Walking my dog on Watertown’s back streets after the massacre is finally over, Friday night at 10:30pm

I couldn’t bring myself to make the turn onto Main Street and join the crowds that were cheering and clapping away.  I even heard some folks setting off some sort of firecrackers.  Instead, I chose to stay on the empty back streets, where no one was walking.  I heard the sound of wind chimes and the air was damp.  Branches swayed as the wind tossed them this way and that.  Today had been our warmest day yet, but we hadn’t been allowed out by police.

Police.  Those guys in uniform who were now being hailed as heroes.  Who were they to me really?  How many times had I had to call 9-1-1 in the past year?  I couldn’t even count.  Would anything really change now that this had occurred in our town?  Would calling 9-1-1 be any different for me, a low-income person on “psychiatric disability”?

Probably not.  How many times had the cops seen to it that I’d been properly “sectioned,” that is, taken to a mental hospital, locked up and put “where I belonged,” safe from society” where I would “not harm anyone”?  How many times had they searched my apartment unnecessarily when I had phoned them about something else entirely?  How many times had they accused me of things I had not done, only because I am a mental patient?  How many times had they not believed my story only because I am a mental patient?

What the fuck does it take to gain credibility with these people?

And how many times have I phoned 9-1-1 with legitimate MEDICAL concerns only to have it considered PSYCHIATRIC even before I have arrived at the emergency room, even before I was seen by a doctor, just because the folks who arrived at my door or even the one that answered the call learned that I take psychiatric medications?

I am tired of “the look” I get from the people in uniform as soon as they arrive at my door, just because I live in subsidized housing.  Now those of you who own your own homes do not get this look, so you have  no clue, you have had very good experiences, but those of us who live in low income housing know very well the look they give us.  We are trash to them.

I have heard them yelling at the lady down the hall, who does not speak English, screaming at her while she lay down in front of them.

Disrespect is disrespect.

Does this event change what happens next time I call 9-1-1?  Actually, after my last experience, I resolved I would never call 9-1-1 again.

So no, I sure wanted to walk alone tonight at 10:30, just didn’t have the heart to wave around an American flag or run around with humans, wanted to be alone, actually.

 

When I was 19, on the run, and hid in a boat

I suppose I would have done about the same thing.  I was a small kid, only five foot one, so I fit in small places.  I dared to go anywhere.  I wasn’t the type to steal, no, I wasn’t a thief, not me.  I didn’t do drugs or alcohol.  Even though I ended up with an eating disorder later on, I never stole laxatives or diet pills from stores. That would have been too embarrassing to explain. When you’re young and scared, you don’t want anyone to see you.

So I was always the invisible one.  Always one to sneak around unnoticed.  Once, me and this girl and her sister, we slept on a school bus one night.  I drove the car.  I had the keys.  I parked the car, kinda far away from the school bus, or so I remember.  It was my mom’s car.  The car was orange.  What a stupid color.  It’s stupid cuz it’s noticeable and bright. At least it was a Datsun.

So it was my decision.  I say that because I drove the car.  So the one who drives the car, they are the one who decides.  So we spent that night on the school bus.

I was the oldest, too.  I should have known.

In the morning, all the school buses were getting ready.  Ready to pick up school kids and take them to school.  So I said to the girl and her sister, who was perhaps sixteen, or maybe eighteen or nineteen, “Okay, let’s go.  Let’s wake up and get off the bus.”  And so we did.  And we never got caught.

Why did we do it?  Because we thought society had wronged us.  We thought we deserved a break.  Just three sulking kids.  Two in their twenties and one teen.

I can’t speak for the other two.  But I will speak for myself right here right now.

I believe I was twenty-four years old.  I was a scared, lonely and angry kid with a few secrets.  Mostly, I was desperate.  Desperate because I had an eating disorder and couldn’t get adequate care.  I knew the “therapists” who were “treating” me had no clue what they were doing, and were making me worse and worse.  My parents were paying an arm and a leg for this “therapy,” and screaming at me every day, yelling at me and asking why I was not getting better.

