Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Vagina Monologues__baby's first set

I just reread my last post (before the one I posted a few seconds ago) and realized I said I'd maybe post some pictures of the set I poured my heart, soul, sweat, tears, (maybe a little blood...) into:

First, this is the draft. I said I was writing from the drafting studio. Well, here's what I was doing:

...technically, it's just a groundplan, but I used this final draft as a little of everything...

Here is the real thing. It may look as though it's on a slant... because it is! This type of stage is called a "rake" stage, and is basically one big wedge. Yes...that blue thing in the uterus is a blue Illinois. Dang straight, people. Best believe this show went up the Friday after elections... a gamble. But I knew it would turn out juuuussstttt fiiinnnneeee...

Yes. It is anatomically correct. Yes, it is a blueprint. Yes, it is twisted perspective. Yes, it fades to human as one nears the edges... I can't wait to get the official photos. Will post those upon request, as well.

Just a little more about me... Not sure how personal I want to get, but welcome to my world. At least a little bit. :)

PS-- I've decided upon my major finally. BA in Theater with an emphasis on set design/scenic art. So...maybe this justifies more time spent in the theater than with my books? ...starting next semester, my gen ed's will be mostly done, so I really will never leave the theater. Hmm. ...can't say I could be any happier. :)

Fuck sensibility in career choice. It's depressing, repressing, and you won't maximally benefit yourself, your health, or those around you-- no matter how noble the logical profession-- if you're not truly happy.

I know things will work out. They always do. And now I'm big enough, old enough, strong enough, and wise enough to make my own the face of adversity. Even when that face takes the form of those I love and respect most.


L a g g g g . . .

Thank you, S., for prompting me to write once again. :)

It is Sunday. Tomorrow begins the first day of the last week of classes for this horrid semester...which I hope explains part of the reason I've not been writing. The following week is finals. Auditions for the straight play for next semester are tomorrow, Tuesday, and Thursday...silly timing. It comes down to: I'm not auditioning because the time is too crazy-- I have too much to finish. I feel bad for those in the dep't who're studying abroad this semester...I think the timing will upset at least one of them a lot. Baahhh!

So, anyway. I finished gathering info for this psych paper I'm writing on the difference in cognition for those with bipolar. What I'm finding is a difference in memory... hm. More to follow when I finish it. I believe I'll be posting the paper (or at least some findings) Wednesday or's due Wednesday.

As far as my mental health amidst chaos, I can say this: a careful self-ration (I'm sure we've all heard of easy addiction) of Ambien has probably been my saving grace. I did some research about addiction and it scared me. I used it every night for about 2- 2 1/2 wks while I put up/painted my set and was afraid I might not be able to sleep without it. But, I am not addicted. Woo! A good friend of mine was telling me about a tea that serves the same purpose and I'll look that up/give it a try/report...hopefully there are more natural alternatives for sleep insurance. Sleep=sanity. For many...if not everyone. Remember that. It's the best advice I can give.

This winter, I swear there will be a launch of information. I found I can hook up to someone's wireless here @ my g-rents'...yesss. And so...let the blogging truly begin.

Until then: good luck for those of you closing up your semesters. And warm thoughts to all!

Talk soon. xo

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Update from the Drafting Studio

Hello, friends. And sorry for the hiatus.

Thanks to Sarah Musick for the encouraging comment about my intentions with this blog. In the madness that is college and bills and work and relationships and and and...I've kind of put this on the back burner. Again, struggling with the idea that thoughts aren't good enough to publish.

Sorry there hasn't been a lot of research just yet. However! My short paper topic has been approved-- the difference in cognition for those with bipolar disorder! So, there's something to look forward to.

But, I'm designing the set for a production of The Vagina Monologues and am filling the role of scenic artist, as well-- a passion of mine. I never thought I'd be able to design a legitimate set...but this process has been amazing. I'm working with an incredible team and I believe it's beyond any student show I've experienced in my years at this school. Perhaps I'll post pictures of my work after it's finished?

Just a quick update. All the best! ...I'll update again soon.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Paying With Your Last Do$$ar: to experience this success:

"real quick"__i feel sick. physically ill. to my stomach. the space in the back of my throat is wide... like when singers are trying to produce a rounder sound... or like when you're about to heave. But my food is solidly sticking to the bottom of my stomach...magnetized... back in the throat, there's something heavy back there even though it's open. feels like crying might be a possibility... but i don't really feel it. or want it.

everything was fine until i stood up.

my balloon-head drifted gaily trailing a spun string and my eyes burned but wouldn't stay shut and i was clumsy... but i was floating. i felt legit high. except w/o the focus. tried to go over notes...skim possible way. words that i would otherwise use daily are too i climb up into bed and release myself into the sheets...allow them to coddle my strange body...

not feeling better.

not feeling tired.

continuing to "ruminate"__reference later...maybe a change in title...don't forget, self__ and think:

