Mayday….again.

May 2, 2017 Leave a comment

After 5 long years, I have been summoned here again, this place where I write with my blood.  I am different, yet I am the same.  Still struggling with the creature on the other side:  on the inside.  The battle has taken a toll.  My hair is white.  My gait is unsteady.  Yet I still exist.  Is that a victory or a defeat?   Some days I can’t tell the difference.  One thing hasn’t changed, I cant bear not to create.  I have been busy making movies.  If I dont tell my story, I will surely die.

So here I stand, once again, searching for reasons…   And I will keep writing until the last drop of blood is on the page

Categories: Uncategorized

One day at a time.

June 18, 2012 Leave a comment

That’s the key to handling anxiety. One day at a time. It is a phrase I must keep repeating to myself ‘less I forget. There are too many worries in this world, but the most important worry is today. My girlfriend wants to start a family. How can I deny her? She has given me so much.  She has saved me. The anxiety can be overwhelming sometimes, but I can’t think too much about tomorrow. Each day has it’s own worries and anxieties. I will worry about tomorrow, tomorrow. One day at a time. One day at a time. One day at a time.

Categories: Uncategorized

Good China morning

June 14, 2012 Leave a comment

7:00 am here.   Watching Tai Chi from the Balcony overlooking the park.  Chinese music, Dancing,  Exercise,  the elderly know how to stay active and healthy here.  It is a pleasant and relaxing scene just before the hectic day.  And I am standing here, bowl of oatmeal in hand, wondering what will happen today.  Mood index: 1.  Outlook: Positive.   And there is someone in my life now.  She gives me a reason for living.

I have more students and teaching allows me to both learn Chinese culture and help others.  I can set my own schedule and it is a low stress job.  Xinyu is a backwater town (if you can call a place with population of 2 million a town).  Being a foreigner means I will not be short of students.  I have just reached my 2 year anniversary in China.  I have completed my goal. I am independent (almost).   At times my mood can still swing drastically and my anxiety is still here, but I am still alive.  Today feels like a new day.  Maybe it really is this time.

Categories: Uncategorized

Mayday

April 27, 2012 1 comment

It’s been rainy in China, but this morning is beautiful and blue.  Tomorrow is the beginning of the Mayday holiday and I watch the Tai Chi and dancing from my balcony overlooking the park.  I had a dream that has inspired me to write again.  A dream about a past, an alternate past, for my current past is just a thin memory.  My real past is fading away.  My clothes are the only remnants of it and they are quickly wearing out.  Soon, I will have no past, which is fitting for a man who has no future.

What is a man, if not the compilation of past achievements and future goals?  What becomes of him if his past disappears and he no longer hopes for the future?  Does he stop becoming a person?  Does he just drift with the currents of time, relinquishing his identity?  I am a multi-entity, always changing and shifting.  It seems I no longer even age.  I am a tree, without roots and without leaves.  I live in the perpetual present.  I am a totem, waiting for the end of the world.

Every morning at 7:00am begins the drone of music from the shops and park below.  A babble of conflicting beats and tones that justly represent China.  Soon the sounds of  car horns will join the melody.  And then the throngs of human traffic.  Without such noise, I doubt that I could begin my morning sleep.  The sound of China has become my lullaby.

These days I haven’t been traveling, but teaching.  It has allowed me to gain insight on Chinese thinking.  Individuality and personal opinion is just a dream to these young people.  They are devoid of creative thought.  The majority of time in class is devoted to exercises to teach my students to think.  The Chinese don’t think, they imitate.  They are used to being told what to do.  In the absence of an order or direction, they copy someone else.  It is a basic principle of their thinking and it affects every aspect of life here.  Innovation is very slow to evolve.  For example, the bathrooms have no vent pipes or drain traps so  they reek of human waste fumes.  The stench is sometimes overpowering. Why?  How can such a simple thing be so alien to them?   It doesn’t even occur to them to change.  I went shopping for a drain trap and met countless questioning faces.  Finally, one shop was able to sell me one.   A cheap, but functional solution.

It is like this all over China.  Simple, logical solutions to common problems that have become a matter of practice in the West are nowhere to be found here.  So the people  live in filth and disarray for their lack of imagination.  Or maybe for their refusal to release the past.  China’s people are so proud of their “5000 year” history, but my own history is fading.  In my mind, it is becoming as empty as my future.

A bipolar mind often links the future with Death.  It is a sweet thing.  It is our comforter.  It is our paradise.  Looking out my window, I see a more literal “non-future”.  People with no real direction.   Selfishness, ignorance, deceit…it is here in abundance.  These people do not know it, but they also have no future.  It is Mayday, the harbinger of Spring.  This coming month, maybe I will see Beijing for the last time.  Then again, maybe I won’t.

