Loss of Power

I am feeling big feelings and I’m going to write them. I have been crying. I honestly cannot tell you the last time I cried. Really cried. Mournful, soul-pulling, crying. This feeling is terrible, but I know it’s important to acknowledge them and see this through to the other side.

We lost power on Tuesday and my husband, son, dog, and I stayed with my parents until it came back today. A series of incidents occurred that made me reflect pretty hard on what it was like living there as a teenager. My feelings were too big for my skin and I felt explosive, misunderstood, and alone – like most kids that age. Experiencing this as an adult, though – this prolonged, high level anxiety of messing something up – gave me more empathy for myself. Without going into detail, my mother did not speak to me, my husband, or my SON for the entire last 24 hours of our stay.

Every day, I take an antidepressant, a mood stabilizer, and anti-anxiety medication. I am a recovering alcoholic. Looking back, I have definitely pulled the passive aggressive silent treatment in relationships. I think back to those times and shudder. I forgive that person now because processing emotions was never really modeled for me growing up. My father is even keeled 90% of the time but would sometimes pivot to a complete sudden rage. It was rare, but it was terrifying. My mother, on the other hand was very loving to me when I was a child but as soon as I became a teenager it seemed she wanted less and less to do with me. My hindsight analysis is that this was because I was having more mood shifts. Front that point on, I was mostly met with digging remarks or silence. We often have nice chats, but when we do veer into any kind of depth, it is made clear that she knows best and my opinions are too lofty.

As I entered into my teens, It felt like I became dirty and unlovable. I carried that into adulthood along with a total inability rationally deal with my feelings. I’ve learned a lot since then and am mostly content with my actions and reactions to difficult things. I’ve been through many, many years of therapy and even studied Psychology and Counseling in college. I have found my spirituality and read about it every single day. In my recent life, if disagreement or discomfort arises, I often want to nip a problem in the bud with honest conversation. With my son, I truly try to teach him that it’s ok to have big emotions and that he can talk to me about anything. My dad did that with me but the abandonment I felt from my mother affected me in such a spider web of ways that I am still digging through them.

I am a 42-year-old, grown-ass woman who is not about to blame my parents for problematic things that they, as human beings, may have done in raising me. Right now, at this moment, I often think about what I’ve already done to completely ruin my son’s adult life because I have no idea what I am doing. I extend that compassion to them as well. Parents are not perfect. They are not saints or deities. Parents are people who have no idea what they are doing. I acknowledge that these actions cause issues that are up to me to work through. I have to do my fallible best to do better.

Today, I’ll let myself be sad that no one rubbed my back and said it’s ok. I’ll take this floating-away sensation as the final tethers being cut. I am my own person and nothing will change that. I am totally cool with it. I mostly like myself now. I do, however, want to grab Teenage Me’s bony little shoulders and pull her in for a hug.

I often mourn my relationship with my mother. I’ll never have a relationship with a mother who is unconditionally supportive and emotionally open. It’s sad to think about, but I am not alone. All through life, we find mothers in our friends, partners, teachers, and mentors. I hope to be that mother, not only to my own son, but to other fledgling souls I encounter along the way. That’s life. All I can do is try my best to be the things I wish I had and to find those qualities in folks I choose as family.

Bless and release

I’m not crazy about the word “bless”. It and “journey” connote a fakey “Live Laugh Love” brand of quick spirituality… in my brain at least. That being said, the process of acknowledging behaviors that don’t serve us well is a valuable one. My life experience has been more of the “ignore it” or “get over it” variety. Bless and release encourages you to recognize problematic things in your life and empowers you to let them go.

I’ve been reading Eastern Body, Western Mind which is now officially my favorite book. The third chakra, solar plexus, is all about will. The root chakra is about being/ existing, the second is about feeling, and the third is about taking that stuff, being your own person, and going into the world. This is where I’ve been stunted all along.

I’ve often lamented my past seeming inability to take risks. Staying in situations long past their “best by” date because the devil I know is at least predictable. The third chakra is all about intention-driven action. Mindfulness. Responsibility. Not just blowing wherever the wind sends me.

