The Ballad of Nabs Sorghum Beagle of the Wild Lands

Paul promised Sarah Gailey a ballad about our beagle, Nabs. Nabs, however, is not a ballad beagle. Nabs is a drinking song beagle. Or maybe he just has a drinking song mama; regardless, he can tell everybody this is his song.

‘Twas a cold and gray October day
When the mists rolled o’er the hills.
Through the tangled brush he traveled far,
A lean and hungry cur.
No food for him there was that day tho
The sorghum clouds lay sweet upon his fur.

He was a wild proud hunter.
All feared to cross his path.
His bray echoed brave throughout the woods
And no man knew his name.

For years he wandered all alone
Leaving pups to bear his face
Their mothers pining for his kiss
But never he returned.

For he was Nabs!
Yes, he was Nabs!
Nabs the wild sorghum dog!
He was Nabs!
Yes, he was Nabs!
And he could not be tamed!

But the winter grew cold
And he grew thin.
Ticks his only friends.

He looked to the sky and he said to himself,
“It may be time to say goodbye.
The road, the road, she calls to me,
and I my heart must follow.
So I’ll lay me down on that line of gold
and wait for fate to come.”

For he was Nabs!
Yes, he was Nabs!
Nabs the wild sorghum dog!
He was Nabs!
Yes, he was Nabs!
What fate would be his own?

Tonight he sleeps on pillowtop.
Memory foam pillows too.
Blankets keep him warm as he snores
Betwixt his people two.
His snores rattle rafters.
He eats like a king.
But, oh, there was a price.

In place of ticks,
He deals with cats,
And his balls were gone with a slice!

For he was Nabs!
Yes, he was Nabs!
Nabs the wild sorghum dog!
He was Nabs!
Yes, he was Nabs!
Nabs, the wild sorghum dog!

How you say…? Life in Crazy Town

It’s always good to see friends that you haven’t seen in a long time. Talking about family and old stuff you did is nice. But it always leads to the question, “So, what are you doing now?”

How am I supposed to answer that?

Option 1: Pure honesty. “Well, I kinda had a breakdown a few years ago, and ever since then, the federal government has been paying me to stay away from people. Every now and then I get my shit together enough to put out a book. Honestly, Paul gets my shit together enough for us to put out a book. If there were no Paul, I wouldn’t have remembered to brush my hair today. By the way, don’t look at the back of my head. Also, I’m not a good role model for children what with sleeping for 20 hours at a time and all the suicide attempts. Oh, you didn’t know about those? Yeah. The band-aids on my neck aren’t a kooky fashion statement. But I haven’t thought about killing myself for, oh, weeks now at least. Did you know we have 6 cats? Oh, you have to leave now? So soon?”

Option 2: Sort of honesty. “I’m writing full-time now. It’s good, but I miss being around people. I’ve had some health issues, but I’m doing better now.”

Option 3: Straight up lie. “Well, our books have done so great that we’ve been able to pretty much retire. We’re looking into a second home now. The band-aids? I’m having a little work done. I’m getting to that age, you know.”

Jenny Lawson‘s book about mental illness needs to come out already so I can just hand copies to people and go, “Pages x thru z pretty much cover me.” That would make it so much easier. Hopefully, I can get a bulk discount. Or maybe she’ll be nice and offer a crazy people discount. I would qualify.

I dreamed we found 2 cats who then had 18 kittens. So, we had effectively found 20 cats. Paul was horrified. I was surprisingly calm about it. They were all oreos. Luckily, it was just a dream.

Why I’m an Ungrateful Bitch Bless All Your Little Hearts

I’m going to come at this from a Christmas sucks and all you jolly people can rot in hell standpoint. It’s just been that kind of year.

Things to get out of the way — not everything has been bad. Paul and I are still together. Our third book is coming out in the spring. We do still have a roof over our heads. Our assorted parental figures are healthy and not living with us.

I, despite my best efforts to the contrary, am still breathing. Is everything hunky dory? Um, no. I have a plastic tube down my throat that hurts like bloody hell, I can’t talk like normal people, my memory is hit or miss. Our cats have names? I don’t always know them. Or what year it is. Much less what day it is. So don’t ask. And if one more person tells me how lucky I am to be here or how God must have something really special in mind for me, I’m going to tell them that that something special is to skull fuck them with a fluorescent purple dildo strapped to my ass because God’s just kinky that way. It’s his version of tea bagging.

Not to disparage your faith or make baby Jesus cry, but yeah. Don’t say that to someone who tried to commit suicide and didn’t quite punch the piƱata. We’re conflicted about it, okay? Just smile and nod. Give us a hug if it makes you feel better. I’ve stopped wearing bras because life’s too short for underwires, so hugging me is all kinds of fun. If I’m still here because God wants me to be here, that’s between him and me.

As far as luck goes, I don’t think I’m all that lucky. Lucky would have been not being bipolar in the first damn place. Lucky would have been not having to have a plastic tube shoved down my throat at all. Lucky would have been not being bitchy to my husband who wouldn’t have been an asshole on that particular day. Need I go on?

I’m alive. I’m dealing with it. It’s not fun. I made a whole host of new problems for myself and the people I care about. I am the quintessential example of a bitch.

