Monthly Archives: April 2015

40 Looming

40

I’m excited to turn 40.

Not something you hear a lot, I don’t think, at least not honestly…but I mean it. I mean, sure, it didn’t just happen. I was very upset a few weeks ago. Perhaps I will be again when the day comes (May the 8th, if you want to send me a card with money). But this morning? I had a vision of my future, and it looks so good.

For one thing, I am not really worried about what anyone else thinks about my life anymore. Do you know how fucking exciting that is? All of the energy I dumped into making my life appear the way I thought other people needed it to look- that is exhausting. I think, the day I decided to check myself back into treatment without a whole lot of conversation with anyone about what I was doing, or why, I kind of took my power back. I don’t need anyone to understand. I don’t really care what anyone thinks about the fact that I still struggle with addiction issues “at this age”. This is my story, my life, and it just is this way. I am handling it. If I need support, I know where to go for it, but I no longer need the approval of the masses to feel okay with where I am.

And as much as I can be okay with however anyone feels about anything I do, the best part is- it no longer has to affect the way I feel about who you are. Let me give you an example- there is someone I love a lot who absolutely disapproves of my inability to hold my shit together. They don’t always say it directly (although they do at times), but it is definitely out there, clear as a bell. In the past, this persons judgement and opinion of me would predetermine how I felt about them. But that is not true today. Today, I can love anyone completely separately from their opinion of me. This is incredibly liberating. I feel as though I have arrived somewhere I didn’t even know existed before.

Another thing? Forty does not feel old at all. Like, at twenty, forty seemed just hopeless, didn’t it? I thought it would be so different than it is! I feel pretty amazing, actually. My health is perfect (thank you, God), my wrinkles are minimal, my body, while a little, um…sturdier than it was at thirty, is still holding up just fine. At forty, you can be just as beautiful as ever, with not nearly the amount of effort you may imagine.

While we are talking about beauty, lets go a little deeper- Do you know what I think is beautiful? The way I have learned the value of family, and of my girl friends. I think it is beautiful that the idea of a fairy tale romance has faded, but the idea of being with a man that I can be great friends with, that I can laugh with, is front and center. It is beautiful, the things that have lost their power over me, and the things that have revealed themselves to be greatly important. I am so okay with this. It is beautiful to look at someone and see beyond the exterior- I am now at an age where I can look at someone older and see the person inside, and this changes a lot for me. Perhaps I was more shallow than I ever dreamed I was before, but whatever. I can’t change the past. I can, however, be excited about who I am becoming.

Someone who can laugh at herself. Someone who catches herself when she is behaving in a way that is not okay, and corrects it. A person who is interested in everything, most of all, what you have to say when you are talking to me. I am learning how to really listen. I am learning the true value of kindness, period. That the only thing that really matters, in the end, is love and compassion. Not my opinion about anything. Just love, just compassion.

When I look ahead, I see lots of nature. I want to spend more time outside, doing everything. I want to see new places, and I will. I see a woman who is embracing life, and all of her many, many blessings. Yeah…I think forty is going to be great.

Have a great day!

New Things

new things

So, this whole waking up at four in the morning thing- it isn’t really new. It’s new again, but not really new. I guess this is just how my internal clock wants to work. Perhaps it means I should move to the east coast? I don’t know. I’m not ready to do anything that drastic.

But here I sit, it’s six in the morning, and I have been up for two hours already. I am on my third cup of coffee. I will probably want to take a nap sometime today. Whatever. If I lived in a better neighborhood, I would walk my dogs, since the incredible ex is here ( I can hear him snoring away in my room- my room, by the way, being NOT where I slept last night, for you nosier types. No nookie for the ex. Not that I didn’t think about it, its just…not a very good idea, you know?) and I actually have a little freedom.

