June 12, 2020

I’m all over the place. I’m mostly good. The whole family is dealing with short fuses which I think is understandable considering we’ve been trapped together nonstop for 3 months. I am NOT complaining. But dude… I can’t deal with ANYONE that long and often. My factory settings are loner-y and dreamer-y and I spend a lot of time in my head. My patience levels are finite and that’s how I recharge.

A little caveat on that matter, my besties and I do an annual ladies trip which we are SADLY missing this year. But one really freaking awesome thing about my friends is that there is NO pressure on these trips to do all of the things. You want to stay in and read while some folks are going to hear a band? You got it. You are not feeling this bar-hop and you want to go back to the AirBnB and watch the Golden Girls? Love it. We’ll catch you later. Do you want to wake up at 6am and find a yoga class? Cool. Do you want to sleep until noon and start the day with a mimosa? We support you. Man, I love my friends.

As someone who has existed in her head almost exclusively for the past 15-20 years, I’ve also been focusing on getting back in my body. I’ve dissociated from it for so any reasons and became totally comfortable with ignoring it all-together. This period has brought me back to yoga and meditation and connecting the two. It’s working.

I have officially withdrawn from the MBA program and I’ve been taking some online classes that really align with the life I’m trying to create. I’ve completed 2 levels of Reiki and will move on to the Master certification soon. I am taking an Introductory Herbal course and am building my very first successful garden. I’m reading Eastern Body Western Mind which is the MOST divinely delicious thing I’ve read in ages. And I have a call this afternoon with another college about transferring my MA Counseling classes toward Spiritual Psychology. I’m vibrating and all of this is right.

It’s the Great Awakening.

Some point in quarantine.

Today has been hard. A lot of things that have been bubbling under the surface came up. Now that I am allowing myself to feel things instead of stuffing them down, it looks like I’m forced to deal with issues rather than quietly moving around in resentment. Go figure.

Typically, when a disagreement arises I wind up walking away and holding my breath. That’s not part of this evolution though. So I said some shit. I got upset. I haven’t reacted like that… in tears rather than anger… in years.

There is a lot that I stuff down rather than confronting because the devil you know has always seemed better than the unknown.

I don’t know if there is any resolution here but I am unable to put up and shut up anymore.

Just for today, I will not get angry.

Holocene epoch, Quaternary period, Cenozoic era.

When you start tuning in and feeding your energy where it feels right, paying no mind to the “shoulds” or the “expectations”, magical things begin to happen. When I quit drinking, I felt certain that my rusty old receptors were rattling back to top form. I feel confident that all of these things are happening.

I have been meditating regularly and paying close attention to what I am receiving and lo and behold, answers are coming through. Not just answers though, heavy handed bonks on the head and signs wrapped in Christmas lights. I am getting the same messages reinforced through so many channels that it is almost frightening, kind of comical, and entirely an enormous relief.

What the fuck am I talking about? Well, I’ve been searching for myself fro 42 years. I am a wolf born of lambs and expected to act as such. I’ve felt out of place my whole life. I’ve felt uncomfortable my whole life. Too much, too little, pretending to be interested in things I was not, hiding things I am interested in for fear of being judged or shunned. I drank to get rid of that feeling. Now I am ready to face it and get to the root of it.

Since being accepted into the MBA program, I’ve felt a big disconnect inside. I don’t want to learn more about business. I fucking hate business. It’s choreography. I’d rather just dance.

I’ve talked about my nervous breakdowns every several years because my soul comes out and CRIES that it is not happy and not fulfilled and not being USED to it’s greatest potential. My soul wants to heal people. I know that. I don’t need to be an executive. That’s not my dream. That belongs to someone else. I”m giving it back.

I’ve had intense migraines for 2 months now. Debilitating and scary ones that had me wearing sunglasses indoors and sleeping through days because the pain was too much. Now, I will keep you updated on this, but in the past few days since I’ve made the decision to not enroll in the MBA program and to enroll in another course that is more aligned with my spiritual path, I have not had one. Will that continue? I’m not sure but I have a good feeling that they will subside now.

