Category Archives: Uncategorized

Starting Today

women

 

It has been 87 million years since I have written a blog, mostly because I have been busy living my life, and Facebook has satisfied my need for attention and approval in a more immediate way. Ha! Also, ever since my brain has kind of healed from all the drugs I damaged it with, I find that I don’t feel as compelled to use my blog as therapy the way I once did. I have an actual therapist for that. But, this past few weeks, I’ve been itching to write a blog, and this morning, I almost had no choice.

Something has happened-you may or may not have noticed- but there is this guy from Celebrity Apprentice taking the place of Obama in the White House. I don’t know about you, but I find this very upsetting. Like, VERY upsetting. Not to mention scary as fuck. But I don’t want to go into all of the reasons it’s upsetting, scary, enraging, fucking backwards, and plain out wrong. If you live near a television, have the internet, can read, and have a whit of sense, you have already figured all that out. If you aren’t scared, upset, and enraged, then there’s no explaining it to you, anyway. Trust me, I have TRIED. And you are probably reading the WRONG fucking blog.

I have thinned out my friends on Facebook, deleting a bunch, unfollowing some that I couldn’t bear to delete. It took me a long time to do this. For a while, I thought I could convince people with facts, appeals to their common sense, or, failing that, their common decency. That didn’t work. So lets not go into how upsetting it is to realize that some people, people I thought were smart and good, kind of shattered that illusion by supporting Trump. Because, I’m sorry…if you support someone who has no respect for women,who is racist, who lies every time their mouth opens, who mocks the disabled, who believes sexual assault is okay, who…you know what? I’m going to stop the list there, and just say, if you support someone who embodies those terrible qualities, you are supporting those qualities. And that makes me think less of you. I can’t help it. But that’s not what I want to talk about, either.

As disgusted as I am over everything that is happening in our government right now, I have had some strange and hopeful thoughts about it, and I want to share them with you. They are sort of new to me, so hopefully, writing them out will help them make more sense to me, too. First of all, I’m kind of grateful for this past election season. It was awful. It made me madder and more disgusted than I have ever been in my life. It was a total shit show. But you know what? I paid attention, I REALLY paid attention, for the first time in my life. And because I was paying attention, I learned. I learned a lot of things, not the least of which was this: I learned what my values are. I learned what really matters to me. I learned that I am a feminist, that I believe in equality, TRULY, and that I am a bleeding heart fucking liberal, and proud of it. If Trump hadn’t run, and hadn’t been such a side show, I might not have ever learned about who I was. So something good kind of came of it, right? I mean, I have talked to a lot of people, and so many of them have learned so much about themselves and their values through this. We have discussed it with wonder on our faces- “Wow. I am REALLY a feminist! Thanks, Trump.” (We don’t say that last part. Give me a break.)

Anyway, my really weird thought is this: What if this is happening exactly the way it is supposed to? We just had eight easy, comfortable, happy, relatively peaceful years with the Obama’s. We could relax, for the most part. We took for granted that our rights were our rights, and no one was messing with anything. Then Trump won. I still don’t get it, but it happened. And everyone freaked out- especially here in California, where I live. I mean, we are pissed off! The world we thought we were living in got shaken to the core. And out of the deep rifts that resulted came a lot of ugly, nasty stuff. Racist, hateful shit popping up all over the country like festering boils. “Oh my God!” we thought, “Look what Trump has caused!” And it would be easy to blame him, because, lets face it, we just don’t like him. He’s a horrible person. But the truth? That stuff has been there, all along. He, much the way a hot compress on a boil brings all the shit to the surface, just brought it out into the light. And you know what happens when you expose the worst things to the light of day? You can deal with them head on.

I have never before been a political person, let alone any kind of an activist. I have learned a lot recently, but not as much as I need to know. I can tell a fake news story from the facts, usually, and I know where to look if I am having doubts. But there is much to learn. Today, I will be taking part in the Women’s March, here in my town, much like women are doing all over the world. And I am stoked to be doing it. But I also want to help in more meaningful ways. I want to protect my rights, and the rights of others, in a more direct way. And I don’t know exactly how to do that. However, I am willing to learn. And I have lots and lots and lots of friends who are just like me- they didn’t know, before, that these things mattered to them, but now they do, and they are pissed off, passionate, brilliant, and full of piss and vinegar. I almost feel sorry for the Trump administration. Almost.

There are a few things that Americans do so well in times of crisis. We come together, and we fight like motherfuckers. Today, I am going out to find my people, and get ready for whatever comes next. Look out, world.

