I am fast approaching my 48th birthday and have been battling the repercussions of my mental disorders for all of those years. The fact that I have remained alive despite the harrowing hell I have traversed is a tribute to my uncertainty regarding the possibility of continued existence of consciousness after death, and my ability to remember, however faintly, the positive attributes of existence I have encountered in the past. And, of course, the internet. I am an unsung, unknown poet and private intellectual. This is my attempt to go public. This is my IPO.
So, what are my organizing principles? Based on my behavior as a baby, it is pretty fair to say I was born with, or with the propensity for, all of the following neuropsychiatric and psychological traits: Gifted-High-Sensitivity Syndrome. This is not a recognized diagnosis - but one invented by me from multiple sources; I also suffer with Bipolar Disorder (BD) with mixed-state agitated depression, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Avoidant Personality Disorder (AvPD), Gender Dysphoria (GD - formerly Gender Identity Disorder), Alcoholism, and the bountiful neuroses that arise out of each of these conditions.
I have had the good fortune of developing with a high IQ. And if you must know, it is 175. This has done little to allow me to live a productive life. But it has allowed me to live a life, albeit a small life, despite the immobilizing consequences of my disorders. I rarely leave the house and spend most of my time in bed with my computer. All of my little pleasures are pleasures of the mind, except for food. Oh my, I do live for lunch, eight times a day! Or is it one long sixteen-hour meal? No matter.
I suppose High Sensitivity and a high IQ helped lead me toward a love of learning and a voracious appetite for knowledge. What's more, I am able to perceive connections between seemingly disparate things and ideas that most people are unable to see. That gives me a feeling of not just uniqueness, but purpose; to use my rare ability to its greatest effect within the confines drawn by my skewed development. Think Howard Bloom meets Emily Dickinson meets a brick wall.
I believe this puts me in a unique position to say something new, worthwhile, interesting, and informative. So, in the days ahead, I hope to interest you all in the strange phenomenon that is me and my experience with mental illness, and the results of my polymathic studies. I seek not for fame or ego-gratification, but the joy that comes from sharing one's unique perspective and experience of the world. The bliss of knowing that I am fulfilling a purpose, that I have a purpose. Perhaps you will find some nugget of insight into mind, matter, world, and self to enrich and inform your experience. I know it will enrich and inform mine.
From Pulitzer Entry:
T.R. (Terri Renee) Moore was born October 20, 1966, in Arlington Heights, Illinois, a suburb northwest of Chicago. The youngest of three children, she suffered the physical and mental torments most suitable for the growth of a budding poet. Unusual sensitivity, both emotional and physiological, and a period of deafness until the age of six, caused her to withdraw from her peers and the world. Reading became a solace, as she voraciously devoured everything from Gibran to Sagan in her parents’ sizeable and illuminating library.
Moving to Denver, Colorado in 1977 proved to further isolate Moore within her mind. Unable to cultivate friends among her peers, she was fortunate to have a loving grandmother, who became Moore’s best friend until 2004, when death came for her grandmother just two months shy of 100 years of age. This companionship with her grandmother was the one ray of sunshine in her life as she navigated the nightmarish road of adolescence.
Loving academics, but despising school and teenagers, an anxious ambivalence grew, leading to failures in classes requiring oral communication. Frequent illnesses, both real and imagined, dropped Moore’s grades despite her obvious and marked genius. But, with bullying abating, a perfect senior year led to a scholarship to the University of Colorado. The only course she attended was creative writing, and this only to receive the assignment. All other courses were eschewed for countless hours within the university library reading classic literature. An affinity for Shakespeare led to several early sonnets awakening a vehicle which would become her main mode for communicating her thoughts and emotions to herself, her family, and the world. This, in turn, led to many essays on science and the human condition which turned out to be eerily prescient. None, of course, were published.
At the age of 28, Moore returned to school, which focused and occupied her such that a stability reigned for a few glorious years. Disabling anxiety and the inability to decide on a major because of intense interest in the entire universe of knowledge led her to finally drop out without a degree after 128 credit hours of perfect 5.0 work in advanced subjects from astronomy to chemistry to philosophy. Needing an outlet, she turned to her poetry, amassing a dazzling array of poems displaying serious stylistic virtuosity.
Moore cannot be compared to any other poet of any time. Her voice and her style are her own, and her poems, despite being deeply personal, express a dark beauty that ties her soul to the universal consciousness. The Pillars of My Soul: The Poetry of T.R. Moore is the first publication of Moore’s poetry to date, and fortuitously includes many dates, juvenilia and random thoughts for the scholar of poetry to apprehend her psyche and artistic development. T.R. Moore currently (2014) lives with her long-time canine companion, Emma, in Tucson, Arizona.