Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Epigraph Revisited

I've been really thinking about the epigraph post. Something has been bothering me about it. I felt as if I was being a bit untruthful. I didn't dig deep enough for it, perhaps. I remembered, finally, that there was a little rhyme I had come up with when I was about 12 or so, which I would write onto the first page of all my notebooks. Anything I wrote in for me, for school, for anything. I remember doing this up in till my early twenties. Funny enough I stopped reciting it about the same time I stopped writing for me. I still told stories, mostly to myself and to a few others who would ask, but I stopped writing them down. So I bought a notebook this week and the first thing I did was open it up and on the first page I wrote:

Lady Luck, where are thee

Come and rest your favor on me

Lest I fail and fall distraught

Into Fortune’s melting pot


I remember feeling immensely clever when I came up with this. So proud of myself! I used “thee” and “distraught”. I gave Fortune a melting pot and it rhymed! This was something I could be happy that I wrote and even all these years later (22 to be exact) I am still impressed with kid me. I used to call this my little school prayer. It was my way of asking for help to do what I want or what I needed to do in that notebook.

I wonder when or where exactly I was when I lost faith in my little prayer. I would like to think that if it was an EVENT, I would remember. I think my faith was lost as most things are; carelessly. I got distracted, I didn't pay attention. I was too busy being a grownup and feeding, sheltering and supporting family, romantic partners that I forgot to feed and shelter all of myself. I shut that bit away, because I thought it would always be there. It had always been there, so how could I have known that it would get so stale and rusty that I would even lose my little prayer.

So now I want to resurrect it. Breathe new life into it. I want to go back to the relief of pen meeting paper and the drive to empty myself of words again. I need to allow myself to be full of words again. I am looking forward to when I no longer have to consciously flip that mental lock and let them in the back door, but they just wander in on their own, in their own forms and hang out at the kitchen table; waiting for me to come make them a cup of tea and start the game.


“I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am.” 
― Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

I started reading Plath at an impressionable age. Pausing in between chapters to relearn to breath, because I could feel the oppression she described so perfectly weighing on me. I remember finishing The Bell Jar and lying with my brain cracked open across my bed. Everything that was in that book resonated with me and, until that point, that had never happened before.
I want this quote to be my epigraph because it has been a consistent mantra from my teen years on. It reminds me to stop and breathe which is particularly crucial for a person with bipolar & anxiety issues. My mental spiral spins into physical reactions such as increased pulse rate and hand tremors. I practice working on focusing on only one thing (my heartbeat) while constraining my breathing to the rhythm of “...I am, I am, I am.” This helps me regulate my breathing while helping me reset my brain in a fashion. At the very least, I can typically knock myself off the crazy anxiety train ride my brain was taking me on. My brain lies. It swears that the anxiety train ride is actually super cool and really fun, but no, it isn’t. My brain says the same thing about mania and well, that is also a gigantic lie. Mania is only fun in the beginning and then again fun doesn’t equal safe.

When I feel my mood elevating to watchdog levels I recite this quote help to keep myself still. Sometimes the last thing I can even comprehend is staying in one place, but the rhythm that is my heartbeat is something I can focus on anywhere and at anytime. Watchdog levels: code for wondering if my mood is just a normal really good mood or if I am edging into the land of too happy. Bipolar: the joy of constantly wondering if you are too much of something.

I am currently working 40-50 hours per week and have a half time school load. I also seem to have a pair of butterfly wings attached to my back. So my schedule can get quite full, mostly due to my loathing of saying no. Who needs sleep, when you can laugh? I know my glitches by now, but this quote reminds me to slow down, to cancel some plans or drag out the dreaded No word.