Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Self-Ish

It feels like I become more of my self more of the time. Self-Ish.

When I got sober I was definitely no one resembling anyone I was supposed to be or had been. I was this mess contained in my very own skin, that I mostly spent time trying to jump out of. In my head I think a lot  "too much me", "I have had enough of me", "please let me be less me and more be".

I had another one of those brain lightning zip pop wow moments. Because of course, when I am overwhelmed with all this thinking I need a huge helping of brain salad to toss around.

It's about care.

When I was a little girl I felt very uncared for: like, "Hey, huh. There's Amy. And also a wall." When I was in fourth grade we moved. After that my parents fell apart for years together. And I existed. The boys in the neighborhood would beat me up or later finger fuck me in the treehouses we built- but no one really seemed to care except me. The boys didn't care that they pulled my hair until I couldn't breathe, and no one noticed me sneaking off into the woods with the older boy who would do things to me that made me shrink into a shell of a girl too full with shame. My mom was more worried about "One Life to Live" than she was about how my life was falling apart. My dad was at work. Unless he was yelling at me to clean the bathroom.

It sucked. It helps me understand why booze was such a relief. It helps me understand how, when I try to care for myself, it feels arduous and awkward. Because when you are ten and everyone is too busy to notice you slowly dying inside you get used to being alone. Uncherished. I got used to saving the worst for myself, to being the worst to myself. People could hurt me, but I could hurt myself worse. So there, I would think: See? I win. You can't get me. I have already been gotten.

I discovered that I am still waiting for someone to come along and take care of me. That in my head there is a mythical time when some magical someone is going to come along and know how to soothe my fears and ease my pain. Who will say things like Oh, it's alright. You can feel sad and out of place and not eat all that ice cream. Or Everyone gets tired, the world is a heavy thing to carry alone. Rest your self. And Wow, you are really not so perfect. That's just fine. That I have waited long enough. That it's time for the caring to just show the fuck up now, OK?

As you can probably imagine I pride myself on the care I give others. I possibly over care about people like my children, but also that lady in line who wasn't very nice to me. There's like all this caring, but none of it gets to me from me.

It's similar to someone giving you a compliment (I like your dress!) and you explaining it away (Oh, I got it on sale super cheap!). So I feel overwhelmed and emotional (PMS is a bitch) and I know what I need (yoga and a hot tea) but instead I spend so much time talking myself out of caring for myself (but the kids need some attention and oh the laundry) that I end up in the emotional bargain basement once again.

I didn't know that while I was waiting for someone else that I might instead choose to show up myself. That I am someone else. That there is no magical someone who swoops in and takes care of it all- that magical someone is me. If I want these things to happen I have to make it so. I am exhausting myself giving all this care to everyone outside of me and giving none of what I need back. It's sort of like standing in front of a speeding train and expecting someone to appear out of nowhere to push you out of harms way.

Gah. This sobriety stuff takes bravery. It takes such courage and grit to not be life lazy. It is so hard to do for myself what has not been done. It's so hard to get so uncomfortable to get to a better place. It's so hard to not just say fuck it, I'm sober! That's all I can do! Isn't that what I deserve? Isn't being sober the biggest best gift I could have ever gotten? I'm sober! Wanting more is selfish! Greedy greedy greedy. And plus what more do you people want from me???

What more do I want from me? I feel like I have a sweet little secret when I ask myself that question. Because, in secret, from my own self, is this: I want everything from me. I have possibilities. I have chances. I have whatever I dream could be as long as I am brave and faithful to my self. Being sober is wonderful, but it is not what makes up all of me, it's what makes me know that there is so much more to come.



28 comments:

  1. Oh man, now I am crying.
    Crying because you had such a shitty childhood.
    And so did I.
    Crying because you're ability to articulate how that time in your life is joined to this time in your life with elastic - pulling tight and close, stretching far away, but always joined - has zip-popped into my own head the fact that I need to accept what has happened to me, forgive myself, comfort myself and go forward into a life where I care for myself with all the love and care that I give my children.
    I have been wandering around like a ball of pent up energy for the past week - thinking "I'm sober, that's enough isn't it?" When obviously it isn't.
    So thanks for the release Amy - fuck, what a journey!
    Take care (I mean it!),
    Kirst xxx

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    1. It doesn't leave me. As hard as I try it doesn't disappear. I feel like I am climbing the highest mountain, and there isn't a top. But, I don't feel like I did two years ago at this time so at least I'm somewhere in the middle instead of at the very fucking bottom. For some reason this seems to cheer me up. :)

      Being sober is not enough. I know that it isn't true for everyone, but for me quitting drinking was the simplest part of it all. I'm like a record on repeat again when it comes to getting past this huge obstacle I've been behind for about a year: there are breakthroughs, but not break OUTS. I'm in a circle: things won't change until I change I won't change until things change. It makes me think that I need to be studying some surrender.

      Thank you sweet friend! I think of you every day and send you love and care. xoxo

      p.s. fuck, what a journey is right!!!