I realize this is all very vague but I’m still processing a lot of it. This time in my life is big. What I am going through right now is so important and energizing. In a meditation the other day, I kept getting the message, “you have always known.” And my whole body relaxed and filled up with light.

This is gonna be so fucking good.

Day something, Moment.

I am FEELING things today. I am frustrated as hell. Instead of just stuffing down and moving through, I took a minute to acknowledge my feelings.

1. I was on a call for work for over an hour where the same two people blew hot air for 90% of it. This call is supposed to be a weekly check in to give an overview of what everyone is working on. It inevitably veers into granular territory of specific projects by one particular individual. It is especially frustrating to me because this stuff has nothing to do with me. My portion of the check-in is typically crammed into the last 1-2 minutes of that call.

As aggravating as it is to hear one person drone on for an hour, I am fine with folks delving into details. I remind myself that, at times, this is actually valuable education. Other times, however, I feel that it is inconsiderate use of time. It is clear that my update is treated with minimal importance. I have a good relationship with my boss and could bring this up to him, but I need to sort through it first so I don’t come across as whiny. I want my voice to be heard. Also, random “pro tip”: NEVER use the word “just” in business emails. EVER.

2. The MBA v. Artist thing. Taking my courses is becoming such an emotional chore. I am really at odds with whether I want to see this through.

The thing is, when I consider quitting, several faces show up who are either judging, laughing at, rolling their eyes, or are disappointed in me. Throughout my life, I have had a lot of false starts and big ideas that went nowhere. Like – here she goes again. What tends to happen is I make a big statement like – “I’m going to be an art therapist” and then I start classes and then I drop out. And a couple years later I say, “I’m going to open up an art studio” and I secure a space and then a global pandemic happens and the whole idea crumbles. So I think, “I’ll get my MBA”, and apply, get into a program and then second guess whether or not I am looking for a high five from my parents or for someone to finally fucking take me seriously. ANYONE. Because I am worthless without a secondary degree apparently.

Also, I feel like a lot of my accomplishments are out of spite. Hhahah. I’m not even kidding. I rage-succeed. Jesus. Oh you think I can’t do that??? WATCH ME. And I’m wondering if that’s what THIS is. Again. Quitting drinking was partially a rage-success. Improving my credit was absolutely a hate-fuck.

But back to work stuff, I started working in an office in my early twenties. I NEVER fit in. I’m smart but I’m not good at herd mentality and I am terrible at sucking up. I was typically doing “women’s work” as a receptionist or secretary where I did a good job but ultimately got bored and then unmotivated and I’d eventually become horribly depressed and quit. This cycle happened 4-5 times.

I’ve been at my present job for 14 years. I enjoy what I do and I generally like the folks I work with. I have a flexible schedule and I get to run things without anyone breathing down my neck. As far as office jobs go, it’s perfect. But it’s still an office job and I’m at a conflict with myself about it. Our CEO is going to retire in the next few years. Basically, I like working for him. I feel very hesitant about starting over under someone else.

3. I am also not feeling heard at home. This is a very large knot that will need a lot of time and patience to untie. Typically, just looking at it sends me into a panic so I just pretend it’s not there. It’s just getting bigger. Surprise?

I think what I usually do is get angry and snippy and then I isolate myself and get into a merry-go-round of resentment in my head. Today, I took a breath and thought about it and felt the feeling. I kept repeating “feel this” which was weird. But I did. And I connected with it. And now I’m writing about it. I will not be getting into specifics but this feels like a baby step forward – for my own healing at the very least.

I feel like a lot of what I am looking for is permission.

Day 140, 2020

I am all over the place today. I’m moody. I slept really late. I have sneezed no fewer than 1,500 times. Having allergies is like living in a constant elevated state of frustration. I just want to scream and go to bed and wake up in a month or so. To add to this, my cat, who I love and am also dangerously allergic to, has taken to napping on the windowsill where I work. You would not believe the cat wigs that float off of her. My lampshade is covered in Pearl fur. I digress because she is excellent company.

