One of my favorite quotes of all time is by my man, Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Earth laughs in flowers.” You can find it all over my social media profiles, and I even considered getting it tattooed somewhere on my body, I love it that much.
I’m sure no one is surprised, given my incessant floral photography and love for both Earth and laughter. I don’t even know how I found it, originally – probably on Pinterest, or something extra #basic like that. Although I knew it was an Emerson gem, I had only ever seen it standing alone — never within the context of a larger piece of writing. Until now!
I took this photo of my mother and my sister during one of our many visits to a mental hospital in northern Virginia, many years ago now. It was a lucky capture of something increasingly fleeting – tenderness, trust, and a smile, between a mother and her daughter. I haven’t been secretive about my mom’s descent into severe mental illness. It is highly stigmatized, which is stupid, because that makes it far more difficult for all of us to bear. So I will always speak up.
Mom battles Delusional Disorder and Paranoid Personality Disorder, which have no cure and no trusted form of treatment, due to the patient’s inherent suspicion and lack of insight into her condition. We’ve seen her through psychotic breakdowns, hospital stays, suicide attempts, jail time, and homelessness. As hard as that is, the reason it’s most excruciating is because Mom was our best friend growing up. She was a loving and energetic person. But her delusions have transformed Bonni, my dad, and I into the enemy, causing her a great deal of fear, anger, sadness, and pain – which causes her to lash out. And now, it’s hard not to hate the manipulative and abusive person she has become. Continue reading
I am always so touched and impressed when people send me thoughtful gifts, because I am really terrible at it. I’m the Queen of the Gift Card… or the “Just-Tell-Me-What-You-Want-and-I’ll-Get-It-For-You.” Some people, like my sister, have a gift for gift-giving. Apparently, so does my Aunt Lee. Continue reading