Heya, Monster.

A SoberBlog by a TallWoman.

Archive for the tag “Struggling”

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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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.

Monster 101.

Just a quick check-in from, blue, furry, li’l ol’ me.

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It’s actually my 101st post – can you believe it? I can’t. To quote a cliche, it feels like only yesterday when I started this whole ding-dang thang.

News updates: I’ve got some job applications floating out in the world, with my eye on getting at least twice as many out there by the end of next week.

I continue to be monstrously (teehee) busy with my current job. Lots of hours spent with my students, which is where I want to be, while on the other side of the equation is a little bitterness that 1. It will be ending soon; 2. That this work (and the work of my coworker and dear friend) has never really gone recognized by the people that be; and 3. A nagging anxiety of losing This. This amazing, precious thing I have.

But? I continue to be Here. Sober. And taking Life by each minute. And so far? That’s working out. Not easy, but happening.

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And doing my best to stay connected with you and your updates. It really does me some Good when I can just sit and check-in with where You are. Truly, it does. Even if I can’t respond, I am so happy following your adventures. Keep ’em coming, sober, happy (and some not) people. Which then puts this song into my head immediately…

Shiny Happy People

Day 316, Grover is my Spirit Muppet.

grover

 

FKCK.

Or, in layman’s terms: FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK.

I have just edited my first draft/post because I am that worried about my current situation – and I’m ANONYMOUS.

Without giving any details… I truly thought Friday was the worst it could possibly be. There was solace that I had made it through that day, so then I can make it through most anything. But then today shows up and tricks me, because nope! There is a ‘Worse-Yet’ scenario to this shit-show. And I can’t even tell you what it is because I am so scared of upper management repercussions, I don’t feel comfortable writing about it in vague terms here.

I cannot believe this. I am writing because I want to connect with all of you and vent my frustrations, but I can’t even give them words for fear of repercussions. And did I mention? I’m ANONYMOUS.

Gah. I feel like…. I have no words.

Am I crazy? I feel like I’m going fucking crazy. I know I’m in theatre, but I really cannot stand real-life drama. Truly. I can’t. This is above and beyond anything I have experienced before. I am being Systematically. Shut. Down.

And?

It’s Day 300. Part of me is so angry that this happened today of all days. They have stolen my grieving process, they’ve stolen my voice, and they have stolen one small bit of joy I have been looking forward to for 299 days.

I am ready for the shit to stop being shitty.

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I would love to be saved right now.

Free Fall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s where I am right now.

 

 

Just falling.

 

 

I lost my job today.

*punch*

Well, I lost the chance at renewing my contract for next school year.

I’m heartbroken. Sad. Mad. Thankful not to have to wonder.

I feel still and anxious all at the same time.

My stomach will not settle down. It feels like it’s in an everlasting flip.

So much I don’t know. Where will I be? Will I be enough? Will I find something?

And then, moreso, on top of it all…. What about these kids? My students? My community? All of whom I’ve fought for and created and envisioned and worked SO HARD for. I’m asked to walk away from my Heart. The reason why I breathe. Truly. It is the most amazing job vocation calling. It is what I am meant to do and to be.

I walked in completely ignorant. A college grad (22!) and was just launched into this world of education and creativity. The more I learned, the more I loved. I am established. I am confident. I am doing the best work I’ve ever done. Truly. I can say that with confidence. I am building relationships and working on committees to create community and safe spaces, all while challenging the world and its isms. And I’m being asked to leave. Gah! I am just hurt and crushed. In shock. In pain.

 

 

 

And I am so so sad.

Day Something, I’m still sober. More later. I’m still sober. Before I would have drank these tears away, but today I just keep crying them, and it hurts so much.

Turkey Surprise

Well, that came out of nowhere. …. Well, okay, it didn’t, but it sure whacked me over the head, took all my money, and left me on the sidewalk wondering what the hell just happened.

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The ‘it’ I am referring to is the brutal saboteur that is my brain/my addiction/my years of wine-training that came full-force to the table (so to speak) on Thursday at our family’s Thanksgiving celebration. As I said in a post that day, I had started the day a little crabby-pants because of a few factors, but that I had come around and was doing a-okay by the afternoon.

