Mental Acrobatics – On the Razor’s Edge of Sanity

Living Between Fact and Fantasy

As an exemplification of the extreme differences between my calm and manic self – that I experienced this summer, here are two pieces of writing on the same subject.  What is interesting to me, is the dramatic contrast of writing style and voice … as if each were written by different people, but no, they were both written by me, myself, and I (at least three versions of me : ) … just playing around.  What I have found time and time again, while navigating through dramatically different experiences, is that as long as I have a strong core of self-respect and compassion for myself, I can weather the storms of my inner life.

These two posts were originally written for Quora – on what do Genius’s want to do with their lives.  The first section is sustainable “tranquillo” me, the other part reads more like what it is like to be in manic mode (light) – I say light because, all the time, I was aware of what I was doing … yet, at the same time I didn’t censor myself or my behavior as long as it was harmless.  I did decide to delete the post on Quora because it wasn’t truly an adequate answer to the question and was more of a bit of experimental writing.

Philosophy First – Working Backwards

Edit – For the Past week, I have been trying to Delete this message, realizing that I wrote it, in a “non-typical” frame of mind.  This is due to the fact that it most likely is not “helpful” to those seeking guidance on “geniuses” – although I suspect that there are many genius’s that may have the same challenges that I have had through my life.  But for Some reason, even after three times, the deletes were not taking.  I just sent out a request for Quora to delete it on their side, since there seems to be a “bug.” So I decided to add to my response – with a Preface
So — I promised to continue to answer this question about 10 days ago. – My prior response to this question was – If I were a genius – what do I like to do with my life.  In a nutshell, whatever I want, as long as I am doing no harm to myself or others. Whether you want to follow through on my (inside the head of most-probably-not a genius) post below, which actually is only representative of one day in hypomanic mode – then go ahead.  It is experiential writing, more than informative writing.
The reason I answered this question was because, I was invited to.  I am not precocious enough to presume genius.  Too much pressure to put on myself, even if I were.  The thing is, people – you either ARE or you AREN’T a Genius … at least I think that is how it works.  Some professional runs you through an IQ test, and then you are determined to be a genius, or not.  I say “whatever” to that.
I think those who may be Geniuses, or may just be really smart – just need to live their lives, as THEY need to live their lives.  They aren’t interested in other people’s rules.  Why, because rules are limitations, and being a genius means that certain mental limitations do not apply to you.  I suppose certain geniuses, are “evil” ones and could really go to market on this idea of “rules do not apply” as if they think that the rules of being human do not apply to them as well.  This is ridiculous.  We are all human.  We all share the same biology.  And this biology is what humbles us entirely.  The problem with the qualification of “genius” – the standard IQ test is that it is extremely limited in it’s assessment of one’s total being.  We all know that human beings are MORE than simply the mind.  They are body, spirit, heart, and mind, and possibly the soul.  Spirit to me, is the energetic presence of a person.  And this is a pragmatic explanation that even an atheist could agree upon. (FYI, I will forever end sentences with prepositions – get used to it!)
So, I basically disagree with the extremely limited standard of the IQ test –
Consider these folks, who may or may not have tested 150+, and may or may not ALSO be IQ Geniuses.
Bruce Jenner – Genius physically
Mother Theresa – Genius of Heart and Spirit
Oprah – Genius of Heart and Spirit
The present Dalai lama – Genius of Heart and Spirit
Pretty much every Olympic Record Breaker – Genius physically
Jimi Hendrix – Creative Genius (Combo of Heart, Spirit, Physical)
Michaelangelo – Creative Genius
Robin Williams – Creative Genius
Gandhi – Genius of Heart and Spirit, Body,
None of the above would be considered the eggheads or brainiacs that society would consider the “status quo” genius.  And as you can see this designation is EXTREMELY limited, and I believe harmful.  Why, because we exalt the production of the “mind” above all other accomplishments in humanity.  Which is actually quite STUPID.  And I say this with NO irony what-so-ever.
And with this — those who are JUST IQ level Genius, and lack the Genius of heart, spirit, and or mind – they imagine themselves to be superior over person’s that actually could easily be superior to them.

