We’ve Moved to the Sunny Side!

Dear Present and Future Subscribers,

We’ve moved to a new blog called “Sunny with a Chance of Armageddon”.

Click to go to Lulu’s new website!

Join me at the new site!

Pendulum will remain open for reference on Sunny.  However, some posts will be password protected, since I am going completely public very soon with my personal identity.  If you are interested in having the password, feel free to email me at:  lulu.em.stark@gmail.com

I want to thank everyone for their loyalty, support, and following over the past year.  It is just time for me to move on in a different direction, and I think Sunny can help me do that.  I do hope that you will come and follow over at Sunny for more stories, narratives, blog projects, and information.  It’s been a pleasure to write for you in the past year.  And I appreciate all of you.  Thank you again.

Remember, it’s http://sunnywithachanceofarmageddon.wordpress.com !

 

Protected: On the Inside : DBT and Talk Therapy

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Protected: On the Inside : Life After Abuse

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Protected: Impatient Inpatient

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Protected: Taking a Fall

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The Hot Seat

Ok. So I am Jumping Into The Hot Seat.

I’ve re-pressed this from Kevin who writes “Voices of Glass”.  I thought it was a fantastic idea, and I’d like a way to really reconnect with my audience after such an extended absence.

The rules are simple.

The rules state that you cannot lie. BUT you can decline to answer if…
a) your answer would break a confidence.
b) the answer would get you or someone else in trouble,
c) the answer would cause hurt or embarrassment to someone else, or
d) the question (or the answer to that question) is too personal for you to give.

The last of the rules will not be an incredible problem for me.  I feel as if there are a lot of things I should get out into the open.  So, fire away.  At this point, I should be working toward being an open book, since I’ve decided that I’m going to go public soon.

Fire away!

Another Round of Tag!

This is really a lovely distraction and loads of fun.  Angel tagged me, and I offer many thanks.  Here we go!

1. You must post the rules.
2. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post.
3. Create eleven new questions to ask the people you’ve tagged.
4. Tag (eleven) people with a link to your post.
5. Let them know they’ve been tagged.

1) What is the one insect you absolutely can’t stand?

I really dislike bees.  Correction, any flying insect with a stinger.  I especially don’t like any winged insect flying next to my ear.

2) Which fictional world(s) do you wish were real?

Honestly, I don’t.  We have enough problems with this world that we have.  I don’t want to take on the challenges of Mordor, or Panem, etc.  Even Harry Potter’s wizard world sounds too challenging.  Besides, can you imagine what would happen if we introduced different types of humanoids to this world?  We, as a society, still can’t even handle racial, cultural, and gender differences!

3) Who is your favorite President/Prime Minister/Monarch/Whoever Has Been in Charge of Your Country in history?

I have two.  I adore President Clinton.  I’m about to release a 30 Days of Truth about Bill, Hillary, and the Golden 90’s.  I’ve already openly admitted that if I had to do a president, dead or alive, it would be him.  There’s just so much sex appeal in a man who can show the country who is boss, bring the country back into prosperity, and plays the saxophone.  Yeah…

Anyway, and then there’s Winston Churchill.  Click on the link, and you’ll probably get a better idea of why I like him.  (Quotes).  Here’s a sample:

“Sir, if you were my husband, I would poison your drink.”
“Madam, if you were my wife, I would drink it.”
Exchange between Lady Astor and Winston Churchill—
Winston S. Churchill

To have the ability to be such an inspirational leader, and be a human being in the public eye, that takes character.  I don’t really care that he was a drunk jerk.

4) If you were forced to be on a reality show, which one would you go on, and why?

If this were about six years ago, I would have told you The Real World.  Believe me, I belonged there.

Instead, I would opt for something that is a little less about me and my character flaws and about some kind of improvement.  It would be my absolute dream to be on Extreme Makeover : House Edition.  My house is in some seriously sore shape, and I’d love for them to make it a little bigger for me.  It’s probably bad enough that they would take it, but the building codes around here are really strict.  It’s unlikely that the municipality would give the go ahead for that.

5) What is the one feature that your dream house must possess?

Wow!  I seriously didn’t see this until after I wrote the above!