Then, POW! Got to the in-laws for the meal, and I suddenly could not focus or breathe very easily. I walked into the garage and felt a surge of old feelings that have laid dormant for the past several months because there have been no reason for them to come out and play. The cliche of being hit with a ton of bricks would be accurate in describing my feelings at that particular moment. I suddenly wanted a bottle of wine, I wanted a glass in my hand, I wanted to already be tipsy because I could have been drinking all afternoon because it was a holiday-day and that’s what this woman does on holiday-days. I wanted to be giggly and silly and a little naughty because the day was designed for all those things to be Okay.

In the moment I did a few weird things to try and find my ground. I went inside and gave hugs and kisses (that part wasn’t weird), then as people were putting their coats away, etc., I went into the kitchen and got down the wine glasses from the top shelf (I’m tall, remember?) for my parents, my mother-in-law, and one for me. Then, without lifting my head up, I walked out to the garage, opened the mini-fridge and got out a can of fancy iced tea for myself, and in the very next moment, opened the wine cooler and picked up a bottle of wine for my family. By the time I was back to the door going into the house, I had the thought, ‘I am an enabler!’ I got inside, handed my dad the bottle – I practically threw it at him to get it out of my hands, then I walked around to my wine glass, opened my tea, and poured myself a glass. (I haven’t used a wine glass since I quit drinking in June, I don’t think, and I thought the having one would make me feel better. But it didn’t. Like I told the hubs, I was just trying to find a thing that would make me feel better. Now I know for next time, a wine glass isn’t that answer.)

By this time, I felt a little spinny and a little panicky, so I just declared I was going to walk home quick and be right back (we live down the street). So I put my coat and hat on and trudged back home. I took 300 mg of gabapentin to relax me a little (needs must in this case), then I wrote that quick update to all of you in the midst of my spinny head, and then walked back down to the in-laws.

I will say the gabapentin didn’t help as much as I had hoped it would. However, having taken it, I couldn’t do anything More for myself, other than what some of you had recommended – find my own space, breathe, center myself, find some calm. And really? The discomfort I felt was okay. I mean, I was doing weird things trying to navigate my way through it, but even just sitting in the discomfort, which I did when I got back to the party, was okay. It wasn’t great, but it was okay. And I survived it. And I didn’t drink. So that was good.

I found the calm I was looking for more towards the end of the meal. It was a small get-together, and my parents, myself, my mother-in-law, and the hubs were all in the same room together, and we just talked for two hours straight. It was the best part of the day. Hands down. And that’s when I was good. I had made it over the hump of wanting and thinking a drink would make everything better, and wondering why it couldn’t be like it used to be for me, and all that baloney bullshit. We just sat and talked and Laaaaaaughed. And it was Wonderful. And I remember all of it. And I was present, I and enjoyed every second. What a gift!

The next day, the hubs and I brought the babes down for leftovers, and the wine bottle from the party was sitting on a counter in the garage -with wine still in it! It was then, 24 hours later, that I realized what a mess the actual holiday would have been if I had still been drinking. I guarantee we would have gone through 3, and maybe even 4!, bottles of wine, because I would have been pushing the stuff on everyone in order to make myself feel less guilty, and to shift the focus away from myself. I would have been embarrassed, even though I was with my favorite people in the world, because I would have worried they would notice how much I was drinking, which probably would have ‘inspired’ me to drink more because that equation is always the brilliant way to go, and then I would have woken up the next day hungover and pretending that I wasn’t, etc., etc., so on and so forth. … … Wow. Instead, all of my normie family members just had a glass, I drank my fancy ice tea, and we all enjoyed the day.

Things are different now. Different in a GoodGood Way. Thursday was hard and difficult and it sucked the Big One, but I’m here and still sober. Almost six months sober. CrazyPants. And Phew! Even with all of Thursday’s surprise mental hurdles, the day really did show me, without any doubt, that it is necessary I am sober. Mandatory. ‘Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200.’

Day 172 and still learning…

 

A Crabby Turkey Part 2.

From my phone. Walked in and lots of unexpected triggers and some sad. Nostalgic and wishful thinking. Staying positive. Focusing on the fooooooood and the fam. And breathing. Lots of breathing.

A Crabby Turkey.

That’s been me today. I just can’t seem to get to zero. I think I was a little off because the house wasn’t quite presentable when we woke-up, and we were expecting my parents to be with us all day today. Plus, an up and down night with the girl – nightmares, and no exercising for two days (kind of nice, but kind of not), and I am a bit of a crabby bird.

