Heya, Monster.

A SoberBlog by a TallWoman.

Archive for the tag “Support”

Made It.

Hello, everyone.* Yow. I’m here and almost missed the month of January. It’s been a busy one (as per usual). After about two-and-a-half weeks straight, I finally had a day at home today to be lazy, rest, and spend time with the fam. Opened my first real show at my new school on Friday evening. It was beautiful and b889325f0a0775c5dcb14de9156018d8strong, and I was so proud of everyone. We had come a long, long way, particularly in the last week. To send it all into even more of a whirlwind our girl was incredibly sick from Wednesday evening, through the night, and up until this morning. Poor babe. The days have been long for this artist-mama, and I am glad to be sitting here in slippers and sweater, listening to two sweet babes play in the tub. Tomorrow starts another week of school, but with this past week’s mountain climbed and conquered, I feel able to enjoy the work. Thank goodness I am not drinking, or these past couple of weeks would have been infinitely more difficult. ….. I look at my life now and wonder how I even made it through my days and nights the way I did. I can’t even believe it. It is truly unimaginable how I managed. I don’t dwell often on this thought, but when I do, it makes me savor and appreciate my life all the more Now…. Even Especially when it’s challenging.

Day 600, Yow! What an awesome surprise to accompany a very mundane check-in. *smile* I am going to have to start planning my next star tattoo to mark Year 2….

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

 

Snow Days.

Hello, friends. A quick check-in today, and then I will be back later for more. I’ve been mulling my Word o’ The Year, and am looking forward to talking with you about some ideas I have…. Which words have your attention and curiosity for your year to come?

In the meantime? One of my favorite wintery songs. I could listen to this on repeat for hours….

Day 560, Let it snow, Let it snow, Let it snow!

Last Night…

I did a huge sink-full of dishes after my babes went to bed.

And then I corrected work and reported final grades for my students.

Played a little of a silly video game just because I wanted to.

And then I read a bunch of political articles on Clinton and Trump.

Watched several hilarious video shorts on the same subject.

Coordinated my new book club’s next meeting invite.

Took my vitamins and meds in a long-series of nights taking vitamins and meds (the longest consecutive stretch of nights in my life).

Read a book.

Visited with the hubs.

Fell asleep.

All sober.

Day 515, and still surprised by the little things sobriety gives back to me.large_happy-birthday-present

Love Is Love Is Love Is Love…

“There is no originality in tyrants, and they learn nothing from the demise of their precursors. They will be brutal and stifling and engender hatred and destroy what men love and that will defeat them. All important battles are, in the end, conflicts between hatred and love, and we must hold to the idea that love is stronger than hate.”

– Salman Rushdie, Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights

Day 490, People of the US, please Vote.

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Hello, Out There.

Hello, friends. It’s been a little while. Yow. Time passes when you’re busy doing stuff, doesn’t it? I’ve been thinking about you a lot, and checking in pretty regularly on WP to read your words and journeys. I just haven’t had the chance to sit down and write you my own epistle until now. Sitting feels good. *smile* As does writing you. *clickityclack*

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So, the End of Shows went beautifully. Both were well-received and well-attended. The Shakespeare show (Midsummer) was love-ily to have because it kept me grounded and connected to both my past, present, and future (an 18-year history with the company, as well as looking forward to directing and being with my favorite people again next season/summer). While on the other hand, the mega-musical marked a significant Ending because it was the last show I will direct at my now-former school. The show itself was strong, vibrant, funny, and a little naughty. I definitely felt I went out with a Bang!

Of course, the Universe is always there to remind in so many different ways that I am not in control, nor can I, nor should I try to control the world around me. With all the anxiety surfacing inside me this past month around the closing of my shows, the Job being well-and-truly final, readying our house for the market, looking towards starting the new-*sparkly* Job, trying to spend time with my sister-who-was-in-town-from-Australia-during-my-busiest-two-weeks-of-the-summer, leaving for vacation, and now about to hit the ground running with the new job and the house….. Well? My anxiety has just climbed and climbed and climbed. And in each of those pockets of Life, the Universe has aptly put me in my place again and again.

First. My beautiful, amazing, phenomenal sister left 3 Thursdays ago. We have a tradition in our family, that whenever someone is driving away (the Leaver), the people staying behind (the Leavees) wave until they can’t see the car any longer. And, weather be damned, the Leaver/s in the car roll their windows down and wave back until they can’t see the Leavees any longer, too. So, with this tradition well-established, my sister hopped into her rental car, rolled down her window, got the last teary hugs and kisses from me and the babes, and then turned to go down the driveway. When what should appear? You guessed it! The Universe. In the form of a school bus (in July). It came around the corner and then pulled to the side of the road with its red stop sign shining, and its red lights flashing…. We just laughed. Because what else could we do? It was perfect. And funny. And gave us the chance for a few more hugs and kisses.

