Bitter {Just Write}

Today I feel life pressing down on me, smothering me in practical concerns and unreasonable worry. I am gifted at mixing the two – the practical and the unreasonable – into a toxic soup that poisons my heart and send twinges through my body, leaving me both overwhelmed and frustrating. This cycle is quickly followed by self-shaming, where I tell myself to get over it, that feelings aren’t always facts, and that my perceptions of reality aren’t always accurate, and that I need to step back and reevaluate whenever I find myself in this place yet again.

Thank GOD I’ve been immersing myself in recovery. Without it I’d be lost. But even with the bolstering that recovery gives me I find myself saying things out loud that would be better left inside my brain so no one, including me, can see how mean spirited I can be sometimes.

The other day I stood in line behind a young woman, tall and strong and slender, and the epitome of the American beauty standard. I stood there, feeling bitter and old and fat. As I walked away from her I said to Charlie, “I didn’t get to look like her, not even for a moment, not even in my youth. So unfair.” Charlie looked surprised, because of course he knew me when I was young – we met when I was only 19 – and he still, today, finds me beautiful. Hearing that kind of bitterness from me is unusual, and I felt badly even as I said it, because I know that gorgeous young woman is just as plagued with self-doubt as any other woman.

And then I hate myself for being so bitter, deepening the cycle of loathing. And then I beat myself up for that too. Sometimes my brain is a cesspool of idiocy. It’s time for another meeting; I’ve got to keep peeling this onion.

…..

I’m going go meta for a second, talking about blogging. I’m gearing up to go to my seventh BlogHer conference next week, and I’m really excited about it. I’m not speaking, I’m not sponsored by anyone (going on my own time), and while I am participating with the BlogHer buddy/mentor project, I’m free to just attend because I love writing and reading blogs. And thanks to making the decision this week to no longer write for Babble at all, this year I am attending as a hobbyist, not a professional blogger – like I did in 2008, my first conference.

Interesting stuff has happened in the blogging world, and it’s going to morph and change once again. The money aspect is moving away and the search engines are prioritizing long form content again and these are good things. While we’re not going to see the end of the Buzzfeed-ication of the internet, I do believe that the good solid writing that exists in the blogging world will once again float to the top. That stories will be told, artfully, and we will once again be entranced by the writings of our fellow bloggers. I believe this with my whole heart. Now, I’m not saying I’ll be one of those artful storytellers, but I do know that I will be here sharing my words and standing by them. And this makes me happy.

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Once again, I’m participating in Heather’s Just Write project, so this all streamed out of my brain with little to no editing. Happy Tuesday to you!

 

In For Repairs

You know how sometimes if you don’t ever tune up or fix the little broken things on your car, and it rattles and bangs and in general doesn’t work right? But instead of fixing it, you just adapt. So when the windshield wiper doesn’t work right, you learn to lean to the right in the rain so you can see out of the one clear spot, and you stick your arm out the window when you turn because the left turn signal doesn’t work, and you learn to accept the way the steering wheel vibrates on the highway.

I feel like I was doing that with my life. I’d let all these minor issues build up until I’m limping and hunched over. But I’ve become so accustomed to it standing up straight and walking tall feels awkward and uncomfortable.

As I continue to dive back into recovery and working on myself again, I can feel those minor issues beginning to be repaired. I might still be getting a bit of a backache at the end of the day from standing straight, but I’m doing it anyway, knowing that eventually being upright will be my new normal.

I’ve begun working with someone on my issues, and I’m really looking forward to facing down some of the big stuff I’ve been avoiding. Well, by “looking forward” I really mean “slightly terrified but still hopeful” and I feel as if I’ve rebuilt my sober foundation enough to begin that work. It’s going to be hard, though. I’m looking at some real deeply rooted shit, and it’s going to take time.

But I’m glad I’m doing it, and I feel grateful that I’ve come back to myself enough to make changes.

………

I’m going to continue to keep comments on this blog closed, and not for the initial reason I closed them. Yes, it’s been incredibly freeing to not have to read and delete comment after comment trashing me, my life, and my family – there’s no doubt about that. I feel like I can take a deep breath again.

But there is also a certain freedom in not having ANY comments, good or bad.

