over there

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“Nothing is ever really over…just over there.” – Carrie Fisher

“A writer must really be in a bad place if they start their blog posts with quotes.”- Me

Both of the above thoughts happen to be true for me in this moment. Maybe I’m not in a bad place per say. Like the emotional equivalent of Detroit. There’s no immediate danger or lying on the kitchen floor sobbing. But a sort of sad place? Yeah. Which is odd because I had, by all accounts, on paper, a very happy celebratory weekend. Yet here I am drinking coffee, looking at the misty hill outside my window feeling pretty damn fragile. Fragile is a great word and I’d like to take a moment to whoever it was who started using it to describe not just glass and fancy breakable things on your grandma’s mantle but the human condition. Maybe it was Trent Reznor. Let’s just say it was Trent Reznor, for the hell of it. Thank you, Mr. Reznor because that’s what I am today. Not a crying mess but fragile. There are a couple of reasons for this here fragility.

First of all, it’s not lost on me that today is June 12th. It marks a year after the massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. I remember expressing to a straight coworker last year how heartbreaking I thought it was and they replied, “Did you know people there?” My first reaction was to sarcastically say, “Yes. Because we all know each other.” My next reaction was to snap, “No but people died and I’m not a robot so can’t I be upset?!?” Instead, I just said, “No” and moved on. What broke my heart then and still today was that it even happened. That it happened to people like me and that because it happened to people like me and it happened at the hand of guns, it would be lessened over time and not treated like other tragedies. Thus far, I’m sad to report I was right. One year later, this tragedy has been quietly swept under the news carpet and rarely brought up, despite being the biggest death toll due to gun violence in the United States. It has not brought about legislation changes. It hasn’t even been over-sentimentalized or over-politicized. It’s been so shrugged off that when people like Hillary Clinton have mentioned it I’ve found myself shouting, “Thank you!” Listen, we all know the reason why and we know had this happened at a sporting event or somewhere involving families it would be a different story. But it didn’t so it isn’t. And ain’t that a bitch. All I can do now, today in 2017, is think about those 49 people who lost their lives and shed a tear for them. My sadness for them isn’t over, as La Fisher said at the top of the post, just over there.

Also “over there”? Me the little kid from an alcoholic home. He showed up this weekend unexpectedly. It happens when I’m around family sometimes. This little kid, being just a kid, still gets his feelings hurt by my parents or siblings. He still feels less than his perfect brothers. He still feels like a big gay weirdo who won’t ever be enough. He still thinks he isn’t okay. Me, the 44-year-old sober man, knows that these old stories aren’t true but also knows, despite the mass amounts of work I’ve done to heal my past, that this kid is bound to show up and have his little heart-broken again. My old sponsor like to remind me that family could push my buttons because they were the ones who installed them. While I’d like to think said buttons have been modernized to a touchscreen, the point is I still have them and they were still pushed over the weekend. But the good news is I didn’t react. I was there to have fun and celebrate. My own emotional baggage or hurt feelings could wait until I got home. Clearly, they did wait and I had a moment to cry in my Starbucks yesterday while on the phone with someone who gets it.

The truth is this kid, this part of me, might not fully ever get over old wounds. Pain and grief? They’ll probably always sting too. And that’s okay. I know for a fact that I hurt less than I used to, that it feels good to cry, to have authentic reactions and that it’s okay that, like the hill from my window, it’s all still over there.

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it takes a village, people.

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Seven pills a day.

Three to four meetings a week.

One guided meditation, three times a week.

Four other addicts who I call/text regularly.

Five afternoon naps during the course of a workweek.

10,000 to 18,000 steps per day walking.

As of May 27, 2017 those are the numbers. The numbers I need to keep this mental health cruise ship afloat. They will undoubtedly fluctuate and change. The meds for example will probably go down this month. Which is good news as I’m currently on some combo that has given me the bladder of a 68-year-old woman. The meetings should probably increase but will likely dip at some point because I am, after all, me. The steps, the naps, the mediation all subject to dip or increase depending on how fucked I feel on any given day. But in general, this is an honest equation I’ve come up with for today. I am realistic with my rebellious, stubborn ass. I know there are days when the “But I don’t wanna”s will take over. This is fine and I try not to beat myself up. I’m balancing a myriad of manageable but deadly diseases and sometimes what they all want me to do is lie the fuck down. Yet despite my best efforts to find the precise numerical equation to make me all better there’s something I need more than anything else: other people.

