Crazy Love

Jul 9, 2021 | 2014 Spring - Mental Health

By Jane Barnes

I don’t know when I went crazy. My father was a shadow that crept into my room in the dark, and when my liberation occurred, we’d built a big house out in the country; the important point: my bedroom was now on the second floor. Quickly, I ordered myself to forget all that, which was successful when combined with drinking alcoholically to get drunk – “wasted” – not for the taste or relaxation, but to forget again. When my parts began speaking to me about confusing things, my body went to war; it wanted touch but my memory whispered filthy ashamed naughty feels-good (what?) my fault. At any rate, The Beast was calling the shots.

Laura and I cautiously became a couple. It was really good for six years then we ran aground. She broke up with me and moved to South America. I moved from Boston to New York. Maybe this city is my true lover!

Back in the late seventies, if you were attracted to a woman or had kissed (or even more) with a woman, you were a lesbian. I had one “bi” friend, and I remember walking with her in the Cambridge Common. Yellow dress and lipstick; dressing for whom? But then she turned to look at a passing woman and said, “Umm, my type.” I’d been warned off bisexual women, who will sleep with anyone, who are too chicken to come out, who want what a man has as well as what a woman has, etc., ad nauseum.

And as to being crazy, so far all (all!) my diagnosis was alcoholism. About three years after my life cleared up, abuse memories came back. So I guess I was ready, so I bought The Courage to Heal. There they were, 25 symptoms. I had all 25 symptoms: I was sexually abused. I lost it, flew to Arizona and entered a rehab and there I wept and shouted, and a weight fell off my shoulders. Soon after I returned home from rehab, a portrait photographer called me and wanted to take my picture for an art book of portraits of gays and lesbians. When I said I was bi, he was sorry, but he couldn’t use my photograph.

When I was in the closet, I had had a painful friendship with a straight woman, after which I vowed to be out to any new relationships. I found a terrific woman; she was lesbian, I bi. Years passed, most of them good. Then she met someone new. I tried some men. The Ivy League was no guarantee. One by one, “Princeton,” “Yale,” “New Yorker” and “NYU” failed to meet my standards. Then health issues announced themselves, one after another. And now? No romance in sight with either sex, but I send in my poems to bisexual journals and they get published. And I get a little more found.

Jane Barnes has finished a poetry manuscript covering 25 years in 250 poems callled “The Inbetween: Poems 1982-2007.” A short story of Jane’s (too big to hug) is carved on a granite pillar at Copley Plaza in Back Bay, Boston.

Related Articles

Worth It

By Hannah Johnson I had always been an anxious person, and by the time I started high school I was also depressed. When I was fourteen, my mother was diagnosed with late-stage cancer. I was told by a few of my peers that my mom was sick because I was bisexual, that...

read more

Split Down the Middle

By Mariah Cruz Sometimes I feel like my head might explode or my body might split open, no longer able to contain the two separate people that live within its confines, like a scene from the movie Alien. One person is a straightish woman who finds balance in...

read more