Happy Tongue

10/27/16     2:41pm


I had surgery on my tongue today to remove a large bump/lesion. I am grateful for my doctor and awesome staff. Also, my mom rocks. She took the day off to look after me. I haven’t taken any PRNs yet but I slept most of the day and am still tired. My mouth hurts but I feel so calm and nothing bothers me. I know it’s the drugs in my system but I don’t care. My head and my mouth hurt. Don’t really care. Struggle to keep my eyes open. Nope, don’t care. This is a blessing. Thank you, God. I must sleep now. I’m falling over. I have to go to my program tomorrow, in 4 hours, and I can’t be late. I’ll tell you about that some other time.

Love, Michelle

© Michelle Routhieaux 2016

Building a Life on Happiness

11-16-15     4:47pm

Homework: Imagine a life built on happiness…

Imagine a life built on happiness…

I would have energy and motivation. I would take chances and try new things. I would take better care of myself and spend more time with friends. I would DANCE and maybe have the guts to try musical theater again. I could tolerate spending more time with the girls. I would spend less time in darkness crying.

(eat dinner)

I would probably do more fun things like bowling and Zumba. I would be stronger, more able to handle others’ crises without crashing myself. I would have more art parties and probably shower more often. I might even be able to start brushing my teeth regularly. What a concept.

If I had a life built on happiness I’d paint my nails more often. I’d probably answer my phone and my self-esteem would improve. I could move on to DBT Level 2 and spend less time in appointments and therapy. Maybe my health could improve and I could have less random physical and neuro symptoms. That would be nice.

A life built on happiness would probably be filled with hope and possibility, art and writing, LOTS of music and dancing and yoga and movement. And maybe I could learn how to do nothing. That would be nice. I could find peace. Learn boundaries. Set limits. Take risks. Breathe. Be.

I just asked my nurse how long my seizure was today – 79 seconds. I wonder why they’re getting shorter (105, 97, 79.) I hope it’s not a trend.

I almost lost my room today. I’m thankful I got to keep it. I wonder how my life would be different if I had discovered ECT works for me before now…  I’m glad I’m brave.

I was right. Something did die with ECT – the intense need to die, the voice telling me I need to die somewhat constantly. It is almost absent. I feel a sense of wonder and joy. I do get heavy waves of sadness but not deathly despair. I feel happy to be alive.

Dr. H is letting me go to DBT on Thursday. Armando is going to take me and bring me back. I’m so glad I’m not dead. It’s a new feeling. This is a chance to reinvent myself, build a “life worth living” like they say in DBT. I’ve never been healthy before. Life starts now.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2015

Jesus & Happy



Did anyone tell you what happiness is? That you had a right to feel it? I’m pretty sure the knowledge/awareness of “happy” and the expectation that I should or should be able to feel it are fucking me up.

Have people always expected to feel happy? What if feeling awful is the default? If I was okay with feeling awful my life would be much better. Is this an American thing? I do NOT feel happy.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2012

Moments of Happy

1/1/12     5:26pm

I don’t know where to find it but there is a piece of research about smiling that I’m using as a coping skill tonight. It says that smiling works both ways. We smile because we’re happy, but smiling also makes us happy. Even when we’re not.

At first I thought it was bullshit but then I remembered doing it in theater and tried it again. Smiling (happy or not) sends a rush of chemicals through the brain. I can feel it. So I’m doing it tonight. Smiling largely while unhappy. It actually works for a few moments. You should try it.

Moments of happy. Free and immediate. No prescription necessary. So what if I look funny? I have moments of happy.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2012


8-29-10                12ish pm

I feel happy, warm inside. Just saw K- in the bathroom. She said, “Keep your head up.” I do. I told her I feel more happy now that I’m sicker than when I was less sick. It’s weird, but nice. Last night was wonderful and then difficult, but today is good again. And I am so grateful for this moment.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2010

Comfort. Bliss. Pain. (clogging)

This is part blog, part letter.

8-29-10                1:52am

Comfort. Bliss. Pain. (clogging)

There is no feeling I know that tops twirling on a dance floor while clogging with people I love. There are people here this weekend that I’ve known forever and love dearly, whom I never see. They are my family. I just want to be near them. I’ve not much to say. I just want to be close. There’s something special about not having to say anything…

(fight with Mom)

Breathing. Tears. I don’t want to leave this place. I don’t want to go home tomorrow. Not because nothing bad ever happens here but because with these people I know it will be okay. That I will be okay. And I’m not.

