mckarlie

I have happiness in my heart and a thorn in my soul

Do dreams die from reality?

I’m 33. When I was younger I had many plans, travel, become a psychologist at some point, buy a house. I hadn’t planned on having a family, didn’t have any interest in having kids and when I was 19 I was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome and told I’d need assistance to get pregnant.

So, I rent, I have two kids and a man of 13 years, i have partially finished 3 different bachelor degrees and am nowhere near buying a house because they cost at least half a million these days. I have given up on having any kind of extraordinary existence and seem to be treading water. I consider it a win when I have a day where I don’t feel utterly shit about myself, I have definitely settled.

Yesterday on Ellen there was a 64 year old woman who has just swam from cuba to the florida keys, she was banging on about inspiration and never giving up and the cynic in me cringed a bit as she spoke of her woes, but part of me was desperately jealous of this older woman who is out there kicking arse and not giving a shit about conventional boundaries. It made me think that maybe there is still time for me to be something awesome, maybe I can have an extraordinary existence. But then I quickly shoot myself down, reminding myself that I am afflicted with bipolar and basically that means I can have buckets of good intentions, but when a depressive episode hits everything stops. Study, relationships, life in general just goes into pause mode and I try to just survive.

Part of me thinks that I just need to keep writing novels until one of them is really good, but then I’m so neurotic that finishing a novel is almost impossible. The one i’m working on now has interest from a friend’s literary agent but that ultimately means nothing, it’s not a guarantee of anything happening, it’s just potential and at this rate who knows if I will actually finish it because I keep over analyzing details and whether I should have written in a certain character before killing them off or if I should have started from the impact of their death and blah blah blah. You get me, I procrastinate.

Do you still have dreams? Do we get to have a mental illness and aspire to be great? Or do we just settle and try to survive?

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I’m baaaack!!!

Hello my lovelies. As you may well know it’s been a few months since I have posted. Unfortunately I spent some time in hospital, then after coming out we had issues with our internet and got fed up with our ISP so we changed to a different company who then screwed us around for 8 weeks. Then we found out the place we’ve been renting for five odd years is about to be sold so we decided it wasn’t worth getting the internet back only to pay an exorbitant fee to move it to a different address so i got myself a dongle to access the internet. It’s a bit like going back to dial up but at least I can do basic browsing and keep in touch with all of you dear souls.

So, the last few months have been a bit of a roller coaster for me and the family. My hospitalization was crazy and intense but after I came out I was deeply inspired and started writing my novel. I’m still not done but happily I have interest from my friend’s literary agent already so I’m feeling really positive about that. It’s my first full novel, I’ve started a lot of projects over the time but such is the bipolar mind that many tasks started go unfinished, but this has been a labor of love. While I was ill i spent nearly every possible moment I could reading, that was always my issue with being a ‘writer’ – i wasn’t sure of my identity as such, could never decide on exactly how i wanted to write and what message i wanted to purvey. After reading dozens of books and spending time with some of the most amazing ‘characters’ i’ve ever met in the hospital, i finally had a clear voice and started with my story outline and started to fill it in. I wont go into the details of it at the moment but I’m feeling really positive about the work. I know so many people who want to write just so they can call themselves a writer, and I suppose I can understand that but I find it brings me more joy than anything else in life (aside from my lovely kids of course) – i’ve been writing poetry and songs and short stories since i was a wee one and it always pours out of me and provides such catharsis.

