Monday, May 26, 2008


Sometimes, when you feel like the world is just out from under you, someone says just the right thing to make you feel safe again.

Strange that I come home, a bit drunk, to find the exact words that I needed to read waiting there for me. And from someone who could technically be termed a 'stranger'. Though in this case that description seems so ridiculous that it just does not apply.

Thank you, Randi. Just... thank you.

It's incredible to know that you have paid attention, that you understand, that you make a point to tell me so, and always in a way that makes me smile. I always look forward to reading anything you write me just for that very fact. And I'm not good with words right now, I'm drunk. But the things you say make me feel human again. If you are ready for a great big dose of Shady in your life, I'm ready to give it to you. Well as soon as I have email access again and can actually contact you :P

I heart you, Randi. Thank you for being there for me. And no I'm not just being all emotional because I am drunk. Haha.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

al key hall

If you saw me out in a crowd, you might think I'm a snob. I'd be the one standing slightly apart from everyone else, uninvolved and watching quietly. I would appear silent and separate from the herd.

Some people take this as a snobbish disinterest; nothing could be further from the truth. 'Cause in truth- I am watching everything. I am quietly absorbing every gesture, word and facial expression going on around me. I am making up background stories for the strangers in the room in my head. I am observing the human crawl. I am very involved, in my own way. When I'm in a room, I know more about every person in that room than they would ever imagine that I do- even strangers- out of simple close observation and lots of practice at human-watching. I can read emotions that you aren't even aware that you are showing in your physicality. I can tell lots about people from taking a lingering look at how they wear their clothing, their posture, the way they hold their heads when they stand. I am The Observer, and I am ALWAYS watching.

Always watching but, separate... because I never feel like one of you.
Not unless I've had a few!

Because when I get inebriated, the other side comes out. The Me that hides deep down inside, safe behind my many internal shells and walls and curtains and gates and land mines and force fields. Silly, funny, open and free. The Lady Joker, doing anything and everything to make my people laugh. This is a side of me that feels like a last, leftover piece of the original. And that definitely comes out with alcohol.

If you stood Drunk Me and Sober Me side by side, you would almost believe you were seeing 2 different people. And Drunk Me would be trying to make Sober Me laugh most likely, while Sober Me stood there tensely, wondering why the fuck this strange drunk lady is talking to her.

I hate to lean on alcohol for social lubrication, dammit. Not sure why it should it bother me, everyone else does it. And I mean everyone. I don't know anyone who doesn't drink, and they all drink about 10 times more than I do. Still, I hate having to use alcohol to bring out my open side. I hate that I have this overzealous defense mechanism when I am out amongst humans... to the point where I just can't feel relaxed w/out drinking. Because while I am always, always watching in general, specifically I am also always watching for The One That Will Do Me Harm. The potential mugger, rapist, murderer. Paranoid? YES. I am. But, I have survived some of these things already, so I am aware more than most that they are out there, among us, always... and more than half the time they look perfectly normal and harmless... the ones who are looking for prey or an easy victim. I know they are in every crowd I am in. It's an inevitable statistic.

So, my public tenseness is the tenseness of a gazelle watching for tigers, not the tenseness of snobbery or disinterest. This is one thing I wish that more people understood about me. It's a crowd thing. And to me- more than 2 is a 'crowd'. I am actually pretty great in one-on-one situations.

So, if you see me out there, try to understand. Or buy me a drink!
(but if you do- be forewarned, you may release the goofster!)

Friday, May 23, 2008

bowl of cherries my ass

Excuse my angst today. The current scorecard of Life vs Shady is pretty craptacular for me in this current inning of the game:

My truck is broke down.
My bank account is totally, totally empty.
I cannot... for the life... of me... *unclenches teeth* get the website stuff I am tryin' to do to work!! *shakes fist at various kinds of confusing code*
My LD email is screwed up, and has been since the 17th, and still no satisfaction on that from my webhost *taps fingers impatiently on desk*
My depression symptoms are making me feel anxious and irritable.
Everyone is kinda sad and subdued thinking about Ron.
My housemate is quite grumpy today.
And I just saw Gavin Rossdale do the BORING-EST song on Ellen (why am I watching Ellen, again??) and it was a total letdown cause I thought he was gonna rock it out.

So, I am bitter and cantankerous right now. All I need is a cane and I'm a grumpy old man. I need a drink.

NOTE: like I said, my email addy is not working right now, so if you've been emailing me I am not ignoring you doods


I am in a downward swing on the never-ending arc of my depression right now.