Give me a Genius of the Heart, Body, or Spirit over a Genius of the Mind ANY DAY.

Because when it comes down to it, a Genius of the prior three is much less likely to cause destruction or harm to the planet or human being, because they want to test out an interesting MENTAL hypothesis, the world be damned.
I imagine that many of the men and a sprinkling of women in history that have worked to create the most advanced weapons systems in the world were IQ geniuses.  So they thought themselves all clever, when they were creating weapons of mass destruction – which was actually, in the long run, quite stupid.  Something that anyone, even on a basic smart level of body, spirit and heart intelligence could have seen wasn’t the smartest evolutionary choice for mankind.
Now let’s wrap back to the basic question –

What do geniuses want to do with their lives?

They want to make a difference.  Just like EVERYONE else on this planet.  The difference is that POSSIBLY, not necessarily probably, they can make a more significant difference.  And this is where things can go magnificently right or terribly wrong.  Especially, since I said that generally geniuses are more interested in creating new rules, rather than following old ones.
But there are certain rules, that those who have a Genius of the heart alone or in combination with other G-characteristics that are best not broken.
And that is – Do No Harm – Primum NonNocere.  This is the Hippocratic oath that licensed physicians must take.  Now we can get into debates about the value of this oath, when dealing with issues such as assisted suicide and when and if someone should be taken off life support when they are determined brain-dead, but the INTENT of “do no harm” is sound.
And for myself, I may not consider myself a Mental Genius, but perhaps I could qualify as a genius of the heart/spirit — but the only tests of those are by viewing one’s productivity in life.  A genius of the mind, could be a person that tests smart, but doesn’t need to actually produce anything.  This is why many smart people, don’t actually do anything – they are content to talk big ideas, but not follow through with them.  Because actualizing an idea successfully and sustainably, without brute force – which is entirely unimaginative, merely relying on animal skills, rather than human reasoning skills – involves MORE than the mind.  It involves the whole being!
And unfortunately, to the detriment of the health and happiness of the people on this whole planet, the intelligence of the whole being has been disparaged to preferentially EXALT the limited gifts of the IQ genius.
The era of the IQ Genius being the Smartest guys or girls in the room is ending, and this does NOT make them very happy at all.
So they are presently endeavoring to make MORE of a difference than ever these days, whether it is actually STUPID in the basic levels of Heart, Body, or Spirit intelligence.  Look at those “brilliant” entrepreneurs that deny climate change for instance.  Or the “brilliant” industrialists who can make a billion in a year, by trashing whole economies worldwide.
And this dear reader, is your advantage.  Because IQ genius’s are often like the guy at the gym who is so muscle-bound they look like a monkey man, and their muscles are so hard they can barely move their bodies.  Sure they can pick up a car, but who cares? How helpful a skill is that, unless you want a valet with superpowers?
These folks devalue the value of all other intelligences while the average person who has a balance of intelligence in more than one area could actually spin circles around the IQ genius in everyday life.
I believe that the American trend of ANTI-Intellectualism is the extreme rejection of the idea that only people with high IQs are intelligent.  Americans were always a very smart people, ready to make and break rules of tyranny, but they weren’t all intellectuals.  And in rebellion from the aristocratic intellectualism of England that mandated the colonization of the US, Americans broke free with their own brands of genius.
These brands of genius belong to ALL humanity, and I personally believe, that if you recognize any type of incipient genius within you, whether it be of the spirit, heart, mind, or body, or a combination of those – GO for it!
Because you are no different than any IQ genius in your desire to MAKE a difference with your life.
But always consider, the universal truth of Primum NonNocere – Do no harm!  Because at the end of the day, you are NOT an island, and you share the planet with billions of other human beings.
Like the Heart and Spirit Genius Mr. Rogers said – Be a good neighbor!
Time Stamp – August 26th, 12:37 pm (afternoon) – No time to edit – it is standing as it is.
The following commenced on August the 13th sometime after midnight
and was completed with basic editing on August the 13th- 7:29 am in 2015

So — I promised to continue to answer this question about 10 days ago. – My prior response to this question was answered as IF – I were a genius – what would I like to do with my life.