Second. The last show of the mega-musical…. All day, I just had nerves. It felt Epic. Important. One of those I-am-going-to-remember-this-event-for-the-rest-of-my-life-type things. So here we are chugging along, I’m watching the show and just enjoying it and laughing at all sorts of new moments in the show, and then. Crash. At the end of intermission as I’m about to start the show again, the hubs (who was in the show) comes up to me and says another actor and the pit say the music director is either drunk or high. Oh, what?! Gah. So I race back to speak with the person and to see if they’re right. …. Yep. Sure as shit. …. He is so far gone, I don’t know that even speaking with him would do any good. I pulled a musician aside and asked him to push the show, the cues forward if the MD dropped the ball on anything. So the whole second half, I’m just holding on and hoping we make it through the show without any mishaps (we did), and also trying to figure out what to do about this man. It was just odd. In all my years, I have not had this happen to me in any way, shape, or form. And then for it to be my last. I don’t know, it felt odd, though not unexpected (I wrote about my misgivings in an earlier post). With all the adrenaline now wrapped around this problem, the significance of it being my Last Show dropped. And a bit of regret, following the show, I didn’t handle the situation very well. I skirted around it, made sure he had a ride, etc. However, I followed up the next day and feel much better about that. I know if we had had a Sunday closing, I would have fired him and told him not to come back. But since we closed on a Saturday, I just wanted to get through the show, and we did. On the phone the next day, I was angry and sad, particularly because this is a show at a high school with teenagers in the production. The choice to get drunk before a (professional) gig felt incredibly selfish. He could have compromised the entire production. …. I asked him if he thought this was a problem, and he said that he did think so, that his mother was very sick, and not for the first time. Then, I offered to send him some resources via email, and promised that I would follow-up with him in a few weeks to see how he was doing. I penalized his pay, and then later, apologized to the teenagers for not being more assertive the night before. I apologized for the MD’s behavior, and told them what he did was not okay. It was messy, but at least I followed up on all of the loose ends.

Following all of this, my mother came down for a week and helped me get a ton of stuff done with the house. The hubs and I have one more week to work, and then, I am hoping we are set to show our house starting next week. Keep your fingers crossed.

Third. This past week, we went out of town to the shores of Lake Superior. Beautiful. Majestic. Mighty. …. But my anxiety was really high. Incredibly high. About death. About losing my babes – especially in the midst of the water, which just seemed incredibly powerful. I know I was driving the hubs nuts on one particular day, because he had them in the water amidst these big waves. I just saw the immensity of the water stretching out behind them, and the strength of each wave as it rolled in and hit them, and I was just So. Scared. That they would be knocked over. Pulled out before we could reach them. Before I could save them. … So all this, and then? Oh, there’s the Universe again. This time it showed up in the form of sister-brother battles. Our 3-year old kicked his sister’s head, which banged the edge of a coffee table. Stitches at a small-town ER. Ah, vacation memories…. But really. It acted as a good reminder that I really can’t control anything. And I know that deep down, but it doesn’t always stop me from wanting to try. Letting go is a lesson I need to learn again and again and again it seems. … Also? The accident freed me up and helped me to embrace the waves and the water with my family later that day. We got splashed and soaked, and we laughed and held onto one another.

Day 432, Thanks, Universe. I needed that.

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A Monster Mini-Update.

Hello, friends. Monster here and doing well. It’s been awhile since I last checked in because I have been mega-busy. Here are the haps in a nutshell:

  • Opened ‘Midsummer.’ Yay! So cute, so funny, so silly, so good. It is still running through next week.
  • Opened another show this week – a mega-musical – to mark my last production at my current school. It’s taken a lot of late nights staying up, painting, working, etc. Lots of little pieces needed doing, but? They got done. Huh. Zah. Also, my favorite part are all of the grads and families who have already come back to see the show and give me  hug. So beautiful and incredible to be surrounded by so much love.
  • In the meantime, I joined the committee hiring my counterpart at my new school.
  • Started digging into my new office/area and reorganizing and making it my own … Very, very slowly.
  • Welcomed my little sister home for a visit. She arrived last week with her fiance from Australia (whee!), and is in the state until the 28th. With all that’s been going on, I haven’t had a lot of time to see her, but am looking forward to one or two days devoted to her and the fam.
  • And lastly, I decided (two Sundays ago) that it would be a great idea to get our house on the market in the coming month, and then find a house, and move. Crazy? Probably! *smile* So many things to do! A lot of small upgrades that will help with the price point, I hope.

In Soberland, since sharing my year-long sobriety with my friends and family on Facebook, I have had so many kind, amazing connections with people. Even two weeks later, I have people telling me how proud they are, or congratulating me. The Love is palpable. … And it feels a lot freer, too. Not that I was hiding or ashamed of my sobriety, but there is another level of ease because more people know and I don’t have to navigate as many social moments now. Liberating.