Categories: Uncategorized

Bipolar – Anxiety

April 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Mood index – 0

It has been more than 2 weeks since my last entry.  In that time, I have visited Qingdao, Nantong (again), Hangzhou, and XinXiang.  I caught a little cold – my fifth cold this year!,   and I have suffered anxiety.

Anxiety is the one constant condition in my mental illness.  I am always in some state of anxiousness.  Even when I am manic and seemingly doing very well, anxiety looms just below the surface.  I can take the edge off, but never eliminate it.  When something doesn’t go as planned, it comes to the fore with vengeance.  This past two weeks were a good example.  Last month, I lost my bank card in a taxi.   I do not use China banks, so my card is my only link to ready cash.  Due to some unfortunate and absolutely excruciating circumstances, my replacement card was a month in coming.  My cash flow was cut off.  The anxiety was indescribable.  Sometimes it was paralyzing.

The proceeding days were a succession of inconceivable, almost laughable misfortunes. I have traveled halfway across China and back for the sake of replacing my dwindling reserves.  I have accumulated a small collection of stories from my experiences, some of which I will relate at another time.  Such as what it’s like to live in the cheapest room ever!  Or what happened when I reached my limit with the “Chinese staring at the foreigner ” routine.  But I can never really describe to you how anxiety is truly the curse of a manic depressive’s existence.   Depression and Mania comes and goes, but Anxiety is forever.

But I didn’t die.  I lived to tell the tale.  I am back in Xinyu, writing to you from my bed, and my mood index is a healthy zero.  I am even planning my next trip, but for now I am content to rest.  It is hot in Xinyu now – every day in the high 80’s.  The legs are out en mass .  I will explain in my next article.

Categories: Bipolar

Chinese Blog – 10 Things I love about China

April 10, 2011 1 comment

Mood index: -2

I do not want to write.  Here is another entry from my Chinese blog.  Dated 2.25.2011

1.  Street food – Vendors grilling food on the street is delicious.  They use rather toxic briquettes, I am told, so it is not really healthy, but i try to eat outside at least once a week.  Seafood, veggies, and meat.  It is cheap, fresh, and plentiful.

2.  Hair Salons – First the shampoo.  While shampooing, they massage your scalp (oh so good!),  then they cut. A really great cut.  Then they wash again!  How much?  15 yuan (about $2.00).  And they are artists.

3.  Beautiful women – China has the most beautiful girls in the world.  Nothing else needs to be said.

4.  The Fujian countryside – This is one of China’s most beautiful provinces.  Tons of mountains and flowing rivers.  Really awesome to behold.

5.  LiJiang – I haven’t been there yet.  Seen pictures, heard stories, must go see!

6.  Chinese hospitality –  They really are very generous.

7.  Chinese railway system – Possible the best in the world.

8.  Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Beijing, Shanghai – World class cities with low priced shopping.

9.  Chinese handwriting – Elegant and mysterious.

10.  Nearly 4000 years of  history – I have lots of reading to do!


Categories: My Chinese Blog

Guilin postponed

April 9, 2011 Leave a comment

Mood Index: -1

Suddenly, I want to write.  My trip to Guilin has been canceled.  My Chinese hosts have had a change in plans.  Normally, that would not deter me, but this case is special.  Guilin is exceptionally beautiful.  I do not want to go alone.  I need to share this experience.  So I will wait.  I will wait for someone worthy to travel with.  In the meantime, I am trying to fight off the coming depression.  I know it is inevitable and in a peculiar way, I welcome it.

I don’t sleep at night.  Usually I drift off around dawn, waking up just before noon.  Last night I stare at the ceiling thinking about all the people I let down back home in America.  So many friends.  In my dreams, I am playing and laughing with them, but keeping deep inside of me a lethal secret.  But in reality, the secret is out.  They know.  I regret, I deeply regret.  I can never face them again.  Is that why I’m here?  Is that why I’m self-exiled in this small Chinese town?  Where nobody knows my name, nobody can accuse me?  Can I ever come to terms with it?  In the end, everyone must face the consequences of their choices and I am no exception.  Death is something I no longer fear.

The only thing I fear is being alone with myself; to discover what sort of person I am.  There is much irony in this.  The people here envy my life.  So full, so carefree.  They do not know about the fire that fuels it.  They do not know about the twin brothers struggling within.  How could I explain to them?  And what would they think if I could explain?  In the face of their admiration, I am silent.   I can never have a home.  I can never be good for anyone.  I am broken.

If it seems I am lamenting, you misunderstand.  I have learned to accept this outcome.  When a toy is broken, it belongs to the rubbish.  I am merely waiting to arrive at my destination.  I have no desire for something that does not belong to me.  One must know his place.  What more could I ask than to spend my remaining years in an interesting and exotic place?  In fact, my life has been full.  I am humbled by what I have seen and heard.  No,  I do not lament.  I have been given more than I deserve.  I am grateful.