Edit (later in the evening on the 26th)
This is then – a hypothetical response, and you being a Quora reader should understand the nuanced value of hypothetical. I respond as if I were hypothetically a genius in the IQ version. Yet, because this a site that is meant to give “definitive” answers, this is why I was considering and still considering having the post deleted.  In fact, it may disappear and I may not seek to re-post it.

Resuming …
In a nutshell, whatever I want, as long as I am doing no harm to myself or others. Whether you want to follow through on my (inside the head of most-probably-not a genius) post below, which actually is only representative of one day in hypomanic mode – then go ahead.  It is experiential writing, more than informative writing.

In retrospect – I would call this –
Inside the Head of Liza One Special Mind-Whizzing Night

Spoiler alert – I do not consider myself, nor have I been tested to determine whether I am “technically” a genius, nor have I  that I can remember having a desire to be tested, (due to my trusty inferiority complex shadow _ I have been trying to shake for years now : )  But a questioner asked me to answer this – bless her heart : ) and I am a nobody-newbie … to Quora this month.

Spoiler alert to the 2nd power –
Answer Construction still In Progress not fully edited: (

Spoiler alert to the 3rd Power  –  Crazy Ass- Sign Your Life away long … so be forewarned — skip it and live your life, or pull up a chair and set aside a drink for yourself and peruse as long as you can stand it.  No SOUNDBITES here folks — moving ON Moving ON!

And on to my answer –
So I am not quite sure whether she is asking me because

  1. she thinks I am in the G category … and wants me to describe my daily activities – catering to her delusion of my G powers.
  2. she thinks I can recognize a G if they slapped me in the face or hit me on the head, or whatever the term of phrase is ….
  3. She thinks I happen to share daily company with Gs – or know their daily habits in person or via the GREAT Webmind, or libraries (old school).
  4. or possibly all of the above?
  5. The answer will address the prior categories

The befuddled Liza now speaks … preferring to speak on at least her own version of authority, however, fantasy-based … but what the hell – I was invited.

1) Okay … hardest first – If my dear questioner … actually thinks I am a genius … and maybe SHE is a G that recognizes a fellow undiscovered, even by herself, G …then well … uh …. oh Gawd I am going in analytical circles here.

First of all – this isn’t false humility.  I very well KNOW I am damn smart, and so are a whole hell of a LOT of people, damn smart – many millions out there, possibly a billion or more.  And being damn smart – there is NO shame in it at all — But there are far fewer Gs than this planet needs, but maybe a few too many Evil Gs –

Anyhoo — just supposing I am an undiscovered by myself – but have been discovered by this dear questioner … then ( ha-ha joke here – if a true genius can’t recognize herself/himself in the mirror are they still a genius? -)

Okay – so supposing – I were/am a genius – My day –

  • Seriously, I can’t tell you about my day.  Because every day is different.
  • But sychronistically before I laid eyes on Quora ( I have been ignoring Quora since last week … since it inspires writing benders in me) I actually wrote an email to a long-lost friend about today – or to be specific, referencing Tuesday night through Wednesday early evening.  By the way, I KNOW she will understand since she is a writer — and will probably be thrilled that a personal letter inspired by her got any attention at all.  And NO I am not going to include salacious details of her life!  I am not that KIND of writer that sucks the life dry around her for dirt or scandal (by the way, I love to read this stuff … but don’t have the heart to do this to friends or family.  I am stupid that way – commercially)
  • Anyway — you think I am not answering the question here – but I am just being – Full ON me … (which in answer number one presumes me to be a G — I promise I WILL get to the more realistic answers  ….. eventually.
  • But this #1 – is so much FUN … Whee, I could be a G, maybe, but possibly, but more probably – improbably!!!!
  • And — so  back to the matter at hand – you don’t mind me double-dipping into my writing life to provide you an answer to question 1 – here goes – And if you think this is a clever promotional ploy — F you – I have NEVER made a single dollar from writing in my life … so I am NOT motivated by being inauthentic for a buck!
  • So here goes – clippings from a letter from a woman possibly presumed to be a G –  Quora edits will be in italics

It starts –
So my dear long-lost friend …. although I KNOW you are not Lost – you ALWAYS knew where you were ….

