I Deserve Better Than I Have Given Myself

Let me just vent for a second. I haven’t written much in a while. I haven’t the energy lately. I haven’t eaten much in a while. This morning I had a spoonful of beans. Yesterday I had half a baked potato. I’m getting sick again. Stepped on the scale at Publix and my weight had dropped to 119 again. Last week, I was starting to freak when I saw that my weight had plummeted to 123. Fuck this.

Sorry. Like I said. I’m just going to vent stream of consciousnesses style until I get this all off my chest.

My agoraphobia has kept me prisoner in this apartment. I hate this apartment. I hate this isolated life that I, unwillingly designed for myself. I leave every morning at 7am to get our food for the day. I return promptly by 7:15. And I don’t leave the house again. Not until the following morning. I’m serious. I don’t even open a window, I don’t walk out into the garden, I don’t LEAVE THESE WALLS.

Philip and I were watching Rupaul’s Drag Race today. We’ve been watching a lot of that. Clever, crafty, comical and cunning, it has been a delightful watch. I love the show. And while we watch it, we laugh, we “hee hee,” throw shade at the queens we don’t like, and have a ball. Paris is burning, wish you were here….

I’ve needed that. This agoraphobia has bred a depression unlike anything I have ever seen. I miss the world. I could be on tour right now. I could be signing books, hugging people, thanking them for giving me a miraculous life. But, I can’t. I’m held hostage in an overpriced piece of concrete shit that won’t let me leave,

When Phillip and I were watching Drag Race, he commented that my laughter and my tone reminded him of when we first met. He thought I was delightful. I’d pop round to have Pho at my favorite Vietnamese restaurant. I’d dash to Sportstown to play air hockey (I do so love it). I’d slip a few bucks in my wallet and head to a coffee house to knit, meet people, say hello, be congenial and smile.

“You were everywhere,” he said. “You were a star. You smiled without even realizing it. You were that happy with life.”

And all of that ended when we moved into this apartment. I started getting sick. Bronchitis, laryngitis, pneumonia. I know it’s a moldy old sick hotel of breeding spores that causes me to get this chronic, continual, frustrating hack that begins to worsen. And before you know it, I’m sick again. And I just can’t do that. I can’t do this anymore. I don’t want to be in the house anymore. Do you have any idea how many bears and books I have to sell each month to pay for this crummy pad? JESUS! And it gets harder and harder the more these bouts of sickness happen.

But, moving is expensive. We barely make it happen here. At the end of the month we have around $20 to share with each other. WHAT ARE WE DOING????

There’s no way we’re able to just pack up and slide into a nice little pad, cheaper than here. Ironic, isn’t it? It’s cheaper to live here where it’s expensive, rather than move. First months rent, last months rent, deposit for possible damages, NON refundable deposits for the cats. It would cost at MINIMUM $3000 to move. So, I write, I knit…..and the whole time I whisper to myself, “I want out of here. NOW!”

I want better than this. I really do. Now, someone could say that I was homeless before and I should be damned thankful to have a roof over my head. Screw you. I busted my ass knitting to get out of homelessness. KNITTING! Did you hear that? KNITTING! I worked these little fingers to the bone to get out of that situation. So, you’ll excuse me if my first reaction is, I don’t have to compromise my homelessness by living in an expensive shit hole. I have earned the right NOT to live in a place that is slowly killing me. I’m one helluva writer, a fantastic knitter, a marketing freakin’ powerhouse, and I deserve more than I have given myself. I want out of here. And I want out now. I want to grab my husband, my three cats, my books and my yarn and just get out of this depressing, moldy, $1000 a month nonsense. I can’t get sick again. I just can’t.

I don’t think I’d make it this time.

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Audrey Hepburn’s Boutique Pink Panda

I had the best time working up this little bear. I got up at 2am, trying to be clever and not waste yarn, I had just a dash of pink left and couldn’t think of what to do with it, so I thought, PANDA! OF COURSE! Why wouldn’t you make a pink panda? It kinda reminds of of that late 50’s boutique look, that Audrey Hepburn feel, that classic combination of pink and black. And the panda looks so delightful in Phillip’s hands, doesn’t it?

There is only one, he’s priced to sell (the panda, not my husband 🙂 ) so, click here if you’d like to adopt him (again, just the panda, not the husband). Enjoy! This little bear is simply elegant.

 

Big Chairs and Bears in Drag

Well, good morning! It’s a good 6am here in Central Florida. You know that I’m accustomed to being up early, but this morning was a little different. I was up at 2am. Why? Because it’s time to get back to work! Yes, all of the holidays are over, everyone is getting back into their normal routine, school is back in session and I, for one, am done with the holidays. And here at Mad Man Knitting Headquarters, the holidays are officially over with my birthday. Boom! We end the season with a bang.

