Heya, Monster.

A SoberBlog by a TallWoman.

Archive for the tag “Realization”

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.*

Princess Leia’s Sister.

I have always felt alone with my diagnosis of bipolar. I don’t know anyone else who has it and who speaks openly about having it. In my life and in its circles, I feel like an anomaly. Like I have something no one else knows about. Something that makes me different and other and a little separate …..

I’ve also had these feelings about being an alcoholic. (Ugh. That word is so ugly, isn’t it?) Feelings of isolation and difference. I have found myself wondering ‘Why me?’ I get over it and get down to living, but sometimes I catch myself feeling alone.

Growing up, and Now – especially in adulthood – I’ve always had the vibrant Carrie Fisher somewhere in my peripheral vision as someone who gets me. Who knows about Life. Who has lived hard. Loved much. Been loud and outspoken and True to Herself. And I have always admired her for living her life unabashedly. And I find such inspiration in her living her life out loud so that others (me! and people like me!) would know that No. We are¬†Not¬†Alone. Nope. No way. No how. Not a possibility. In fact? There are many, many, many other people¬†like me. Like Us. And all because this Woman, this iconic, emblematic, die-hard feminist Fisher said who she was. What she was. No apologies. No justifications. She laid it all out there. She gave her Truth to us – to me – and her example frees us to be who we are. Empowering. Hopeful. Connected.

Day 568, May the Force Be With You.

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Artwork by Katie Cook

 

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.

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….

 

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!

Fozzie-bear.jpg….

 

A Few Randoms.

Heya.*

So, cool thing happened last week. I needed to meet a possible collaborator to see if we would be a good fit or not. He suggested a 9 pm, over drinks kind of a meeting, and named a place. I said, ‘I’m don’t drink, but do they serve food? I’m really good at eating.’ And all of a sudden? Whoosh! Right past the awkward. I thought it was simple and effective.

Of course, I probably confused the crap out of him when he arrived and I had a frosty beer in my glass. I didn’t clarify that it was NA, but hm. Who knows what he thought?

Then, oddly enough, (fast forward to this weekend/today – I hired him)…. We were sitting next to one another for our work this afternoon, and the whole entire time, I kept getting these huge whiffs of alcohol. Gah. It was very disconcerting – 1. To deal with, and 2. To wonder if this was going to be a regular occurrence after a Friday or Saturday night?, and 3. This used to be me! And I always thought I was so good at covering it. Yeah, right.

Other random, Facebook is kind of a crazy-summer-happy-time-drinks trap right now. I am considering stepping away more significantly again for awhile. I fell off my FB-free-wagon last month and have begun to check it on a daily basis. But? Thinking I might return to my every-2-3-weeks-visit type arrangement I had going most of this past year…. Anyone else experiencing high levels of fun, sun, & booze? Argh. Jealousy is a word and a feeling that comes up a little too quickly this week, so yeah. A break is inevitable. At least for awhile, I think.

Day 348, Odds & Ends.

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Making My Way.

Hello and happy Sunday to all of you.*

I have just spent a love-ily day with my children – them playing, me mostly digging in the dirt – under a beautiful, sunny sky. It has done so much for me and my state of mind. And I find that I am really looking to dig myself into my safe spaces still as I continue to rebound from the news that I would not have my teaching position next contract year. I am becoming more adventurous, and a little more outgoing again, whereas that first week or two, I was just Hunkered. Down.

I find the balancing of self such a challenge in everyday life anyway. When I am coming down from the trip that is life-altering news, at times I find myself watching myself. Not completely removed, but just noticing. So, today, for instance, the sunshine, vitamin D, relaxing time with my babes. It was all just what the monster ordered. And over the past month, I have been noticing that my body is actually very, very smart. When I listen to it, I find the most benefit and the most relief.

So, being that this is a recovery blog, I just want to point out that for the past fifteen years, my instincts to soothe and care for myself have been to reach for the nearest bottle, open, drink, and repeat. Sitting here, sober, and conscious of what my emotions, thoughts, and feelings are is astronomically better, and actually? Far more interesting. Before, when I was on the douse it cycle, I lost touch of …. Well, everything. The drink would create a weird, soundproof cloudy cushion around me, which would shelter me from the pain for whatever time I needed it to, but then when I got back into my life, I wasn’t moving forward with anything tangible. I stepped away from the buffer, but it kept all of those feelings and experiences inside it, because it never really let them come out fully to start with. I found I was moving through daily life feeling the impulses to be sad (poor thing – drink it away), or to be happy (celebrate! – drink it away), and with the instinct to drink to strong, I wasn’t really allowing myself to experience anything.

Nope. Sober is much better.

Even when it’s not.

It is.