Inside, I feel muted, cloaked. My thoughts become harder to separate and to concentrate on. Inside my head it's like trying to swim in a thick muddy lake as opposed to a crystal clear swimming pool... it's harder to move, to see, to relate to or even grasp what's surrounding me... mostly it's all looming thoughts that stay in shadows, peeking out to taunt me when I turn away from them, hiding again when I spin back around to catch them. My mind feels slowed down, frozen. My heartbeat even feels slower.

My body feels heavy and tired and it aches in every place it can. There is a dull throb at my temple that just beats, beats, beats like the bass on some faraway car that you can't even see but that you want to kick the shit out of for having their stupid bass so loud. That's going on in my head. Yeah.

The worst part about having MMD (Major Depressive Disorder) is that it's essentially an invisible disease. It totally fucks with your body and your mind, but from the outside it just makes you looks crazy and 'depressed'. I can't tell you how many times I have been told that I need to do more 'positive thinking' and 'appreciate life' as a 'cure' to my sickness. They just don't understand. The neurons inside my brain are physically misfiring, the chemicals being released into me are wrong wrong wrong, and no amount of happy thoughts are going to physically repair or change that. My brain malfunctions are not just going to magically be fixed by a positive outlook- trust me, I've already tried that... running around with a forced grin on your face trying to love life while your heart is pounding out your chest and skipping beats and your brain is firing serious PANIC NOW!! signals to your limbs... people just do not understand.

This is a disability that I will have to live with- somehow- for the rest of my life. To quote the Mayo Clinic: "Most health professionals today consider MDD a chronic illness that requires long-term treatment, much like diabetes or high blood pressure. Although some people experience only one episode of depression, most have repeated episodes of depression symptoms throughout their life."

And just thinking about how very much people misunderstand wtf is wrong with me, just makes me more depressed. So, I try not to dwell. Still, it's not easy when everyone has some well-meaning bit of advice to give to 'cheer' me up. It makes me feel damaged somehow that I can't just fix myself already dammit. I do love them for trying and I only wish it was that easy.

Anyway... I am sliding down the depression tunnel right now... I think it was hearing about Ron Duncan's (a very close friend of my family's, may he RIP) death yesterday that tipped me onto the downslide. I am so tired of death and sorrow. It seems that I have been to one funeral and memorial after another for the last year... watching wives hearts break and children's confusion grow, watching sibling's pain boil inside them and friend's faces show signs of weariness and age and sadness... ugh. I am so tired of all this sadness. I am tired of loss. But, what can I do.... nothing much. Just go on, like we humans do. It is what it is.

So I'll keep taking my meds and playing with my chihuahuababy and trying to push through the dark.

And you guys keep watching and reading and who knows, maybe getting some more insight into what goes on with us 'crazy people'.

And maybe throw me a rope or something, yeah?

Saturday, May 17, 2008


I am packing my bag for a day & night in the woods... not going camping or anything (lord no!)... I'm heading to the fresh, green, pineylicious mountains of New Mexico with my crazy auntie for the weekend. We are going to stay in a charming-ass little log-built motel that looks like it is out of the 50's (well I guess maybe it is), we're going to wander around and absorb all the foresty goodness and look out for deersies and squirrels and bears oh my, we're going to hit up a casino (my aunt is the gambler, not me), we're gonna have a nice meal together, and we're gonna watch the parade of bikers rev up and down the main street (there is a motorcycle run in Ruidoso this weekend), and we're just gonna converse and chill and relax and try to reboot our mental hard drives.

So I am off to the woods, the streams, the cold clean air. Hoping it will clear my head, calm my heart, and refresh my spirit. My spirit needs a good refreshing kick in the ass about now.
I'll take tons of pictures of course.
Here is one from the last time I was there to tide you over:


Hasta luego...

Friday, May 16, 2008


Being drunk is so freeing. Being drunk lets you say whatever is in your brain and you don't even have to remember it the next day. I am drunk right now. I feel like I should take advantage of this momentous freedom of the Id but I can't think of anything intelligent to say. Hahahaha.

The world is shiftng, side to side, but verrrrry slowly. I have so mayny briliiant things to say but I cant type. Damn.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

love is more important than an ostrich

So I'll bet you all have wondered if I have any good mental ward stories, since I spent some time in there, right?? And duh, of course the answer is yes. And for some reason I was thinking about one today.