I am experiencing some new things, however. For instance, I had some people come over and bless my house yesterday. I still smell like a hippie. There was lots of sage, salt, and water involved. I had a pretty creepy dream about demons (which, by the way, I don’t even believe in. But had you had this dream, you would have reconsidered your entire belief system as well) and thought it might be a good idea to have this done. There was prayer involved, and I’m pretty sure some chakra fondling. I learned that I hate the smell of sage. I am, however, very appreciative of the effort, even if I felt a little like a weirdo fake while the thing was happening. I’m pretty sure my neighbors think I am a witch now. There will be many prayers for me in Baptist churches all over Seaside this morning, and probably at least a couple of Catholic ones.

Also, I am probably going to go on a date with a really nice guy this week. He reads my blog, and I hope he doesn’t get a big head over this. I am looking forward to spending some time with him, and getting to know him better. He seems to like food as much as I do, and he also seems to want to be outside, which are both major bonuses. Most exciting of all, though, is that he seems to know how to be a grown up without being a total stick in the mud, which I appreciate. He has been exceedingly patient about waiting for me to get okay with going out, and he has actually seen me in person a few times and STILL wants to go out with me…so that is encouraging, lol.

I hope what I am about to say next does not kill the whole damn thing, but then there is this other guy. I won’t be meeting him any time soon, because he lives in another country. I may never meet him at all. He is…hmm. I don’t know the right way to say it. He piques my interest on many levels, lets just say. He has a very different belief system than I do, but he has a sense of humor about it. He is smarter than hell. He is great to banter back and forth with. We discussed never meeting at all to avoid disappointment (he feels I will be, and I feel he will be. I don’t know why I needed to explain that, since, if it were the other way around, I highly doubt we would continue this…whatever it is) . It is just fun to revel in such an easy, non-threatening, connection. I mean, I am definitely not running into this dude at Rite Aid in my pajamas, you know?  You don’t need to suck in your stomach on messenger. He is helping me find my flirtation legs, whatever the fuck that means.

I am going to meetings again. Somewhat grudgingly, the first one, but I went to one yesterday alone. It was 6:45 in the morning, and it was AA, which I appreciate for their organizational abilities and peacefulness. I like that shit. NA can get a little rowdy and crazy sometimes, but it will always be where I most identify. Drug addicts are my people. So are alcoholics, whether they like it or not. I like the quiet feeling of an early morning meeting.

And I like the quiet feeling in me. I like that I am looking out at the people in the world again, appreciating what is happening all around me, instead of always focusing in, on myself, like I was. I realize the disease of addiction is selfish and self centered, but when you are in it, you forget how true that is. I am looking out again. I feel the light coming back to me. I am happy to be where I am, and who I am. This is a good thing, indeed. A very, very good thing.

I hope you have a beautiful day.

Flight of Fancy

daydream

I considered the shit out of this blogs title before I decided to go ahead- so much so, in fact, that it no longer makes a whole lot of sense to me. Flight of Fancy? Is that even right? I mean, what the hell does that even mean? Oh God, now I’m going to have to look it up. Hold on…

Okay, okay, apparently it has two meanings. One of them is basically “pipe dreams”, which, while ironic to MY particularly sarcastic mind, is not appropriate. The other, “a soaring of the imagination”, is on the money. See, one of the very best things about getting my life back (by which I mean, being sober, having my wits about me) is that I begin to dream again. When I am in my other state, there is no dreaming, other than the dream of being myself again. And that often seems quite far-fetched.

This morning, I am supposed to be doing other things. I promised a counselor that I would work on some other writing she wanted me to do, which just seems a million times less appealing because a) I’ve done it at least seven thousand times already, and b) it was assigned. I did, however, do some penance in the form of other horrible paperwork. I jumped through some hoops on a supplemental insurance website, and filled out the painstaking little bubbles on my disability paperwork. I experienced a brief and unkind rush of joy when I realized that the bulk of the bubbles needed to be filled in by a doctor. The rush was further flushed out when it occurred to me that I have an appointment with exactly the correct doctor at ten this morning. Neener-neener, doc.