 

Check- In Time

Hi. I have been a bad blogger, again. I really don’t have time to tell you about my sad backslide over the holidays, or how I made a spectacular mess of spending meaningful time with my friends and family over that two week stretch of chaos we call “Christmas”. I would tell you that I did the best I could, but I am not sure that would be 100% honesty. I limped through it.

Now, I am back to reality. I have to go take a shower to get all of the sand out of my hair that my daughter threw into it at the beach yesterday. I have to get ready to show up for a job that I think I may require pharmaceutical help to make it through, and this is of some concern to me. The bigger issue is- I don’t know what the hell else I want to do, other than write, and I am clearly not very consistent with that either. The only other thing I can think of is that I would love to be an herb specialist, and own an apothecary, but how realistic is that? I still use coffeemate in my coffee, for Pete’s sake, and I don’t even do yoga with much conviction. I am pretty sure that is a job requirement for such an endeavor.

Anyway, I have been waking up, for three days now, to full on anxiety attacks, and this is not like me. I am struggling, to say the least, and I do get tired of saying those words. I am on a waiting list to do a mental health retreat type thing, to maybe figure out, for real, what the hell it is that is going on with me. I don’t care if you know, I don’t feel like hiding anything. Life is too short to feel the way I keep finding myself feeling, and I don’t know what the answer is…but I am certainly not ready to stop looking.

I am hanging in there. I have faith that it will all work out- because it really always does. That is all for now, I need to get this sand out of my hair. Have the loveliest day you are capable of having. I know I will.

The Writer’s Dilemma…

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I have started working on a new story, so what is happening is what always happens- I am finding it harder to come up with the time and energy to devote to this blog. It’s funny, because they are such different things, and both of them give me something I want. Blogging has the immediate reward that I love- I have the ability to see who has read what I have written, who I have reached, who enjoys my writing. I get that immediate gratification that I love so much.

When I am writing a story, though, it is different. The story starts to materialize in my mind before I ever sit down to start sketching it out. It always starts like this- I am washing dishes, or walking my dog, or sitting on the toilet, and my mind goes “what if…say a girl was walking her dog early in the morning, like this, and they were by a cemetery…and the dog dragged her into the cemetery, and she lost the leash, and when she was trying to grab it, she fell…into an open grave…” Or maybe I start to see other parts of the story first, and then that first part comes to me. Eventually, it becomes almost painful not to start writing it out. I don’t get any immediate feedback on it, and most of the stories I have started, I haven’t even finished, for one reason or another. I lose interest, or something happens in my life that takes me away from writing, and when I come back, I just want to start something new.

I want to develop better habits, a solid writing routine, because- I have finally realized- this is everything to me. If I don’t get on the ball now, when will I? When I was very young, I already knew that writing was my calling in life, but I thought I had all the time in the world. I don’t know what I was waiting for. I don’t want to wait anymore. So, here I am, back to getting up at four every morning, so that I can have this time to write. I’m two chapters in on my new story, and I intend to finish this one. I also have decided to finish the editing of my first finished novel, and start sending it off again. I figure one of two things can happen- it will be rejected, or it won’t. I don’t need to get all nutty over it, I just need to do it. If no one wants it, then I will come up with something else. I don’t need to be afraid. I should be more afraid of doing nothing.

I plan on continuing blogging, and actually, I wrote a really good one earlier this week, but decided not  to publish it in the interest of not pissing off everybody in the world who disagrees with me…especially a few particular people whom the blog was aimed at. If they weren’t people I knew personally, I probably would have gone ahead with it, but I am trying to be responsible with my words these days, and not go around stabbing people with my literary sword. Although it sure is tempting sometimes.

I am very interested to hear about your writing routine- are you dedicated to it? Is there a time of day that works best for you? Do you have a hard time blogging when you are caught up in other literary pursuits?

I know this is a short one today, but I really just wanted to check in, let everyone know what is going on with me. I’ll be back before you know it!

