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Oct. 18th, 2016

  • 4:54 PM
pridefall: (an atheist in hell | John Constantine)
"Twenty things you learn when 20miligrams is what it takes."

One: no one will ever consider your condition severe until
“severe enough,” looks like: chemo-shock-group-experimental therapy; until the words friendship and patience
begin to rhyme with infringe upon and tolerance.
you will, to your family–and at best–become the stress
that sometimes tears apart marriages, or makes every
holiday less a time of celebration and more
everyone, in every room you’re in, now scared
they’ll become the unwilling participants
of a train wreck.

my cousin did not consider ADD an actual disease until
i screamed myself hoarse (metaphorically) explaining how:
i no longer read books for pleasure because the stories in my head are half highlight-reel, half-static;
that i no longer play videogames
or date women
with too much lag between: my turning on the system,
and putting in the time to get my money’s worth
–action, to me, is no longer how every movie starts,
but more a necessity to keep my interest going;
so, two: you will learn to love those who understand you,
and fear the ones who look with pity in their eyes,
well-meaning and sympathetic,
but also assured
that all it takes to overcome what ails you
is will-power and a positive outlook on life

except, three: homosexuality was not removed
from the American Psychiatric Association’s list of mental illnesses
until 1974, and
four: both the queer and mentally ill communities have the highest rate of homelessness and depression of any “minority group,” world-wide, so five:
you learn to hate every pedantic vegan-chuffing yoga-nut
pseudo-spiritualist telling you that alternative methods to medication work for everyone, always, and all one needs is to
realign chakras and drink more tea, go out an exercise
and think “Yes! I! Can!”
to quell things inside of you that are less infectious bacteria
and more a virus specifically curtailed to ruin your life;
because, six: over half the children forced into experimental programs like conversion therapy
commit suicide
rather than let someone else try to
“fix them.”

because, seven: even doctors treat the mentally ill as if they’re lying,
and, like every good realtor:
they can take one look at a shitty house and make you think
the word “fixer,” should always follow “upper,” in your prescription.
everyone in the industry is trying to sell you something–
i take a cocktail of meds and vitamins every morning in an effort to
function like a “normal human being”
– whatever the fuck that means–and, still"
there are days where i talk to my psychiatrist and i can tell he only wants me in his office for my money, and half-an-hour of doodling;
that friends hang on and ingratiate themselves because
Adderal and Ritalin are at 2$ a pill in Mayaguez, but 15$ in Ponce;
so, eight: you will learn to despise engineers, and chemists
and, nine: you will learn to despise lawyers, and med students
and, ten: at some point, you will swallow your every pride and moral
because making 100$ or more a bottle
when you only pay 6$
is too good an offer to pass up,
and student loans don’t pay themselves.

the saying goes “fake it till you make it,”
but, eleven: actors like Johnny Depp, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hanks, Cillian Murphy, Leonardo DiCaprio, Eddie Redmayne, Julianne Moore, Jared Leto, Matthew McCConaughey, Daniel-Day Lewis, Russel Crowe, Dustin Hoffman, Robin Williams, Robert Dinero, Winona Rider, Anthony Hopkins, Heath Ledger, Kathy Bates, Edward Norton, and Jack Nicholson, et al
have been rewarded for their portrayals of mental illness in cinema for decades,
and still top such charming lists as “Best Actors to Play a Retard,”
on the first page of any google search;
because, twelve: the world does not want mental illness as a reality,
they want the comedy, the dramaedy, they want less vaccinations for children,
because apparently the threat of autism is more damaging to society
than preventing the rise of infant mortality rates world-wide;
which brings me to twelve: the virtual space film offers,
and how it turns real-world crisis and disability into entertainment,
is not for you
–is, in fact, thirteen: a fucking baldfaced lie, because
thirteen: none of us can fake this shit and win awards,
when not being “normal,” in Hollywood
automatically disqualifies us for the running.

the world, fourteen, will want you to stay quiet,
and out of sight, and out of mind;
because even though most medications will destroy your liver,
and most prescription drugs are riddled with side-effects,
they think it better you evened out and compliant
than anything approaching an embarrassment.
the mentally ill have no communities because every village
abhors that which brings disease.

fifteen: aunts and uncles taught me that suffering goes both ways
when Alzheimer’s turned my grandmother from a redwood strong enough to carry three generations of children, (their children,
and children’s children) into failing lungs, loss of self, and shit-caked fingernails,
so much of her brown like the soil of every garden she’d spent decades cultivating within us.
my father and i watched for ten years as the strongest woman either of us knew wasted away to nothing (a vegetable, the doctor said once when he thought I couldn’t hear, and never before have i wanted to kill a man without remorse)
but, sixteen: you will learn families handle the phrase “terminal,” in different ways, and
seventeen: it is easy to hate, and scream, and wish worse on others than to understand what it must have been like
to watch your mother go from Mary Magdalene to
a corpse wearing an EKG machine like a halo.

every father, i think,
prays that their children will not be born “a certain way,”
and that their legacy, whatever it may be,
will surpass every foundation set to support them;
but, eighteen: there are entire generations of gay,
and bisexual men missing from history,
their stories devoured by the Reagans and their hatred for
anything that did not fit their conquest of America;
In another poem,
I talk about how my time in military school taught me
nineteen: that when were are forced to pretend,
or hide what we are:
less student came back every semester,
and no one ever said their names again;
as if none of knew what auto-erotic-asphyxiation,
or scars cutting horizontal down the middle of your wrists
could ever imply.

you are allowed to be angry.
you are allowed to want more than pity and
“I’ll be here for you, whatever happens,”
until they’re not, or won’t be, or cannot;
you are not supposed to fit in this world,
nor settle for being pushed aside and forgotten;
there are forms of art where chaos
and broken shards of every kind
meld together to create something beautiful,
so

TWENTY
this world is not for you, nor made to accommodate you;
but goddammit, that does not mean you are defined by
every awkward angle and too-sharp, or too-sudden
pieces of you that others cannot navigate.
you are not broken, or incomplete, or just reduced to the sum total of every prescription you’ve ever had;
you are not your pills, nor whatever it takes to swallow them;
in fact, hold up;

TWENTY ONE:
you are the ocean,
are the ever constant ebb and tide,
the push and pull of titanic forces,
each beyond our mortal control;
and, yet:
most good things in this world,
i promise you:
simply want to extend their hand,
and feel from where you are coming from.