Friday, August 5, 2016

I can see clearly now the rain is gone

It's been a while. I am trying my hand again (and again and again...) at blogging in this little hidden nook.

Last I wrote I said no for real I am giving up drinking and so I did. I have not had any alcohol since December 6th, 2015. It's been fascinating to explore this new life style. The hardest part for years has been sticking to the quitting part, go figure. I found every excuse I could find and then there were none left. I want my kids to never doubt my sobriety. I do not want to make a huge deal out of it. I do not want my kids to see me drunk and/or out of control due to alcohol. I want to live the life I want. It was that simple. I made a choice and I am sticking to it. Nine months today. I told Kevin that weekend I was going to do this and he nodded his approval. He's been quietly supportive. I have no qualms with others and how they drink. By all means I think others should drink, My biggest fears were losing friends over it but honestly if you make a huge deal about this that is when issues arise. I have just quietly declined drinking and I have told everyone I no longer drink. Some ask me why and I just tell them I just needed the change and drinking was not necessarily part of who I want to be now or who I wanted to be come in the future. I also did not leave the door open for myself to find an excuse. I made the decision, I walked through the door, and firmly closed it behind me. It's been good.

I am down playing this change by the is actually exciting and moderately freeing! I honestly did not realize how much of my income was going to booze, how I spent my days looking forward to a drink(s), all of the guilt and fear I had around drinking when it came to the kiddos has washed away. I cannot change what they have seen or what they do know but right now in the present they know me as this mom. It's like not drinking freed up space in my brain and emotional pool and my body was released from the ups and downs that alcohol (even moderate consumption) had on me. I actually sleep better than I ever have.

For the first time in my life I feel like I can truly focus on mind/body/spirit and that my friends is magical. Interestingly, here is the biggest thing I noticed. I could see more clearly. Not in the drunken stupor kind of way. It was like having a vale over my eyes and someone lifted that vale to reveal the good and bad in me. By seeing that more clearly I am able to address that more clearly.

For instance, soon after I stopped drinking I noticed that I automatically found new things to fill in the space that drinking left. Good and bad things. The most quick and apparently not so great things were shopping and eating sweets. I found myself shopping non stop. And without thinking about it I would find myself eating ice cream at night thinking well at least I am not drinking. I have curbed both of these things and in fact I addressed them as well. When I shop I try to be mindful of what I need and why I am buying things versus just buying to get. A similar thing with sweets though that has been a tougher habit to break. I love sweets with or without alcohol ;)

I do feel like emotions are more raw too. This is a good thing. I tend to feel less depressed and anxious and I manage my emotions better but I also try to see life through a more positive lens. Like the lens before felt watered down or broken but now I am able to toggle the lens more to get clear on what I want and do not want from life. Yes, I still get depressed/anxious/confused but I do not make choices from that place. Rather I find a way to get around those negative feelings and make decisions from a better place.

Finally, the thing that has most become evident to me is that I am where I want to be. My job and life feel right. I am infinitely grateful that I stuck to being a working mom and that by working hard and being in love with what I do translates into great things. I never saw life like this before. There is still a lot of learning to be had and I am by no means perfect but I can see things so much more clearly and that has been an amazing by product of not drinking any more.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Better Me

There is a moment. Always that moment. Where you see things clearly and know it is right to do and then you forget. That is how it goes. That is how it's gone. I should stop. I should quit. I do not want to be that person anymore. I am beyond that. I am over that. And the biggest worst of them all - I do not want my kids to know that person I used to be. And oh my god they do know me as that person. Not always. Just enough though. Too much. I hate that. It is the tragic thing I'd hoped to avoid, the reason I had behind not wanting to have children. The fact that I had no control over this one little (HUGE) thing in my life. I can control it and control it and control it and then I cannot. I let it sneak it slowly and like walking on a slick concrete, I slip a little but I hold my footing but then suddenly it is pouring out and by god I have lost my footing completely and I am floating away, letting a torrent of water drag me away. I let my demons creep and crawl in. My childhood, my mother, my father, the alcoholism, the violence and drama, the manipulation and pain that has been doled out to me over the years by others, and in turn I actually do to myself too. I let the demons in because I think they are gone, because I think I have conquered them. Foolish girl. Any time I let down my guard, any time, that fucking demon, the worst of them, climbs into my head and says 'its okay, you're are okay. Dang girl you got this shit. You are a bad ass kicking all that shit in the face - all of your life you have somehow managed to escape somehow, someway. You are showing your childhood self how amazing you have become and you are showing your teenage self how in control of life you are and you are showing your twenty something self that you can make anything work.' The truth is I am still that terrified little girl, I am still that teenage me who feels so completely out of control, and I am still the twenty something young woman who allowed all of that stuff from before to brew into a shit storm that rains down on my life in ways that are no longer acceptable. I do not want to live this way. Not even once. Not even once in awhile, never. I NEVER want to live my life like this. I do not want to feel terrified, out of control, and unhappy any more, ever. It is the reason I went to see a therapist in the first place. It is the reason I decided to take control of my life this past year, to oust the constant pain I felt, and become a better me. I'd like to think this is the next step in the better me process. I have moments even in the past week when I think 'oh it is okay to drink. It will be okay. If I just do that with my friends or my family nearby, I can drink.' I need to stop that, I have to remember that one clear moment when it was not good, when I felt so badly and I was so mortified for myself but more importantly I was mortified that my kids saw me like that and hang on to that moment. That moment will help to define me now, to get beyond all of the old, into a new world, the world of a better me.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Just one too many

