I do believe it’s not about how long you know someone it’s about how much they touch your heart in this life that impacts us the most. I know this to be true because 2 days ago was the 5 year anniversary of my friend Kelli’s passing. Her big little heart that had been through so much pain and torture. That was still beating by a gadget in her chest, found a space of solace and just stopped.
I knew her for a few weeks, we were in a treatment center together and we connected in a moment like we had been friends before. Of course it was a sarcastic comedic moment making light of something so heavy in an appropriate way – making fun of her and she turned around and came back with a perfect retort. We laughed and said okay where the hell have you been? Do you realize how late you are? We connected on a level that most others in my life can’t. We’d unfortunately shared childhood/adulthood trauma and when you are alike that way, things are just different. You have an understanding of life in a way that I don’t really know how to convey.
We grew together and learned how to deal with trauma and rage in ways that no one had ever showed us before. Releasing your rage while throwing lumps of clay at a wall, which then I moved to throwing rocks into the Ocean while on the phone with Kelli spouting my anger. Which since became my anger Ocean and since moving from the beach I miss sunsets that I got to throw rocks while yelling into the waves. If you’ve never lived by the ocean and all its magnificence i hope that you do someday. It’s magical.
I still write to her as if she reads my journal entries like a letter that arrived in her mailbox in the great beyond. I still have things we made together- because when you know someone for only moments you sometimes need to hold onto things that make no sense to anyone. Things that bring you right back to a moment with them. All I want to do is write to her this morning.
My sweet friend Kelli I miss you, I still only have this picture that does not show the you I knew but it is all I have so I gratefully keep your face. I still have the phone number for you at the black phone that I could reach you on. I know my heart will always be full yet broken when I think of you. I feel awful that I didn’t get to celebrate your memory on the 5th. Actually one of my dearest beautiful friends was born on that day and I was going to celebrate her but I ate a bad something and my body revolted all day and night. I wish you could’ve seen me do stand up and the joke I wrote about you because I know you would’ve totally laughed at the wrongness of it! I know where ever you are is a better place, has to be because your there my friend. You’re probably outside smoking one of those damn camel snap cigarettes. Kelli Marie Wells, you touched so many of us in your short life. Ahhh! We would’ve had such a blast living together in Venice. Okay enough sappiness. I know the one thing I always have to have to honor you and that is hope, because that’s what you finally had in your life for the first time that let your heart rest. I guess I should work on that joke and bust it out this week because it makes me laugh, and if people gasp all the better. Well my pal I hope you riding wild horses and I’m sure you’re reading something far too intellectual for me to even peruse. Okay I’m laughing loudly and loving with passion and always carry hope in my heart……Love you, Bug.
For the most part I do not fall in to this category.
Which is a relief because of ALL the other embarrassing ones I do fall into.
What I’m referring to is when you’re drinking with someone and you think you’re having this deep heart to heart conversation. Sharing things and thinking how great it is to find someone who you see yourself treasuring as a friend in your life.
And then what happens is something like this.
You bring up something you spoke about and they look at you odd and awkward. You know how dogs tilt their heads side ways and look at you? Like they have never heard this information before. You try to say er ah don’t you remember having a whole conversation about that?
Then the bomb drops when they say “No, I think I would remember talking about that!”
You think you’ve shared intimate things with this person and they shared intimate things back. And they told you how happy and excited they were to have met you. And you say the same because it’s true. It’s a great feeling when you have that no judgement freedom to speak and think wow this person REALLY likes me! This is awesome!! And for a hot minute you feel great, on fire in life and free from your own bullshit. Not because they complete you, because they get you and you can just be you.
But it turns out, They don’t remember a freaking thing, and You have no clue that was a completely different person. Um, time out! The ref blows a loud whistle in your brain a RED flag is thrown and now flying above the field. And panic has just shown up in the form of a water boy with a helmet on its head.
DAMMIT you’ve been here before and it sucked. It killed your relationship. Because last time you had no clue about Dr. Jekyll and Mister Alcohol! So you rolled with it, being understanding, never having a problem with their weird forgetfulness, bad moods and stress. Yes you rolled with it Until your mind was run over with confusion like a big machine that flattens the new pavement on a road. I know it’s dramatic but that’s the visual that popped in my head.
So I digress. The red flag is popping up and it’s waving like an American flag on Independence Day during the parade of weird floats. Why do they have such weird floats? It’s like they ran out of ideas and in a panic just said, ‘I don’t know do a float for the yellow pages!!”
I’m going on and on I know. I apologize I’m just trying to digest the red flare that went off in my stomach recently. It’s funny because I’m the bipolar one. I’m the one letting my stuff out on the table of no judgement or so I thought.