I just watched Boston Legal. I went to a gathering last night of friends and it felt so good to have fun, to laugh and feel happy. And to be physically close to people. There are hugs here that make me feel loved…

I don’t see a lot of people like that. And sitting next to one makes me happy and sad. Happy and grateful for the moment and sad that it’s ending. I long to be close to someone, to be held and comforted and loved. To have someone to curl up with, a hand to hold. Instead I have a pillow at the end of a hotel hallway, a purple pen and a journal. And an angry mom sulking in a hotel room over me not putting my pajamas on. What the fuck? Yeah, I’m bitter. (deep breath…) Crying.

Your life is fundamentally at odds with the world. Therefore nature rejects you. (Failure to Launch)

This weekend has not been about illness or drama. My illness has affected my dancing but no one has asked me about it. No one’s asked much of anything. It’s been nice to have a break but it feels like this huge secret. I have this big clogging family and they’d be supportive if they knew (I imagine). But they don’t…

I cried at Lynnda’s slideshow tonight not because I knew her well but because I think of that stuff. I wonder what will happen when I die, who will notice, what the service will be like. I cried for me. In case you’re wondering, when I die you should dance. And if there’s a slideshow, please splice the music smoothly and don’t use “I Will Remember You.”

… I don’t have a name. I just want to dance, to feel that free feeling and the warmness of being close to you. You bring me comfort. I don’t know why. You just do. It makes my heart tingle. And for that I am grateful. Thank you.

(deeeep breath) I just wanna dance.


This is My Time & I Decide

5-24-10                 4:52pm

Just for this moment I feel peaceful, calm. I have this song in my head. It’s so powerful & true. Listen.

This is my time to shine
This is my place to find
All that I have inside
I never knew
This is my time to show
What I must have always known
That nothing’s impossible
And dreams come true.
And dreams come true.

Overcoming all these things
Here I finally find my wings
Now I know I’m ready to fly!

I may not be a corporate executive or a research scientist, or on Broadway or a doctor. But this is my time. I’m successful and loved. And I love myself. I am making things happen. No, God is making things happen. I’m seeing change. And I get to decide.

I have overcome a lot of things and now I use my choice to decide. Listen.

I may not have control over the outcome but I have control of my actions, the decisions I make. I decided this week to push myself. There’s only now. I’ve got nothing to lose. Everything is a choice, every choice an opportunity.

I get to decide to stay in my house and feel bad or go out. I ate goat cheese yesterday, and golden beets, and cucumber. Wow. I never try new things. And I liked it. I liked being eagerly uncomfortable and the tremendous feeling of success.

This is my time to realize that I can make a difference and that there IS power in persistence. I’m tied to little. All I have is time.

I decide today to go out with the guy who’s not dark and twisted, the one who scares me with his normalcy. And makes me smile. Because I want to. I decide to go out by myself and eat good food and take in great music just because. I deserve it. I decide not to let myself fester, not to lose this momentum by being idle. I decide to take care of myself and to take chances. And to sleep. Cuz I get to decide. This is my time.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2010

A Good Night – Croce’s & N-

5-24-10                 3:12am

I had an awesome night tonight. For those of you who are always hassling me about not eating healthy, I did. Certainly tastier than a burrito but much more expensive.

I went to Croce’s downtown, had to get out of my house. I got off at the 12th & Imperial trolley stop and asked valets and hostess people along 5th Ave where I could find food and jazz that wouldn’t break the bank. They pointed me there. I’m glad they did.

It was such a great experience. I had a table in the corner right by the piano. The waitress was attentive and helpful. The food was amazing. I couldn’t figure out just what to order since I don’t eat most of what was on the menu. Not because it’s weird food. I just don’t eat much. So I settled on the goat cheese salad. New things are scary to me but I tried and loved it. And, save for leaving off the onions, I tried every part of it. Even the beets and cucumber.

Note to self: I LOVE fried balls of goat cheese!

I overheard the person next to me order potato soup, which I didn’t see on the menu, and I love potatoes so I ordered that too. It was more like puree than soup but it was good. And she didn’t look at me like I was crazy when I asked if I was supposed to eat the leeks in the middle or if they were just for decoration.

Much more soup than it looks like here. Warm & filling.

I also got a piece of cheesecake. I got strawberries on the top instead of their fruit topping that had orange liquor in it. I don’t do alcohol. It was so divine. Tiny bites of delicious cheesecake and strawberries with my eyes closed to good jazz music. Amazing.

Mmmmm... Heaven on a plate

Even the silverware intrigued me. The forks are anorexic but the spoons make up for it.

And as I sat there I watched the staff. They interacted and joked with each other and with the musicians. They smiled and laughed. Most of them didn’t seem to hate being there. The manager was welcoming guests and the musician introduced him as a fellow musician. The musician gave props to the bartenders. It was a cool environment. The team worked.