One of the biggest criticisms I’ve heard over the last, oh, six years or so, is that I’ve stopped being the writer and blogger I was at the beginning. While this is obviously true –  no one is static, and I’ve changed over the years – there is no doubt that at some point I began writing less for myself and my readers, but for a larger audience of other bloggers, corporate sponsors, and potential publishers. This has led to some editing of my writing that made it different. Don’t get me wrong – I’m proud of much of the writing I’ve done over the last decade of this blog. I really am.

However, since I’ve decided that this blog is no longer a path to either revenue or fame (nor, in fact, is blogging at all), I feel a passion again for writing here that I’ve missed. By removing the comments, I find myself thinking less about the audience while I’m writing, and more about the truth as I feel comfortable sharing it. Because I can write free of both cruel comments AND pats on the back, it flows more like water, like it used to when I first started writing here.

I do miss people sharing their own experiences with me, though. Thankfully, a few of you have emailed me directly to share stuff and that makes me happy. But I believe, in all honestly, that writing without positive feedback will help me be more humble and honest. I’m not longer “just a blogger, standing in front of readers, asking you to love me.” I am not editing what I write to control your perceptions of me (because clearly, THAT was totally working). This is better.

So, for now, comments are staying closed. Thanks for reading anyway.

Futility {Just Write}

I’m listening to Handel’s opera arias, but the soaring notes are competing with my neighbor’s lawn mower. She works nights as a nurse, and once a week she comes home and mows the lawn after her shift. If I had a lawnmower, I’d mow her lawn too. No one should have to work overnight and then mow a lawn. But in our nine years in the suburbs we’ve never purchased a mower, choosing to just hire neighborhood kids to mow our lawn, a hint of city stubbornness that shows we probably should have stayed in the city. When we move back into town, I will not miss the constant buzz of lawn care.

This morning I started the day with slow stretching, then I went into my office and danced. Long, long ago I used to dance every morning to classical music; a sort of meditation/exercise thing that calmed me and made me feel good each day. Today, though, I felt horribly self-conscious, sure Tori would come running upstairs to see what I was doing, and she’s see my fat, lumbering body trying to find grace. So I stopped after only a few minutes, even though no one was watching. Even the dog was asleep on the office chair, uncaring that I was twirling in front of her.

Work looms as I write this. I’ve had a huge work load taken off my plate – I’ll only be writing for Babble a handful of times a month now, instead of every day – and I feel a pressing need to fill that time with something else. It’s silly, though, because for the last two months Babble has been down more often than not, so I wasn’t posting there anyway, and I’ve allowed my client work to increase and fill that gap. So I don’t really have any extra time after all. Yet I still feel a hollow space that I should be filling.

That’s the overwhelming theme of my life: I feel a hollow space that needs filling. I’ve tossed everything into that space to fill it; first food, then booze, then men, then drugs, then food again. Always with the goddamned food. Just thinking about it I feel hungry. Seriously, right this second, I feel hungry, even though it’s been less than an hour since my healthy breakfast of greek yogurt with paleo granola, blueberries, and chia seeds. In a personal dichotomy, I feel both virtuous and ravenous at the same time.

Sometimes I think I am so fucked up, but I’m reminded over and over again that I’m really just shockingly normal and not at all original or unusual. I am no more fucked up than anyone else, even if my twisted alcoholic pride would love to believe that I am just the WORST.

Goodness, my brain is going in circles today.

At a recovery meeting this morning I was reminded of the futility of trying to control other’s actions and that it’s my number one job to allow people to be who they are at any given moment because when I try to control people I merely exhaust myself and make myself sicker. I found myself thinking about that and wondering if it applies to the Supreme Court, because I cannot believe the decisions they’ve handed down in the last week. I cannot believe that for some fucking reason corporations get to be autonomous people that can make decisions but women fucking don’t. I am so goddamned tired of fighting for the rights of my body and my daughter’s body, and I am constantly shocked by the people that say things like, “Why is it such a big deal? Each company should be allowed to choose what they do!” It makes me believe the worst of people, and I don’t want to believe that. I want to believe people are inherently good, damn it.

God, I’m so fucking tired.

It’s only Tuesday. I have to believe this week will improve. But right now I kind of want to go back to bed and cry.

 

I sporadically enjoy participating in Just Write, an exercise in free writing, created by the lovely Heather.