Monthly Archives: June 2015

Not Waving But Drowning by Stevie Smith and my commentary

This poem is most likely still under copyright of some sort, meaning I cannot copy and  paste, so here’s a link, and also, an accompanying audiofile:

I have always loved this poem. I found it many years ago, and managed to type up a copy (with a typewriter) and save it folded up inside a book for a long time. My guess is that it ended up among the many bits and pieces I had to leave behind in the USA.

What does it mean? Who is the drowning man? Do you know anyone like that? Do you know anyone you wish you reached out to, but couldn’t, or didn’t know you could have, until it was too late?

Dang, I sure do. This poem is a reminder to all of us. Don’t let one more person drown. It doesn’t mean we need more lifeguards. It means we, all of us, need to recognize suffering, and stop assuming it’s up to lifeguards to save the drowning. It’s a tough world out there. Telling kids to hold hands when it gets scary might be a good start.


Anyone who assumes poor people have an attitude/gratitude problem need to look in the mirror

I was also thinking today that so many people are quick to jump on the “your problem is within” bandwagon simply because they don’t want to face the poverty issue. Take one look at who it is that usually makes these “you have an attitude problem” statements. These folks have no clue we afford that fancy spa they go to, cannot afford decent housing, cannot afford that terrific vacation they just came back from, in fact, I don’t have the money for new glasses and can barely see the words I am writing right now.

Know what I heard one of those prestigious people say to me once? That he was poor because he had only one car.

I said nothing. Absolutely nothing, just cataloged that one for future use. Okay, only one car means dire poverty to this person. To me, at that time, from what I recall, I’d pay rent, pay off as much as I could of the other bills, and then be broke for the rest of the month. I’d hear this stuff about how stupid a person was who didn’t “save for retirement” but to me, that was absolutely meaningless. To me, if you didn’t pay at least part of your bills, of if you deliberately bounced a check, that was stupid, but to not save was inevitable. No one was saving or getting wealthier except the super rich.


It is so, so expensive to own even one car. I cannot imagine it. You lose money on a shitbox, so why own one?  I cannot imagine renting a sunny apartment with windows that has its own yard. I can’t afford that, not in any country, so I put up with noisy places like this one that I have had this past year.

I cannot imagine this: FAMILY. Yes, family. It’s beyond my imagination. It’s been that long. And folks have no fucking clue what it’s like to live without that year after year after year.

No Thanksgiving. No Christmas. No birthday. Not for ages.  I have no choice about this. I was denied because of the mental health system.  Nonetheless, I am told that I did this, I am told my insomnia comes from an attitude problem, that it couldn’t possibly come from abuse.

It looks like not only MGH abused me, but multiple abuses were done since so many told me “that’s impossible.” I am still to this day in shock of how my own family treated me. “You must be exaggerating about how bad it was.”

All I know is that I was abused at MGH, left there in utter shock and fear, and after that, couldn’t sleep. I got blamed by my own family and friends. No one believed me for ages. And I still get nothing but blame. Even today, looking back, when I recall how I was treated in my own community like a fucking sinner, I shudder in fear. Like I was a criminal, when I had committed no crime nor dreamed of committing one.

I think folks need to think real hard on whom they are accusing. I think they need to look within themselves and ask a big economic question about haves and have nots. Considering all I don’t have, and was denied for years, I fare rather well for myself.

This is what I hope for the next year.

1) Stay alive.

2) Fall in love.

Or maybe #2 is too much to ask for. If I fall, it could be in love or hell, right?

If you are “flagged”: how to detect this and what to do about it

What do I mean by “flagged”?

If an organization, for its own convenience, needs to label certain of its clientele as problematic for some reason, it might flag those clientele, just as you and I might flag email so that it stands out for our attention in the future, or star something so that we notice it, or “favorite” a recipe.

Likewise, a company might flag its higher volume customers, or top sellers, or best potential buyers.

Your local college loves those donors that donate over $1,000 and targets them. Actually, I heard this from a college person who dealt ONLY with those donors. This was a former college of mine.  I said to myself, “Wow, I really know I mean a lot to them now.”