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  2. This is great, you are great. Keep going. I can't wait to see where you go...not where life takes ou, but where YOU take you. xo

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    1. You are also very great! I look forward to seeing where year two takes you, too. xoxo

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  3. Amy...powerful brave post..oh that little girl, lovely young Amy.. Amazing what we carry through to adulthood.. So amazing what you are unpicking here... The kind of deep stuff that will really set you free, and rarely gets done. Fantastic. Big love xxxx

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    1. The deep shit is hard- which could be part of the reason I think people just give up. It's hard to live day to day life and then also be feeling so sad and afraid and hopeful. I for one do not want to be in deep shit for the rest of my one life, so I'm facing Mara head on. Tara Brach (our beloved) helps me face the beasts. Big Love to you, and big thanks too. xoxoxo

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  4. I swear to fucking God that you must have been in the room with me and the therapist yesterday. We talked about exactly this...about how I was never cared for or about. About how the ugly that happened to me (almost word for word your story - including the older guy and the woods) was going to have to be rectified by me. My mom and dad are gone and, let's face it - if they were still here wouldn't change (that's the hardest thing - knowing they wouldn't). That I'm never going to be loved by my parents with the fierceness that I love my own children.

    That it's all up to me.

    Damn girl. I love your guts.

    Sherry

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    1. I love your guts and all the other parts too. Sherry- we are always on this parallel path it seems like. It blew me away when I thought "Oh, shit! No wonder I'm always so disappointed- I keep feeling ten and waiting for my mom to show up and save the day and that isn't my life anymore so that's totally impossible!" I come home and expect that my husband will have intuited the things I need that one day and then when they haven't magically appeared I feel let down and pissed. "Why doesn't anyone care about me?" I wail in my own head without even knowing it.

      Without our past we would not be the mothers we are today. Perhaps our beautiful boys would have had us as inattentive and absent mothers too. Perhaps our childhood pain in some way saves them and us all at the same time.

      All up to me is hard as fuck, that's all I know. I love you mucho mucho.

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  5. wonderful message--thanks so much for posting this.

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  6. You are simply amazing, words fail me, and glad I am not so alone

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    1. Thank you. We are all in it together.

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  7. Amazing post, Amy. There are some very brave and deeply moving words. You're so right about care. We have different stories, but I also know that feeling of being an invisible child, not learning about care by being cared about. Now I'm getting better, but it's really hard work. And yes, it took me a long time to realize no one was going to show up and fix it. But we're doing it, my friend, showing up for ourselves and learning what it means to care about ourselves. I really admire how you dig so deep into what you're writing about here and get to that nugget of truth. It's sad and hard, sure, but it's beautiful, too. And it's really helpful to me to read what you're saying. Big love to you. xo

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    1. We are doing it! That's the cool part- the part I try to not forget: even when it's hard to feel the things I pushed down for so long I am feeling them and therefore can complete the cycle and move on. It may sound strange to say, but even this hard stuff is beloved to me. It builds me up, it makes me know I can handle my shit. Big love back. xoxo

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  8. Wow! Such an amazingly brutally and also beautifully honest post. So very moving.

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  9. Very powerful post, Amy. I know what it's like to look back at that little child and think of the things that happened and wishing that someone could have swooped in and taken the pain away. And like you, booze was that thing that came later. But it was a mirage. A temp fix.

    I know it sounds strange when we say this (esp. to newcomers), but stopping the drinking and staying stopped was in many ways, the easy part. It sounds odd. Surreal. But when we stop and do this work and dig deep and see the truths of ourselves...THAT is the brave stuff. Well, I don't think brave, but certainly difficult. I need to do this because I don't want to slide back into my old ways...and eventually into the "fuck it" of drinking or acting out in another way. This is why people slide back into drinking...this work is hard. But it has rewards beyond our dreams.

    Dream big, work big, live big, and love yourself big, Amy.

    You're worth it.

    Cheers :)
    Paul

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    1. Thanks Paul. I don't really wish someone could take the pain away- I wish it had never happened in the first place. But then, I wouldn't be me- so so much for wishing. :)

      Not drinking was the "easy" part. I had to stop because it was making me more miserable than just being me was making me. And I think it's very brave to face the truth about yourself- whether that be addiction, abuse, and also the truth that we are all incredible, valuable people worthy of love and life. Good love and life!

      Cheers! :)

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  10. Me too Amy to all of what you wrote and thank you for sharing xx

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  11. What an amazing post Amy and so beautifully written. My heart aches for the little girl you were and what you had to go through. Thank you for being so honest and for sharing your story. So brave. Ax

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    1. Thank you. I always think that maybe if someone reads my story, and they have a same story, it makes us both feel better.

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  12. Your post touched that little girl in me that had similar experiences, and have not yet come to terms with them. Thanks you for your bravery.

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    1. I'm still coming to terms with them too. xoxo

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    2. Thanks Amy. I am moved by your honesty and inspired by your bravery to share your journey with us. There are so many that share similar experiences. So much pain. I think being sober is a big first step in self care. Knowing that you are not alone is so powerful. I appreciate you so much. Xo Denise

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  13. Hi, Amy. Just found your blog and this post really touched me. I can totally relate to the caring for other people before yourself (I have a lot of kids and do that constantly). I could not relate personally to the sexual abuse (unlike so many female alcoholics, sadly) but felt so much empathy for the little girl you were, and the woman you are now, still dealing with the emotional fallout of such devastating cruelty. I am so sorry you went through that, and so happy for you that you are sober and working on the demons that haunt you. It's all we can do.

    I look forward to going back and reading your story from the beginning, which I love to do with sobriety blogs. I've been sober 4 months, and along with motherhood it has been the most amazing gift I've ever received. I just started blogging anonymously about my sobriety; I'm not ready to go public yet on the blog I write under my own name.

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