So, as I was saying – my body is so smart! As part of my sober rewards, I’ve started getting my hair done at an Aveda salon again, and? I’ve been buying the products! That’s the kicker, isn’t it? Man, those bottles (of hair product, not booze!) are so expensive. But? They smell so friggin’ good. … So, yes. Aveda. And? I’ve started browsing the chakra perfumes, and I found myself gravitating towards #1 (Grounded) and #6 (Insight). And when I spray myself with those two scents, which I do every night, I find there is something basic in myself being met. I also happen to love that I would instinctively pull towards the two poles, quite literally. Having the two of them somewhat satisfied, makes me feel like I can move solidly forward with each day. I’ve just sprayed the scents¬†again, and there is just something heavenly and good about them.

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Other things, in spite of the shit, I am still trying to move forward. Even in those first two horrible weeks after the news, I just kept going (and I keep going!). Whatever it takes. While teaching at the job I am going to lose, I just got shit done. Applications filled out, resumes and cover letters written, job searches done again and again, reaching out to friends, finding ways of getting my foot in as many doors as possible. And even though it sucked and I resented a lot of it, I’m proud now that I got all that done, and continue to do so. And although I’m not great or even really good yet, I’m betterish now. I’m glad I didn’t just stop. I’m glad I didn’t stop because I needed Me Not to Stop.

It really does feel like the core of me and the vision of what I want are working in accordance in so many ways these days.

Day 327, Om.

A Cup of Kindness.

Well.

The New Year is almost here, and without knowing it, I have been mentally preparing myself for another ‘feat’ to undertake along with my biggest accomplishment (in progress) so far – Sobriety.

I feel a bit of a buffoon because I know one of you amazing bloggers wrote about the phenomena of choosing¬†One Word for the Year,¬†rather than writing down a whole list of resolutions. And I was so very inspired by the thought of it, but didn’t put pressure on myself to figure it out. Instead I thought, ‘Well, if a word shows up by March, that should work okay.’ (Apathy alert! Monster….. (I’m shaking my head at myself.))

What I loved about the post (Perhaps 2ish weeks ago? Please post in the comments if it is You I am speaking to, you Brilliant Woman. (Again, Me=Buffoon)) was the way it transformed the entire year in new and unexpected ways for the writer. I loved the way the world was filtered through the word, and how the word actually changed the world around the writer. Truly incredible and inspirational.

Which brings me to today and the world spinning around me that gives me signs. (I’m almost always looking.) So, I was driving along in my little Toyota known as Reba, and I just happened to hear this beautiful song sung by Mary Lambert…¬†Or, here. … I will attempt to embed the video here – (Fingers crossed!)

And only a moment before the Word for the Year question had showed up in my brain again out of nowhere, and I thought, ‘Compassion!’ That’s it. Done. And for about 20 seconds I was completely and whole-heartedly decided.

But. The Song.

And the ‘We’ll drink a cup of kindness‘ sang out just right, and then she sings about putting a kettle on, and I thought, ‘Yeah! It doesn’t have to be beer! Or whiskey! Or any alcoholic drink at all!’ And in a split-second decision, I decided my Word for the Year is Kindness. And it feels Right. And Good. And it feels like a celebration of what has been, while at the same time, it feels like it has the potential to build more change in my life and around me. And I have to tell you, I am already pretty excited about it. I am thinking about continuing to remember to be kind to myself (of course), but I am also looking at my relationships with those I love, along with those I don’t know well. How and where will¬†this word affect my Life? Ooooohhhhhhh….. Anticipation! But trying not to plan or picture anything specific in my head. Curse of a director. I’m always thinking of outcome and what things will look like. Bof.

And on this day in my little bloggy world, I am struck by the sheer number of ‘hits’ happening through¬†Jean’s Blog Roll, and I am wondering how many of you dear readers are looking for kindness right now. As people, it is always something we hope to find, but unfortunately do not always receive. And for me, personally, I don’t know that I was as kind to Myself as I could have been…. For years. And years.

I am lucky enough to be surrounded by kind people, the hubs for example, is the kindest person I have ever met. Seriously. Just Nice. And my parents, my sister, my bestest, my mother-in-law, my coworker, seriouslyseriously. My 4-year old daughter for goodness’ sake! Her depth of empathy and compassionate heart are stunning.¬†Everyone around me¬†amazingly kind. And I always make the joke that I’m not a nice person. Because really? I don’t feel like I am. Kindness feels awkward. And it feels like details. …. It feels like Work. (I’m a horrible person, aren’t I?)