But my head keeps wandering off to dream about the life that is still laying itself out before me. I don’t know what, really, will become of me. I do know that nothing is promised. I am trying, still, to make the very most of this day. But what is the harm in dreaming? I think it is valuable, really.

I am dreaming a lot, lately, of going to Hawaii with my oldest daughter. Now this is her dream, really, more than mine- but do you know how flattering it is to have a kid who wants her travelling partner to be you, her MOTHER? Yesterday, we had a little spat, where she basically said (while I was in the midst of doing something for her) that she hates my personality- at least, that is what I heard. After much filler (meaning I hollered about a lot of things that were more acceptable than telling her why I was really upset) I was able to see, and to tell her, that she had hurt my feelings. That I felt like she hated who I was, which sucked, because I didn’t know how, nor do I really want, to be someone else. The big miracle was that she actually heard me. She said “Mom, you are my best friend. You are the one I go to with everything. I wake up earlier in the morning just so I can have coffee with you, and talk. But that also means you get on my nerves sometimes.” Well. That is…that is a pretty hefty compliment, don’t you think? I am a very lucky woman. I guess maybe I am not quite the horrible parent I feel like sometimes.

So, I have been dreaming about going to Hawaii with her. Also, I have been dreaming about my future life. The way I would love to live on an island (not really a tropical one, although that is open for discussion) that people must Ferry out to see me on. Wouldn’t that be cool? I know that I am not a city type girl, although I would love to be familiar with at least one big city, so that I felt comfortable while wandering its streets. But when I think about my future life, it is always nature and a quite place, a slower pace, that I see for myself. My future holds lots of mornings, and, I hope, days, like this- full of writing, and peace, books, coffee, beautiful surroundings, peace in my heart.

I hope there are many long, meandering walks in my future. Lots of stargazing, lots of sunrise watching, many, many walks on familiar beaches. I hope there are good, kind, people there. Friends who know me and love me, friends who will tell me the truth when I need to hear it. I hope there is big, big love there, too, someone I can admire and adore and feel safe with, AND challenged. Definitely someone with a sharp mind, who can keep me on my toes. Someone who reads. That is a must.

The future in my mind is shaping up into a beautiful picture. This is not something I could have said a few weeks ago. I am so blessed, as I often say, and so, so grateful. But I do have to get that damn paperwork done. Have a beautiful day.

Back To Earth

back to earth

There are signs that I am improving; My internal clock is working again- I go to bed before most of the world, but I wake up before most of the world, too. I am crawling out of bed, pulling myself out of the tangle of sheets, blankets, children, dogs- before the sun has even thought about peeking its glowing face around my corner of the world. I am back to my routine of soaking in lavender scented baths every morning, thinking about nothing. Then, I like to wrap myself up in my robe and sit on my front porch with my coffee, listening and watching as the rest of the world wakes up. The lavender scented water that has gotten in my hair is freezing cold by now, and when it drips down the back of my neck, it feels really good- this robe does not breathe. I need a new one. Anyway, in between the sounds of early morning traffic, way down the hill, I can still hear the pounding of the surf, and the little birds that have made their home in my neighbors attic.

Another sign that I am improving? Yesterday, I bought a book. A real, paper and ink book, which I read this morning in the tub. I don’t read in my other state. And then, there is this, of course. That I am sitting here, writing this, is another sign. Yesterday, I went for a walk with my dogs, one of my children, and a good friend. I wasn’t trying to find anything, I didn’t bring home a pile of garbage and call it treasure. I just walked. Well, I did try to get a library card in a neighboring town…but they were on to me. Jeeze! You don’t return a few measly books thirteen years ago, and you are branded for life. I may never check out books on this peninsula again.