I have done the bare minimum for work over the past two days. This is partially because I put in a ton of work last week, so I can float a little bit. It’s also because my mental capacity needs a break I’ve been ramming into a wall over the past week. The guilt attached to not giving 100% to work, parenting, teaching, keeping my house together, art has been climbing. My brain knows it is impossible, but the perfectionist in me is still like “why can’t you fucking just do this?” or “why are you being lazy about this?”

I’ve been doing a lot of spiritual work and naval gazing during this lockdown and man, I am my own worst enemy. I am not looking for people or situations to blame from my childhood. I don’t care where it came from. I just need to fix it. (Even here, I’m trying to be a hero.) In any case, I’m trying to just be fucking nicer to myself. I’m not that bad.

Over the years, little mental wars about my physical appearance, my business accomplishments, my creative talent, my intelligence – have broken me way down. The upside of this is that I think I’m ready to rebuild.

I’m never going to be 120 lbs again. Hooray. I’m sick of fucking caring. I like potato chips. My belly wiggles. Not into it? Your call.

I’m sick of “sexy”. The whole fucking concept is bullshit. It’s objective AND subjective and fully based on whether the collective “men” want to fuck you. If you’re sexy, you move a dude’s dick. Gross. I hereby dismiss this as a basis of value in any universe. “But sexy is can be your mind or you energy.” Cool. But it’s still measured in YOUR genital response. None of my business. NEXT.

My hair is streaked with grey. I think it looks cool.

I will never be the up and coming artist to watch in music. That shit simply doesn’t happen to women over 40. It’s not going to stop me. But I’m also not going to give as much of a shit. I’m being choosier with what I invest my time in. I can’t do all of the things. I don’t WANT to do all of the things. I think I tried to be involved in everything in order to stay relevant. At this point, I either am or I am not. The opinions and whims of other people are beyond my control. I’m gonna keep doing me in either case. Time>Money. Naps>Exposure.

I came back from 2 nervous breakdowns and bankruptcy in my twenties with near perfect credit and pretty fucking solid mental health in my forties. Also I don’t drink anymore which probably has a lot to do with everything said in the previous sentence. Either way, mission accomplished.

All of this is not to say I’m this immensely evolved superwoman. I still have hangups.

I’m not cool with my face looking older.

I’m still battling whether or not I should go through with grad school or follow my passions with art, spirituality, and mental health. I literally do not know what my opinion on this is.

I’m still figuring out my voice and my authentic feelings and thoughts on a lot of things. I’ve developed a callus over my true desires over years of stuffing them down just to power through. Much of my life reflects the direction I have taken from others. And what I’ve learned (spoiler alert) is that you CANNOT please EVERYONE ALL of the time. That was my actual goal. Seriously. I mean, it’s nearly impossible to please EVERYONE even SOME of the time… unless you’re air. I am not air. Or potato chips.

Mother’s Day 2020.

Something broke in me today. I had a good sob, then I took a bath and a muscle relaxer.

First of all, I have been having daily migraines for over a month as a result of TMJ. The muscle relaxers are from a car accident I had in 2014. Thank god I hung onto them because they’re the only thing that helps the pain in my jaw. The ONLY thing. The prescription said one every 8 hours. They do the job for maybe two. But I’ll take those two. Since I only had about 6 left, I’ve been rationing them out for days that are insufferable, like today. I have one left.

I’m frustrated because my GP was not listening to me. She kept saying it was allergies. I have no medical degree, but I’ve had allergies AND my skull for 42 years and this is not allergies. My dentist heard me and gave me a new guard to wear at night. That helped at first but the migraines are back.

Today was Mother’s Day so I went to my parents’ for a distance-appropriate afternoon hang on their deck. It was a really nice time. Then I wanted dinner from Veggie Heaven but they weren’t taking orders. Frustration.

I came home, my head throbbing, my stomach churning, and my heart breaking because of the nice, but still surreal time with my family and I lost it. Completely lost it. And for once, I LET myself. I’m doing a lot of internal work during quarantine and allowing myself to feel emotions is a big part of it. I cried for maybe 7 minutes total. Then I took a bath. Now I feel relaxed.