It was very different than my experience at Bing Crosby’s where nobody talks, the wait staff is invisible and there is a general attitude that they’re better than the customer. At Croce’s it wasn’t like that. It was warm. I felt at home. And when I left I felt full of something other than French fries and regret. I missed Sacha though. The music tonight was good. It was fun and upbeat, but she’s powerful. The two together might make me melt. ;)

I wrote in my journal, “For $32 and a tip tonight I got a goat cheese salad, potato soup, cheesecake with strawberries, a Sprite, the perfect corner table, great service & some awesome jazz music. (big sigh) The happiness is worth it.”

When I left Croce’s, I took the trolley back to East County and met N-. We went to Fridays. I had a strawberry lemonade and some mashed potatoes. I love potatoes. He talked about cars and airplanes and school and family. Mostly I just listened. And I wondered what he thought of the listening.

As I listened to his thoughts about school and the future and his schedule I thought about how different we are. I didn’t really have anything to say. At least nothing that was relevant. And I had taken some meds on the trolley so I wouldn’t throw up that were making me tired. I literally said almost nothing, except for something about the origin of blue raspberry and asking a few questions. (AT – I have nothing to offer.) I was witnessing his stream of consciousness. He seems so happy. And determined. And figured out. I felt like an observer.

I like N-. He’s like the perfect guy. Family-oriented, studying to be a doctor, loves music, goes to church, doesn’t drink, sings. I don’t know if he dances. He even lives in east county. Go figure. I don’t want to feel so separate. I don’t want to feel so empty.

Tonight was a good night.

©Michelle Routhieaux 2010

Breaking the Sunrise Rule

5-17-10                 6:36am


Good music + breaking my rule about staying up past sunrise = hypomania. YAY! Lol. It’ll only last for a few hours, but gosh it feels good.

I feel accomplished today. It’s not something I feel very often. Thirteen pages of Excel documents later I’ve finally made sense of my org’s finances. Maybe not the way an accountant would but it makes sense to me and they refused to hire one. It involved screaming, Xanax, laying on the sidewalk outside watching the ants for awhile and imagining the cars whizzing by were waves, a 5 hour nap, a taco salad, and a very long night. But it’s done! (big sigh) And it wasn’t done on the energy of hypomania either. That came after.

I’m debating on whether I should, no whether I will, sleep this morning or not. I know I should. But I feel so God damn great. Full of energy with the morning coldness and glow. (dreamy sigh and big smile) A few hours ago I was leaning on my clothes line repeating “I hate my life. I hate my life.” Now I love my life. It’s more like I love this moment. Life is beyond me.

Board meeting tonight. There’s a free concert I’d like to go to at noon in La Jolla, which means I’d have to catch the bus at 9:40 and walk a ways. Still have the minutes and agenda to do. Also need to get started on this month’s newsletter. And get a hold of Ken to get all the info I possibly can about the concert this Friday that I have done NO promotion for because I have no information. ACK! It’s fucking crazy, I tell you. Crazy.

When there’s this much energy coursing through my body it’s hard to decide what to do. Sleep is relatively impossible. But I don’t feel like sitting in one place to type an agenda or think about minutes. I just want to walk in circles or bounce up and down and giggle. If the things around me were organized it might be easier to find something to do.

(sigh) Grrrr… The energy also adds to my ability to be easily pissed off. I got this HUGE project done last night and mom wants to know if every other project that crosses her mind is done and why not. AHHHH! SHUT UP! Just sleep. Just sleep and pretend I’m not here. Okay?

Do they make radios without commercials? They’re so annoying.

(very agitated, leg tapping incessantly, eyebrows furled) Grrr… (6:48am)

I shouldn’t break the sunrise rule. Gonna be a long day.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2010

Maybe it’s time to dream

5-15-10                 2:55am

My friend posted this today:

Is wondering what’s more important love or a dream? What was the biggest thing you had to give up to pursue your dreams? –S

My original response:

I gave up my dreams to pursue me.

But I’ve been thinking. Why does one have to be more important? Can the dream not be love? Can you not love the dream? Do you really have to choose?

I did give up my dreams to pursue me. But maybe I’m thinking of the wrong dream. I gave up my dreams of being on Broadway and of getting a Ph.D. and of curing disease and having a family, of owning a dance studio and having a place and a dog. But the dream I followed was me. The dream of stability, of enlightenment. Okay, so I wasn’t after enlightenment but it would be nice.