There are other signs (I just accidentally spelled signs “sighns”, how very ironic. Or is that ironic? well, whatever, how funny.) that I still have a ways to go…I don’t really feel like shaving my legs. I haven’t washed my face before bed in well over a week. I cry- like, a lot- about everything. Yesterday, I saw this harassed looking man, walking two dogs while shouting into his cell phone. Trailing behind him was the most sad faced little red headed boy, about four. I wanted to pull over and scream “Hang up your phone, and pay attention to your kid, asshole!” But I didn’t. I just cried the rest of my drive. I don’t enjoy this overly-tender state I am in. It makes wearing mascara treacherous. But this is what happens when I stuff all my feelings for…what, five months, this time? Yep.

So, the crying. The fact that, even after getting a no vote from friends on Facebook last night, I still went to pick up Camryn’s medicine from Rite Aid in my pajamas. I could have at least put on yoga pants. The worst part? They aren’t even cute pajamas- they are super old, faded, purple flannel with big coffee cups all over the legs. You can’t even pretend they are anything other than pajamas. I didn’t care. Well, until after I got there and realized they had screwed up the meds, and I would have to sit and wait for another fifteen minutes. Then I cared. Lesson learned, Universe.

I’m tired. I’m tired of feeling like this. I’m tired of feeling like that. I just want to be okay. But I know I am getting there. Or hope that’s where this road leads. I suppose we shall see.

I Have a Bad Gratitude

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I woke up pissed off this morning. My dog, who has probably a few fleas, but a major dollop of nervous doggish-ness, sat next to me on the floor and scratched, ALL NIGHT. ALL FREAKING NIGHT. I can’t seem to stop being all sweaty, and my sleep, with these two elements in full force, made my night suck balls.

Also, my oldest daughter decided she wanted to move home, so while I was gone, she switched our bedrooms…sort of. What I mean by this is, half the stuff that was in each room is now in my living room. The living room, by the way, being where I slept last night, because when we tried to put the TV in my “new” room, the cable doesn’t work in there. It took me forty five minutes on the phone with comcast to figure this out.

So, I woke up pissed off. My house is a mess, and my life is turned upside down, and I don’t like it.

Except, I realized I am looking at it all the wrong way.

1) I have a dog that LOVES me, and, in spite of her misery, sat next to me all night long to protect me.

2) I am sweaty because I am sweating shit out of my system, which means I am healing.

3) My daughter chose to come home. She loves me, and she worked her ass off all day long on her day off, to move back home with me.

4) I don’t need cable in my room anyway.

5) I made best friends with the cable lady, and she is sending me five free pay per view movies because she couldn’t resolve my problem on the phone.

6) I don’t have to go to work today anyway. I get to go talk about my mental health with a bunch of like minded people people in a similar situation.

7) my life is pretty darn good. I am done complaining.

So, see what I did there? I turned my bad attitude into gratitude. Not bad for one point five cups of coffee. I am off to shower and meditate. Have a fantastic day. 🙂

PS- I’m going to get Lucy her flea medicine today.

The Uglies

medusa

There is this thing that some of us- maybe all of us- have. I don’t know if we are born with it, or if it is something that happens with time, and disappointment- the thoughtless word from a parent, the cruel jibe of a classmate, a build up of these things over the course of years? I don’t know. I am not here to try to figure that out. I do know that some people seem to overcome their tendency towards unkindness over time, while others, it only worsens. I call it “the uglies”. My friends, I suffer with a pretty bad case.

For me, it is like a knotted ball of impatience, anger, frustration, and…well, just ugliness. It sits, this ball, in the center of my chest, and longs to come out, to choke the joy out of the people around me. This is a pretty deep revelation from me, even if, lets say, you know me, and its no surprise to you. I am in NO WAY proud of this, and I am not trying to be funny. What I am trying to do is sort it out, work through it, try to lessen it somewhat.