You, as clientele, have an account number, or at least a name and date of birth. To this company or organization you might be identified by your phone number or address or “last four of your social.” Or username. Or you have a secret question on file. Mother’s maiden name or favorite food. In fact, they know everything about you, which is a bit scary when  they start quizzing you. On you.

Let’s say this is your local gym. Let’s say you are behind on dues by four months. This may get you flagged. So say you are calling to ask about their exercise classes. You aren’t asking about overdue payment methods, you’re asking about classes. But when you call, the first question is,

“Please dial your account number….”

after which you will be routed to the appropriate operator.

My experience tells me that a flagged account won’t make it past this point. You’ll be routed to a loop, or to the billing department, or disconnected, or to “please wait,” and the worst muzak you ever heard.  The solution?  Please forget your account number, or goof it by a digit to bypass these automated idiots so you can ask your question.

Likewise with your local “help” organization. If they don’t like you, they REALLY don’t like you.  Not only do they NOT want to help those of us who are flagged, but they will deliberately lie and put us off or even hang up on us just to get us off the phone.

I’ve had that happen with the National Eating Disorders Association recently. I phoned their office in New York a few months ago to ask about a legal matter. This was on behalf of a group of patients I was concerned about. I know something is happening to do with funding that I found out about and I am trying to stop it. I wanted to make NEDA aware of it. It looked like they were already well aware, but didn’t give a shit. Who cares about poor people? NEDA never has.  Apparently, they didn’t want anyone talking. They didn’t want to deal with it and didn’t want me pestering them pointing out that people with ED aren’t all rich and don’t come from families that can afford to send their kids to horse farms.

So I was dumb enough to say my name. I have spoken to them before and told her so.

Immediately, the person on the phone said. “Can you hold on a second?” There was a long pause. She came back to the phone. She stated apologetically that her supervisor had interrupted her momentarily and she was back. That, of course, was a lie. She had gone to CHECK with her supervisor to see if I was flagged, and found that I was. Her supervisor had told her to immediately end the conversation.

She said to me, “I’m sorry, we don’t handle that kind of case.” Within ten seconds, she hung up.

If you are just plain a nuisance you might be flagged. You might be flagged if you call too frequently just to ask tech support questions. They’ll tell you, “Call whenever you need us,” but when you do, don’t call too much or you’ll find out that all the sudden the wait times are like two hours unless you change your originating phone number or punch in a different account number as an experiment. Or call the sales department instead of tech support. That works every time.

Never mind the big banks. Don’t even call them.

Call up the sales department of that piggish place that flagged you for the heck of it and ask for one of their packages. Ask for something you know only a big business, high volume customer would want. Tell them you will think about it, then hang up. If they don’t hate you and don’t know you’re really an activist, they might actually believe you. For a minute.

Of course, if you are calling a suicide hotline, I wouldn’t phone order 1,000 suicides or you might be in trouble.

Only one more week of annoying faucet-squeaking

I been here a year. After a few days, I learned that every single cold water faucet in the building makes a loud squeak every single time it is turned on or off. It doesn’t matter how quickly or slowly you turn it on or off nor how careful you are. You cannot get around that loud, obnoxious squeak. Flushing the toilet does not produce the squeak that I know of, however, I could be wrong about that since my own toilet has never worked so I have always used the “bucket method” (pouring a bucket of water into it, which works just as well). The hot water faucets do not squeak at all.

All the other apartments also have the same loud cold water faucet squeak. So whenever another person turns on their cold water, you bet I hear that obnoxious squeak. I usually only use the hot side during the night since I don’t want to disturb the neighbors. I’ve been considerate enough to be aware enough to do this for the past year. In fact, for the longest time, I didn’t even bucket-flush the toilet in the night so as to not disturb anyone.  Then, I realized that was dumb, since loud obnoxious “boyfriend” was yelling all night upstairs, why was I worrying about things such as my own footsteps?  For the past two weeks, someone’s been turning their cold water on and off at around midnight. I’d say at around ten or 15 second intervals, not quite regular though, on and off, on and off, for well over a half hour. That damned loud obnoxious squeak. If you heard it like I have the past few nights, you would immediately wish you were deaf.

Only one more week or two, then I am out.

