The e-book of 5150 is free on Smashwords. Go to http://www.smashwords.com and type “5150 MacLeod” You will see that it is set to “name your own price.” This means you can pay $0.00, or anywhere from $0.99 and up, depending on how generous you feel. I want the book to be available to the families, friends and loved ones of people who have had or who are having a psychotic episode. It will give you tremendous insight into the chaos inside their heads, and probably help you sort out what some of it means to them.
I should have been a pair of ragged claws scuttling across the floors of silent seas. That’s how depression feels. T.S. Eliot may have been depressed.
I have a coworker who used to be my boss. He’s got an aggressive, confrontational style of communicating. He takes every opportunity to bully me.
I am an introvert, with a strong non-violent, passive streak. This guy brings out the worst in me: passive aggression. He is down in the boxing ring with his gloves on, waiting to throw a punch, when he suddenly realizes I am in the control booth, and I turned off all the lights.
Working with people like my ex-boss is draining. I suppose they are inevitable in every environment. My current boss suggests that I take some assertiveness training. I will.
I found out today that my eyesight is getting worse because of cataracts. They have not formed, but they are in the stages of forming. My prescription for reading glasses more than doubled. I used to have perfect vision at long range, so there is no need for bifocals yet. I guess I will have to undergo Lasik, or else wear glasses for the rest of my life. Part of it is just a symptom of getting old. Some of it is medication and being overweight.
“I grow old, I grow old. I shall wear my trousers rolled.” T.S. Eliot
I started gravitating towards the family religion last year. The religion is known by a lot of different names, but I prefer to call it “psychic stuff.” I grew up around it. My mother wrote a book called Psychic Dangers when I was 11 years old. She interviewed a lot of psychics, and then “picked up a bad entity.” She was in a panic, fearing for not just herself, but my stepfather and me, too.
After tearing the manuscript into pieces, my mother then asked us all to join her while she drove down to the Vallejo Marina, at the mouth of the Napa River. She put the torn manuscript into a garbage bag, added a few bricks, tied it shut, then threw it into the water. The bag burst open, scattering the pieces of paper all through the Marina. They floated mockingly on the surface of the water like a thousand white lily pads. Frightened, my mother herded us back into the rust bucket and drove us back to the trailer.
When Mom later discovered Tibetan Buddhism, it was a relief. I used to get punished for “giving off bad vibes,” but now I was just asked to sit quietly, which was easy, especially when the WWF was on cable. So when psychics and channelers and Reiki Grand Masters paraded back into my life last year, I maintained a healthy skepticism.
I was feeling like crap, so I figured it would be a good idea to listen to the free psychic shows on the Internet. They did help, particularly the shows that included a guided meditation. While listening, I noticed a lot of unspoken memes that were reverberating across the crackpotsphere. Here are some observations:
1. All angels speak with an Indian accent
2. There was “a cosmic shift” in 2012, according to younger psychics.
3. Older psychics maintain that the shift happened in the 1970s.
4. We are “currently living in the fifth dimension,” and “science has shown it to be true.”
5. Reality appears to many people as a grid.
6. The grid contains “sacred geometry”
7. Powerful practitioners can transfer a grid across time and space via the telephone or the Internet.
8. Many people came to psychic stuff after reaching a spiritual bottom in the Entertainment industry.
9. The Christ Consciousness IS the 5th Dimension. Science has not backed up this assertion.
10. If the current psychic stuff movement were organized, it would be presided over by Esther Hicks, and Abraham the Angel.
When I first started learning Spanish, I noticed that the days of the week seemed to be related to Roman or Greek gods, which were also planets. In English, our days of the week are named after Norse Gods, but many of them are analogous. For instance, Jueves in Spanish is for Jove/Jupiter, while Thursday is for Thor. Both of them own the thunderbolt, and are considered the HGIC in their respective faiths. It continued in French, and then, to my utter astonishment, in Japanese!
Monday=Lunes=Lundi=Getsuyobi=Moon Day. When I learned Italian, Lunedi was added to the mix.
Friday (Freyja day)=viernes=vendredi=kinyobi=venerdi=Venus day. Freyja is the Norse goddess of beauty, love, sexuality, etc. Just like Venus.
I asked my Japanese teacher why the days of the week were named after the same planets as they are in the Romance languages, and she just smiled and said, “because we know this too.” Before contact with the Western world, they used numbered days based on a lunar calendar. If I were a linguist, I would write my thesis on how the names of planets came to be associated with names of days in cultures that are linguistically unrelated.