What I do know is that adding any substance to it makes it worse. If you can’t figure out what I mean, I suggest you go back and read some of my earlier posts, I am not getting into specifics here. When I say worse, I mean, it multiplies the uglies about tenfold. Which could be worse, if it didn’t also put so much distance between me and the people I love the most. The uglies, plus the substances, drive a wedge between me and everything I love about life- so much so that eventually, even a phone call is more than I can tolerate. It keeps me from my friends, and from my family (the ones who are lucky enough to be able to get away from me) and from anything good or fun in my life. I have never, not once, been able to avoid this happening, once I have allowed it to begin.

But I have figured out that I don’t have to let it get so bad. I don’t have to wait until my life is in shambles to wave the white flag. My life is not simple, it is not black and white, it is not that easy for me. I wish it was. Sometimes I like to pretend it is. But that really does no one, least of all me, any good.

I am sitting here, at 5:51 in the morning, sweating in my freezing cold house. I can’t get comfortable, and I can’t sleep anymore. I think I went to bed at six last night. The struggle, for me, is very real. I don’t want the uglies to rule my life anymore. Yes, this battle is ongoing, and yes, it is tiresome. But I have some fight left in me.

What I want to say is that I am sorry. To all the people I wanted so badly to be there for, and I couldn’t, I am sorry. I am SO sorry. For all the phone calls that I couldn’t answer, and the birthdays that I ruined, for all the family gatherings I missed, and all the times I seemed so selfish and uncaring, I am sorry. I love you all more than you could know- how could you know? I am so sorry. For all of you who have had to watch me self destruct over and over again, and all of you who are just tired of it…I really am sorry. I wish I was some other way. But I am not. This is who I am. I wish it wasn’t. For all of you who have been on the receiving end of my sharp tongue, my mean streak, all of you who have gotten a little too close to that ugliness, I am so sorry. For the ones who have seen the best of me, and are so saddened by the worst. To all of you I have hurt, I am sorrier than I can tell you.

I’m starting over again. I don’t know what’s going to happen, or how any of this will go. To be honest, my hopes are not all that hopeful. How could they be? But, as I said, I do have some fight in me, still. I hope it will increase as I grow stronger. I am waving the white flag this time well before it needed to be over. I have just had enough. I’ll keep you posted how it’s going.

Much love,

Courtney

On Despair

despair

Well, this certainly isn’t the topic that has been rattling around in my head for the past week or so. It is, however, a subject with which I have become rather unfortunately familiar. Still learning about, but definitely familiar.

When I was younger, I used to get so angry with people when they would say “Life is hard!” as a way of explaining the choices (mostly poor) that people make sometimes. “It isn’t hard!” I would argue, “Or, at least, it doesn’t have to be! It’s the stupid things you do, the choices you make, the people you surround yourself with, that make life hard. Goddammit, people just need to be smarter, and don’t allow things to get them down!” (For some reason, ironically, I recall saying something very similar to these very words, while sobbing on the phone to my mother. Hmm…) Anyway, I would proclaim this, and things such as this, with the absolute conviction that all twenty somethings, with very little actual life experience, possess. I mean, it FELT like I was right, totally.

Fast forward a bit, to my early thirties. By that time, I had definitely had some harrowing experiences in life, I was early in my recovery (Well, when have I NOT been early in recovery?) from drugs, and, as had usually been the case for me, life was going pretty darn well. I was clean, I had a great boyfriend, a bank account, a job, great friends. I still wore single digit jeans. Life was looking up in a major way. I remember that a woman I knew only casually- VERY casually- had relapsed, and couldn’t seem to get clean again, after having been in a twelve step program for many, many years. It had just gotten out that she had killed herself, and I believe that one of her young daughters had found her body, and I was very angry about this. I recall telling my then-boyfriend how selfish I thought this person was, to have ruined so many lives by ending her own- I said “You know, once you have kids, suicide is not really an option anymore. It’s off the table, man.” And again, I said this with the conviction of one who really believes their words to be the obvious truth, having never experienced true, gut wrenching, despair, even then.