The biggest thing I gave up in my pursuit of happiness has been control. I am pretty successful at what I do and in my recovery. And the biggest thing I keep giving up is control. Accepting that I am not in control is uber hard to do but so important. It’s not me who’s driving my destiny. I can’t control others or my body or the world. My life is in God’s hands. I still like being in control of things. Just not everything.

I also gave up thinking I matter so much and giving a damn. I used to care what everyone thought. It was so stressful. But now, there are very few people whose opinions I respect and whose criticism can throw my whole world off. I just don’t give a shit. I can’t afford to. I don’t have the energy and it doesn’t help me. Realizing I really don’t matter that much is hard but it’s helpful. That thing I said that’s stressing me out probably DIDN’T ruin his life. My late bill won’t kill me. Missing the meeting is NOT the end of the world. And without me, life goes on.

I also gave up love. I’m not sure I can say I gave it up though because I never had it. I don’t think I’ve given up the dream of love, just the hope that it will ever happen. I don’t stress about it most days. It’s out of my control. I’m just doing what I can.

I used to dream big. I remember dreaming about a party for my sweet 16. I remember it included ice sculptures. Lol. In reality I got a banner at Possum Trot and a dance with Jeff Driggs. Not quite an ice sculpture. The retreat was dreaming big. REALLY big. So is the movie night event this summer and the studio. But they’re not dreams I actually expect to happen.

I gave up my dreams to pursue me. Now that I’ve found me, maybe it’s time to dream.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2010

Dig Up the Chickens & What I Want You to Know

3-13-10                 7:07pm

Even if I die tonight, please dig up the chickens. The mummified chickens in the hillside of the Flying Hills playground.

Those chickens taught me a lesson. I didn’t want to touch them. Dead chickens are gross. But no one else want to do it, so I did. I salted and patted and changed the chickens. And something interesting happened – a sudden change in dynamics. They were grateful for me doing this unmentionable task, then expected me to do it, then made fun of me for doing it… What? It seems to be a pattern.


My right hand is shaking and I feel like crying… I’m scared… (smile) Sacha just walked by and sang, “Cheer up, Charlie.” She’s beautiful.

“You are nobody ‘til somebody loves you.” – lyrics Daniel’s singing.

What I Want You to Know

  • That I love you.
  • I may hate people but I love deeply too.
  • Don’t let a chance for happiness pass you by, even if it means driving an extra hundred miles out of your way in the snow.
  • Say what you mean, no matter what people think.
  • Please don’t say it’s a shame that I died so young or that it’s before my time. Bullshit. It’s been a long fucking life. I have spared no experience, no expense. And the thought of living another 24 years like these just might kill me.
  • Please laugh. For every reason & no reason at all.

-Ahhh, half hour in comes the smile. :)

I’m so glad I came. :)

PS – I sold the hole punch. The new doctor is great.

Be happy for my happiness, Spongebob

2-21-10 4:30am

I just said that to a friend. Be happy for my happiness, Spongebob.

Yes, I know it’s 4:30 in the morning but I’M HAPPYYYYYYYYYY! (said like “It’s Bacon!” from the Beggin’ Strips dog treats commercial). I want to skip down the middle of my street in the pouring rain and twirl around. (sigh) My happiness is tempered by mom’s barking about going to bed, but the rain is simply intoxicating.

I just listened to the whole cd I bought tonight. The music is even better to the rain. My Spongebob friend, whom I’ve never called Spongebob before, made reference to the difficulty in telling the difference between happiness and hypomania. I don’t really care what it is as long as it’s not destructive. Spending lots of money I don’t have, running in front of cars – bad. Bouncing up and down in the kitchen overwhelmed by the excitement of rain and good music and a good day – not bad.

Tonight I finished most of a project I thought would be really hard in about 10 minutes. I don’t anticipate it being difficult to complete. I did a bunch of fun things, took chances. And I feel GREAT… And I know if I continue to feel great it could be dangerous.

I hate the knowledge. (sigh, shake my head) I hate having to wonder when happy is too happy, if feeling happy tonight and then happy tomorrow will mean another “vacation” sometime soon. What do you do when you want nothing more than to be happy, to feel like I do tonight, but when you’re happy the happiness scares you? Is avoiding a dangerous high worth staying sad for? I don’t think so. Be happy for my happiness, Spongebob. And hope it doesn’t last long. I don’t want that to be my motto.

I want to feel free. I want to fly without fear, to run lightning fast without my mind stopping me. To walk on a beam successfully, you don’t look at your feet. You don’t think about dance, you just dance. Close your eyes and let your feet do the work, let your body feel the motion. Sense the people around you. Be happy for my happiness, Spongebob. I feel a little sad.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2010