Friday, July 17, 2015

Pickles & Love

I'm forever amazed at stories of lasting love. So when I read the news this morning and discovered this story, I knew you'd be touched by it as well, although I'm still not convinced that these love stories are about romantic love as much as they are about couples finding someone they can live with, come what may. Romantic love is all about chemicals in our brain, right? And since we cannot sustain a continuous flow of "romance" chemicals . . . we embrace all the things we like about the person and accept the other stuff. Right? So, here's a story about love, letters, and pickles. Pickles & Love

I'm pretty sure I shared this coloring book cover with you. Or maybe not, but this isn't about the coloring book. I've been sick the last few days. Turns out the new pillows filled with "sanitized" duck feathers are to blame. Here I was, thinking I should buy a copy of the "Calm Coloring Book" for myself, when I simply needed to get rid of the pillows. Ducks are vengeful, huh? Who knew? Passive aggressive, but out for revenge, and I don't even eat duck.

Here's something else that's just plain fowl. Okay, it's just plain chicken spit. "Some days you just have to create your own sunshine?" What a crock of pickles. I'm all for positive thinking, but buying into little lies like this makes life harder than it has to be. If I could make sunshine I'd be a god. Pardon my rant, but a young woman allegedly committed suicide while in custody in a county jail near Katy just the other day. She'd recently confessed to her followers that she suffered from depression and PTSD. Her family believes law enforcement had something to do with her death. She'd been hanged with a plastic trash bag. Although Texas has a deserved bad rep, and her parents have every right to ask for answers, what hurts me the most is the lasting message she sent to African Americans. In her video, she shared . . . She said she'd been depressed recently for a few days, and just as she was sinking, she heard a song that brought her out of her darkness. The song was "God Blocked It." She went on to say there's no shame in being depressed, in having PTSD or any other mental illness. I applaud her loudly and long for saying that, but I'm angry, hurt, and disappointed for her propping up the lie --- or perhaps she just didn't know better--but having some believe a song "blocked" depression is a grossly erroneous statement. By implication, she failed herself and her audience by giving such dangerous advice. How could she not know that there is help for people like her? Like us. Like me. A song is not a cure. A song is not a solution. Psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, talk therapists and yes, some doctors are a lifelines. They can help keep what Winston Churchill called, "the black dog," at bay. (We Are Not Alone.) Those who study medicine and human behavior have made amazing strides in treatment for illnesses that affect our minds/brains. If you trust a doctor with your body, and if you can trust your soul to a minister (those who are supposedly able to "administer" the word of God), why can't your trust the other unseen parts: your mind and mental health? It takes courage. It takes desire, determination, and a love of self that goes beyond what we are comfortable with. I believe it is worth taking a chance. If you cannot do it for yourself, do it for those you love and the ones who love you too.

When will we learn that we are imperfect beings; that God works through people; that there is no shame in being ill? Is it shameful to contract flu, diabetes, cancer, or asthma? No one chooses to be mentally ill. Too many self-medicate with alcohol or illegal drugs. Too many die or are killed because of mental illness. Some of the most amazing people suffer from a brain gone haywire. Abraham Lincoln is thought to have suffered from melancholy. My heart broke when I learned how Churchill was treated . . . Please read how something as romantic sounding as melancholy, or even depression afflicts creative and intelligent people. Not all of us are homeless, dangerous, medicated to the gills, or murderous people. We are your family, your friends, your associates and peers. We are the artists, the writers, the leaders, the inventors . . . letter-writers . . . We simply are. 

So. If I can make my own sunshine I wouldn't need your letters and good thoughts. I wouldn't need your prayers or your compassion. Or your understanding.

How cool, huh?

I'm not sure which side I like best, so I'm allowed to like the whole thing! LOL. Thank you Catherine. You make me wonder what came in this bag. No scratch-and-sniff going on here though. Like Marvin Gaye, I wonder "what's goin' on" in the graphics, and I do like that lapis wax. Cool seals. Your scalloped paper is cool too, but I can't share it without showing too much. 

Wait until you see what's coming tomorrow! I spent at least two hours scanning last night. Mail went out today. One box, two postcards, and a few letters. I worked on the studio too, and I've got a secret coming up! A trip to Texas Art Supply paid off. See you soon.

Write on! 

P.S. Not to be disrespectful, but I am sick and tired of hearing such myths as, "black people don't go to psychiatrists, they go to church." Hispanics are not excluded from mental illness either. One of my favorite young people is Hispanic. Her forearms are painful to look at because they're covered in scars made by razor blades. A Greek friend plucks her hair--she has a bald spot that no amount of combovers can cover. Mental illness does not discriminate. Unlike humans.

Rant over. 


  1. Oh are so right....about everything.....It pains me to see some of the suffering in world and you're right, no one wants to be mentally ill. And sadly, if people can't "see' the illness, they often won't accept it is there. And, yes -- it effects all people without any regard for race or wealth etc

    1. I'd hug your neck if you were within hugging distance! Thank you.

      Mental illness can be an invisible killer, can't it, if left untreated? People often ask, "Which hurts worse, a broken heart or a broken leg." No one dares to include a broken mind or hurt brain, because mental illness is still relegated to the shadows.

      Thanks for saying something. For commenting. :) You're wonderful and brave.

  2. okay that was a trader joes shopping bag are they not neat ? I don't go there very often but glad you like em as much as I do ..when I saw the bag I said Limner envie with letter ....see I look at something and think what can I make out of this ? well there you have it and yes I love that color wax. I like to make my mail happy and interesting .

    1. I finally found a Trader Joe's in Houston. I pass it every time I go to Texas Art Supply! Who knew? It's tucked into a strip mall that's barely visible. I'll have to shop there some day. I'll send you a TJ envelope when I do. :) Thanks!

  3. It is horrible. One of my best friends committed suicide in 2007. Another close friend's son committed suicide. It's a shame that most of us don't know how to recognize or help when signs of mental illness or suffering are purcolating in the brain.

    1. You are too right. More important than someone else recognizing the need for help is the person who suffers doesn't know there's help, or are too ashamed to seek help. Perhaps more PSAs will help make a difference.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I've talked two people down from suicide in my lifetime. My daughter lost a friend to suicide when both were 15. The child killed herself because her boyfriend broke up with her. Her fingernails were dirty, and her pink nail polish was chipped. It bothered me that the funeral home put her on view that way. It was hard to look at the child, so I was grateful for the distraction. To this day all I recall is blonde hair, a white dress, and her hands. Her funeral was the first mass I'd ever attended.