This past week has been a lot. I am impressed that I have not had a drink. I wanted to and I came close. Without rehashing the story for the 100th time, my cousin became suddenly, critically ill. She is in a coma and was dying. All of this came out of nowhere. As of Thursday, final arrangements were basically being discussed and as of Friday, she has turned a corner. She is fighting her way out of this and making progress that no one thought was possible. She is such a tough person and I wouldn’t be surprised if this was partially driven by spite. Hahahah. I love her so much.
We are very close and the range of emotions and scenarios I (and my family) have bounced through have been expansive. The suddenness of it. The fact that she is 46 and has two boys who were devastated. This also dredged deep into the family. Cousins I don’t see regularly were all in the same room for hours – telling stories, re-connecting. I talked to one cousin who I haven’t seen in 25 years. I spoke to the wife of another cousin that I don’t think I’ve seen since I was a small child.
My cousin (M) is kind of the glue. She is in regular contact with all of the cousins. Our family, like all families I’m sure, has an almost fabled level of tragedy and drama. Addiction runs real strong in our blood (surprise?) and the fallout from it is pretty far-reaching. There’s a sort of “live fast, die young” phenomenon in our direct line, so seeing her on life support shook us to our bones.
Moments ago, I was just told she is getting another dialysis and blood transfusion and is showing signs of coming to. I feel very strongly that she is going to make it out. I think she will be fully back, too.
I am hoping so much that this results in all of us making a fucking effort to get together at least once a year and not at hospitals and funerals. This has been too close for comfort. We all have a lot to work through but I truly felt like we are stronger together.
I took a dance class over the weekend and loved it. I can’t wait until next Saturday to take it again. I was impressed with myself. I haven’t lost my ability to follow choreography relatively quickly. Afterwards, I met one of my best friends for lunch. She has also quit drinking and is doing great. We talked about lot of shared experiences with this – how bad it got, not remembering big events we attended, being embarrassing, the constant recovery mode. It was good to relate and it was a relief to know that we had just as much fun without the bottle(s) of wine.
To be honest, I have worried how my relationships will change. I think about it A LOT. I’ve already seen some friendships begin to fade and it’s a fucking bummer. I’ve retreated a lot this past month and a half because I have been doing some HARD WORK. I don’t know when I’ll resurface. I’m not ready right now.
I spent a lot of time doing all of the things. Going to all of the dinners and events. Checking in on all of the people. I had to be at all of the places. I couldn’t miss a THING. If I did, I’d become irrelevant. People would forget about me. I would fade away.
And that may be true in some cases. And that’s ok. The years of permeable boundaries and trying to be “supportive” of virtually everyone, left me depleted. I mean, the whole thing was unhealthy – my need to be liked and my need for meaningful relationships were often at odds. Being a good person will remain important but I don’t have to be everyone’s best friend. I should keep an eye out for those who return that care and focus on them. I am lucky to have a good handful of those folks.
This is as far as I am gonna because I’m on the beach of some dense and murky stuff that I am not interested in dealing with right now. My boundaries are re-forming. I have to take care of myself, my needs, and my health for the foreseeable future.
But yeah. I really loved that dance class.
What the fuck.
In trying to re-structure my time and make up for all of the cheesecake I’ve eaten over the past 43 days, I purchased two beginner packages to local exercise studios.
I took a “mindful yoga” class on Monday which was really lovely EXCEPT for the guy next to me. I was irritable to begin with. I knew this guy was trouble when I heard him humming loudly in the hallway. He was huffing and puffing and humming and set his mat up TOO CLOSE to mine. I moved over. I had death lasers in my eyes.
Throughout the class, this creature is SNIFFFFFLING on the “breathe ins” and HAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHING on the “breathe outs”. Like, picture telling a small child to breathe in and breathe out and having them over exaggerate while shooting snots in every direction. It was like that except it was a sweaty man in his thirties.
NOW… I am married to someone who is on the spectrum and has a tick disorder. I try to be gentle-hearted with people who don’t seem to be able to control atypical behaviors. HOWEVER, I feel strongly that this was just a guy who was used to taking up a lot of space and not taking any other humans into consideration. He had a wedding band. I want to call his wife.
So that happened.