Life is never easy. I have over the past decade made some great strides in many areas of my life. I have worked hard to change and grow and be a better person. The only place, the one thing, the big thing, the elephant in my life is drinking. Yesterday I saw the old me and the one I thought I left behind in my 20s. The one I remember waking up with just after 30 and saying no more of this. The drunk. The stupidity that happens when I am drunk and honestly the stupidity I do not remember when I am that drunk.

I need to end this now and forever. I want the next however many years to be sober. I want the me I see in the mirror to reflect the me I want to be on the inside. I am happy with me and there is no need to drink. There is no need to drink that much or be that drunk ever again. I used to think this would be an impossible thing. An impossible idea. I would stick to drinking just this or just one or two at most but the realization today is that this is not possible. For another person, one with more control, this is possible but for me it is not. I want to remain happy and feeling strong and being the person I want to be. I cannot do that if I continue to believe that alcohol in my life is okay.

I think I have been running toward this for some time. The chinks in my armor have been showing more and more. Three times this year I have been so drunk I do not remember what I did or said. Twice last year. Once the year before that. It is a pattern that is evolving. What next? Four in the coming year, five the year after. Daily. I do not want to carry on this family tradition. I do not want to live the life my Dad leads now. I want my kids to trust and know that every day they are getting the best me there is. I want to be the person I want to be and this is a choice. This is my choice and I am choosing to stop drinking. To make a change, take a different road now, versus later or worse yet never.

I can do this.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Define Mother's Day

Mother’s Day just past. It’s that day that is bitter sweet to me each year before I had kids and now, even now, that I am the Mom. I think I have mostly developed a thick skin through the years against the happy, sweet things people write about their mothers and how amazing and grateful they are that their mothers have always been there for them pushing them to succeed to become the people they are today. The grainy photos of their happy childhood memories and an iPhone picture showcasing not only what a lovely mother they still have but what a beautiful and kind grandmother she is too. I am not bitter I promise. I hope one day for my daughter and son to be so proud of me and that they have kind things to say on Mother’s Day. I long for that in fact because I know, finally now after many years of figuring I was just like her, that I am not. Here’s the thing about motherhood for me.  It brought on a crushing intensity that I would be a gigantic failure at being a mother because I assumed the worst assumption of all – that I would be just like my Mother.
Let me back track here because one of the last communications I had with my sister, who is very much like my Mom, she pointed out that my childhood was not so bad (she who railed every time I saw her about how rotten her childhood was…) How I had the best of everything, how I was not physically abused or underfed or harmed.  All of which is true to some degree. I was fed and mostly cared for but the thing about having my Mother is that I never knew what to expect moment to moment sometimes. That my friends is called emotional abuse.

And that was constant and tragic and painful and hurtful and I grew up alternately cowering and hiding myself away or steeling myself against what would come next. I could never see that or say that to anyone. It would hurt my heart to feel so badly about Mom. I wanted to love her the way others seemed to love their mothers but when I tried I felt crushed under the weight of it all. Mom was the hardest because I was under her care the longest. She made people believe that she was something that she was not. She was more than fake it till you make it, she was just fake it. Mainly in private, though I have seen her personal brand of crazy in public too, she threw things and sobbed and screamed and patted my hand afterward any of those things and she would me I was a good girl, her very best bestie, who should never leave her because she needed me to be her bestie and care for her when she gets old, that’s what kids do and her other rotten kids would never do that but I would! If I ever dared tried to date or have close friends she instantly found something wrong with those people. If I asked about something that happened – for instance, the last time Oma visited CA and you screamed so loudly at her and ran away from the house, remember that? – she would tell me I was crazy, that never happened, I remembered it all wrong and on and on the stories go just like that – I was crazy, she was not. She pitted me against my siblings and father and aunts and uncles and cousins and I grew up cowering in a proverbial corner unaware that life did not need to be like that.

