Photo by medium photoclub from Pexels

The BLM movement, in some ways, has helped other marginalized communities, not only people who are African American. It has increased consciousness for injustices and intolerance. It has given outsiders more courage to speak and feel their voices are heard. At least, that's been my personal experience.


I lead an intersectional life. I'm raising a family of mixed races. Some of us here have dark chocolate skin, some of us are more milk chocolate, and some of us are white chocolate. Our family includes adoption. Family members suffer from mental health conditions which sometimes debilitate us to the point of hospitalization. We have a lot going on.


And even though there is progress, I still feel the stigma.


I have so much on my mind today. A lot I'd like to get off my chest. And I will. It's just I was hoping to get it off my chest in this blog. But I won't. I can't do it. Too risky. Because even though you might accept and even sympathize or maybe even empathize with the story I would tell you, somebody out there could use it against us.


By use it against us, I mean it like this: "I won't hire you because I know you have this going on," or "I won't enroll you in this program because I know you have this going on." "I will still like you. I will wish you well. But you can't come aboard with my group because I'm only looking for the successful ones or the people who will capitalize from what I have to offer, and given your background, I don't trust that will be you."


I have had an exhausting morning and an exhausting afternoon. With a smile plastered to my face, I have had to use a variety of motivating techniques to positively encourage a family member to participate. I've tallied-up expenses and hope that no more debits be incurred from a family member, but that hope is a fantasy. Practically speaking, I'm bracing for spending more.


If I were to enumerate to you exactly what's happening, it would be a story. There would be details you couldn't forget. I would write it in such a way that it feels compelling and memorable, and you might even tell a friend. "Someone I know had this thing happen to them... can you believe it?"


Blogs are a public place, and the story might someday get back to my family. And for the most part, people either wouldn't care or they may feel some sort of compassion. But on the chance that a decision-maker could use the information against us, I have to refrain from telling the story.


So the new story, the story I'm telling right now, is instead, about the stigma of mental illness. In my experience we've come to the place in society where we are generally accepting and caring about people with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia or depression or anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorder or any number of other flavors on the mental illness spectrum. We see their stories on TV; we hear about them from others; they are our friends; they even can be us. We accept that people have mental challenges and may also feel quite compassionate toward them. But, in my experience, that's about as far as it goes. Too bad. So sad. Moving on.


And so, the mental illness handicaps us, debilitates us, removes us from social and professional groups because although it is accepted on an individual, interpersonal level, in a group with a purpose aligned with success, mental illness could bring the group down, which means the group ultimately wouldn't include us.


Unlike individuals who have an obvious physical difference, people with mental illness can camouflage themselves better. Maybe if we didn't tell you, you wouldn't know, and you'd let us into your coveted and awesome group. And so we stay silent.


And so, though I want to write here on my blog how affected I've felt from the day, I must save it for a journal or maybe even release it from my heart. I have to stay silent.


Uzo Aduba plays the therapist in In Treatment. Suzanne Tenner/HBO

One of my favorite shows is back on HBO. In Treatment. I hope it’s as good as the original!


Photo by wendel moretti from Pexels

I write something every day. I don't know how to do life without writing something every day. Some days, like today, like now, I really want to write but don't know about what. So I type and see what comes from my fingers. Other days, I use writing prompts. I search for them online and find one that strikes me. On the golden magic days, there is something that happens that spurs an essay.


I wrote a novel over the pandemic. At the moment, it's a bunch of junk. Autobiographical. Maybe someday I'll edit it.


I've also been back and forth on a screenplay since sometime in the winter. About a couple on the eve of a big wedding anniversary when something happens that could destroy it all. I don't know how it should end.


I struggle with the endings of narrative stories. Reason being, in real life, does anything ever really end? Maybe the situation goes away, but if it was worth watching a whole movie about, those feelings will linger with that character for the rest of their lives. People put a lot of time and energy and money into making movies and later fight for the audience's attention, so generally, we're making movies about something big happening. And if it's that big, it leaves a mark on your life. It doesn't ever go away; it inhabits you.


Anyway, on the marriage movie, I want to show that marriages that survive the long haul are a choice. You wake up in the morning each morning and decide whether or not to keep it going. During good times, you're totally on auto-pilot and this may not even be a consideration. During hard times, you're tallying the score. Is there enough goodwill built-up to tide me through today?


Part of the reason I think it's harder to jump ship on a long term marriage is that each person has invested so much and the relationship is its own beast, that situations which would break a younger marriage can be withstood by a more mature marriage. I suppose this could be incorrect. I haven't done any research on this. A hypothesis.


My husband and I went through a very difficult time in our marriage around that 5-7 year mark. I can't remember exactly when, now. Too much time has passed. I think both of us were on the brink of throwing in the towel at one point. Neither of us, however, wanted to do it at the same time or on the same day, so that helped. We struggled mightily over a terrifically difficult issue, neither or which we created but was instead put upon us and our family. We sometimes look back on that time and remark that if our marriage could survive that test, we can survive it all. This marriage isn't going anywhere.


So this movie I'm writing is I suppose is inspired by my own marriage. Totally different set of circumstances, but the same idea: about that time in a marriage where it gets put to the test. I want it to be that the couple in the movie chooses to remain together. The story is still in quite a clunky phase. The way it's written now, I'm like, "Why would these two people ever stay with each other? They both should go. I'd never put up with that." I guess maybe I haven't built-in enough back-end goodwill into the story yet. Or maybe the couple doesn't want to stay together badly enough. Considerations.


It's a delicate balance I'm creating. I need to write just the right chemistry to make it not obvious to the audience or the characters that they choose to stay together, and wretched enough that they also want to leave. I have a ton of other rules I've created for myself about this story, so I need to honor those as well. A puzzle.


Hate jigsaw puzzles. Love interpersonal puzzles. BTW.


It's probably why I like producing films. The moment you have an idea for a film, it's a problem. How are you going to write it, will the script be any good, can you get it funded, what about casting, how are you going to make it, will anyone like it, how will you get it to the audience, will it make you any money? Stuff like that.


Also, I'd like to observe that we need an additional form of punctuation added to the English language. In the above paragraph, I captured a list of questions. Items in that list are distinguished by commas. Most lists, however, are not a list of questions. I think most readers are used to reading lists of declarations and that's kind of an auto-pilot situation. So when presented with a list of questions, the reader must pick-up on the context and adjust as they go. When listing questions in my writing, I would prefer to make it super easy on the reader and provide some kind of grammatical cue that these are questions. This is probably not high on many priority lists, or even existing. Another puzzle.


I don't know how to end this essay.