If there are two things on my mind right now, these are “quiet” and “privacy.”  For sure, these have been sorely lacking here.  Thirdly, light, that is, natural daylight, hopefully sunlight.  However, it’s highly possible that the new situation I’m moving into won’t even be habitable so I am not keeping my fingers crossed. I’ll be on the lookout for “backup situation” just in case. Such is the life of “living on very little  money.” You can’t afford a place to live anywhere on the planet. Such is the life of  being a person no one really wants nor cares about.

Only a week more of annoying hollering

I knew it would be bad here when I got roped into the 12 month lease here. I heard eventually that you can’t really get anything else but a year’s lease unless you are lucky and get a month-to-month deal. Many are lucky that way. Many apartments are furnished. It doesn’t matter to me either way. I make do.

But this place is cheap. I thought the location would be good. It is and it isn’t. People asked me if I liked being near the beach. Yes and no. It’s not that essential. Some folks insist that living near a body of water is a life necessity but I am telling you one thing that’s far more important: daylight. I have absolutely no window nor door that is facing into sky. Nothing. I have a door that faces a walled courtyard and the other door faces into a walled front patio governed and ruled with the iron hand of my landlady. This front entrance is the only entrance and she insists on overseeing who enters and exists via this governed turf of hers. A tiny frosted bathroom window faces the courtyard into a wall.  I have only one other window and it’s tiny. It faces into a courtyard wall about three feet away. The courtyard only gets a couple of hours of sun but only during January and February and not at all during other times of year. So I have no sunlight here for hanging laundry except during those months.  So the only light I get in here is from artificial light or reflected light from either entrance. Thankfully, since moving here, I’d say I spend a lot of time walking and far more time outdoors. This is the way of life here, we are more outdoors oriented. But still, inside here, it’s dreary as can be, quite discouraging, dark, and dismal. The floor is the ugliest black stone tile I have ever seen, I sure wish i could have replaced the whole thing with something more light and cheerful.

Also, drainage here is a problem. There’s this drainage thing threatening to overflow immediately outside my bathroom and bedroom. Within about a foot from the wall. And that water gets quite high, almost to the surface sometimes.  So if that darned thing full of local sludge and sewage overflows again (yes, again) guess what? All the local town shit and piss is all over my floor and in my life and making me sick. This can happen in a flash. I saw that just around the corner a couple of months ago. A huge puddle they were trying to push off the street and to god-knows-where. So living near water, if you think that’s romantic, so is shit. You pay for it.

I’m mostly looking forward to no longer hearing the hollering from  upstairs. This has ended up intolerable. I mentioned this before. I have no particular solution to “hollering boyfriend.” I keep hoping she will kick him out. No such luck. That means I leave. I can’t stand listening to that guy night and day.

For months, actually since I moved in, I’ve reminded myself I’m not married to this place. Now, I figure, one more week or two more weeks at most. I don’t have an actual date set yet. If so, I’d be counting down the days. I won’t be far from here. No, not telling.

PS: Just in case, I’m getting  a “backup” in case the next place is clearly not working out. There’s no lease with that one. All I want is a home. A real one for me and Puzzle. Not a place where I gotta tiptoe around.

I can’t even cry here, cuz I’ll be overheard. I hate that. Not that I’ve even wanted to. The one time I did cry all year, I did it at the beach. And once or twice on the bus. Yes, it has sucked in this specific apartment. But I love the country, and the freedom here otherwise.

I support Bree Newsome, AND Deborah Schwartzkopf

I believe in social activism. I believe in freedom of speech and freedom of expression. I believe in peaceful protests and walk-outs and sit-ins and gatherings. And parades. And occupying anything. And strikes and boycotts. Why not? Be radical. Be yourself. Don’t conform. Don’t comply. Break every rule. Escape from jail and give away those two hundred dollars as soon as you pass GO.

Never mind that, hand me everyone’s $200 and the drugs too. What suckers!  Let’s make a run for it. Time’s a wasting here. I could use a good vacation, couldn’t you?

Some questions are better off not asked

Sometimes  you are better off not asking for advice. My adventures in asking OTHER PEOPLE for advice on how to get a good night’s sleep have sure fallen flat.

I get entirely different advice from everyone I ask, including medical people. No two people tell me the same thing. Not only that, most insist that their way is the ONE WAY that works and I am absolutely at fault for not following their one only way. How about that?

