Day 619, Just to say. *smile*
Our household has been hit hard these past two weeks with sick of all kinds. The worst being the horrible, ugly, unrelenting Flu. (Go to hell, Flu.) Our sweet girl started the cycle, which then passed to her brother, then to me the past four and a half days, and has now found its way back to her. (Poor babe.)
So, as a sober adult, what can I tell you about the flu? It is a mind-altering, body-wrenching revisit to days of old.
First, let go on record without hyperbole, that this was probably the worst illness I’ve experienced as an adult. (I still shiver thinking our daughter went through this at all with her little body of muscles & bones.) Second, it lasted from Monday evening through to… About this morning really. My stomach is still tender.
I apologize for the specificity here, but even in the midst of my illness, I kept thinking to myself the audacity and stupidity of putting myself through hangover purges voluntarily and on a regular basis. (‘Regular’ as in once every week or two.) Stupid. Stupid. Stupid! It has been almost a year and a half since I’ve been sick like this, and the pain accompanying it all…. It all felt so familiar. In a horrible, nightmarish way, I felt like I was going back in time. The dizziness and disorientation. The aches. The tiredness and complete body fatigue. The ‘grey’ feeling that hangs around all day …. Usually until 5 pm when I would have had a drink to take the feeling away (NOTE: I did not drink to get rid of my flu symptoms. Not recommended.). The sweats and chills. The stink. The stomach churning. The brain fuzz. The feeling of Time pressing down like a dead weight just sitting on top of me. Minutes going by so slowly. Painfully, painfully slow. …. Just thinking about it all makes me feel gross.
Thankfully, as my mom pointed out, the Pavlovian guilt I was feeling off and on this week was only that – a learned behavior. The flu was 100% actual virus, and not induced voluntarily.
Looking back in time, why would I ever choose to POISON myself to the point of sick? … Okay, yes. Alcoholic. Yes. Little to no control. Yes it was about escape. … But wow. What a price I paid for it.
This jog down (gross, painful, miserable) Memory Lane has been illuminating, and a positive, but sore reminder of what I have gained by what I gave up.
Day 613, Ugh, but betterish.
Hello, everyone.* Yow. I’m here and almost missed the month of January. It’s been a busy one (as per usual). After about two-and-a-half weeks straight, I finally had a day at home today to be lazy, rest, and spend time with the fam. Opened my first real show at my new school on Friday evening. It was beautiful and strong, and I was so proud of everyone. We had come a long, long way, particularly in the last week. To send it all into even more of a whirlwind our girl was incredibly sick from Wednesday evening, through the night, and up until this morning. Poor babe. The days have been long for this artist-mama, and I am glad to be sitting here in slippers and sweater, listening to two sweet babes play in the tub. Tomorrow starts another week of school, but with this past week’s mountain climbed and conquered, I feel able to enjoy the work. Thank goodness I am not drinking, or these past couple of weeks would have been infinitely more difficult. ….. I look at my life now and wonder how I even made it through my days and nights the way I did. I can’t even believe it. It is truly unimaginable how I managed. I don’t dwell often on this thought, but when I do, it makes me savor and appreciate my life all the more Now….
Even Especially when it’s challenging.
Day 600, Yow! What an awesome surprise to accompany a very mundane check-in. *smile* I am going to have to start planning my next star tattoo to mark Year 2….
Happy New Year’s Eve, my friends.* I hope this finds you and yours well and wonderful, happy and blissful, and full of hope and energy for the year to come.
What a beautiful day it has been for me – full of relaxing and cleaning (yes, that is actually a beautiful activity, especially when I avoid it for good stretches of time) and playing and being and eating and laughing and last, but not least, enjoying a beautiful winter’s eve walk in the moonlight. Ahhhh….. C’est parfait. *smile*
And now? I am here to announce my Word o’ the Year. WootWoot. And the word is?
*lesigh*…. Right? It just feels Good. And I love the definitions because there seem to be so many possibilities for the coming year.
