Heya, Monster.

A SoberBlog by a TallWoman.

Archive for the tag “Friends”

O regression, wherefore art thou?

First off, my favorite fact about WPS (William P. Shakespeare): Did you know the Shakespeare’s ‘O’ isn’t a literal ‘O’? The classic ‘O Romeo, Romeo…’ isn’t supposed to be said like ‘Oh, Romeo…’ Nope. Anytime an ‘O’ is written into a line, it’s a cue to the actor an emotional/emotive vocalization should be made. A sound. So in the classic balcony scene, Juliet might sigh or giggle or breathe in and make a frustrated wanting-sound. So many options. I love it. I love how Shakespeare stretches through time and still engages with us to create something new between him and the actor. So beautiful and exciting.

Second, ‘wherefore’ does not mean ‘where.’ (You probably know this one.) It means ‘why.’ Why are you Romeo, Romeo? Why do you have to be Romeo? A Montague? My family’s enemy? And in my latest production, a woman, which goes against my family’s faith? All of that in one line. Again, so beautiful and exciting.

Whereas, sobriety is not always…. Beautiful nor Exciting.

It’s work. …. Which I have kind of forgotten about. It seems to be a trend in my life. Trust when things are going well and don’t worry about them (because there are a million other things to worry about anyway, so worry about those), and then when I’m not looking, crashboombang! It all comes tumbling down in one arena of my life (or several arenas). Last summer it was my marriage. Rectified. Patched up. Renewed. Feeling okay and trying to keep my eye on that one.

This summer/past fall, winter, spring? My sobriety.

Yep. Super Regression! Cue wind to blow my hair and cape back behind me. Here I come to not save the day…..

Lots of regression. Heaps. Loads. And I’ve found myself in a rut. A quagmire. (I don’t know if I’ve ever used that word before. Fun.)

Well, okay, so definitely slogging, but my mood has shifted a bit, if you can tell by my glib and charming tone.

Things I’ve lost track and/or sight of:

  1. The day-to-day work of sobriety.
  2. Checking in on the blog roll with friends who are sober or working on sober.
  3. Commenting on blogs of those friends and engaging.
  4. Writing anything myself, besides pressure cooker spills of steam, stress, and panic.
  5. Taking care of myself…. at all. (Sub-set follows.)
    • Not reading good books/plays
    • Not exercising
    • Not eating well
    • Over-treating
    • Over-working
    • No good-good, down-to-our-bones-good family time
    • No friend time
    • No hubs time
    • No time, really, in general
  6. Carried lots of resentment and hostility and stress around.
    • All of my elevated cortisol levels are living in my enlarged gut. Boo.

Things I have done in spite of the shite this year and this summer/week:

  1. Taken vitamins and meds for 3+ years without missing any days (unless I was too sick to take anything…. Like when I had CHICKEN POX. On my BIRTHDAY.)
  2. Gone to the doctor over 20 times (not hyperbole) to try and get answers for my rapidly crazed heart and scary condition which affected me much of the year.
  3. Continued to do my job well. Seriously well. Amazing shows.
  4. Advocated for myself (loudly). Multiple times. And still am.
  5. Reached out to you all here this week good and proper-like.
  6. Said ‘yes’ to friends and saw two different groups this week. It was lovely. … And am (finally!) going to meet Wendy from Tipsy No More this coming week. Hoo-rah for us!
  7. Called and talked to my psych’s office 5 times this week. Got my meds altered to try and help me out of the morass.
  8. Called and got myself in to see my therapist to try and work through some of the crap I’ve been carrying around with me this year. Seeing her again next week to come up with an actionable plan to make this year better.
  9. Trying to say ‘yes’ to my kids a bit more the last few days. Includes swimming and relaxing, and dinners as a family when we can.
  10. Time with hubs is a few lunches out during the day, watching ‘Mad Men’ (only 4 episodes left to go!), and talking more.
  11. Baked a cake and might bake some cupcakes today. *smile*

I’ve finally picked-up Cheryl Strayed’s ‘Dear Sugar’ collection of advice articles, which was gifted to me by my best over a year ago, I think. However, it’s perfect that I picked up now, because I need to read and hear every word and phrase. It’s all about love and acceptance and being true to one’s self. I need those reminders right now. All of the reminders. So….

Why regression? Because it happens.

Why now? It’s been a tough year. (This needs to stop being my mantra. I need a new mantra. Any suggestions?)

Why am I having so much trouble? Because I keep holding onto it/the year, and I can’t move forward. Not even an inch, it feels. I’m so full of anger and resentment for what has been. And, if I’m honest, I’m reaaaaaaally angry and resentful about how it’s affected my life, health, and family. I am trying to take steps, but I really need to cut these ropes tethering me to this past year and finally get free of it all. That’s what I’ve really been realizing this week. Time to get on….. It’s time to shit or get off the pot. (My words, not Cheryl’s. (And also, mixed metaphors. Whoops.)))