If I wasn’t so lazy I would be able to find you study after study that point to the power of support for folks like me. By folks “like me” I mean people with addiction, alcoholism, depression and HIV.  But these studies floating out there in the internet say people dealing with grief, cancer and trauma also benefit from leaning on other people. It’s odd too because when hit with one of these conditions we often hear, “You need to take care of yourself.” Which is certainly true but sounds solitary.  Like “Just figure it out on your own and make yourself all better. And could you hurry up because you’re a drag to be around?” However time after time, I’ve learned that when I take care of myself by myself, there is very little care involved. I’m tortured, isolated and filled with a grab bag of shitty self-sabotaging ideas. I second guess everything and feel like I’m the worst person on the planet. In other words, it’s a party for one and it sucks. Thus, taking care of myself involves me reaching out to other people.

This is not second nature for me. Kids like me from alcoholic homes suffer from “I got this!” syndrome maybe more so than any other kids on the planet. We in some ways raised ourselves and figured out stuff by on our own so reaching out and asking for help is a foreign concept. As a person in recovery for the past 8+ years, I’ve had to learn how to lean on other people and open my mouth. This week, I had HIV clinic appointment. It’s my first since moving to Portland. Thanks to the miracle of the private sector and little to no help from the government at all, HIV positive folks like myself with no insurance have a plethora of resources including free meds available. I am eternally grateful but in order to tap into that stuff I have to take the action. I have to make the appointments. I also have to show up for those appointments. I have to bring the documents and answer the emails and do the work. All of which I did this week but it wasn’t lost on me that just taking care of myself and asking for help is still no small feat. Overcoming my self-sabotaging, I got in and handled my business but it was far from a solo act.

After a morning dealing with incredibly nice nurses, case workers and receptionists, it hit me how many people I actually need. Beyond that setting which also includes therapists and pharmacists, there’s all of the people in my recovery life I need. Sponsors, sponsees, all the people who share their stories with me, all the people who listen to my story, the people who set up meetings, the people who make coffee at said meetings, the people who just smile or say hi and know exactly what I’m going through and on and on. Oh and this does not even include all of the friends, family members and co-workers who lift me up, encourage me, walk with me, laugh with me and generally help this baby bird out of the nest on a regular basis. Yet it doesn’t stop there. There’s also you.

You who exist in this digital realm that somehow I was lucky enough to find. You who despite never meeting in person we are linked together by our joint experiences. You who share my pain, joy and warped sense of humor from wherever you are. You who are also damaged but recovering. You who read my rambling, crazy nonsense and even say nice things about it. The point is it I feel proudly connected to you and all the other dozens of people who help me along the way. Like I said, it’s been proven countless times that I cannot do any of this alone and now I know I don’t have to. While you may not be cops, Indian chiefs or construction workers, you are my people and for that I’m eternally grateful.

I’m too tired to hate everything

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Being  a “person of modest immune system means,”  I tend to poop out faster than I used to. True, I am no longer fueled by cocaine and self-hatred like I was but this little 3 letter biological glitch that I have can make me one tried ass bitch. The old battery signal blinks red and before you know it I wanna collapse like a broken windup toy. However, my HIV isn’t entirely to blame here. I think this exhausting modern world is at fault too. The antidote to this is, of course, lots of naps and self-care and generally being better to myself. All of which is necessary and fantastic. Besides, I’ve decided that being exhausted certainly beats being negative and exhausting.

