Category Archives: Jenny

The Universe Hates Jenny, But Loves Rory

I got the most amazing Facebook message last night. I had left my God-Damned purse at Taco Bell. The Taco Bell about 69 miles from my house. The manager, who I’m convinced is an angel, contacted an old friend of mine who happened to live in the same city as me, and also happened to know me. She sent me this:


I cannot say how relieved I am to have heard from these guys. I called Kevin, and he offered to lock it up for me. I headed down the hill immediately.

Now, when I say this, I do not mean that I, Rory the inconceivably forgetful, drove down 4,000 feet of elevation. It was Jenny’s unpleasant task to drive the many miles (and hours) to drive down the hill and up again. She was still recovering from the effort of not laughing her Meximelt through her nose when we overheard something I just had to tweet:


I swear, upon everything great and holy that my wife is a saint. She had been telling me, seconds before I got the message, that my memory lapses amused her, rather than feeling like a burden. When I then told her that we had to go back, she didn’t go all Mackenzie McHale:

Instead, she quietly said “you owe me.” She was smiling.  I swore my devotion to her, promised her foot rubs and shoulder rubs, and thanked God for my wife. Today, I will take her dancing and celebrate being able to finish my work before 5pm.

The Manic Voice

Image in the public domain.

Image in the public domain.

Jenny gets me. Like, totally. Jenny totally gets me. God, that sounds dumb the more I say it, but I don’t know how else to get the point across: Jenny understands the freaking weirdo who types these words better than anyone should know anyone, regardless of relationship. Case in point? Apparently, she can hear my “Manic Voice”. That’s a big deal, people.

The Manic Voice is the part of my head that fills in the gaps. Let’s say I know ABCEFG about a subject. My brain is really good at adding the “D” in there.  There are a lot of little factors that go into the “D” factor. Here’s list:

  • My knowledge of the general subject.
  • My perceived knowledge of the general subject.
  • My knowledge of similar topics.
  • The number of times I’ve discussed this topic before.
  • The number of people I’ve discussed this, and similar topics, with.
  • The level of my mania.
  • The level of my anxiety.
  • My self-esteem that in that moment.

Jenny, the miracle of a person she is, has learned to hear something in my voice that indicates that the Manic Voice has joined the conversation. Sometimes, I’m right, sometimes, I’m wrong. Always, Jenny is willing to chime in.

I discussed this with my new case worker today, and she told me to tell Jenny that she is a miracle. I have to agree. Jenny is my reality check, and that makes my life just about perfect. Except, you know, when it’s not. Whatever.

Now, I bring all this up, because I have learned to retro-actively apply a filter to some conversations and situations in which my Manic Voice was doing the talking. It’s been eye opening, and is kind of fun, dissecting my life in a whole new way. I might learn some new stuff about myself. I might even remember to tell you about it.

How novel.

We Are All Afraid of Something


Heights can be scary as shit.  Image:

Heights can be scary as shit.

Last night, Jenny and I went to see a musical. It was wonderful, dramatic, tear-inducing, and all-around fabulous. But I had a single, powerful, and vivid takeaway. When we were being seated, a wonderfully dressed lady came up the stairs to our row, and something was not-quite-normal. She said, “I can’t turn around,” and, “I can’t sit yet.” After watching for a moment, I realized she was struggling with a height-related phobia/anxiety.

Jenny and I sat patiently with the other audience members in our row until she started coming to her seat. She was shaky, afraid, and understandably embarrassed. Then she said something that broke my heart. “I’m so sorry. This is so stupid, I know.” I looked her straight in the face, and said, “It’s not stupid. We are all afraid of something.” She smiled a little, before passing, and a beautiful thing happened.

Jenny reached across me, and offered the lady a hand to hold. Her face was instantly more peaceful, and she took Jenny’s hand. She said, “It’s stupid, I’m sorry.” Jenny didn’t even blink. She looked the lady right in the face and said, “It’s not stupid.” I can only hope that it stuck. She happened to be in the seat next to Jenny, and she sat down, looking much relieved.

It struck me just then; this lady was not just relieved to be sitting. She had genuinely been comforted by Jenny’s gesture. Offering a hand, and reassuring her that this fear wasn’t stupid, were small things for Jenny to do, but they were the right thing to do, in that moment.

So, if you ever wonder, “How do I help someone who is afraid?”, remember: There’s not a single answer. The key is to be supportive, and to remind them that they are not alone, and that their feelings are valid. Be there for each other. Be there for yourself. You are not alone. You matter.

And Then There Were Two (Bristols, That Is)

Yesterday, my lovely Jenny was granted the name change order. We are now officially Mr. and Mrs. Bristol. We celebrated with the inevitable couple selfie, and for once, Jenny loved a photo of herself! (The world might end on that note, but so far the sky is still “up” and the ground is still “down”.) So yay! And huzzah! Also: Woo!