Day 112, 2020

I haven’t felt much like writing about drinking. I don’t really have much to say. It’s moved from the front of my brain to the back. From screaming and kicking to subdued. I’m probably not out of the woods as I considered taking a sip of a liqueur that we were trying to identify. But I remembered – oh you don’t drink anymore. And I put it down and that was it.

W asked me if I’ll ever drink again and I didn’t have an answer. I told him I didn’t know. Right now, I am not ready. In part, I don’t want to. I’ve worked hard to associate my drinking with terrible headaches, bloating, and acting like a fucking idiot. I don’t want any of those things. If that means not drinking, great.

The one thing I do miss… and I’ve talked about it here several times… is our favorite restaurant in Newark. They make sangria that descended straight from heaven. It tastes SO good. They may have a non-alcoholic version. I don’t know. But it’s ritual. At some point, I would consider going there and trying it out. Not now, but maybe at some point. And maybe I’ll get there and think it’s not worth it.

What I am trying to articulate is – my relationship with alcohol doesn’t seem so “urgent” anymore. I don’t have to work every day to quell my desire. Many days, I don’t think too much about it aside from strengthening my identification as someone who doesn’t drink. I wrestle with that part a lot. Probably because of my narcissism. Nobody gives a shit what my personal relationship is. People gather for the good time. And that’s fine.

This quarantine has been somewhat of an Awakening for me. I’ve paying attention to where my soul wants to be and what it wants to do. I’m connecting with energy and getting even more fucking woo-woo than I was before.

I was accepted into an MBA program and have already started on Foundation classes (that I need to pass before enrolling). I’m immersed in Accounting most of the day and then I get some yarn out and watch a crime drama – or chat with friends – or take my Reiki course.

Life as a hermit is pretty fucking good right now. That being said, I am acknowledging the role my continued paycheck, health, and general privilege play in that statement.

Going forward, expect more woo woo musings. That feels like where I’m gonna go.

DAY 101, 2020

I have not been celebrating milestones because we are living in Bizarro World. I am continuing to enjoy a life without alcohol though. This quarantine business would have surely been a very long bender had it been last year. I can’t even imagine.

I’ve been using this time to do some naval gazing and writing and art. I’ve been staying up too late watching questionable television. I have been on Facebook WAY too much. Not saying much, but quietly seething. It’s honestly not much different than before. Also, I’ve been hibernating from 100 days. So this is old hat for me.

What I do appreciate is the quiet time with my family. It has helped us to work on some stuff. It’s making me more patient. We are working our way back to teamwork. It’s hard sometimes. My husband is on the spectrum and communication is challenging. Additionally, he is stubborn and bossy. I’m impatient and easily annoyed. Telling me what to do is the quickest way to unlock my mean streak. Both of us tend to isolate. Sometimes we forget the other person is even there.

It’s been good for us. I am lucky to continue earning full salary. I am so grateful and am certainly not treating this as a vacation. In fact, I’m working even harder than ever – but in velour tracksuits. I have like 5 of them.

I also just completed my application for an MBA program. I’m HOPING to do an accelerated (12 month) thing, but I know how I tend to go super hard and then burn out. This time has taught me to be more thoughtful and accept space.

This is getting boring I think.

Day 94, 2020

90 Days came and went without much fanfare. In quarantine, the days are all kind of melting into one long, boring day. I am incredibly thankful to be able to continue working and earning a salary. I have zero complaints.

I am, however, writing to you from my office which is about 20 minutes from my home. I had to get checks because we still have to pay the bills. and there are maybe 5 other people in this enormous building. I haven’t seen them. I just saw cars. This is the first time I’ve arrived at work in a velour tracksuit, sneakers, and a baseball cap… and ZERO makeup. I’d probably scare someone if they came in anyway. I also discovered some extra hand sanitizer I have at my desk. And my beloved Sprite Zeros. I’m taking those Sprites home and I am downright giddy,

I also got a bagel. I haven’t had a bagel in weeks. Everyone stood 6 feet+ apart. I was happy to be able to give some $$ to my favorite bagel shop. I Can’t even finish it. I forgot how big bagels are. (Like it’s been years lol).