I see first, my person, and making sure my needs are met on all levels – physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. Lately, I have discovered some addictive habits creeping back in, such as isolating, and eating for pleasure, and rewarding myself constantly (with food). Part of me is okay with the not worrying about calories, however, I have gotten a bit gluttonous. I need to remember to fill myself with necessities and Good Things. Not just stuff to fill me up…. I’m worried there may be a hole or something I am not consciously aware of at the moment, which is causing these behaviors. Not frantically worried, but just noticing at the moment. The past few days have been a bit better since I caught myself, but still. Better to be mindful and considerate of myself, rather than just eating to eat. Delicious, but not necessarily healthy. *smile* Oh, Monster…..
I also like the ripple-effect ‘nourish’ has on my relationships. Deepening them, and embracing them more wholly and again, more consciously feels right and good. After a year of being taken care of, I need to turn around and reciprocate the love and kindness so many people have shown me. It’s my turn, now, to care for them. With two of my dear friends expecting very, very soon, it just makes me excited for the year to come. … And the hubs. I don’t know, things feel more playful and more connected with him again. Maybe it’s because we’ve had some time to spend with one another this past month, but it feels so nice to be his wife. Does that sound dorky? (Yes.) But seriously. He’s just a fun guy, and playful, and nerdy, and handsome. I’m tellin’ ya. I feel lucky and aware of how lucky I am, whereas we are usually too busy to get more than ‘Have a good day’ and ‘G’night’ pecks on the lips most days.
In a wider circle, I love the word ‘nourish’ because of the new school and the new students and the new work relationships I am creating… That I am nurturing. This program my two coworkers and I envision is really, brand new, because we are each brand new. We are beginning this program from the ground, up. Caring and tending and ever so slowly growing it into being. Cultivating. Nourishing! Yes. This word feels especially good and inspiring for the Work. For the Passion. For the thing I would do, even if I wasn’t getting paid (as my dear friend Jack reminds me often). It feels exactly right. And again, because it is in service to this community and, especially, to these children, to these students. Just thinking the word in regards to the work makes my next four months of rehearsals exciting and energized, as opposed to full of dread and obligation. It feels Good. (There’s that stamp of approval again…. GoodGoodGood. I think we have a winner.)
So, yes. Here is to Nourish, and all of its lovely synonyms.
Day 571, Hello, 2017.*
p.s. A sidenote: I have been on the blogs a lot these past couple of weeks, which has been so wonderful – to connect, to read, to find inspiration. I have noticed so many new people, and I want to say a huge ‘Welcome’ to each of you. The turn of the year seems to encourage many people to consider sobriety, and I just want to say you are not alone, even when you may feel like it, you are not alone. For those of you who have taken your first forays into blogging your own experiences, it’s great to see you and to ‘meet’ you. Don’t be afraid to reach out to anyone else here in this blogolopolis we have going on here. I find so much in your courage to take those first early steps, because it is scary. And unknown. And who knows what will happen? And Even If the worst happens (and it did for me), you can make it. And you can stay present in Your Life. That sobriety you’ve got goin’ on is one helluva beautiful thing. It gives you back your memories, your thoughts, your relationships, your time, your self-worth, your confidence, your joy…. And it removes your guilt and your shame. What a cool equation. Pass me s’more, please. *smile* …. And as I’ve said in the past, I do not have this sober thing figured out. Far from it! I am here, every day, just workin’ on it, even on the shitty days. Because even on the shitty days? Those positives will far outweigh
5 oz. 25 oz. of wine….. Like a herd of elephants versus an ant. Seriously. The scales are definitely tipped in sobriety’s favor for me. And even on those shitty days? (And, dammit, but they do happen.) I am still present. I am still Me. 111% *flex*….. Keep on keepin’ on with your bad selves. *smile* Happy New Year, my friends! Thank you for all you’ve shared with me in 2016. *clink* (It’s bubble water. hee.) -HM.
