I Carry your heart with me.

img_7631One of my favorite poems, although I know it’s a popular one. I cannot help but love it anyway. I can’t always love the obscure, sometimes things are popular for good reason. Other times not so much. The light from the moon and the tides from the expansive sea are part of me and with out them I wouldn’t be me. To be liquescent & inhale Illumination; it is good for our souls.

. I Carry Your Heart With Me
By e. e. cummings
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

ee cummings

ee cummings

Roadtrippin’

So I woke up this morning and decided to take a job driving to Minneapolis. It was impulsive and risky.  These are two behaviors that unfortunately go hand in hand with living with Bipolar, Especially when your running out of your medication. It is a sad day that benefits in New Jersey are so hard to get when you need them. I worked my whole life working very hard and paying my own way. It is very frustrating that when you actually need help from your state and government because you lose a job that it is almost impossible to get the help you need. I don’t foresee it getting any better under the Trump Regime. 

Anyway I took the job having no idea how I would get back home. I didn’t plan it well but it worked out. Thanks to a really nice customer who worked for Heineken  I ended up getting a driving job back home. He was a true angel. My Trip could have been a great short film because there was lots of stuff happening and I will explain some of it. Some of it I will leave for the book. I love to drive so I thought driving might be a good job for short-term but it isn’t worth it because you have to pay for your own hotels and that makes it less than desirable and not enough money to risk your life severely increasing your driving time on the road. The more you drive; the higher chance you can die. Obvious fact.

My trip was filled with a lot of music on the radio, a stop off in Chicago to meet a true blues legend and some blues disciples, met a bunch of friends along the way, a couple of really nice state troopers, thank you! Some definite drama, cold and snowy weather and some really bizarre tollbooth messengers. I wrote some song/lyrics called Tollbooth Preacher one day and I wish I could find it. It’s in a box somewhere and I can’t remember the lyrics. I’ll find it or an i’ll re-write it. I remember the premise. Here are some pictures from my trip. I stopped off in Chicago and met one of my blues heroes Buddy Guy. I also met some other friends as well.  All the employees that worked at Buddy Guy’s Legends was so friendly; From the awesome bartender to the cool lady bathroom attendant in the bathroom. Thanks for the deodorant. 🙂 Also met some really fun fellow blues fans and of course more guitar players. Here are some pictures of my trip. I will follow-up with a Night at Legends post with all my photos.

New Day. New moments. New Adventures. New Hope. Some Moments from my crazy trip.

 

 1.. Selfie In the car. Fake makeup app. Bored, more waiting.

2. Killing time at Manna Hamburgers Hackensack New Jersey waiting on my car getting detailed. Always wanted to go inside because of my obsession with Vintage Buildings, diners, signs and Businesses. 

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manna3. Taco Truck In Drums, Pennsylvania . Stopping off to get my money from the trucking center. They pay 80 percent up front. Trucking centers always fascinated me; a whole culture going on there; if you ever need a shower on the go that’s the place to do it. 

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4. Me meeting my Blue’s Hero. Good timing. Good Luck. Thanks for the music and the inspiration Buddy. 

buddy guy

5. The Buddy Guy Legends sign…so happy to see it. http://www.buddyguy.com I haven’t been back to legends since the 1990’s. It was in a different building back then. I met buddy back then as well, I was 26 years old. I even went to Maxwell Street on the south side back then but it was before camera phones and I didn’t have a camera with me so no pictures, sadly. Rough street but a blues history Gem. I wish I had pictures to share of Maxwell Street but they are only in my mind. Lots of Garbage Can fires burnin’ it was cold. The Hawk was out. 

legends sign

6.  So I’m sitting in a McDonald’s in Winnebago County, Illinois drinking coffee watching Fonzi, Captain Kirk, George foreman , Terry Bradshaw trying on lederhosen. I am not sure if it’s a new low or a new high!

jeanne at mcdonalds

 7. Traffic. That’s why I sat still for so long. 

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I stopped taking pictures after a while because stress took over but I finished driving to Minneapolis, then I turned around and drove back home. Had to get the new car detailed and fixed up so stopped in Rockford Illinois. Saw some messy ice and snow, met a chatty meth head at Starbucks… god bless him and while checking into a ahem..budget motel, I call them shake & bakes,  I got propositioned by a creepy hotel owner tweaking on something ..yuk. So 2500 miles later I am back home.  Shout out to the folks that helped me along the way and kept me safe. You know who you are. Peace! 