I have Imposter Syndrome which is not a real syndrome but a cycle of thoughts and perceived reinforcement. I rarely think I’m qualified enough to be sitting at the table. This has plagued my work life. I am smart. I’m a good worker. I am easy to work with. But I doubt myself and tend to be deferential to those I perceive to be in a higher position than me.

I’m not so bad in the music realm. Most of the folks I work with swim in the same pool. We are good at what we do, expect our cohort to be up to speed, and we deliver. Singing professionally is one of the areas in my life that I do not feel like an imposter. I will sing your face off. Just don’t ask me to read sheet music because then I will crumble. I make light of it. I’ve come this far so it is what it is. But I somewhat secretly ashamed because I am supposed to be good at everything.

I take degrees very seriously. College degrees, not temperatures. I am constantly seeking graduate and doctoral programs that cost insane amounts of money and when I really soul search it, I’m just looking for a permission slip. I think I’ve talked about this before. I’m looking for a permission slip to sit at the table. Permission from WHO? I couldn’t tell you.

I also collapse at the idea that my parents aren’t constantly beaming with pride over me. Deep reflection has revealed that this is a big messy one. I need to consistently reach goals to check in with them and make sure I am still good enough. My inner critic has the tendency to be very judgmental and overbearing when it comes to what I should be doing, where I should live, how I should raise my son.

In my extended family, I don’t even know how to act. I’m 42 and I still feel like a child. I think it is because I feel that I cannot appear to have any cracks despite being full of them for that very reason.

I want to be clear that I am not blaming my parent(s) or family for any of this. I am a grown ass middle aged woman who is responsible for my own life and happiness. My parents are human and I am human and to throw a tantrum over things I may have done differently would not benefit anyone. That being said, establishing boundaries with them is extremely difficult. I find myself wanting to keep everyone happy and still feel unable to truly be myself around them. I hide my feelings because I do not have the strength to hear how I am wrong about them.

There is some regret in my life – not traveling and exploring more when I was young; staying in long relationships that were not serving anyone well; not really TRYING at music; going with the flow on so many music projects with bossy, obstinate people. I regret settling for the office job that I never fit into. I never fit in because I was never supposed to be there. I was too scared to take a risk and follow my creativity at 25, 30, 35 and here I am.

Here I am.

I can engage in a cycle of wasting more time mourning lost time and losing the time spent mourning. But I’m not going to. With each step forward I will focus on acting from within myself. I exist. I feel. And that’s all that is needed to know what is best.

I bless and release anything that stands in my way.

Day 33, 2020

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.

Day 7

I’m really doing this. I’ve successfully stuck to my keto plan for 7 days now. I feel good. I feel full – almost TOO full because I’m not used to eating such rich foods. My friends said my skin looks good. I’m dealing with some fatigue and a headache today but it’s not terrible. The INSOMNIA though is making me a little nuts. I cannot fall asleep. I’ve read this is part of the process. Apparently your body gets low on serotonin and melatonin at first. I’ll be taking my trusty pill tonight in the hopes of having a full night’s sleep.

I was back at the gym today. I did a mile way faster than I did last week. I did some leg machines and some squats. Yesterday I had a crazy work day and then rehearsal so I only fit in a few free weight exercises for my arms. Better than nothing though.

I’m happy that I’m still feeling motivated. I’ll have to grab more salad fixings for the week on the way to work tomorrow. Since it’s a bit of a crazy week, I’ll have to figure out quick dinners. Yesterday I did a hard boiled egg and a shake with collagen peptides. I wound up having a late night snack of some salami and almonds.

I need to focus on fitting more veggies in. I’m definitely note eating enough. My salad is mainly lettuce and onions. I’m not a big raw veggie fan. Roasted cauliflower sand broccoli are a favorite but time is a factor this week. I have a show on Friday and we’re all putting in extra work to accommodate some last minute changes. It’s fine but I need a plan for eating on the go.

Day 4

I am successfully on Day 4 of my 21 Day Detox and honestly I feel really good and motivated. I had a killer headache this morning but that comes with the territory for a couple of days.