So while a lot of folks swear by essential oils, they cannot agree of which oils work. Seriously! I was told one group of oils by one person, and one entirely other group of oils by another. Both insisted on this.

Oh, the person who insisted on one set of oils also first said she swore by these oils. Then, she changed her tune, and insisted that the only thing that worked was chanting. Then, immediately told me I was “closed minded” and a very unwise. Here was another person telling me my master’s degree was worthless. Oy! I was wishing I hadn’t asked for advice. In fact, the original reason I had contacted this person was regarding another issue entirely.  Then, the topic came up and suddenly I went from a friend to an asshole in her eyes in an instant because I turned down her pushy “advice.”

I wished I had never asked. In fact, I’m stopping this advice thing right now. I’m stopping contacting people and asking. It’s so damn pointless. With everyone having a different solution, there’s obviously NOT one universal one. If there were, there wouldn’t be so many self-help articles on sleep. Do you see self-help articles on “How to buy a lottery ticket?” No. You go to a convenience store and buy one. You can ask for advice but I think you’ll hear the same thing from everyone: “Good luck.” You might see an article on how to win the lottery or how to steal from the lottery, though.  Good luck seeing reality when it comes your way.  I don’t steal.

The cult, part whatever

The salesperson was still at it last night. I got tired of it. What can you do if you have told this person over and over, “I’m not really interested. I don’t want any more calls. This doesn’t apply to me. Can you stop all inquiries? I want to be off your mailing list please.”

The salesperson doesn’t seem to understand. The person assumes her product is the only one out there that works, the best one, the only legitimate one, the only valid one. The salesperson thinks she is saving my life but really, she’s being a pest.

“Can you please stop?”

You can get on the Do Not Call List. You can point out that No Solicitors Allowed is the law. It doesn’t work and the person keeps calling and calling.

Oh, just shut up.

Turn off the phone. Don’t look at email. Don’t answer the door. If it’s that smiling face and the pamphlets, tell the kids not to answer. “But it’s free…..” Nope.

Say no to cults. There are so many of them out there, each one claiming to have that One Answer to Save Us All. So one cult is not the only one fish in the pond. Ditch the gurus. Answer your own questions and  you are better off.


This man was my high school sweetheart. He is a good person in every sense of the word, a person I have always truly admired. I probably have record of when it was that he contacted me around June or July of 2013. I wrote it down in my journal. I still have the emails he sent.  It had been like 40 years.  I was in a starved state and very lonely. I told myself, “This is amazing. Why is he being so nice? I don’t deserve this. And why now?” I also felt deeply sad. And thirdly, I was afraid I’d let on how little I was eating. And how difficult it was getting to think straight. I was fairly sure I was losing my cognition due to starvation. I didn’t realize it would repair. (It does. All you have to do is eat.) I had no clue what to say except, “The timing couldn’t be worse.” Okay, so he was contacting me NOW? And there I was, slipping away, completely unable to tell anyone.

I couldn’t believe he was so apologetic. I kept saying to myself, “Of all people. Why is he apologizing when he is least to blame? But isn’t that typical! The ones who did no wrong feel responsible for not having prevented ill fortune.”

We were children some 40 years ago. The adults turned a blind eye or were themselves made into pawns. Children had no rights, no legal rights nor did they have any say in anything anyway. They did’t make the rules nor enforce them. We were small and scared. This is still true of children today.

Some adults around us were so clueless, so tuned out of what made us tick and really should have listened better to what was really happening with us. When it came to our teachers, there was no excuse. Why some of those teachers turned their backs when certain issues were staring them in the face is beyond me.  I can name certain of my teachers who saw right in front of them what was happening to me, and did NOTHING to stop it. I believe they could have even put words to it and yet did not approach the school administration nor my parents nor my friend’s parents (I should say, “friend”) not anyone who had the power to do anything. Children such as my high school boyfriend or any of my high school friends didn’t have power. Adults did. As I explain in my book. That’s why I never for an instant blamed the children involved.

He was also apologizing, I suppose, simply because his life turned out better than mine did. Well? No big deal on that one. No reason to apologize. I felt happy for him, figuring he ran into good fortune and I didn’t. What do we do with that? Catch up? Now?