Oreo, Pickles and Marlo Bundo. That’s it. Those are the three things I don’t hate about the current White House. For those of you who are smart and have thrown your televisions out the window and only read old copies of Highlights stolen from your dentist’s office, those are the names of Vice President Mike Pence’s two cats and pet rabbit, respectively. And that is literally the only piece of news related to the current people in charge that I don’t hate with the passion of a thousand flaming hemorrhoids. Two cats and a rabbit. Everything else can bite me. Traditionally, I’m a sliver lining type of guy but when it comes to all of this bullshit, I’ve only been able to muster up enthusiasm for these three animals, who by the way, I will gladly rescue at any time.  I’ve had it with your Jareds, your Bannons, your Ivankas, your Mar-A-Lagos. I am done and can say from a place of inner peace and understanding that I fucking hate all of it. It’s all beyond gross and depressing. Yet these nearly 11 weeks (ONLY 11, PEOPLE!) have done something interesting: I’ve been beaten into a state of exhaustion that has turned my swirling black hole of negativity into an attitude of, dare I say, optimism.

Oh don’t get it twisted. I am not optimistic at all about anything happening in the news and should probably be handed a complimentary Zoloft flavored Slurpee every time I read The New York Times. My negative, Irish, alcoholic ass is pretty convinced that the worst is truly yet to come. But I’m so freaking tired that I don’t have the energy to spend a lot of time hating everything. Hate is a lot of work and it’s hard work with no benefits and zero pay. Blah. I’m too old for all of that. After all, I didn’t stop actually killing myself only to mope around and act like I wanted to kill myself all the time. So instead, my optimism/exhaustion has allowed me to let my guard down. I’ll pretty much agree to anything that sounds fun, uplifting, distracting, educational and related to cheese/chocolate/coffee. Please read yesterday’s post as proof of my willingness to soak up and enjoy any and every little thing that might not suck. I mean I just booked a spot at a free discussion about Anne Sexton at the library and I’m excited about it, for crying out loud. The main bi-product of all of this is a sunnier and less gloomy outlook.

Yet this new little optimism by way of exhaustion is not without its troubles. Sure, getting tired and over everything in the news has pushed me to pursue positive things that make me happy. But I still struggle with this whole “staying informed while not trying to murder myself with information” thing. I am not alone here as there’s only been about 2,000 essays written on it since January. I don’t know what the answer is. There’s no easy way not feel horrified and I don’t think we should stop. Normalizing any of this stuff is not the freaking answer. Like I said, it’s tricky. Also, as a person in recovery who struggled with dishonesty his whole life, I have to keep it real that my pursuit of sunshine and rainbows doesn’t lead to delusion. And lastly, there are times when I just really don’t like the world and the people who inhabit it. Those are days when I need to hang out with animals or books or people in recovery.

Alas, this clearly isn’t a post about how changing your attitude can change the world or some crap. But I will say this: as I was getting ready to write earlier this evening, I was dragging my feet. It’s been eight posts in a row and I felt like I was out of gas. Then, like a good homosexual, I put on YouTube videos of musical numbers from Little Shop of Horrors. Not sure why but they instantly made me feel happy and lighter and made me realize yet again that Ellen Greene is totally underrated. Within moments I was ready to write and even jotted down ideas for future posts too. The thing is listening to muscials and writing, I know the truth. The truth is I am still a silver lining guy who is optimistic. I am optimistic that I’ll continue to be loved and love. I’m optimistic that people and this planet are acutally okay. (most of the time) And I’m optimistic that we’ll get through all of this shit together.

make magic/make a mess

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Okay, terrific. I’ve decided to write every damn day in April in an as of yet untitled blogging event promoted and invented solely by myself to basically keep me busy and out of trouble. Well, that’s all peachy, my dear. But there’s one fuck up we have to deal with first: what exactly do you plan to write about for 30 days, mister smarty pants?

Insert cricket sound here. 

