Heya, Monster.

A SoberBlog by a TallWoman.

Archive for the tag “Empowerment”

Dear Dad,

Or Dear PapaBear. ūüôā

Or Dear Man-Who-Believes-In-Me-Most.

Or Dear Man-I-Look-For-In-Every-Other-Man-I-Meet-Or-Know.

Or Dear Most-Generous-Kind-Man-In-My-World.

You keep bugging me for a blog post. And, well? Here it is. *smile* Just for you (with a few other worldly people dropping in to say ‘hi,’ of course).

As you know, I am still sober. 2+ years now, and doing well. So well, that I drifted from my blog, because I wasn’t thinking about SOBRIETY so much anymore. I had gotten into the swing of things (as a golfer, you can appreciate this metaphor *smile* (Although, maybe it is actually a reference to monkeys in trees? (Not sure. I will have to Google it))). I was feeling pretty even, pretty confident about my new job, my life with husband, my life with kids, my life with friends. It was all feeling good.

But then, it all of a sudden wasn’t. About a month ago. I got real shook up because the hubs said he wasn’t happy. That I wasn’t giving him any energy. That I seemed really depressed and angry. That I wasn’t loving the kids, but rather, I was super-short-tempered with them all of the time. That ‘We’ were not good. That he was feeling really distant, and maybe even separate from me, and all because of the way I treated him, or didn’t treat him rather. He said we were really good roommates, but not partners. He said I didn’t talk to him, or touch him. Anytime he would reach for me, I would swat him away, or more often than not, say ‘I’m busy.’ I didn’t have time for him in my world. I didn’t have energy. He wondered if I liked him at all.

Holy shit. Did that wake me up.

My first instinct was to defend.

Wait, no. That can’t be right. I’m the best I’ve ever been! (I actually said those words.) And then I went on with a list about how great I was – Job, check! New job, check! Current show, check! Kids, mostly check! Learning new things (sewing), check! And the hubs? Well, he made the list only in the way that I don’t worry about him. I trust us and what we have, and I see us as pretty separate, mostly because of how our work takes us away from each other so regularly (theatre). So, Hubs? Semi-middling-waffling-check. (No exclamation point.)

So we walked away from each other, not seething from a blowout fight, or crying hysterically from a dramatic moment. No. I can’t speak for him, but for me? I walked away feeling hollow – like my stomach had been scooped out and there was nothing left inside of me. Shaken, sad, confused. If that’s how he felt, then that’s how he felt.

Over a week, I reflected and watched and tried to understand where his concerns and feelings were coming from. It was an interesting and odd week. We walked on eggshells with one another, but then would talk about the eggshells, and then things would feel if not normal, then at least honest. We talked more that week. When I got home, I would find him and talk with him about the day. We were a little awkward-distant in our text messages, but then we were also thoughtful and considerate of one another. To use a weird metaphor, it felt like we were fourteen-year-olds dancing a slow dance. Awkward steps. Happy, but unsure of ourselves. Hyper-aware of one another and ourselves.

It was a hard week, but a good week. I realized, he was right. (He usually is. Psh.) I was without a doubt, one-hundred-and-fifty-seven percent taking him for granted. I trusted him and trusted in us so much, that I forgot that marriage needs work. And time. And energy. Of course it does! Of course he needs my attention. I was being a selfish, solely-functioning woman of the world. I was conquering all that I saw, but forgetting the treasures I had right there at home. (That metaphor was a little squishy and cliche, but right? It’s the truth!)

And most of all? … Well, sort of ‘most.’ He/The Hubs was the Most. His feelings in our relationship were the most important in that moment of upside-down.

Secondarily-Most of all, was the feedback from this man who loves me most in the world (tied with you, Dad *smile*), and here he was saying I was depressed. I was angry. I seemed really bad. And my reaction was disbelief and surprise. Over that week, I started reflecting on what he had said, and really trying to notice myself and my ways. ….. I had caught myself isolating in May/June, but I thought maybe that was old drinking habits trying to take hold. Not that I would drink, but that my tendency is to isolate. But then, I noticed I had been having loads of trouble waking up for the last three months, ever since my spring show closed. During the school year, I wouldn’t wake up until 7:30 most days (school starts at 8:30), and during the summer I was sleeping until 9 am every day, no matter if I put my alarm on or not. I had ballooned up again and couldn’t get control of my eating. I kept thinking, ‘I deserve this.’ *munch* ‘This is my reward.’ *bite* ‘I’m not drinking, so I can afford these calories.’ *gobblecrunchsmackswallow* Over and over and over again. Worst of all? I was really angry with my kids. Short-tempered. Short-fused. Over stupid shit. ….. Who was this woman? And how in the heck did she get here when I was feeling so strong, vibrant, and amazing in my Working Life?!