No, I’m on my way down the drain. Not that I wanted to make him sad. So I said nothing. It was like I had terminal cancer and didn’t want to tell him but it wasn’t terminal cancer at all, as you all know.

I wondered if I was going to end up breaking his heart totally. Or, rather, again.

As they were wheeling me down my own hallway and all I could think was, “Oh my god, I’m so scared they will abuse me again,” and, “What’s going to happen to Puzzle?” Those TWO THOUGHTS were running through my head, screaming at me, both at once, simultaneous firings like cannons booming, and none other,

OR, were they wheeling me UP my own hallway?

Either way, I was being wheeled. And all that roaring.

I guess I contacted a few people once I got there. That, too, broke my heart. I felt like I was disappointing people. For what? For submitting myself to this abuse? Or for having starved? To some, I didn’t want to admit how bad it was in Mount Auburn since the sitters were sitting right there, “doing their job.” That was the object. Keep the girl quiet.  I didn’t admit to some folks I talked to that there were sitters sitting there at all, simply because if I said, “They accuse me of being suicidal but I am not,” Who will the person believe? Clearly, they will think to themselves, “The doctor must be right. My own best friend must be lying to me.” Most don’t even consider that the doctor might be wrong.

It doesn’t even cross people’s minds that the doctor knew all along I wasn’t. This was all done for an entirely different reason.

Hint; Wanna know what delineates a friend from a nonfriend? I’ll tell you. Your friends will believe you as the most credible source of information on your own experience. Your nonfriends find your doctor  the more credible source of information on YOU than you are. So, your nonfriends see you as a category or disease. Your friends see you as you. They talk directly to you.

Therefore, when you get sick, or in an accident, your friends go running straight to you. Go see who is talking to the doctor, negotiating and planning behind your back.  I don’t give a shit who it is. That’s your nonfriend, because your friend will include you in on the conversation. Your nonfriends call the cops on you or send you to therapy. Your friends go to you and ask, and spend time with you.

My high school sweetheart was my only visitor. My minister came later but that felt like tokenism so I wished he hadn’t bothered, actually. I was starting to want all that to be over, but didn’t really want to say much. But my high school friend, that was another story. I had been in that place a week and hadn’t dared shower. I had to fight for my right to a shower without those sitters eyeballing me. Massachusetts state law allows for shower privacy and this isn’t true of all states. Some states do not have such laws and patients can be stared down via clear shower curtains or personnel inside the shower with the patient. It saddens me that in Massachusetts most hospitals count on patients not being aware of these privacy laws so they regularly don’t honor these laws. I was aware, however, and asserted my right.

Yes, they grumbled over it. Gave me a hard time. Told me that my demand was “unreasonable.” Told me that not wanting someone to stare me down while I showered was “paranoid.” Told me that I was “oversensitive.” Told me that by all means complaining about human rights was a reflection of “suicidality” and “irritability” and “anger issues” and “agitation.”

“Wait. I haven’t seen this man for 40 years. I want to take a shower by myself. I don’t want some stranger staring at me from three feet away. Is that too much to ask?”

Never mind that, when you are wicked thin, they REALLY stare. And comment rudely. You can hear them breathing, coughing, clearing their throats. You want to say, “Get away from me, you leach.” It took hours to convince them, in fact, I started the night before, but I finally got my shower.

When my high school sweetheart arrived, he didn’t look any different than he ever looked. Just as tall, which, I’d say, always overwhelmed me, since I am short and have to look straight up at people. I begged him to take me out of there and he refused. Gave me a million reason why he didn’t want to and couldn’t. And left. Apologized, too. Wouldn’t budge. He said he hadn’t seen the sitters do anything bad. But I said, “They don’t do bad stuff in front of visitors.”

I got out of the hospital. Cried and cried and cried and cried and cried. And my high school sweetheart never ever forgave me for filing a claim against Mount Auburn. Guess where that claim went?  Nowhere.