But¬†in the past year (six months to be exact), I have done the kindest thing for myself I could possibly do. I got sober. I let go of the drink, and took hold of myself, and I lifted myself UP.¬†Truly. The experience has been incredible (to use that word again). And for those looking around and checking things out in these strongly-sober, and some shaky-sober, and some wondering-about-sober digital worlds, I just want to say to you, ‘Welcome. I am¬†so sincerely glad you are here. We all are. I know it.’ And wherever you are in your journey, and whatever your ultimate choice is, know that sobriety holds many trials, but in it, there are infinite more rewards. 7 months ago, I would have called, ‘Bullshiiiiiit!!!’ But now,¬†Back! … to the Future! (Christopher Lloyd anyone?), and I’m not so doubtful, or afraid, or defensive about what might happen in Sobriety. Instead? I jumped in head first, and just began. And what I have discovered in this gigantic-never-ending-leap has been (again) incredible. So, thank goodness for Kindness.

So, here I sit. And I’ve already been inspired by the wondrous anonymous blogger (thank you!), by Mary Lambert’s song, by My People who I love most, and then…. I was looking up ‘Cup of Kindness’ on the interwub and came across¬†this beautiful story, as well as¬†this cool initiative, and again, I am¬†inspired. Yep. Kindness is the word.

Hi, again. Okay. You thought I was done, but I can’t stop this brain of mine. One more thing and then, I promise!, I’m done. Swearsies.

The song also talks about not forgetting people or times gone by in our lives. I think of people I have lost, as well as people I have found, events and actions and adventures. How beautiful to look at all of them with the soft veil¬†of kindness. And for me right now, looking at my years of losing myself in the drink, I feel the guilt and shame and embarrassment still so close to the surface. If I approach those feelings with kindness and gentleness, perhaps the guilt and shame will lessen. There are a lot of years and memories there to work through. Hm. ‘Kindness’ might need to be my 2017 word, too. *smile* …. We shall see.

Day 204, We’ll drink a cup of kindness yet, my friends.*

To New & Wonderful Things to Come. Happy New Year! Love, HM. pink-heart-outline-clipart-aTexGLAT4.png

MEMEntos from an Earlier Life.

Alright. So I was online prepping for a different post completely, when a wine meme popped into the search results. It caught my attention, and so I looked up ‘wine memes’ and within five minutes, I think I had pulled at least 20 different ones. As I went further and further into the search results, my stomach just turned. Ugh. Yuck. So many of these would have made me laugh aloud in my drinking days (only 6 months ago), and they would also make me feel okay about how much I was drinking on a daily basis (i.e. a LOT), as well as make me feel justified for drinking as much as I was because Hell, everyone was doing it! Jump on the drunken bandwagon, Monster! (So I did. (Over and over and over again.))

Now, here is a heads-up if you would like to cut out of here and go read another blog, I totally understand. The following material may induce flashbacks to ‘The Good Ol’ Days of Regular Public Embarrassment,’ or make you wax nostalgic about those sweet days of yore rife with alcoholic hook-ups and drunken stupors.

Looking at these memes in a collection really unnerved me. Some of them are actually quite offensive, and others of them just make me sad, because even though they’re meant to be funny-ha-ha-jokes, they really ring with a bitter tone¬†of Truth.

Personally, until I got sober, I had never noticed how pervasive the message of¬†‘You should drink‘¬†was found in every facet¬†of my life! In my early drinking life (read: 20s), my primary Achilles’ heels were movies or TV shows portraying people ‘just like me’ who always sought out the coolest, trendiest cocktail bars, or dive bars for the ironic factor, or tried the new craft beer or whiskey because they were Just. That. Cool. My imagination and perceived perception of reality (read: idiotic) in my early 20s came partially because I was one of the younger people on staff, and I truly believed my older, more mature, and wise coworkers socialized like those people in the movies who I aspired to be like, so again, I multiplied my efforts and tried to be just like all of them.

Imagination and projection are problems for me (They are also my bread&butter for the record, but in this reminiscence, they’re a problem.). In my early 30s, motherhood found me, or I found it rather. The above¬†memes were probably first seen on my Facebook feed about that same time, a thing I would check obsessively multiple times a day. And every damned time, I would believe everything I saw. I believed the memes because they were tongue-in-cheek funny. I believe the people posting them were laughing at themselves and how much they drank, but they were so cool and hip and awesome (I am sensing a recurring theme here), they could be self-deprecating and drunk at the same time – and be totally okay with it! For the most part, these memes appeared on girlfriends’ walls and status updates. Women, who I already thought were pretty cool and awesome in and of themselves, would post these types of memes pretty regularly. ¬†Combine the trendy memes along with the everyday posts¬†of these young mothers kicking ass and being awesome (because who takes pictures and posts them when things are normal, boring, or fucking awful?), and I was buying it all hook, line, and sinker. Oftentimes these super-hero-perfect-hair-moms¬†(or so I believed) would post cute, trendy photos of themselves out and about, or in with cozy yoga pants on, with girlfriends clinking glasses, or sharing a bottle of wine, and seriously. I thought every mother in the United States was coping with the suckage of motherhood by drinking herself into a buzz, if not further down the drunken spectrum Every Night.