Then I learned Portuguese. How very odd. They use numbers instead of planets/gods. Monday is segunda-feira (second day) Friday is sesta-feira (sixth day). The seventh day is Sabado (Sabbath, as in all Romance languages). When I told my Spanish speaking husband about this, he shook his head in disbelief. He can’t deal with the fact that Rio is pronounced HEE-yoo in Portuguese. The days of the week are just further examples to him of how backwards and incorrect the language must be. Some day I know he will study the language, and then it will all make sense.
I believe the Portuguese, and by extension, the Brazilians, are rebels. They do what they want, say what they want, and don’t need gods to tell them what day it is. It’s a good thing to think about on Mardi Gras/Carnival. This is their last burst of chaotic anarchy before they succumb to the Saturnine discipline of Lent.
Twitter is home to these semi-people with half-baked identities. There will be a picture of an Emo guy named “@motivation_quotes” and his blurb says some variation of “I like leadership and self-motivational inquiries. Come and be my friend. Followback 100%” The English is poor, and the sentiment is cloudy at best.
To find out if my new follower is for real, I go to his profile, where I see that he has tweeted 18 times and has 100,000 followers. The 18 tweets all concern motivation and leadership. “What the heck,” I think, “I’ll follow this guy. He doesn’t seem to be noisy, after all, and he has great influence.”
This was my beginner’s understanding of how to build a network on Twitter. What I didn’t realize was that his profile does not display how many RETWEETS he has done, which must number in the millions. Every 5 seconds, another picture of a scantily clad woman originally tweeted by “@True_Romance” or “@Love_Tasty” appears retweeted by @motivational_quotes in my feed. Once in a while, the bikini is missing due to “oops wardrobe malfunction.” Some of the tweets are pictures of suicides.
These are the breast robots. I have a suspicion what they are and why they are retweeting NC-17 obscenities. They represent all that is crass and unpleasant about this new electronic wonderland we have all chosen to inhabit.
Breast robots, as far as I can tell, are part of some murky and shady PR agency based in a not-quite-first-world nation. They promise 75,000 followers and they do it with this mad babble, artificial identities, and probably a host of other unpleasant tactics that I have yet to discover.
Glory of glories, I discovered the “Mute” feature. I get to keep following this nitwit and count him among my “followers” and he doesn’t unfollow me, because he doesn’t know I can’t see him. Or her.
With the help of all the fantastic free features on SocialBro, I can get quick stats on who is following me that I am not following, the reverse, the reciprocal follows, the recent unfollows…so I can clean up my following.
In truth, I think only a half dozen strangers have reached out to me who I would even consider real human beings with shared interests. I am always helpful to these real people. I go to their YouTube page and like their video. I go to their gig on Fiverr and “check it out.” I don’t befriend any of these strangers on Facebook. They could suddenly turn into breast robots and then my social network would be tainted.
Only about 5% of my friends are on Twitter. They are great. We cheer one another on, we retweet, we favorite, and we exchange abbreviated sentences. All of these friends are female, and oddly they don’t know what I am talking about when I mention the breast robots. Apparently this only happens to males. Even males like me who follow a couple of really hot gay porn stars just to keep up with their (ahem) acting careers.
The twitterverse is a massive collection of false identities and robo-posters, with a few real people sprinkled in between. And, lest I forget, it’s really fun, too!
Smell is the sense that has the deepest and least conscious connection to memory, followed by taste. When we smell the perfume that our grandmother wore, we find ourselves thinking about her without really knowing why. For some reason, when the memory comes about below our consciousness, it has a tendency to drag a lot of emotions along with it, whether happy, angry, sad, or something in between.
Dogs have a sense of smell many times more powerful than that of humans. This led me to wonder if they have the same ability to recall emotions and even communicate by scent.
Our dog Patsy has specific spots in the neighborhood where she will sniff and pee with great predictability. She also has a schedule worked out, where she gets very stubborn about which walk we need to take that day in order for her to check her pee-mail.
My husband and I joke about it, because we both have noticed it. “She’s plotting the canine revolution with her co-conspirators.”
There is a type of grass that grows in just a few places in the neighborhood. When the grass matures, it sends up little helicopter-shaped stalks. For some reason, when little Patsy comes across that grass, she becomes obsessed. She sniffs and sniffs, grows excited, rubs her face in it, then tries to roll her entire body in it. Clearly, the grass means something to her.
I had a few theories. I thought maybe the grass has healing properties when rubbed on her skin, and our little Patsy is a shaman (or would that be shadog?)
