Heya, Monster.

A SoberBlog by a TallWoman.

Archive for the tag “Grief”

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.


2016, you have had a lot goin’ on with your bad self.

And the word that led me through all of these many ups and downs?


Such a simple, simple word, and yet? So profound.

Originally, I had chosen the word in order to be aware of the need to be kind to myself. Being someone with a need to please, as well as a good dose of perfectionism, and trying to juggle more than I should – and all of that done, until very recently, with a hangover the size of the Northern Hemisphere…. It was pretty rough going for a long, long while. I needed something, some word to anchor me and to remind me, ‘Oh, yeah. Look out for yourself.’ Throughout this year, I found myself saying “No” more times than I have in the past (Maybe 10? Still! A good start.), and I often took time to relax or, especially, to savor moments with my family, rather than thinking about all the things I should be doing. I found the word grounded me in the important things – my babes, my hubs, my immediate family, my friends – in ways that I don’t know I’ve really been able to appreciate until now. Of course, much of the enjoyment had to do with being present rather than drunk. There is that fact. But still. The reminder to be kind to myself really gave me the gift of my People again. And for that, I am incredibly grateful.

In terms of the year itself, I will echo many similar sentiments that 2016 was not, in and of itself, a very kind year.


The pain and loss I felt in the process of losing my job and then finding and transitioning to a new one was constantly led by ‘Kindness’ at the helm. Truly. The people around me were full of generosity, compassion, support, and above all, kindness. Again, I find myself so grateful…. And feeling so humbled by the hundreds of people who showed me kindness and love. I feel so lucky. So blessed. I cringe thinking what this year would have been like without all of those kind hearts around me. So, so lucky.

My word of the year surprised me in the many ways it showed up, and with whom it accompanied. I feel rather giddy just thinking about it and its many facets.

Day 570, Goodnight, Year.*man_in_the_moon_stock_by_jinxmim-d74sgx0.png


501 Blues.

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

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

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

Day 501, Take it away, Neil….

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 Sober Hangover.

Testing, testing… Alright, so. Here I am. All in my muddle and mess of figuring out sobriety day by day, or minute by minute, whichever the case may be. … Noticing that I am feeling embarrassed about my posts yesterday and the complete polarization of them – the high highs and the low lows – because I really was all over the place, and because I put it all out Here. I feel embarrassed because I wasn’t perfect, nor was my sobriety perfect (well, it was in the fact that I didn’t drink, but yesterday was a struggle absolutely in my head). I am embarrassed because I let it all hang out there and put my thoughts out to the ethernet gods and goddesses to note and recognize, or just to file away as having been. Silly human. … Hrm. I also have a sliver of proud in yesterday, because I did let it all out, and I didn’t hide. All of those messy emotions just out there, naked, for everyone to see and read. … Am I having a sober hangover? Is that what this is? Feeling discombobulated, a bit embarrassed (as mentioned), a little confused by myself, and relieved that it all got blurted out in one way or another in the moment. … Yeah. Definitely SoberHangover.


Now that that’s over (by ‘that,’ I mean ‘yesterday)…

After I unleashed all of my thoughts and feelings (like the kraken) on all of you innocent souls, I drove to my show, as I said I would. And no one was the wiser, except the hubs. So, thank you for that, oh, great and all-knowing tide of beautiful humanity. Even though I’m feeling a bit the worse for wear today, I am also feeling better, because I sat in those goddamned ugly things (i.e. emotions) and let them be what they were. And now, after a time, they’ve dissipated and become less. And that is good. And comforting to know the emotions will calm down, if I just give them time (How you say in your language… Patience? (Yeah, that may need to be a life-lesson further down the road…. in my 80s, maybe. Probably 90s.))



Bringing yesterday into focus along the continuum of recovery, I am thinking my 5 stages of grief are all muddled and mixed together, so yesterday’s ups and downs, and especially its sadness and anger make a lot of sense … Now. Later. After the fact. (Don’t you just hate that?)