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So, now, after a little quiet time, I am feeling much more relaxed. The six of us will all pile into the car in about twenty minutes and head to my in-laws for a scrumptious meal, conversation, and goodness. *lesigh* That is just what the doctor ordered, I think. … And who really cares about the house anyway? My parents have known me all my life. A few piles won’t make or break a visit. Oh, Hindsight, where were you when I needed you? … Oh, yeah. Waiting to arrive …. Later. (Dammit.)

I know today is a day full of gratefulness, and I truly am that. Thankful to have my parents here with us, grateful to know my sister is in the midst of yet another adventure in Melbourne (hi*), and happy to have a family around me who is full of love and kindness. I am a very, very lucky monster indeed.

And though I consider myself more spiritual than a specific denomination, I am finding myself up against those words ‘prayer’ and ‘praying’ a lot lately. And really? I think the words are right and accurate, because the essence of my hopes are healing and safe-guarding those in my prayers. … I’m branching out, people. …. And my prayer for today is one of safety and love and healing and hope for our world. The spirit in me recognizes the spirit in you.

Light Through the Clouds

And for anyone who would like to partake in one of my favorite family recipes…. I give you: Broccoli Salad. Here is a recipe, but whenever my mom or I makes it, we just eyeball it. More of the good stuff (grapes, raisins, sunflower seeds, and bacon) is always a good idea. Oh, and use the broccoli stalks! They taste really good soaked in the dressing on day 2.

Ingredients

Directions

  • Prep 15 m

  • Cook 15 m

  • Ready In 30 m

  1. Place bacon in a deep skillet and cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Cool and crumble.
  2. Cut the broccoli into bite-size pieces and cut the onion into thin bite-size slices. Combine with the bacon, raisins, your favorite nuts and mix well.
  3. To prepare the dressing, mix the mayonnaise, sugar and vinegar together until smooth. Stir into the salad, let chill and serve.

Broccoli Salad

Day 170, I am grateful for You.

I’m Here.

And I’m sober.

So that’s good.

i-am-here

Things in my little world have felt whirlwind-crazy for the past 5 weeks or so. In a quick nutshell-type blurt: Work has taken over almost everything and I’m not even directing yet; The administration change has everyone (including me) on edge and on our toes; My babes were both sick for two weeks; I was sick for two weeks, but still had to meet a ton of external expectations and deadlines; I’ve been white-knuckling my sobriety for about 3 weeks and feeling just pissed and angry about it most days; I’m worried with the seasonal change that I am feeling more depressed and anxious; And the biggest news is that my dad is in the hospital with bleeding ulcers and pneumonia.

That’s a shit-tonne, people. … Jeez. My eyelid is twitching right now just thinking about the list above.

Here’s the follow-up to all of that as I sit quietly in my parents’ front room, listening to the classic music station, and finally checking-in here after way too long…

  • Work things – administrative deadlines, etc. – seem to have been mostly met and finished. I’m in a good place now to prep for my shows coming up in about two weeks. So that’s good. I feel like my feet are under me again.
  • Regarding the new regime, well, that can’t be fixed. Like most of my coworkers, I am just slogging through and trying not to catch too much attention (always a hard challenge for a theatre person).
  • Babes are healthy again, and my youngest is looking forward to turning 3 on Tuesday. He can’t wait, because he will start preschool this Monday and celebrate his birthday all on the same day. I’m excited for him. He’s so eager to get to school and be like his big sister.
  • I am finally better, too. I had a virus that just kicked my ass day after day for two weeks. It was different from the kids – I’m so glad they didn’t have what I had. Man, did it suck. Plus, with everything happening at work, it made everything about 10 times as difficult.
  • Sobriety is still in effect, but again, does it suck the big one right now. I am angry, hostile, and pissed off about it. I know a lot of it has to do with not having time to be Here and connecting with all of You. So, it’s nice to show my face again. I’ve missed you and I’ve missed your wise words and ways. I haven’t had a drink, but I have probably considered it every day for the past 3 weeks. I have to say, it doesn’t make recovery very easy when my brain just wants to say ‘Fuck it!’ I haven’t. And I won’t. Not today.
  • The bipolarismness is being addressed. I’ve been worried my meds aren’t working mood-wise, especially with the exacerbation of the loss of sunlight, so my psych upped my dose slightly yesterday. We’ll see if that helps. I’m just feeling low. I realize I’ve had a lot of shit going on this past month, so it is entirely possible it’s just Life that’s got me down, but I’d love to have the weight I feel on top of me lifted a bit. Being a functional alcoholic in my memory feel a lot like being a functional depressive without the ‘added bonus’ of forgetting and hiding on a daily basis. It’s just hard. And difficult. And I’d like some relief.
  • For my dear PapaBear, he was rushed to ICU on Tuesday night with bleeding ulcers. He had been sick for two days and thought it was the flu, but then at Urgent Care, they did some tests and discovered his white count was high, he was throwing up blood and had been for the past day and a half, and his blood pressure was incredibly low. In ICU, they were able to cauterize his lesions and gave him a transfusion, which raised his blood pressure significantly. While he was there, they also discovered he had pneumonia (probably explains the white cell rise), and have been putting him through his paces with a monstrous nebulizer every four hours, as well as other exercises. I drove the 5 hours north to be here with him and Mom, and I’m so glad I did. Just being in the same room with him after hearing about all that was happening to him feels so comforting. I’ll be here for another day or two, and we’ll see how his recovery is going. I’m happy to say he doesn’t have any pain, which is amazing. His body has just been put through the wringer. It needs time to rest and heal.