Now, my Mother. We have had our ups and downs over the past few months but I’m most pleased to share that things are going quite well. Writing that letter was the best thing I could have done, and I’m so pleased I didn’t send the first version of it, the one laced with disdain. She is still a passive aggressive nut but her heart is in the right place and she knows she let me down in the past and has been trying her absolute best to make it up to me. She still has a bit of denial as to just how much she neglected me when I was younger and some of the atrocities that happened under her watch, but there has been SOME acknowledgement from her and even that is a miracle and more than i could have dreamed of. We are both flawed individuals and have realized we need to cut each other some slack. I do admit I get pangs of jealousy when I see her interact with my half siblings, but i’m also delighted that she saw the mistakes she made with me and corrected them with my siblings, she has been a much better mother to them than she was to me but she was 13 years older when she had my sister than when she had me and she had a partner there unlike with me, albeit a drunk partner but still, she had a bit of support. So my sister is 20 now, my brothers 18 and 17. It’s been so lovely spending time with them all, we are slowly rebuilding the relationships we lost over the past few years I hadn’t seen them and they are really sweet and quirky people. We’ve even taken to having Sunday roast dinners at Mums, how very domestic and functional of us! Unfortunately my Stepfather is still drinking, and my Mother is still miserable in their marriage, but I don’t think either of them is capable of the change it would take for them to be truly happy together. It breaks my heart watching my mother scrimp and scrape money together because he is spending hundreds a week on alcohol. He has had a long history of being caught drink driving and recently got his license back after losing it for 12 months and copping a rather huge fine. Because he is a consistent repeat offender he now has an interlock device attached to his car, is that how you spell it? I don’t know, I’m only aware of them because of some reality show I occasionally catch on telly. Basically, it’s a breathalyzer built into his car, and he has to blow into it to start his car and if he has any alcohol on his breath it wont operate. It also gets him to do random breath tests while driving, and if he doesn’t breathe into it it causes his horn to start beeping and his lights to start flashing and then once the engine is off it wont start again. It’s demoralizing that it’s taken such an extreme measure to ensure that he doesn’t drink while he drives but it is what it is, he got into an accident when he was about 20, he was drunk and driving in a rural area with his then girlfriend and he crashed. She passed away and I think he’s been trying to drink away the memories of that ever since. It’s such a shame because he’s almost two people, sober he is a very quiet and kind man who works hard and loves kicking the soccer ball around with his grand children or picking tomatoes with them in their garden but when he’s drunk he’s an absolutely vile creature full of hate and vitriol. I will never forget the abuse I suffered at his hands but I have finally forgiven him because it was eating me up inside and holding onto it just wasn’t worth it. I think it will always hurt a little but I had to let go of the hate, and slowly healing has started to occur.

Anyway, that’s the highlights. I have really unreliable internet at the moment but will be checking in with as many of you as I can. I’ve missed interacting with you lovelies. Peace xo

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What effect do you have on others and do you give a shit?

I’ve recently been taking more chances, I stepped out of my comfort zone and pitched a few articles for a mainly mens site as they advertised for writers. The way it works is they have a forum, with different threads and areas for different stages of pitch and editorial. You post your pitch to the thread and then a moderator or administrator responds with feedback on how it could be improved and then it gets discussed at their meeting and either more feedback is given or it moved forward for publishing.

The problem with this forum format is that every man and his dog has access to your pitch, and there are some heavy egos in play in this place. They have a “karma” system where people give and take karma depending on whether they like what you say, I’ve been a member for just over a week and i’m currently minus 7 karma, haha! It’s all because I dared be a female with an opinion. I made a pitch, albeit not my best work but I was just having a crack, and a few douchebags jumped all over me. They were really harsh about it and basically were begging for moderator approval themselves. The fact is, they aspire to be a moderator and feel they should give ‘advice’ when the fact is they haven’t even had any articles published themselves. Crazy right? One of them came in and told me the title sucked, the material is overdone and my sources were shit. I said hey, that’s pretty harsh and a shitstorm erupted.

Since then, there have been some lovely people comment on the post and some really truly terrible people comment on the post, and it makes me wonder – how much do we think/care about how what we say and do affects other people?

My main issue with the site was that the “advice” i was being given was done so in a belittling fashion, he then claimed that he was just a writer trying to discuss ideas with another writer but that isn’t what happened. It’s about their egos, and let’s remember how hard it is to create something and put your ideas out there AT ALL, it’s horrifying lol and to have people be SO negative about it is just unnecessary.

I’ve noticed most people tend to fall into one of two categories – some people are self aware and think about how they affect other people, and genuinely care. This is not to say they don’t mess up sometimes and hurt other people, but generally they tend to be mindful of people’s feelings and keep a track of how they make people feel. And then there’s the people who have self esteem issues and feel it necessary to bring others down to make themselves feel big and strong. They come in swinging their big opinions round like a dick in the wind and make sure they let you know that they’re better than you somehow.

How many people do you know that are the latter? It’s not something that’s specific to men, women do it just as much but in this particular scenario I’ve been dealing primarily with men. It’s their boys club and I’m a crazy emotional bitch for standing up for myself.

I often muse over why we can’t all just get along, I’ve written quite a few posts about this. I truly believe if we are all a little more self aware and try to care just a little more about others, than the world would be so much better than it is. Sure, we all have our issues, I’m bipolar, i have social anxiety and i was abused as a kid. I have self esteem issues and don’t feel good enough sometimes, but I try not to take that out on other people, i try not to make others feel small to make myself feel better.