Love and Happiness,

Jloz

D for Deranged. 

When I started this blog I knew I was going to be honest about my life and mental illness. I knew it would be cathartic and cleansing for me. I also knew there would be some backlash. I told myself to be honest even if it gets scary. I told myself to tell the good and the bad because that’s life. Even when bad stuff happens I know there is a nugget of truth or wisdom I can take from it. God knows that’s the truth. If there’s one thing I learned in all of the pain; I learned that if you survive it;  it produces something genuine and sinuous. There is a gracefulness of movement in my body and my mind. I don’t mean in the traditional sense but a new-found comfort with myself and how I move emotionally and physically. It’s hard to describe but I am doing the best I can.

I went to a Jam the other day to sing. It was the first time going there and it’s was super fun. I will definitely go back. I met a lot of nice people, musicians etc. When it was my time to get up and sing I was telling everyone what key I was going to sing in so I said Born under a bad sign in D like dog.  Then the Drummer looked at me and said, you mean D for Deranged. I said, what did you just say? I said interesting choice of words.

He just had this weird smile on his face. I was smiling, positive and then he said that. It does hurt because I’m sensitive. It hurts because I try so hard to start over and live a peaceful life. I don’t do well with people attacking me. Especially people I don’t know. If your honest about having a mental illness whether you’re in recovery or not you will have to expect this. I don’t know this man and he damn sure doesn’t know me so he had no right to say that because I am certainly not deranged. The other part of this is I am a woman who does speak her mind. I also let others speak their mind and I will listen but A lot of men hate on that. They call you all sorts of names and your just supposed to take it, like woman aren’t supposed to have an opinion. I told a friend the other day; I said no one is letting me be the new me and it’s so frustrating and he told me to write it down. Yeah write that down. So I did.

It took me a long time to realize how to help myself  but I did. It’s a lot of suffering and a lot of work but I’m doing it and that’s why comments like this is so hard to take. So I wrote it down. No one is letting me be the new me.  I looked at it over and over and I realized why he told me to write it down. I think he told me to write that down because he was telling me they don’t get to choose. You get to choose. You get to choose what and who you react too. What and who you give power too. I already know this. It’s up to me; not them. I know this in my brain but in my heart; it is still not sure; its latent and slow. I might be a bit of a Pollyanna and want to live in a world where everyone loves each other. I never thought Pollyannaism was a bad thing.

I have talked about this before that the stigma for mental health is so severe and negative compared to someone who is suffering from cancer etc. I can focus on the wonderful people I met that night or the few guy’s who weren’t so kind. I was warned by some people that there might be some people there to try to hurt me. It’s up to me what to focus on. I am training my brain to focus on the positive people and forget about the angry negative cruel ones.

Everyday I am getting better, stronger and a little less sensitive. I will always be honest, I will probably still say the wrong thing sometimes but my heart is in the right place. I will apologize if I hurt you and I will still love you no matter what. I love the guy that called me deranged and I love the others guys that stood in front of me when I sang and told me how old I looked. I knew they were trying to intimidate me and that’s cool. If that’s how they want to spend their evening so be it. Sometimes I get mad and forget what it is I’m trying to do. But when I am alone and with myself in solitude I realize then again that I love you all.

I have no room in my heart for any hate; it’s puffed up with love. Peace.

Love and Happiness,

Jloz

 

For the Stalkers 💋

Let everything that’s been planned come true. Let them believe. And let them have a laugh at their passions. Because what they call passion actually is not some emotional energy, but just the friction between their souls and the outside world. And most important, let them believe in themselves. Let them be helpless like children, because weakness is a great thing, and strength is nothing. When a man is just born, he is weak and flexible. When he dies, he is hard and insensitive. When a tree is growing, it’s tender and pliant. But when it’s dry and hard, it dies. Hardness and strength are death’s companions. Pliancy and weakness are expressions of the freshness of being. Because what has hardened will never win.  Andrei Tarkovsky

Stalker_poster

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Love and Happiness,

Jloz

My Northstar

 

 

As the long dark days and nights went by

you were there.