Now that I am somewhat removed from the constant circles of drinking (social, as well as my own much more regular lonely circle of 1), I have felt a true release and relief from¬†the pressure to¬†‘Drink! Drink! Drink!’¬†And all of those outside images and perceived lives I hoped to achieve and emulate? With the filter of drinking lifted, I see a lot more Reality. Even in my 20s (and 30s, if I’m honest), I think my addiction¬†was trying to hide itself inside the whisper of¬†‘Be like everyone else.’ Without the constant need to drink, and/or the constant obsession¬†to hide how much I was drinking by looking more like the Perfect version of Life, I am now more okay with being myself. And my FB friends, they are still my friends, but I (finally) get that what I am seeing are filtered realities. Of course they are. It just took me 10 years to consciously make myself aware of this fact any time I check in on the ol’ FB. (Sidenote: I’ve been away from FB for 5 weeks just because, and so far? So good.) Without my addiction making me feel like I have to look around at the world and feel like I don’t measure up, or that I have a dirty secret (which I did), I am now able to see more of the reality all around me. And all because I get to look around now. Before I was too taken up with worry because someone was going to find me out. But now? Now I have nothing to hide. I get to sit back and really see what’s going on.
goldfish-one-different-900x600Day 200, Whoa! Fun surprise! (I just looked it up on a sober counter and really had no idea.) ….. I was going to write: Not drinking the kool-aid anymore… Phew! ….. Edit: I already wrote that on an earlier post. I am so passe…

p.s. And compleeeeetely off-topic…. I¬†loved the new Star Wars movie! Finally saw it over Christmas and laughed with pure delight soso many times.

 

 

L-s–g -y W-rd- …

Losing my words! Yikes.

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The past several weeks (2-3 at the least) I have found myself in the middle of a conversation completely stuck, searching for a simple, elementary word or concept. Truly bizarre, especially for a linguist/actor such as myself.

A significant example of this phenomena happened last weekend when I brunched with my girlfriends. One of the gals was updating us on a spinal injury she had suffered – a slightly slipped disc. I began to ask her about the muscles surrounding the disc, and wondered if they were __________, or if there was any ___________ that might be making the recovery slower. For the Life of me, I could not find even the sounds of what I wanted to say. I kept gesturing with my hands, holding them together and then growing them apart, but again, I just could not find the words. I started trying to find synonyms, but even those had deserted me. All I had were my flailing hands, a big spoonful of embarrassment, and worrying if my friends thought I was actually drunk at 9 in the morning. Gah.

Finally, another girlfriend read my rudimentary sign language, and asked, ‘Swollen?’ Yes! Thank you, God. The conversation continued. … And for the record, I didn’t think of the second concept until I was driving home from the date. ‘Scar tissue.’ Scar tissue, people. I couldn’t think of ‘scar tissue.’ Dear lord.

And really? This is only one example! Losing words, phrases, and names, or mixing sounds from one word with another, has been happening every day for the past 3 weeks, or so. I really do believe it is PAWS. I am rather certain of it. But for it to last so long, man, it is such an odd, uncomfortable, completely halt-me-in-my-tracks feeling.

On a nerd-level, I am rather curious about what is going on in my brain. I wonder what’s getting fixed up there, while my Vocabulary has gone on a Caribbean vacation and failed to take me with it.

The last several of months I was still drinking, I found a similar lapse in language, and really Memory in general. It was perhaps the biggest sign that I was in trouble. I started to worry what memories I was actually making, versus what memories I had begun to lose and blur out as a result of my heavy drinking. As a 30-something year-old woman, I had begun to worry if I was headed towards the true Stage 5 of Alcohol Addiction. I knew my loss of memory was not normal. However, it was something I could mostly hide from others because it was all inside, locked away. But deep down, I knew. And as I said, I started to get scared.

Having my language disappear at certain moments has been a reminder of those scarier, darker last days of drinking. From my sober vantage point, it is actually kind of nice to revisit the past, because even though my words are a little wonky at times, I am safe to remember those days – and I do remember those days! Rather vividly, actually. And those days remind me why I gave up drinking. Why it was an absolute necessity that I gave up the drink. I was getting slowly erased from the inside out.

And for the record, losing my words here and there is actually kind of funny. I wonder each day what’s going to come out of my mouth. I have no idea. *smile* It keeps me on my toes, and anticipating a rather ridiculous social moment, or many. Ha.

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Day 158, Ab–c-da-ra.*

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