Sleepy Saldahna Bay

I have just made a major move the west coast in the western Cape, South Africa.  It’s about an hour and a half out, so it’s not that far,  but it what a difference it is living here.

Sleepy town life

Traffic only whispers in the morning
Birds fly free all day
To play in the promise that tomorrow still stays the same
I sit and wonder about old city life’s bitterness
I sit and ponder on schedules and deadlines and time
When it has no authority here.
I sit with Worry,
Time’s cruel friend.
I sit and miss life’s cruel games.
There’d be rules and structure and a place for me to play
Now there’s none of that
Just me and birds and words
And ties to tomorrow’s waiting game today.

I hope the poem makes sense. Let’s call it a draft 🙂

I haven’t written  much on my memoir this last few days as I have been so busy with the move. It’s been crazy and I think the sudden stop has left me feeling strange. I’m left trying to catch my breath when the world over here has stood absolutely still. So I look crazy. Right?

I feel crazy.

What’s even more strange is that some of the plants here, the birds, and the land between places reminds me of the Free State where I grew up. I become so nostalgic every day, yet I haven’t written a word.

I’m hoping this will pass.

Here’s to new beginnings.

Yve

http://www.ourlivedexperience.wordpress.com

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My Big Black Book and fears of rejection

I have an A4 sized black book. It’s filled with my many ideas, telephone numbers and drafts of blog posts- drafted for my therapy and thus for the sake of sanity.

I’m scared that this will be the only book my children will have to get to know their mother- by reading the scribble on the walls or rather, the these pages.

I write to the IBF in here, I draft my own blog’s drafts here (you’d think I’d edit more hey?), I scribble missions statements and drafts of broken poems.

But this is not supposed to be a book of drafts! It’s the book I bought to write down the words of my, now seemingly pie-in-the-sky memoir.

Maybe I’m more afraid of the rejection after sending my manuscript out there. As a budding writer, I have received many no’s
For different reasons but the biggest ‘no’ was for my recent short story submission to a local competition. It hurt like a paper cut, but imagine using cardboard. It didn’t change my opinion of my story I still think it has something great living in it. The judges didn’t though.

What if no publisher finds my life story dull or not worthy of getting out there?

That would really hurt. I’m scared how big the ‘no”s would get. I’m afraid of actually having to physically acknowledge the ‘no’ (usually opening the email), mentally process it and then emotionally work through it. Not get over it, but work and walk into the puddle of rejection, get my feet wet and move on.

The water will dry and I’ll be fine. Right? It is just water, right?

I have no time (I think) for self-publishing- that’s when you throw water all over yourself; No puddle needed. Or do I have time, the networks, the money?

But it’s just water anyway.

I just don’t want to drown.

Yve

Post-Freedom Day post

See what I did there?

“Freedom Day is an annual celebration of South Africa’s first non-racial democratic elections of 1994. Peace, unity, the preservation and the restoration of human dignity hallmarks Freedom Day celebrations on the 27th of April of each year.” Taken from http://scnc.ukzn.ac.za/doc/SOC-cult/holidays/freedomday.htm

Most people fight for freedoms they can’t have, like being treated differently, when they are indeed different to begin with. I believe we should fight for the freedom to be called, seen and treated differently without prejudice. Maybe some have argued this before.

We have so many freedoms in this country, but the Ines we want, like the freedom to trade and work within a peaceful environment, without worry over that small space fought for to trade (I think of that Somali trader- is that racist or true?) Or the influence the colour of one’s skin has on our perceived ability to work, or rather work well.

We want freedom and no stigma. This is an international plight and not unique to us. But what is unique is our circumstance and the story behind it. There may be  similarities with certain events and we, as a nation may have mimicked some of the decisions made, but we are still unique as a nation-and as a nation we deserve freedom of the bad rap we get.

Today I will be loud about freedoms I don’t have: to be free from pity and the stigma surrounding mental illness, Bipolar Disorder. Yes, I write and blog extensively abut how it affects my life, but when choosing who to send my links to, I still have to pause , think and reject some people because of how they would react. This is what stigma looks like, it goes beyond the theoretical stigma some people are fighting, it’s alive in everyday activities.

