only then did she realize that somewhere along the line, she’d forgotten how to daydream. and she so desperately needed to remember, for she was starving without it.
I know it might sound strange, but I’ve always been jelaous of the “boring” people: the ones who lay a hand like a stiff piece of paper over their glass when seconds are being served at the holiday party; those who self-depricatingly poke fun at themselves when describing their boring weekend of working out and hitting the sack before 11. I used to be a party girl, and while I am reserved in many ways now, I still found myself in recent years waking up with a wickid hangover and wondering regretfully why I said what I did to whomeever I said it to the night before. I began examining the mood and events and habits in my life and quickly discovered a common thread that wove each and every single one of my mistakes together like a cheap and hazy tapestry: alcohol.
Dare I say every single mistake I have made since age eighteen has been in some way linked in alcohol? I’m serious! Never a drug user, only a drinker – I can safely admit white wine has been my biggest vice over the past eleven years, leaving a path of destruction in its wake.
Casual sex: always when intoxicated. Dramatic texts: always when intixicated. Late to work: always due to (having been) intoxicated. Late anywhere: Usually having something to do with having been intoxicated. Family fights: Alchohol induced fuel added to the fire, every time. Broke to the bone: Last nickles and dimes were spent on – you guess it! – getting intixocated.
I started really disliking the state of my life. A lot of half-completed projects, living in somewhat of a fog Sunday and Monday of the week, heightened anxiety, tired skin, brain working slower than the day before. I reflected back on the days when a case of Natty Lite drove a thrill up our spines: the feeling of risky business and forbideen behavior. Now, beer made me feel groggy and bloated. Somewhere down the line, liquid courage lost its appeal. I’d trade a night of making out in the dark corner of a bar – no matter how handsome the guy is – for glowing skin and eight hours of uninterrupted sleep on satin sheets – with or without the handsome guy – any day.
When I reached the epiphany rolling along ’95 on my way home from a rather aggressive wedding in DC last month, I worried myself at the thought that perhaps I could not, in fact, quit drinking. This self-doubt, in turn, made my decision all the more, as I felt it necessary to assure myself this was a very reasonable and realistic exercise to succeed in.
Here is what I found: quitting drinking was not as difficult as I thought it would be. I really haven’t missed it just yet. I have not been dating anyone as of recent, so I do wonder if I’ll decide to keep up this drinks-free mentatility in the long run (right now I am committed to a 30-day challenge), but I have found that Im more in control, better rested, less anxious and far more proactive about cleaning up the messes in my life. After only a few short days, it became incredibly clear to me that alcohol had been my crutch: it dilluted my anxieties, pushing them off until th enext day, yet, only assisted in gluing together the entire pile of shit into one heaping, stinking pile of unresolved business. Alcohol was clearing out my bank account, robbing the youthful glow from my skin, leaving dark circles behind, right under my eyes, and fogging my brain down to my backbone with aches and pains.
I also became quickly aware that sometimes, it’s going to suck ti just sit with my discomfort. Like the night last week when I realized I had misfiled my taxes and could be looking at a huge fine. This would have been a time that I’d have reached for my keys and hit the sidewalks on a full sprint for the Wine and Spirits. A little Pinot Grigio would have lessened the anxiety of this. However, I instead choose to deal wth it, face the problem head on, and work on steps to resolve it. And this in turn ended up allowing me a much better night sleep, with less depressing drama and more well-rested REM cycles.
I’m proud of myself. I’m not here to tell anyone they should give up alcohol. Hell, I don’t know if I am ready to fully release the presence of it in my life. But my understanding that I can say no to it – to exist and enjoy life without it – that has reestablished the sense of strength I possess within; one I was in desperate need of reminding myself I still held within my willpower.
Salud! (No Pun Intended).
I realized today that the one year anniversary of the promise I made to myself is rapidly approaching. How it snuck up so quickly and quietly was a mystery. This year was hard. I looked at all of the people in my life and evaluated who they were to me. What they were doing to enrich my soul; and in turn, what I was doing for them.
This is not easy. It’s not easy to admit some friendships and romances that seemed as though they mattered now suddenly lack any real sense of true depth or meaning. It’s not easy to admit the bond you thought you’d shared was an illusion from the start.
It’s scary to abandon the fillers who help you to sleep at night. The men you date who are not very interesting but make you feel like you’re trying at least. The friends who you like to hold onto simply because you’ve held on this long already. To realize some of your colleagues, even neighbors, are suddenly more up to speed on the general details of your life than the people who never call anymore but pretend to be close contacts.
They say it is hard to leave any deeply routine life, even if you hate it. What a bizarre concept, yet so unbelievably true. It was hard to close the book on men I have cared deeply for this year; to come to terms with the fact that my words will tell them kindly never to call again, not in a nasty way; simply in an honest way. I must let go of these weights around my ankles before I can be whole heartedly ready to trust that love exists again. It’s time to close the book and file this chapter away. And it hurts – why does it hurt? – but I know it is right.
Fillers do just as they suggest: they fill the holes. The holes in my heart and the ones in my mind. They let me refrain from having to think too much about being out there in the world alone. They let me continue to live to some extent in a fantasyland. Eventually, it’s time to face the sun. Face reality. And I decided for one reason or other that day for me was today. And it was long and emotional and my eyes are still irritated and red from the tears that had flowed from them, but somehow I know this pain of loneliness serves as the rite of passage into taking the reigns on my own life.
To paving my own way, creating that life I have always imagined. I have to assume things will fall just the way they should. It’s the only option we have but to believe, and to live the very fullest possible lives (without any fillers) we can while we have the chance.
IT’S FUNNY HOW you can’t understand something about yourself until you’re good and ready, and when you do, it feels like a kick in the head. It’s like something that’s been there all along living and existing inside your guts – like a tattoo across your forehead – yet you never recognized it until the day you decided to see it.
There was a day that came in which the weight of her mind could no longer sustain. Like a water balloon about to pop; heavy dew looming in the summer air like buckets before a storm; the bubble that begs to burst.
And when it did, she felt so much lighter. Like she was floating through the next door of life, leaving her baggage behind like a pile of old suitcases and entering new territory.
This part of her journey – this new room, with its bare walls and unknown tomorrows – this was the chapter called “Clarity”, when she finally realized life was far too short to worry what anyone else thought. And with this newfound knowledge came the feeling of flying. And she was smiling ear to ear as her soul grew new wings.
What I remember when I started to write was that I couldn’t wait to wake up in the morning and get to my characters.
A good friend of mine stumbled upon a hidden Upper West Side second hand store not long ago. It was there that she discovered one of those coveted coffee-table-conversation-starter types of books that highlighted a number of different countries’ phrases, all of which had no specific English translation (i.e. Te Amo in Spanish, or, a shortened term of endearment for telling someone you love them).
This got me thinking about all those nostalgic experiences we have during childhood – or, “Kidhood” as I like to call it. That time in our lives where the world was so raw – so mysterious – in which an abundance of emotions that felt so new to us were and remain to be difficult to put into words. Continue reading