So I wonder why a 19-year-old will hide on a boat.  Hey, I been there.

I want to be famous: the 2013 Boston Marathon massacre in Watertown, MA from the point of view of a Watertown dog owner living in low-income housing nearby

I am writing this Friday night and it’s pretty much all over.  They’ve got the guy (don’t ask me to spell his name) in custody and there are tweets all over the place.  I don’t have a Twitter account cuz Twitter seems dumb to me, but that’s what I hear.  Yep, tweets.

Imagine: Two kids stopped our transit system and had the cities of Boston, Newton, Belmont, here in Watertown, and I guess even further out in Waltham in lockdown, all the hospitals and college campuses too.  Now have even any of our sports teams done that?  Of course not.   Not even when the Red Sox won the World  Series in 2004 for the first time since God-knows-when…oh yeah, that even got me in tears…but no, that didn’t stop our transit system or lock down hospitals.  There may have been crazy parties, but these guys are freaking famous.

I’m jealous.  Yeah, I think I am.

I’ve always wanted to be famous, ever since I was a tiny child.  Always loved to be in the limelight.  I’ve never been scared to get up in front of an audience.  I guess that’s why it didn’t take long for me to love performing in plays when I was in elementary school.  I always wanted to be a star.

I love being funny, reading my writings (hence this blog) in front of audiences and making them laugh.  Or cry.  Or moving them or disturbing them in some way.  I feel that shaking the world and making my footprint on the world, that’s my job as writer.

I want to make a damn big footprint.  I want to shake the world in its boots like these kids did.  I want to scare people good.

So I am sitting here in my little apartment that I pay one-third of what the government has decided I “deserve” because some thirty-some-odd years ago I developed, of all things, an eating disorder, and ask myself, “How the hell can I be as fantastic as these two brothers, who have these wonderful odd names I can’t even spell, and my name is so ordinary, Julie Greene?”

Wow, was that ever a run-on sentence.  I sure broke some writing rules there.  But the writing gods don’t bother with us here in this complex.  We’re all invisible here.  I’m sure all the attention is focused on Franklin Street, a few blocks away.  The kid needs all the gods to help him, now, even the lowly writing gods.

How I got to be really good at hitch-hiking

I was a hitch-hiker in the later years of hitch-hiking, when it was a dying art, so I caught the tail end of it.  You pretty much had to kiss the driver’s ass.  Then you got to where you were going.  I was young and didn’t give a shit.  But I was super good at conversation.  I prided myself in that much.  So here were the rules:

Whatever was playing on the radio, no matter how much I couldn’t stand the music, I told the driver it was groovy.

Often, the driver went on and on about whatever his or her political opinion was.  Whatever it was, I’d agree wholeheartedly, and say yes, the country was going to pot, whatever year it was.  It hasn’t yet.

The driver would show me a photo of their kids.  I would say that these kids were the cutest in the world.  Of course everyone knows that all babies are wrinkly and ugly, but I wouldn’t say that.

My main goal was to get to where I was going, and if the driver was going someplace else, I’d try to get the driver to change his or her mind and take me to my destination.  I had various ways of getting this to happen, and almost always, my little tricks worked.

Problem was, many drivers, without realizing it, would drop me off at some nightmare place traffic-wise.  The goal was to not let this happen.  Every hitch-hiker knows what I am talking about.  “Can you take me a little bit further?  Right here.  Thanks.”  It got a bit awkward and I had trouble explaining just why the traffic patterns screwed me up and I couldn’t explain just why they had to go out of their way in this manner.  That plus sometimes I couldn’t be certain places or a cop would come right after me and question why I was standing there, or even try to write me up for trespassing.

But always, I learned to agree with everything the driver said.  Go along with the conversation.  Tell them they were being a good parent to their kids, no matter how I felt inside.  Tell them I agreed wholeheartedly with their religious views, no matter what mine were at the time.