Oh yeeeaaaah. I should probably come up with stuff to say for the next 25 days, shouldn’t I? In my life as a social media manager and content writer, I’d tell clients in a haughty, know-it-all voice that they need to come up with an editorial calendar. You know, a list of posts they wanted to publish for the next several days. I figured I should do that for myself and set out to create a publishing calendar for the ages, filled with awe-inspiring posts and soon to be viral must-reads. Sadly, all I was able to come up with was some song lyrics and a post I wanna write about how Aaron Spelling shows turned me into a glamour junkie (Don’t worry. It’s coming.) So my rock solid advice turned out to sort of suck when applied to myself. But then it hit me: why not talk about writing and more specifically how to make something, regardless if you’re inspired or not?

Insert lightening bolt sound here. 

First off, I think the idea of one thing or one person inspiring our writing is insane to me. Like talk about a lot of pressure on that artist. Being the good addict that I am, my motto for inspiration is “more is more.” I gleefully admit to being a hoarder of inspiration. The more art I look at, the more music I listen to, the more television I binge, the more I read, the better. The flow needs to be constant. For example, I am currently bingeing Twin Peaks, Veep and The Wire. All shows I have never seen(I know, I know, I know) and all different levels of storytelling. I had to temporarily walk away from my Twin Peaks fest last night after a dream sequence made me feel like I relapsed on hallucinogens.

I chose to read instead. Currently, I’m cramming down as many essay collections I can get my hands on. The first? So Sad Today by Melissa Broder. It’s freaking beautiful, hilarious and as promised in the title, heartbreakingly sad. It’s blowing my mind open which is kind of the job of all good inspirations and is actually informing how I’ll put together my own essay collection. I have found the more channels I have open, the more new stuff will flow through. Here’s a few things currently inspiring me:

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True, it’s not foolproof. Like this morning when I first woke up and thought to myself, “For once in my life, I have nothing to say.” Yet it eventually comes.

When I am finally filled with this mystical juju called inspiration, the next thing I need to do is sit down and do the whole writing part. This is the unglamorous part for me. This is the slog. I’d rather have beautiful, witty ideas flow out of my brain which would then manifest themselves into existence, if we’re being honest here. Taking the time and doing the physical act of writing is the part I’m less thrilled about. Sure, I always feel better when I do it but the simple thought of doing it can stop me cold in my tracks. If just plop down in front of the laptop and not think too much about it, it’ll flow right out. But if I’m kicking, screaming and dragging my feet, it’ll be miserable. Also? I’ve found the just sit down and go approach works when I’m not 100% inspired either. That’s actually an exciting way to write. Feels more organic like you don’t know what the hell will wind up on the screen. Obviously much of this site is composed that way, for better or for worse. Inspired or not, for me nothing comes if I don’t give myself a break.

Which leads me to my last point: as long as I make something, it’s a success. I need to write something, create anything, just get it down, regardless of how shitty it may or may not be.  I can’t go there with how many views I’ll get, how many comments will be left or if I’m just writing something, only to have thrown it down the deep, dark internet void never to be heard from again. Sounds hard which it is. But I think, like most good things in my life, I learned it in recovery. This idea of just not drinking or using drugs and just showing up for myself was enough for a very long time. In fact, some days it’s still enough and quiet frankly a tall muthafucking order. What was happening when I did this though was I was teaching myself to stay out of the results and do what was in front of me. Turns out this way of living is applicable for everything from emptying the cat box to paying bills and to writing. Over time and on projects as varied as 2 act plays about Craigslist to press release for small businesses, the task of getting writing done gets done when I just do what’s in front of me.

The best thing about breathing and giving myself a break when I’m writing is I realize that what I have to bring to the table as a writer is enough. That my talent is enough. That my experiences are enough. That flawed, procrastinating, occasionally bitchy, old me is enough. And I hope you know that about you, too.

Insert wild applause noise here. 

 

 

I know I’m unloveable. You don’t have to tell me.