But maybe my bipolar stuff is just so big and startling. If you’ve never known someone who’s bipolar how do you understand that sometimes it’s hard and meds help but sometimes they need to be tweaked. I know I’m different. I know at times I can be a HANDfull and too emotional. And look if I could I would rather not be on meds, but you know what I need them. They are literally the distinction of living a normal or life being like an acid trip. It sucks having to navigate through relationships being on meds especially when people don’t realize that sometimes they are off, and that throws you off. And dear all I don’t blame any of you for getting frustrated with us. I do blame you for being assholes of non understanding if you think we use this as a crutch or that it’s a fall back excuse to not take responsibility. Because it ain’t. It does make most of us that have to be on medication tend to isolate from our friends because we know that if you don’t understand what it’s like to be mental, then there’s no way you can understand what it’s like to have moments where all you want to do is leave the house and do ten things and organize and clean and go out and have lunch with friends and then go to dinner or maybe a concert and your mental brain freezes and you can’t do anything or go anywhere and you don’t for the life of you know why. But you’re stuck. So you judge yourself based on the reactions you’ve had in the past and know that instead of having to disappoint and hear the tone that transfers across the phone line from your friends. The tone you know is disappointment and frustration if they had a baby.
But I also know that most of the time I rock, I’ve worked so hard to be balanced. Embarrassingly hard to grow up at an adult age. To process shit that people say and not get caught in the bullshit my brain is telling me they are “REALLY saying”.
I gotta be honest, that last part right there, when my brain tells me…hahah, you want to know what they really mean? It’s this…they think you’re weak, small, dumb, crazy, and definitely not a bag of chips!” So it’s challenging and it really messes with things you say. Or you think it’s safe and different with this one and then you DTMTS – divulge too much too soon….I like to think of terms like that DTMTS. like something you would see in an information manual for “Dating an amazing yet kinda bipolar woman”! And I know there’s NO manual that came with me! Okay, How far off track can I be now? Pretty far. But I’m having a bit of an episode and trying to hold on and remember that a lot of people in the world that are crazier than me and think they have their shit together. Like those Dr.Jekyll and Mister Drunk’s out there.
I really like Dr. Jekyll but I love hanging out with Mister Drunk- yes I know I changed from Mister Alcohol to mister drunk. But if they don’t stay consistent in the story of my life why should I stay consistent in my story of them?
I think I’m angry now, or maybe I just really would like to go outside and run along the ocean as fast as I can and feel the wet sand under my feet and hear the crash of the ocean waves and the squawk of the seagulls. I would give you all of my homemade cookies, if I had just made the best homemade cookies if I could walk out my door and be back on the beach so I could feel the peace and serenity of the ocean. But I have no homemade cookies. But you know what i realize is that when I write and spit it out and don’t care who may read my passion and madness I feel my own ocean. I know that we all have crazy in us, I know I cannot be frustrated by the encounters of these people in my life. That would be extremely shitty of me. But at the same time, the hell with that! I can TOTALLY be frustrated by these people! You know why? Because they are the ones that have the balls to look at me when I refer to something we had a deep conversation about like I’m batshit crazy. Ahhhh, look in the mirror friend!
Ha I wish I could take a picture of Mister Alcohol and show it to Dr. Jekyll just to see if they knew it was them?
I’m not saying i wish for any of these people to be normal! Because in my world normal is weird and boring and I love freaks because I am one and we are the people who make the world an interesting place to be. We are the ones that bring art and music and poetry and comedy and street performances and move our bodies in ways that no normal person would ever think of. The list of us and who we are and what we bring to the world is a large one with many subcategories I started to list but this is a rant about this, and I know any freaks out there that read this know they are in the tribe and that they let their freak flag fly regardless.
I don’t know how to wrap this up, I feel like I was all over the place and yet again, this is me and this is how my brain works. So I will just say thanks pals, thanks for letting me be me.
I suffer from PTSD from my childhood trauma, and I get triggered by a lot of things. I have days that I am still angry and hurt and feel betrayed and even owed….because of my soup of emotions I make mistakes, and I tend to learn my lessons the hard way. Which makes no sense to me. All the stuff I went through, a broken family, a father that had NO idea of how to be a father, actually used a visit with me to rob my mother’s house, a mother that had to work ALL the time so that we could barely survive, an older brother that was tortured and tormented and escaped through drugs and bad influences. Then there was me, little, full of love, sunshiny songs always dancing and filled with dreams. Until I was raped. Nobody knew. I spent most of my childhood alone with no one to talk to about what happened to me. I never knew I could just say no. How crazy is that? I just wanted to be liked. I just wanted to be loved. For most of my life I couldn’t fully express myself because I was so afraid. I’ve struggled with being liked my whole life. My Wizard of Oz bipolar brain has always been big and powerful. It told me that no matter what I do, or what they say to my face, the truth always was that I make people uncomfortable and they don’t like me for it. And I had plenty of proof, horrific torture from kids at Elementary school. Mean girls in Middle school. Awful things said by close friends in College. Bad men. Life.