What does a night in the program look like for me? Well, a 20/20 marathon, knitting, and lots of unsweetened iced tea. It was a pretty good time. I had no FOMO and fought some small urges for sweet things (and wine). I did have a hard time falling asleep. I remember this happening last time. I’m hoping it will also dissipate after a few days.

Breakfast has primarily been mushroom and mozzarella omelettes. I am even allowed some roasted potatoes! It was delicious.

I forget where I saw the following idea, but it’s a hot dog on a sweet potato instead of a bun. I was pleasantly surprised that I felt like I was not missing out on a thing. With mustard and sauerkraut, it was SO satisfying. Sure, it was a pain in the ass to bake a sweet potato beforehand but going forward, I’ll probably just make one or two at a time. (I wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out and sweet potatoes are beloved in my home.)

I had a yummy salad for lunch, I’ve got grilled chicken with quinoa and brussels sprouts on the agenda tonight, and some deviled egg salad if I need an occasional snack.

I’m feeling pretty stoked.

Want. Need. Listening. Shit.

I had my ladies night on Saturday and I didn’t get too crazy. In fact, I got a headache. I’m not sure if it was from dehydration or from exhaustion but it was a doozy. I barely slept the night before due to the Pup wanting to go out, the little guy wanting to come in, and regular old general anxiety. I had a nice breakfast at the diner with the girls and then went home to complete some chores.

I went back down about 3:30 and had a few hard seltzer’s before the headache started it’s strangle hold. I just wasn’t feeling it. I wanted to go home but I felt bad, so I stayed. A beloved friend was in from out of state so I wanted to be sure I spent time with her. Unfortunately, it was getting to the point where no one was making sense and kind of talking over one another. Sometimes, I feel like I somehow missed the wave everyone else is surfing on and then I just can’t catch up. And ultimately I’m fine with that because I’m so tired. And cranky.

I had intended on staying over and really going for it, but I left around 1am and put my throbbing cranium on a pillow. It’s weird that I couldn’t just leave at like 9 or 10 when I wanted to. I always feel like I’m going to be seen as a jerk if I do that. And I have a crippling need to be liked. So this is what I do.

We had a nice family day on Sunday. Lots of outside time. Reading, My little guy and the dog running around the yard. We went out for dinner and I had a glass of wine but that was it. All night. I went to bed at a reasonable time after watching a Doris Day movie.

Tonight, I am struggling. I honestly do not WANT a drink but I’m craving one. Does that even make sense at all? Like… many body wants it. I guess that’s why they call it addiction (sung to Elton John’s song). It’s such a shit feeling. I’m sort of caught between “oh go have one” and “no, just ride it out. Prove something to yourself.”

The second one is yelling louder. I’m listening.

This is not a food blog.

I made some pretty good choices today. I worked from home so I was able to cook some healthy food. I’m not much of a cook. I mean… I like cooking but I rarely feel inspired to cook. It’s a hassle. I’m tired from running from one thing to another and I don’t feel like doing it. You know the feeling. But when I have some time, I do enjoy it.

I installed a meal plan app on my phone because I literally need to be told what to do when it comes to food otherwise I default to raccoon in a dumpster. This app gave me a handful of meals that are easy to prepare and leave leftover to enjoy for lunch or dinner the next day. So I’m not cooking every night. It sounds good.

This is one of my own creations. Fried egg on whole wheat English muffin with avocado.

As we know, I get really jazzed about things in the beginning and then revert back to the raccoon. I’m just saying that so you don’t call me out on it. It’s what I do. But this plan could be promising. The recipes looked like things I would actually eat and they are not complicated. You can rule out meat or gluten, etc when you’re searching for your plan. And all of the meals are healthy. No they are not paying me to say any of this. I simply want to share.

In keeping with my “baby steps” approach here, if I even substitute ONE meal a day with one of these meals, I’ll be greatly reducing my calorie intake. You guys would not believe the amount of french fries I have ingested this year alone. Unsupervised toddler. That’s me.

