting me.

If you take down the walls of an aquarium, how’s the water supposed to stay in?
Holes take longer but you still lose it all.

Jenga explains everything.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2011

Tree Seasons

1-2-11     2:52pm

There are 3 trees and a daisy bush that I watch from my back stoop. They teach me about life. (pause)

I’ve been watching them lose their leaves and wondering what they must be thinking.

Why are you leaving me?
Oh my God, what’s happening?!
No! No! Please! That one is my favorite!
He’s my best friend!
I’m cold.
Why isn’t anyone helping me?

Then humans come in and cut off branches completely out of their control and haul off their leaves on the ground.

It’s much like our lives. And it happens in seasons. But do they know? Do they understand? Is the tree freaked out by this major loss or does it understand what is happening, why? Is there an innate acceptance that this is what is and any attempts to stop it are futile?

Each of the trees is in a different stage of unleafing. I wonder if they compare themselves to one another and feel jealous or proud.

Why does HE still have leaves?
Haha! Sucker. I have more than YOU do.
You all lose. I’m leafless first.

What do they think of the nonshedding trees? Is there grief over the loss? It got me thinking about the cycle of grief.

Life has cycles, like trees, but not Kubler-Ross’s five cycles. I believe there are four, matched to the seasons. Love (summer), Loss (fall), Grief (winter), and Acceptance (spring). They can change at any time for any reason but in my life they tend to go in this order.

Love (intense feeling) could be a person, a project, an idea or ideal. Loss (involuntary action) is its fall from dream-state, it’s emerging reality of flaws or its actual loss. Grief (reaction) is the processing of loss, reaction to a lack of control, and reassessment of who we are without this and why we are still here. And Acceptance is the freedom to move on openly knowing we will lose again but embracing the moment anyway.

Some days I look in the mirror and am surprised at my leaf count. I thought there were 3 left. I was sure of it. But today they are gone. And it’s cold. And the daisy bush is dead. I know just on the outside but that is all I see.

What are your tree seasons?

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© Michelle Routhieaux 2011

Messed Up Morals

12-22-10    1:51am

Have you ever examined the morals behind songs and fairytales? I was considering Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer while wandering hopelessly lost through Walmart today. It’s a messed up story. The moral or message or conditional-belief lesson is basically:

Don’t fret if you’re a social outcast. You’ll be loveable if you’re just perfect and save everyone. Otherwise you’re worthless and will be alone forever.

If that doesn’t put you in therapy, try having a label for a name. That’s like naming your kid Judy the One-eyed Retard and having Lady Gaga put out a single about her pathetic life and one glory day. Really? Alright then. Merry Christmas to you too.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2010

Dear Daddy (Nov 2003)

written on the 2nd anniversary of my dad’s death, posted now for Jingle’s Poetry Potluck (and because I’ve been thinking about it).

Dear Daddy,

Need me.
Feed me, the way I fed you.
Comb my hair.
Don’t tear.
DON’T TOUCH ME

Where did you go?
I don’t know.
I NEVER KNOW
And for as much as I’d like to I can’t, pray I never will.

The bruises, restraints, overpowering drugs.
The anger
The incredible loneliness.
Talk to me Daddy.
Be one of the voices in my head.

Why did you hit me that day?
Why didn’t you stay on that mountain?
GET OUT OF MY LIFE – hold me tight
If you could come back and do it again, would you?
Would you call me your child?
Why in the sky do the clouds always shroud the image of your body from my wandering eyes?

© Michelle Routhieaux 11/17/03