Then last night I went to a barre class. I danced for about 10 years and did some musical theater where dancing was involved afterwards. (This experiment led me to realize I am NOT a musical theater person.) I’ve taken barre classes before and kind of arrogantly enjoyed them. I’ve heard people say they were really hard and I felt pretty smug about the fact that I didn’t think they were tough at all. WELL… the class I took last night put me in my place.
I had to stop. I was sweating like a waterfall. That teacher kicked my ass. And it was good. Initially, I was like “can I just leave”? But I pushed through and was really proud of myself. My body was FUCKING EXHAUSTED afterwards and I climbed into bed at 11pm. I slept like a baboon.
I don’t know how baboons sleep but that image just made me laugh.
So yeah, I’m trying not to be a sedentary chip-vacuum. Tonight, I can try Mindful Yoga again or maybe do an online thing at home. Or go to the regular gym. I have to do one of those things though.
I had my first gig without alcohol on Friday. Also, it was a Battle of the Bands which I swore UP and DOWN that I would NEVER do again but playing in front of new faces and ears is good for us and it’s what we need to be doing right now. The venue had my favorite seltzers which was good but I did feel a bit out of sorts.
I was anxious. Now, we were in a completely new place and playing under pressure so I’m sure I’d have been anxious anyway but doing this without my band-aid was a little rough. BUT I did it. I felt the things. I sequestered myself. I feel like I just walked around in circles for a while. But I got through it and didn’t drink any alcohol. Afterward, we were all freaking exhausted. One of the guys brought beer to bring back but only one was opened and everyone was asleep by 12:30. Rock star life, man.
Bunch of grandmas.
It was nice to not be hungover in another city. We enjoyed a brunch and MAN I wanted a Bloody Mary. I considered asking for a virgin one but that would probably be disgusting. So, I enjoyed my tea and a great egg sandwich. Both places we ate were really on point and I am a little snobby. Way to go, Baltimore. Thank you for being a friend.
I’ve found my rhythm and do not miss drinking at my house after work until I pass out. I do, however, miss the idea of going to my favorite restaurant for my husbands birthday and not having the best sangria I’ve ever tasted. I’m actually on the fence about this. Like, can I have it one day and then go back to this? Probably not a smart thing to do.
I’ve been in a weird head space. I’m becoming very sensitive to other people and the way they treat me. As a Libra, I want everyone to get along. I hate discord and arguments. I often shut down when people want to argue or disagree or even boss me around. I’m not proud of this. It enrages me, actually. But I am finding how I easily kowtow to people to avoid any tense discussion.
If I’m honest, I’ve dealt with this my whole life. It’s a long-discussed topic in my therapy sessions. I was raised during a time when girls were better seen than heard. Even in the 80s and 90s. Sure there were women rising to power and fighting the good fight, but for most of us, especially those who were still young, it was still sit down and shut up time. ANNNNNNYWAYYYYY…
Between that cultural nonsense and my own internalized everything, I have a major problem with confrontation. I go with the flow and many times that drowns my wants and opinions. I’ve been making a conscious effort to at least say something if I feel like I’m being steamrolled. It’s hard and awkward.
Music has been a touchy thing for me because I’ve always felt “less than” as I don’t read music and have never studied an instrument. I’m self-taught and I make music through my heart. Sometimes I’m not taken as seriously because of this. I see it and feel it. And sometimes I’m bulldozed because I don’t have the language to back up what I’m saying.
At my daytime job, I also sometimes feel pigeon holed doing “women’s work” and it makes me nuts but I think I’m more apt to voice my opinion there. Maybe I have more confidence there? I don’t know.
This is going to be part of my peregrination.
I have an old drinking friend from the time I was maybe 19. She makes delicious dinners and we sit at her table and drink and chain smoke and it is gloriously without filter or airs. I’ve been wondering what our friendship would look like if I stopped drinking.
I am happy to report that I went to her house for a wonderful dinner with another friend, brought a six pack of Sprite Zero, and had a fantastic time. I went home quite a bit earlier than usual (10pm seems to be when I turn into a pumpkin) but it was a lot of fun. She had no idea that I had quit drinking. I told her Friday.
I felt comfortable and relieved. I also was happy to be in my bed by 10:30.