It was a great birthday. Probably top 5 at best. I spent the whole weekend with my mother. Yep, she brought down this enormously gorgeous leather club chair that her neighbor was getting rid of. I’ve always wanted a club chair. So, she snagged it for me. There is just something gorgeously elegant and masculine about a nice, big, fat, comfy, leather club chair. So, I finally got one! YAY! However, my husband seems to have fallen into it and has yet to come out of it. (It is a deeply comfortable chair, and what the hell….it looks better with him in it, than me.) If I’m not mistaken, when it was unveiled he said, “Finally, some big boy furniture….” (And to be honest, when I sit in it I look like Lily Tomlin’s character “Edith Anne.”)

Phillip had to work all weekend, so my mother and I made a big batch of chili, got some popcorn and M&M’s, and hunkered down to binge watch, “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” I know! FUN! We gossiped and laughed, shared secrets (shhhhh!), and never got out of our pajamas, nor took ourselves too seriously. It was the perfect birthday.

She’s much like myself. Sitting and staring at the TV can drive you crazy. You have to be WORKING on something, doing something. But, she is fresh out of yarn, had nothing work on, nothing to crochet, so I handed her a crochet hook and my stash and she started work on a giant granny square afghan that The Madam from “TENANTS” would have made. FUN! I can see it now. “The Madam’s Extremely Loud and Garish Afghan.” (oh! By the way! “TENANTS” is on sale in my shop for today only for $1. Now, go!)

 

I was working on a teddy bear, of course. Something kinda cool about being able to say that this little bear was knit up while binging “Drag Race” on my birthday. Again, FUN! HA! (I wonder what a drag queen bear would look like…hmmm, wheels turning…)

If you’d like to adopt him, click here. And you get the glorious honor of being able to say, “This bear isn’t just ANY bear….It’s a moment in Gregory’s personal history.” So adopt the little bear by clicking here and share a great memory with me. (and he REALLY needs a home soon).

Ok, 7am is nearly approaching. Much more work to do! I’m working on my agoraphobia little by little today….

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Birthday

Today is my birthday. Wonderful, isn’t it? Now, every year I do have a nice, glorious time celebrating my birthday, but I have to admit that this year should involve some real REAL celebrating. Maybe a nice steak dinner with my husband, or maybe just ordering a pizza and binge watching, “Drag Race” all by myself. Who knows? See, this is the first birthday I’ve had since I got terribly sick last year, so this year I’m definitely going to celebrate like crazy. The first half of the day I’ve already spent in some sort of contemplative mode, quietly praying, being gracious for another year, and proposing to myself ways that I can make my little world a better place this year. I’m cleaning house at the same time. I don’t know about you, but I generally tend to feel that cleaning house can be metaphoric. Cleaning the outside, while cleaning the spirit at the same time. So, I have a little cupcake, I don’t really eat sweets so this little one was really all I needed, and thanking all of you and God for a really great life. Oh, I can’t wait to see what kind of celebration my little birthday turns into!

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The Blessings We Had

So! This is my last blog post of the year! And what a year it was, eh? I’d like to bet we say that about every year though, don’t we? Sometimes we’re keen to cling to the bad moments that plagued us throughout those 300 plus days, but never really take a moment to remember the dazzling, wonderful moments. But, I guess those darker moments are the ones that stick to us like gum on the bottom of a new pair of shoes, propelling us on with the determined ambition and stomping that only comes from revenge.

We had some really great moments here at Mad Man Knitting Headquarters, some bad ones surely, but I definitely remember the good ones. It really is important to remember the better times more than the bad, for if you’re dreaming and hoping of the life that you want for yourself, then you need to call on those good memories you’ve had, so that the joy, energy, laughter and fun you felt back then will shape the way your life is moving forward. You smile at your dreams of the future, you don’t cross your brow and frown into them. So, I’m stepping into 2019 carrying the joy of the good moments of this last year, none of the bad ones.

Because this could finally be my year. This could finally the moment everything that has held me back is vanquished and everything that I yearn to be will finally awaken. I could finally achieve my dreams. We all could, really. Any one of us, at any time.

So, let’s lift our knitting needles, crochet hooks, and tatting shuttles in a toast: to the coming year, may it be filled with more of the same beautiful blessings we had last year.

Happy New Year, everyone!

