Kin

I am bipolar and bonkers and irrefutably boring.

I have nothing to offer.

I wish I wrote as eloquently as Virginia Woolf, with beautiful articulations like Sylvia Plath, laying lyrics on old paper that inevitably stained but remained profound and potent like the poems of Dickinson. But I don’t have the grace of their inkwell laced letters or their unparalleled talent for authoring authentic emotion, nor do I live a shadowy life of insane despair with a dash of lesbianism. Well, maybe except for that last bit.

600 mg of lamictal leaves blue dust in my palm.

All of them so intriguing, these women of my illness. I just don’t have their phrases, or their penmanship, or their pedestal-worthy exit strategies like walking into a lake all for the sake of peace or peeking into an oven looking for something slightly larger than nothing.

But I feel the same, pained cranial chaos. The same shattered rattle in my limp, soggy heart. Eyes that bleed black. And a sickness that stops me wherever I stand.

Two little red risperdals right after breakfast.

I just don’t have the poise or the elegance or the brave nature of my sick sisters from long ago. The founding mothers who chiseled the foundation of our shared madness. They lived their lives in parlors and log cabins, sharing beds and gardens with other tortured creators. They left behind everyday artifacts, museum-worthy antiques, countless possessions that deserved preservation. Trinkets and treasured belongings. Petticoats and typewriters. Old coins and folklore. Everything much more inspired than mine.

A klonopin to stave off a panic attack, please.

All I have is a faded couch propped up in front of a large television that spills reality TV shows into my living room. I wear ugly pajamas that I bought at Target. For the love of god, TARGET. How unimaginative is fucking Target? I guarantee you no future historian will ever catalogue lyrics and sonnets dedicated to the miraculous muse that is Target. Emily Dickinson would never go there for her bonnets.

But they do have my prescriptions.

My bipolar is not romantic.

Not an illness to share sentimental silence with. I am not a recluse writing poetry on slips of paper to crush into crevices in my father’s library. I have a laptop with a perpetually low running battery and “Florence and the Machine” looped on my iTunes. No pen or paper or pebbled leather notebook, no harpsichord or violin or piano. Nothing classic. Just Flo belting out ballads and me clacking computer keys. No cursive characters or daguerreotypes from days of yore, no quills with inked tips, nothing timeless.

I press a tablet of zoloft onto my tongue.

I don’t use words like “ethereal” or “gossamer” or “pallor” in everyday conversation. I guess I could but I don’t because the words of my generation are “selfie” and “Netflix and chill” and “FOMO” and I use those instead. I am unabashedly all over Instagram. Because I am lazy and predictable. What do I even contribute to feminism? I am a real fucking phony.

My seroquel keeps getting upped but at least my teeth have stopped shaking.

I hide behind a glowing screen and string together long extravagant paragraphs crammed with adverbs, elaborate whining, and imagery that is ultimately juvenile and hollow. I barely scrape by as I try to be vivid and Plath-like, harkening the depth of Emily and Woolf, but I guess it’s insincere because I’m just a disheveled fake — especially considering my modern day madness doesn’t even compare to the real throes of desperation that picked off the masterful crazy ladies of history. They made space for genius and I just refuse to shower.

At the end of the day I am a miserable, monotonous, manic mess.

I chew lithium as my eyes roll back in my head. But admittedly it is easier to breathe.

I am such a disappointment when it comes to collecting crazy for posterity’s sake.

I groan in the bathroom mirror and dry swallow a combination of tablets and capsules. But at least I slept through the night and my thoughts have stopped whimpering.

Inelegant and obnoxious I share nothing in common with the mentally ill heroines who kept track of their crazy in stories we salvage. My woeful words and my shoddy lesbianism never held a candle to their legacies. I will leave nothing behind except for my unpaid Target credit card balance and a measly Word document reluctantly titled “ideas.”

But two ativan later and I get my life back.

A big difference between Woolf, Plath, Emily and me is that I’m not “blessed” with the trope of broken brilliance.

I’m sick but not doomed. I’m crazy but not damned.

I’m going to make it.