The Start of Something Beautiful

peacekey

 

The week before last, I quietly celebrated five months clean. This isn’t one of the milestones celebrated in 12 step groups, or anything I necessarily was even that excited about- although, hopefully, it IS my last time celebrating this particular anniversary…But I am watching the time tick by, and I am feeling the changes here on a very deep level.
This is not like any other time for me, so far. The very landscape of my life is changing, and for once, it is me at the helm, directing this change, not just things that are happening to me. I am working hard to become something more, and someone different, than I have been.
This has been a very introspective time for me, as well. I have not been writing for my blog at all, or anything else much, either. I have not been doing a lot of social networking, or networking of any type at all. My phone has been relatively silent. My pace has slowed down. The initial need to go out and grab life by the elbow- to DO everything, to be a whirlwind…I suppose I satisfied that need, for now. I am relishing this quieter pace, and it goes hand in hand with the work I am doing on me.
I have stopped yelling as much, and started listening more. I have learned to see the signs that I am growing impatient, and then what to do to calm myself. The world, and most importantly, the people (and animals) in my home and directly involved in my life have responded to this like I can’t believe. I am so much better at being present for my kids, listening when they speak, and participating fully in my interactions with them. An unexpected side effect of this is that I am learning how to play with my little one again when and how SHE wants to- not just on my crazy, inappropriate (usually) whim.
There is a domino effect going on here- I made the initial decision to get clean, but what I was really saying to the Universe was “I am ready to be better”, and when I continued to stick to my guns, that was my commitment to myself. Since that day, things continue to improve, although there are days where I feel like my footing is not as firm, days when I am still afraid. For the most part though, it gets better and better.
I am getting rid of the clutter around me and the clutter within me. I am getting rid of the excess. There are less things I feel I need to give my time to, and I am concentrating on the things I value most- my home, my kids, myself. I pay attention to the way things make me feel, and I let that be the deciding factor in how much time I am willing to invest in it. If it makes me feel pinched, stressed, obsessive, weird or ashamed- it gets taken off the list. If it makes me feel accomplished, proud, happy, peaceful, calm or content- it goes to the top of the list. Of course, there are always going to be things I HAVE to do that might not feel good, but I am just doing them and leaving them alone, not wasting a bunch of time worrying about it.
I am meditating every day. I am praying every day, more than once. I am not even considering being in a romantic relationship that even approaches seriousness right now- I can’t imagine complicating my life that way at this time, and feel it would be a terrible disservice to me, and to anyone I was with. I want to be with my kids, I want to go to meetings, I want to do step work, I want to enjoy what I have right now.
What I have right now is peace, quiet, calm. I feel like this is the beginning of the whole rest of my life, a life that will be something far greater than I expected, and far different. I’m sorry if I am not describing it very well- I think I haven’t yet learned the language of this experience. It feels like the start of something beautiful.

Getting Settled

Hello, my WordPress friends…I am so sorry to have gone so long between posts. I have been pecking away at a new novel, reading until my eyeballs fall out, and wandering around, marveling at this razor sharp, undiluted view of life poking at me from all sides. You know, it is not all fun and games, sobriety. It certainly isn’t easy for those of my persuasion. There is no buffer, anymore, between myself and all this rude reality. And the rose colored glasses, they never stay on for very long. Something along the lines of thirty days, I would guess.

This is not to say that I have any urge or desire to use drugs, because I don’t. Thankfully, something finally clicked inside of me that made it so that I can actually remember what it would REALLY be like, if I got high. Not fun. But there is something weird that goes on…I don’t know how to describe it. It’s almost like depression, but not really. It’s like I am living my life with the volume turned WAY down, whereas, before, I had been blowing out my speakers. So really, my life is at a “normal” volume, but my ears are kinda messed up…does that make sense?

I know now, though, that it is my responsibility to go out and get lively when I am feeling less than excited about things. I know now that drugs are not, and never were, the answer. Only right now, I am struggling with the pace of my life. I haven’t figured out how to be exactly who I want to be, yet, and I am impatient. I am trying hard to be kind to myself, but I am super critical, and I have such high expectations of myself. I hold myself to a very high standard, because I know what I am capable of. I am a realist, as well, and I know the areas where I sort of lack strength, but I can’t seem to go any easier on myself when I don’t do well…or when I don’t try hard enough.

This is a new phase of my life, and I am getting settled. But I am also setting a precedent, and I know I need to be choosy. As much as it is an ongoing process, I am a creature of habit, married to my many routines, and I want to be careful what I accept as okay right now. I am cleaning house, literally and figuratively, purging myself of so many things I have carried around for far too long. It isn’t easy for me to part with things- even things I don’t love, and things that no longer serve me. I am sentimental, but there is also a lot of fear…and holding onto things out of fear has never served me yet. 