GAH. Life is so dang hard to balance. GodDamnFuckAssShitFuckFuck.

Okay, so the Hubs was right. Absolutely. No disputing him. All the facts were there. I just hadn’t seen them at all. I felt them and was going through them, but gah. Depression. Addiction. They’re hard to see when I’m in the middle of them, which is such a weird factoid. One would think that being in the middle of a months-long depression, a person would eventually get the kick-to-the-head they would need to realize, ‘Oh! I’m depressed!’ But no. For myself, I go through my days slogging and dragging, while simultaneously kicking ass at my job, because over-achiever? Driven? WonderWoman? But then on the flip-side miss the clues of me dropping my HomeLife, my SweetLife, my LifeLife…. And letting it drift through my fingers without even noticing. Or, really? Without even knowing.

So. Self-reflection? Check.

And then, I did what I was taught to do by you, PapaBear, and by MoM. … Take care of shit! (I wasn’t really that flippant, but for purposes of this post, and, if I’m super-honest, to sound a little cooler than I actually am, I am pretending to be a little flip. But only pretending. (For real? I was core-shook and scared.))

So, that same week, I actually had a 4-month check-up set-up with my psychiatrist. I unloaded on her in our 10-minute session. She was very sympathetic and she asked if I needed help on the meds side, but at that point, I hadn’t got down to the deepest layer. So I said, ‘No.’ I thought I was just crappy because my Life was suddenly horribly crappy. I didn’t think there was more to it. (Hey, Monster: Wrong!)

I kept on, keeping on. I started working on fixing the little things. Being more aware of the Hubs. Being more aware of the Babes. Being aware of my isolating/drinking behavior.

Things started to feel like they were moving in a better-than-bad direction, so that was good. My summer show opened. The Hubs and I were doing better-ish. I was doing things with friends. My Life was looking better. Looking Good. But it still wasn’t feeling good-good. You and Mom came down for the show, and if you remember, Dad? I was just cranky. Okay, but not Good. Not great. I had started noticing I was also still really short and quick-tempered with the babes. There was a low-lying feeling of dissatisfaction permeating most of my minutes.

The ‘it’… The Ick didn’t start lifting until I got out of here. Until I got to my hometown with you and Mom and got some time to just rest and not rush. To relax. To just Be in the place and the Home that felt good and felt soothing and healing. And so much of that goodness comes from feeling cared for and loved. I know how lucky I am to have had a great childhood and adulthood with two parents who love me and care for me and put up with me and my ways from time to time (let’s be honest, right, PapaBear? *smile*). Being Home always spins me back to Center somehow. It realigns me and my two poles, if you will. Ha. There is the gift of not having to worry. Not having to ‘Be’ for anyone. I mean, yes, I am still a mother. But somehow, being in the primary role of Daughter while I am with you and Mom is really comforting in a way I don’t get when I am a Woman of the World. So thank you for that. Times infinity.

While I was home with you, I realized I hadn’t been Good through and through, and I caught myself getting sharp with the Babes still, too. So I finally picked up that book you kept telling me about – The Happiness Project – and I started to read it. I am only three chapters into it still, but I while I read, I kept and keep thinking about how profoundly it touched you and where you were those few years ago, when you were LowLow. And some of the beginning stuff is basic and good for just Life and living. It’s made me look and see where I could prioritize myself and my needs (Hungry-Angry-Lonely-Tired, anyone?). It’s reminded me to step outside of myself and Give, as opposed to looking for what I might Get. And honestly? It’s just made me happy knowing how lifted up you felt after reading it.

