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.

Shhh…Just let it happen

I wrote the following two paragraphs about a week ago. I was trying to force my way into my next blog post before it was ready to peek out of the soil. Not the way I want these posts to be born. I would prefer for the words to own me for a time and take over. I want them to bloom on their own. I don’t want to think too much about what I’m saying. That’s usually when I do my best work. But when I was writing the following words I was putting a gun to my head and making myself bleed. (Bleeding is what I have been calling my process ever since I started my memoir. When I write about myself I end up being brutally honest with whoever reads this and with myself and I bleed. All over the page. And damn if that doesn’t feel Good.)

‘Right now I am practically forcing myself to finish a glass of wine. I slept very little last night and drank more than I normally do. I had a busy day at work – I take care of other people’s children and essentially their entire lives to bring home self-respect and money – and I am thoroughly exhausted. I want to go to sleep. I want to rest my weary bones and over taxed body. I want my brain to be quiet. Sleep will be the best remedy.

But here I sit, at my trusty laptop, sipping my second giant glass of white. And I don’t even fucking want it. But I cringe at the thought of trying to lay down to sleep without the numbing agent of my precious elixir.’

It’s not good to force things. I never, ever want to feel forced or rushed in my work life, social life, family life or even in traffic. If I’m going 80 in the passing lane on the highway and some ‘need for speed’ fuckbag comes bombing up behind me and starts to tailgate me I will refuse to move over to the right. I will remain and remain in the passing lane until the fuckbag angrily swerves around me to pass on the right. Fine by me. I might even look over, smile and flip him the bird – I will not be rushed. I will not.

So, when I was rushing myself to write something, anything, I knew I had to put down the pain and walk away from it for a time. I started those almost forgotten paragraphs with the voice of my Addict (17 year old self) in charge. She likes attention. In any form. I didn’t let her take over though. And I’m glad because now my Highest Self is at the wheel and I feel the flow, the words are coming. I feel the satisfaction of purging what is in my mind. Somehow typing it all here makes what I have to say feel less shameful.

I drink too much. Sometimes, as seen above, I force myself to drink too much because the agony of sitting alone with myself in an unblurred fashion is too itchy, twitchy and uncomfortable to even consider. So I don’t. I just walk in the door and pour. I don’t give myself time to think. I want my shoulders to come down and blessedly relax and the only guaranteed way to get there is to sip my beloved wine.

I feel I must illustrate that I don’t drink to get drunk. I don’t like being drunk. That feels irresponsible, chaotic and scary. I drink to get floaty, fizzy and tipsy. I drink to let go of the Internal Dialogue that has been judging and criticizing me all the live long day. I drink to disconnect from my reality, just for a short time. That realm feels safer than drunk. I do not give Fuck One when I’m drunk. I think everything is a good idea, everyone is my best friend and that I am invincible.

Drunk is too harsh. Too dangerous. Drunk is when I make even worse decisions than drinking everyday. Drunk is when I go home with strangers. Drunk is when I cry myself to sleep after eating an entire pizza by myself because I ‘need’ something to soak up the alcohol. The morning after being drunk hangovers are the worst in the world. My head feels full of painful, hot liquid and every time I move the liquid moves and I want to die. It takes me a solid 24 hours to overcome that feeling. The hangovers after getting fizzy, tipsy and floaty ain’t no thang. Those I can live through standing on my head. I’m a beast at handling those.

I am beginning to wonder when I am going to start stopping myself from having to ‘handle’ them though. So far it hasn’t happened. I do not want to stop drinking. I like it too much. I enjoy it still…except for when I’m forcing it. That’s when I hate it. That’s when the voice of my Addict (and 17 year old self) won’t take no for an answer. She is incapable of hearing a real ‘NO’. She is spoiled, unruly and incredibly insecure. When she calls the shots I feel powerless. I let her take over far too much. She has never recovered from when Tom died. She never moved out of the home with the angry, drunk ex. She hasn’t even begun to face losing Dad and don’t even attempt to talk to her about adoption or birth parents. Off limits.

When I let her out too much is when I know I really Do have a problem, when I know that something’s gotta give eventually. I know I need to sit down with my Addict (my 17 year old self) and really listen to what she has to say. I have to really let her feel and accept that she may never, ever change. She might simply be stuck. I am starting to realize that I’m the one who has to change. I’m the one who has the power to stop listening when she cries. She deserves my compassion and my understanding, but I can’t keep holding her hand. I might have to let her walk out of my life so she can wreak havoc somewhere else. I might have to let her go so that I can move forward (and away) from all the pain she carries.

I’m getting closer to that point. But today, I still drink.

 

 

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?