Monthly Archives: February 2006

Three years have passed

It’s been three years since I stepped out of the hospital to freedom. I had no money, so it wasn’t long before I was back as work, still crippled by my experience.

The hospital. It’s such a bland sounding word, nothing near the sheer horror of really being there. I mean, really being there. I remember confusion, and an overwhelming sadness. I’d wanted to kill myself before, but there, I was really ready to do it. I didn’t know if I would ever get out, there was a lot of talk about behaviour, being good, as if having a psychotic episode automatically makes one the opposite of good, which is evil. I remember not knowing what was expected of me. For most of my stay, I made my bed every morning.

I have never made my bed before or since.

But there was this thing, about being normal. About not having religious thoughts. Who decides what is normal? Who makes up these standards?

I remember nurses talking down to me like I was a child, and how much I resented that.

I remember being forced to capitulate to the psychiatric health care system, and how much I resented the people who put me there.

I remember abuse, being put in restraints twice, for hours at a time. I remember bruises from the orderlies, and being screamed at for no good reason at all.

There is still an overwhelming sadness about the experience, about being degraded solely for having a mental illness. About being treated as a disgusting subhuman, and being blamed for things I could not control, and some things I had nothing to do with. Once an alarm went off on it’s own and I remember an orderly coming into the room where I was sleeping and screaming at me that I had something to do with it, it was my fault. As though I was such a powerful crazy person that I could do things in my sleep.

I remember it was the first time in years that I got to eat three meals a day, instead of the one meal I had been subsisting on for ages.

I remember the loneliness, alienation.

It changes you. Once you’ve been hospitalized, once you’ve gone to that dark place, people look at you differently. People are scared of you. People try to control you afterwards. People assume you are a broken human.

As time passes, I find that the people I trust the most have been hospitalized too. It’s an experience that almost becomes an identity, because you know that the only safety is with others who you can turn to who have been there too.

Three years have passed, and it still makes me cry. I guess I should celebrate the fact that I haven’t been back since. But sometimes, I just feel frustrated that so much happened to me there and there’s nothing I can do about it.

I know someone who was sexually assaulted when she was in the hospital. But no one believed her, because she was crazy.

Recently a bus driver taking some patients to another hospital stopped for a drink. When he got back, all the patients had escaped. So he picked up some people and offered them a free ride, what he didn’t tell them was that it was to the hospital.

It took them three days to convince the staff that they weren’t patients.

It could happen to you, even if you are sane.

Dreams and my big butt

I was listening to my favorite radio program when they started talking about how maybe, just possibly, our waking life is really the dream state, and our dream state is the reality. I pondered this and happily went into dreaming, thinking, wow, what if this is my real life.

I dreamt it was summer, and I was on my way to the Osbournes house, to see Ozzy and Kelly and Jack and Sharon. Someone had written in their bathroom “Our friend Thirza has a really big butt.”

I got mad, and wrote “Fuck you,” underneath it.

The night before Columbia from the Rocky Horror Picture Show had been tapdancing through my dream.

Yeah, I don’t really believe that’s my reality, although it sure is entertaining.

A Question of respect

I’ve been thinking a lot these days about the reaction of the Muslim and Western worlds to the Danish cartoons. While I in no way agree with violence, they do have a valid point. Although Christianity has never forbade depictions of Christ, Muslim law is very clear about not allowing depictions of their Prophet. And while we may disagree with certain Muslim laws, such as forbidding homosexuality, respecting their rules about Muhammed is relatively easy. Don’t draw Him.

Especially when tensions are already running high with the current colonization of Iraq. Because let’s face it, that is what is going on there. As a person who comes from a colonized race, I can see that clearly this is an issue of subjugating a race.

Now I hear there’s a bounty on the head of the cartoonist, which is sad.

But what it comes down to is a question of respect. If we ever are to get on good terms with the Muslim world, we have to respect their differences. Otherwise this whole cycle of violence will just continue, on and on.

The horrors of Personals

Personals really kick the shit out of one’s self esteem. I spent the latter part of the evening surfing various personals sites desperately seeking Miss Femme.

First of all, they ask for various pieces of information, like race.

Now, I’m biracial, and I like to be upfront about that. If I were to check the box saying I was European, well, I might end up with some racist bitch who hates Aboriginals. But on the other hand, I feel like a liar just saying Aboriginal (which by the way, none of the sites have, it always has American Indian, which is wrong on so many levels.) because I’m a pale little chickie and I feel way more comfortable choosing the middle ground where I actually live. However, a surprising number of personal sites don’t allow for choosing more than one race. Pick one dammit! It’s a sad reflection of society today.

Secondly, gender. I choose to live in a female body and be masculine, and I’d much rather choose a box marked Other than female or male.

Thirdly, I’m butch, no matter what my mother tries to tell me (or other obnoxious straight people for that matter who automatically think butch means ugly), and I like femmes. I feel most at home in butch-femme relationships. To me, an option for “I am a butch seeking a femme” seems like a given in a dyke personals site. And there are some (one) site specifically for that, but as far as I can tell there are no people from Saskatoon there.

Yes, it looks like I will never find a girlfriend. And besides that, how the hell do you screen for people who are bipolar friendly? As soon as you tell someone you have a pretty damned heavy duty mental illness, they run screaming for the hills. But to not tell someone, that’s even worse, because why have a lover who you can’t tell everything to?

I’ve been told my standards are too high (ie, more obnoxious straight people who don’t recognize the fact that a gorgeous femme would be attracted to an equally gorgeous butch), but when I think about certain past lovers, I recognize that at numerous times I threw my standards out the window, mostly involving staying with abusive partners until friends told me I was scraping the bottom of the barrel.

And then there’s the section for weight. Yeah, I’m fat. But how do you word that. “a few extra pounds (like twenty or thirty? Who decides how many is a few? Is it only ten?)’ I don’t like putting in heavy, I dunno, maybe it’s my own internalized fat-phobia. Maybe it’s because I am big but it looks really good on me. I dunno.

All this and I truly think it’s an exercise in futility. I’ve really tried to stop being lesbian the past year, in the hopes that at least I could find some comfort with some warm body, but dammit, men just bore me sexually.

Maybe I’ll just have to get famous and find some star struck woman.

My nipples are going to fall off

Yes, I come from Saskatchewan. I mean, I really come from here, my ancestors wandered around hunting bison and I now wonder . . . HOW THE HELL DID THEY STAND THE COLD!!??

Oh sure, Vancouver has the glum drawback of raining for weeks on end without a break, but at least one is moderately warmish.

That was the thought racing through my head as I endured the coldest day this winter. It was -27 this morning, and felt like at least -35 when I went home.

There’s not really any reason to complain about it, since my work and home are within quick walking distance to the bus stops, and by now I have figured out my route and the relevant bus schedules. But even inside at work I ended up wearing mittens, which don’t really jive with coiling cables. And yes, my nipples were hard as rocks and felt like they were going to pop off my breasts, roll down my shirt, and scamper across the floor.

HOWEVER, today I finally got hooked up to the internet and cable t.v. (with 200 channels!), I stocked up on 181 bucks worth of groceries, and I am gonna stay in and relax with food and entertainment. Plus I get pornography on my television for the first month! How could I complain?

Yes, it looks like with enough preparedness, even subzero temperatures are bareable.