Maybe you’re someone who does this but doesn’t realize, that’s why i think it’s important for all of us to take a step back sometimes and just think about how we act, how we treat people and what motivates us. That’s really key, what’s behind our actions? It’s what i’ve been using to try and combat my bipolar, sometimes it’s hard to draw a line in the sand and know what behaviours are mine and what behaviours are stemming from the bipolar, so i step back and analyze what and why, try to figure out if i’m being reasonable or if it’s my condition acting on my behalf. If we all did this, we would make more of a positive impact than a negative one, and just imagine how much nicer life would be if our interactions were more positive than negative.

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Doing things that scare you

I’ve spent a lot of my life making grand plans, wanting to do things but never quite doing them, or doing half of something. I place a lot of the blame on my mental illness, for years I was told I suffered from  “chronic depression and anxiety” but a year and something ago I was diagnosed as bipolar. So I do have a tendency to start something while manic and then trail off when a depressive episode hits, this has happened to me more times than I can count because when a depressive episode hits I can barely get out of bed or go to the shops to buy milk, but when I’m manic I feel like I can take on anything and often do.

So I’m 32 years old, I have half of two bachelor degrees, a few certificates not worth much and am currently working on another degree. I’ve been writing on and off since I was a child, starting mainly with short stories and poetry, then songs and poetry and essays. I recently completed a manuscript and showed it to a friend who now wants to pass it to their literary agent, something that scared the shit out of me. I’ve also been pitching ideas for cracked.com – not a site i read all that often but a friend showed me a link to writing for them and i thought it would be an interesting challenge. Since then I’ve been researching freelance writing jobs online, I’ve submitted a piece to a celebrity gossip site and had an offer to write for them. I did it more to see if i could, it only pays $25 an article and I’m not that invested in celebrity gossip lol but i wanted to know if i could.

I think when you have a mental illness so much of your energy goes into just coping, just existing, that the thought of putting ourselves out there, opening ourselves to possible rejection on a mass scale becomes a ridiculous fantasy. But I’ve decided I need to push myself, I need to do things that make me uncomfortable, otherwise another decade will pass and I will have little to show for it. I enjoy writing immensely, it brings me such joy and peace and gives me an outlet for the abundance of thoughts and emotions that are racing through my mind at any given moment, so why not push myself and maybe make some money at this? I know I’m not crap, but I also know I have a long way ahead of me, that I’m not yet the best writer I can be, but the only way I’ll get there is by doing it more and more, by experiencing trial and rejection and different types of writing and formats.

If you have a passion, I implore you to go for it. Don’t believe that success is for other people but not for you, I believed that for so long but now I realize, it CAN be for me, I just have to TRY. I have to be willing to accept the good and the bad and genuinely put myself out there. Follow your passion, restore hope to your life and really try. So what if you don’t become the best of the best, at least you’ll have given it a shot. When you’re old and grey do you think you’ll have more regret over the things you tried and didn’t succeed at than the things you never bothered to try at all? I have a feeling it will be the latter. I also know that a part of having a mental illness is accepting a fate of misery, but it doesn’t have to be that way, if you do something you love you’d be surprised at the effect it can have on your well-being in general.

So I’ve decided to let my friend show my manuscript to his literary agent, if nothing else I’ll get some helpful feedback. It’s scary but exciting, and I’m proud of myself for finally trying. That itself improves my mood greatly, and hey, if I get negative feedback it will make me feel shitty, but that will pass, I’ll pick myself up and try again.

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Writing is an exercise in human insanity

Some people write because they want to be a writer, they think Hemingway is cool as fuck and want to be revered. So me people write because they absolutely have to. When they take pen to paper or fingers to keys things just pour out of them, their soul gets cleansed (not that I believe in a soul as such but it works in a hyperbole sense) and they feel a little better. I write because there’s so much going on in my brain that if I don’t let some of it out, i fear my head may explode. I write to connect with other people and gain experience through these connections. I write because if I didn’t, I’d probably go loopdiloo cray cray and get locked up.

This is not to say that what I write is of any great importance or that I have any great success but recently, on advice from a ‘writer’ i gave a manuscript to a friend who now wants to show it to their literary agent. This makes me batshit crazy nervous.

Also, I received a link from another friend to a link for a website looking for freelance writers, so i decided to submit a couple of pitches. The first didn’t take off as it was opinion based and I’m no one in particular so no one is going to pay me for my opinion. The second is factual and I sourced references and all that shit i remember from studying psychology, so i’m waiting to hear on it at the moment.

My point is, the waiting, the possible success/failure, it’s a mix of exhilaration and nerve wracking insanity. Maybe it’s because I’m bipolar that I’m particularly sensitive to this, but i’m pretty sure this is a crazy process for most who go through it. I’m also sure there are people out there who are super fucking zen about all of this nonsense, who send off their manuscript and clip their frickin bonsai tree and don’t give it a second thought until they receive word, well kudos to you, really, i wish i could, but i err more on the side of batshit anxious crazy.
 