Image: Rory Bristol

Image: Rory Bristol

Rory’s on Vacation! (From the Blog)

Image: Wikipedia

Image: Wikipedia

Don’t worry about Rory, what with the not posting and everything. He’s fine. He’s just busy with holiday tasks, and we’re trying to get to bed earlier. He probably won’t be posting this week.

What’s he been up to, from my perspective? To sum up:

His mood seems slightly improved, and he’s going through a slight med adjustment this week and last week. He’s anxious about Christmas, and also quite excited. He’s an amazing addition to my family. He’ll be surrounded by extra amounts of love this week. He’s been so busy crafting and organizing and thinking about cooking and actually cooking. He’s been a present-wrapping fiend.

We’ve been helping out our friend, George, quite a bit. We saw him again today. We were the moral support while he told his mom and stepdad what he’s been going through. He made it through telling them, and we all helped him with a plan for next steps. We will keep checking on him and having him over.

And today we clean the house like mad, so we can actually enjoy ourselves for Christmas Eve and Christmas. If you need us, we’ll be here, but we may not write anything for several days.

Have a great Christmas to all who celebrate, and enjoy your time off work to the rest of you!

Christmas markets. Image: Wikipedia

Christmas markets. Image: Wikipedia

Congratulations. You are now part of the tribe.

Image from Wikimedia Commons

Image from Wikimedia Commons

Bonus points if you get my reference.

We’ve spent the past day and a half with my family, and we’ll spend more time with them today. Thanksgiving is always a multi-day event with us these days, because some people come from out of town, and we like to do a bunch of things while everyone’s here. For some of my family, this is the only time during the year that we see them. So Thanksgiving is a big deal.

I was so grateful to get to share my family Thanksgiving with Rory last year, even though we’d only been together for about a month. With some people, you just know they’re sticking around, and it was that way with us. But he was still really new, and it was the first time he was meeting most of my family.

But this year…

He took charge of a lot of the work in the kitchen, and made sure my mom was having a good time, and made an effort to get to know my cousins and aunts and uncles. And he and my sister bonded over many laughs and topics. He appreciated all of the music that was sung and played, and joined in on the fun. For someone who comes from what seems like a different world from the one in which I grew up, he fits right in.

I’ve always adored my family, and I’ve always been grateful for their presence and support in my life. And it felt so fantastic to be able to share that with Rory. Not just to show him what a family can be, but to drag him (without any kicking or screaming) into my family. He is now well integrated into our group, and gets along well with everyone. He doesn’t know everyone well yet, but honestly, neither do I. Some people are pretty quiet. But it’s just very satisfying to be a part of putting him an environment where he is treated as he deserves to be treated. With respect. As a human being. As an equal. As an adult with valid ideas and opinions. As Rory the Awesome.

Read All the Things! Allie Brosh’s Hyperbole and a Half Book

Even if you've read her blog, buy her book. Image: Touchstone

Even if you’ve read her blog, buy her book. Image: Touchstone

It’s not too often that you read something knowing how awesome it’ll be before you read it. But I knew that when I recently got the Hyperbole and a Half book by Allie Brosh that I’d love it. (I had pre-ordered it months earlier.) I’ve read Allie’s blog for years, and so I already knew most of what was in the book. But re-reading it, especially now that I’m with Rory, it was full of extra significance.

The physical book itself is a great format. It’s paperback, but the pages are very heavy, and the colors are vibrant, just like on her blog by the same name. The stories are all in a different order from on her blog, but probably arranged that way on purpose (or not—knowing Allie, you never know). The book jumps into action with a section on her childhood. She was an unusual kid, and she knows it. And anyone reading the book who hasn’t read her blog now knows it.

Dogs are a theme throughout, starting with that first story, as is—of course—depression. The past couple of years have found us mostly without anything new to read on Allie’s blog. She went through a significant bout of depression, including feeling suicidal. She wrote about it a bit a while back, and then more recently wrote a Part 2 to that first post. Both were amazing, and likely extremely triggering to people in a delicate frame of mind.

Now, I haven’t ever been suicidal, or significantly depressed for an extended period of time. But I have been depressed to the point—on more than one occasion—where I found no joy in life or the people I loved, didn’t enjoy the things I usually did, didn’t care about anything. My depression spanned weeks or months, rather than years, but I found that Allie was able to put into words many of the feelings I had felt at the time.

While the Hyperbole and a Half book is filled with real life challenges such as these, it’s also filled with hilarious, laugh your ass off, can’t stop crying you’re laughing so hard stories. “Dogs Don’t Understand Basic Concepts Like Moving” made me laugh almost continuously. Some of the stories in the book I hadn’t read, though I’m not sure if that’s because I somehow missed them on her blog, or if they were new. (I really should look that up, but fuck it. I’m too lazy.)

Hyperbole and a Half is a freaking fantastic book that I recommend to just about anyone, definitely not just those with mental illness. Allie is an amazing and funny creature, and you should support her and buy her book. Or if you’re feeling poor, just go read her blog. Also, follow her on Twitter.