I must make Guilin before the rainy season.  I will bring you pictures and stories.  Then you will understand my love for this country, for within Guilin is the soul of China.  There is a story of an old lady who knows 6 languages.  She learned them all after the age of 60.  I will meet her.  I will hike along the famous LiJiang River.  You will not believe how beautiful it is.   And I will be the best broken man I can be.  This Spring will be very exciting.  I hope my mood is up for it.

Until next time…

Categories: China

Into the Dark

April 8, 2011 Leave a comment

Mood Index  -1

I’ve been home alone for 3 days and the mania is gone.  I do not feel like writing.  I slept most of the day.  My body is playing catch-up.  I will not travel again until the 16th.  Then I will go to Hangzhou to observe the Lords Evening Meal with a friend.  Until then, I must occupy myself.  I found a poem I wrote during the Chinese New Year.  It was my darkest time in China.

I’ve crossed the line ‘tween Peace and Sorrow.

Me and Pain are now good friends.

Loneliness is now my sweet lover

And here is where the story ends.


They will accompany me on my long journey

They’ll console me ’til I am finally dead

And when I lay in the hole of slumber

Their bitter thorns will crown my head.


I have become a receptacle for suffering

give me your pain, your sadness and grief.

give me the burdens that you carry

I will keep them underneath.


Give me all your gloom and anguish

My body is your sorrow’s ark.

And every thing making you unhappy

I’ll carry with me into the dark.

 

 

 

Night Cat

2011.2.12

Categories: Uncategorized

Bipolar – Manic!

April 7, 2011 4 comments

I have told you about the depression.  Now, the fun part!  The other side of the scale is my manic phases.  They range from a mildly happy state, to wild, exciting, dangerous, and a little scary.  But I am never violent.   I describe my phases on a “mood index” ranging between -5 (suicidal) and +5 (Superman!).  When I am traveling, I am usually somewhere on the manic side of the index.  When I am at home between trips, I am often on the down side.

My manic behavior is textbook.  Extreme creativity, very high energy, exhilaration,  optimistic, and confident.  I do not do drugs, but I occasionally smoke.  I am trying to quit.  I do not take extreme risks, but my libido is high during these times.  I am a 20 year old boy inside a 44 year old man.  My friends only see this side of me and they think I am Superman.  I do things they only dream of.  I try things they don’t dare.  I have seen more of China than most Chinese.  I go to strange places alone, without fear.  I can dance all night (I have) and play all day.  I am always up for something new.

I have discovered things that feed or trigger a manic state:

1.  Music. Music is my most powerful trigger.  It can drive me up the scale quickly.  I can carry all my music in my phone, making long train rides in the Hard Seat more than bearable.  Even standing is no problem when I am manic, though I get a lot of stares because of my dancing.

2.  Traveling. Traveling keeps me in manic mode.  I feed myself with constantly changing surroundings and people.  It is hard to be depressed when you are faced with the beauty of  China.

3.  Girls. Let’s be honest.  I am a healthy male.  China is full of beautiful young girls.  How can I not be happy?  I do not need to touch.  Just the sight of the local beauties can put me in a manic state.

Those are the big 3.    It may seem that being manic is bliss.  Frankly, when I am manic, it seems that way.  But just as everything else, I am a slave to the law of physics:  What goes up must come down.  I cannot control how or when I come down.  Ideally, I like to stay around zero on my mood index.  I wish that were possible.

The higher I get on the manic scale, the more I surprise myself.  The mind and body are capable of many things that do not seem  likely to the average person.  One day, when I was traveling, I went to a pool hall with one of my beautiful female friends.  Music was blasting in the background.  I was in a highly manic state.  I surprised both myself and my companion as I defeated opponent after opponent in billiards.  No, not defeated.  I pulverized them.  I had always been just average in pool, I had not played in years.  This day, I was on fire.  It was the mania.  I was the manic Jimmy.

So which is the real Jimmy, the manic or depressed?  Both?  Neither?  It boggles my mind.  One can lose track of who he is.  Anyways, when I post something new, I will tell you my mood index.  Perhaps that will give you insight on which Jimmy is writing…

Categories: Bipolar

Chinese blog – The Destroyer

April 7, 2011 Leave a comment

Dated 7/24/2010:

I am the fire, that burns within your breasts

I am the passion, that never stops to rest.

I am a typhoon, i exist at the extremes.

I am a destroyer, the killer of your dreams


I am your monster, you summon me at night

I am your lover,  i give you pleasure with my bite.

I am the beast, that comes knocking at your door

I am the narcotic, that keeps you coming back for more.


I am an angel, the secret you can’t tell

I am a nightmare, a sorcerer from hell

I am your protector, giving comfort to your ache

I am an assassin, raising havoc in my wake


I am your ecstasy, your key to endless bliss

and in my arms you tremble, you’ll remember my sweet kiss

I am your adversary, my piercing dark eyes beam

Your Creator, Your Destroyer, the Killer of your dream.


-NightCat

Categories: My Chinese Blog