Monthly Archives: June 2014

Looking Back…

A woman with 30 years of sobriety said in a meeting last night, “I can’t remember what I was like when I came in…” 

 

It got me thinking…What was I like this time last year?  So into the archives of my Word documents I went….Here’s one from almost exactly a year ago.  (I’ve replaced my dog’s name with “Rover” for anonymity’s sake…she’s very private.)   

June 28, 2013

 Slept in till 8.  Finally getting over this sickness.  Decided that Mom and I should paint my room.  (Something we have been talking about for 6 months.)  For some reason, today we sprang into action. We were really gettin ‘er done, when Rover started giving me that look.  We ran down to the park and I did sprints as she tried to herd me with all her mighty shepherd instinct.  Then she left a nice poop on the field and as always I cringed and pretended to have a plastic bag.   It started drizzling a little and we lay down (away from the poop) on the field as she gnawed on her leash and I wondered how long I had before my allergy to grass made me uncomfortable.  I was sitting in the same spot where, a few mornings before, I had found a turtle.  Being helpful, I had picked the thing up and carried it all the way across the filed back to the pond.  Here ya go, little buddy, (as I put it on the bank).  Avett scared the bejesus out of the reptile, and it practically flew into the murky water.  Suddenly I started panicking, was that a turtle?  what if it was a tortoise?  Can tortoises swim?!?  I considered going to the building where the town workers have their base but played out the silliness in my head.  “Hey I think I just drowned a tortoise but I’m hoping it was a turtle.”  Mom told me later that it was a turtle, but it was on land trying to lay eggs.  Sorry dude.   

 

So it isn’t poignant, but it sure made me laugh.  

Tagged ,

I Am Still Learning

 

Image

One night fifteen years ago, I stood brushing my teeth, getting ready for bed.  I was 14 years old, having a casual yet serious internal battle in my brain: how could I kill myself “accidentally”?

As my toothbrush swished and gyrated and I hawked some foam into the sink, a thought occurred to me: is it normal to think about suicide every night before sleep?

A friend in the program says he never would have made it out of High School alive had it not been for drugs and alcohol.  They anesthetized him. I never became suicidal, but it was always an overly appealing option.   My face, my body, my mind, was unbearable.   Pot and alcohol served as numbing agents, but above all, they fed the most valuable coping mechanism for survival: my façade.

In 9th grade I was alone with the shaky remains of who I had been in Middle School.  My undefined identity, or lack there of, was unsustainable…I needed to change.  The transformation didn’t take long.  Skipping one class with blatant disregard was the first high I got from attention seeking. I wanted to be the “bad” kid.

 

“Are you going to Psych?” Someone asked.

“Nope,” I said with self-proclaimed authority.

 

From then on, I strived and succeeded at being the class failure. The class stoner.  The class I-don’t-give-a-shit-girl.   Suddenly everything about my new persona was so easy; I knew where to buy weed, how to roll a blunt, who else wanted to cut class with me, who would pick me up in the morning to take bong rips, and for the first time in years I felt like I belonged.  Granted, every conversation was uncomfortable up until the point I got high..which is why it was a 24 hour a day job.

 

Sitting in the back of the class and reeking of ganja gave me a fucked up sense of confidence.  See?  I don’t care.

 

Ferocious honey badger

What I looked like 15 years ago

“Did you study for the test?”  Someone would ask.

“What test?”  I would say humorously, but seriously.

 

I barely graduated, I had no interest in college, and suicidal thoughts popped up on the reg.  However, thanks to my well-maintained image of comical failure, my “outsides” appeared just fine. Carefree, even! Weed! Yay!  Day drinking!  Yes!  Future? Fuck it!

 

Up until getting sober, those thoughts remained prevalent; for years I believed them to be my only true potential.  The hardest thing about working on myself right now is reversing the notion “as long as I’m doing nothing, I’m doing ‘me.’” 

Now I know: if I’m doing nothing, I’m being nobody.

The bad news is that I wasted a shit ton of time trying to mask emotions and bury whoever the hell I was scared of becoming (or not becoming.) The good news is, I’m getting an idea of who I am, and I’m liking the person I see in the mirror.   My identity crisis up until my sobriety date was just as real as it was that night standing in front of the sink fifteen years ago.   I didn’t pay attention at all in high school, but I think it was that Michelangelo guy who said:

 

“I am still learning.” (Age 87)

 

 

Me too, dude.

 

 

BAL143446

Angelo + Me = Us

Tagged , , ,

Power of Example to the nth Degree

Three weeks ago my brother was diagnosed with cancer. This is what he’s got to say about it: 

“Dear friends! For your consideration, I present to you some shitty news.

Bored with the high-octane lifestyle of the Rockies, I came home and got the cancer. And boy did I get it good! Stage IV, present and hiding in various lymphnodes and organs for years. All very doom and gloom, if you’re into that sort of thing. 

Fortunately, dear reader, this author has never had use for statistics or odds, for doom nor gloom nor nefarious stowaways. I’m also about as stubborn as a tree stump (I ain’t leaving till I see some flying cars), and aside from it being a real pain in my side, I feel great. My thoughts are remarkably lucid and I’m always inspired by a good challenge. 

This will indeed be a long and crappy road. However, I am surrounded by good friends and a strong family. I’m a sturdy dude and I’m not afraid. I can motor through this. And if it kills me, screw it. I love dark comedy.

DO please send me your knowledge. I’ve never embarked upon an adventure of this kind. I would like a crash course from those who know. I’m making a real go at raw/vegan (i’m starving) and learning about some interesting alternate treatments (gonna pass on the coffee enemas). 

DO NOT lambaste this page with sappy emotional quotes under pictures of sunsets and birds. I will perish to spite you.

Telluride, I am real sorry to not be coming back this summer. I’ll be on my feet soon enough and have every intention of seeing you again. Until then, please kill my fridge with fire.

Thanks to everyone who has already changed their lives to accommodate mine. I am already eternally grateful.”

Tagged , , ,

Catching Fireflies

catching fireflies

 

Every time I sit down to write I feel the pressure of time; it forcefully diverts me from reflection and makes demands for more pressing matters.  Life is a time sensitive subject, the pressure says.   No time to get quiet.  No time, so I press on…Yet the pages of my calendar seem to turn in a blink, and in rueful anger I look back, wondering why I haven’t done “more.”  I turned 27 last Wednesday.  Summertime has arrived and I’m slightly panicked that this is my second year in the same town, and my panic takes up the whole room.

 

At work I sit here at my desk that overlooks the water. I’m blessed to have this job, but in the midst of writing tax letters I pause to zone in on the band blaring from my speakers; The Revitalists.  An interview pops up and the lead singer talks about writing a song called “Catching Fireflies,” about his redemption from a life of “too much.”  The band members go on to describe the tangible energy that comes from a crowd and it makes me panicky again that I won’t get that sensation of wild-heart filling- energy bursts sitting at this desk.

 

Then again…just yesterday afternoon, the simplicity of a moment in the woods gave me chills to my core and goosebumps down my arms. It was a cloudy, rainy, grey day.  And it was beautiful.  I looked up just to close my eyes. I left feeling grateful.  Later yesterday evening I watched the Rangers with friends and laughed so hard my abs ached. We got ice cream, and it dripped down our hands carefreely. Despite turning 27, my laughter in sobriety is childish and pure.  Maybe that’s the energy-thing.  There’s a lesson in here somewhere, but I’ll end this post abruptly, for the sake of being an hourly worker…

Tagged , ,