Ah, what a full, full, incredibly full year it has been. Of course there are the memes and the constant barrage of Facebook notices (I’m not hip enough to be on Instagram – not yet anyway (*smile*)) decrying the sad losses of so many artists who have been nearest and dearest to us. As a US citizen, it has also been an incredibly full and turbulent year in our government. No matter your political leanings, we have been through the ringer as a country. And on a personal level, with the exception of parenthood and sobriety, I have gone through the biggest, seismic shift of my adult life, which was losing my job at a school I loved with all my heart, to finding a new position in a new school, and adjusting. Adjusting to so much – place, people, history, the way things were versus the way things are now. … Oh! And I almost forgot. I hit my first year of sobriety on June 9, 2016 and commemorated the totally tubular event with my first ever, honest-to-goodness tattoo.
2016, you have had a lot goin’ on with your bad self.
And the word that led me through all of these many ups and downs?
Such a simple, simple word, and yet? So profound.
Originally, I had chosen the word in order to be aware of the need to be kind to myself. Being someone with a need to please, as well as a good dose of perfectionism, and trying to juggle more than I should – and all of that done, until very recently, with a hangover the size of the Northern Hemisphere…. It was pretty rough going for a long, long while. I needed something, some word to anchor me and to remind me, ‘Oh, yeah. Look out for yourself.’ Throughout this year, I found myself saying “No” more times than I have in the past (Maybe 10? Still! A good start.), and I often took time to relax or, especially, to savor moments with my family, rather than thinking about all the things I should be doing. I found the word grounded me in the important things – my babes, my hubs, my immediate family, my friends – in ways that I don’t know I’ve really been able to appreciate until now. Of course, much of the enjoyment had to do with being present rather than drunk. There is that fact. But still. The reminder to be kind to myself really gave me the gift of my People again. And for that, I am incredibly grateful.
In terms of the year itself, I will echo many similar sentiments that 2016 was not, in and of itself, a very kind year.
The pain and loss I felt in the process of losing my job and then finding and transitioning to a new one was constantly led by ‘Kindness’ at the helm. Truly. The people around me were full of generosity, compassion, support, and above all, kindness. Again, I find myself so grateful…. And feeling so humbled by the hundreds of people who showed me kindness and love. I feel so lucky. So blessed. I cringe thinking what this year would have been like without all of those kind hearts around me. So, so lucky.
My word of the year surprised me in the many ways it showed up, and with whom it accompanied. I feel rather giddy just thinking about it and its many facets.
Day 570, Goodnight, Year.*
I have always felt alone with my diagnosis of bipolar. I don’t know anyone else who has it and who speaks openly about having it. In my life and in its circles, I feel like an anomaly. Like I have something no one else knows about. Something that makes me different and other and a little separate …..
I’ve also had these feelings about being an alcoholic. (Ugh. That word is so ugly, isn’t it?) Feelings of isolation and difference. I have found myself wondering ‘Why me?’ I get over it and get down to living, but sometimes I catch myself feeling alone.
Growing up, and Now – especially in adulthood – I’ve always had the vibrant Carrie Fisher somewhere in my peripheral vision as someone who gets me. Who knows about Life. Who has lived hard. Loved much. Been loud and outspoken and True to Herself. And I have always admired her for living her life unabashedly. And I find such inspiration in her living her life out loud so that others (me! and people like me!) would know that No. We are Not Alone. Nope. No way. No how. Not a possibility. In fact? There are many, many, many other people like me. Like Us. And all because this Woman, this iconic, emblematic, die-hard feminist Fisher said who she was. What she was. No apologies. No justifications. She laid it all out there. She gave her Truth to us – to me – and her example frees us to be who we are. Empowering. Hopeful. Connected.
Day 568, May the Force Be With You.
Hello, friends. A quick check-in today, and then I will be back later for more. I’ve been mulling my Word o’ The Year, and am looking forward to talking with you about some ideas I have…. Which words have your attention and curiosity for your year to come?
In the meantime? One of my favorite wintery songs. I could listen to this on repeat for hours….
Day 560, Let it snow, Let it snow, Let it snow!
It’s been a while …. Since I’ve stopped in. …. Since I’ve read some awesome SoberBlogs. ….. Since I’ve counted my days. …..