It happened like this. There was this guy in the ward that we called Wrong Way Peachfuzz. He was nicknamed after that character from the Rocky & Bullwinkle Show, who was like the worst sea captain ever- he always went the wrong way from the direction he was supposed to be going. And so this guy in our ward, our Wrong Way, he always went the opposite way of whichever way we were supposed to go for groups or clinics or rec time or whatever. And he'd also always go into other people's rooms thinking they were his room, even after they made a big sign in red Sharpie taped to the door of his room with his name on it. Wrong Way was just really, really mentally far gone. He was in another dimension and would weave in and out of his and into ours. He was a scruffy old OG, his wiry long hair poking out wildly from under his old skool gangsta bandana. The great thing about Wrong Way, though, was that he has so sweet and friendly and harmless that everyone- staff & patients alike- totally loved him. He was lovable in the kinda insane way that Charles Manson would be lovable if every element of evil and naughtiness and bad intention was suddenly mysteriously sucked out of his body and only the crazy was left.

Wrong Way lived in a fantasy world... shuffling around the ward (high levels of certain medications will give you the Psych Ward Shuffle, which is very different from the Curly Shuffle, but much closer to the Ozzy Ozbourne Stagger mixed with a touch of Romero Zombie Extra Shamble) ... telling us all stories of the million acres of land outside of El Paso that he owned, and about his ranch filled exotic creatures like donkeys and peacocks and cows and and crocodiles, and about all the movies that he had been in, and how the helicopter that his family owned that was going to land in the rec yard outside and pick him up so he could go have tea with Jay J. Armes. The dude also randomly burst into the funniest giggles every time he would talk. Oh man it would make all of us laugh too, you know how hysterical laughter can be infectious (especially if the giggler has a funny sounding laugh)?? So picture that, a group of us in the lounge of A PSYCH WARD, all grouped around Wrong Way and giggling in hysterics while the nurse on duty nervously eyed us and glanced around for the security techs. Ha ha.

Yeah, Wrong Way would say the most insane, random, yet bizarre things but occasionally, occasionally, he would say the most inadvertently WISE things sometimes. He was like our psych ward guru.

So one day, over breakfast (we ate like elementary school style, at long industrial tables with long industrial attached benches, which is oh-so-comfortable considering you are closely surrounded on every single side by some people who may have an episode at any given second) We are eating the lovely rubber bacon and cardboard toast with an atom of butter on it, and Wrong Way is proposing marriage to me. This wasn't too unusual, marriage proposals to the female patients and female staff and female visitors and female doctors, etc, were just another one of Wrong Way's things. And he's telling me how if I marry him, I can live on the ranch and that he has a mansion there, and that I can have as many animals as I want. He says that I can even have ostriches- ostriches! he was soo excited when he said that word, as if he was Charlie saying theeee golden tickettttt- on the ranch. He told me I should think about it.

Then he says- "If there is somebody else that you love, though, and you wanna marry them instead, that's ok, you should do that, because... you know... love is more important than an ostrich."

And I sat there, marveling at how some of the wisest shit you can ever hear can come from some of the craziest sources you'd never expect. Lesson learned. Keep your ears open.

Monday, May 12, 2008

I am...

I am a girl who was born on the 13th day of the year, Capricorn, photographer, artist, author, urban explorer. I am currently camping out in a spare room at my 86 year old gramma's house, I am going to be living in a converted spooky old garage at the back of her property soon. I am the classic starving artist, freelancing from home (photography, art, portraits, writing, websites, whatever)

I have many scars but I like most of them. I love most of my tattoos. I have Major Medical Depression and take medication every day. I have a killer sense of humor and I totally like to make people laugh. I am extremely loyal and I have difficulty trusting anyone. I question everything. I don't have a sense of where I belong in the world right now. I still have hope.

I have had my writing and photography published in books and magazines, and I have survived physical abuse, robbery, and assault. I have traveled the country and met many famous people, and I have been homeless and slept in parks. I have lived through the murder of my little sister. I have signed autographs for fans at conventions and I have been committed to a mental hospital. I have lived in deserts and I have lived in forests. I have been in love.

I want a place to call 'home' and satisfying work to do and a BFF of my own. I want to travel and create and relax and endure. I want to solve mysteries and get drunk and dance crazy-style. I want to be comfortable in my own skin. I want to submerge myself in art and music.

I want to be happy.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

In the beginning

So, the obligatory first blog post. I'm Heather Shade. You can call me Shady.

I'll most likely be blogging in a nonsequitar-lovin' manner about a variety a stuff, including but not limited to: life, love, loss, photography, art, urban exploration, the paranormal, travel, tattoos, horror stuff, relationships, zombies, pets, urban legends, El Paso Texas, music, mysteries, mental illness, habits, hobbies, annoyances, street fashion, diy, humorous shit, serious shit, and... life as me- starving artist & weird person.

And let the blogging commence.