As things were going now, I felt the gears start moving a little better and a little less muckity-muck. And with the layer of ‘Hmph-ness’ still somewhere inside of me, I thought, ‘Nope. I need more Help.’ And so? I upped my meds. Not a lot, since I was already taking basically the lowest dose one could really take. (I often wonder as someone who is very susceptible to meds and their affects, do I make doctors scratch their heads that I can actually feel what I feel from meds? Kind of like the Princess and the Pea. …. I wonder if they wonder if I’m faking it. Or if I am actually feeling it, or if it’s in my head. …. Anyway. Another post.) So, yes. I upped my dose by milligrams, and? About five days later? The crud and the crap and the junk? It kind of left. Just lifted. … I mean, Life is still up and down, and the children still drive me batshit-crazy sometimes, but I don’t hit the top of my Anger Meter when I deal with them. I lost my temper yesterday, and do you know what? I gave myself a timeout. And it was a really good choice. Woot. Go, Me. *smile*

I don’t know. Sometimes (Read: ALL the Time) I feel like I can do things all by myself. And do you know? I am going to call ‘Bullshit!’ on myself. Because I can’t. People can’t. We’re not built that way. We’re not meant to be that way. Looking back, I see the steps and the incremental improvements I made by adjusting myself and my world slightly and differently from day to day, and honestly? Yes. I absolutely got a little better, and truly, I thought I was better-better. But until I stepped away from my Regular, I couldn’t see the fact that I was Not. Having the space and the love and the support from you and Mom, even though neither of you even knows that that is what you give me without even trying, I finally saw where I wanted to be and that I was Not There Yet.

PapaBear and Friends, this is seeming to be more of a BiPolar-Post than an Addiction-Post. However, I will say, to those of you new to Ye Ol’ Blogge here, that for me? They go hand in hand. I am no longer a drinking-drinker. I got rid of that garbage (Woo-hoo!). But? I did not get rid of the garbage that comes with the garbage. All of the isolating, moodiness, rewarding, woe is me, I deserve this, resentful, yucko crapola that is Addiction down to its bones. That shit? That shit is still around. Added to the fact that I am a BiPolar, who has of late favored my depression more so than my mania, and you have a lovely combination that simmered, stirred, and served is enough to knock any optimistic-peace-loving-goody-two-shoes onto her ballet-flatted ass.

I am SO beyond lucky that I have people who love me. People who love themselves. People who are honest. People who care. And sometimes? PeopleLikeMe need a little more help than even those awesome ones. We need a therapist to talk to, or we need daily exercise (okay, we all do need that (Goals)), or we need a pill or a combination of pills.

And the hardest part of it all? Is getting off our cute little butts and going out there and getting the help we need. Dad, I always laugh when I think of you telling me I am the dumbest smart person you know (when I started smoking (Update All: I quit 10 years ago))…. But I always think of that because You Were Honest. And you Love Me. And? It always. Seriously, ALWAYS gets me off my ass to do the thing I think is stupid because it is the smart thing to do and I just don’t want to (whiny-whiner voice). Or, because I think, ‘It’s not fair!’ (Also whiny-whiner voice.) And just this last visit, Mom said to me, ‘Well, I’ve just learned that Life isn’t fair, so I can stop griping about it and just get on.’ YES. Life isn’t fair because I’m BiPolar and I’m Addicted and I’ve got a temper and I’m too tall and blahblahblahblah ….. It isn’t fair, but let’s get the ThisThatIsNow figured out Now, right? *smile*

I learned that from YOU, Dad. You and Mom.

And oh, my dear Lord, has it …. Have YOU …. saved me a million-and-one times.

Day 780, Thank you and I love you.* Your, -HM.

p.s. Hope you liked your post. *smile*

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You changed my world, PapaBear.*

October Road.

It’s early morning. I can her our grandmother¬†clock ticking. My family is tucked in their beds – mostly. My daughter stole her way into ours, which was the impetus for me getting out of bed, and thus, finding myself here in my chair with a hot cup of coffee. I’m quite happy she did. I love starting my days off a little earlier than everyone else, reading, and just waking up on my own. It’s nice to be awake and to have some time and space just for me.

I’ve been feeling this way – this relaxed, contemplative way most of this past¬†week. On the one ¬†hand it’s very nice because my brain has stopped going a thousand miles a minute every second of the day. With the new job, I didn’t realize until I had stopped spinning, that I was in a constant state of stress and anxiety. I was trying to race as fast as I could to write curriculum, clean, grade, plan, collaborate, learn the community, organize, and take stock, that I didn’t even notice how hard I was working to stay caught up with even the most basic responsibilities of getting through each day¬†and doing what I was hired to do – teach.