And that, my friends, is what is going on with Me. Over the next day or two, I am going to be reading your blogs, so be warned. *smile* Comments are a’comin’.

Day 129; Hour 3,104; Minute 186,283; Second 11,177,011… I’ve missed You.

From the Hip.

Last night I wanted to get shitfaced.

But I didn’t.

I was angry that I couldn’t.

I was uncomfortable in my body – my cycles are really hitting me so much harder since I’ve stopped drinking. Or rather, maybe it’s because I’m not unconscious while they’re happening any longer? At any rate, the days leading up to them are so frustrating.

I was looking forward to spending time with the hubs all day, and as soon as he came in the door I started a yelling-stupid-loud fight that turned into four or five skirmishes over the next few hours. We could not get back to zero even though we both wanted to.

The day before I had seen a FB picture on a friend’s wall that had a bottle of whiskey and a glass in it, and I was still stewing and mad about that. Not mad at the friend. Mad that I didn’t get to do that anymore.

And my body was matching my mood – constricted and grumpy and feeling out of my control.

All factors of general pissed-off-ness.

Then? Cue rom-com scene. The kids went down pretty quickly and the hubs and I stayed up for several hours talking about everything and nothing. It was a great way to relax, to reset, to connect. And because it was Friday, I wasn’t in a hurry to take my meds and sleep. We just enjoyed our time together. Talked about his and my feelings from the night/day, talked about friends, talked about the beginnings of our relationship with new insights… It was just so refreshing and healing and exactly what I needed.

And really? Had I gotten shitfaced, it would never have happened! Cue: moral to the story.

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                Small Tangent Ahead.

At some point in the convo, I made a surprising connection. I don’t know how many of you have heard of Multiple Intelligences – it’s a lens created by Howard Gardner used in teaching that reminds educators to reach out to students in more ways than just in the white culture way of lecture, spit back, and repeat. Here’s a list of the intelligences (I added the last one):

  • Linguistic intelligence (“word smart”)
  • Logical-mathematical intelligence (“number/reasoning smart”)
  • Spatial intelligence (“picture smart”)
  • Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence (“body smart”)
  • Musical intelligence (“music smart”)
  • Interpersonal intelligence (“people smart”)
  • Intrapersonal intelligence (“self smart”)
  • Naturalist intelligence (“nature smart”)
  • Spiritual intelligence

For the record, I am a book NERD, and I love me some words, words, words. I always thought I would be tagged as a linguistic learner hands-down. However, and super-surprising (to me)? After taking a test the other week, I am a hugely kinesthetic learner. Like Megatron. Last night when talking to the hubs about what strengths I see both our babes having – musical (our son) and kinesthetic (our daughter) – I realized that my daughter and I express our anger in kinesthetic ways that match our intelligence preferences. An example of my daughter was last night (she was having a crabby moment similar to Mama’s all-day ‘tude) when I almost got kicked in the face during a mild fit. I was hurt and mad that she would be so intentional about trying to hurt me, but then later that night, I realized why she did what she did. She channels everything through her body – and so do I! (Our musical son screams an operatic note that would challenge any diva’s repertoire, for the record.) When I’m angry, like yesterday, I stomp and stamp and channel that shit through my limbs. How amazing! And enlightening! Now I want to watch everyone in the world around me and see where their strengths and preferences lie when their anger flares. It may make fights or arguments more productive, hm? How cool.

Day 88, sometimes even rotten, no-good, smelly, ol’ bad days have good endings.

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