Security Blanket

I have so many thoughts and emotions skittering around in my head today, so hang in there with me if this post turns out to be really scattered and/or emotional as fuck.

I sit here, in a blissfully air conditioned Starbucks eavesdropping on a couple behind me who are clearly on a first date after connecting on an online site and while I’m amused and inwardly smiling at their banter and completely feel their awkward pain, I’m also feeling incredibly adrift in a sea of emotions. Most of the things I’m feeling are familiar. Most are old hat. I know them well, I have walked these halls before; I know what the fuck I am doing in them. But there’s so many offshoots in the halls and I can’t decide where to go. I’m feeling lost today. That’s what I don’t know what to do with. I’m basically overwhelmed. And triggered. Triggered like whoa.

I’ve been reading up a lot on other women’s journeys through their drinking days and how they proceeded bravely into sobriety. I am deeply envious of these women. I am truly inspired by their courage and dedication to living again. I read their words, feelings and experiences and I am in awe. How do they do it? How did they dig deep enough? How?

I know it’s coming – my own sobriety. I know it’s going to happen for me, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to write the way I have been. I would avoid the subject of my drinking like the plague that it is. Also, I would still be going out all the time, drinking myself blind and making out with married men. Yup, I’ve done that a few times. Get me drunk enough and I have no regard for another woman’s vows or security in her marriage. I want what I want in the moment. Consequences be damned. Her husband is the one out late with a strange woman. The problem lies in his decisions, not mine. Right? Right?

Obviously, I am wrong to think this way. However, that’s usually the booze talking. It’s not really who I am at my core. If I was sober I wouldn’t think or do things like I just described. I am a good person. I have things to contribute to this life. I want to do more than drink and think and bemoan and drink and overthink and lose myself. I want to do more than numb and actively avoid feeling anything and wonder why it’s so fucking hard for me to simply live and be. I don’t want to stay drowning in the stew of my emotions. I don’t. I don’t. I don’t.

Why isn’t the fucking fact that I don’t want this to be my life enough to make me stop? Why can’t I just let go? I suppose the answer to that is simple; I’m holding on to it. This habit that helps me not feel. I’m holding onto it like a little girl with her security blanket who is spending the night away from home for the first time. Terrified to let go. I’m still holding onto the lies the booze tells me. I’m still adhering to the horrible and sometimes horrifying inner dialogue of my overtired mind and living according to what it says (You’re too FAT. You’re worthless. You’re disgusting. You’ll never be able to get through this. Your life is meaningless. Even your friends hate you now. You’ve pushed them away and you have No One. You should just fucking end it.)

Mostly I’m scared. That’s basically the bottom of the barrel. I’m scared. The fear makes me think these things. The fear keeps me in the bubble of not wanting to live without alcohol. It’s quite the cycle I have going for myself. Quite.

But that’s ok. I’m not upset with myself for being scared as I normally would be. I’m adjusting to the fear. I’m trying to settle down with it, to go with it. The energy it takes to go against it is tremendously draining. So, more and more I’m looking at my fear. The more I do that, the more I see that letting fear run the show is the silliest solution I could have ever come up with. C’mon woman! Get your head in the game. You matter. You are important to everyone but yourself. Stop that! Stop devaluing yourself because of your past! Just stop. Change your ways, change your thinking, change your life. Let’s fucking go!

Yes.

My sobriety is on its’ way. I feel deeply and I think too much. These two things have always been my downfall. I’ve always allowed the things that have happened to me to write my story. I’ve let the hard times design the landscape of my life. I can’t allow that to happen anymore. I have to get on my team. I have to be on my side. I have to take care of myself first. If I don’t, I will be – and, sadly, have started to become – absolutely no good for anyone.

*deep breath*

I fucking got this. I got this. I got this.

Yes.

 

Open Spaces

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I took a long walk today. I haven’t done that in far too long. There’s a nice little park near my house that has a paved loop to walk on. It’s lovely and lots of people walk their dogs there so I get to people and puppy watch. Double threat. I don’t take advantage of it as much as I would like to, but today it was calling to me. So, when I woke up, I hopped out of bed, ate some breakfast, strapped on my sneakers, threw my hair in a ponytail and I was out the door. The weather was perfectly agreeable for an outdoor walk – nice and mild, cloudy and not overly hot. I was really excited.

