Posted in Addiction, Goals, Life, People, random, Uncategorized, writing

Memory Lane in a BAD Neighborhood

Well, hello, strangers. I haven’t had a lot of time (or the inclination) to write much lately- life has been busy, and filled with a lot of stuff I don’t feel qualified to handle. Unfortunately, there IS no one else, so I don’t have a lot of choice. Work has been insanely busy and I’ve been trying to put in as much overtime as I can (as it turns out, that’s not a whole lot in my case), the little daughter has made it her mission in life to see how many times per day she can come perilously close to killing herself via a multitude of dangerous activities. The big daughter is also trying to get herself killed, only she, it is obvious, wants the old “suicide-by-mom” thing. She is the winner, this week, of the crazy making award. And also, my car is in the shop for a repair that is exorbitantly expensive for a thing that isn’t even freaking broken (timing belt). So I have been reliant on others to taxi me about since Tuesday. In other words, I’ve left my house ONCE.  So, because I’ve been sticking close to home and trying not to kill my children, I’ve had time to dive into the piles of crap I have squirreled away in boxes and bags in every nook and cranny of my home. I went through a small crate and large drawer that were crammed full of notebooks-everything I had written from 1993 forward.  I put my notebooks in chronological order, reading through each one, something I had never done before. What emerged, when taken altogether like that, was a really sad, really clear life story of a troubled, unhappy, desperate girl who has TERRIBLE taste in men. But there was some really great, hopeful stuff in there, too. That’s where I found what I’m posting today, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did when I stumbled across it the other day. It’s the story of how I felt when I finally got clean and got my life back. (written three years later around the time I relapsed…again…I must have been trying to remind myself of the truth). I am transcribing it word for word, so bear with the structure and the jumping of tenses-I never dreamed it would ever be seen by anyone but me.

10/2008

Today, it dawned on me that this mental beating I give myself every time I make this choice, it is exactly how I felt almost constantly for the 11 solid years I sacrificed to my addiction. Now, I say “almost constantly” because I do clearly recall having SOME fun, albeit bizarre, times in there. But I knew, I knew, I KNEW, as surely as I knew my own face, that I was doing myself a terrible disservice. The way that I kept on and kept on and kept on living that way, until finally it had been YEARS- I knew I was cheating myself, my mom, and my daughter. Just about every one who loved me, or who got sucked into the abyss that was my life, got the short end of the stick.

At some point, you realize you are using now JUST to stay two steps ahead of your own terrible reality sinking in. When you are already so weakened, so compromised, so ghostly, it is terrifying to entertain the thought of actually turning around & seeing the path of destruction you left in your wake. It’s just too, too much.

What I didn’t know then that I do know now, is that continuing to claw your way blindly and frantically ahead is not the answer. It is familiar, and how you do it, and strangely comfortable despite how it looks from the outside. When you are in the middle of  addiction, and it is YOUR horrible, bleak life, you are totally in your element. You know many other creatures just like you, in varying degrees, you have a language, a culture, a kind of code all your own, and you have lived in the shadows for so long that venturing outside of your tiny world causes you extreme discomfort. You no longer know how to interact properly with normal folks, you are too loud or too silent, too nervous, too shifty, too angry, too flippant, too self-involved to even notice how out of sync you are half the time. You get irrationally angry and immediately defensive when the slightest threat is even perceived. This is how you keep folks at bay, being short fused. People don’t press when they are afraid of what might set you off. You are moody and unhappy and you hate every single thing that there is, especially yourself. Except for your daughter. When you look at her, you hate yourself more than you even thought possible, but you love her in the deepest, most tender way. That love is like a weight on your back, only you can’t tell if it is making everything even harder, or if it is the sole thing keeping you planted on earth, or both. Maybe it’s both. But you look at that girl and your throat closes, and your eyes burn, and you can no longer escape the cloak of your despair.

Oh, I am so sorry, but I have to start work right now! There is more, and I will just make it a separate post later today. Meanwhile, I hope you enjoyed this so far…it truly is that way when you are strung out for so long. It’s a nightmare, and you can’t even figure out what is wrong with you while it is happening to you. In case you ever wondered why “those people” are the way they are and do what they do. It’ s very sad. But it CAN get better, and if you check me out later, you can read the rest.