It’s not so easy. But even though I’m not cutting the ropes clean, it seems I am starting to unravel them.

Day 1,144. One strand at a time. *plink*

 

 

Check-In & Check-Ups

Good morning, Friends.*

Long time. Long, long time since I sat down. Sat down, period. But also sat down to write. Things have been rough. Friends ask me how my year has been pretty regularly these days as the school year is winding down. And my honest answer is always, ‘It’s been a tough year.’ Because it has. In so many ways. Low lows. And high highs. But those lows seem to be long-lasting, and the highs momentary.

Cut to the chase, I’m still sober. Win. Wonder. Achievement. Power. Got it. Haven’t lost it. …. Thought about it as a mental exercise of sorts a few times, but more philosophical than worrisome or actual, if that makes sense? Like remembering those days when I could and did just check out mentally, physically, and all sorts of -ally’s. A little jealous of the checking out, but then, walking away from the idea because sober is better. Even when Life is not.

The year has been tough because of work stress. I’ve felt unsupported or taken care of by administration in a coworker situation. Even though the situation required action, it took 5 months for that action to happen. In the meantime, my prolonged stress/cortisol levels probably affected my heart. I now have an electrical issue – an arrhythmia, and a low-grade fever which shows up every few days, which I have been trying for the past three months to figure out. Been to the doctor at least 15 times. Have finally gotten a referral to a cardiologist this month. Good news is that monitoring has showed that my heart muscle is normal and very healthy. It’s just out of sync with itself. (Tell me about it, Heart. I know exactly what you’re going through.)

Other stress was a big project fell in my lap, again without any support.

I teach full-time, and I direct 2 shows and assisted a third over the school year.

I was missing my kids, my family. I was missing time to take care of myself. To feel balanced. I just felt like I was/am pouring myself into this school and the institution is not giving me a whole heck of a lot back.

This place was supposed to be my knight in shining armor. And it is in some ways. But in others, I am just alone on so many things. Somewhat the nature of teaching, but this feels above and beyond – in a bad way. …. Below and super-close? … Nope. Not the same kind of ring. … Anyway, the leadership does not lead. By action. ….. By word, yes, but it’s just to make everyone like them. The leadership has no identity, because they don’t take a stand on anything. I don’t know who they are. It is the most mind-boggling thing, because what are they getting paid all the money for? Drives. Me. Crazy. I don’t want a nice guy or guys. I want a Leader. Argh.

Having my girl with me during the school day is amazing. Knowing my son will join us next year makes everything even better in that regard. …. But knowing that my school day-interactions with them are about all I see them breaks my heart. … Part of it is the nature of theatre. But with all the added stress this year, even when I do get home I have so much to get done when I’m actually there like cleaning the living room, or so maxed out that I zone out to dumb YouTube videos,  that we just don’t have more than 20 minutes together most days. It’s crazy.

I feel like I’m missing them. I don’t want to miss them.

Also? I got shingles on my birthday. Um, what?! That’s not fair. …. Although it made me slow down for a week. I was OUT. It was horrible, and I only had the smallest patch of pox, but it knocked me down and again, OUT.

Okay. So, yeah. Tough year. Tough, tough year.

Good things? They were there, too, in the midst.

  • My sister had a beautiful baby girl. Oh, my word, so beautiful.
  • My PapaBear had a health scare, but came out of it on the other side. Working on staying healthy – just like all of us. *smile*
  • The shows I directed went off incredibly well. Students have grown so much in just two years. A definite culture is being created in the department, and it makes us all stronger and better. I love the relationships forming. (High schoolers here.)
  • I love Middle Schoolers. They’re so great.
  • Directing a show at my outdoor company, which I’ve wanted them to stage for 20 years. It’s fun and light and silly, and a lovely antidote to my year.
  • My daughter is amazing and smart and hilarious, and is overcoming her ‘worry voice’ a little bit at a time.
  • My son has taken off on the piano and loves all things music, which I knew from the beginning he would.
  • The hubs is freaking out about playing Antony in Shakespeare’s ‘Antony & Cleopatra,’ but I know he will be amazing. This is the hard part.
  • Time has been spent in the yard and the gardens. Dirt smells so good.
  • Music is being listened to.
  • Like I said before, still sober. *flex*
  • Good, healthy food is being eaten. I’ve been trying to ‘eat clean,’ and have been quite successful at it these past two and a half weeks. I feel really good because of it.
  • Connected to that, exercise has happened more in the past month than in the past year. *smile*
  • I played ‘Family’ with my babes last night. We went camping, built a campfire, paddled a canoe, caught a huge fish, a school of fish, oysters, clams, crab legs, and a treasure chest. It was quite the trip. *smile*
  • My cat feels less neglected, as I am petting and cuddling her regularly, as opposed to pushing her away because I don’t want to be needed.
  • Even with all the health concerns and hassle, I’ve been proactive and spoken up and tried to figure out what the heck is going on. In my drinking days, I probably would have let it slide and figured it out later.
  • Similarly, with the job, I’ve signed for next year, but I am still considering options. Trying to figure out what that might look like or be, etc. Just keeping my mind open to the possibility helps me feel less ‘stuck.’
  • Summer is almost here. Just around the corner. Literally – next week. Cannot wait.
  • And dates are coming up, too. The hubs and I are celebrating our 10-year anniversary on Thursday, and my 3-year sober date is Saturday. Wow!

