Out of the Rabbit Hole I Go

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The mind is a beautiful, complex and multi-faceted thing; it can transform the humdrum everyday ordinary world that we live in to a place of mystery and intrigue, wizards and warlocks, magicians and Merlin. Simply by picking up a book and delving into the words, our minds bring forth every color, character and conversation in such a way as to make us feel as if we are truly living in the story. This is one of the things I love about the mind and as you can imagine (having such a beautiful mind as you do) that with every action there exists an equal and opposite reaction (shout out to Newton) and with every rose there is a thorn (shout out to Poison).

For every magical, fantastical and amazing journey I travel in my mind, there is an equal and opposite journey, which is disturbing, dark and often in a barren desert of desolation, shades of black and slate. It is a forest where trees of self-loathing and doubt grow tall, reaching for the sky, stretching upwards, blocking out the sun of self-worth and self-esteem. It’s the ocean of hurt caused by living a life built on mistakes and bad choices; the riptide always pulling me under, telling me to surrender, to quit and just let go. That’s the only way out of the pain, it lies with the skill of the Devil himself. It pours salt in those wounds, and the mind delivers memories that come as lightning bolts to my brain, branding the memory, embedding it forever to remember as another loss, another failure, another broken heart. Sometimes I feel as though I’m just an ant on leaf in a roaring river of white water, being swept away, holding on for dear life to the fragile grip I have. The emotions make me feel it, the mind makes me believe it. So, I have often wondered how much control do I actually have over this maniacal mind? I have struggled with my emotions for my entire life (as most people with a pulse have) and while I don’t believe I will ever “master” my emotions, I believe I have a better understanding of why feeling them is so necessary. Not allowing the painful memories to be remembered sets you up to forget the lesson that made it so painful, which sets you up to make the same mistake again and again. Not feeling the bad feelings by self-medicating or denial leads to addiction and a loss of connection to reality, a state of constant effort to suppress, forget and wish it into oblivion. If it sounds exhausting, it’s because it is. The truth shall set you free, yes, but as they say…this may hurt a bit.

Ok – so ramble, ramble. Sorry I think I got a touch off path. What all this is about is what happens after I fall down the rabbit hole of these thoughts, these emotions and the resulting isolation, depression and exhaustion. It’s not as extensive as the aftermath of a really good (bad) manic episode, but it has its own challenges; reconnecting with those you l love and who love me, hoping they will still be around and don’t take the time away personally. Rebuilding the self-esteem, the picture of me I carry around in my mind and validating changes that I need to make. The things I need to do to make my life more of what I need it to be and in time, the legacy I leave behind when I go wherever I will go (shout out St. Peter, with any luck). Time to get out of the rabbit hole and back into the world; open the blinds, let the light in and try, try again.

Thanks for stopping by.

Begin Again (Again)

Another year, another month in rehab; seems like this cycle never fails to repeat itself. Stress, depression, poor coping skills and ultimately, drinking. Drinking is not the origin of the problem, but the one that usually brings the issue to life in glorious Technicolor and Surround Sound. Learning who I am and why I do the things I do will more than likely be a lifetime project, but I am getting closer to my truths each time. How many times does one have to travel down a road before they recognize it leads to a destination that is not the one they want? How many times do I try again, only to fail? How many times can people be there for me, encourage me and help me when I just fall back to pieces again? Compassionate people have their limits and everyone has something they are battling, be it depression, simple unhappiness, a toxic relationship, addiction, avoidance and a painful past. The painful past doesn’t stay in the past; like a child coloring for the first time, it goes outside the lines of the past and bleeds into the present time, often without our knowing.

One of the things we learn in therapy is why we react the way we do to certain people, places and things (emotions can be included with things) and I am learning that my painful past is fully present in my present day. The strings that lead back to the original pain are like telephone wires, communicating and echoing the pain of the incident long ago. If I do nothing to cut those ties, heal those wounds and exorcise those demons, I will be destined to repeat this process over and over again, until I can fight no more or until I am dead and gone. This is not a post about blaming others for my past, but more to understand how the past is still manipulating my thoughts and with them, my emotional well-being. I have created a great deal of my painful past, simply by being a human being and trying to make myself happy, without having the understanding of how to create real happiness. Alcohol made me happy until it made me dangerous to myself and others; men made me happy until I realized the emotion I was feeling wasn’t happiness, but some ugly deformed cousin of happiness in which their happiness (supposedly) made me happy. The old saying “It’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all” may be true, but it’s better to not pretend love when it’s lust you’re feeling. Not to confuse the two, which I have done for most of my life. If you’ve never felt true, unconditional and pure love from someone, how would you recognize it? The thrill of the love affair brings about emotions that could be mistaken for happiness, but I’m fairly certain that the formula for happiness does not include compromising ones morals or living in secret, experiencing alternating moments of bliss and shame. My life is what I have made it and will continue to be a mix of good and bad, but mostly what lies between the two. I am responsible for my happiness and my well-being. I am not responsible for everyone else on the planet, I cannot save anyone except possibly myself. Others may care, but their lives demand their time and attention, as it should be. The choices I have made in the past have led me to the place I am today as the choices I make today will lead me to tomorrow’s destination.