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized

A Girls Life

There comes a moment in every woman’s life when the naked truth is revealed to us in such a way that everything in our lives, from that moment on, is completely altered. If you are like me, you grew up with fairy-tales; Cinderella, saved from a life of drudgery by a handsome prince (after some help from a chubby fairy godmother and some talking mice, thank you Disney)…Sleeping beauty, restored to life by the kiss of a handsome prince… Snow white and a handsome prince who saves the day…you see where I’m going with this, right? At some point, maybe at twelve, maybe at twenty three or thirty, a little voice inside you went ‘Oh, shit. There are like, negative three handsome princes around here. I guess I better get going.” And being that we are, after all, women, we generally do just that.

What I mean is, we all have a point we reach when we understand our enormous power as women, and the responsibility that comes with that. The first hint of how magical we really are generally happens about the time we grow breasts and men start acting sort of twitchy and getting sweaty around us (or, as was the case for me, when you finally get old and brave enough to buy yourself a padded push-up bra since no fairy godmother seems to be showing up to give you boobs of your own). Not coincidentally, this is usually about the time that men in cars begin to yell things out of windows at us as they go by. Girls travelling in groups (as we tend to do) act disgusted and annoyed by this, but in our teenage hearts, we are thrilled. With the realization of our sexuality, we are powerful little creatures, indeed. Unfortunately, this only goes so far. Even more unfortunately, we are awkward little things, for the most part, and have no idea how to wield this dangerous power-in my head I can’t help seeing a fourteen year old with a light saber, holding it in the crook of her arm while she chats on the phone, destroying everything around her, oblivious. All those fresh baby hormones are sorely wasted on the young, I tell you.

I was in my late twenties when I finally had enough self-esteem to revel in my hotness, and that is not a lie. Prior to that, I may have seemed full of confidence, but I wasn’t , I was just like every other girl who I’ve talked to about this- putting up a big old front to mask my insecurities. In all honesty, when I look back, it’s not the relationships with others that really damaged me at all. It’s the relationship I had with myself. If you are a boy and you are reading this, you need to understand that inside a womanly head, shit is going on that you, in your blessed simplicity, can not even begin to comprehend. Every girl I know, even ( and sometimes, especially) the most beautiful among us, has this little dialogue of self-loathing going on incessantly in her brain. This is the area of the brain that also stores every rotten thing that anyone ever said to you, from your mother to your third grade teacher to some asshole you dated at twenty three who had the nerve to mention your tiny stretch marks. This area is responsible, as well, for promptly erasing, dismissing and down playing every wonderful thing that anyone ever said to you. So when you really need a boost, all you can remember is the crap and you really need to have some awesome girlfriends to remind you how beautiful and wonderful and amazing you are. In case you don’t have one, though, let me assure you, you are beautiful, wonderful and amazing. I know it’s true, and so will you if you think about it for a minute.

Eventually, though, I had had enough with that evil me in my head, putting me down all the time. I think I was thirty when I finally told her to shut the hell up, or find somewhere else to live. She still pipes up every once in a while, but I have learned to say, OUT LOUD, “Shut up!” and that does the trick. It also works really well for keeping people from bothering you, just yelling “Shut up!” at no one, for seemingly no reason. You should try it sometime. Now see, when I was in my twenties, I cared too much about what people thought of me to ever do that. The beauty of one’s 30’s is the ushering in of the time of “I don’t give a fuck.”. Interestingly, this was about the same time that I realized, yeah, I can pretty much handle just about anything in my life by myself so I am going to stop sucking in my stomach now. A brief time of euphoria followed, then I got into a new relationship.

Four years, one baby and scads of growing up later, here I sit, watching my fourteen year old daughter prance around in shameful clothing while her light saber takes out everything in her path…she is one of the most beautiful girls I have ever seen, and I am not saying that because I am her mom. I see the way people look at her wherever we go. Then I look at her and see that she is nearly crippled with self-consciousness.Every day, there is some new thing she hates about herself. I would never be fourteen again, I don’t care what you paid me. Nor would I return to my twenties, I don’t care how cute my ass was. In my thirties, sure, some of the newness has worn off. I don’t expect a man to step in and save me- but I don’t need to be saved, either. I love my boyfriend, but if he left tomorrow, my life would go on. I’d be sad, but hey- at least I’d get that stupid bicycle out of the living room! I’m more comfortable in my skin than I ever have been before (maybe because there’s more of it!) and I have a confidence that has nothing to do with how I look. Every single thing I do for or to myself today is just icing on the cake- and I can do things with my light saber that would knock your socks off!