Anyway, I’m experiencing this odd tiredness that everyone seems to be dealing with. It’s nearly impossible to get out of bed then again I’ve been staying up stupidly late. Doing nothing. Knitting, listening to audiobooks, watching Tiger King in its entirety. I really need to try going to sleep earlier. I talk about this all the time. It’s like my body is simply not made for that. I used to think it was the drinking but it turns out, it’s just how I am wired. Outside of that though, I’ve been tired during the day. Like needing a nap.

I read an article that this is associated with grief. I don’t know if that fits for me. Anxiety seems more likely. On high alert 100% of the time making sure I don’t touch anything or breathe. It’s exhausting.

I don’t know. I’m tired and I need to finish up what I’m doing.

Hope you’re staying well.

DAY 88, 2020

I cannot believe I am almost at 90 days. I do not miss drinking. Each time I have a craving, I flash to the headache feeling or the sloppy, mortifying person I become when I drink. I am more quiet and thoughtful. I am becoming more secure in who I am – the creative parts, the deep thinking parts, the analytical parts, the woo woo parts. I am becoming who I have been meant to be.

I don’t think this is all alcohol related. I think this is part of growing into oneself. I am sure that everyone, whether the realize it or not, is slowly changing over a 90 day period for better or worse. The good news is, you get to start a new 90 day period every day if you want.

I don’t mean to sound high and mighty about this. It’s been hard work. It’s been strange navigating my relationships as a non-drinking person. Drunk Me had few boundaries and went with the flow for the good of the fucking party. Just saying that is gross. I put up with words and behavior and situations that would now qualify as wildly unhealthy, unsafe, and unacceptable.

I feel more powerful now. I feel power in the word “alcoholic” because it indicates that I am willing to look honestly at that part of myself and not run away.

TRIGGER WARNING – depression, self-harm, suicidal behavior

I have been thinking about my twenties a lot lately. My soul was so lost. I was a ghost. I barely existed where I stood. I’ve spoken here about how I drank to fit in and to make it more comfortable to interact with people.

When I wasn’t drinking though, I was severely depressed. I tried dozens of combinations of anti-depressants and mood stabilizers. At 24, I drove my car into a pile of rocks and then drove the clunking car straight to the emergency room. I was fine from the small collision. But I wanted to die. My senses were heightened. Everything in my eyesight was sharp, yet I felt like I was just a pilot in my body. That last little shred of reason left in my brain knew I needed to get help.

As I drove, I sliced into my arms and legs with a broken CD case. It was all I could find. I felt possessed. I was conflicted. I didn’t know how I would pay for this but that small pilot directed me in. I answered so many questions. The room was tan. The furniture was vinyl.

The next step is fuzzy. I did not stay overnight. I must have gone home? But looking back, I’m not sure how I escaped the mandatory 72 hour hold. The next thing I remember is going to intensive outpatient. I did that for a couple of months.

My face bloated from all of the medication. Also, you’re not supposed to drink on that shit but clearly I didn’t adhere to that. I remember being at a music festival and my friend was taking pictures (with a real camera lol) and he said to me… I don’t know if I have ever seen you smile.

I was in this perpetual heavy conversation with myself in my head. I always felt like I should be doing more and should have amounted to more and should should should all over myself. I didn’t measure up. I didn’t finish college. I stopped singing. I kept painting though. That always got me through.

I don’t remember a lot of specifics from my twenties. All of the vignettes I recall are standing in a kitchen and drinking and smoking cigarettes and not feeling comfortable. I had a boyfriend through this period of time. We had gotten engaged actually. He was a nice guy. Smart. Also liked to party. We were toxic to one another.

I remember his mom asking me why I was so sad. I couldn’t answer. Partially because she terrified me (I was not alone in this) and partially because I simply did not know. I remember one day she held my face and said I just wish you could be happy. She meant it. It was kind… and intense. But she meant it. I guess I just exuded sadness.

I think our 50th breakup might have been the last. We still talk on occasion. He’s a good guy. I know why I loved him. And I know why we didn’t last.

That was a lot. That can count as a chapter. There’s another one but I don’t have the energy for it right now.

The good news is that we all know the ending, or at least the chapter we’re in now, is fine.

I didn’t even talk about this quarantinsanity. Next post.