Does it ever get better? I’ve been writing forever but it’s only recently I’ve started showing or trying at all in a professional sense. I’ve had good feedback in the past, but more than anything i do it for me, so i’m quite new to other people’s opinions mattering.

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Monster in my bed – a reading

This is a reading of my poem “Monster in my bed” it is intended for the ears of adults and is NSFW. I did this to push myself, it wasn’t easy but I hope it’s understood. Peace.
(will only work in safari, chrome and firefox i believe)

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Monster in my bed

I hear my Mother leave, so I pull the sheets above my head

The floorboards sound their warning ‘he’s coming to your bed’

Creak and creak I hear, step after step after step

My body goes still all of a sudden, and tightly I hold my breath

The door slowly opens, slithers of light pierce through the dark

I peak through the sheets and see him, his eyes wide and stark

He turns on the lamp – I see his body amp

“Hello precious” he murmurs, as he slithers across the floor

Pausing for a moment, he’s forgotten to shut the door

He makes his way over, I whimper “no” but it’s too late

Now his eyes are blazing, he’s chosen me for his plate

He sits himself at the end of my bed and quickly yanks the sheet

I see him rub his trousers then move his hands onto my feet

I hear his fettered breathing, moving his hand up my leg

I let out an infant whimper, he tells me not to beg

He puts his finger somewhere soft that it makes his hand feel rough

Now he’s laced with great enthuse, he cannot get enough

He seems to expect me to like it, but all I can do is cry

None of this seems right to me and I cannot figure out why

This man is touching part of me no one’s allowed to see

All I hear are tears and breath, it feels like something’s inside of me

In one foul swoop he jumps up, and lays right by my side

Moving me into position, I feel him move something along my thighs

It’s hard but soft and frightens me, he’s moaning in my ear

My body stiffens like a board, silent and frozen with fear

Suddenly he shoves back, letting out an unholy grunt

Standing up and wiping down he says “not a word you little cunt”

“Do you think Mummy would love you, if she knew how you’re a naughty girl

So keep your little mouth shut or I’ll destroy your whole damn world”

He leaves my room and shuts the door, sitting down to watch tv

I curl up in confusion and cry, what’s just happened here to me?

I’m scared so I stay quiet, I did not speak a word

And so for years and years it’s been, his sins have gone unheard

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Forever gone

I was far away when it happened, she made sure I wasn’t alone

And when she spoke those words to me, I screamed and dropped the phone

The kindest man I’d ever known, the biggest heart by far

Had grown so big it killed him, the news left me ajar

I felt so helpless overseas, from where my love had been

I wish I was able to say goodbye, one last moment to be seen

Heaped over I cried like never before, such pain had been unknown

She was still sitting there, clinging to the phone

If God above exists, it was selfish to take this man

How could he have decided, that death was this angel’s plan

You kept your illness quiet, so it came as quite a shock

That it was cancer as well as your heart, that heart that was my rock

It was 13 year ago you left, and not one day’s gone by

That I have forgotten your beautiful ways

Why so young, did you have to die?

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One thousand letters

A thousand letters written, a thousand left unsent

You are my obsession and your plays have left me spent

I think of all the people, who pass you day by day

I wish I could be one of them, I’d find the words to say

All the different scenarios I play out in my mind

I’m left with pictures of memories, and so my love unwinds

How easily a girl forgets the truth of you and me

That between small scraps of happiness was dire toxicity

Somehow we make ourselves forget, all about those parts

Like when you stood me up in Paris and cracked my naive heart

But in the rear view mirror, your sins are washed away

And all that I can think of is we need just one more day

One more tryst, one more kiss, one last embrace

But the manner which you treated me was a desperate disgrace

So letters I will write to you and they’ll remain unsent

For as much as I may want you I recall you left me spent

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Pinned down

You bend and break to mold my will

You keep me paused you hold me still

You pin my wings and hold me down

A twisted means to keep me bound

Caught by what I thought was care

But love’s not present anywhere

You set your trap and in I fell

Your poker face was held so well

And now I’m stuck here on the floor

I don’t want you anymore

But as I turn you twist the knife

Surely you see this isn’t right

Set me free and leave me be

You can’t have me for eternity

A wicked game you chose to play

You set me free, then make me stay

You let me move, then pin me down

And so we dance, round and round

This isn’t love, this isn’t true

How can you want me tied to you?

I break away, make my escape

You try again to keep me in place

But this time I’m stronger, I am free

I’ll never let you back to see

That even though I broke apart

You still have a small piece of my shattered heart

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