It’s not just one feature.  I have several that are must haves.  First, I would love to have a working fireplace.  I think it should be something that everyone in the northern regions should consider for their own homes.  Next, I need three bedrooms to accommodate my (hopefully) expanding family.  Walk in closet.   A study / office area for all of us, and a man cave area for my husband.  With the man cave area said, I would like an art’s room for me, and a family room for everyone.  And of course, plenty of storage.  That is what we really sorely lack here is space and storage areas.  Oh, and more than one bathroom.  A singular bathroom home is a serious pain in the ass.

6) What is your guilty musical pleasure?

I used to have a couple, such as The Secret Life of the American Teenager, but I really don’t anymore.  The only thing that would come close is my tendency to watch Logo and Lifetime while I fold laundry.  It’s not as if it’s something I would be hesitant to admit to.  It’s just not something I would figure someone else would be interested in.  It’s rather bland.

7) What do you think is the most disgusting food?

There are two that immediately come to mind.  Cottage cheese (gag) and mussels both are raunchy in taste and have awful textures.  Woefully, I’m told that both are healthy choices.  I love cheese, but who the hell invented that?!

8) Do you smile with or without showing your teeth?

Forced? Without.  Genuinely amused? With.

9) Do you believe that there are aliens in the universe?

Hell yeah!  Has anyone ever seen that show Ancient Aliens?

10) Choose your own adventure books–yay or nay?

(Guess what gave me my wonderful idea.)

Nah.  If I wanted to chose my own adventure, then I’d write some fan fiction.  Which is what I’m doing in my spare time right now with The Hunger Games.

11) What is the funniest thing that has happened to you today?

Patrick Gaspard@patrickgaspard

it’s constitutional. Bitches.

Hahaha!


Now, on with business.

Angels Blog

Introspection: The Inner Musings of a Sad Salty Olde Seadog

Snippets and Glimpses

Withering Tulip

Manic Monday

My Bipolar Life

Pride In Madness

Does My Bum Look Big in This?

Disorderly Chickadee

MM1720011’s Blog

And I’m tapped.

The Questions:

1.)  What do you believe the most inhumane things that humans do to other humans is?

2.)  Describe a recurring dream that has stayed with you for a long time.  Or a recent one, if none come to mind.

3.)  What fictional character do you think would make the best President and why?

4.)  On that note, if you had to pick a fictional character that best represents you, who would it be and why?

5.)  Which would you rather fight?  Zombies, vampires, werewolves, aliens, witches / warlocks, mutants, or the children of the corn?

6.)  Are you a back sleeper, a side sleeper, or a front sleeper?

7.)  What is the most annoying thing in the entire world?

8.)  What is one social issue that you think you have unconventional thoughts about?

9.)  What is the most disgusting habit that some people have / do?

10.)  What is the worst medication you have ever been on?  What did it do to you?

11.)  What is the best thing that has ever happened in your life?

I’m up for more tags, if others would like.  Have at it, and don’t forget to have fun!

Nails – A Tribute : 30 Days of Truth

Day 13 : A band or artist that has gotten you through some tough days. (write a letter.)

Trent Reznor receiving an award for truly remarkable music.

Preface: In the liner notes of Pretty Hate Machine, the first studio album by Nine Inch Nails, there is a statement that says, “Nine Inch Nails is Trent Reznor.” Indeed, it is. This is why I address this letter as such, though I would like to include every person that ever had a hand in his projects. They were also important in making his music happen.

Dear Trent Reznor,

Yes, I am indeed very young to be following your career. I ask you to dismiss any immediate notions of some kid fan looking to “find a voice” or “find an image to latch on to”. Fifteen years ago, that may have appeared to be the case. However, I advised any who made the accusation that it wasn’t a phase, and in my age group, it certainly wasn’t a fad. The music spoke to me, and I took a lot of shit to pride myself as a fan in my peer group. It wasn’t about a popular song, attraction, lifestyle, or any of that bullshit nonsense. It was the lyrics and the music, not the man or the movement.

I sincerely doubt that you will ever personally read this letter. It’s not a matter of dismissal, or anything of the like. I realize the intense focus, schedule, and deadlines that must accompany such incredible success. However, I’d like to assure you this isn’t one of those stalker letters, but only a fan tribute. And, of course, an exercise of prompt response to a blog project. If it wasn’t for this prompt, I may have never written this at all. That is, despite the fact that there is much in my personal life that I can attribute to the music.

