Rainey Daze and Crazy Nights

Poetry, Paintings, and Ponderings: Through My Eyes

Making Progress February 7, 2013

J came home after her therapy last night and sat and talked with me about it. Sometimes she talks, but most often she goes to her room. I don’t take offense; when she needs to share, I listen. When she doesn’t, I understand. I know this is hard for her.

So last night was a share night. She said her therapist was proud of the rage she was feeling and said she was making great progress. Before, when J got angry she would not direct it at the appropriate source. Instead, she turned it inward. He said it was great that she was directing it outward, and that they would work on releasing it in a healthy way. I feel like this is great news! There is a slight difference in the way she holds herself now. It’s almost like I can see the woman she was meant to be finally emerging. I watched that happen with S, her younger sister, already. It feels so good to see her begin to grow again. Usually it is one step forward, two steps back….this seems to be TWO steps forward….and it is nice.


Pure Rage February 5, 2013

J is at therapy right now. She has bounced so much lately between mania and depression, I am afraid he will change her meds again.  The mania can sometimes be aggressive anger in the form of a sharp tongue and aggressive mannerism that she usually does not show. A few times in the last week her mania has been rage. There is no other word for it. Pure, on the edge, rage. And it really scares me.

I’m scared for her, not for me. I’ve never had her hurt me or even try to. I’m more worried that she will turn it on some total stranger or someone at work. Not that I think she is a danger; not at all. J has always swallowed her anger, or turned it inward. But the rage she feels now comes out of nowhere and is usually very out of proportion to what it should be. For example, she stopped at the store to buy chap-stick.  She couldn’t find her favorite kind, so she asked the clerk. When the clerk told her they were out, she was filled with rage and had to turn and walk out of the store. She couldn’t even speak she was so enraged. Now that the anger is coming out more, I hope the therapist works with her on how to express anger in a healthy way.



Land of Numb January 3, 2013

anger surges through my veins

pulsing, red-hot rage, then… gone

to the stark and barren Land of Numb


time drips by until I awaken once more

my skin crawls with unspent emotions

pulled tightly, it barely contains me


emotions flood the my landscape

tears converged on mascara-smeared lids

ready to free fall across pale cheeks


but before the waterfall can erupt, my brain recedes

to the foggy, safe Land of Numb

where emotions cease to exist once again



me 012c





The Beast Within July 11, 2012

I am cloaked in my words
Hidden behind politeness and niceties
My dark inner beast hides
Peeking out in small spurts of anger
Viciously clawing and cutting
The softer side of me
I swallow him whole
Bitter acid floods my throat
But I swallow again, and I win
The beast is contained, safety inside
Unable to lash out at the world
He can only harm me
I am strong, stronger than he
I take the pain of holding him
He claws and chews
Shredding my soul
I smile and clamp my teeth
The beast will never win.


The Clash of the Shovel and the Sign April 20, 2012

Before the alarm had time to blare, Sarah sat up and switched it off. A heavy sigh escaped her lips as she contemplated the upcoming day. I wish I could just stay in bed and skip this day, she thought.

She pushed her body up and out of bed with the grace of a hundred year old woman instead of the 39-year-old that she really was. She padded down the hallway with bloodshot eyes and somehow found the energy to fix a cup of coffee. Stepping out on the back porch with a steaming mug, she sucked in a breath of the warm, humid air. “Welcome to Florida”, she muttered. “Home of the hot and humid at 5:30 am.” She sank into her favorite Adirondack chair and sipped from her mug. She was not looking forward to this day.

As she drained the last of her coffee, Sarah debated getting another cup. Realizing she was just delaying the inevitable, she sighed again and decided to just be done with it. Today was the day, like it or not. “Just get over it”, she stated out loud. She jumped out of the chair and flung herself into preparing for the day.

After showering, styling her hair, and applying a bare minimum of makeup, she stood looking at her reflection. Not too bad, she thought. A little pudgy around the middle, a few fine wrinkles around her eyes, but overall, not too bad. She stuck out her hand, as if shaking hands with someone. “Hi, my name is Sarah, and I am divorced.” The words sounded foreign on her lips. She tried again, this time with a forced happiness. “Hello, my name is Sarah, and my husband walked out on me. Today we make it final: our lives together are now over.” She dropped her hand as tears threatened to spill from her eyes. No, she thought, not today. No more tears.

Sarah grabbed her purse and keys from the nightstand table. On the table by the front door sat a packet of papers. Divorce papers. Sam’s lawyer had sent them over for her to preview but she had not been able to open the packet. Instead, she had placed the packet in the exact spot that Sam used to place his briefcase. But that was BEFORE. When she thought of her life now, she thought about it in two parts: BEFORE, and AFTER. Her mind drifted as she remembered how life was…BEFORE.