And I heard so many stories.  Stories of kids growing up, pets, horses, babies being born, jobs lost.  Drivers told me about how they fell in love.  They told me about the day their parents died.  And then, I’d get out of the car, dust myself off, and laugh.  Another ride, another day.

At night, my dog Hoofy and I slept under the stars.  It never rained on us.  We put a tarp over us, to keep the dew and tree sap off.  I put a little pad under my sleeping bag so the rocky places wouldn’t bother me.  We were just a girl hitch-hiker and her big dog, and many stories.

You know something though?  I think I heard much more interesting stories when I ended up in mental hospitals, years later.   I think in a mental hospital you were living a story that was ten times more raw.  But no, then, you could not go along with everything, you couldn’t agree with everything and pretend that you believed what they told you was true or you would literally die, that is, your spirit would die.

I suppose living a life of going to groups day after day after day and taking their drugs…is that living?  No, it is going along with what they are saying and repeating their slogans by rote.  Do you want to be a drugged robot?  I decided I did not want that life.  I would not let my spirit die.

I don’t recall the stories I heard on the road, the stories of living and dying, the stories of growing up and growing old.  But I do recall the stories from the mental wards, because they were so striking to me.  These stories live in me still and I continue to write these stories because it is necessary.  If I turn a few heads, so much the better. That’s my job.  That’s how I get to where I’m going.

 

Expecting a bomb dropped on the 24th

Oh yes, I guess that’s a week from now, and until then, the mice can play.

I suppose the soldiers are gathering their ammunition.  That is, those two little blonde-headed boys I raised.  The ones who have been ignoring me for the past 20 years or so.

Not that those two actually have gotten along with each other over the years.  They are as different as night and day.  One I’d say does things by the book, the other kinda out in the woods, know what I mean?  They both have their families, their wives and kids that I have seen, oh how many times? barely at all I’d say over the years.

My niece?  I’ve met her I think three times in her life.  She’s 14.

My nephews grew up an hour away and I think I saw them about seven times at most during those years.  They are both in college now.

I think those two blonde-headed boys I raised are thinking real hard about those college bills.   And so they are knocking heads together.

What are they going to do with this sister, this waste of a human life?

No, they are not going to have me locked up.  They don’t even care about me.  Even having me locked up and getting the state to pay for it would not be economically advantageous for the blonde-headed boys.  Institutionalization is messy.

They want to put their useless, waste-of-human-life sister to work for them.  Kill two birds with one stone.  This will save them a bundle of money.

However, I am a UU and we UU’s do not kill birds.  Not one bird, not two birds.

Greedy, greedy brothers, who have never cared about me, there is no American law that says the eldest child is thus obligated, nor is the only daughter obligated.  There is no UU Principle that states there is such an obligation either.

The absence of “substantial work” does not mean I am obligated to fill my days with this “duty.”

Yes, they have suddenly noticed that I exist. Only so that they can use me to their economic advantage.  On all other fronts, I am using up family money, and they’d rather I didn’t exist at all.

Why did they make certain that their kids never knew me?  Let’s put it this way….

“If that crazy aunt suddenly offs herself, let’s make sure to cover up the real reason she died.  Some freak heart attack, right?  We sure don’t want copycat acts in our nice family.”

Blog readership has been lower this month than it has been all year

Not that I have much to say about that.  Clearly, blog readers want to see blood, guts, and gore.  That I’m standing in front of a noose, or I’ve got a blade right by my neck ready to plunge into it.  Sorry, I don’t fit these qualifications at the moment.

Nor have I just come out of some treatment center and have some report to give you about how wonderful or horrible my experience was.  I have not come out of a medical hospital and I have not just been through some near-death experience (and therefore been dumped by some twenty or so friends, cuz that, folks, is generally what happens at that point, trust me, and YOU are the one told that you did it to yourself and got exactly what you deserved.  Lovely).

