Tag 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.

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

Little Things

So, I know I’ve said it before, but Jenny is awesome. The stuff that happens between us on a regular basis is pretty great. Sometimes it’s big stuff, like taking me to the hospital. Or, making me eat because I forget to. You know, she generally keeps me alive. But she doesn’t always get credit for the other ways she keeps me sane.

A good example is when we went to Canada recently, and I was overwhelmed in the airport. She let me plug myself into my headphones, and blare music while she listened for the necessary announcements. She knew I just couldn’t deal with the noise anymore. Yes, I see the contradiction. Listening to terribly loud music doesn’t sound like a solution to too much noise, but it’s not a “loud” thing, it’s a “static” thing. Airports just sound like a traffic jam, and it makes me bonkers. So she let me escape, and entertained herself while I meditated to the beat of “Beat It” (remade by Fall Out Boy).

Other times, she just touches me. It’s amazingly calming for her to touch me in discreet ways. Get your head out of the gutter pervert, while I explain. An example of this is Friday night. We spent the night with our friends in preparation for our NAMI walk. They have two small children, and their son is, well, nearly identical to my son in every way except appearance. The volume, the sentence structure, the repetitive conversation, and constant clarification of points were all there. But instead of the moderately high pitched sound I’ve become used to, this boy has a regular boy’s voice. I’m not used to it, and so the non-stop sound was making me pretty jumpy. Jenny caught on, and held my hand, even taking a break to rub my neck for a minute. She knows that one of the ways I can stop taking in one stimulus is to focus on another, so she gave me the better stimulus.

Then there was the walk itself. I ran around like a crazy person (heh. heh.) and talked to people about our new project at The Face of Mental Illness. I took over 150 pictures, and interviewed over 50 people. Jenny ran behind me scrawling notes, and reminding me to not talk so fast, because I was talking like:”Hi,howareyou? Oh,that’sgreat, canItakeyourpicture?” She kept me on this side of sanity, and we got to collect a lot of great content.

Tonight, though, a migraine punched her in the mental nads, and I got to return the favor. I made sure she had a blanket, and gave her a foot rub, and just sat with her. Oh, and I also spent six hours cataloging the pictures and interviews, so she wouldn’t have so much work looming over her. (She and I share responsibility on The Face.)

It just feels nice to know I can give back. Today is our one year anniversary [HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!!!], and we are so happy to be together! Thanks for reading along, and remember to tell the people around you “thank you” for all that they do. It makes a huge difference. Carry on, dear reader, and have a bitchin’ week.

The Dual Curse/Blessing of a Good Life

 Creativity, on DeviantArt at http://annsodesign.deviantart.com/. Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0)

Creativity, on DeviantArt at http://annsodesign.deviantart.com/. 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.

Holiday Blues: Mother’s Day

Picture by Nemo @ pixabay.com (CC0 1.0)

Picture by Nemo @ pixabay.com (CC0 1.0)

Of all the times in a person’s life, holidays like Mother’s Day are supposed to be special. These days are meant to be days of joy, and celebrating someone who gave you so much, that it kills you to think about losing them. Mother’s Day is not like that for me. Not one lick.

Mother’s Day is a day in which I am constantly reminded of a woman who chose her men and drugs over her children. It is a day of remembered slights, and children afraid of the person that brought them into this world. Mother’s Day is a day in which I have to struggle to remember those who do fight for their children.

Sometimes a holiday has the opposite effect on you. Most do, for me. I often wish I could just write a whole new world for myself in this great big internet thingy. A whole life of love, and happy tears, and kisses when I’m hurt. I try not to remember being told that I’ll have a reason to cry if I keep crying. I try not to remember bruises and threats and drinking and lying and breaking things.

I try to forgive my mother for being mentally ill. It never works. I can’t forgive somebody for something they are still doing, and my mother refuses to admit she needs help. She keeps seeking help from drugs, and booze, and refuses the help she really needs. Maybe one day she will. God, I pray she will.

I have seen my family bend over backwards to help my mother. No matter how undeserving she was, my uncles, and aunts, cousins, and grandparents took her in, took me in. My brothers and I knew who we could rely on, and it wasn’t our mother. It was the people who chose us. Neighbors, classmates, friends. They all have a word in my head that is special just to them. Because they chose me, they were my family.

My Mother’s Day was spent celebrating the day of the “Mommy” I love best. Jenny and I had pizza and root beer. We ate Krispy Kreme and went desk shopping. I took time to remember all the beautiful mothers in my life, and to remind them that I appreciate them. I will never have another “Mom”. I don’t want one. I get to enjoy my time with whatever mommies I choose, and I like it better that way.

If you are a mother, no matter how you became one: remember this; I hate my mother, but I will also love her until I die. I don’t get a choice. It’s how things work. Be good to your children, please, so there’s never another Rory running around.

Living Inside and Outside My Box

Image from Flickr user Creative Tools (CC BY 2.0)

Image from Flickr user Creative Tools (CC BY 2.0)

I’ll admit it. I’m a bit of a control freak. I like to do things my way. I like to be around my own things and around people who make me comfortable. I like to know what to expect from situations. Sure, I like variety and surprises as well. They keep life interesting and keep me growing as a person. But I’m used to these things happening as a slow pace. A little bit here, a little bit there, in between the comfortable box I’ve always inhabited when given the choice. I have usually been quite happy to live inside my little box most of the time, venturing out for new experiences, safely retreating back to re-center myself and feel at home.

Enter Rory. He lives in a very different box from mine. He has pulled me out of my box so often and for so many different reasons that my box has expanded. Perhaps with every pull, the walls stretch a little bit. He has also shown me some of his box, trusting me like he’s trusted almost no one else. And sometimes he hangs out with me in my box, gladly inhabiting the world that is familiar to me, and he is learning to be comfortable there. We all need time to process new experiences.

Our boxes are gradually overlapping more, as we make our life together. Taking on each others’ interests, forming new ones together, and adjusting ourselves ever so slightly to accommodate the other.

Rory has taught me about so much that was entirely outside my realm of experience. My family and upbringing are so different from his. And those of my friends are/were much more like mine. A lot of what I’ve seen and learned has been new to me.

My world is larger now. Thanks, Rory, for being my benevolent guide and for not giving me more than I could handle.