It’s been a fun swell of activity at school the past few weeks. My partner and I opened our first official show as the New Theatre Department. It was a middle school show, which was lots of fun. Very playful. I was glad to get one under our belt. I was also glad it was not my show officially, because it let me watch her journey at this new school, while supporting her with lots of tech help. I was engaged (highly), but not in charge. It seemed like just the right combination for learning while doing – my favorite way to do things. *smile* (Note: My husband often notes I am a bull in a china shop, which is true literally in the physical world, but also true on a figurative level as well. Let me at ’em! (“’em” being anything and anyone.))
Once the middle school show closed, I jumped into running my two shows simultaneously. Out of the frying pan and into the fire, I suppose. One show opens in January, so we are getting a handle on deadlines, design, and overall responsibilities for everyone involved (me, our awesome Technical Director, and 23 kick-ass high schoolers), while the second show (Big. Musical.) just auditioned this week, and will get underway in February. I feel like the auditions this week have really cemented my feeling like this place is really and truly my new home. There was something about the way the kids’ energy built and built over the week. And yes, they were much more responsive to me during the week – smiling at me in the hallways, laughing at my stupid jokes, and just perking up when I would walk by them – which I realize is all because I was holding their sweet thespian fates in my hands…. But in all of that energy to please me, I don’t know. It made the transition from last year’s teachers to me and my partner more Real for everyone involved, I think. It felt like there was a shift in the kids’ attitudes and understanding of the huge changes that have taken place in their theatre department (3 faculty left last Spring and 3 new faculty arrived this Fall (Talk about Drama!)). They seemed to accept me more completely than before, which feels so good. I think they’re starting to trust me, because we’ve been through things together now. And yes, of course there will be bumps in the road for all of us – we all hold onto our want for ‘What Was,’ but it feels like we’re moving forward and creating the New Normal together, and that feels So Good.
In other, more superficial news, I have a hair appointment today. Wah-Friggin’-Hoo! I am so looking forward to a change. Well, perhaps a minor change (a little more platinum?), OR a major change (bluuuuuuuue, anyone?!). I cannot wait.
On the house front, we are in a Waiting Mode. Projects are getting done by a really good contractor, which makes me soso happy. And then, perhaps in February, we will be at the front of the selling season, and have a little bit more luck in finding a great fit, as well as selling our little bungalow. ….. Of course, in the meantime, we are going to meet with a financial planner to talk about possibly figuring out how to push-out the house we have so that it becomes the house we want – through and through. I’m okay with considering both options at the moment, because the more we do, the more I like what we have. The issues are space and practicality, which could each be solved with a move OR major renovations. All exciting. All possible.
In sober news, I find a lot of strength this holiday season from just knowing how much better my life is without the Drink. At night, I still marvel that I have 1. So much time; 2. An awake brain; 3. Real connections with my babes and the hubs; 4. Energy; 5. No need to soften or blur my Reality. I like what I have. I like what I think and what I feel. Life doesn’t hurt as much as it did when I was drinking. There are tears and challenges, anger and fears, but it is all exactly what it is. Life’s negatives are not heightened or multiplied by feeling ashamed of myself, nor exacerbated by the time drinking took away from me. I have broken down the million-foot-high hurdles I built up for myself. I enjoy my Life for what it is. I no longer wish it was Something Else, nor that it looked like Someone Else’s. I like my Life, thank you (sincerely and whole-heartedly).
Day 543, Awake, Alive, & Grateful.
I did a huge sink-full of dishes after my babes went to bed.
And then I corrected work and reported final grades for my students.
Played a little of a silly video game just because I wanted to.
And then I read a bunch of political articles on Clinton and Trump.
Watched several hilarious video shorts on the same subject.
Coordinated my new book club’s next meeting invite.
Took my vitamins and meds in a long-series of nights taking vitamins and meds (the longest consecutive stretch of nights in my life).
Read a book.
Visited with the hubs.
Day 515, and still surprised by the little things sobriety gives back to me.