Heya, Monster.

A SoberBlog by a TallWoman.

Archive for the tag “Family”

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?!

 

Under the InFLUence.

Ugh.

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.

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Made It.

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 b889325f0a0775c5dcb14de9156018d8strong, 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….

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

 

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.

Sick of the Sick.

My, oh, My. Our household cannot catch a break! Since our babygirl is now a kindergartner, she is in a (cess)pool of new people and new germs. While I, at the same time, am a new teacher, and am similarly surrounded by said (cess)pool of new people and new germs. We have been in-session for the past 6 weeks, and we have lost 3 of our weekends and several weekdays due to calling in ‘sick.’

Argh.

This is round 4 for my girl and myself. Our boy (3-years old) keeps catching it from one or the other of us. It is like a merry-go-round…. Ridiculous.

This weekend, my daughter and I were basically quarantined from Friday night until this morning around 11 am. Being sick and taking care of someone who is sick is not the easiest thing in the world. However, I found my adrenaline would kick in when my girl needed me (needs me), so in some ways, it makes my illness less pressing. It’s interesting how our bodies are biologically programmed to be able to prioritize someone else’s needs over our own, isn’t it? I’m just thankful it happens at all. Yesterday, I had practically rolled myself into a ball of shivers, chills, and aches. But anytime she needed me (for strep test, x-rays, blood-draw which went horribly bad, followed by a massaged finger-prick (any 5 year old’s worst nightmare)), it all dissipated to some extent so that I could care for her. Of course, my symptoms came back eventually, but for those important moments, I was mostly okay and could help her.

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In other news, the no drinking is still going okay, but I have had the craziest, strongest urges for a cigarette these past 2 weeks. I haven’t acted on the impulse, but it is so weird to suddenly be craving something I haven’t for 8 years. Maybe it’s the stress. My stress is through the roof with school, classes, making over spaces, parent-teacher conferences, etc. I am just maxed out. A lot of bubble water is being consumed, and swear words are being used.

Day 481, Still here. Still kickin’.

p.s. The book below is one of my favorites. So sweet. So comforting.images-1

 

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.*

 

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.*

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 – most 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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