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Scarsarestories is Jennifer L. Reimer, a journalist, writer, and web/graphic designer based in Seattle, WA.
Misdiagnosed “Bipolar” at 19, and soon given additional labels like “Panic disorder” and “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder”, she managed to make it to grad school in Vancouver, a struggling straggler who always managed to pull it off in the end.
Bringing with her a gold medal and a government grant, a cat on her eighth life, she tired of studying sociology/anthropology of medicine/psychiatry/”madness”, wanting to live and interact in real society instead of being confined to the restrictions of the academy.
So she left.
Citizen of the world, where I am – there I am!, born in Winnipeg (the coldest city on Earth, indeed, colder than Moscow when population is measured against temperature), sun-worshipper, will probably never return home (says that every time), hospitalized in psych ward 5 times within 16 months at 20/21, when a combination of psych meds that caused a grand mal seizure and coma – doctors said she would never recover from (brain damage) – but she recovered fully in weeks by piecing together her memory on the bathroom floor of the I.C.U. with little pieces of toilet paper.
Days before moving to Vancouver she found that she had written in her journal: “I will be in Vancouver to do my M.A. in a few years” during one of these stays at the “Hotel Vic”/”Unit Six”/the ward.
Feels she came to understand her mania after she got off the mind-numbing antipsychotic Clozaril in 2009 (though I needed to be “snowed” for a while, I needed to be a zombie in order to stop thinking about arsenic and old pill bottles) and is able to regulate it without psychiatric intervention. As the years go on her “illness” gains new traits, and certain themes repeat themselves: she identifies with the Jungian archetype, The Huntress, and the Greek Goddess, Persephone, only allowed out of Hades once each year for the spring and the summer warmth, and those last days of August when the sun still shines at nine. People say she is unrecognizable from one season to the other.
Depression is another story but happens less and less, doesn’t it always when we are happy, always the smart ass and loudmouth, shit-disturber, would rather write articles and books to cover basic living expenses than work for “the academy”, if there was extra money she would spend it all on traveling and appropriate dress, has trouble liking the ultra-wealthy to a fault, graduated with the highest average and most absences but least friends from her prep high school, Balmoral Hall School for Girls, along with the feat of being bullied by no one because she was too…weird and therefore intimidating, smoking cigarettes, coming from a middle-class-debt-den-of-a-background.
One of these things just does not belong.
It was her mom’s dying wish for her and little sister to attend that school, she said girls that went their held their heads up higher than girls who did not, and so her six years with the children of the rich and the famous (for being rich) began.
Now, Dad cannot afford to lend her ten dollars due to poor investment choices and chasing the American dream despite being an anarchist in the 1960s. Very critical of baby boomers who think they have the right not to work in the current economy. Maybe they did take too much acid, maybe they drank too much Kool Blue Kool-Aid, maybe COINTELPRO, Purple Hazy? Microdot, Microchip, Microanalyze. Smile. Look at the river. The river calls. In that river my dad lives in 1969, a car accident, a settlement, a trip to Europe. She can almost see it, but he will never confess. Why would he confess?
Hates idolization, idolizes Tori Amos (and maybe a few others as she grows older, sigh), worships the goddesses, just planted her first garden in real soil – in the ground – instead of in containers, black blue and red, easily overjoyed, easily frustrated. Fell in love with the Western Sky.
Cannot even attempt to get her mind around why the state of the world is as it is, thinks stigma and discrimination are products of fear and egoism that people should have gotten over during childhood but did no because of socialization in all spheres of life no fault of their own.
Shares Sylvia Plath’s birthday and Michel Foucault’s year of death was her year of birth, knows all of these things are coincidental, knows that it’s always a roll of the dice but that time cannot be rewound when the snake eyes come around, so you better trust your gut and listen to the static in the sound.
Biggest pet peeves: willful ignorance and presumptuousness, falls in love too easily, is a bad mother, abused by herself and a few men she convinced herself were lovers and countless bureaucrats, made some “poor choices” in her teens, has an ambiguous sexuality that cannot be labelled despite her glowing femininity, her lifetime goal is to help bring down Big Pharma and help to build a pharmacological research model based strictly on science instead of profit.*
Her dream is for others to be affected – somehow- by the words she writes, as a woman, a survivor, who is painfully alive and not afraid of death, but desperately wants to know how the story ends, the story of the humans.
“Derelict daughter, spirit sister, modern nomad, playboy mommy, the girl that lived 1000 lives.” (The words of some wise women who have taken the time to comment on the likes of me. I owe them my life. I will try not to let them down. XO)
<All photographs courtesy and copyright Jennifer L. Reimer 2010-2014>
*The science exists, it will not be used until Astra-Zeneca stops selling off their old stock of Effexor XR with a $4 co-pay card. I have one.**