Heya, Monster.

A SoberBlog by a TallWoman.

Archive for the category “Kindness”

April: I Was Here.

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(Aren’t drama masks creepy?) 

Good morning!

‘Theatre is a lifestyle’ is not an exaggeration. My sister summed it up beautifully, painfully, and accurately….. *smile*

This month has seen the first big musical production at my new school. Production staff was fabulous to work with, the kids have been positive and have grown even from just a few months before, and the families have been so supportive. Now that it’s over, we’re all exhausted, happy, and proud. A good combination, I think.

My own parents were also able to make the show, which was my favorite part. And they came to the show that far-exceeded any of the others. Which makes the time and the sharing all the sweeter. Pluuuuus, the show was being recorded that same night – something that never happens!

This morning, I actually slept in a bit. Luxurious!

And now, I am about to get ready to go in one more time to run Strike – when everything gets taken apart, cleaned, organized, and put away. My favorite day actually…. Because it takes us back to zero, and that is the place where the next show will start from…. I love it. So cathartic and healing and satisfying. And beautiful in the promise of the unknown and the daydreams and the what if’s….

Still here, still sober, folks. Two loooooong weeks away from my fam, but in actuality? The demand seemed better-balanced and shorter in duration than it has in the past. When I dug in two weeks ago, I could visualize the ending, and knew it wouldn’t be too bad. Plus, lots of podcasts to keep me busy while I worked kept me happy, and the nutritious lunches I ate at school (fact, not facetious) kept me better fueled and even-keeled than I usually am eating gas station snacks and coffee. *smile*

Day 691, What’s up next?!

 

Drumroll Please….

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?

nourish

*lesigh*…. Right? It just feels Good. And I love the definitions because there seem to be so many possibilities for the coming year.

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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.*

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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.

2016 Word in Review.

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.

Man.

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?

kindness

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.

However.

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.*man_in_the_moon_stock_by_jinxmim-d74sgx0.png

 

Princess Leia’s Sister.

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.

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Artwork by Katie Cook

 

Snow Days.

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!

In With the New.

Hello, friends.*

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.

501 Blues.

Not actually Blue at all. *smile* A nice shift from my last post.

Some time off on the weekend. Time with babes, the hubs, friends, my books.

For your viewing pleasure…. A blast from my past. This commercial makes me giggle.

Day 501, Take it away, Neil….

A Whole Lot of Nothin’.

Yep. That’s about sums up my motivation and drive today. I’m home with my sick babe and rather than cruise through the house and make it look awesome, spotless, and wonderful, I have been mindlessly surfing the internets, listening to music, and thinking, “I should be reading my book right now.” Oh, about a hundred times.

Nothing feels kind of nice.

Especially when I stop with the guilt and the should-dos.

Nothing doesn’t happen very often – for me, or anyone, I would guess. So, here I am savoring nothing. I’m going to turn my tuneages up and shut down the naggy voice in my head.

Be well, friends.

Day 465, Live long & prosper (immediately or later – it’s up to you).

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Oh, Leonard Nimoy. You are so wonderful.

Some Sea-Faring Metaphors….

Well, school has started. Not only for me, but for my very own little Kindergartner as well. One of the gifts of being at this new school is that it’s a Pre-K – 12, so she has the opportunity to be there as well. It’s a phenomenal school with phenomenal teachers. We are so lucky to be able to spend our mornings and afternoons traveling to the same place. I love walking her up to her classroom from my office. I love picking her up, happy and excited for what her day has been. And I love, most especially, getting to see her in the hallways every once in awhile, which of course if when I get lots of extra kisses and hugs. It is so special to have her there. To be at the school together.

As for me, in-service/workshop days were already three weeks ago. Yow! And the week leading up to the start of school was FULL of information. I felt like I was drowning. Each day more and more information, people, expectations, lists of procedures would be piled on top of the day before…. The water just kept creeping up and up over my head. Add to that I was having tech issues with my computer and everything internet, so I was behind on a practical level as well.

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However, even in the midst of the massive overload, I was so Welcomed and Cared For. Seriously. If you ever want to work at the Nicest Place on Earth, send me a personal message, because I have found it. These people are generous, empathic, sensitive, thoughtful. They have good senses of humor and will do just about anything to help. They are passionate about their students and their families, and especially about learning and creating thoughtful, compassionate, justice-seeking young people who will go out into the world to make it a better place. So, even in the midst of my own personal worries, I felt and saw some awesome and inspiring humanity all around me every minute of the day. Their presence and kindness really buoyed me up (to push the metaphor further).

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Top ALL that off with being a new parent of a new student? Well, jeez, Louise. I left every day inspired and hopeful all the way up to my tippity-top, in spite of all that was looming over my head and whatnot that I had left to do.

Fast-forward and I worked my butt off over the weekend and the few days we had for prep that first week (we started on a Wednesday), and then, tuh-dah! School started.

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Get it? It’s a School…. Of Fish. (I’m a dork.)

And all was good and right with the World. I found my rhythm. I got my shit together (for the most part). And the days have just been sailing by …

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Fun. Good energy. Promise.

Teaching is what I love. What I feel I was born to do. And even though I am in a new, unknown place, as one of my dearest friends said to me, ‘There are kids everywhere.’ And it’s true. How wonderful that it is true. And to be in a place where the adults Love kids and Love teaching, it feels like it might be just the right place for me.

Day 453, Love the Pisces Queen.* Found at: http://www.zazzle.com/pisces+puzzles

 

Hello, Out There.