The lonely days only a special child could bear.

you were there.

A single light in the darkness.

you were there.

I knew you understood…

from the kind eyes you had.

from the big heart you had.

from the sadness in that smile you had.

from the soft whisper in your voice, when you spoke.

you were there.

when lost like mangled driftwood in the sea

you were there.

A guide, high in the sky… you were there.

My North star

You were there.

jml

 

 

 

 

Deflated

I was thinking a lot about my dad recently. I go thru periods where I think of him constantly and then I can go weeks without thinking about him at all. If you told me that ten years ago I would have told you that you were crazy. I guess I get caught up in the day to day business of living. I am  always so surprised that I don’t dream about him more. I always thought he would show up in my dreams more. It’s funny how our dreams work. I don’t understand them. They are so random and bizarre. I never dream about the people I love , why is that?  Anyway I was thinking about the blog I wrote called Monsoon in Chinatown; a letter to my father. I wrote that years ago after he died. It was an exercise to help me get over his death.  I posted it below in a previous post. I was told by a therapist it might help to write him a goodbye letter. So I did. It was a long private letter but I posted part of it. I never spoke about the day he died but It was the worst day of my 38  years of living. I felt like writing about it today. I remember being depressed, vacant, sick, scared and well not very present. I was there but I wasn’t there. I think somehow my brain couldn’t handle all the emotion so it shut off. I wasn’t myself and I was somewhere inside myself. I felt like a turtle who went back into it’s shell. I know this seemed distant and selfish to others but I couldn’t be any different at that time.. My brain was in charge. I was who I was then. My life was in shambles and this was the Main Event.

I  went to my parents house on New Years Day, my dad was still with us. I was living by myself and had slept at my apartment the night before. I would have been there already but my biological relatives invited me to go out for New Years Eve. I didn’t want to go but my mom told me to go. I had just found my biological Aunt and she asked me to spend New Years Eve with her and the family. I went. I had been spending a lot of time at my parents house when I wasn’t working watching my father wither away. It was the holidays and I think my mom thought I needed a break so she told me to go out and have fun so I went.

Have fun, what a strange thought.

I was so happy to find my biological  relatives but it was such a bad time for it to happen. I wasn’t in a good place. For many different reasons.

I had spent Christmas Eve sitting with my dad thinking he would pass…but he didn’t. The Christmas Eve I will never forget. It was me and my mom and two of her friends there in the house that night. I was sitting with my dad in his room and we watched the Christmas Story together. That was the last thing we did before he slipped into a coma. In fact the last thing he said to me was a line out of that movie. He was repeating  one of the lines out of the movie over and over.  I can’t watch Christmas story anymore without reliving that night.

I would doze off and wake to his thin frail bony frame staring at me over the railing of the bed. I don’t know if he knew I was there but I think he did. As I was sitting there with him I heard something down the street like singing. I figured it was Christmas Carol Singers so I looked out the window behind my father’s death bed to find about fifty or so people walking up the street. They were holding lit candles and singing. Next thing I knew they were in the house. The minister of my fathers and mothers church came in between Christmas service with half the church behind him. They were all holding candles. It was like one of those sappy  hallmark movies. They loved my dad, the minister loved my dad, the congregation loved my dad, everyone loved my dad. if dad couldn’t be at church the church would come to dad.

I left my dad’s side and went downstairs to be with my mom and all these people who so kindly came to pay their last respects. The minster and his flock.  My mom let them in and as they filed into our small house singing they formed a crescent in the living room and held hands.  My mom stood there with the poise and strength that her generation seems to have mastered. She was the perfect host; kept her game face on for those divine people while I melted. I couldn’t hold it together and it took every molecule of my being not cry out loud. I could feel eyes on me with their kind sympathy.  My mom on the other hand was a strong upright force that was there for them as not to make them feel uncomfortable. I will never forget the look on her face when we all prayed. Her strength was at its glorious best. She was in the hands of her god.