No, I have none of that to report. Life has gone along rather smoothly and I am happy.  Now and then someone (funny, it is generally someone younger, that is, who has less life experience than me) gives me some gigantic, in-your-face LECTURE about exactly how I should live my life.  I find these lectures screamingly funny and have absolutely nothing to say when I am the recipient of these lectures.  I am, in fact, floored that I am even getting them.  Why are these lectures even necessary?  I reassure this person that yes, I am fine, please stop, this is unnecessary, I am happy and my life is fine and okay.  But the person continues on and on, telling me how to live my life.  I say nothing, but inside, I am totally cracking up laughing, and tell myself I will simply put up with this and hope to dear god that this horrible lecture ends ASAP.  It’s like putting up with whatever worst in-laws you’ve got.  You just tell yourself they will be out the door soon and you bite your tongue and grip onto your chair and maybe say a few Hail Maries to keep yourself sane whether you are Catholic or not.  This might keep the swear words from seeping out by accident.  Meanwhile, the in-laws yap on and on and all you can do is wish they would shut up very, very soon.  Finally, they are out the door, you close the door and say, “Phew!”  So then, I tell myself the same thing, “Phew!” Lecture over, time to laugh real hard inside and ask myself, “What the heck was that for?”  I get these lectures from folks who know nothing about eating disorders, and inside, I want real bad to shoot back, “Hey, try on an eating disorder for a week, or a year, or a decade, then come back and let’s talk about it.”  But of course, I say nothing.  They are younger than me.  When these folks are 55 and they grow to have their digits match like mine, they will know to shut the fuck up.

So no, no noose.  I’ve been bumbling along and enjoying myself.  If you don’t like that, go to hell.

A thought about my dad and my hair

My dad died in 1997.  He never told me, but he told my mom, and my mom relayed to me every now and then that Dad was seriously disappointed that I did not do something fancy (aka expensive) with my hair.  No, I grew it long and left it that way for most of my life, except for maybe ten years in my 30’s, when, I am embarrassed to say, I spent a small amount of money to go to a hairdresser to get a cut now and then.  Guess who complained about the cost of these hairdressers?  That’s right.  Dad.  Cuz I asked him for the money.  I sure didn’t have it, living on disability.  Anyway, I dislike every single photo I that was taken of my horrible hair back in those years.  So folks, I won’t do you the favor of displaying one, though in the past I’ve probably done so.

My ‘fro years date from (I’m guessing) somewhere in my late 20’s right through my late 30’s and right overlapping my 40’s.  My hair is naturally curly, and when I got on Lithium at age 26, the drug caused my hair to go up into very, very tight curls by age 27.  I can’t recall which doctor it was who told me that Lithium in fact does this to some people.  It’s one of Lithium’s quirky side effects.  At age 27 or 28 I got an ugly short cut by this yucky hairdresser I kept going back to for whatever stupid reason.  Guess I didn’t want to hurt her feelings.   Finally, I went to some decent ones and wore my hair like a ‘fro, I guess you’d call it, quite wild sometimes, for years.  Curls, curls, everywhere.  The curls were fun, but to tell you the truth, I like the way I have it nowadays a lot better, my little hand-done braid.  Maybe a big reason I like it so much is that it doesn’t cost a cent.

So when they took me off Lithium at age 38 I think, whatever went on with my hair, I dunno, but my hair revolted and decided it was going to go absolutely flat for a few months, maybe a couple of years later, I mean, kaboom! straight.  Now walk into a hairdresser’s studio and try to explain that one.  I guess to my recollection I was at Emerson College at the time of the hair revolt or about to enter Emerson, so my dad must have already passed away.