I had a yard sale this weekend, both days. Today, I went totally nuts, and started dragging stuff out of the house that I was actually using! Two small dressers, an end table I hated, a big, bulky TV stand. When no one bought them, I was a little relieved…but then I realized I STILL didn’t like those things, and I didn’t want them anymore. I left them outside, posted a curb alert on Craigslist, and went on with my life. My house doesn’t seem any emptier without them…in fact, I am starting to find more and more things I neither want nor need. Every time I get anxious about letting go, I gently remind myself that I am making room for something that I love.

And that is how my life is, I guess. I am a little lonely, lately, having lost touch with many friends because we aren’t living the same life, these days…but I am trying to get right INSIDE, and I have a lot of work to do. I am making room in my life, just like my home, for things that I LOVE. Not just whatever I pick up along the way, but things of quality, of my choosing.

This is the hard part, I know. But I am okay. And when all is said and done, I will look around, and within, and it will be beautiful. I hope there is something meaningful for you in that. Sometimes, I get more out of what I am writing than I think anyone else will, reading it. Have a beautiful night.

The Truth

prayer2I wanted to share with you a something I wrote weeks before I got clean, not because I think it is so great, but because it sums up perfectly the sense of desperation I experienced in my “before” life. I am so glad that I have written things like this, so that when I grow forgetful, as I tend to, there are reminders everywhere to help me see the light. I think it is remarkable that I am where I am, again, intact, thriving, happy. I am not proud of the things I admit to here, but they are the truth for me- or were. I can’t help but think my prayers were answered. I hope these words find the people who need them most, so that they know they are not alone, and that there is ALWAYS hope. Enjoy:

prayer (1)

 

Today, just a little bit ago, I was coding a chart for the cancer clinic (I am a medical coder, and I work from home 90% of the time) for this man less than ten years older than my mom. This poor guy- he has cancer everywhere. His throat, his bones, his lungs, his liver…it isn’t good. I don’t need to be a medical professional to know that. When I finished with his coding, I stopped, bowed my head, and said a little prayer for him. This is not at all out of the ordinary for me, honestly. Even when I am in the office, if something I see in a patients chart is particularly awful or scary or sad and overwhelming, I will do the work, then pray, and no one is any the wiser. I just feel like it’s what I want to do, they need it, and it certainly can’t hurt anyone, right?

Today, my prayer for this man was simple- Dear God, please take note of this man, he is very sick, and he is probably very scared, he may feel a little hopeless, I don’t know, I don’t know him. But if I were him, I may just feel like there is nothing good left for me, in my fear. Maybe he is not a nice man, and people don’t care about him. Maybe he is a great man, with great faith, and many people love him and have had their lives touched by him. Either way, lord, he is your child and you love him- please put your hand on him today and let something good come into his life, give him hope, or peace.” That is as close to exact as I can get you with my prayers, especially since, I don’t know about you ( how you pray, or even if you pray at all, let alone for random strangers) but my prayers aren’t spoken aloud, they are thought and felt as much as they are spoken telepathically, only inside of my head. So there is quite a bit going on along with the words. At the end of this prayer, though, rather than stop, my prayer pulled a fast one on me, changing direction. Here is the rest:

“Oh yeah, and while you are putting your hand on people, how about reaching out to me, God? I am not doing so well, over here. I realize I have every single thing I need to have a happy, good life, but I need help, God. I need you to pull me out of this sickness causing me to lay waste to every happiness in my control. It isn’t just me, God, I am affecting so many other people, ruining their happiness, changing their lives…my babies, my girls, God. I never want to hurt them, and I can’t stop. Time is going by so fast, and I feel like I am just stuck here. Please help me, God. Please, please do something. Get me out of this. Every single thing I am doing is wrong.”

As I was finishing this prayer, crying like a little scared girl, looking around for a paper towel to mop up my entire head with, the writing thoughts started up. I was annoyed for a second, because I can’t seem to have a meltdown of any caliber anymore without the thought of taking it down “for the book” popping into my head.

Then it hit me. Here I am, sobbing, asking God, PLEASE, for a hand, for help, for a way out…and the answer is always, Writing. Write it down. Put it on paper. Don’t let it slip away, don’t waste it, don’t think you are getting out of this without using it- what do you think you are here for, anyway? You have a problem, a really BIG problem, and you can write about it the way you can talk- so that anyone can relate to you. This is not an accident. If you don’t make this problem a light that you can shine into the lives and hearts of people just like you, or people who love people just like you and cannot understand…well, then what will have been the purpose of all these years? All this heartache? Don’t waste it.

That is, I think, what I am being told, here.