After the prayers had been said and the songs had been sung they left, the candles burned down and there was one more Christmas Eve sermon to be given and they had to get back. I went back upstairs to sit with my dad, my daddy, my best friend.  He made it to Christmas day. In fact he made it all the way to New Years Day. I spent the New years Eve with my new Aunt and her family and then went back to my apartment.  I came back New Years Day morning to be with my mom and my dad, I was depleted emotionally, tired and totally spent as we all were. I went up to see him and then I went back downstairs.  I remember I was watching the twilight zone so as not to think, trying to distract myself from the pain that was all around me. The craziest thing happened. My favorite twilight zone show came on the TV. The reason it is so crazy is because it’s the one with young Robert Redford when he plays the Grim Reaper. That was such a rare show that they never played. It was one of those 24 hour twilight zone marathons that they do on New Years Day .  As I was watching the Charming Redford as the grim reaper conning that poor old lady, my mom came down the stairs crying and told me he was gone. I ran back up to him and watched my mom finally break down. Her life partner for fifty years or so is gone.  I called the funeral home and whomever else I was supposed to call. I watched Mark, the flustered and devastated minister knock on our neighbor’s door before he realized he was at the wrong house.  He was there minutes after my dad passed to help console us. After a while my sisters started to show up with their husbands.

He finally left us on New Years Day and he waited till I got there. I was so glad I was there. Mom thinks he waited to New Years day so that she would get an extra year of his work benefits. I knew he wasn’t ready to die. He was 73, he wanted to enjoy his grandchildren, he wasn’t ready. I saw the looks on his face as he was dying. He knew the cancer had spread all over his body and even though he NEVER complained in the six months he got the cancer and died from it; he couldn’t hide his disappointment from me.

Everything happened quickly, the Hearst showed up from the funeral home and took him away. My sisters were consoling my mom and I was back in my turtle shell. I was in shock I think. After  a while reality sunk in and I had to go back home, My mom wanted to be alone and I had to get ready for the funeral.

I went outside to drive home and as I walked outside I realized my tires were completely deflated. Someone cut my tires on the day that my dad died. Are you kidding me? I just stood there looking at my tires in a state of shock.

Was I really going to have to get my tires fixed on the day I lost my father. I guess so. No one was offering to help so here it is. It is already starting. The one person that would have helped me with my car was gone. After staring at my car for what seemed like an hour.. I had my god damn deflated car towed down to the tire place and got my car fixed.

At that moment I never felt so alone.

I was in the waiting room waiting while they put new tires onto my car. They were not fixable.

There was a woman and child waiting with me in the waiting room and the child kept crying. I felt like I was in a nightmare. My nerves were shot, the child’s screams were killing me.

Then the guy at the desk decided to make a pass at me. WTF…like some kind of sleazy offer with a wink. I remember thinking  if there is a hell I am in it right now. yes..This is definitely hell.

My tires were fixed and I went back to my apartment alone and there I sat ….still.

Thinking about my mom, my dad, what was to become of all of this.

Yes, that was the worst day of my life.

Knowing then that it was also the first day of the rest of my life, a life that would never be the same without him.

 

 

 

Two Women in Town

The other night I stopped to get some beverages at the local convenience store and two women decided that they wanted to start a fight with me. They kind of parked behind me and waited for me to come out so they could start some stuff. Whatever. They said something to me and seriously I was like really, were doing this?  I didn’t fight back, I blew it off but I wasn’t in the mood for their  bullshit.  I have never done anything cruel to anyone in my hometown but for some reason there is some serious hate coming my way. It is fine…I can handle it but you have to wonder why?

Now these two women didn’t say much but it was more about the way they insulted me  .. like they actually knew me. I didn’t know them. How dare them!. My anger grew as the night went on. Then I thought to myself how easy it would be to fight back and just maybe make a tragic mistake that could affect me and them for the rest our lives. That’s how it happens. It can be that quick. I am not a confrontational person and I am a non-violent person. I know myself. But they better watch out because you can start a fight with the wrong person and well..you never know. You here about Road rage all the time.