….. See? Lots of good things in the past month, especially.

Day 1,092. Heya. I missed ya.*

-HM. MmVhV9cm_400x400

 

 

 

Stretched Thin.

Hello, my friends.

Just checking in, as I feel maxed out. There is a list of things I’m committed to – mostly positive, good things, that will help the department I inherited grow and develop. However, it is at least a full-time-times-two job, and high-expectations-me is down about being mediocre in many areas of my life (including momhood), because I just don’t have the time to regroup and get my shit together all at once.

Frustrating as I am not mediocre. And my work is not mediocre. But that is the impression I am leaving on some people.

Argh to that.

Missing time. Particularly time to nourish myself. And hell, I think that was the word I chose for the year. Well, word to the wise – I am totally fucking it up right now. Bah-humbug.

I find myself looking back at my sober journey, and I find in my first year, I was really good and just chilling out and relaxing and focusing on a therapeutic project (cross-stitch). Move into my second year, and I was just a focused beast. Scheduling and executing a million new things for my new job, but also feeling like I had time at home to love my family. This third year, I don’t know. I feel like I am spinning my wheels, but not really accomplishing anything really well. I’m overwhelmed with the amount of work I have in front of me, but then because of a new schedule, I have no time to prepare anything. I am consistently hanging onto my life by my fingernails.

I want the time I had in my first year for me. I want the friendships and solidness I felt in my second year. And I want my third year to be fruitful and satisfying.

At the mo? It’s not. WahWah.

Talking with my Dad today, I realize it is only my second year in the new gig, and I should give myself a three-year window to really feel acclimated. Trying to keep an open mind, but man, it’s tricky with the overwhelm that is a-happenin’.

Alright, vent curbed for the minute. *smile*

I miss you. Seriously. I’m a little lonely in my spinning world of spinning everything.

Day 868, Yep. Still goin’. But snail-like it seems.7027e103d1a4a079e6446af01ae96328--slow-down-snails

p.s. It felt really nice to stop in. …. Love.*

Heya, Humor.

I don’t know how, and I don’t know when. But at some point in the past few months, I have found sense of my humor about drinking again. I am no longer the self-righteous sober person, who feels morally superior. The higher ground I was standing on has deflated a bit so that I am back on the same ol’ earth as everyone else. *smile*

[Tangent: I do still notice how regularly people talk about drinking (almost daily?). And in semi-public meetings it is a pretty standard laugh-line. I chuckle, but I also feel a little like a sheep in wolf’s clothing, to shake-up (not stir) the analogy.

…. Hrm. Okay. I’m not judgey about drinking. Judgey-McJudgerson has definitely ebbed out of my consciousness. However, I am conscious of the frequency others make reference to drinking. Am I protesting too much, methinks? Maybe. …. I find it off-putting that I am still in hiding in my workplace, or that I feel I have to be hidden. I know I don’t. I know the choice to share my sobriety is mine alone. But whenever it strikes me to share it, it is usually/often/always after a drinking joke has been made, or reference to a night or afternoon of drinking has been made, and that would definitely be Not-the-Time-to-Share.

I don’t think it’s a bad situation, or that they are bad people – not by any means. I just think the timing is off. And so, I continue to laugh at the jokes, but don’t share my truth. Not yet. Some people know, but that’s okay, too. I don’t have to spout it from the mountaintops. Maybe my frustration is more with our overall culture anyway, and not the people themselves.]

On a related, but different note…. I went to my 20th high school reunion last month, and it was AWESOME. People were amazing and fun and kind and funny and supportive and happy to see and to be with one another. Well-attended. And just like high school, I had two or three groups I floated between pretty regularly. On the first night, a friend turned to me and said, ‘You want to go get drunk?’ (He said it laughing/joking/with a twinkle, p.s.) And I surprised him – and me – when I just said, ‘Actually, I’m Sober!’ He thought it was awesome. And I volunteered to be the group’s DD all weekend. It was fun. And they were sweet, too, because they (three big, burly men) kept me in Diet Cokes to my heart’s content Ha. It was cute. …. Also, no one really got shit-faced, which was cool. It was more about hanging out and being together. Really nice. It made me so happy to know these people and reconnect.

200_s

Day 841, Hardy-Har-Har.

p.s. Not sure this post held its through-line, but that’s okay. Sometimes a person’s just got to wander, right? Or, as the old cliche says: It’s about the journey, not the destination.

Dear Dad,

Or Dear PapaBear. 🙂

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.*

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?!

 

Heya…

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Day 619, Just to say. *smile*

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

 

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….

 

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