This is my sixteenth year as a teacher, but this new job is really Brand. Spankin’. New. I am writing it from the ground up, which is exciting to do, because I and my partner are designing a theatre program to follow students through each of their elementary and secondary years a child’s entire elementary and secondary school years. The structure before was a bit too nebulous and focused on Fun. I am definitely not opposed to fun, however I want kids to be challenged and to grow as artists.¬†It’s exciting, and I know in the coming years, this planning will do the program a lot of good, and help us to create a lot of depth. However, I am a little frustrated because I am covering basics with most of my students at every grade level, so that next year, I will have to write even more curriculum once we have students on the same page and with the same skill sets.

Then, I look around my space and in my rooms, and I just see a Mess. Granted, it is entirely my own fault because it was my idea to flip the costume and prop room inside-out, as well as the library….. Yeah, it’s a mess. Ha. And I know, from growing up with my father, whenever I was feeling stressed, he would tell me to clean my room so that my mind would feel better. A good rule of thumb, as long as one has the time and the energy to do so. *smile* I have kept my office quite clean so that I have a space I can escape to, but…. Yeah. Maybe I will work on prioritizing the other rooms again so that I don’t feel trapped underneath a mountain of Theatre Things.

This post is sounding quite negative, but overall, I am feeling better than I was. I should have written more last week, but I was feeling tired and sad and …. Oh, wanting to isolate. Dagnabbit. Stupid human tricks that keep repeating themselves. Argh.

Anyway, the other feeling I’ve been really having trouble with is melancholy. The longer I am at my new job (which, even though is overwhelming, I am really loving – and I’m not just saying that as a¬†perfectionist in order to appear¬†perfect to the outside world – I truly love it and the students and the people), the more and more Real it feels that I have lost my old job and my old community. With the fall weather exacerbating everything, I just feel Sad. And lonely. The communication from my old people has been little to none, which further breaks my heart. And I know everyone is as busy as I am, or more so, but it just makes me sad. I definitely feel like I am grieving again in many ways. The two months of grief and franticness and loneliness surrounding the¬†initial news of my job loss in April seems to almost be repeating itself from August to September to now.

However, like I said above, I feel like I am stepping out on the other side of those feelings of sadness and spinning my wheels. I am still definitely in there. It’s not a quick fix by any stretch of the imagination, but at least I can now see where I was and what I am moving away from. Why can’t we see our full situation when we are in the thick of things? Is it because we don’t have perspective? Because we are too close to it all?

Day 496,¬†a little James to walk with me today and to¬†make the day brighter….

 

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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A Monster Mini-Update.

Hello, friends. Monster here and doing well. It’s been awhile since I last checked in because I have been mega-busy. Here are the haps in a nutshell:

  • Opened ‘Midsummer.’ Yay! So cute, so funny, so silly, so good. It is still running through next week.
  • Opened another show this week – a mega-musical – to mark my last production at my current school. It’s taken a lot of late nights staying up, painting, working, etc. Lots of little pieces needed doing, but? They got done. Huh. Zah. Also, my favorite part are all of the grads and families who have already come back to see the show and give me ¬†hug. So beautiful and incredible to be surrounded by so much love.
  • In the meantime, I joined the committee hiring my counterpart at my new school.
  • Started digging into my new office/area and reorganizing and making it my own … Very, very slowly.
  • Welcomed my little sister home for a visit. She arrived last week with her fiance from Australia (whee!), and is in the state until the 28th. With all that’s been going on, I haven’t had a lot of time to see her, but am looking forward to one or two days devoted to her and the fam.
  • And lastly, I decided (two Sundays ago) that it would be a great idea to get our house on the market in the coming month, and then find a house, and move. Crazy? Probably! *smile* So many things to do! A lot of small upgrades that will help with the price point, I hope.

In Soberland, since sharing my year-long sobriety with my friends and family on Facebook, I have had so many kind, amazing connections with people. Even two weeks later, I have people telling me how proud they are, or congratulating me.¬†The Love is palpable. … And it feels a lot freer, too. Not that I was hiding or ashamed of my sobriety, but there is another level of ease because more people know and I don’t have to navigate as many social moments now. Liberating.

Alright, off for more house porn ….. It is so addicting! (But not in a I-need-help kind of way. I swear. *smile*)

Day 410, I’ve missed all you cool-cats.*

 

Sort of Out & About.

Hello, all.* Can you tell I have a few more hours of free-time lately? Ha. I am starting to worry I will bore you with all of these Life updates….