So my commitment for the week is ONE of these (or comparable) healthy meals each day. If I’m inspired to do all of them, cool. If not, I won’t give up and dive into the nearest garbage can.

Thai Turkey (Lettuce Wraps) via MealPlan.
I had mine with quinoa. The peanut sauce was impressive!!!

Mountains.

Have I mentioned that I am a performer? Maybe not. I mostly perform in bars and at (alcohol fueled) events. This weekend’s gig was an overnight. It’s far. So we took advantage of the situation. A bunch of middle aged folks unleashed from having to drive anywhere. Mix in the fact that we’re in gorgeous mountain country. It was a recipe for celebration. We were out until 4am. I slept well and the mountain air did me good. I love it up here. Today I feel relatively gross but not terrible. I’m also pretty sure I smell like a barroom floor which is horrifying.

silhouette of mountains

Photo by Simon Matzinger on Pexels.com

I’m still listening to Claire Pooley’s The Sober Diaries for my long car trip. I’ve also cued up Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly but haven’t started it yet. Pooley’s story (and her honesty about her drinking) resonate deeply with me. She almost makes me believe that I can do it one day. I’ve reached the point in her story where she discusses her diagnosis of breast cancer at 46. Women who drink excessively are way more likely to get it. She also discusses Edith Piaf’s death from alcoholism at 47 from liver cancer. Like… what the fuck am I waiting for here? I’ll be 42 in a few months. I’m honestly terrified to go to the doctor for anything because who knows what is brewing in this cauldron.

Right now I am in famous hippie town having a lovely lunch and drinking a blood orange iced tea that is delicious. Can’t I drink things like that when I’m out (or in)?

I worry about how my relationships would continue. My friends and I have a very deeply rooted drinking culture. Staying out well into the morning hours, drinking bottles over bottles while making a mountain out of an ashtray. These are therapy sessions. Summits on solving the world’s problems.

I’m scared of losing that.

When I try to break down what that would look like… I see more day time hangs. Maybe more like outings – to DO things? A museum, a show, a yoga class? Even if we did dinner, I doubt there will be a shortage of things to talk about.

Truthfully, I’m afraid of who I am without drinking because I don’t know her at all. I’ve been “self-medicating” since I was 24. I don’t know if she has ever even existed.

I DO know that the person who drinks is a loud, rambling chainsmoker who loves to interrupt you and talk about herself. The alcohol free me can’t be any worse than that. I also know that before I drank I was not a talker AT ALL. I was an observer. I would take EVERYTHING in. As an artist, I’m going to guess that will only benefit me.

I think of the extra energy I’ll have. I’ll lose weight. My skin will clear up. I’ll be fucking healthier. I’ll likely keep the majority of my friends. Ugh.

One Healthy Thing

I feel like part of the reason I have not been successful (in getting healthier) in a long time is that a.) I have not been honest about what my real problems are and b.) I try to do too much at once. Historically I have tried to adopt an entirely new personality overnight.

Regarding being honest – I would try to eat salads and go to the gym but then come home and have a half a bottle of wine and smoke half a pack of cigarettes. I don’t even think I saw the disconnect. I see it now. I’m older and the universe is in my ear telling me it’s later than I think. I believe she is trying to say that I am not 25 anymore.

So I’m trying something different. And I’m in this – doing it real time so it might fail or it might work. We’ll see. I am basing this on book’s like Annie Grace’s The Naked Mind and Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic. Grace’s idea about taking small steps whether or not we are ready and Gilbert’s plea to show up and be open to the magic that life gives you.

I’m making a small commitment to do ONE healthy thing for the rest of this week. This is a small, reachable goal. For instance, yesterday I did yoga for the first time in ages. I felt good and am sore today. Today, I am going to take my dog for a nice long walk in the park because it is beautiful out. (He’s doing well at the moment!) I believe that if we allow ourselves to be successful, we are more motivated to continue seeking success.

I’m hoping that doing yoga or taking a walk or going to bed early will inspire me to have a salad instead of French fries at dinner or to watch the wine so I can have a good rest.

Thoughts?