P.S. I wrote about Allie on here before. Check out that post, too.

The Dual Curse/Blessing of a Good Life

 Creativity, on DeviantArt at Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0)

Creativity, on DeviantArt at Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0)

I’m sitting here, being privy to Rory creating beauty. Beauty written. Beauty spoken. Sad, and often tragic beauty, but still, it moves me. I sit here in disbelief, it’s so good. He just sat down and wrote it out, in one push. The best things are usually written that way, but I’m in awe. His words create a complete story, a complete image. You are left speechless afterward. Yes, he’s that good.

Occasionally I can write things that are really good. Most of the time I just write things that are decent. But to create pure beauty, pure emotion that moves people, rather than just capturing my thoughts accurately at the time, is almost always beyond me. I’ve discovered that most truly great things are created through pain. Rory’s had that in droves. I’ve had it occasionally, but much of it was before I was much of a writer. I wasn’t at a place in life where I could share my experiences with others in a meaningful way.

While I wouldn’t want to trade lives or brains with Rory, having had a generally good and decent life—where people took care of me and I was surrounded by love, and my home was my safe place to go back to when hiding from the pain of social life at school—has kept me from too much pain, and hasn’t allowed me to be terribly creative.

I found that when I was hurting, I kept a journal. When I wasn’t, I didn’t. But even when I was writing, I didn’t write anything terribly moving most of the time. I wasn’t in pain for long enough to be introspective about it, and can only look back at it in an intellectual way.

So how can I create beauty, in my own way? Rory would say it’s by me being a good person, a good mother, and a capable, enthusiastic soul who is interested in learning new things. Beauty comes in many forms, but it’s hard to see those forms that you are used to. It’s easier to see the ones that are hard for you to create.

Rory’s in the Hospital Again – Day Five: He Gets Released Today

I don’t know why, but Rory’s time in the hospital this time around has been much harder on me than the last one. I cried plenty last time, too, maybe even more than this time. But this time it’s just been exhausting for some reason. And he hasn’t been in for as long as he was last time, so I don’t know why. Maybe because I know him better now (together 9 months instead of 3). I think part of it is that I haven’t had any time to talk with him alone since I checked him in. With Rory, who else is around greatly affects how he acts. I need to check in with my Rory, whom I haven’t seen since early Wednesday.

I’m so exhausted, physically, mentally, and emotionally. I’ve had to deal with this in a vacuum, without the usual feedback I get from Rory. That’s probably why it’s been harder this time. I’ve been fairly useless, getting only the minimum done while he’s been in the hospital. Yet I’ve been so insanely busy. Mostly with talking with people on the computer, tending to the animals, and getting basic life tasks done.

He gets released today, likely in the afternoon. They made him take out his gauges from his ears, so our first stop is likely either somewhere to buy him tasty food, or the mall to get him something to help his ears get back to size. (For those who don’t know, he doesn’t have those crazy huge things in his ears. They are fairly small, but you can see through them. I think they’re cute. But I’m also glad they aren’t bigger.) I wish we then had a couple of days with no one else around, but the kids get home from their dad’s tonight. And Rory’s dad keeps saying he’ll take the dog. Steve, please come take the dog… After Rory gets home and the dog can see that he’s okay.

On to today’s adventure. Hug your loved ones, people.

Rory’s in the Hospital Again – Day Four, Continued: Not Sure

Today’s visit with Rory was… odd. He wasn’t himself. Not his normal self, not even his outgoing-social self. He was off. He had had a rough night, and a very difficult day. He was extremely anxious, and I’m not sure his new medication regimen is working fully. He did seem a bit manic, but hyper would be a good word, too. He was all cheerful outwardly to our friends who also came, but I just longed to talk to him privately.

He still hadn’t yet seen the doctor at that point, so he didn’t yet have word when he was going to be released. I love him so much and I hate to see him having difficulties. But during the visit (well, any of the visits this week) he never really spoke much to me individually or directly, and honestly hardly looked at me, today especially. I might be able to attribute that to his anxiety. Maybe he would have lost his composure if he looked at me too much? I don’t know. I do know that I was on the verge of tears most of the time, and it was all I could do to not cry. That wouldn’t have helped him any, so I used all of my meager powers to hold it in.

I then had a nice dinner with a friend of ours, and a bunch of people that were with her. Mostly I just talked to her, because that was what I needed. She has been a dear person in our lives, and has been there for Rory more than once. She’s equally there for me, and was wonderful to talk to.

I then learned that Rory is getting released tomorrow. I’m both excited and worried. I can’t wait to see him again, at home, where we can talk just the two of us. But I’m worried about how he’s doing. He was not himself today. Not so much that the casual observer would notice anything was off, but I was studying him pretty closely. I’ll just hope for the best. He’s likely to be very open to the ideas I have, but I also have a couple of difficult questions to ask.