I always wondered how someone could get to that point where they would actually cross that line.  I would never kill anything or anyone but the anger I felt in that minute gave me the insight, I mean I would never hurt anyone intentionally,  I will always take the highroad and walk away but I am ashamed to say I fantasized about taking a knife and stabbing those two women in the neck.

Now it was just a harmless fantasy but it made me think about people and  how someone could lose themselves if enough shit happens to them over their lifetime. I remember thinking that no matter how hard I tried or how kind I was to people bad things kept happening to me.

Now there is a lot of great stuff happening too so I am so grateful for that.  I have now learned how to ignore the negative stuff and will not let it affect me anymore. My hard work has paid off and I know I am where I want to be. I was angry but I let it go fast.

I refuse to let it affect me anymore.

Every time I watch Dateline I sit there and wonder ..how the hell could she kill her husband like that or how could he kill his best friend like that? You know, it was always inconceivable for me.

I’ve thought about this often. It fascinates me and frightens me at the same time. The human condition I guess and how easily a life can change over one bad decision.

After I saw Eugene Oneill’s Play, Hughie, on Broadway I was reminded how much I love his work. I was always attracted to his plays because he wrote about people on the edge. The depressed, the addicted , the night people. The darkness of his work and the darkness of his own life always kept my interest. I went back and read some of his plays recently. I re-read his most popular play Long’s Day’s Journey into Night.  I even love that title and completely understand it.. There was a quote in that movie that I was familiar with but I think for the first time I really understood it to the fullest of its meaning.

“None of us can help the things life has done to us. They’re done before you realize it, and once they’re done they make you do other things until at last everything comes between you and what you’d like to be, and you’ve lost your true self forever.”
Eugene O’Neill, Long Day’s Journey Into Night   

The saddest 48 words ever spoke in my opinion …. but nothing could be truer. I know this happens to a lot of people and they have no idea how it happened. It’s like a rolling avalanche, once it starts moving you can’t stop it and it keeps destroying everything in its path. That very thing almost happened to me; losing yourself forever; but a little luck, strength, resilience and resistance was the key for me and so I was saved. I remember thinking how did I get here? This isn’t who I am. For some there is a turning point and they are saved, for others there is a turning point of no return. My heart breaks for the latter.

I understand how easy it is to end up there.  The unfortunates in the world, prone to addiction or mental illness or violence or bad luck.

Maybe they were born poor or have no family. Maybe they were abused and cast out into the night. Maybe they just made one bad decision. Maybe they trusted the wrong person. Some people have to pay for that one bad decision for the rest of their life.

That breaks my heart. I can’t help but think about them. It reminds me of a movie  I love called Two Men In Town.

It takes place in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

I think it’s a great movie with a powerful message. Forest Whitaker and Harvey Keitel are reunited again in this film, whenever they work together poetry happens.

I loved them both in the movie Smoke. Harvey Keitel was a cigar shop owner and a Poet in his spare time. He took a photograph of the corner where his store was located every day at the exact same time of the day, every day.  He kept a photo album of his life’s work. I loved that. So Poetic. Great Movie.

Anyway in Two Men in Town Forest’s character (William Garnet) was a murderer who got out of prison after 18 years of serving his sentence.

He was model inmate that tried very hard to control his anger and become a peaceful person. Forest Whitaker was incredible in this movie by the way. I saw it when it first came out but watched it again recently….a few times. I know I’m a super fan but no one can deny the brilliance of his performance in this movie. There was also this bad ass parole officer Emily Smith…I loved her in this film. Imagine this scene..so she sits listening to I think , Edith Piaf,   while cleaning her guns in the desert night under the stars. That was probably a nod to the French Director; Rachid Bouchareb in this movie.

That scene sets the precedent for the whole film. Dark vs. Light, Good vs. Evil, Love vs. Hate, Beauty Vs. Beast. She was the female heroine trying to help Garnet through the whole movie. A tough but fair ethical parole officer with a heart. Brenda Blethyn was the actress. I also loved her in the movie Secrets and Lies; another great movie. She is an incredible actress.  So like I said, the movie takes place in Albuquerque New Mexico. Some scenes are breathtaking while others are just dust and ashes.