Today, I had a deeper theory that probably attaches way too many human emotions to a canine, but it is the one I like best.
We got Patsy at the pound. When they picked her up on the street, she weighed so little that they actually told us she was a chihuahua. She is a beagle or something much heavier. She starved on the streets of Lincoln Heights for a few months, and it clearly traumatized her in lots of ways. She is extremely territorial with her food. She won’t go near water. She is obsessed with food at every waking hour. She even wakes me up sometimes in the middle of the night to demand a treat – which she never gets because that is one behavior I dare not reinforce.
She is very happy with her family of people. She loves to be close to us. I am sure she lives a good life. But we cannot remove the traumatic stress from her memory. She is permanently affected by the months of starvation and street life.
So here’s my theory. I think that her mother used to nurse her in a field of that helicopter grass. It grows everywhere in that part of town. Smelling the grass brings her back to a time before she experienced want, pain, and constant hunger. It was a time when she felt safe, satisfied, and loved – without a memory of something terrible weighing on her.
It’s a pretty far-fetched theory, but I prefer it to other explanations.
When my mother died, I inherited a box of her towels and bed-linens. When I opened the box, I smelled her. It brought back many pleasant memories of her. So I’d like to think that Patsy has the same trigger for sense memory. I didn’t bother going to Google to find out the real reason why dogs roll in grass. I prefer my explanation, so I will stick with it.
Some or all of you will think I am a kook when you read this. My suggestion is that the moment you think this seems too weird, just move along. It is National Mental Health Awareness Month, so it is important to note that not only am I a kook, but I embrace all things kooky and strange. Or, as the Twelve by Twelve (AA) says, “One day I awoke to find myself surrounded by kooks, crackpots, queers and fallen women.” I have embraced them like I would my own children. They are what makes humanity so different from machines and animals.
Anyway, one kook in particular I have spoken to lately is a fabulous lady who does long distance Reiki over the phone. She informed me that I have two guardian angels watching over me, and that they communicate with me regularly. I wasn’t quite sure what she meant, but then I remembered this really, really weird phenomenon that keeps happening to me.
Everywhere I go, I find playing cards. Not a whole deck, or a group of six or seven, but one playing card at a time. A few months ago, I found the Jack of Diamonds over in Highland Park. Right before I met the Reiki practitioner I stumbled across the Queen of Spades at the Orange Line Metro station by my house. Yesterday, I found the two of Diamonds laying face down in my neighbors yard. I asked other people if this happens to them, and NO ONE has this happen to them. Just me. And, because I studied the Tarot since I was eight or nine years old, I know what the playing cards mean.
The Jack of Diamonds came to me a couple of days before I called my Executive Coach for the first time. Part of me was scared to work with her. But the Jack of Diamonds reassured me that she was working for my betterment, despite what some of my inner voices were saying. It reassured me and told me to relax and just go with the flow. We ended up writing a book together over the past few months and I am excited to see it get published.
The Queen of Spades is a wise older lady, who is often depicted as a solitary crone in the forest. We should always heed her advice, because she knows what she is doing. That was the Reiki lady, who told me about my two guardian angels.
I’ve been a bit down in the dumps the past few weeks, because I am working harder than ever, but finding myself not having enough money to spend on improving my house. I am due for a raise at work, but nothing has come through. The two of diamonds face down was one of the angels letting me know that things are going to be like this for a while, unless I decide to make a big change. Right now, I am struggling with work/life balance, and when the 2 of diamonds is “reversed” it confirms that things are not in balance. That’s why I am risking my job and writing this extremely nutty blog from my office right now. It is after 6pm, and I am done for the day, so hopefully it won’t be considered an unforgivable breach of conduct.
I will talk some more about this sort of freaky new age stuff in future blogs. It is a deeply rooted part of my being. I was raised in a “psychic” family, so I sort of take this stuff to be natural and normal. It is not “witchcraft” or some sort of devilish trick. It is simply the angels in my life speaking to me in words I can understand.
In honor of President Obama’s announcement, I will take this opportunity to come out of the mental health closet. I am a high functioning mental patient. I take medicine to maintain my mood. It doesn’t always work, but it helps an awful lot.
If I can be open and honest about my sexuality at work, why is it so hard to do the same with my illness? I think the majority of my coworkers have been patiently conditioned by news and the media in general to be tolerant of homosexuality, if not fully supportive. Mental illness, however is something I struggle to hide every day.