I really haven’t wanted to listen. I wanted to tell this story when I was well, rather than in the midst of the worst, sickest part. It would be an easier story to tell from there, and easier to hear. But maybe I can’t help anyone well, not yet. Maybe you need to see the whole picture, this feeble, frightened woman who still feels like a little girl most of the time, a girl who hates herself- loathes herself, pretty much, for what feels like weakness. Weakness, selfishness, greed, compulsion, darkness. All of those things are present. Callousness, cruelty, rage, impatience. Side effects. Mercurial, unpredictable, inconsistent, confusing- all accurate. Sad, broken, desperate, scared, helpless, despairing. Yes. Completely fucking out of ideas, frozen in place, terrified to ask for help? Oh yes, all of those, also. And in quiet terror, I watch the years fly by, and me, still here, missing all of the things that make up a life. Here, but not here. Present, but detached, missing all of the happiness and tenderness, forfeited to the tyranny of my mental illness or whatever it is, turning every thought into one about me- “ do you think anyone is noticing me acting weird? Am I acting weird?” “Why is she talking to ME like that, I’m fucking here, aren’t I? why are they singling me out?” “No matter what I do, it isn’t good enough.” “Oh my gosh, when can I get out of here, I need to figure out where I can do this at.” Every thought in my head, obsessing over myself. Rushing through birthday parties, ruining Thanksgiving, never letting anyone see me for long enough to talk too seriously, keeping my kids from ever relaxing or getting to know their aunts, uncles, cousins. But, you know, they have their whole lives…I mean, plenty of time, right? I’ll be better way before it even matters. Right?

But I haven’t been better. And now Aisley is sixteen. Do you know what that means? That means I waited her whole life, her entire childhood, hoping something would change, and I would get better. I stole every single chance for normal memories of her childhood, memories that even I have, in my screwed up childhood. Memories that I CHERISH. I love my daughter more than anything, but I could not refuse myself, even briefly, to give this to her. There is something so brutal and awful about that. No wonder I despise myself.

I am in a battle for my life every minute of every day. You may not know it by looking at me. I have mastered, or at least become skilled at, putting my best face forward for you. I will smile and look you in the eye, and try really hard to keep my word, show up on time, be fair and honest and decent, because that is who I want to be, and the way I want you to think of me.

I don’t want you to know that I have been a drug addict since I was nineteen years old. That I have seen and done and known about things that would horrify the average person, but don’t even surprise me anymore. I would die if you knew how unhealthy the way I live, the way I treat myself, is. I would be so embarrassed if you saw how I behaved, sometimes, towards my children, or my mother, who have done nothing but love me. I would be so ashamed if you knew how poorly I treat my job, that gives me every tool imaginable to live a prosperous life. I would be mortified if the people I work with, my friends and respected peers that have shown me such kindness, so much love and support, knew the truth. I don’t want anyone to know the real me. And it is making it so hard to ask for help, that I don’t know when all this will end. I live in constant fear of being found out, and what the repercussions of that would be. I am terrified of that, but finding the courage to get help seems almost less possible to me most of the time. The rest of the time, I am just continuing on, not improving or worsening, steady in my pursuit of…nothing. More of this. More misery and emptiness and shame.

 

I guess I need to tell this story. I don’t want you to know me this way, but you are going to have to, if I am ever going to get better. And I HAVE to get better, I HAVE to. I can’t bear thinking of what my regrets will look like if I have to look back at my whole life, and see nothing but me standing in a wasteland, refusing light years of love being handed out on a silver platter. What a fool. What a sad, terrible fool. Please, God, please let this help. Let this be the start of a tunnel out of here.

Thank you.

A New Phase

 

 

For some odd reason, I had it in my head that phases are something we go through early in life, then we grow up, and we become these solid, stable, unchanging, humans. It’s kind of unfortunate, and has caused me all kinds of unnecessary grief, that I am only now realizing the truth- that change truly is the one constant in our lives, and phases are a natural, healthy part of that. You see, I thought I was some kind of failure for my sense of unrest, my need to do something else, be different, want more. I guess I thought this was a symptom of unhappiness of something.

As I wrote in my last post, the realization dawned on me, recently, that, for me, not only is this desire natural, but it is a survival instinct. When I am still for too long, when I am bored, and not reaching for the next thing, I am in danger of self destruction. Now, I am not saying that a little stability is a bad thing, don’t get me wrong. I have had the same job for almost seven years now, have lived in this house for nearly three, and in this area most of my life- I do think it’s important to have long term friendships and ties to things. Especially if you have children, I suppose (although we moved like crazy and I liked the adventure, personally). But within that stability, if you have it or want it, it is totally normal to experience, and hopefully embrace, change. It is okay to go through new phases all your life. As long as you aren’t shaving your head and joining weird cults every six months, hey! Live your life.