It is a term of phrase … so I shouldn’t have to get literal, Aspergian style.

When you have a moment from your hectic life … I would love to hear from you!

To give you a glimpse of  me, of whom you are not acquainted.  I will give you a run-down of my day so far – Pardon the ADHD aspects –

Details about the two places I live –  then a daily breakdown

  • Okay – so I woke up two times in the morning
    • 4:30 am – with my solution to my WTF conundrum of the previous night – I had a plan that tanked to go to Italy in a couple of months (after two years of longing to return and see friends and Florence) – not happening – the details of why are too complicated to go into here.  But needless to say — the particular disappointment sent me into a whirlwind of needless and brutal life assessment.  Perhaps you have encountered these assessments in your middle age thus far … if not, stay tuned my dear for the wild and crazy mental mind-fuck …. OH Lordy
      • I went into the kitchen to eat something and enjoy feeling alive … the WTF conundrum situation having passed.  I was starving.  I haven’t been eating much …. I have never had an anorexic streak … but just not feeling a lot of hunger lately.  I gorged if one can do that on cottage cheese and fruit.
      • I am not the only one eating light these days – Say HELLOOO to Mr. Beastie — Remember Luv Bucket in ——  he is a Black furry tuxedo wearing Version, (much slimmed down recently and it is freaking me out) of the LB.  He used to be a pig, and super fluffy fur and flab – but still healthy, and now he doesn’t seem to enjoy eating like he used to … and I don’t even want to go into my concerns about this! So I take every opportunity to feed him.  He prefers to stay outside, which is also out of character, so sometimes I am coaxing him inside to come in to eat.
      • (Quora note – this is a healthy version of my cat in the good old days – NOT the photo of him presently – this was done to protect his identity!

After feeding this guy, and trying to coax him to chill out with me – sleep beside me, again, another thing he used to enjoy, and having to suffer him cat-scramble away …

  • I went back to sleep until 9:30 am.
  • After breakfast, I looked at my email – the first email from my supervisor  from  progressive Nonprofit.  I am a volunteer leader with the organization with a major team.
  •   Can’t tell you much more than that – or I would have to kill you.  Not really, but it is a long conversation.
  • Did my volunteer leader tasks for the day and some information I came across got me RILED UP  enough to write a couple of blogs one for
  1. Spoiler Alert – In spite of my Feisty speech – it is more a written persona (which is Authentic – but not exactly the best for everyday company) – to get people thinking and riled up … more than my everyday demeanor. It is my politicized persona.
  2. Rip Roarin Rants Rip Roarin Rants – The Art of Argument
  3. And Daily Kos Daily Kos – Will the Real US Criminals Please stand up?
  4. My more personal writing persona can be viewed here Survival Tips for the 21st Century: A Renaissance Woman Finding Her Place in the World  Like you, I am a complex woman, so if you are interested in really reacquainting yourself with me — read more than the latest blog … there is a big story to tell — of course, I don’t EXPECT you to read anything, some or all of what I have written … just saying the stuff is there if you are curious.
  • So I have been writing on these blogs for about a year now … and even though I have been writing things forever … but not publicly before this last year … I never thought of myself as a writer.  You know, not published, not professional, blah, blah, blah.  Nor did I give myself the permission to devote myself primarily to writing.
  • If you see what I am writing – and my small following … although my Quora participation may help – it is very unlikely that I am ever going to make any money doing this.  And this ISN’T the point.  I am perfectly content to make honest money other ways, just as long as I have enough time to write and enough money to buy things and pay my credit card bills and school loan.  (– I do realize that if I had intentionally written this WITH the question in mind to answer later in the day etc … Gosh, how brilliantly Machiavellian — but no this is the GD truth. )
  • I am happy to write what I write not for personal … oh I am fabulous recognition … but just to get certain messages out effectively, and I would never want to be in the position of having to count on my words being palatable for a particular public or publisher – and thus compromise my writing.