Well, I am here today, because I did a big thing. I posted my tattoo and the reason for my tattoo on FB Sunday evening. Here is some of what I wrote:

Friends, I am Sober. And have been sober for this past year. I found sobriety because I had lost Myself. Truly. Lost her. Did not know where or who or what I was anymore. I could see my Beautiful Life and I would marvel at the fact I was not happy inside of it. How could I not be happy?! But I wasn’t. After turning over so many aspects of myself, trying to figure out what was wrong with me, I kept hitting my head against the truth – I had slowly, without realizing it, begun to center my world around drinking. And so? After a long, painful, pissed-off bit of soul-searching, one day, I just let go of trying to control it all. I let go and stopped drinking on June 9, 2015. 390 days later? I am more Myself, more present, more confident, and more happy to be alive than I ever have been as an adult.¬†

And the response was overwhelmingly positive. People commenting, liking, all the kind things people do to recognize others on the ol’ FB. I even had one¬†old acquaintance reach out to me privately and tell me she was also sober, and had been sober for 15 years. Yow! And another friend wrote me and said he had begun sobriety about the same time as I did. Again, wowwowwow. So overwhelmed with Kindness (my word o’ the year) and living honestly and openly.

I had a number of people make the comments of either, ‘I had no idea!’ or ‘You are so brave!’ And while the first relates to living as a high-functioning alcoholic so that no one sees what’s really going on (Of which, I am not surprised, but also a little sad about.), the second… I feel it relates to the social stigma still associated with sobriety and being in recovery. It’s an interesting line to walk being sober and being in this world that loves booze and fun and letting loose so much. It’s interesting because of the challenges of feeling like I am the odd one out. There’s the whole fear-of-missing-out syndrome based on the many, many advertisements and product placements, and general depictions of people having-fun-by-drinking-together in most of our entertainment options, as well as that same ol’ FB engine that perpetuates the images of friends drinking and laughing and going to breweries and pub-hopping, etc. And with all that, we few, we happy few (Henry V), are walking through this alcohol-soaked world¬†thinking we have something to hide. How absurd is that? …. Yes, of course, the shame of past transgressions and foibles and times when¬†we-did-that-when-we-were-drunk (x 1,000,001 for me personally)…. But stepping into sobriety, we can be proud we stepped away from our past. We can be proud we took a positive step in order to help ourselves. There is no shame in sobriety, nor should there be.

Of course, here I sit, struggling with whether or not to show you all a picture of my real self, and like an anxious hypocrite, I can’t quite rip that¬†bandage off yet. I am so close, but just not yet. Much of my hesitation has to do with the stories I’ve told here about what I did while drinking. Some of it has to do with my identification as a woman with bipolar as well.

Again, Stigma…¬†noun: 1.¬†a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person.

Why is it we stigmatize our hurt? Why are¬†our hurt and our pain thought to be negative? Things to be ashamed of? Even what I have found in the past 36 hours is that living my truth is not so bad. It’s actually very liberating and relaxing, because I am not working to keep a secret. I came clean (again). I know there’s a history, as well as a present-day¬†condition within our¬†world that demands we be¬†unkind to those who are different and other, but when we embrace our truths and tell our stories, isn’t it true we grow stronger and more compassionate and less judgmental because knowledge is power. Truth is power. Cliches, sure, but soso true.

Has my own introspection given me the courage to self-identify? …. Hrm. Not yet. A little anti-climactic, isn’t it? Sorry. But¬†we’ll see in the future. I have done so much to embrace and to own my whole self (this past weekend especially), I feel I am close. But not today.

Day 392, yes, and not yet.
p.s. Made it to the Summer Solstice and forgot all about it! That’s 3¬†rounds of moving with the universe. Onto the next!
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The Long-Awaited…

Is finally here!

…. And it hurt!

…. And it still hurts!

…. But It. Is. SO. COOL!!!

I love it.

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That tattoo artist is amazing. Cool. Good at swearing. Great story-teller. And a friend of friends. Can’t wait to go back to her next year for my second star… *smile*

For those who ask, first, it was a pretty tender place to get tattooed in the first place. But? I couldn’t think of anywhere more I wanted it. So, glad I went through with it. The feeling was like when you scrape your knee, but in slow-motion, and on purpose, and for a looooong period of time. Well, 30 minutes. But still. Slow-motion pain.

But now? I feel like a bad-ass. I also feel like if I do become a regular inker (skeptical), then anywhere else I decide to put a tattoo would be a breeze. Did I mention how tough I am? *smile* Ha, yeah, right.

Day 390, Heya, Universe. Thank you.*

Wakka Wakka Wakka.