Today, I am a part-time music teacher at a local inner city youth program here in Pittsburgh, PA. I am aware that you are local to the area, which is another reason the music is personal to me. You grew up in the area, therefore you were aware of the lifestyle and culture of the region and how it affects a person. But, that wasn’t the only personal connection. In the seventh grade, though music had been a lifelong passion, I became symptomatic with a mood disorder. A deep depression was ravaging through my life, taking each passion away from me. It took one man, my band instructor Warren Sullivan, to convince me otherwise.

One day, he took the class to the Piano Graveyard, a hallway behind the auditorium where old, detuned and broken pianos went to die. He wanted us to experiment with sound, though most of us had never touched a piano in our lives. I sat at a piano bench, disinterested in just about everything, including that exercise. Others plucked at sour keys, and some just pounded the pianos in the effort to make as much noise as possible. Mr. Sullivan sat down beside me, clearly as downtrodden as I was. I looked up at him and noticed this awful look of defeat and resignation.

We didn’t speak for a few moments, just poked at keys together. And this was the first time a teacher had addressed me personally, as an equal. He said, “Have you ever had anything really bad happen to you?” I nodded. He asked, “So bad that it changed your entire life?” Again, I nodded. He told me a story, a secret as to why he would be unlikely to return the following year. I liked the guy, and it was difficult to swallow.

And he said to me, “Did you know that I knew Trent?”

It took me aback. “Really?”

“Yeah, we were in a college band together,” he replied.

“So, what happened?” I eagerly inquired.

Mr. Sullivan look uncomfortable for a moment, but continued timidly, “We had creative differences.”

I noted, “I could see that.”

We were quiet again for a moment, and he admitted, “Do you know what the last thing I ever said to Trent was?”

“What?”

“Trent Reznor, you will never amount to anything!” He paused, then continued, “I guess I was mistaken. And that’s something I live with every time I hit a bad spot in my career.”

“Wow,” I breathed. It was really powerful. But, it taught me a valuable lesson. Go with what feels right and where my heart takes me. Never try to take anyone else down to get a leg up. And, it kept me in band, even with the terror of a director that took over. I withstood her for five years and five more instruments, just so I could get as much music under my belt as possible. I was inspired to move to tenor sax, which opened up the door to all woodwinds. Today, I have an alto on my wall, only because I can’t find a reasonably priced tenor sax. Imagine me, all of 4’11” with a tenor sax strapped to my neck. The thing went down to my knees! It was worth it.

Anyhow, returning to the music itself. I started off with the album “The Downward Spiral”, which could not have been more appropriate for the life changes I was going through.  To this day, I have owned four physical copies, because I would wear them out so badly, and one digital copy, all legal.  It was at that point in my life that I became symptomatic with Bipolar Disorder.  “The Downward Spiral” was my mainstay.  I knew in my bones that I was different somehow, and that the deep depressions were abnormal for a young adolescent.  But, the album in it’s entirety showed that what I was going through, particularly the self-loathing, suicidal ideation, self-injury, questions of faith and religion, disdain and disillusionment with the world, and dysfunctional relationships were not uncommon events.  I had figured that if these things were inspiration for an adult, why couldn’t they be my inspiration, with the music being my solace.

As I grew into adulthood, the music came with me.  “Pretty Hate Machine” and “Broken” lent me music that resonated with me.  In a way, these albums aided me in support of developing my identity apart from parental and societal expectations.  I realized that I wasn’t like the others, and I could never be.  Instead of fretting about it, and making futile attempts to conform, I fought for the freedom of expression.

The music and lyrics tapped at something deep inside myself.  It found the part of me that conflicted and the dissonance touched.  It found the fundamental contradictions that created so much confusion and made it flow.  I identify with the complex and unique chord structures.  They are beautiful, yet eerie, and have so much tension in them.  My ear can identify them in music I wasn’t aware that you had a hand in, not because of the musical familiarity, but because of the way it touches me.

I could go on identifying each album, with various songs that have colored my life.  But, I find it unnecessary.  The message is this.  Each album contained a number of songs that had personal meaning.  Most were very fitting for the time period of my life, whether it was touching upon symptoms of my progressing disorder, dysfunctional and abusive relationships, general discord with life, or absolute disgust with society and the people that run it.  And in those songs, I found the music and lyrics to tell me the most important thing I needed to know in my life.  I am not alone.