I guess Dad wasn’t all that crazy about the wild curls, either.  Or he didn’t say much.  Or he was disappointed that my face was all pimply and didn’t know how it ended up that way, not knowing that pimples were one of those yucky side effects of Lithium.  Me, I had no clue, either.  Nor did those “friends” or mine who kept telling me I needed to scrub my face or whatever, keep scrubbing it, or buy fancy solutions, or whatever was the heck wrong with me? Was it an attitude problem? A moral problem?  Was it an indication of laziness?  Was it a symptom of mental illness?  Yeah, they thought, surely, all folks with mental illness have bad complexions.

Oh dear, the myths, the myths.  Wrong-o.

Pardon me while I take another sip on my coffee and give some thought to what I’m going to say next.  And no, I don’t think a sip on caffeinated coffee is going to give me even one pimple.  Not unless I wake up tomorrow and discover I’m suddenly not 55 years old anymore, but…horrors! 15.  Well, then, me and God got some reckoning to do.

Dorothy, are we in Kansas yet?

Dad, when I was a kid, for whatever reason, I thought that it was essential to never let anyone know that I was smart.  Of course, you knew better.  You were bullshit at me for deliberately making sure I got bad grades.  Maybe sometimes the only way of telling me this was to be disappointed with my hair.  Maybe that’s cuz I ended up a girl, and years later, it was the only way you could tell me after I was smothered with all those drugs.

Dad, this braid is for you.  And these words, too.  I love my little techie brain that I inherited from you, and I love that for whatever reason, the house Dorothy was stuck in landed someplace terrific.  It’s rather sad that all this happened after you died, but I want you to know that I love standing right where I am.   Today, I love being a writer, and I love you, too.

Eating Disorder Rescue Lesson One is finally finished and up on the site

I finished Lesson One at last.  Of course, all the writing part was done ages ago, and the filming I did all at once in one evening, but the editing took so darned long.  But tonight, or, rather should I say last night (I was up all night doing this, I must admit) I finally finished Lesson One.

Oh boy oh boy, I did not want to wait you guys.  I was dying to get this up on Vimeo.  But as you know or may not know, uploading takes ages.

Yes, a watched pot does boil, and I watched the darned pot from beginning to end.  I enjoyed watching it boil, and yeah, seeing that 100% on Vimeo is great.  But then Vimeo had the nerve to tell me I had to wait some 45 minutes for the darned thing to queue and then “convert.”  Huh?

Well, I suppose I should not act like a spoiled child.  You can’t always get what you want right away.  However, it was something like 4am,  or maybe later, maybe 5am by then.  And then, you know, I guess you could say the night had rolled over for me.

So before you know it, the video had “converted” and all was fine and dandy in all-nighter land.  I was determined to do everything just right.  So I figured out how to do html and get the Vimeo embedded into my site, www.eatingdisordersrescue.com.  And yeah, it’s there all right.  Lesson One is right here.

I love you folks.  I worked so hard to get this right.  Take care.

Life in translation

I was at church last night.  It was the big social event of the year, our talent show.  Yes, I did my thing, as writer, I read from one of my works, which was a wonderful thing, of course, and rather satisfying for me and I guess everyone else.  It was a work of humor and I had fun making folks laugh and having a laugh myself while reading, or shall I say doing a bit of ad libbing.  What I had hand-written on my two sheets of lined paper was not exactly what I said out loud.  And this, folks, these last-minute jokes that I thought up in my head and asked myself, “Will this float? Or not?” were what made the seven or so borrowed minutes I wasn’t supposed to use up absolutely wonderful.  In my opinion, anyway.

So anyway, when you are at a place like church, there’s this funny little thing you have to do when you are walking around doing the social thing and you are speaking.  This is something that I think of any age can relate to.  You do translation.  That is, when little kiddies are around you do not say swear words.  No matter what goes on in your head, you do not let these idiot words slip out, because you do not want the kiddies to hear them.

So fuck becomes fart, or hopefully something less obnoxious.  Bullshit becomes baloney, spelled, yes, like that, shit is hopefully some equivalent of something less obnoxious than poops, nothing to do with bodily functions, yes, away from that, please, if we are around food (there are always potlucks at UU functions so there is always food around) and we do not want the kiddies to hear anything like a swear word, ever, right?