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First off, let’s calm down. Those are Smiths lyrics in the title. This isn’t some piece about how miserable and unloved I am. This isn’t some 1,200 word soliloquy about how much I hate myself. But wouldn’t that be evolved if it was? No, seriously. If I was all, “Look I’m sort of over myself and here’s why.” In a culture where we’re all trying to convince one another how “great” we’re doing,  wouldn’t people freak out if we just blurted out how shitty we felt about ourselves? In fact, I know they would. As a person in recovery, I’ve seen people’s faces flop to the floor when I casually mention depression or make jokes about thoughts of suicide. (Thoughts of Suicide- the new perfume from Estée Lauder. It’ll pass.) It doesn’t go over so well. I’m breaking a fourth wall and people do not dig it. It’s like telling people who love wrestling how fake it is. They know it’s fake. They just don’t want to talk about it, okay? So fine, fine, fine. I get it. Well, now I do. (sometimes) I know not everybody wants to hear cocaine stories or tales of mental woe. That’s why I have these here pages and the rooms of recovery.  But since I’m not at some polite function where everybody is sipping red wine and trading puns about the news of the day, let’s get back this business of being unloveable. This is my house we can talk freely about those sorts of things. Dammit.

Back in the summer of 2009, with seven months sober, I found out that I was HIV positive. I’ve told this story before and probably will a lot more because it’s perhaps something I can say out loud that might help other people. Thus if it’s a story that makes folks uncomfortable, I kind of don’t give a fuck. Anyway, I most recently told the whole tale here, if you’d care to read it. Or you can just wait until I turn it into a musical ice show extravaganza. One of the many reverbs of that diagnosis was this thought in the back of my mind that I’d never date or fall in love again. Now this, unlike the title, was a real moment of self-pity. This was a sad music, wear black and chain smoke state of mind. This was me feeling like the big love story I wanted again wasn’t going to happen. Before we start crying, let’s put on Dionne Warwick.

The music of Hal David and Burt Bacharach doesn’t make it all better but it couldn’t hurt. Besides, I was in bad shape. I was trying to stay sober, trying to process this health diagnosis and getting over a 12 year relationship imploding to boot. Never falling in love again sounded like a very real prospect, Ms. Warwick and I wasn’t too happy about it. Nevertheless, me and my unloveable ass marched on. What other choice did I have? I heard them, the infamous them who say wise shit in 12 step meetings, say in my early recovery, “We’ll love you until you learn to love yourself.” This was a relief because I had no idea what loving myself even looked like. My attempts at loving myself included dropping ecstasy during the day and going to a bathhouse, shopping and drinking margaritas alone and smoking weed and watching 80’s movies. Yeah, pretty sure you won’t find any of those activities in the self-help section of your local bookstore. Clearly, I was going to need all the help that “they” could give me. For someone with low to zero self-esteem, this notion of loving yourself sounded obtuse. I mean where did I even begin? Did I need to send myself flowers? Take myself to dinner? I had no clue so I was thrilled that people who seemed to really like themselves would show me what the fuck it was all about.

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Here’s the thing: I really hated myself. I don’t know where it started or why or how. But the feelings of inadequacy and self-loathing were so long standing with me, that they felt normal. Therefore, I needed to start simple on this whole loving myself song and dance. “Self-esteem through esteemable acts” is what they said. Things like going to meetings, resting, eating well, laughing, helping others– all fell under the esteemable acts category. Basically, doing less horrible stuff regularly would help me feel less horrible. And they were right. Over time, these little things helped me flip the script. Yet I hated myself for decades so it wasn’t like I woke up one day and was like, “Oh my gawd, y’all! I totally love myself!” This hatred paired with my other longtime homie self-sabotage didn’t hit the road right away. It took me months to give myself a break, to be nice to myself and to stop trying to self-destruct. Even in recovery, I wound up in many self-hating situations and slipped back into old behavior like it was a cozy sleeping bag.  But fear not. I promised you a non-downer post. I swear there’s a silver lining. Listen to this Ne-yo song written by Sia, a sober alcoholic and we’ll get there.

Despite setbacks and fuckups, I got there. I eventually could hang out with myself and really enjoy it. Before I knew it, romance entered the picture too. Nearly a year after that diagnosis, I met Michael. I was in Denver hanging out with my sister and met this funny, charming lovely being. We had several dates and we were instantly taken with each other. But he didn’t know that I had a condition that put me in the unloveable category. After being together for days, my sponsor at the time told me I had to tell him. My stomach was in knots at the very idea but she was right. I planned on telling him as soon as possible. We were on our way home from a movie and I just blurted it out. There I go with the blurting things out again. His reaction was shocking: He said he didn’t care. Insert lots of tears and kissing and the catapulting of our romance.  The point is I was wrong. Turns out I was loveable. Shows you what I know.