How dirty am i. How fucking dirty am i. I take these meds...and they force sleep. falling asleep this way is strange... like you're being lowered with gentle, even hands in a baby's're nauseous. eyes burning, slowly getting heavier. thank. god. passed the am-i-sleepy? eye test. you could cry. sometimes you do. just let a little steam out. always a grab bag with that, though. sometimes you force the energy out and there are little tears. sometimes you want to release a little and uncontrollable sobs attend. how dirty am i.

take more meds to wake up. it takes literal hours to ease into functioning. hours. and then you never look like you're fully awake. your grandma asks you six hours after she saw you if you just got up from a nap... when you've been working on a paper. or trying. hard. ... nice. but you felt fine for a span. ... and now that span is waning...irritability with coherence...

early evening--functioning difficult-- nausea, chills, more irritability less coherence, exhaustion... take the meds to sleep... and there, my friends, we have come full circle.

For me. With Mania.

This is the cost of surviving college during midterms.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

O, rapid thou fire

It is 10:46p ... and I can't imagine sleeping. I took the increased dose of Geodon and Ambien and know it is possible ... yet at this moment? The thought that I will sleep sometime soon is foreign to me.

I am manic.

It is the first couple of weeks in October. It is also midterms. The seasons are changing here in northern Illinois. There are lots of factors. What I've come to know is this: almost to the day, my mood changes drastically within these first couple of weeks. This autumn... it is mania. Last autumn ... it was deep depression. Usually it is depression... but things are so different this year ... not to be unduly vague.

It all came crashing down in the cafeteria last night. Over the smallest thing, of course. You see, I've been trying the vegan lifestyle and the food service at school offered to prepare meals for me. Honestly, it makes me feel awfully high-maintenance ... but I'm not feeling guilty anymore. There are only a handful of vegetables and fruits they serve me and I'm not getting the nutrition I need. For example, today for lunch I had a veggie burger with onions, tomatoes, and lettuce on wheat toast with melon and pineapple. For dinner I was served a veggie burger wrap with tomatoes and lettuce and melon. Anyway, there are established times for me to pick up the food. I've slipped into the habit of coming later because the food is generally not done in time. Last night I arrived at half past five (half an hour later than the scheduled pick-up time) to pick up the food on my way to my night class, Advanced Rhetoric @ 6p. I didn't understand until the food was up, but they were training a new girl. That's why it wasn't ready this time.

As I waited, everything compacted onto me and I started to cry twice. Not completely uncontrollable, no sobbing, no vocals ... but the silent tears. I have a vivid childhood memory of watching some crime show with my mother and the interrogator is a woman. At the end of the episode, the camera focuses on the woman as the others exit, and two tears stream down her face. Her face is devoid of emotion. ... I couldn't fathom this. I had never experienced such pain there was no hysteria. I only knew sobbing until my throat was raw with all of the childhood melodrama. As I became a performer, I realized those tears are the mark of a great actor. As an individual, they are my favorite. When I'm crying silent tears, everything is calm. I am numb. I have past the point of hysteria ... and for a moment, everything is alright... except there are tears streaming down my face.

I was under the illusion I could stop crying. I realized this mistake as soon as I walked into the building I needed to be in.

I started hyperventilating and sobbing and found a corner I could attempt to release these uncontrollable emotions with some shred of dignity. As soon as I thought I had it together, I continued down the corridor, nearing the classroom. Planning to sit in the back in the corner so that if I lost it again, I would draw the least focus -- but what about the seat closest to the door, I wondered, in case I need to escape? ... I didn't want to give myself that option. I've already missed my fair share of classes.

I ran into one of the Education professors and learned that she knows my name. Within the past few months, I've developed the deep sense of shame I'd read and heard about that plagues those with mental disorders ... meaning, I hate talking about it. I hate having to do things differently to reach the same ending as others. I'm sure I'll discuss that more later but the point is: it all came tumbling out. "Oh, it's just that I've got an exam tomorrow that's worth 25% of my grade and I'm nervous and... uh... I've got bipolar, OCD, and ADHD and stress is really difficult for me to deal with... not that it's not difficult for everyone else, but it is especially for me." When I told her it was for Cognitive Psych, she laughed nicely and said I wouldn't want her taking that exam for me. It did make me feel better.

It's 11:07p ... and I've officially grown weary. I was originally going to discuss-- ugh, I can't even finish that thought. It's too much work. I'm wired and exhausted. With the heightened energy and expenditure... I'm not used to this. It's been years since a true mania. During the day, I couldn't be better... endless amounts of energy, etc. I don't even want to explain this shit again right now. I did once earlier to my girlfriend ... I suppose this is what teaching the same grade every year will be like. Every person that doesn't understand, you have to start from the basics ... something you learned eons ago, when you were first discovering what your disorders might look like and entail. But now, it takes a lot of brainpower to sort through the complexities and reach a baseline. A starting block. A foundation. The fundamentals. And that's what I can't do right now.