And Christmas sucks because I don’t have a tree up because the cats would just knock it down. And if they didn’t, the beagle would appreciate the indoor toilet facilities. These are not maybes in my world.

There would be no presents under it because Paul and I just don’t give each other gifts that way. And the rest of our family members already have their gifts from us for better or worse since my parents’ gift arrived damaged and the post office couldn’t find their house to deliver Patric’s gift, so it got shipped back to TX. Paul’s mom bought her own gift, but we took her to the store, so that has to count for something. Anyway, bah humbug.

Food gifts? Don’t we cook? Normally, yes, but right now I have this disgusting tendency to eject mucous from the tube in my throat at unpredictable intervals. So, no gifts from our kitchen this year. Unless we don’t like you. If you get a bag of homemade goodies from us this year, we really are trying to tell you something. See the paragraph about God and tea bagging. Bless your heart.

What did you do to deserve all of this? Probably nothing. Like I said from the get go, I’m an ungrateful bitch. So have a holly jolly, very merry. From all of ours to all of yours. And I’ll go skulk in my corner with a nice big drink. Just pretend I’m not there.

Jenny Lawson Is My Hero And I'm (not) as crazy as I thought!

So, I spent the entire day listening to Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. And coughing up blood. The two were not related, and apparently the blood thing is gross but not something to be concerned about because of the fucking tube that’s still in my throat. All I want for Christmas…

Anyway, Jenny is awesome, and if you haven’t listened to the book, you really need to. I can identify with her. I have always been the awkward kid in the room who hid behind books and never made friends. And I get panicky in social situations. My adorable quirks do sometimes drive my husband insane. And I had a childhood filled with “interesting and educational” animal encounters.

Take, for instance, when my grandfather taught me how to tell safe snakes from poisonous snakes. It’s their eyes. Easiest way to tell. Poisonous snakes have vertical pupils like cats. Safe snakes have round pupils. Simple, right? Do you realize how close you have to get to the bitey part of the snake to actually see the pupils?

He had a demo snake so I could see. Just a king snake. My mom freaked the fuck out. I mean, I guess I was all of six, and I was right down in that snake face. My grandad told her it was a safe snake. But she didn’t quit screaming until my grandfather decapitated the poor snake with a shovel. My mom is bloodthirsty when it comes to snakes.

I was still totally fascinated. My grandfather humored me, and we dissected it. Which is a completely normal thing to do. Or at least it was for us. Something died, we cut it up. Shut up. I was into science. And snake guts are cool.

As an aside, I also had a dried out baby snake that had been flattened by a car. I loved that little guy. He just vanished one day. I blame my mother the snake hater.

So, yeah. I had an interesting childhood that has in no way influenced my current state of mental illness. And Jenny Lawson is my hero.

Living again

Brain Filter note: This was originally posted on our main blog.

The greatest danger from depression is, of course, suicide. Still, even if depression doesn’t kill you, it can take your life. Angela has written about the things we didn’t do or get to do in our little bubble. But even when you’re happy, that bubble isn’t life. That isn’t a large life, a full life. That’s a limited existence with minimal room for growth.

Depression pulls you into that bubble. If it doesn’t pull you into blackness that is. And when you come back up for a breath — please come back up. All you have to do is barely break the surface. Reach out. We love you. We want to pull you out.

When you come back up, you realize just how much life has moved on without you noticing. There are so many examples I could share, but the examples I want to share tell the story and also give me a chance to cheer for a wonderful friend.

That wonderful friend is Kat Kinsman. Dear Mr. Roget does not have enough adjectives for Kat. Though she is the queen of New York, we have had opportunities to wine and dine (and sip hooch from a Sonic cup) with the fair lady. We have, naturally, corresponded with her through all the hip electronic channels. We (yeah, ok, I) have salivated over her on CNN. (She works with Wolf Blitzer! How hot is that!)

Just the other day, I noticed Kat giving fond but sad tribute to her friends at CNN. Having been so out of touch, I scrambled to see what was going on. I was happy to find good news. Kat is leaving her post as managing editor at CNN’s Eatocracy for Tasting Table to become their new editor-in-chief. A loss for CNN, a gain for Tasting Table, and a well deserved opportunity for Kat.

While I have been up to my eyeballs in bleah, the world has continued. I have no idea what else has happened, but I am glad to have a chance to cry (an only slightly belated) huzzah for Kat.

Kat is especially on my mind lately. I was hesitant to invade her privacy until I Googled her. When you type in “Kat Ki” it autocompletes to “Kat Kinsman depression.” I shouldn’t have been surprised, because Kat is an eloquent and outspoken proponent of the treatment and acceptance of mental illness. She has written about mental illness in others and in her own life, in print and on TV. Kat writes beautifully about food, but she also uses her position to tell people it’s okay — okay to be depressed, okay to talk about depression, okay to ask about depression.

Follow Kat on Twitter. And head over Facebook to follow what is sure to be one of the best books of the year, Hi, Anxiety by one Kat Kinsman. That chick rocks. This book is gonna rock.

Follow Kat. Listen to Kat. Listen to us. It’s okay. Reach out for a friend. Reach out for help. The world cares. The world needs you.

And we love you.