Today I was at church trying to understand a service about the Higgs Boson so called god particle. Unfortunately, the only part I understood was a song at the end composed by some local wags. Of course the reason I subjected myself to this torture had nothing to do with science or spirituality. I was there to find a woman. Who knew, eh?
Women, as you know, come in all sizes, shapes, and colors and have an amazing variety of interests and accents. However women generally fall into 2 basic categories: available or not. It is almost guaranteed that any woman you meet on the bus is not available and moreover has at least 5 children.
Fortunately, that is not where I encountered Madame X. I learned about her after I posted a message about community mental health on the church list-serve. She wrote back and said let’s be friends. Things progressed as these things do and soon we were Facebook buds. There might even be a lunch attempted. Be still, my heart.
This matter of identification can be very complicated. For me, not her. Let me explain that I am one of possibly a dozen African-American men who attend the church. Whereas, she is one of several hundred such women who may or may not exist. She could very well be the alter-ego of someone I’ve offended. At any rate, she had sent me a message on Facebook that today could be the day I would be able to verify her existence.
So I figured a little Higgs Boson, a little lunch and then she would poke me. Well, not such a great plan. After I stumbled into the Common Room I looked around and found a few people I knew about this unusual dilemma. “Now you’ve really got to narrow this thing, Kenyatta,” they sympathized. Is she wearing her name tag?
I spotted a woman talking in a crowd who might fit the vague description I had and approached her. I asked her who she was and of course, she was not the Lady in Red. She was also wearing a ring as big as a piece of dark matter. I thanked her and wandered away.
To the ever growing cloak room, I fled and looked for her name tag. And sure enough, when I found it, the tag said, “What’s up, doc?”
Well the next time a woman asks me about having lunch together, I am going to ask her what she knows about particle physics. That will simplify things. There is a back story to this tale of looking for love in all the wrong places. I had read a story about the question: how to disclose and when. Mental illness is not one of those obvious things you would see in a lot of people. Many of the folks I assist would blend in almost anywhere. If you ask how I could have done so many of the things I accomplished while fluctuating from one mood to the next, all I can say is “damned if I know.” But now I’m on the wonderful road of recovery and sometimes when I talk about who I am I have to explain who I was.
I have no idea who I will be. I have an appointment book full of optimism. I have hopeful texts on my cell phone and co-workers who enjoy celebrating together. Yesterday I found a story on Story Corps a National Public Radio series that invites people to tell brief snippets about themselves and their loved ones. I sent it to my friends at work because we should never forget that behind every diagnosis is a person with dreams, hopes and fears.
That is me and my hope that there is someone I’ve never met who will appreciate the gifts that I bring.