I started walking the loop and felt an inner calm wash over me again and again. I smiled at the people I saw. I smiled at the babies in strollers. I even got a little manhandled by a passing husky. He was about 120 pounds and had muddy paws. I got a pawprint stamped across my left breast as he jumped up to lick my chin. No bother, I just laughed, wished his owner a lovely day and walked on.

When I take walks outside I always feel free. I feel like my breathe comes easier and my mind feels more clear. My entire body knows there is actually room to breathe and responds in kind by releasing endorphins. I feel good when I’m out like that. I don’t get out enough. I don’t put myself out there enough. And today, I realized what that reason is….fear. Plain old stupid FEAR.

I’m scared to be out in public sometimes. I assume and believe that other people judge or hate me because I am overweight – or as my 17 year old self would say, because I am FAT, disgusting and worthless. I hesitate to participate in my own life because when I step outside my comfort zone I leave myself vulnerable to judgment. What I forget is most people are wrapped up in their own agendas, worries and fears. Why would perfect strangers take time out of their own thoughts and plans to silently and hatefully judge the overweight woman in her 30s who is walking along, minding her own business? And even if they do, their judgment or distaste has nothing to do with me and everything to do with them. Why do I think they even care what they think? Could it be that I’m a little narcissistic, yes? Or, it could be that I’m hyper aware of my body shape and I’m overly ashamed of it. I think I deserve others’ judgment somehow. I deserve to be hated because I am disgusting. I am FAT.

Well, so fucking what? Lots of people weigh more than they want to. Lots of people aren’t perfect physical specimens. I’m not alone in this. I’m not the only one who is tragically unhappy with her body. I’m not the lone FAT girl in a sea of skinny ladies with perfect, undimpled, unstretched skin. I put so much of my value into the minds of other people. My confidence lives in the supposed judgment of strangers. It’s ludicrous. It’s a completely insane thought pattern that keeps me prisoner.

But I had a freeing moment on my walk today….

I usually wear baggy tops or hoodies when I walk or workout. I can’t stand the thought of someone else seeing how out of shape my body is, so I hide it. Hoodies are the best because they are meant to cover. Unfortunately, it’s summer (my least favorite season because the weather requires me to wear less clothing….) so a hoodie is out of the question. I had to wear a t-shirt today. It would have been too hot otherwise.

So, I’m walking along and a breeze starts blowing in my face, cooling the sweat. Lovely. The breeze also pushes my t-shirt against my entire front, putting my misshapen, roll-filled body on display. Unacceptable. I normally lift my hands up and pretend I’m adjusting my top to cover myself and avoid prying eyes seeing anything I can’t bear them to see. But today, for maybe the first time ever, I thought, ‘why am I making myself do this every single time? This is silly. I deserve to walk comfortably. Who gives a fuck what this passing person thinks of my body?’ And I kept my arms by my sides and walked along. Head high, looking at the trees and smiling.

I felt free of my own destructive Inner Dialogue for the first time in years. And it didn’t matter what the passersby thought because I was gone from their view in seconds. And I felt good. I felt confident. I felt at home within myself.

Please, please let this mean I’m finally waking up.

No choice

As I mentioned, I am adopted. In 2014 I decided to find my birth parents. I was 34. I found them, met them, fell in love with them and then lost their affections 5 months later. I started writing the story of my life immediately after I met them. I didn’t have a choice. The need to write it was immense. Much like the need to start this blog. Maybe I really am a writer?

I tentatively named my memoir ‘Pandora’s Box’.

I started out with how happy I was to know my biological beginnings – and oh my GOD, was I over the moon to know where my nose came from, to learn that I have FOUR half siblings (!!!) and that my birth parents were always, always, always thinking about me. That was just the tip of the iceberg. I will revisit this topic and talk about it in more posts to come. Don’t you worry.

For now, I just want to share a small excerpt. The beginning of the passage is recalling how I couldn’t save my brother from himself and his inevitable death. Since then, I have always tried to find someone to love who also needs to be saved. Ever the caretaker am I.