So, today, I share my passion for music with kids, and help them find their sound.  I do that as part of my passion, and as my day job.  As a person who suffers from mood disorder, you could probably appreciate the following.  I spend most of my time putting the same message out there through creative mediums.  If you are suffering, you are not doing it alone.  I know how you feel.  I was granted the gift of music and writing to share my story and give a certain gift of companionship to those in need.  And, I feel as if you had a hand in aiding that.

I am still a fan and a listener.  I am greatly enjoying the long rumored, “How to Destroy Angels” project.  I appreciate how the music was able to evolve with me.  Or, it’s possible that I was just able to put it into a different context.  Either way, I am grateful to have had such an inspiration and support in my life.  Many thanks for following your passion, and not letting Warren take you down.

All the Best,

Lulu Stark

Control, or Lack Thereof : 30 Days of Truth

Day 12 : Something you never get compliments on.

One of my more recent posts eluded to a crisis in my life.  I haven’t revealed it yet, because in all truth, I am rather ashamed of some of the realities of my life.  In personal writing lately, a rambling piece entitled “Write it Out, Right it Out“, I went on say:

I’ve always been caught in my own world of the mindf***, you know? And when I’m drunk, I am more susceptible to mindf***ery. I don’t like it. I start to lose grasp on my reality, and sometimes it disappears completely – my grasp, that is.

I have made references to my alcoholism in the past, but never with much detail or emphasis.  I neglected to mention that alcoholism is a real part of my present, mainly because I didn’t consider recreational drinking to fall under that category.  I was sorely mistaken.  I wrote to a friend:

Somewhere along the way, I stopped taking substance abuse seriously, like it wasn’t a fact in my life. I’m going to guess that mania had a little to do with it. Like I was above it all because I had gotten away with it.

And another in the same piece, “Write it Out, Right it Out”:

I don’t think I actually believed myself when I have described the seriousness of my alcoholism in my past. Or maybe I thought that it was somehow different, because this is a different situation. Or maybe I thought I was just too young and immature to handle myself.

The fact of the matter is this.  I have been suffering from terrible alcoholism from the age of 19.  At the age of 17, I took up drinking as a recreational activity.  When life events sent me into a tailspin, I spent the last six months of my 18th year in a state of perpetual intoxication.  By the time I was 19, alcohol was a regular fixture in my life, and was a part of every recreational activity.  Finally, it progressed the point of functional alcoholism by the time I was 21.  I described it to a friend as:

Except, I know that there was two years that I spent drunk every single night. I made excuses, like friends and parties, but I would drink by myself. I remember there were nights I’d drink until 4am, and have my boss call me at 6:30am to ask where the hell I was.

During the two years, I had a solid schedule. Wake up at 2pm, leave for work at 2:30pm, work three to nine, drink and eat nine thirty to four or six in the morning, and do it again. I had even devised strategies to avoid vicious hangovers and physical withdrawal. Occasionally, I would venture out with a bottle in my purse, just in case there wasn’t any alcohol where I was going.

Since my son was born, there have only been a handful of what I consider to be benders, which were periods of time where I would invent a reason to have friends over for drinks.  I never intended on getting wasted, and I usually didn’t.  But, there were occasions.  Some relatively benign, ending with me waking up with a vicious hangover and swearing off alcohol entirely for awhile.  Others, they ended disastrously with an altercation, and I would find myself resolving the situation by dumping all of the booze down the drain, with a certain satisfaction at my self-restraint and determination.

Here’s the truth.  I never get complimented on my resolve.  Because, everyone knows that I will always go back to the same old, same old.  No matter how much I appear to change.

I am not always forthcoming about my weaknesses, especially the ones that spark shame.  I am embarrassed by my lack of self-control, especially in matters that are extremely frowned upon.  There are a lot of bad character traits that I can identify, and openly and honestly admit to.  However, lack of self-control is not one of them.  I’ve never considered myself as impulsive, and people often view it as immature and juvenile.  I have always considered myself to be mature and responsible, with certain exceptions, like during college, because impulsive actions and lack of restraint were commonplace, and socially accepted.

Many can argue that impulsivity is not necessarily a character trait of mine, rather, a feature of Bipolar Disorder.  Maybe that is true, because there really was a brief period in my childhood that I recall being very responsible, consistent, and mindful.  And yet, there are still incidents that I recall as being not well thought out before execution.  A condition of childhood?  Maybe.  Facet of personality or symptom of psychological disorder, it stands as probably the weakest trait I have.