BEFORE, her life had settled into just what she had always wanted: she and her husband, Sam, had dated for 2 years before getting married. Sam worked as an insurance agent and she worked as a receptionist at a day care. They bought a newly built three bedroom house with a two-car garage. Life was grand. Sam golfed on Saturdays and Sundays, and she would go shopping or meet friends for lunch. At night, they would go out with other couples. Most of the couples were Sam’s business associates, but Sarah got along well with most of their wives.

They were in their second year of marriage when Sarah began to notice a change in Sam. He seemed a little less attentive, somewhat preoccupied. She thought that maybe they needed to get away alone together and rekindle some romance in their marriage. Sex was good, but a little predictable. So she arranged a surprise romantic getaway for a weekend trip to Miami. She booked the Honeymoon Suite for two nights and bought sexy new lingerie to wear. She sprung the surprise on Sam that Wednesday night.

“Honey, I have a surprise for you!” she told him as they sat together in the living room. Sarah sat curled up on the loveseat, while Sam lounged in the recliner with the day’s newspaper. Sam continued to read the newspaper as he absently muttered, “Huh?”

“Put the paper down and talk to me. I have a surprise for you that you will love!”

Sam peered at her over the top of the paper. “What?”

“Well, I decided that we needed some time alone together, so I booked the Honeymoon Suite at the Heavenly Inn in Miami. We leave on Friday night and return Sunday.” As Sam frowned and started shaking his head, her voice began to falter. “It’s just….you know…we haven’t spent much time alone lately….I thought…” her voice trailed off as he sighed heavily.

“You decided? Sarah, you know that I golf every weekend. I can’t just go running off because you have some stupid romantic idea. Besides, we spend every Friday and Saturday night together. I take you out to dinner; what more do you want?”

Her eyes filled with tears. “But we are not alone! We are always with other couples. And it’s not a stupid romantic idea! I just thought it would do us some good!”

“What would do us some good,” Sam replied in his I’m-being-patient-and-you’re-being-ridiculous voice, “is if you just cancel those reservations and let me go golfing, because THAT is how I make business contacts, and THAT is how we pay the bills, remember? You’re little “meet and greet” receptionist job certainly doesn’t pay for this nice house you live in, now does it?”

Sarah knew better than to argue. Anytime she pushed things with Sam, he gave her the silent treatment for days. She wanted to tell him that she was not the one who wanted this large brand-new house. She wanted something small and cozy that she could furnish with yard-sale finds. Sam was the one who insisted on this house because “it makes us look successful.”

As Sam went back to reading his paper, Sarah grabbed her cell phone and went out on the porch to cancel the trip. After the call, she sank into her chair. She really thought Sam would like the idea, and it stung to know that he had no interest in spending time alone with her. She knew how important his business golf outings were to him, but she didn’t realize it had become the most important part of his life.

It was a few weeks later when she began to get suspicious. It was a glorious Saturday morning and Sam was golfing at the country club, as usual. Sarah had just completed the last load of laundry when the phone rang. It was Sam’s sister, Claire. She called to tell Sam that her husband, Manny, had fallen from a ladder while cleaning out the gutters on their house. Manny was being stubborn, as usual, and Claire needed Sam to convince him to go to the hospital to get checked out. Claire was Sam’s younger sister and she always called Sam when she needed something. It was annoying as hell, but Sarah dealt with it.

“Call his cell, Claire. He’s at the country club.” Sarah told her patiently.

“I tried, but he didn’t answer. Can you please, please just drive up there and get him? I wouldn’t ask if it wasn’t important.”

Sarah thought for a second. “Okay, I can do that. I’m about to go shopping, so I will just swing by there on my way. I will tell him to call you.” Claire thanked her and Sarah hung up the phone, grabbed her purse and jumped in her car.

Within fifteen minutes she was at the clubhouse. The first thing she noticed was that Sam’s car was not there. That’s funny, she thought to herself. He usually tells me when he is golfing at a different golf course. She decided to try calling him. After three rings, he answered.

“Hello, Sarah; there must a problem because otherwise you wouldn’t call me while I’m golfing.”

His brisk manner stunned her. She knew he could be short with her sometimes, but he sounded so angry it shocked her for a moment. Finally she found her voice and said, “Hello, honey. It’s just….ummm…Claire…where are you?”

“What do you mean, where am I? Have you been hitting the bottle early today?” Sam chuckled harshly into the phone. “It is Saturday, I am at the club, I am golfing, just like I do every Saturday, remember? Now, what is this about Claire?””

Sarah sat in her car staring stupidly at the parking lot of the country club. Sam was not there. He had just lied to her. Something kept her from telling him that she knew he was lying.

“Claire tried to call you. Manny fell and she needs you to call her.” Sarah heard her own normal sounding voice and wondered where it came from.