Hello, friends. It’s been a little while. Yow. Time passes when you’re busy doing stuff, doesn’t it? I’ve been thinking about you a lot, and checking in pretty regularly on WP to read your words and journeys. I just haven’t had the chance to sit down and write you my own epistle until now. Sitting feels good. *smile* As does writing you. *clickityclack*

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So, the End of Shows went beautifully. Both were well-received and well-attended. The Shakespeare show (Midsummer) was love-ily to have because it kept me grounded and connected to both my past, present, and future (an 18-year history with the company, as well as looking forward to directing and being with my favorite people again next season/summer). While on the other hand, the mega-musical marked a significant Ending because it was the last show I will direct at my now-former school. The show itself was strong, vibrant, funny, and a little naughty. I definitely felt I went out with a Bang!

Of course, the Universe is always there to remind in so many different ways that I am not in control, nor can I, nor should I try to control the world around me. With all the anxiety surfacing inside me this past month around the closing of my shows, the Job being well-and-truly final, readying our house for the market, looking towards starting the new-*sparkly* Job, trying to spend time with my sister-who-was-in-town-from-Australia-during-my-busiest-two-weeks-of-the-summer, leaving for vacation, and now about to hit the ground running with the new job and the house….. Well? My anxiety has just climbed and climbed and climbed. And in each of those pockets of Life, the Universe has aptly put me in my place again and again.

First. My beautiful, amazing, phenomenal sister left 3 Thursdays ago. We have a tradition in our family, that whenever someone is driving away (the Leaver), the people staying behind (the Leavees) wave until they can’t see the car any longer. And, weather be damned, the Leaver/s in the car roll their windows down and wave back until they can’t see the Leavees any longer, too. So, with this tradition well-established, my sister hopped into her rental car, rolled down her window, got the last teary hugs and kisses from me and the babes, and then turned to go down the driveway. When what should appear? You guessed it! The Universe. In the form of a school bus (in July). It came around the corner and then pulled to the side of the road with its red stop sign shining, and its red lights flashing…. We just laughed. Because what else could we do? It was perfect. And funny. And gave us the chance for a few more hugs and kisses.

Second. The last show of the mega-musical…. All day, I just had nerves. It felt Epic. Important. One of those I-am-going-to-remember-this-event-for-the-rest-of-my-life-type things. So here we are chugging along, I’m watching the show and just enjoying it and laughing at all sorts of new moments in the show, and then. Crash. At the end of intermission as I’m about to start the show again, the hubs (who was in the show) comes up to me and says another actor and the pit say the music director is either drunk or high. Oh, what?! Gah. So I race back to speak with the person and to see if they’re right. …. Yep. Sure as shit. …. He is so far gone, I don’t know that even speaking with him would do any good. I pulled a musician aside and asked him to push the show, the cues forward if the MD dropped the ball on anything. So the whole second half, I’m just holding on and hoping we make it through the show without any mishaps (we did), and also trying to figure out what to do about this man. It was just odd. In all my years, I have not had this happen to me in any way, shape, or form. And then for it to be my last. I don’t know, it felt odd, though not unexpected (I wrote about my misgivings in an earlier post). With all the adrenaline now wrapped around this problem, the significance of it being my Last Show dropped. And a bit of regret, following the show, I didn’t handle the situation very well. I skirted around it, made sure he had a ride, etc. However, I followed up the next day and feel much better about that. I know if we had had a Sunday closing, I would have fired him and told him not to come back. But since we closed on a Saturday, I just wanted to get through the show, and we did. On the phone the next day, I was angry and sad, particularly because this is a show at a high school with teenagers in the production. The choice to get drunk before a (professional) gig felt incredibly selfish. He could have compromised the entire production. …. I asked him if he thought this was a problem, and he said that he did think so, that his mother was very sick, and not for the first time. Then, I offered to send him some resources via email, and promised that I would follow-up with him in a few weeks to see how he was doing. I penalized his pay, and then later, apologized to the teenagers for not being more assertive the night before. I apologized for the MD’s behavior, and told them what he did was not okay. It was messy, but at least I followed up on all of the loose ends.

Following all of this, my mother came down for a week and helped me get a ton of stuff done with the house. The hubs and I have one more week to work, and then, I am hoping we are set to show our house starting next week. Keep your fingers crossed.

Third. This past week, we went out of town to the shores of Lake Superior. Beautiful. Majestic. Mighty. …. But my anxiety was really high. Incredibly high. About death. About losing my babes – especially in the midst of the water, which just seemed incredibly powerful. I know I was driving the hubs nuts on one particular day, because he had them in the water amidst these big waves. I just saw the immensity of the water stretching out behind them, and the strength of each wave as it rolled in and hit them, and I was just So. Scared. That they would be knocked over. Pulled out before we could reach them. Before I could save them. … So all this, and then? Oh, there’s the Universe again. This time it showed up in the form of sister-brother battles. Our 3-year old kicked his sister’s head, which banged the edge of a coffee table. Stitches at a small-town ER. Ah, vacation memories…. But really. It acted as a good reminder that I really can’t control anything. And I know that deep down, but it doesn’t always stop me from wanting to try. Letting go is a lesson I need to learn again and again and again it seems. … Also? The accident freed me up and helped me to embrace the waves and the water with my family later that day. We got splashed and soaked, and we laughed and held onto one another.

Day 432, Thanks, Universe. I needed that.

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