I was fortunate enough to be able to put myself through business school. It gave me some opportunities at work for which I am very grateful. Sadly, no one wants a leader with a mood disorder, so I quietly stepped down to take myself out of the spotlight. It is costing me a lot of missed opportunities.
I use a tool to measure my mood every morning. On days when the indicator drops sharply, I call in sick. I am out of sick days now, and I feel too ashamed to go to HR and ask for FMLA protection. I don’t trust that they will be tolerant enough to grant me protection and not try to use it as an opportunity to put me on the short list for the next round of layoffs.
If I can be open and honest at work about my sexuality, why is it so hard to do the same with my illness?
I am a pretty brave person, so I will likely do what is right and approach HR. If I crave tolerance, I should give my company the opportunity to demonstrate it. So, in honor of Mental Health Awareness month, I will tell my job about it.
I am also creating a symbol of my struggle, a white knotted piece of string, to hang in my office. If people ask me what it means, I will tell them. I would even encourage them to take one and hang it in their workspace, to let people know they have a friend with mental illness. Now, where is my ball of string?
P.S. I wrote a novel about the struggle called 5150. It’s an ebook only right now…but you can find it on Amazon, the Apple Store, Barnes and Noble, Scribd, Smashwords…
In a small Indian village, there was a school for the blind. The students there had seldom ventured far from the school, for they were in an area that was surrounded by scrub and chaparral, and they did not like to wander into thorn bushes. The teachers were all excellent, and did a good job of preparing the young minds to read braille, to cook for themselves, and to eventually learn to become independent.
One hot summer day, the school was closed so that the teachers could go for a conference in the nearby city. The teachers had to walk several miles into the closest village, where they would catch a bus to the city, returning by nightfall.
That day, an elephant came out of the brush and wandered up to the school. The students were outside working in the garden, irrigating the fields of lentils and potatoes. Suddenly, the giant creature approached the blind students, who had never encountered an elephant, and stopped. The students’ fear gave way to curiosity, and they began to explore the elephant with their hands.
One student found the trunk, and said “This creature may be a snake, but its skin is much thicker, and it blows hot air into my face.”
Another student reached the tusks of the magnificent creature. He said “I don’t know for sure this is a living thing, for it seems to be made of some sort of soft, slippery stone. It pulls away from you and cannot be held safely”
Another student felt the front leg. “This creature is big around as a tree, it is not a snake, and it is not a rock. And if you are not careful, the creature can crush you.”
One student felt the ears and said “This creature is thin and flat. It is not snake-like, nor is it a tree, and it is definitely not made of stone. If you hold onto the creature, it will swat you in the face. It is not dangerous.”
Another student held the tail and said “I tend to agree with our first colleague that the creature is like a snake, but it does not blow hot air, it blows a foul wind, and occasionally drops heavy turds on your head.”
Yet another student was unable to find the creature, and told them all that it simply didn’t exist, they were all wrong.
Each was so convinced they were right, that they began to argue with the others, and focused on the differences in their description of the creature, rather than the similarities.
The youngest student came forward and held the tail, using it to climb the elephant and came to rest on its back. He rode the elephant away and left the students behind quarreling about the nature of the beast.
Had the other students let go of their part of the elephant, and explored different parts, they may have eventually realized they were all describing many aspects of a single being. Such is the Lord.
Had a teacher with vision returned before the creature left, she too might have been able to awaken the students to the truth of the great creature. Such is the Lord
The child rode away because he was brave enough to climb the mountainous beast and hold on, allowing it to take him to another destiny. Such is the Lord.
Enough already with the JC Penney permanent press pants and the Brooks Brothers no-iron button downs. I’m in my flip flops, a tank top, and a pair of shorts. My belly is hanging over the waistline. Not just literally, but figuratively as well.
I am a musician, a poet, a writer, and then I do a ton of business-related stuff all week long. It is exhausting, but it pays the mortgage.
Today I’m dedicating my post to two works of art that actually made it out into the world and deserve mention.
My novel, 5150, which is available as an e-book on Amazon, iBooks, Nook, and a bunch of other places thanks to Smashwords. http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/366295
And the CDBaby helped me get the album “Plow This Land” by the Acres out onto iTunes, which was no small chore.
There are more fancy ways to show you these great works of art besides a mere link to an external URL, but I have yet to figure out how to make them work on here. They just look like gibberish.
I encourage you to explore them. Samples are free. If you like what you read or hear, tell a friend about it. I’m feeling like I have been reduced to shameless self-promotion, so I will stop here.