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The “TENANTS” Facebook Discussion Group

From the moment “TENANTS” was released I started getting emails from people who have experienced much of the isolation, pain, and fear that Mr. Brown had in the book; the desire to shut out the world, let it go, to disappear in your own mundane, daily wrecks of whiskey and knitting. And then there were others who identified with the Madam; so hoping, desiring, needing someone to just see her, pay attention to her, validate her. She tried and tried throughout her life just to be taken notice of…yet, to no avail. Her imprisonment in her head wasn’t her decision, but the rest of the world’s. Her detachment from joy wasn’t by choice. She just wanted friends, someone, to spend her days with. And NO one wanted her around.

And I kept reading these emails from people, wishing me well, sharing their own experiences and how my tiny little book gave them hope. One half was team Mr. Brown saying, “Maybe one day, I’ll love the world again.” The other half was team Madam lamenting, “Maybe one day, the world will love me again….”

Now, this book isn’t really about mental illness, but how the broken heart can lead to mental illness. These two people in this book aren’t mentally ill at all, when you think of it. Their hearts are just broken and in desperate need of mending.

We all get like that. Your shiny, fragile heart breaks….and as you sit there on the floor trying to put it back together you realize that some of the pieces are missing and you have to go hunting for them under the rug, under the couch, in the corners of the room. We all feel like that, I think. Something in my broken heart is missing….and that last piece is somewhere around here, I just have to look for it.

So, I’ve started a facebook group for the book and any discussions you might want to engage in about it with me or each other. I think mental health is a discussion that gets politicized or overly attended to in the medical field (ie, here’s your pill….) Sometimes mental health issues are better suited for the individual engagement. Like Mr. Brown and the Madam in “TENANTS.” Loneliness coupled with isolation can breed a demon….or a romance….depending how much your heart needs mending.

“I have a piece or two missing from this heart I’m trying to put back together. You wouldn’t happen to have a few extra pieces of your heart I could use to mend it with, do you?”

I like that my little book has people wanting to talk. So, let’s do that. Let’s talk openly about it. The link to the facebook group can be reached by clicking here. I’m hoping we really get to feel, learn, and express our own problems and solutions with mental health there. Whether or not you’re “Team Mr. Brown” or “Team, the Madam,” I’m hoping you share.

And of course, if you want to read the book, click here.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

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Peace and Goodwill, Always….

I just wish Catholics didn’t have Mass at midnight on Christmas. I’ve often felt the congregation should be huddle outside, somewhere an hour before dawn, deep in the cold of darkness so that when the liturgy is wildly solemn, instead of hearing, singing, praying….you could slowly see the sunrise, you could see the promise and brilliance of a new dawn. Finally, a new dawn. You might be inclined to dance, laugh, cry with joy.

“Unveil to us the face of the true spiritual sun
Hidden by a disk of golden light

That we may know the truth
And do our whole duty
As we journey to thy sacred feet”

(The Gayatri)

If Christmas Mass were like that, I’d beat my agoraphobia to a pulp just to attend the advent of the sun (son).  Instead, I watched a live stream of Christmas Mass at midnight last night…as all good boys should do.

There wasn’t a lot of fanfare here at the Patrick-Champlain house this year. At first, it was that dreaded feeling that we just didn’t have the Christmas spirit. Something was off, something wasn’t clicking. For weeks we’d kinda of forget Christmas was coming. On my end, busy knit knit knitting (to the point of my ring finger blistering towards the end….was gonna show a pic, but ewww gross!!!). On Phillip’s side he was working as much as he could to bring in as much bacon before it all dries up. In effect, we both were. We knew the coming weeks would be dry as a bone in terms of income, for knitters who sale their wares, and cooks who rely on tons of people coming to a restaurant to keep the hours steady.

We did the best we could, but never seemed to GET the Christmas moment. We finally decided to put up our Christmas “bush,” (an old boxwood in a pot we keep outside, just gorgeous when lit up with all of our Dollar Store ornaments), and in the process, with the calm glimmering of our laughing at the absurdity of it, the Christmas spirit fell upon us. We had not laughed in a while, we had not felt peace in a while. The frenetic pace of the Christmas race has plagued us, and we fell victim to it, nearly mortally. But, putting up our little bush we could see the peace that is important to remember on days like these. All that rush to get to a moment just seems to leave the moment some kind of let down.

“Dear God
Hope you got the letter and…
I pray you can make it better down here”

(Andy Partridge)

This day comes once a year to lead us not a moment, but to an important reminder: “Peace on Earth, and good will towards man….” And we spent the last five weeks never once really hearing that; the grinding of my teeth and Phillip’s quick footed step towards purpose was too loud to hear the whispering of what the sunrise would bring: peace and good will….

We forgot all about that until we sat down to have our Christmas dinner.

So, as Phillip and I close out this Christmas Day with the lights a touch lower so we may enjoy the lights, indulging in a simple cottage pie, we wish you peace and offer only good will. We truly hope we give as many people the same beautiful light and protection that you’ve given us.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

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