My painful past is not without its benefits, as pain is a sure sign of growth. I have learned how precious life is and how easily one (me) can believe that I am not worthy of such a precious gift and try to return it. I’m pretty sure God (or Buddha, or my Higher Power) doesn’t want me to take that gift and s**t all over it and return it to Him with a single finger salute. I’m pretty sure the idea is to live the life, to the best of my ability with whatever gifts and challenges that come with it; learn and grow, love and give, have and hold forever and ever. Understanding that to error is human and to forgive, divine is the formula and there is no pass or fail, there is only learning and growing. To love oneself seems simple enough, but for some of us, it is the most difficult challenge we face, every single day. So, I will begin again (again) and keep trying, keep learning and hopefully, ultimately, I will love myself as those of you who love me do. This is my wish and my most passionate prayer. For a life without love is no life at all.

BrotherWord-Love-Thyself

School Daze

“Two great gobs of greasy, grimy gopher guts, mutilated monkey meat, itty-bitty birdy feet; two big eyeballs rolling down a dirty street and me without a spoon…”

Out of all of the things I could remember from grade school, this is the one thing that just instantly pops in my head when I think of those early days of being a kid in the 70’s. I know there are different versions, depending on where in the world you grew up and so there are variations on the theme, but in general, it’s just plain silliness and I love it.

Whenever I think of school, the first thing that comes to mind is the crisp Autumn air, the leaves turning color and the back to school shopping, which was hands-down my favorite part of it all. Some kids want new shoes, new clothes and backpacks. I, on the other hand, looked forward to new pens and fresh, unmarked notebooks and piles of binder paper, just waiting to be filled with the endless stream of thoughts and ideas I always seem to find whenever faced with a blank page. I loved the new beginning, fresh start and endless possibilities that awaited me with each new school year; it was like New Year’s except without the hangover and the pressure to make resolutions. It was a chance to learn, to strengthen existing friendships, make some new ones and exercise my brain, while learning new concepts and discovering new worlds that I had not previously known. It was an escape from an unquiet, chaotic household to a world of order, clearly defined rules of behavior and expectations. It was a world of learning and because I was (and still am) a huge fan of learning, I received a great deal of praise and encouragement in those classrooms. It was a place that I felt I truly belonged to and some of my most formative lessons growing up took place at school.

As an adult, of course, things are a little different, but I still love learning. I have to work harder than I did as a kid because 5o is just around the proverbial corner and because (as you all know) my mood swings around like dancers doing the Lindy Hop.

But there are rewards that by far outweigh the effort put forth; the sense of accomplishment, of facing challenges and overcoming obstacles that you just don’t get when you run away or quit. It reinforces the belief that I am capable, intelligent and have some serious moxie.

mox·ie
noun NORTH AMERICAN informal
force of character, determination, or nerve.

I love that word, moxie. It’s so cool. Makes me think of old school gangster movies with Edward G. Robinson, James Cagney and Bogey.

Sorry. Shiny thing distracted me.

At any rate, school will always be a place that I love. I may not like the teacher, the subject matter or other miscellaneous things, it is a happy place for me and the memories of playing dodgeball and hopscotch will always be some of my all-time favorites. My first slumber party, becoming a song leader (cooler dancing sister to the cheerleader) and playing volleyball are some of milestones that made me the woman I am today and the teachers who were endlessly patient with my endless supply of questions nurtured the desire to learn in me and allowed me to explore my intellect and question what others called the truth.

Doodles. That’s another thing I love about school. Doodles are awesome.

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Happy Anniversary 2 Me

Holy Moly. I can’t believe 2 years ago I sat down and wrote my first post. So much has changed in these last couple of years but some things (thankfully) have remained; my sobriety, my circle of friends and family who (still) love me and (still) believe in me and my journey. I am thankful and still somewhat surprised to be so incredibly blessed. I’ve learned a great deal about myself, have spent a great deal of time outside my comfort level and have had the opportunity to continually redefine my “New Normal”. Dealing with difficult Life Events, such as death, divorce, sickness and ongoing stress are things that we all encounter and we all have our own unique ways of not only dealing with such issues, but in how we respond to them. Some encounter death and look upon it as just another destination; others believe it is the end of the line, a final destination, if you will. No life after death, no reincarnation, no Heaven (or Hell) just death. They respond in kind, either rejoicing and celebrating their loved one’s “graduation” as my dear friend GG used to say; others mourn and fall into a deep depression, feeling the loss as acutely as they would a severed limb. Some will make this their reason or excuse to overindulge, to fall off the wagon, to stop any and all efforts at creating happiness in their lives. Whatever the way we deal with Life Events, they will be a part of our lives no matter who we are, where we live or what we believe. Faith or lack thereof will either hinder or help one’s quest, for as we well know, positive thoughts bring positive feelings and likewise negativity breeds bad feelings. I have learned it is one thing to have the knowledge, but quite another to put said knowledge into practice. I started this blog with the idea that I could just have a forum to pour out all these thoughts that are constantly on my mind, dashing around in my mind, just like race cars at the Grand Prix, each one hot on the tails of the other, racing to be heard and brought out of the shadows into my conscious mind. What I never expected was that anyone (other than maybe my family and close friends) would read it, much less benefit from reading it. I am constantly and pleasantly surprised with the feedback I’ve gotten and am determined to keep blogging, so long as someone wants to hear what I have to say.
Happy 2nd Anniversary, sunnywithachanceofmanic. Here’s to another year and another after that, etc.

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