It never seemed to escape me.
I used to have awful thoughts. Mostly about the kids that had violated me. Wishing what had been done to me, would be done to their kids. Thinking that was the only way they could really understand how they destroyed the heart of an innocent child. It took me a LONG time to stop feeling that way. My mom actually woke me out of my thoughts and told me what I was saying. I had no idea what I was thinking! I wept for wishing my pain onto a child. I had to forgive. I prayed loving thoughts of protection and strength to their children.
What sucks is I’m not supposed to talk about this stuff. It’s not nice to embarrass people Jentle. People look at you sideways and become uncomfortable when i talk about it. With looks of oh how awful!, you poor damaged and broken person, I feel so sorry for you! Ah, but if you could please just take your damaged emotional baggage and check it. Oh I mean, you should really try to just forget about it, it’s in the past, move on, get over it, let it go. Just Let it go. Let it go. You should really Let it go.
I can’t let it go, I can’t get over it. it is embedded in my being. Stop telling me not to be ashamed and then cringe when I mention that I’m a different person than you are because I was violated. I am wounded, and I am forever scarred. There is NOTHING wrong with me, I am just wounded and scarred. And sometimes I have to stay in my house and not move. Today is one of those days.
I envy people. I watch my parents dote on my Nephews and go to their school events and are such an amazing part of their lives and it hurts. It’s NOT supposed to hurt. It’s GREAT that they who also have a broken family have my parents as these wonderful grandparents that are there for them consistently. Where they have a place of love and safety and family. I’ve been so happy for these kids, and know that their lives have been better because of my parents.
Sometimes I want to be done. Then I remember that someone out there that needs to know they can make it through the dark and the trauma. I can’t give up or give in. I need to keep my promise to my heart to shine my light so they can see.
My friend Jordan shared this with me today…(thanks Jordan)
“For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.” ― Cynthia Occelli
So today is my bird Kookoo’s 19th birthday, I know I have a 19-year-old! Crazy, I don’t look old enough do I? Okay so she’s not a child in the sense of I didn’t give birth to her, but I do consider her my feathered child. I got her from a breeder so I was waiting for her to be born, then I went and had to pick which of the four hatchlings I was going to have. It felt like a weird surrogate adoption, crazy bird breeder lady had strict rules to which I had to adhere! And she told me many times that she is going to live a long time and will go through phases kind of like people do. HA! Okay crazy bird lady, I thought. Little did I know!…
So when Kookoo started “cracking seed” I was allowed to bring her home, but she was still eating baby bird formula since she was only two months old. So I was going to have to wake up in the middle of the night, make this baby bird formula food and test it on my wrist to make sure I didn’t burn her throat and then use a dixie paper cup, that I would pinch to make a beak type shape to feed her from. It was a whole thing!
Yeah, I couldn’t believe what I had agreed to when I was awake at 2:47am on a Wednesday making baby bird food either! At first I thought awe this is kinda cute I’m playing the mama! Cause my bird was so cute and helpless. Then I thought, moms do this for HOW long???
I always knew I wasn’t going to have kids, but that solidified that, this was as close to having a child as I wanted to get! I had a horrific childhood and because of it I learned early that I was never going to take the chance that I could have a child that went through ANYTHING like I did. And I was fine with it, I really always just wanted to have horses, birds and dogs. These are the kind of beings that I can raise and love, and they would be the coolest animals ever!
Well, I’m tooting my freaking horn, because I have always had AWESOME pets, like really special little creatures that people fall in love with when they meet.
Back to the Kookoo, whose full name started as Ezra Jo Bird, No idea why she has a middle name of Jo and a last name of Bird, that’s just what her name was. Oh wait, I know why, she needed to have three names because all small people do so when you’re really in hot water, you know because you hear the three names screamed into the air. Well I guess monkey see monkey do?
So Ezra, who mainly goes by Kookoo or Ha Cha Cha Our Lady of Feathers, when we’re among my pirate sisters has a personality I never even dreamed a bird could have. It’s like there’s a little person stuck in a feather suit! She laughs- on cue? Like you can’t imagine! She coughs, because an old friend of mine would stay at my place and had a smokers cough, so she coughs! She says like ten different variations of hello and hi, including male, female and an old lady versions. She says “hi giirrrrl!” when I come home, when I leave I say bye Kookoo and she’ll come over and make a big kiss sound as she’s putting her beak on my lips and then says bye Kookoo! Bye Kook! She calls me Kookoo as well. She also says come here, come on, hurry up! AND she is usually saying it when she wants you to come here, come on and hurry up. She also says YAY! And if she eats something and she likes it she says mmmm! And sometimes if I point at something she’ll say “look at that!” Sometimes if I am crying, she cries- how attractive is that? She has the best laugh and will keep laughing if you are laughing at her and then does a big sigh at the end. Apparently I tend to laugh like that. It’s a little true….She also says ouch ouch ouch when I hurt myself. When she bites me she immediately goes ouch ouch ouch and starts running and has been known to laugh right after saying ouch ouch ouch. But sometimes, she will say, it’s okaay, it’s okaay.