While this post is begging me to write ‘The joke’s on me,’ I just can’t. Life is good. Life is full. Life is busy. Productive. Creative. Playful. Sunny.

And I am here having opened a show this past week, which I was pretty sure would be the first un-funny production of¬†A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the history of the world, but then? Boom. Saturday hit, we hit our stride, and we were hilarious! *angelssing* Thank all that is holy. And now? It’s probably one of my favorite shows (comedies) I’ve directed. Especially because it’s outdoors and just FUN. Love that. …. And of course, the process was fun, and actually the week of opening, we weren’t too stressed out, but yes. I was worried about the funny-factor. Problem solved. Phew!

Following the opening, I dove into my second show this past week, and now have a bit of a hiatus for the days surrounding the 4th. *sigho’relief*

The hubs and I have had some really great evenings out together. Cast party, show, Finding Dory with the babes. And now tonight, we are headed to our first date ever to a comedy club. One of my very dear friends is opening for the headliner, so we are going to support him, and also just to check it out. I’m excited. We are even having dinner out beforehand. Look at us! We’re grown-ups!

Also in the works…. I had a tattoo consult the other week, and now I am set to go in on Sunday the 3rd for the real-deal. I’m nervous, second-guessing, and excited. I’m a nut. The date is significant to me, too, as it is a date I always remember for hurting someone I loved very much…. You guessed it, while under the influence. Yes, some of it was youth. Yes, some of it was na√Įvet√©. Yes, some of it was selfishness. But I always remember the date. Even 15 years later. I feel like there is something to the world’s design that my tattoo date is the same as the date I so frequently associate with shame and regret. Perhaps to help balance out the scale?

Day 387, *insertpunchlinehere* … Ba-dump-bum!

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A Year in the Life.

Well, today is the day.

1 Year Sober.

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And?

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I was inexplicably sad and tired all of the time. I felt constantly stressed, angry, and frustrated with my Life in general, and I was resentful and irritated with those people I love most in the world. I wanted so much to be the person I remembered being in my younger days, but I couldn’t find my way back to Her. I turned in on myself and away from the world. I tried every night to ‘treat’ myself and take some Me-Time in the guise of a wine glass. I thought it was adults did. Instead of filling me with positives and benefits, the wine took things away…. Most of all my sense of self, and replaced it with shame and pain.

Today? I am not the person I was. Even in the midst of all that has transpired this year (this spring in particular), I am Joyful. I am Happy. I am sure of myself, who I am, what I want, what I believe. My relationships with others are deeper, more sincere, more honest, more present, and more consistent. Resentment has gone the way of the dodo. Shame left me soon after I stopped drinking because I had nothing to feel ashamed about. My work/my creativity is stronger. I am rested. I am kinder and gentler Рmost of all with myself. I truly feel like I have recaptured Who I Was into the Me Who Is Now.

Sobriety is the best gift I have ever given myself, because it has given me my Life back.

To those people I love here in the blogosphere, my family, my friends, and the hubs, THANK YOU for all the love and support. I would not be here without having you with me on every step of this fascinating journey.

Year 1, Here I Am.

p.s. To those considering sobriety, perhaps just try it and see. What’s the harm? If, like me, you’ve tried counting drinks, setting limits, setting rules, jumping through the hoops of justifying the morning-after drink, or the drink at 5 o’clock-even-though-yesterday-was-an-alcoholic-blur, or if you’ve covertly picked up another bottle because it was on your way, or next to the grocery store anyway, or if you’re planning get-togethers with friends because it gives you the opportunity to drink in a group, an alibi, but then later by yourself, or if you’ve drunk by yourself and secretly filled your glass, or watched the bottle level go lower and lower and you’re not getting enough while everyone else seems to, or if you’ve hidden bottles away from your people and then gotten rid of the empty bottles when no one’s looking….. If you’ve done any or all of that, what would be the harm in just trying sobriety for a day or a week, just to see how it goes? What I discovered was that Sobriety is a whole lot less work than drinking ever was. It was actually easier…. on my life, on my health, on my well-being, on my peace-of-mind. Reach out to us here, if you want someone to listen to your story, or if you have questions. There are so many of us here who have been where you are. And, to be sure, I do not have all the answers, nor is my journey done. I still choose sobriety every day, and sometimes that choice is a lot harder than others, but? To me, it is always worth it and proves itself to be day in and day out. Love, -HM.

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