Here’s a different example. You may a gay friend and a topic comes where you want to mention a scenario where maybe joke about or to another person but you pause. You assess if it’s safe. Isn’t that stigma. You’re totally cool with your gay friend, but that pause may signify a problem. Stigma is swift. 

I would like to live without these pauses: embracing true freedom. I want to be seen as capable, able and equal.

Be free,
Yvette

[Spoken Word]: To Be Weak by Yvette Hess

image

To be Weak by Yvette Hess

Protected,
cocooned
My memory flickers but
That is what I felt that that clinic.
The one for our
Depressives and the disorderly-

But not really loved were we,  not by all the staff.
It just held me,
us- for a little while,
From the buzz in our heads, buzz from Main road
Buzz from the world.

And now I miss  some of the soft-spoken nurses and the horrible food that needed more affection.

But why? I’m home. At the clinic I longed to be home, and be that a home for my children.

Now I see I fight the battles the clinic gave me tools
And strength to use.
To fight the daily wars we enter into;
Small, and deep ones we hardly know are there.

But I don’t want to fight.

In this very moment,  I am timid and needing that frail old nurse and her kind words
And my hospital bed in the corner:
A moment and a place
To be weak.

A whole lot of official stuff

So, I’ve merged my two blogs into one, http://www.yvecorner.wordpress.com. I recently ‘came out’ of the bipolar closet and decided to blog under one name. It was frustrating and often tedious to duplicate stories, trying to remove my name and details for confidentiality. It became difficult to be myself, by withholding so much of me from the world. Bipolar disorder is part of me, it’s sometimes an enabler, and on many of occasions it’s been a destroyer. More often we only worry when the destroying part of the story is around. Believe me, I’m not blaming the disorder for my failures, I’m blaming my lack of knowledge and people in general for not understanding mental illness.

Anyway, that’s a post for another day.

The other official happening in my life is that I have enrolled with Writer’s College South Africa to do a course in Memoir writing. I know that my writing is enjoyed by many, so I believe it’s only fair that I improve on my skills- to give you, my readers the best version of me and this voice I’ve been given.

And finally, I decided to launch a Facebook page (here) where I’ll share posts published, but also share my other favourite bloggers’ insights, some resources about the disorder and where to seek help. Other bloggers are better than this than I am, I prefer just putting a face to bipolar.A sweet face. Maybe I will be able to get you to realize when you or someone you love needs help- and I’ll share ways on how to possibly help them.

My aim with my blog is to give you some sort of window into my life- maybe provide some insight into how the disorder influences the decisions I make, my lifestyle choices, why I complain (read ‘vent’) etc. I want you to see how normal I am- but also how exceptional my visions and talents are, to see that my darkest days are just as intense.

I am cursed with a gift and blessed with this curse.

Words, rhymes, feelings, colours, intensity and death.

All me.

P.S Remember not all bipolars are the same, but we do share similar traits.

Thanks for following!

Tweet me: @yvette_adams

Now that hubby is back to work- I’m a dirty, blabbering, single mom

Pffff! Hubby returned to work on Monday, which means my so-called leave ended too. I’m back to 24/7- mommy-i-want-bikkit-dirty-nappies-galore and such. I am not complaining out loud, I am merely directing my frustration to a wider audience. I saw a status update on Facebook by a high school friend voicing her frustrations. A bunch of her girlfriends, including myself chimed in and soon it sounded like a mad mob of hormonal women seeking help (in the form of counselling or other). I noted too that if we all ‘had‘ to add “I love my kids but…..” before the slaying. Or, “…[insert badmouthing here]….but I adore my children

Imagine we didn’t add that window dressing, we’d be considered bad, ungrateful mothers. Ungrateful for being able to carry a beautiful child for 9months that is. I think we all know we love our kids, but we hate to complain about the truths about motherhood. I for one knew I was never warned of this crap. Even at my first, and last baby shower, the older women never explicitly told me it’s going to suck, a lot. Like, privacy, is gone. Just gone. I was a very, very shy girl (expect until I had sex of course- yeah, yeah, you were thinking it.). But after I had Cayden, i could pop a boob out when I needed to, especially due to following that ‘feed on demand’ thing. I went to the toilet with the door unlocked, and later with the door open, in case I needed to be out in 5 seconds. Duh, unlocking a door takes forever. And even making a nr 2 became a shortened, hurried process, There was no time out, because God-forbid I was relaxing to make a nr 2 when my only son was rolling off the bed. I felt too guilty to ask anyone to watch my baby at the time. I was 20, unmarried, living with my parents and my almost 40 year old ex had a ponytail. Life was complicated.

