It’s chilly at my place right now. It’s overcast and rainy outside – a day where you can practically smell how raw the air is. I’m sitting here in the apartment I’ve known for almost 7 years and I feel a quiet ending to this phase of my life slowly approaching. What do I mean by ‘this phase’, you may ask? Well, this period of several years when I battened down the hatches and stayed hunkered in order to put one foot in front of the other to get through. A time through which I never planned for a valuable future because I never had a chance to catch my breath and take stock. I just kept going, enduring, surviving without a desire for something more. I also suppose I mean this sequence of unhealthy decisions – drinking, drinking, drinking, and drinking some more and sleeping with strangers while very inebriated in order to prove to my broken self that I am beautiful – which were driven by the false belief that I would ‘never be worth anything good’.
This was back when I would drink almost an entire bottle of wine before going to the bar alone to drink 4 more strong vodka tonics. I couldn’t flirt well enough without the lubrication and the most important thing to me in those days was disconnecting from the reality that I couldn’t sit with sober. I was lucky enough to have a job that paid me well to afford a decent apartment on my own. I didn’t love the work or care much to change my career. I only cared about getting through to the next weekend so I could get shitfaced and detach from the pain that consumed me. I needed an escape from the trail of abusive, failed relationships, from my dead brother, my dead father, from my self-loathing and utter desolation. I never learned how just exist without a little something to take the edge off. So, booze was my best friend for the last few years. It happened. I fell into that hole. I stayed there for a long time. I put myself in very, very dangerous situations. I felt awful most of the time – physically and emotionally. It became second nature to walk around in a perpetual hangover. I didn’t really give it a second thought because the high I could get from feeling buzzed was the only thing I focused on. The only thing I lived for.
I don’t do any of that shit anymore. Thank goodness. I can sit with the discomfort of the chaotic corners of my life without absolutely needing to not feel. I’ve been the woman who drank her pains away for long enough. A deep and thoughtful voice is waking up right now and I would be a fool to ignore it. It’s telling me that I can do anything, literally anything I put my strong mind to. It’s telling me that I’ve been worthy all along, I just had to start believing it (and hot damn, I am believing the shit out of it now!) I’m going to start the wheels of action turning very soon and I’m going to change my career. I’m going to focus on the dreams I’ve always had and I am going to work to make them come true. I’m determined to earn my Master’s degree and the thought of school again at 36 (or 37 or 38) has me feeling very nervous and overwhelmed but also fucking excited. I love school. I love learning. I love reading text and gaining new knowledge. I love the idea that one day I will have something that I have nursed from its’ infancy and it will be mine. It will belong to me because I chose it, not because I fell into it (as with nannying) and it seemed like enough to get me through. I’m not going to live like that anymore. I’m going to let my past go and I’m going to live my life. I’m going to fucking thrive.
And believe me when I say I know it will not be easy. I know there will be more challenges and more loss for me to navigate, but this time I won’t have to recoil and numb myself from the feelings of grief and uncertainty and loneliness because I’m not alone. I never was.
I’m mostly ok with how I used to behave, think, live. I sometimes wish I had started to wake up to being whole sooner. Speculating on the timing or regretting how long it took is pretty useless. I couldn’t see it or embrace it until I was ready. That’s the long and short of what’s held me in this holding pattern for so long. And the fucking great thing about being ready for me is, once I am in that mindset, the one that says ‘the time is now, just do it, take action’, there’s really no stopping me. I feel like a brand new woman. I feel stronger than ever. I feel fierce and poised to strike. I feel as though I have affixed my gaze onto my rich future with the sparkling eyes of a jungle cat, shining with intense knowing.
I am really going to do this. I am going to make my life into what I have always wanted. No more wondering how and why I went wrong. No more beating myself up for past transgressions and mistakes. No more giving up. Just forward momentum full of hope, belief and clarity.