Alright, off for more house porn ….. It is so addicting! (But not in a I-need-help kind of way. I swear. *smile*)

Day 410, I’ve missed all you cool-cats.*

 

Sort of Out & About.

Hello, all.* Can you tell I have a few more hours of free-time lately? Ha. I am starting to worry I will bore you with all of these Life updates….

Well, I am here today, because I did a big thing. I posted my tattoo and the reason for my tattoo on FB Sunday evening. Here is some of what I wrote:

Friends, I am Sober. And have been sober for this past year. I found sobriety because I had lost Myself. Truly. Lost her. Did not know where or who or what I was anymore. I could see my Beautiful Life and I would marvel at the fact I was not happy inside of it. How could I not be happy?! But I wasn’t. After turning over so many aspects of myself, trying to figure out what was wrong with me, I kept hitting my head against the truth – I had slowly, without realizing it, begun to center my world around drinking. And so? After a long, painful, pissed-off bit of soul-searching, one day, I just let go of trying to control it all. I let go and stopped drinking on June 9, 2015. 390 days later? I am more Myself, more present, more confident, and more happy to be alive than I ever have been as an adult. 

And the response was overwhelmingly positive. People commenting, liking, all the kind things people do to recognize others on the ol’ FB. I even had one old acquaintance reach out to me privately and tell me she was also sober, and had been sober for 15 years. Yow! And another friend wrote me and said he had begun sobriety about the same time as I did. Again, wowwowwow. So overwhelmed with Kindness (my word o’ the year) and living honestly and openly.

I had a number of people make the comments of either, ‘I had no idea!’ or ‘You are so brave!’ And while the first relates to living as a high-functioning alcoholic so that no one sees what’s really going on (Of which, I am not surprised, but also a little sad about.), the second… I feel it relates to the social stigma still associated with sobriety and being in recovery. It’s an interesting line to walk being sober and being in this world that loves booze and fun and letting loose so much. It’s interesting because of the challenges of feeling like I am the odd one out. There’s the whole fear-of-missing-out syndrome based on the many, many advertisements and product placements, and general depictions of people having-fun-by-drinking-together in most of our entertainment options, as well as that same ol’ FB engine that perpetuates the images of friends drinking and laughing and going to breweries and pub-hopping, etc. And with all that, we few, we happy few (Henry V), are walking through this alcohol-soaked world thinking we have something to hide. How absurd is that? …. Yes, of course, the shame of past transgressions and foibles and times when we-did-that-when-we-were-drunk (x 1,000,001 for me personally)…. But stepping into sobriety, we can be proud we stepped away from our past. We can be proud we took a positive step in order to help ourselves. There is no shame in sobriety, nor should there be.

Of course, here I sit, struggling with whether or not to show you all a picture of my real self, and like an anxious hypocrite, I can’t quite rip that bandage off yet. I am so close, but just not yet. Much of my hesitation has to do with the stories I’ve told here about what I did while drinking. Some of it has to do with my identification as a woman with bipolar as well.

Again, Stigma… noun: 1. a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person.

Why is it we stigmatize our hurt? Why are our hurt and our pain thought to be negative? Things to be ashamed of? Even what I have found in the past 36 hours is that living my truth is not so bad. It’s actually very liberating and relaxing, because I am not working to keep a secret. I came clean (again). I know there’s a history, as well as a present-day condition within our world that demands we be unkind to those who are different and other, but when we embrace our truths and tell our stories, isn’t it true we grow stronger and more compassionate and less judgmental because knowledge is power. Truth is power. Cliches, sure, but soso true.

Has my own introspection given me the courage to self-identify? …. Hrm. Not yet. A little anti-climactic, isn’t it? Sorry. But we’ll see in the future. I have done so much to embrace and to own my whole self (this past weekend especially), I feel I am close. But not today.

Day 392, yes, and not yet.
p.s. Made it to the Summer Solstice and forgot all about it! That’s 3 rounds of moving with the universe. Onto the next!
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The Long-Awaited…

Is finally here!

…. And it hurt!

…. And it still hurts!

…. But It. Is. SO. COOL!!!

I love it.

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That tattoo artist is amazing. Cool. Good at swearing. Great story-teller. And a friend of friends. Can’t wait to go back to her next year for my second star… *smile*

For those who ask, first, it was a pretty tender place to get tattooed in the first place. But? I couldn’t think of anywhere more I wanted it. So, glad I went through with it. The feeling was like when you scrape your knee, but in slow-motion, and on purpose, and for a looooong period of time. Well, 30 minutes. But still. Slow-motion pain.

But now? I feel like a bad-ass. I also feel like if I do become a regular inker (skeptical), then anywhere else I decide to put a tattoo would be a breeze. Did I mention how tough I am? *smile* Ha, yeah, right.

Day 390, Heya, Universe. Thank you.*

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