So … after writing those two blogs – which took up most of the day – I checked out facebook, not a regular thing, mind you … and saw it was your birthday, and HERE I Am!

And yes, as every freelancer will tell you, at some point in their day – I have been procrastinating.  Tonight, I really have to get to some serious work on a website I am designing for a friend of mine, —–, who is the sister of —- – my business partner.  He just graduated from a Master’s Program in Architecture … and I am his Interior Designer, 2nd hand Jacqueline of all trades. He has been building a painting/general contracting business steadily — with an eye to starting a Build and Design Firm.  He is 37 now, and wildly ambitious.  I have known him for about 10 years now … He and his family have treated me like family – they are —–, by the way, and the Spanish flies all around my head.  I basically understand what they all are saying, but my Italian studies have messed up my ability to speak anything but Italian or Spitalian … so I answer in English.  I don’t work full-time with him because I don’t want to …. I want to write and pursue other interests – Italian travel … eventually next year; accordion playing, returning to playing the piano, hiking … etc.  Loving life, but still managing to be poor.

Editing notes –  damn I thought I deleted the .. more current picture of Mr. Beastie —  I got this red message from Quora saying that it wouldn’t accept certain images ( so sue me I am a newbie!) … and since I letterboxed the guy, to give some him some cinematic glam to his scruffo self … poor dude, I thought this message about no new images was related to my cursory Picasa edits. My camera phone took a lame over-exposed photo. And yes, I KNOW Photoshop – but it was just a silly edit with deepening the shadows and letterbox … too silly to break out Photoshop.   

Will he ever forgive me for outing his true identity.  So far I am counting 9 views … who probably haven’t slogged through this far in this blog epic answer … So should I delete?  Or will I still be forever haunted by the fears of blackmail – threatening me with illegally gotten centerfolds of him on Catster: (  or worse.

so — the letter included up till 5:30 pm. 