I have been through a whole lot of change over the past few months. I think I was stuck in quite a dangerous rut for more years than I want to think about, and then, when I finally got the balls to open up the door to my prison cell and walk out, all sorts of things happened. I went into this manic-joyful phase that was wonderful to experience, and clearly a joy to behold ( per my friends), but it sure was a bummer to find it flickering out so soon…

The good news is, it didn’t completely disappear- which is to say, I didn’t wind up back down in the dregs of the rut I had been in, thank goodness. I found myself in a phase of just wanting to fill up my life with as much fun and good times, good friends, as much living, as I could. So I did this for a while, too. I ate out a lot, and did so many awesome things, and it was great. It was also totally exhausting.

So, after sleeping away two entire weekend days, I find myself here. This new phase looks to be very useful indeed. I think I will call it my “fine tuning” phase…you see, without me even realizing it, the last few phases I mentioned above were all extremely telling. They left me with some really important knowledge- what I know for sure I do not want, how I want to feel, and what makes me feel alive. I learned that I must have balance, above all things, to sustain happiness, and that too much of a good thing is definitely not such a good thing for me.

Going forward, I have a tentative plan- I will continue to meditate daily, and walk my dog, because these things unfailingly make my day better. I will try to be as faithful with prayer, because it fits, although I don’t always remember. I will continue to strive towards order and neatness in my home, no matter that it feels like I am fighting a losing battle- it makes me feel better when the dishes are done. I will continue to work on this blog, even if I just can’t spend a lot of time reading everyone else’s blog, and I never ever build a gigantic following. That’s not really why I do this, anyway (although it would be nice, I am not going to pretend otherwise). And I will work on my new book every morning, until it is done.

I will keep spending time with my friends, and planning things that sound like fun, and I will continue to nurture new friendships along the way. But I will always leave time for myself in there, plenty of it, and time for my children, because these are the most important hours of all for me- unscheduled, empty hours, we can fill with whatever we want. I will work on balance. I will lay the next stepping stone in the path…and eventually. I will get to that place I am seeing in my mind. I intend, however, to enjoy every inch of the journey.

Have a wonderful day.

More Normal Than Normal

 

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It’s been a while since I have written- you may or may not have noticed this. There is a good chance that I find myself more important than you do…it works this way, sometimes. I have set my timer for thirty minutes, and taken an oath to go clean my disaster of a bedroom- thoroughly, for once- as I suspect this may be the root of my current trouble. My current trouble, in case you are wondering, seems to be a total lack of interest in…being awake, pretty much.

I would say I may be teetering on the edge of depression, if it were more consistent. There’s a chance that I am just worn out, and tired of my slobbish ways, and frustrated with myself for showing little improvement in this one area of my life. It gets super old, never knowing where the hell anything is, losing your keys and your sunglasses, your shoes, and entire ensembles in the abyss of your bedroom. I am a little afraid of what this says about me, as a person, this inability to clean up my act…in this one way. But the thing is, get me out of here, this crappy little house, and I am fine. At least this cloud of dust and disarray doesn’t follow me out into the world.

I am trying to go easy on myself. In the past two months, I have laid to rest some serious shit that I have carried around with me for WAY too long. The burden of addiction (the drug one, anyway) is no longer mine to carry, for now. That broken relationship that kept me stuck for many years, I set that free, too. So why, then, can I not sustain that perfect, blissful happiness that was mine all these previous weeks?

I think the simple answer is this: that is just not a sustainable feeling, over the long term. I am a human being, and as such, I can grow used to ANY feeling- happiness, sickness, sadness, anger. I can carry any of those around with me, and eventually, not notice that I am carrying them at all anymore. It’s as unfortunate on the bad side as it is on the good- I mean, don’t you think? As miserable as I was as an active drug addict, much of my time was not spent in awareness of this misery. It just was. So, in the same way, nothing here has really changed- I have just adjusted to this new gift of beautiful, blessed freedom. It feels normal to me already.

This is why, as humans, we must continually set the bar a little higher, find new aims, new adventures, new hopes and new aspirations, when we get somewhere we have been trying to go. It is okay to revel in it for a while, but for me, at least, I need to continue striving for the next big thing. For me, as a person with addiction issues, I think it is especially important not to stagnate, not to rest on my laurels, not to stop searching for the next thing that takes my breath away.