I mention all of this now because this guy who proved me wrong and I are currently separated. Oh god, no. Not like that. That would be a fucking downer. No, he’s just out of town working for the next six weeks. But here’s the real miracle of this whole rambling roller coaster of emotions: even though he’s not around, I know that he loves me, that others love me and that I even love myself.  And that’s the best ending of all.

Fade to black. Roll credits. Play The Smiths.

what’s new?

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What’s new? What’s new with me, you ask? Well, naturally, I’m thrilled that you did because there is a whole lotta new going one in SeanLand. New furniture to sit my pampered behind on! New sparkly town to live in! New places to go to meetings at! New fancy folks to hang out with! New yummy places to eat! New thrilling things to do. New, new, new! But the bad news is that I’m the same old me wherever I go which is exhausting regardless of my current zip code.

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I noticed the other day as I got unexpectedly snippy about an inane topic like where to put the little thingy that holds our spare change that my mental health wasn’t exactly award-winning. In fact, I was a level of cranky which quickly made me feel like I was crawling out of my skin. And this was AFTER I had been to a meeting. So it wasn’t just feeling “dry” but more of that “spiritual malady” business that the recovery kids talk about. Meaning maybe all was not so well on the mental health ranch.  Granted, I understand that being snippy after moving is par for the course. Given the amount of ridiculous crap me and the hubs have had to endure over the last 10 days, a little tantrum now and then isn’t the end of the world. Still, I don’t love being an asshole about ridiculous stuff like where to put the little thingy that holds our spare change. Because the reality is at the core of my being I don’t actually give a shit where that little thingy goes. No really, I don’t. I’m NTKOH (not that kind of homo). Michael’s department in this relationship is Home Decor & Organization and I happily turn all of it over to him. And I know I’m in good hands as he actually does this kind of thing for a living. If I’m being testy about stuff I honestly do not care about, I’m clearly not taking care of myself.

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The short(ish) answer to that question, “What’s new?” is “same old, same old.” Feel free to say that response in a Texan accent or like a bored waitress at a roadside diner, by the way. Whatever you like. I trust you. Anyway, the predictability of my own bullshit is tiresome yet comedic. Like a Lucy rerun or a Looney Tunes gag, you can see the joke setup and it’s punchline from 40 miles away. As I finally meditated this morning after days of running around like a person gathering stuff for an impending apocalypse, I had to laugh. It was hilarious that as usual the things that make me feel less crazy still do and are fairly easy to accomplish. Duh.com.  As I’ve lamented recently in these pages,  meditation has really rocked my clock in 2017. Breathing and taking a few moments that aren’t all about me is a fucking relief  so when I don’t do that I tend to feel pretty gosh darn horrible. It’s a part of the combo that makes me pull off this 24-7 mental health magic trick and when it’s missing, the shit is not cute. But if we’re really gonna sip some coffee and tell the truth, me not taking care of myself mentally is actually a tad uglier than all of this.

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The other night after a long day of something tedious and moving related, the husband and I went to dinner. He doesn’t have the specialness of alcoholism that I do so he sometimes orders a beer or a cocktail at dinner. It isn’t a big deal. I certainly don’t obsess about drinking or freak out when he has a drink so it’s not a thing between us. Yet when he ordered whatever alcoholic beverage it was at dinner, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think to myself, “Oh! I should order one of those too!” Luckily, that thought was immediately followed up with another thought of “Yeah because that’d work out real well.” But nevertheless it happened. Oh and it happened a few days prior to that as I watched him and coworker drink wine at a farewell thing we attended. Look, these thoughts aren’t pretty and having them immediately disqualifies me as some sobriety guru I’m sure. Darn it. You would assume that after 8 years I would never, ever think about drinking. But in my case you’d be wrong. The truth? I drank and used drugs for a long ass time so I’m just going to have occasional fantasies about it. The important thing is that they pass and not turn into plans I want to materialize. Also, now I tell on myself and have a little list of things I can do to make myself feel more human and less like a snippy weirdo who wants to start a fight about the thingy that holds the change.  The flip side is when I don’t do these things, there’s a possibility that the passing thought actually becomes a reality and that’s just something I don’t want to risk.

