Mental Wards Across America: Blue Flesh
Just before and after my first hospital stay was a time of high creativity for me. I hadn't experienced that in awhile. I wrote a graphic trilogy I still love to talk about at times, but not do anything with. I drew alot, wrote alot, made things. During that time I made lots of hats from materials I found in nature. I never wore any of them.
One night, I believed I was being visited by the ghost of Geoffrey Chaucer. He was kind to me, understanding. It wasn't some sort of horrible thing to go through, but I knew better than to tell anyone.
I had dreams that shook me.
I am in a backyard, a very green and manicured backyard. There are topiary bushes. I am sitting next to an artist friend, an anime artist, I am pregnant with his child. We are sitting at a high table and he is shooting up. I have never seen anyone shoot up. Or I should say, I don't remember ever seeing anyone shoot up. There were blenders blending fruity upside down cake drinks. That's what we called them in the dream. Then the people around us got sicker and sicker. They were vomiting on the lawn.
I almost ended up in a state hospital in California next, but I ran before they admitted me. Not because I didn't think I belonged there, but because I was terrified. Six months later I was in a state hospital in Atlanta where my brother lived. I did two back to back stays there. No one during any hospital stay ever knew I was boxing with myself or if they suspected, it was never mentioned.
I felt I was in a constant moral dilemma. Now, there's something funny about the idea of that, but back then I just thought I was becoming a bad person. I would beat myself senseless feeling a deep sense of moral failure. I thought I was hitting myself because I deserved it. I think punching yourself in the head is like cutting, only neater. I've never been a cutter, but I know cutters who get what I'm saying there. It's neater. I also punched other parts of my body, but mostly my head.
Beating myself took the pain away and I would sometimes even punch myself in the face. I went through a period of thinking a black eye looked fitting on me. One time, I looked in the mirror at the black eye I had given myself and thought it looked sort of pretty.
Painting, Look Out Below, Jerry Clovis, 2004