Addicts are a funny bunch. It occurred to me, while driving home this afternoon, that maybe drug addiction is a lazy way of being different…think about it, before you immediately dismiss the whole idea. Most of the people I know who are in recovery, and same for the ones who are not in recovery in ANY sense of the word, do not suffer from lack of intelligence. They are a smart bunch of people with a rebellious streak a mile wide, nine times out of ten. Nonconformists. Different, weird, odd…on and on. 

Now, bear with me, because I haven’t thought about this long enough to really present my argument in the most persuasive light…but can you see where I am coming from? If you KNOW you are different, and you know it at an early enough age to have spent years, already, being bothered by it by the time alcohol, or drugs of any sort, come into the picture…but before you have a chance to grow up enough to know that maybe there is a better outlet for your wackiness…wouldn’t the drug culture seem like a perfect fit? Wouldn’t it seem like a relief to find your home among the weirdo’s?

Wow. I just found myself getting a little choked up while writing this, and I will tell you why. I have nearly normaled myself to death over the past few weeks, people. I had my mom here last weekend, and spent a lot of time with her, and a lot of time with my various friends, and I did a lot of “normal” stuff, and I am still recovering from all of it. The pointed truth is this- I am different. I have always been different. And it is hard on me to be anyone else, although I certainly do try. I had a dinner party at my house that just about did me in…because it is so incredibly stressful for me. It never goes the way I picture it in my head. The house is never clean enough, and I am never cheerful enough, and it always ends with me wishing I had gotten it right.

I am who I am, only now it is without the excuse of any substance. This is just me, trying to figure out how I can become more like the person I imagine myself to be in my head. Maybe the secret to that is that I can’t. Maybe I need to accept that there are actually some limitations to what I can accomplish, right now, from this spot. Perhaps next week the possibility will reveal itself to me. I don’t know. But, in case you are wondering, there is no part of me that would trade even this unpleasantness (that really isn’t all that unpleasant at all) for the oblivion I once sought daily. No way.

And with that, I must go. I have a room to clean.

Bad Dreams

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Occasionally, over the past few months, and every night, for the past few nights, I have been having terrible dreams. They are all slightly different versions of the same dream, actually…if you are a mother, I would be willing to bet you have had them yourself. In this dream, my youngest daughter has gone missing. She is gone without a trace. I am searching for her frantically, and no one seems to be nearly as concerned as they should be. I find myself unable to trust anyone because no one has any idea what has happened to her, so it could be anyone. Not last night, but the night before, the last part of the dream consisted of me sitting in a car with her father. I looked at him, in so much emotional pain that I could barely remain in my skin, and I asked him “do you think she is still alive?”. I woke up before he could answer me.

The weird thing about this dream is that, usually, we find her again. It is always three days that she is missing, and when she shows up, she can’t tell us anything about where she has been or who she has been with. Last night, when I tried to question her about who had taken her, she just fell apart crying, and I couldn’t bring myself to ask anything more. Also odd is that, despite my relief at having her back, those three days that I lose are maddening for me. I cannot bear not knowing what happened to my child. The dreams are very disturbing and awful. I have no idea why I am having them, or what I can do.

Camryn is a whirlwind of a child. She has more energy coursing through her than three average three year olds put together. Spending long periods of time with her can be…challenging, to say the least. She is never quiet. She is never still. She is ALWAYS getting into things she shouldn’t be,  “experimenting” with my favorite earrings, pouring milk in her kaleidoscope, decorating my books with her drawings. When I scold her, she asks me “Do you still love me, mommy?” and I tell her that there is NOTHING she could do that would ever make me stop loving her. There is nothing.

Her mind is as busy as her body. She has hundreds of questions, every hour of every day, ranging from “Do rhino’s get lonely?”  to “why do people speak Spanish?” to “Why does that lady have a little girl, too?”. I don’t always have answers for her. But sometimes, I don’t WANT to answer her. To be honest with you, sometimes, I just want her to stop bugging me. I have a lot going on in my head, too, and it’s hard when you can’t sort anything out because your kid NEVER STOPS TALKING. EVER.

I am impatient. I am snippy and short and sometimes meaner than I ought to be, especially when I have too much to deal with at once, or I have been too long between stretches of quiet. I forget to play, sometimes, and I definitely forget that, when it comes down to it, I am dealing with a beautiful, perfect, happy, wonder of a child. A child who says “This water feels WONDERFUL.” When she is in the bath, and asks me “Wanna snugga bugga?” (cuddle) when she crawls in bed with me. The same kid who painted all my spare change with nail polish is also the kid who won’t let me say a harsh word against her sister, thinks her dad and I are “so beautiful” and asks for a hug when she gets in trouble. 