The 5 Stages of Grief
As Seen Through the Eyes of HM

  • Denial & Isolation – Spent a lot of time here, and even revisit it now and again in the past several weeks. If I were super-honest with myself, I would say I spent four solid years in denial, with the past two years becoming harder and harder to hold onto the facade, but goddammit if I was going to let go without a fight. And if I were even more honest than super-honest, I would say my entire 20s were spent justifying and permitting myself to continue drinking, even though I was too good at it (i.e. completely smashed almost every night). The past two years, working with my therapist (hi), I thought it was my depression/bipolar, or at least, I hoped it was my depression that was making it hard to control my drinking (smartie-therapist suspected what I will call the Truth). But I admit, now, to how hard I worked at keeping myself at home and alone with my favorite obscurer of everything happy and sad. In these past few months, I was like the end of a movie when the villain (or the good guy, depending on your point of view) is holding onto the edge of a dusty cliff with the tips of his fingernails, scraping at every little pebble and grain of sand, trying to keep hold.
  • Anger – This showed up in full-force yesterday. I also go through many Good days with multiple anger flare-ups, usually directed at my unsuspecting children and/or husband. These bursts of anger are my most frustrating aspects of sobriety thus far. I want to be like Glinda and float along in my big pink, tulle gown, in my big pink, glittery bubble, and show one and all what a kind, benevolent, and sweet (perfect) human being I am. … And then Anger shows up and I send people running for the hills. Usually it’s incidental. Things out of my control, or moments of being nice again and again and trying to move towards an end result, but then shit hits the fan, and I lose my cool. They don’t last very long when they’re just bursts, but still. I wish they didn’t happen so regularly. … I would say yesterday’s anger was a different from the daily fare. I was angry about missing alcohol, and angry that I couldn’t be like ‘everyone else,’ and angry because sobriety is hard, and angry because why do I have to go through it like this, and angry because I have to go through it at all, and angry because I know sobriety is the right choice and way for me, and that in and of itself pisses me the fuck off. And I still feel those things today to some extent, but in a much smaller way. A much quieter ‘It’s not fair’ 5-year-old-self mewling and whining and feeling generally sorry for herself. WahWah. Poor baby. I know she will come out every once in awhile, as will the louder, angrier yelly voice, but again. It will pass. Eventually.
  • Bargaining – I think before I ever ventured into this sober world, I had jumped well into this stage. I would do anything to be able to curb my drinking habit. I was just like so many others – setting glass limits, or saying I’ll take a day off, or swearing I will only drink on the weekends, or giving myself a start time that would magically get pushed earlier and earlier, or …. anything I could think of to not have to let go of drinking all together. … Frustrating that this voice is still trying to be heard in my abstinence. This is the little whisper that keeps bringing up the devil Moderation. It wiggles its way into my brain on a given day, and then it takes all of my effort to either shut it up, or at the very least, to let it whisper on all day while I get my ire up and work to ignore it or focus on something else. Having taken the option of drinking completely off the table has helped so much, because even when the bargaining voice shows up (the fucker), because I can’t drink, I don’t. Does that makes sense? Yes, of course I want to entertain the idea, but because I am not drinking, and even though the bargaining whispers get louder as a day goes on, I don’t drink because I can’t. I’m not doing that, so I don’t. A little elementary, but it seems to work. … This stage, too, is what really feeds into the other cycle of anger for me – particularly in sobriety. As soon as this one shows up, my pissed-off-self is not too far behind. I wish I could pop this bargaining voice with a dart. I fucking hate it. Grr.
  • Depression – This one takes on different shapes and sizes depending on the day. Sometimes I am sad, but beatifically saint-like as I say ‘goodbye’ to alcohol. Sometimes I am just skinned-my-knee-sad that it’s a hard day and uncomfortable. Some days I look into the future (even though I am only supposed to look at today), and I see all of the ‘todays’ to come and miss it, miss alcohol Forever. That feels like a black hole on those days, or okay, I have a short attention span, in those minutes or hours. … Before I committed to sobriety, I was in this stage along with the denial/isolation for a long while. I looked at Forever a lot, and I think it is what held me back from committing sooner to this (awesome) journey. … And again, yesterday I was here, too, because it was intermingled with my anger. I like the beatific-saint-days best – I feel so superior and smug.
  • Acceptance – Finally got to this point after years of avoidance, mixed with everything above. One day – 9 June, 2015 – I realized today was the day. I don’t even know why I chose that day, or how it chose me. … I mean, yes, there is the cute math problem that came with it, but really? I didn’t go on a bender the night before, I didn’t embarrass myself the night before, I didn’t wake-up with an incredibly significant headache, but? I was done. And I was ready. After going through these stages over and over for years, it was time. And I am still mostly here than any of the other stages, so that is awesome. I know I must be sober. I am better sober. And as I said before, many times, I am Me sober.

Day 27, mic drop.

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