Anyway, since that pregnancy I realized that there was no need in hiding any of that, breasts, stretchmarks, fat. Being shy is overrated. I’m sure in the labour room there’s no humiliation. We’re like animals. In labour, tearing wombs, amniotic fluid holding that first breath until that final screaming push. We’re make- up free, flushed in all the wrong places, probably torn torn down there. We’ll never have that body again, no matter who great you look after your baby is born. But we’ll also never be who we were before baby was born. I’m not trying to dramatize labour or motherhood, nor am I trying to taint the picture. Motherhood, parenthood will change your life. That’s it. For me, bath time sucks, that’s why I don’t do it often. Wipe downs are enough for me (unless they were playing outside of course). Having to share EVERYTHING including my space, my clothes (often needed for emergency spews of milk), my earrings (I’m a collector) which disappear or are mysteriously broken, my plates or cups, which also gets broken after big boys want to drink in my best cups, my time (this is obvious), any sweets in my mouth or my bag, my hair(I admit I had to cut the afro because I just couldn’t keep up with maintaining that nonsense), my husband whenever he’s home (i think this is obvious too) and my marbles. I only lost my marbles because I shared them with my kids ( :D) . I can’t hold pockets of knowledge in my brain anymore- It’s like I have no temporary memory. Anything I remember is a bloody surprise to me. Ok, I can’t only blame my kids, it’s also due to my medication. Still, fact remains, I feel stupid most of the time. And my earliest ‘memory’ of feeling this kind of stupid was during pregnancy. Dumbed down when pregnant, how sexist! And yes, I know there is some biological reason for this- it’s the principal of the matter!

I think the biggest complaint I rant about during the day is how exhausted I am. Children sure know how to, not only press every button you may have, but also pull it slowly till it shoots back at you, painfully. They demand different kinds of attention at different ages, so just as you think you’ve mastered entertaining them, then, poof, they need other kinds of stimulation. Not to mention the constant changes in diets, ever-growing clothing needs, nappies (obviously), toys that provide limited stimulation (but an empty box or any paper works better). As a stay at home mom, I have the added drama of having to clean as well. I’m sorry but phuck that shite! Do you know how difficult it is to clean after a 1,5, 8 month and 7 year old? It’s kak, so I don’t do it. I can’t. I tried in the beginning, straight after surgery and I basically stressed myself to death (I wouldn’t joke about death and mental illness). So, when you come visit me, expect that a family of 5 lives there. This isn’t a holiday home. Anyway, I digress.

I have been a single mom before, so this being-at-home situation feels like this, in that I take all responsibility for the children and their well being. I do, after all spend all my sanity, I mean time, I spend all my time on them. It is an immense pressure and burden to carry. Just as my husband feels the pressure to earn the income and be the provider, I do feel the pressure to provide a suitable environment for our children to flourish. And unlike work where one gets leave to recharge your batteries or a salary to feel like you earned your keep, stay-at-home moms will only reap the benefits in the long run, when maybe, just maybe your kids acknowledge your hard work and sacrifices. Then again, they may not, and they’ll just grow into awesome gentlemen who love their mother dearly.

So, the next time someone tells you they’re a stay-at-home mom, choose your words carefully. Don’t answer with, “oh so you’re unemployed?” Or “oh wow, I’m so jealous.” That jealousy my friend is a lie. They’re actively investing every bit of spunk they have, energy and brain power, every single day- not just sitting around doing nothing. And even when you catch them on a bad day, pimple faced and under dressed, know that feel pressure, just like you do from your boss, they are after all developing minds, daily. And sometimes, they just want the day to end already!!

P.S it took me a day to write this post, the children were distracting me. How apt!

P.S.S Oh, I forgot the window-dressing. ……[Insert blog ranting here..] But I really enjoy my children hey!

Much love,

Yvette