Posted in Addiction, alcoholism, fun, health, humor, inner peace, Life, Mental Health, recovery, spirit, twelve step

Laughter

laughter

 

I gave up laughter for years.

I mean the good kind, the kind that rolls out of you uncontrollably, the kind that makes you double up, the kind that makes you cross your legs so you don’t pee your pants. The best kind- the laughter that comes out so hard that it makes no sound, just your big open mouth, your shaking shoulders. I can’t even think about that kind of laughter without smiling.

I gave it up, and I didn’t even realize it. Which is weird, because I love to laugh so much! I didn’t stop making other people laugh- I have always been really good at that, and it is an excellent way to distract people from what is wrong. When you can make people laugh, it’s easy for them to assume that you are okay, that you are happy, right? Happy people make other people laugh. I don’t think that is true at all. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I adore making people laugh, but…it’s a show you put on. A friendlier way than my other go-to of crazy anger to keep people at arms length. To keep them from asking too many questions, or seeing me too clearly. Deflect, distract, confuse. Another tool in my arsenal.

I don’t remember doing too much laughing myself. At least, not the good kind. The sad fact is, when you are deep in addiction, you don’t have much to laugh about. It’s not fun. It’s a life in survival mode, just barely keeping your head above water.Then, if you are lucky, and if you work really hard at it, you get clean and shit gets REALLY real. If you are doing step work and working with a sponsor, things come up. Feelings you didn’t feel ten years ago clamor to be felt. You deal with anxiety, remorse, shame, regret, depression, elation, joy, love, relief, exhaustion and peace. But what you might find little room for in your life, while dealing with all this other stuff, is silliness. And silliness is a big ingredient in laughter.

For me, at least, it was a long, long time before I stopped being so tense. I had been so on my guard for so long, so careful in the way that I lived my life out of fear of being found out, that it was a long while before I trusted myself to keep going. Believe me when I say that I am not some paragon of ease- I can’t see that ever happening. I am a little tightly wound, as friends and family will attest. Lately, though, I have found myself able to breathe. To be in the moment, to let go, to have fun.

And I have been laughing so much. So much that it has caught my attention several times over the past few weeks. My little daughter, the one I am with the most, has noticed too. She’s the one I’ve been cracking up with the most, and it’s like some kind of medicine, I swear. We laughed our way through Target the other night, being silly as hell, and causing people to stare at us as we giggled and swerved our cart through the aisles. I am not lying when I say that several children looked at us with longing, wishing they were having as much fun as we were.

We’ve been laughing in the car, and laughing in our house, laughing in the morning when I wake her up, and laughing while we brush our teeth. We almost died laughing during a dance off we had in the living room the other night.

I’ve been laughing at work, and laughing in meetings. Last night, at my critique group, it felt great to laugh with my writer friends about writer stuff. And yesterday, when I was complaining about my sudden acne outbreak and my friend asked me why I thought I was breaking out, I pointed to my face and said “Hemorrhoids” when what I meant to say, in fact, was “Hormones”. I literally almost peed my pants. Come on, that’s freaking hilarious.

I missed laughing so much. If you are just starting out on this journey, I promise you, the day will come when your heart and spirit have healed enough to let your guard down. You will trust yourself again, and you will find, without even realizing that it’s happened, you are whole. You will find that you can breathe again, you will find it easy to smile, and I promise you, you will laugh.

The good kind of laugh.

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Settle Down, Yoga Clown

Hahaha, I couldn’t decide if I wanted to write about the yoga class I took today or the crazy little light-bulb-over-the- head realization I had about the phrase “settling down” today. Lucky you! I decided to throw ’em both in the mix.

First, let’s get this yoga thing out of the way…so, yeah, I took my first yoga class ever today. It was, and I do not exaggerate here, one of the best exercise classes I have ever taken in my life. Also, it is the first exercise class I have ever taken in my life, so that may have a little something to do with it.

The things I really, really liked about it were a) it incorporates spirituality in exercise, which is so up my alley. I am not the kind of girl who can sit around meditating (although one can always hope the day will come), but give me a bendy chick in funky clothes telling me to “hug the universe” and I am SO on board. I’m hugging away over here, man. b) This is a great class for a white chick with no rhythm. All you have to do is follow simple directions like: “cross your left ankle over your right foot.”  These are instructions I can handle! Also, the teacher doesn’t even really care WHAT you do, as long as it “feels good”. She gives you a few options, you do the one that works best for you.  The fact that I get to stay on the floor, seated, most of the time, also makes me feel a little less insecure. I know how hot Zumba is right now, but there is NO WAY I would be able to keep up. NO WAY. Plus, no offense to the die-hards out there, but it doesn’t usually look so great. But whatever, I’m just jealous ’cause I’m left out. 

The last thing I’m going to say about yoga is that it may be a little more deadly than it feels at the time, because my abs are pretty much killing me right now. I’ll keep you all posted, but I will definitely be doing that again. I left there feeling amazing and awesome. Yay!

Ok, so on to the other silly thing I wanted to talk about: Settling Down. This really could be a whole blog on it’s own, but I’m going to keep this short and sweet as I am feeling lazy and sleepy all of the sudden. 

I don’t know about you, but when I think of “settling down”, it’s right up there with the term “ball and chain”, that whole feeling of  oppression, depression, confinement…you know? But for some odd reason, today it occurred to me that it can be taken in a very literal way. It takes time, sometimes a really long time, for people to settle in with one another. My relationship is a perfect example of this- the first couple of years were complete insanity. Fighting and misbehaving, breaking up and making up…lots and lots of making up. Then, I don’t know when or how it happened, we just sort of settled into a routine, things fell into place, and we settled down. Like two kids who had worn themselves out. There are times when I miss all the craziness, I’m not going to lie. But it sure is nice to be with someone you know so well, who knows you the same way. And that’s all I’m going to write about that…for now.

Goodnight!