It amazes me sometimes that she left me leave California for Michigan. Hell, that she left me leave San Jose for Hayward. Of course by that time I was too old with a serious chip on my shoulder to entirely control so she did “her thing” differently, more subtly and it was like breathing – it would grow and deflate depending on what was happening in her life. I would pray for her to fixate on others to give me relief and freedom to be me for a bit.  And on and on this went until recently.
Till I found myself cowering in a corner screaming my head off at HER about what a horrific person she is in my own house several thousand miles from her… then it dawned on me. This is my life, my world, my home – no one can take any of that away from me but me. In that moment of clarity I realized she has no more power over me. I am a grownup who makes big girl decisions and takes care of my own children and house and husband and life. It was then that I realized that she was not ever going to change or be the person I hoped she would be when I was ten nor would she be the person I wanted her to be at 41. I could go to the end of my life and hers and she would not change. But I could.

So while I dread Mother’s Day and all of that sentiment, I let go of the vision of perfection that those around me give to the world one day per year and enjoy each moment I have with my kids as best I can. I do fail and I do yell and I do show my ‘ugly’ side but mostly I am the best Mom I can be and I am my own person. I am not her because I am not. Every day I strive to be a better, kind, more humble, helpful, loving person in spite of the experiences I had growing up. And yes dear sister my childhood was not so bad but it was not so great either. I lived in my own hell but now I know I not only survived it, I thrived in spite of it. I am glad I ignored all of those voices in my head that said ‘do not become a mother because you will be just like your own mother”.  I am glad I have had the opportunity to be called mother by the most amazing children so for that I celebrate being called Mom (Momma, Mommy and yes sometimes even Mother ;) every single day of the year.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Cliff Jumping

Every moment that passes when I do not say or do anything is inching me toward the end. I know I need to care for our lives and in my heart I do but I feel hollowed out sometimes in a way that inexplicable to anyone. I believe this comes from years of thrashing past the emotional highs and lows of my life, working with almost tunnel vision to escape that emotional see saw that I am now so completely adverse to dealing with any of it that when confronted by any emotional situation I look immediately for my proverbial hide-y hole. I dip my head in the sand and whisper to myself the usual garbage I have whispered to my broken emotional self for years.  You are the one at fault, fix yourself and this will change, you are bad, if you were a better person, this would be better” and on and on and on…
I remember last spring just reaching the same old cliff, that jumping off point where I usually leave all of my emotions hanging, the place that I would run blindly from I realized I was done. I needed to change I need to find myself in a way that I have never allowed. I could no longer ride the see saw and be okay with it. I needed to take control of the life I was given and make it what I wanted. However in that process I saw myself changing. I saw the raw emotions that usually motivated me, more aptly, demotivated me, slipping away. I could no longer hang my hat on the mean angry internal voice I was used to and I have slowly taken charge of my life, at forty-one I stopped drifting and climbed aboard a life raft that taken me slowly to who I want to be and where I want to go.

I can see more clearly the person I was and who I allowed myself to become and I wanted to be more and better and all the things I have missed out on in that state of not being anything at all. Except you are back there in my mind drifting with the old me and I want to pull you up on my raft, I want you on my journey, our journey, for the long haul but I am not sure how to get there. I am at the next precipice and I am ready to jump off that one too. I hope with all of my heart that you join me in the journey before life swallows us whole. I know I won’t give up, yet I worry and fret and it seems my head is back in the sand with all of those negative voices about what could happen when what I would really prefer to have you standing at this next precipice holding my hand and make this next leap together.  

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Ghost Morning

Sometimes in the wee early morning hours of a day before the sun has crept over the edge of the world, I pad softly down the hallway to the sliding glass door in the kitchen to peek outside to see the world stuck between darkness and light. It makes me feel like a ghost standing on the edge of the world. There are other ghosts all around me at that moment, all those who have taught me lessons in ways they do not know and those ghosts and their lessons live within me. I find myself straining to see those people, alive and dead, who stand before me, who have no idea what they have meant to me. The hurt and sadness and laughter and love and frustration and a million other human emotions I do not have time to name here have come from those ghosts hanging around me in the early morning air.  They are in my head and my heart and some are even intricately interwoven into my soul. My hair is matted and funny from sleep, I scratch my arm a funny papery sound in the still air. I am wearing faded blue polar bear pajamas and a ratty shirt from some event I never attended. I press my nose to the cool glass of the window and wonder if I have made an impact on others lives like they have made on mine. I wonder if somewhere else in this world someone is pressing their nose against the glass in the world caught between daylight and nighttime thinking about their ghosts.  Their moments. Their lives. I hope so. For good or bad, I hope so. I close my eyes and breath in those memories: exhale the bad, inhale the good. I turn on my heel and quietly steal back to my room, to our warm bed, past the shadows that are already fading away in the morning sunshine.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