But bologna is processed food.  No proper UU parent feeds it to their kid these days.  And if life is nothing but baloney, we’ve got a problem.

To tell you the truth, that’s all that’s out there folks, baloney.  You take one step out there, and that’s what you find out.  There is nothing out there but bullshit.

I know that I can’t quote Kurt Vonnegut here, cuz I’d be doing some sort of infringement on his copyright.  But isn’t there a passage in his book about the end of the world with Ice Nine, where that real short guy…hey, I’m only five foot one myself…the real short guy goes on top of a mountain, and he thumbs his nose at God, or god, and says,

Life is nothing but baloney.

And I suppose at that point in the book the whole world is coming to an end anyway so there’s a lot to laugh about.

I gave my brother, never mind which one, but you can guess, who had not seen me in perhaps two years, a lot to laugh about today.  I socked it to him in a few words, and I’m damn proud of myself.  You folks should be proud of me, too.  See ya later, alligators.

Playing with food

Since I am therapist-free, I decided to do exactly what those “eating disorders specialists” told me was very, very bad for me.  I played games with my food and had what I guess they would call a Food Party.  Yes, a food party.  I suppose I am a Bad Patient.  But today, I don’t give a shit.

Oh, it was a blast.  I decided that my summer squash, courtesy of the discount “dented can aisle” that I bought for I think 80 cents a pound instead of 3 dollars a pound, would be subject to my little game.  I sliced my summer squash into moon shapes.  I decided each moon was a face.  Each face was the face of an asshole.

Who are these assholes?  These are all the assholes, plural, that have ever, ever called me Welfare scum, all the ex-friends that ever dumped me each time I landed in the hospital way way back when, or wrote mean letters to me telling me what a jerk I was, or the guys that decided they had a new girlfriend and to dump every single other woman friend they had, any lesbian who ever dumped me because she felt I was unclean because I’d been with men in the past, any employer who refused to hire me because I wore glasses, or because of my past history of mental illness, or because I was a woman, or because I was too short, or because I was too educated, or because they did not like my looks, or because I would not sleep with them, the nursing school that kicked me out because I had a mental illness, anyone that ever called me fat whether I was or not, all the kids who bullied me when I was in elementary school and in junior high and the teachers too and even the lunch ladies.  Well, as I cut up all the summer squash moons with my knife, saying, “Asshole, asshole, asshole,” I sure was having a blast.  My bowl got full of assholes, all cut up.  This was going to be quite a meal.

Then I cut up some onions.  I began to multi-task.  It’s something I’m not too good at, especially since I was into a wicked good daydream by then.  You risk burning something big time if you do multi-tasking and daydreaming AND saying to yourself, “Asshole, asshole, asshole,” all at once, however, I didn’t burn a thing.  I put wicked good flavoring into my meal, which included that funky stuff, quinoa.  You know that quinoa has those little tails.  Boy, was I making jokes about the tails and stuff, watching the little quinoa tail stuff mixing in with everything and meanwhile multi-tasking and making sure everything was just right.  So, I threw it all in the microwave.  I would have said a prayer that it comes out okay, but I’m UU, so I figured whether I prayed or not…well, I didn’t even have time to think about that.  It was done.

Can you imagine?  All those assholes in one meal?  Really, it was the best.  Can you believe it?  The ceiling did not fall in.  No, I have not relapsed and I did not have to go running to a “coping skills list” and no crisis has occurred.  I have not had to open any pill bottles to take a PRN.  I did not have to call any therapist in a panic.  I don’t even have one.  I did not go back to alcohol and drugs and my marriage did not fall apart because of this Food Party.

The dog is fed and the rent is paid.  Hey, therapist, I think I’ll go for a run, too, burn some calories.  Not all people with eating disorders are alike.  We are as different and varied as night and day.  We are not from textbooks.  Go screw.