I’m nervous about sharing this…but here goes —

‘My mind gave up on trying to reach him at an early age, but my heart. Oh, my heart. She never gave up trying to find someone just like him to love. Relationships. That word carries a lot of weight in anyone’s life. Relationships are complicated. Involved. They take work. Investment. Relationships can be difficult. Beautiful. Fulfilling. Exquisite. They can ruin you. Devastate you. You can completely lose yourself and any sense of who you are in an unhealthy one. Or, you can plant a seed with someone and grow little healthy versions of yourselves that eventually turn into generations of love and memories. It’s always a gamble. A risk.

To commit to someone and say, ‘I am yours, as you are mine, no matter where the course of our lives takes us.’ ‘I am yours’ has fucking consequences. Having someone to call mine has been the biggest thrill of my life. That singularly enveloping notion of ‘belonging’ is my adrenaline rush, my joy, my drug, my biggest challenge, my biggest downfall and my biggest failure. I tend to put far too much energy and emphasis into my relationships. I’m not talking about friendships, or family. I do not mean co-workers, acquaintances or buddies. I’m speaking of boyfriends, potential partners and lovers, all of which have never been able to win me over completely. Not a one. They each ran out of steam in their own way. Blew their load of bullshit all over my gorgeous face. My first boyfriend, with his needy tendencies. The guy in California, with his gaming, physical and emotional absence. The angry alcoholic, with his drinking, anger and mother issues. And finally, my most recent ex, with his immaturity and refusal to grow up. I saw all of these imperfections and flaws. I knew I would be sucked dry by each of them so I was forced to throw in the towel before I was entirely ready to. I certainly loved each of them and they loved me back. The love I shared with each of them just wasn’t enough.

It wasn’t enough because deep down, I really didn’t love myself. I never learned how. I learned many lessons on how to hate myself; not understanding why I couldn’t talk about adoption, not feeling like an important part of my family, hearing my brother belittle me because I didn’t tie my shoes the same way he did, being overweight and finally, at age 15 I was judged 100% on my appearance by someone I thought I was in love with. So, complacent and confused soul that I can be, I continued down the path of least resistance and stayed trapped in my self-hatred. I was too young to see how destructive the easy way would be. And in all honesty, I didn’t think I deserved anything better.’

 

Again and again…thank you for reading.

No Bargain

When did it all get so difficult?

I’ve been alone for most of my life. Of my 36 years on this plane of existence I have been single for approximately 29. I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with this number. In fact, most days I’m proud of myself for having the stones to be on my own for so long.

It’s no bargain folks. It takes serious independence and strength to forge your own way when the choices you have made haven’t ever panned out the way your sweet, overloaded and hopeful heart hoped. It takes guts and soul to pick yourself up after major breakup number 3 explodes in front of your pretty little face. It’s Not Easy to walk this walk. It’s Not Easy to know that when you are ready to burst at the seams from sheer overwhelmed exhaustion there’s no one waiting for you at home. No one there to offer a comforting shoulder or ear, specifically promised to you.

Please don’t take my stumbling, bungling attempt at explaining myself that I’m saying I don’t have friends or any kind of support system in my life. That is so far from the truth. I have friend upon friend who would answer my call if I said I needed to talk or vent. My mother would never turn a deaf ear to my rantings. Ever.

But those same staples of my younger years aren’t doing it for me the way they used to. I’ve just been noticing that the older I get the less I want to ‘bother’ or ‘interrupt’ my tried and true friends. All of them are coupled off or married, most with a couple of kiddos. And that’s lovely. Beautiful. They made great choices and life blessed each of them. They all deserve the good things in life.

Does that mean that I don’t feel blessed or that I don’t think I made good choices? No. I know I am blessed. I Know in my bones that it could always, always be worse. I know that I have many, many wonderful people and experiences in my life. I know my choices belong to me and I don’t regret any of them.

Does it mean that I don’t think I deserve the good things in life? You’re Goddamn right I don’t. My worth is all wrapped up in being adopted/abandoned/FAT/alone. My drinking pattern has been cumulative over many years. Remember, addiction is progressive. It creeps. It sneaks. It waits.