I will never forget the words he said in response to my outrage. “Courtney- try to imagine how much pain she was in, to think that was the very best option.” Oh. Oh, wow. I don’t remember if I argued with him, or what I said after that, but I have never forgotten what he said. Imagine the amount of pain someone must be experiencing, to believe that death, uncertain and unknowable as it is, is a better option than this. Better than breathing this air, and kissing your babies, better than watching the sunrise, and laughing with friends, and reminiscing with your brother at Thanksgiving about your childhood. That must be some kind of pain, man.

Lets move forward through my life a little farther, now, to my mid-thirties. On the outside, I have everything a person could want. I have two beautiful daughters, a person to love, an amazing career, a home in one of the most beautiful places in the world. What the world sees of me is what I want them to- a bubbly, pretty, outgoing woman. I laugh a lot, and make other people laugh a lot. I am always (in the public eye, anyway) friendly and engaging. There is NO WAY you could have guessed, unless you knew me very well, the kind of agony I was in. My life was a nightmare, from where I sat. I could barely fumble through work without breaking down. I was totally strung out, again, and in fear of being found out every single day, and of losing it all. I was broke, and miserable, disgusted with myself. My relationship was in shambles, my bills were out of control, and nothing seemed bearable anymore. My older daughter was out of control, in trouble all the time, and my little daughter preferred her traitorous father (not hard to see why, looking back) over me. I cried so much every day that no one even noticed anymore. It got to the point where I rarely left my bedroom, let alone my house. I felt like my life was completely out of control (it was) and the worst part was that I knew the only one who could save me was me. This terrified me. Because I wasn’t sure I could do it, nor that I wanted to.

For the first time in my whole life, I looked around me, and I thought-“You know, it would probably be for the best if I just wasn’t here anymore. I am terrible for everyone I encounter. My family would be so much happier if they didn’t have to deal with me.” And I BELIEVED this to be true.

That is what despair is, my friend. True despair is the voice in your head telling you to give up, already. That you are so much trouble, and you are so damaged, that the people who love you desperately would be far better off without you around. It makes you believe that things will never be any better than they are right at this moment, and it makes you believe that all the happiness you remember was a lie. It shrouds the light so that it cannot get to you, and it shrouds the truth, that you are so loved, and so necessary, to the people in your life. So loved that almost any of them, from your lover to the neighbor across the street who’s last name you don’t know, would talk you down from the ledge you are standing on, if only they knew. But sometimes they just don’t know how close you are to the edge. I am so glad I made it down okay.

i found out last night that a friend of mine from high school didn’t make it down okay.This beautiful girl, who I will always remember as seventeen, with the biggest blue eyes-bigger than mine, even- and I thought she was so pretty, And she was. She was still very, very pretty. She was having a hard time of it, over the past few years- though I had no idea how hard, We chatted on Facebook occasionally, but it’s been a while. Yesterday, at the urging of a friend we have in common, I sent her a message- “Hey, you. I was thinking about you, wondering how you are. Hope all is well.” I noticed that her last post was Friday, and it said something about her intentions being good, and her heart pure. It was one of those posts we put up when we want to say something to someone without saying it to them directly. I don’t know who she meant it for. I do know, however, that she died that day. That for her, the pain was too great. My heart goes out to her, and to her children, and family, all the ones who loved her. Who would have gladly done anything to keep this from happening.

I have learned along the way that life IS hard, and it gets harder the older you get, because you grow tired of the struggle, tired of being hurt. Tired of carrying around the damn burden of who you are, and all the things you have done, the ways you have been. But I have also learned that it all comes back around, over and over and over, enough times for me to be sure- the light does get in, eventually. The joy returns, again and again, and the pain recedes. That is how it goes.

Don’t ever give up. Find one shred of hope, however small, and hang on to it, because it will get better. I promise you, it will. If the voice in your head is telling you that the world would be better off without you and all your misery, you tell someone, and you let them tell you that it is a lie. Because it is a lie. Please wait it out. Please.

That’s all I have for today. Rest in peace, my beautiful friend.