So what’s actually new? Nearly everything externally  is new which I have to say is exciting. I feel like a kid again and I’m ready to explore and be inspired in a different town.  But absolutely nothing internally and that’s really okay because I love me, snippiness, random thoughts of drinking and weirdness included.

 

flight or fight (or write)

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The answer is usually right in front of my face. The answer is usually something I knew all along. The answer is usually standing in the waiting room tapping its foot and saying, “Hello? I’m over here, you big dumdum.” And this is how I’ve ended up posting endless links to new things I’ve written over the last month.

Let me explain: intuitively I knew I had to get back on a regular writing schedule. Now I’ve continued to write for clients and work but doing my own projects? Not so freaking much. After completing a script last year and battling some health nonsense, writing for me felt like something energetically I just couldn’t swing. The problem was, however, that without writing regularly, I started to feel nuts. I was explaining to another alcoholic just yesterday that I’m often jealous of people who can maintain their sanity and sobriety by just being physically sober or doing very little work. I, on the other hand, need a lot of help and from all kinds of sources. It’s like mind-blowing mole, you know that dark spicy chocolate sauce that comes from Mexico that when done right can be a religious experience.  The real deal, make-you-wanna-smack-your- mama mole requires at least 3 days and 30 ingredients to achieve poetic heights. And my sanity/spirituality/humanity is much the same. I can’t just do meetings. I can’t just exercise. I can’t just meditate. I can’t just have a digital support group. I need to be firing on all cylinders to make myself consumable for the human public. Now when an ingredient is missing, I begin to feel icky. A regular writing practice was missing so this is how I’ve ended up bothering you three times a week with new posts.

Suffice to say over the last month, my life has gradually changed and a light has gone on. I’ve written a few things that lots of people have read. I’ve written a few more that no one has read. All of this is fine. I am not doing it for internet pats on the back or sparkly comments. I’m doing it to stay alive. As I’ve mentioned, the news in June kicked my ass and made me feel devastatingly sad. Old me would have felt a blip of sadness and doused myself in alcohol or cocaine. Today, I feel all the feels as the kids say and it’s uncomfortable and real and intense. Thank god for writing. Writing helps we exorcise whatever is banging around in my head. June also saw some gnarly personal conflicts come up that previously would have resulted in neck crooking finger waving name calling confrontation better suited for Bravo than real life. I’ve somehow been able to avoid being a dick while not running away. I’ve stayed present, calm and authentic and I’ve kept writing. Who the hell knew any of this was possible? I made simple commitment to blog three times a week in addition to things I’m collaborating on and my professional stuff. That’s it.

Now, those of you who know me in real life or follow me on Twitter(which I was recently informed isn’t real life! Mind. Blown.) know how much I detest self-helpish, click baity ‘You’re living your life wrong if you don’t do this” type of posts. I hate that we’ve somehow cultivated a culture that gives the thumbs up to people who’ve stopped being an asshole for like 2 minutes and now they should be experts and tell us how to live. Eww. So in lieu of dishing out the kind of unsolicited advice that makes me gag: I’m simply offering my experience of the last month. I felt yucky and emotionally jumbled before I got back writing regularly again and now I don’t. Whoomp there it is. If there’s something that you love, something that helps you feel better, something you want to get back to (writing, knitting, walking, baking, meditating, volunteering, other positive activities that end in ‘ing’.) why not take a month and get back to them? It can’t hurt. Fuck. It might even help you. And maybe for you, like me, it’ll be the answer you’ve been looking for this whole time.

*please feel free to leave sparkly comments below.