  • Not strictly accounted time:
  1. Answered the text of  “how are you” from dear and brilliant/damn smart, certainly, Angel friend who was checking in on me – he was front row and center to my WTF crisis of Tuesday!  Truly – he knows how to talk me off any ledge.  I texted him – GREAT – knowing that he understands my moods better than anybody!  And asked him if he could talk.
  2. Talking to uncle who was staring at a computer site showing hazardous conditions in national weather, asked him to explain the hot pink areas – and yes in each place that I live, I live with family – not ashamed to tell you – It is a mutually supportive for all concerned : )
  3. doing dishes
  4. wandering around in the yard looking for cat
  5. feeding cat – which included figuring out new strategies for making him want to eat – he is picky, picky eater, after being such a lovable glutton in the past.
  6. Relayed the new feeding strategies to my uncle
  7. Fed myself – a salad – that I improvised today from the idea of a Waldorf salad – green leaf lettuce, brie slices, apples, walnuts, and an olive oil/ balsamic vinaigrette with garlic salt
  • At 8:00 pm – I called Biz partner and asked if he could talk Design.  He says sure but was going to use his GPS on his phone for a moment … Could I call him back.  I told him – You call me back.
  • Got a text from Angel friend previously mentioned, he texts – will text you in five minutes – I text back – gotta talk with Biz Partner, can I call in an hour he says sure.
  • 8:15 pm Biz partner calls, we talk
  • 8:30 pm – call Angel friend early – he answers sounds like he is on another planet – bad reception.  He explains he is on commute – can he call me back
  • 9 pm – Angel friend is tired, but not without advising me to work on the website.  We hang up and …
  • I ignore his good advice  and continue on with this atypical – all-day writing bender. I look at Quora for the first time in a week
  • 9:15 I start answering this question – Liza Davis’ answer to Are there any tricks to maintaining intense focus for long periods of time without drugs?
  • Then who knows at time I started to do back and forth edits  on the Quora post and  on the previously mentioned Survival tips blog – You don’t have to Take Drugs – to have a steady, calm mind —- Hmm… Why don’t our Psychiatrists tell us this?  And yes I know I misspelled Psychiatrist – but the actual title was corrected but the link text stuck … ugh!
  • I have lost track of time entirely editing and re-editing the previous Quora answer comparing the blog vs. Quora answer — fixing inaccuracies, polishing words, adding images to the blog, formatting it for better reading… you know – what bloggers are supposed to do after the first draft.
  • So I get this done to the point that my brain gets distracted and I imagine that I have published it ( … I didn’t … until a few minutes ago around 5:30 am – Thursday when I was providing the link to Survival Tips)  so I … I don’t know – I am finally getting tired.
  • Oh yeah, I started writing this thing – some time after midnight (probably around 1 pm? …
  • and here I am – 5:44 in the am — and I am exhausted … and really need to go to bed. I am too tired to do a full editing, of #1 tonight – and will get to it … in a  couple of days – whatever. I NEED to spend some major time on that website!
  • And answers 2-4, I will get to them, adding them in the comments … probably have at them again this weekend, along with fixing the egregious spelling errors, grammatical inaccuracies, missed words, and random WTF’s … I will get to it –
  • Editing improvement – Spoiler Alert – Defensive writer’s rant below
  • Remember mysterious Quora viewers and staff of Quora that will never know I exist – You aren’t effing paying me … I am giving free advice … and I do it for the passion and love for writing and thinking about life and its challenges and sharing my insights. Use them, however, you will or will not.  Seriously there are BAZILLION people out there with advice …. find your Guru or Gurah!
  • Editing change – SA – You know the drill – Spoiler Alert – The twist you may have suspected coming — although believe me in this free-for-all riff of a writing frenzy – it was not pre-ordained mentally … see my mini rant about my personal authenticity — uh fucking somewhere above — too tired to go through on the first edit, maybe a fellow viewer can point it out to you in the comments … maybe not figure it out – brilliant one : )  you got this far slogging away through great swaths of wordage.
  • If it works for you to think I am a G – well, great … whatever floats your boat.  The way I see myself is presently I am HIGH Energy – or the pejorative term is hypomanic (for those who must pathologize energy states – and don’t know how optimize their energetic experience by surfing their moods)  I have been in this alternating state of calm and self-assured to High Productive energy for weeks now, with just ONE day of WTF (well earned by the way – but no tragic result beyond  a bunch of bellyachings on the phone with an Angel friend of 10 years seeing me through it).  And NO, animals, humans, plant life – have been harmed or institutionalized in all of this – nor will there be.
  • If I AM a G – it is because I have figured out how to Surf my Moods, and manage my energy states without meds and without intensive therapy over the years.  But if you care, you can read THAT on the ST blog  And possibly many Gs are undiscovered bipolars?
  • But whatever the case is … I confidently say I am Damn smart : )  And a good Epitaph for me could be – –

She strived for Genius – but never quite made it.

See yah in the comments …. um … though not watching this for a couple of days —- got to make money with that website and I have a deadline to meet … she’ll love it – I am not worried and it will mean at least one or two all-nighters finish it up.  This part shows you my Lack of genius in marketing my website skills … doesn’t provoke Uber confidence in potential clients … and visually, my blogs look okay for a blog – but they were less than a day … slap-togethers on WP … anybody could do it.

Christ, I need to go to sleep!

Shit – I lied, about putting off the editing …. I will be editing it as people read this — Underwears OUT folks — enjoy it while you can … and feel free to point out mistakes … saves me the trouble of slogging through this whole mess early in the AM, and not getting any sleep before working on the website.  ugh!

Finished first fucking edit — I know it isn’t perfect.  But it is perfect enough for the net.  I see errors all the time on PROFESSIONAL famous sites ALL the time.  And NO I am not naming names!  I obviously reserve the right to make certain errors by accident as well … or by result of pure reality — just fucking need to sleep folks – Excuse me for being human and winding up my manic ride for the day …

Editing – Any further error catching is on you …in the comments.  My comments on those promised 2 through 4 later —- sigh, I have foolishly given myself a LongAss indeterminate writing chore for the love of all invisible – my audience?

Timestamp – August the 13th – 7:29 am in 2015

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