This has been a tough week for me. I don’t know how to explain myself without sounding like a total asshole, so let’s just say…you know how some people, when asked to do something that they really don’t want to do, sort of rise to the occasion, buckle down, and just do it? Well, that would not be me. I am the one who whines, bitches, pouts and expects the world to understand that I am different. Special. Exempt.
I am not proud of this, and most of the time I can conceal it in the outside world. At home, of course, my family and some of my friends (those lucky suckers) get to see the real me. The Courtney who yells and complains and…well, you catch my drift. I’m sure I can’t be alone in this, that there are other people, at least one or two, who behave differently behind closed doors. Right? Anyway, this is usually not so bad, it doesn’t last long before I am my cheerful old self again. Once in a while though, I can’t shake it.
This has been one of those times. Work is really challenging for me right now…I just deleted the whole paragraph I wrote here, it was so whiny. Here’s the deal. I am tired, I’ve been sick, and there are lots of other things I would rather be doing than working ten hours a day. These are my feelings. At work, we are short handed, on a deadline, and way behind. These are the facts. And here I sit, making a big old fuss over the fact that they need me a little bit extra right now.
What I need to remember is this ( and I am going to be very honest about some shit you may not know about me ) : There have been great lengths of time in my life where I was too much of a mess to do anything at all for anybody. The problems I have today are so beautiful compared to the problems I have struggled with in years past, I am actually smiling right now thinking about it. Not because it is funny, but because, (Thank God) I am finally remembering and feeling how blessed I really am.
You see, I was one of those girls you might meet and later think “Wow…that chick was a hot mess.” Or, if it was a good day, “What a nice girl…what a waste, eh?”. There was a time in my life when my addiction to drugs was so crippling, I could no longer participate in life like a normal person, and I existed in that alternate universe of a drug addict- a world that is going on all around all of us, right now, twenty four hours a day. I am not that girl today, but there was a time when I was afraid that was all I would ever be. I did not know how to change, and fear kept me frozen for many years.
I was talking to some girls recently about the blessing of keys- sounds weird, right? But for me, the keys on my key ring mean something. One of them goes to the front door of my house, one goes to my car, (the rest of them, I have no clue where they go anymore, and I don’t know why I still have them) I used to have one to my old office. When I was using still, I didn’t have keys to anything. At different times, I had no home of my own, no car of my own, no hope in the foreseeable future of getting those things. I had lost the privilege of access to my own mothers house, for Pete’s sake. Today, those keys are something I take for granted most of the time, but when I think about it, it’s pretty amazing.
This is not easy for me to write about- not because I am ashamed of it (although I am certainly not proud), I am not. It’s part of who I am, and there’s no point in shying away from that. But it does make me feel sad, a little bit, to think about those years I could have spent doing so many wonderful things. And it makes me feel uncomfortable as hell to see me, as I was then, through clear eyes. The important thing is, I DID change. One day, I was just too beaten up to go one step further on that path, and I gave in. In the circles I run in, we call that surrender…and it is good.
When I look back on the things that happened in my life after that, it’s sort of unreal. I was so thrilled to be living my life finally, I never once got hung up on how far behind everyone else I was. I never even thought that way. I was thirty when I finally opened my first bank account. My daughter was seven the first time she had her own bedroom. I was thirty three when I rented that apartment with it’s two bedrooms, and I was never more proud. It was actually a dumpy little place in a pretty bad area of Sparks, Nevada, but I was happy as hell. I had a full time job that I never missed and I went to school at night, full time, and I was exhausted. But I was clean, I was happy, and I was free. Nothing mattered more to me than that.
When I moved back here to the coast, it wasn’t without a bit of hesitation- I was leaving behind a life that was pretty good to return to a place where I’d caused a lot of turmoil and heartache. But I had this amazing job opportunity, and I was homesick, and I thought it could be better, this time. When I got the job I still have today, I walked through the parking lot every day for a year pinching myself. No way, this could not be my life, they were going to find out who I was and ask me to leave. But that never happened, and in the last four years, they have learned ALL about me, and they love me anyway.
Today, I have a house I love, right up the road from the beach. It has a claw foot tub in the bathroom, a nook off the kitchen with sky-lights where I sit now to write this. It has a cool little hidden courtyard in the back full of jasmine and ivy and flowers I can’t name. My two beautiful daughters each have their own room. The bills that arrive here are addressed to me, and most of the time, I pay them. What I am saying is, it seems pretty ridiculous to complain about where I am when you think about where I was, and where I could have wound up.
If no one else gets anything out of that, it sure helped me. I’ll talk to you guys later. I have to get to work. And I’m going to do it without complaining.