I'll finish my story soon, I promise. But I'll leave you with this last, fundamental idea--fundamental to my life experience, anyway:

I have reached the point in the day when I can no longer be awake. Since Fall '05, there comes a point in my day when I literally can no longer stay awake and be "functional." This isn't just tired, this is an overwhelming feeling of fatigue, anxiety, dread, racing irrational thoughts -- and I long for nothing but sleep.

You see, sleep is the key. For me, especially. Sleep is the reset button. I could be having the worst emotional day imaginable ... and I know that when I go to sleep, I will wake up and it will literally be a fresh slate. ... I never understood that phrase, "It's a new day," before. Because it wasn't a new day. ... now it is.

Sleep is sanity.

I no longer long for death. I long for sleep. Because sometimes there comes a point in the day where reality is too harsh. ... I haven't experienced this in months. Just as I hadn't experienced the attack previously mentioned in almost a year. And yet ... here we are.

And so, at 11:18p, I bid you goodnight. Hopefully sleep shall soon follow ... though I know it won't. It will be a couple of hours for the medications to take effect. Yet, still, goodnight. I'll see you in the morning...

Friday, October 3, 2008

Yet more of a preface...

I have a MySpace page and used to blog on there a lot ... but stopped. I'm not entirely certain why. I know it was partially because no one seemed to care (no comments/feedback) and partially because I realized I was writing about things not a lot of people would care about; the purpose was nothing more than my own narcissistic catharsis. After I officially stopped, I attempted a couple of updates but they were either too long and/or not written well enough for my own rising standards. After wasting upwards of an hour on each of them, I would end up pressing delete. Since discovering my writing is, in fact, NOT as perfect as my then-cocky adolescent ego thought, I've become highly critical of myself and developed some sort of complex about posting unless I deem it “perfect.” Especially on this, a blog of purpose.

Yet I've come to the realization that this blog is about discovery: equally as much a forum (of sorts) for charting scientific progress and sharing information as it is about my own personal developing anecdote ... or case study. Whichever suits your fancy. Hah! However, I will devise a way to navigate this blog so you, the reader, can choose to peruse the research information aspect over my personal information or vice versa, if you so desire. And so ... I shall post. When I find time. I've come to know that life as a full-time undergrad working a patchwork of jobs can be time consuming. But, oh, will I try and make time.

Some things to look forward to:

  • I'm writing a semester-long rhetorical paper (officially) about the influence of blogging on my chosen field (of study). I'm somewhere within the 88-96% range of certainty (still in the research process...finishing up an annotated bib within the next eight hours...gahd) that the paper will focus on the growing popularity of medicating children in response to diagnosis of mental illness and the rising diagnosis of ADHD and bipolar in children itself. I believe one angle will be the voice blogging gives to alternatives to Western medicine. The class also requires a series of three rhetorical analyses on blogs we discover; perhaps I'll post those, too. The completed project will be posted in the end.

  • I'm taking Cognitive Psychology this semester as well and we have a three-page “chapter” due on one aspect of cog psych of our choice. I submitted my top five preferences, among the top two: the difference in the process of cognition for those with bipolar (brand new research) and the difference in the process of cognition for those with ADHD (more supportable). We shall see. (Yeah, I did choose those so I could duly work on this blog, as well. Fer serious.)

Enough. Until next time,

K. Free

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Mowing through the Rain

I feel the first post should explain the pseudo-cryptic title before we delve into anything else.

I mow my grandparents' lawn whenever necessary... usually weekly. Whenever my grandfather calls, really. Punk, as I call him, is one of my favorite people in existence and I am Punkette; we have one of Those relationships -- y'know, one where affectionate heckling takes the foreground. We're a dream team and it's great. Spending time with him is one of the biggest reasons I'm still in Rockford.

As you've probably deduced, I got a call one Saturday this past summer asking if I'd like to make $10... which is how he asks. Of course the answer was 'yes.'

It wasn't supposed to rain. Not that I watched the weather that day... I have no trust in forecasts. But Punk did. He was also a weatherman during his days in the USAF. He probably watched the weather, though, too.

The sky was overcast when I got to his house and he asked me if I still wanted to mow because it looked like rain. I decided that I did. During the five minutes it took to get the lawn mower out and ready, it had started drizzling.

I decided to mow anyway.

Punk warned against it-- the rain would probably get heavier and I'd have to stop.

I mowed on.

The rain did get heavier... but only for a little bit. As I mowed, the rain lightened... lightened... lightened... and stopped. And I finished the job in the sun.

As I was mowing, I drew a parallel and conclusion:

You've gotta mow through the rain if you want to get on with your day. Despite what your family tells you, despite what the professionals and authorities tell you... you're going to encounter rain. Just ask yourself:

Do I want to attempt?

Remember... you can stop if it rains too hard and mowing becomes dangerous or too much to handle. But eventually... the sun will appear again. And at least you know you pushed the envelope... and tried.

Until next time,

K. Free