Walls and Borders are a big part of this movie too; geographical borders and emotional borders.

After Garnet served his 18 years sentence the sheriff (Harvey Keitel) in town wouldn’t let Garnet alone. He had an old score to settle with Garnet and had no forgiveness towards him. The sheriff kept harassing him, and no matter how hard Garnet tried to turn his life around Agati ( Keitel) was there to derail him every time.

Every step forward was a step back. The heartbreaking scene between Garnet and his adoptive mother (Ellen Burstyn) is heart wrenching. While she speaks with a almost detached and disappointed voice about a scorpion that was loose in the house (symbolism) I understood Garnet’s frustration because he just wanted his mother’s love; love she couldn’t afford to give.

This movie makes a huge statement about redemption over a Dark Past and  working toward New Beginnings. It seems we don’t like to let people have new beginnings. We don’t like to let people forget their past. For example; We don’t let prisoners have a second chance in this country. We let them out with no money and let them fend for themselves. It’s tragic on so many levels because so many prisoners are locked away too long and the crime doesn’t fit the punishment in the first place. It seems to be getting even worse in this country . People are going to Jail for thirty years for minor Crimes because of Corrupt judicial system. Three strikes your out? There is Big Business in putting folks in prison now a days. The increasing stats are overwhelming.  It is very sad and unjust. The song Let my people go comes to mind, Paul Robeson https://youtu.be/gtLcELU1brA

There is a lot of symbolism in this movie as Garnet washes his hands of the past. Not letting someone start again, and live their life is a sin. You can watch the movie and no matter what your beliefs are about prisoners and murder you have to appreciate this well-acted story about new beginnings, redemption, and the tug of war between good and evil.

So..when those two women in town started with me at the convenience store it reminded me of a fight I got in when I was about ten years old. Now that I am back in my home town I am reminded of childhood memories. You can’t help it, there are reminders everywhere. So I was ten and me and my best friend were walking down to the same store that I was just talking about. It had just snowed and my friend had a snow pants on. I was dressed in jeans, These two girls, older but still girls, bullies, started to make fun of my friend in the snow pants. Back then snow pants weren’t cool at all. lol.

Well I thought it was important to protect my friend ( I am very loyal) so I told them to stop and to leave us alone. Well because I spoke out they decided to turn their attention to me and  left my friend alone. They then started to jump me and I remember them slamming my face down into the snow and punched me a couple of times. I heard my friend start to cry  because she got scared because she saw blood. My nose started to bleed and there were little rivers of blood oozing into the snow…like a bloody snow cone. The two girls saw the blood and they got scared as well and ran off. I still know one of the girls names. I ended up working with her at a restaurant when I was sixteen and she played on the same softball team as well, she picked on me there too but decided after a while that she liked me and left me alone. God, I couldn’t get away from her.

The other night when those two women in town started fighting with me in that parking lot it reminded me of that day in the snow, I was ten again and I had a bloody nose. The snow was red and my face was covered in ice. Its funny the things we hold onto. I could have fought back or even went further and caused physical harm. My life could be changed in an instant. So when I got home I decided to write some words down to shake off the anger I was feeling, first I vented to my friend, god bless her…and then wrote a poem about how I feel about some of the people I have come across recently. Anger is something I’ve had to deal with and try to minimize. It has been a work in progress but I think I have mastered it. I am sick of being accused of things I never did. I am sick of being mistreated. I am sick of being patronized and  I am sick of being misunderstood but I know how lucky I am to be here to write, love, work , sing and laugh. I am making my comeback. My turning point was in the direction of up; not down and I am so grateful for that. Don’t look back don’t look back don’t look back, only forward. The ten-year old is now fifty looking forward to love and light. Your perceptions of me cannot and does not matter anymore. I am only feeling the love coming towards me, the rest will be ignored, no more anger, no more violent fantasies.. only love and light. I can no longer care about the big hoofed herds and their opinions of me. They are wrong but I know longer need their approval. I will only let the light come in. I have washed my hands of the past, scrubbed them clean.