"I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel all alone." Robin Williams

I have written before about depression and the way it feels and the dark places it can take me.  I am at the moment I am feeling ambivalent. I am neither up nor down. I am okay.

However, Robin Williams’ suicide is tragic and the media of course reports too much on what happened.  I need to tune it out and stop watching tributes and reading sad stories about him because it is hard to do.  It is hard to do because I feel a rush of emotions about it all. Like so many Robin Williams played a vast part in my life in terms of movies and television shows and comedy.  I used to play tapes of his act in my car when I could finally drive and I would giggle at his fantastically amazing use of the word FUCK!  I distinctly remember sitting on the ground watching Mork and Mindy. I know exactly where I was the first time I watched Popeye who was also a favorite, much watched cartoon character to me.  I was awed by how amazingly well his movies matched up to my life dramas when those movies came out.  There is more I could say – the many hours of watch Comedy Network and the lesser known movies that were shit panned by the critics that I went to see because he was in it and who cares how crappy the movie was, I was watching comedic genius! 

This is not just about Mr. Williams because he was amazingly brilliant and funny and he could use the f-word in ways that quite frankly still astounds me!  Honestly, depression is heinous. It is a deep dark wound.  It is not like a broken arm or scar across one’s face.  Depression often cannot be seen or heard or understood by those who have never had it. It is tragic and harsh and vile and unwitting.  I can feel great, light and happy, and suddenly I won’t. Only that moment where I seem okay to feeling horrible happens on the inside – a chemical reaction, an emotional affliction, a tragedy in the comedy of life. I will find myself groping around in the dark looking for ways out and yet on the outside I appear to just be me.  No one suspects otherwise.  No one knows that I spent hours in the dark of night, pacing the hallway in my house, trying to calm the noise in my head, dealing with the dark feelings in the dark.  No one knows that when I am alone I contemplate the darkest recesses of my brain much to the horror of emotional self, all of the fucked up stupidity I have ever claimed as my own making it much, much worse than it actually was. Sure I can keep depression at bay to some degree.  I can read or screw around on the computer playing games, I can watch television and run miles on end but at the end of it, the depression lurks waiting to drag me back into the dark.

For someone who has spent years grappling with those demons, I get it.  It is the years and years of fighting and losing and fighting again and the desire to not be like that which makes it increasing difficult in life. I see each failure in my life with intensity and if I allow myself to wallow in those failings, it drives home what an awful person I am. The thing about depression and the subsequent ways that we find to fight depression (alcohol, drugs, harmful relationships, etc…) is that it has no rhyme or reason.  And only I can change how I am feeling. I could have “it all” and yet in the end I am my own worst enemy. I see all of the failure and all of the bright wonderful things in my life appear to be dull and blur in those moments. I may be laughing and cracking smart ass jokes on the outside but on the inside an enemy deeper and darker than I could ever explain is waiting to well up and crush me. I have often said that depression sits on my chest crushing the air out of me, devouring me, dividing me from me.  Depression seems inescapable when I am in the midst of it. Eventually I get past it and when things become clear again and I look back on how I was feeling and the question is always why?  Why did I feel that way?  Why do I let myself get that way?  Why me?

It is very hard to explain to most. It is very hard to explain here.  I want to give more words, more thoughts to help people understand it.  Depression hurts and I am left raw and guilty for being that way so I hide it. Again and again because I want to see the next day and the next but at what point does fighting get old, more difficult, and tiresome. 

My one wish, the wish I have for humanity – reach out to those you love even if they are unreachable.  Hug them however you need to.  Give them what you can emotionally and do not stop doing it, do not give up on someone.  Just know that someone you least suspect is suffering with this pain inside and even if it seems hopeless because you do not know it for sure, there is always hope.  Keep giving out your love unconditionally because you just never know who that will help.

And for the love of god, ignore the media. Let this go. We should have been telling Mr. Williams how he changed our lives before he died and we did not.  We need to grow our worlds, tell people what we are thinking before this happens.  That is how we will change the world and those who are in it now.