Life has dealt me some difficult times. I saw grief and utter desolation at 17. My troubled big brother – dead at 21. We didn’t have a good or even existing relationship when he died and I blamed him for that. I loathed him actually. I thought he was a leech and that he didn’t deserve my parents’ love. He made everything in our home difficult and angry and violent. I never forgave him for that. I cried for my parents when he died. I knew they were absolutely shattered. I didn’t feel anything, except disgust. And the guilt I feel typing that, even now – 19 years later….it’s brutal.

I can’t help but wonder why my path has been ever laced with pain – my brother was one of the early notches in my belt. I also wonder why I can’t shake it off and feel grateful and happy for what I have.

I need to reason out my emotions because they’re HUGE. I could walk all day down the corridor of one of those fuckers and still not be able to fully absorb it. I take on others’ emotions and don’t realize that my own stuff isn’t only mine anymore. It’s a mixture of his or hers and mine. It doesn’t separate like oil and water, it’s not fluid. The mixing I’m talking about is Thick; peanut butter and chocolate swirled together. It’s delicious at first, and makes harmony on your taste buds. It can initially taste so intoxicating that you get lost and consume too much and before you know it you’re addicted. This emotional mixing pushes me to the point of wanting to drink every. single. day.

I’m in a low place. I fully acknowledge and own that.

But nothing lasts forever.

This blog O’Mine is helping. I’m still drinking. I’m still overwhelmed. I’m still crippled with my Fears and Old Pain, but I’m offering it to the masses. It’s not remaining inside me any longer. Take what you want and leave the rest.

Ball gag

I think about being honest a lot. I think (and often over think) about what I want to say and how I should say it. I want to be sure I’m saying what I mean and meaning what I say…but I also watch out for not stepping on toes and try to be delicate when sometimes I just want to dole out the truth. Being authentic is very, very important to me. I was told just last night – “Don’t ever change.” And all I could do was throw my buzzed head back, laugh and say, “That will *never* happen.” The basic core of me will not change, I know it too well for it to go anywhere. But sometimes, without warning, I feel intensely inauthentic. Like a fraud.

I think about what other people think too much. I worry about how I will be perceived and how I will be received. I concern myself with others’ needs and wants more often than I wonder about my own. Unless, that is, I’m thinking of my own wants and needs in a selfish, immediate way. I often factor in how hungover I might feel on a given day and that, in turn makes me pick and choose what activities or events I can commit to. The weekends as of late are lost causes. All I want to do is keep to my own schedule of having no schedule so if the mood to get fucked up strikes, I have no previous obligations getting in the way.

If I take my drinking time out of the equation (usually between the hours of 6-10 each evening) and lock myself down for an evening event with friends I feel excited and hopeful initially. I think, “that’s going to be a really nice time. I haven’t seen ____ in forever.” I think about the good points in the plans I’ve made, I remember the relationships I want to nurture and foster (and realize, guiltily, that I have been neglecting a lot of them). I feel pretty good about making plans. At first.

Then the clock starts marching forward from the time I say, “yes, I definitely want to attend that party” to when the actual date of the party is a few days away. My brain starts to quietly fret. I begin to feel the pull of isolation. I begin to feel that fucking straight jacket of FEAR pulling taut against my arms and ribcage. I start to plan and then veto what I might want to wear, telling myself that I look hideous in everything I own. Then I beat myself up for not looking fabulous like my slender friends. Then I hector myself for not going to the gym or for eating those fucking pretzels at 10pm. It’s this endless, endless cycle of self loathing. It drives me to cancel plans. Being alone sometimes feels easier than putting myself out there with the attached risk of silent judgment. And that leaves my drinking time blessedly open.

I’m writing about all this shit not to complain, but to get it the fuck OUT of me. It’s the extra ‘stuff’ that I want to put in these posts in the hopes that eventually, it will remain here and only here. Never to haunt me again. I want to be rid of the circling and recycling thoughts of my Inner Judge. She is such an asshole and she’s loud. Anyone out there know where I can find a decent ball gag?