“Oh, okay then.” His voice softened. “Sorry, I just thought you were calling to bother me about taking you somewhere. I will call her right back. We are in the clubhouse now taking a break. I didn’t hear the phone ring.”

“No problem, darling. Is Carl working the counter today? I need to ask him if I left my earrings in there Wednesday when I had lunch with Eve.”  It was shocking to hear the lie slip so effortlessly from her mouth.

“No, Carl is off today. You can ask him later. I have to go so I can call Claire. See you tonight.”  Sarah heard the click as Sam hung up. She sat there for several more minutes, trying to figure out a way to make the pieces of the puzzle fit. Without thinking, she opened her car door and got out. Sarah walked quickly up the path leading to the clubhouse restaurant. Ducking inside, she slid her sunglasses off to allow her eyes to adjust to the interior. After a moment, she stepped up to the front counter. There in front of her, stood Carl.

“Hello, Mrs. Tanner. Will you be alone, or will others be joining you today?” Carl inquired.

“Hello, Carl.” She managed to say. “My husband asked me to stop by and see if he left his sunglasses last time he golfed here.”

“Well, I can check, but as you know, he hasn’t been here in months. In fact, we were going to call to see if there was a problem with the clubhouse. He was such a regular, and now we never see him!”

“Oh, there’s no problem at all, Carl. He has been so busy at work lately. I’m sure he will be back before you know it. Don’t bother calling him. I will pass on the message.” Sarah smiled sweetly as Carl dug through the lost and found basket. He of course came up empty-handed.

Sarah somehow made more small talk and managed to make it back to her car without her knees buckling. She didn’t allow herself to think as she drove to every other golf course in the area. Sam’s car wasn’t at any of them.

That was the end of the BEFORE and the beginning of the AFTER, Sarah thought, as she snatched the packet of divorce papers from the table. She flung open the door and stepped into the scorching Florida sun. Slipping on her sunglasses, her eyes fell on the signpost that still had “The Tanners” spelled out in gold letters. Somehow, just seeing that sign, the sign that they had picked out together, made her furious. The day Sam had poured the concrete and buried the post in the ground had been a fun, silly day for them. They drank a little wine, got giggly, and made love right on the living room rug. Just remembering those details made Sarah so angry she punched the code to open the garage door and tossed her purse, keys, and the divorce packet into her car. She found the shovel she and Sam purchased together at the hardware store, and stomped out to the sign. Without hesitation, Sarah began beating the post. The metal clashing with metal sent vibrations all the way up her body, but that only made her more determined. She continued to pound until the post began to lean heavily to one side. The post finally fell to the ground and the offending sign lay against the manicured lawn. Satisfied, Sarah left the sign lying against the grass, turned around with the shovel thrown over her shoulder and marched back to the garage. She carefully placed the shovel against the wall, then opened her car door and sank on the leather seat. She saw her reflection as she closed the car door: her hair, which she had pulled back into a prim bun (that Sam once liked), had worked loose and now most of it stuck to her sweaty face. What remained of the bun was sagging low enough to touch the back of her neck. Her carefully applied makeup now had smears of dirt from the handle of the shovel and her eyes looked like those of a lunatic. She pulled the rest of her hair loose from the bun and wiped the smudge from her face. That is when it hit her: Sarah knew, in that moment, that she would be just fine.


Because of Owen, I don’t Wear Dresses April 4, 2012

If you could go back in time and relive your life, would you change anything? Most people would say no, I wouldn’t change a thing. My past is what makes me who I am today.

I have thought about that question a lot lately. How would it change me, if, for example, I hadn’t climbed the monkey bars at school with a dress on, and if that punk kid Owen hadn’t pointed and laughed because he saw my panties? Of course, no self-respecting first grader would stand for that, so  I jumped down and smacked him. Hard. He cried, told the teacher (because he was a wimp), and I got in trouble! Okay, so we won’t talk about the fact that I was the stupid one on the monkey bars wearing a dress. That was beside the point! Would I be a different person today if that event had not happened? I think my aversion to wearing dresses must have originated on that fateful day. If Owen had never seen my panties and humiliated me in front of a playground full of seven-year-olds, I might have a closet full of beautiful dresses and skirts, all colors and lengths. Instead, I  wear pants every single day.

So, I must say, if I could do things over, I would have worn pants that day. Or Owen would have been at home sick with the measles. And instead of sitting here in my cotton slacks, I would be writing this in my new spring dress.


One Day March 28, 2012

when will you learn

that words spoken cannot be snatched back

once the sounds erupt from your angry lips

they hang, suspended in the chilly air

finding their target deep in my heart

later when you hold me and say you are sorry

when you claim you love me more than life

the words are still there

burrowing deeper and deeper, making a hole in my heart

I try to forget but the hateful words are still there

when will you learn

that one day the hole will grow too large

one day your words cannot harm me

one day I will be gone.


