A Recovery Blog

This blog is about my continuing recovery from severe mental illness. I celebrate this recovery by continuing to write, by sharing my music and artwork and by exploring Buddhist ideas and concepts. I claim that the yin/yang symbol is representative of all of us because I have found that even in the midst of acute psychosis there is still sense, method and even a kind of balance. We are more resilient than we think. We can cross beyond the edge of the sane world and return to tell the tale. A deeper kind of balance takes hold when we get honest, when we reach out for help, when we tell our stories.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Thoughts On Aging & Two New Drawings

These are two drawing I did in the last couple of days. The top one is just pure fantasy and the bottom one is in honor of the bear I saw a couple of weeks ago. Sorry about the photographs not being just right. I'm not very skilled with the photo editing and my program is not that good anyway, so that compounds the problem. I'm hoping my new camera will rectify some of that. It's frustrating to take a bunch of shots of one piece of artwork in different lighting situations and still get an out of focus, slightly off image. I'll just have to keep working on the problem until I find a solution.

I haven't been painting as much as I've wanted to this past week partly due to some unexpectedly hot weather and partly due to depression. So I've been sleeping too much. I also smoked 2 and a quarter packs of cigarettes in the last 2 weeks. Yuk. I do not want to get hooked into that again. It's a drag and it gets me feeling more depressed. I didn't smoke today, instead I bought a pizza which is a rare treat for me. I know pizza is a very common place food, but I don't eat it. I stick to my diet. I bought it as a birthday present to myself, even though my birthday is tomorrow. I'm proud to say that I've eaten half of it and I don't feel guilty about it. In fact, it's a pat on my own back for sticking to the diet and losing 17 pounds so far.

Around mid-day tomorrow I will turn 47 years old. I moved away from New York City 20 years ago. I am no longer the Brooklyn girl that I once was. It's ironic because when I went to high school in Manhattan the kids used to joke about me living in Brooklyn with the cows, as if Brooklyn was deep in the country for them. Now I really do live in the country with the cows (and bears...). Sometimes I wonder what it would have been like if I hadn't left The City. I still call it that, The City, as if there is no other city but that one. For a while that's the way it felt. Last night I was chatting on facebook with Nancy who lives in The City. She's invited me to visit her for a couple of days in the summer and I'm thinking I might just take her up on that. I live 6 hours away from Manhattan, but I rarely go and visit because I've lost touch with old friends and it's too expensive to stay in a hotel. Still I feel shy.

For the most part I acknowledge that I'm a middle aged woman now. My neck has fallen and I'm still obese, though 17 pounds lighter than I was 3 months ago. It's an odd comfort to no longer seek to present myself as attractive anymore because I can just be who I am, though sometimes I get wistful for youth again. I didn't enter into middle age gently. I entered into it in the midst of severe psychosis. I often thought, what a horrible way to be initiated into getting visibly older. But then modern culture is pretty terrified of aging. Everyone is supposed to stay frozen between 25 and 30. I thought it was pretty sad when I read Brooke Shields was unhappy about starting to look like an older woman. And I feel sorry for those women (and men) who obsess about appearing to look young and who actually go under the knife to preserve what's left of their youth. It must be hard for some to be aging in the public eye and I'm grateful that I am not.

Oh, I'm not being completely truthful here because I would like to be slimmer, healthier and more presentable. I just know that I can't turn back the clock. In three years I will be 50. I want to grow into that age as gracefully as I can. Right now, I dye my hair brown because I have a lot of gray in my hair. I've had gray in my hair for 20 years, since around the time I left NYC. I wasn't ready then to go gray, but now I'm getting closer to wanting to really be natural. Maybe, once I lose the excess weight I've put on, I will. My hair is also long (which my mother doesn't approve of) and I might go short as I did in my youth. I've just felt unattractive for a while mainly because of the weight, but now I am hopeful that I will lose the weight within 12 months. The kind of attractive I may become will not be of a youthful kind, but it will be good enough for me.
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