Maybe these dreams are supposed to remind me to be infinitely grateful for my perfect, healthy, gorgeous children. Because I tell you what- when I wake up, night after night having these dreams, the first thing I do is reach for that little girl. I hug her and kiss her little arms, and I am still terrified, but I am so relieved. And every day, I try to remember to be better. I don’t always succeed, that’s for sure. But I do try. Today I am going to try even harder. Because I love that girl. Both of my girls. And also, I need to get some damn sleep.

The Dreaded “Good Morning” Text

 

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I would like to dedicate this post to my good friend from High School, who first brought this to my attention…you know who you are.

I have been single for a few months now, having just recently stopped licking the wounds from a very long, very turbulent, very damaging relationship- as many of you already know. Very early into my “singledom”, I was so terrified of backsliding (as I have countless times in the past) and running back to my ex, I decided it would be a good idea if I went out with someone new. You know, sort of as an insurance policy of sorts…yes, I see now that this is a bad idea on MANY levels. I have come to understand that I am in NO WAY ready to navigate the treacherous waters of dating, nor do I even want to. But for a minute there, I thought it was a good idea.

I had chatted with this dude on Facebook for quite some time before the actual, final demise of my relationship- going way back into December, I think. My ex and I were very off and on then, and I kept making tentative future plans to meet this guy for coffee, which kept never happening. As is often the case with Facebook, this guy knew a lot of people I knew, so I thought maybe I knew him, too, but even if I didn’t, he was clearly not an ax-murderer, right? RIGHT? Well, probably not, anyway. So, in March, when he asked me to have coffee with him again, I thought, why not?

Here’s the deal…it may have gone fine, if it weren’t for his total over zealousness. The minute I said yes, the barrage of Facebook messages and phone texts ratcheted up to intolerable levels. I got useless, boring conversations that distracted me from whatever I was doing. I got countless, irritating, winking emoticons. I got daily doses of the the dreaded “good morning” texts.

What is the problem?! You may be wondering. Clearly, this dude was interested in you, he just wanted to let you know. Isn’t that what girls want? Sigh…well, yes. And No. See, had we already met for coffee, and found that, indeed, there was a spark there, and we both felt it, those things may very well have been welcome.  But this guy didn’t even know me. At all. And something about those leering, winky emoticons made my skin crawl. I found a suggestiveness in those innocent yellow faced orbs that I never noticed before- I mean, what the hell was he getting at, anyway? Why all the winking?

Then came the morning, six thirty, tops, when I heard my phone buzz across the room, and noticed that my entire body tensed. “Gee, wonder who that could be?” I asked myself sarcastically. I grabbed my phone, and sure enough…”Good morning! wink, wink”. FUCK. I sent him a message back describing that I was in no way ready for any of this, that quite frankly, I was a little put off by all the attention, and I just didn’t know if meeting was a good idea. On the following Monday, he asked again, and I said NO. I told him “I am sure you are a really nice guy, but you seem to have a lot on your plate (he is going through a pretty nasty divorce, which he told me ALL about during our one phone conversation), and I am really not interested in complicating my life. I promised myself a long time ago that I would honor my instincts, and I am getting a big old NO in this case. I’m sorry.”

He said “I thought we could meet as friends and see where it goes.”

I said “I think I am being pretty clear that it can’t go ANYWHERE because I am not interested.”

He said “Okay. I’ll call you”

Sigh. Well, I don’t know if he’s called me or not, because the texts kept coming, so I just blocked him. Then I got rid of him on Facebook. Now, I keep getting hang-ups from a “no caller id” number. LOOKS LIKE I MADE THE RIGHT DECISION.

The moral here? Boys, dating a grown woman on the fast track to forty, especially one with kids, is not like dating a childless woman or a woman in her twenties or early thirties, even. We are infinitely more careful. We have usually learned hard lessons in love. To say we are cautious is optimistic of you- I’m more skittish than a mouse in a box with a boa constrictor. Of course, I am not dating, after all. But when I am…please don’t send me the dreaded “good morning” text. Not until you are pretty sure I am into you. 

Thanks.

And for my nominee for the Liebster award today, I have Three Months to Forty, a blog I just discovered about dating…at my age.