Just a Child March 26, 2012

She is just a child

who wants to feel safe

who needs to feel loved


she is

crying inside

no one knows

dying inside

no one sees

hurting inside

no one feels

screaming inside

no one hears

broken inside

no one cares.


Bipolar Betty July 14, 2010

Well, Bipolar Betty has reared her ugly head again this week.  Who is that, you may ask?  Bipolar Betty is the nickname we have given to the horrible cycles my daughter suffers as a result of being bipolar.  She is on medication ($325 a month), she sees a psychiatrist ($70 a pop), and she gets her sleep.  Still, the cycles happen, and the world turns upside down.

I feel so selfish to say this, but I wonder if my life will ever be “normal” again.  It once was,  you know.  My sweetheart and I married young (I was 21, he was 26) and had two kids, both girls.  I was a stay at home mom who baked cookies and made crafts.  J, my oldest, was a bright, bubbly child.  She was a fast learner, outgoing and sweet.  Fifteen months later, S joined the family.  She was as quiet as her sister was talkative.  They were a good pair, and our little family was complete.  When the girls started school, I went to college and obtained a degree, which led to the beginning of my career.  My girls were in 4th and 5th grade at that time.

As I said, life was normal.  Were there clues that a monster was beneath the surface?  When I look back, I see some signs.  J was always dramatic, given to ups and downs that I attributed to her personality.    She had lots of friends and a great personality, so I didn’t worry too much.  She began to put on weight at an early age, but again, I thought it was normal, just something she would outgrow.  As she got older and heavier, I tried to not make food an issue, but instead tried to focus her attention on softball, swimming, and other activities she enjoyed.  When she was in high school, things began to get worse.  Her weight ballooned, I saw that vast amounts of food was missing from the kitchen, and she suddenly lost all friends.  To this day, I don’t know what happened, but most of those friends she never talked to again.  One, however, called me and told me that J cut herself because she was upset.

I guess that was the point of no return.  That is when my life began to spin out of control, slowly at first.  I took her to a psychiatrist.  This was the first of many. J sat in that office with the beige colored walls and the plum-colored couch and talked.  About the latest book she was reading.  about her favorite movie.  She talked about everything, except what was wrong.

Fast forward:  J graduated from high school (a great feat we were not sure would happen) and applied for college.  When a college accepted her, we celebrated.  I thought this would be the answer to my prayers.  She would make new friends, join in school clubs, and have a great career.

This plan backfired.  The first inkling that she was out of control was when we got a phone call that she was in the hospital.  It was diabetes.  The next middle of the night call was when she tried to overdose on pills and alcohol.  This pattern continued.  Why didn’t we just bring her home?  There is no easy answer, other than we did what we thought was right.  She continued to see her psychiatrist, she took medication for her diabetes, and she would seem normal; for a while.

The next time she tried to overdose, she almost succeeded.  After having her stomach pumped, we decided to bring her home.  She ranted and raged, out of control.  In calmer moments, she would confide in me.  She was binge eating.  All of her college money that was to be used for books, supplies, and tuition was gone.  She used drugs and drank on a nightly basis.  She was cutting again.  She slept around, and caught an STD.

She was given meds and sent home.  What was I to do?  I called doctor after doctor, but no one had an answer.  Insurance was another problem.  I had great insurance, but mental illness seems to be a murky area.  None of the local places would help her.  In desperation, I took a leave of absence and took her to a treatment facility on the other side of the US.  This was when we finally heard the words “bipolar disorder”.  She stayed for 6 months, and had great success.

J came home, and life continued.  We tiptoe, because we don’t know what to say or do.  She switches from a manic, I-can-do-anything mood to a depressed, I-can’t-get-out-of-bed mood repeatedly, sometimes ten times in an hour.  My heart breaks for her, my family, and myself.

Here we are, five years later.  She is 23, and still lives at home with us.  Her younger sister moved out, partly due to the pressure of living with her unpredictable sister.  J is more stable than before, but the manic highs and scary lows still grip her on a regular basis.  I’ve gone through much depression in the last five years as well.  My husband tries to be supportive, but he has never been good at handling J or helping me with problems.  Every time there is a problem, whether small or large, I am the one who must deal with it.  On the good side, J kicked the drug habit, and only drinks occasionally.  She still binges and purges, but not as often as before.

I now feel as though I am in a cage.  When Bipolar Betty demands attention, I must drop everything and be supportive.  The doctors tell me I must be patient when she is like this, I need to listen and not get angry.  You know what?  That is damn hard to do.  I am angry, but not at my daughter.  I am angry at this monster that lives here and comes out and possesses my beautiful daughter’s spirit.  I am furious that none of us get to lead a normal life.  I am pissed that the doctors cannot or do not really help her.  I am sad that my once bubbly baby girl looks in the mirror and hates herself.