We met in Starbucks. About once a month. I have it on my calendar still. I was so touched that he met with me, since I had no other social contacts. No one spoke to me nor ever was willing to get together with me.  The dates were as follows. October 2, 2013, October 30,  November 16, when I went with him and his wife to a concert, then the 12th of December, January 11th of the next year, when we went to another concert and I was trying very hard to hold it together following the police visit the day before, and then, our final meeting at Starbucks when I wrote right on my calendar, “bad fight.” I sent him one more email after that, but as expected, did not hear back, and that was the end of it. I didn’t happen to see him on Facebook anymore. I realized after a while that he had rigged it so that I wouldn’t appear on his page nor would I appear on his.

I doubt my friend is proud of what happened that last night. I recall the conversation. I had been talking to a friend of mine who had been at a residential program for eating disorders. She told me the place was quite restrictive. She had told me that patients weren’t allowed to go outdoors except for brief, supervised smoke breaks.

So I was sitting in Starbucks with my high school sweetheart and telling him what I’d heard about this residential place. I said, “This was residential, not inpatient. Sounds like prison, not a place to get well.”

He said, “But what if they are suicidal?” Note: he brought up this topic, not me.  Note: he said, “they.” Like, “other.” Lepers. Certainly not him.

I tried to say, “If a patient is known to be actively suicidal they won’t even be accepted into residential.” But my friend cut me off before I had a chance to say that, and started blaming me and claiming Mount Auburn didn’t abuse. He cut me down, over and over, right there in Starbucks.

Now, so much time has passed. That was March 2013 and now it’s June 2015. I never heard from him again and I’m sure my beloved high school sweetheart thinks I’m a total misguided asshole. However, I finally figured it all out. After two years.

He was projecting. He was so fixated on his own private unexpressed suicidal urges and complete rage, that he refuses to admit. Instead, he claimed I myself was suicidal. And he blamed me and flamed me repeatedly while we sat there in Starbucks absolutely floored.  Because we were sitting there in that public place, I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t fight back. I couldn’t argue. I just had to sit there and take it until he decided he’d needled me enough.

Take this! Take this! Take this!

Two years later, yeah, I have it figured out. I’m okay with it. Sad, but okay.

* * *

I’m sitting here with my hands open. Seasons pass.  You know, I usually take people back if they ask nicely enough. I am asking the ole Planet Earth to strip your ex-whatevers of labels, just please, take the labels off, open your hands, and take back anyone who shit on you last year. If they ask nicely.


The cult, part 3

So now, the argument stands as follows. I’m told just how inadequate and rigid I am because I will not accept this person’s rigid view that the cult’s way is the one and only way. It’s Nichiren chanting or  you are shit. I am terribly misguided, she says, since I won’t even consider what she’s saying. She claims I’m a fool and any education beyond Nichiren is worthless.  She says that since I am so closed minded, I’m obviously suffering terribly since I do not follow her cult. I’m cult-deprived, clearly.

The year was 1985. I needed a roommate, so advertised over at the local college. I received a call from one of the students. I was certainly NOT thrilled about having another student live with me since the current two that lived with me were quite a pain in the butt. However, the two who were my current roommates told me, “She’s cool,” so finally, I figured I’d let this new one stay.

Um, yeah. She was a bit pushy. Very. She had an air of, “I’m better and have better ideas about how to live than you do,” like 24/7, all the time, trying to “teach” me constantly. “Hey, buzz off,” I wanted to say to her. “Leave me alone. Just go away.” Then, she tried to teach me how to chant. “But I’m fine the way I am. Let me be the way I already am. I didn’t ask for a lesson. Maybe later.” Thing was, she wouldn’t quit. She wouldn’t give up. She was like annoying glue.  You couldn’t get rid of her!

Not only that, she was never satisfied. More and more. So I chanted with her a half hour, but the next week, she insisted on an hour a day, then two hours. Wow, after it increased past two hours a day AND rides to her three-hour meetings a couple of times a week, I sure was glad she upped and moved back to Greece in a flash one day.

Never mind all those long distance calls to that Greek boyfriend I had to pay for.

Years later, I was told, “Nichiren Buddhists aren’t supposed to be like that.” Or, rather, “We aren’t like that.” Know what? Each and every one will tell you that. It’s a damn lie. Every one of them proselytizes to their friends and families and anyone who crosses their paths. You will find that the difference between denominations and cults is that those in mainstream denominations can live among those of varying faiths and accept differences. Members of cults are completely intolerant and push away those that are not also aligned with them, even their own family members.


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