It’s weird to say but Kookoo has a LOT of friends, even a best friend named Ronda!
Whom she would often yell for by name because she wanted to go hang out with Ronda! Ronda! Ronda! Ronda! And I had to stay home, she would get pissed at me if I tried to hang out with her and Ronda! The bird breeders words suddenly echoed in my head…phases like people…holy crap I have a female teenager having a “hate her mother” episode!! What’s ridiculous is that I decided that I had to make sure she had a few hours of “play dates” with Ronda, and Ronda would bring her home when she was done because otherwise Kookoo would try to attack me! Thankfully after a few times and bites I got it, she is a BIRD and that was her just being a territorial animal! For a minute I was kind of taking it a little personally, but there isn’t a psychotic person stuck inside her feather suit, just a little bird!
When we moved away from living next to Ronda, Kookoo would be singing softly and say ouch ouch ouch and it was the first time she had ever said it without someone being hurt. I would yell to her, it doesn’t hurt kook! She kept doing it and I kept saying it doesn’t hurt, then I realized oh no! It does hurt! Her little heart was hurting because she was missing her besty Ronda. So instead of saying it doesn’t hurt Kook! I started saying I know it hurts Kookoo, I know you miss your pal. See when you have a bird you must have conversations with them like they are people?! AND obviously she was experiencing her first heart break….oh come on, stop it Jentle!
Most parrots voices always sound like a stereotypical caricature of a parrot. Not Kookoo. She doesn’t sound anything like a typical parrot sounds, she sounds like a person.
I was living in a triplex in West hollywood and FedEx came to my door with a package. So the guys knocks and Kookoo says “Helloo!” He says, hi this is fed ex I have a package for Jentle…then nothing, so he knocked again and said “hello?” And then kookoo said “Helloo”, he repeated what he had just said and while he was standing there waiting for the person to come to the door, my neighbor came outside and told him that I wasn’t home and that he was talking to my bird! My neighbor LOVED telling that story! I had a roommate at the time named Eric, she still yells for him. But Eric was a composer and he was on the phone being offered a job, he said he asked the guy what the pay was and after the guy told him. Eric paused for a second and Kookoo started laughing! So then the guy on the phone goes oh okay and ups his offer!! My roommate was falling over telling me that Kookoo got him a raise! And he said it was eerie that she happened to laugh at exactly that moment! People will hear her talking in the back ground when I’m on the phone and ask me if I have kids. “No, that’s just my bird, I’m one of those crazy bird ladies!” I’ll always say…. in some sort of over the top way- hoping to show that I am actually NOT one of those crazy bird ladies!
But when ever her birthday roles around I do put on that hat just for a second, because she’s so cool I just have to! This year I made myself laugh because I thought I’m going to have a small party for Kookoo’s birthday and invite all her friends. Then I thought oh my gosh, how awesome would it be to totally act serious about having this party for her–pause for a second
– A dear friend of mine called me a few months back and he said “I have a weird bird question for you…” Then went on to tell me his neighbor was having a birthday party for his parrot and he wanted to know what kind of present he’s supposed to get a parrot? We laughed about it pretty hard and he told me that apparently these people have a party for their bird every year! I was crying I was making so many jokes and then I told him go get a bird toy!- and unpause
So with that golden nugget now burned into my brain… today my mind started going all tom foolery silly jerk like. I started thinking, hmm, I’m 43, I’m single, never been married kind of single and I have a parrot that’s turning 19! Uh…What? I have no idea what is happening here. Maybe this is exactly what I am supposed to be doing, having a party for my feathered child…then I went on with my thoughts…this could be genius!
….because she has friends that would actually come and celebrate her and we would have vanilla ice cream with whipped cream on top, because she’s not really a cake bird-person. We could all sing take me out to the ball game with her- she loves that song- well the parts she knows! She loves to sing even if she doesn’t know the words! I could laugh watching her open her presents from her pals, not just because it’s hilarious how much she loves opening presents …but also maybe because bird toys aren’t CHEAP and let me be honest, I may be a crazy bird lady but mama wants a new pair of strappy sandals, hallelujah! Let’s get this parrot birthday party happening!! Right?
Oh, please RSVP by Saturday!
HA! No. There’s just no way, I’m not crazy enough….yet.