*Warning: naughty language ahead!
I’m pretty good at managing my emotions.
I invite the little fuckers in regularly for tea or tequila.
I also meditate, eat well, and walk the hill with my sweet pug, Grom.
I soak in the local hot springs.
I have an active creative process—writing—that is both of benefit to others and cathartic for me.
I have friendships that are open, playful, and honest. And I go to counseling.
I know that drinking is not a permanent solution for problems.
For years, I numbed bad decisions with booze. I don’t do that anymore. I like my life to be vivid. I live a sober life, yet I choose to imbibe at my discretion.
I have a history of substance abuse—meth to be specific.
My relationship with meth nearly ruined my life. Alcohol has never had that kind of hold over me. For one thing, I am too sensitive to ever become an alcoholic. For another, it is like anything else—a relationship to me, and I tend to all my relationships with respect and care.
In the past, alcohol had become too much of a binding substance for a core relationship and in order to get clear on where we actually stood, I quit for a time, and life instantly clarified.
Still, the kind of insight I possess into the human condition can be both liberating and disabling. I see too much and feel too much. It’s intense. I choose this way of life or it chooses me, either way, I am here for all of it—the hard, holy, humorous, delicious, and frustratingly human.
Why would I want to numb that? I don’t.
Yesterday, a post-menstrual migraine creeped in and would not let go.
It grabbed me by the face around my temples, and in no uncertain terms said, “Okay bitch, we are going in.” So, I poured a shot of my favorite agave elixir and replied, “Bring it.”
This migraine is a messenger.
For years, it clung to my skull, as through my own rose-colored glasses, I refused to see how unsatisfying a past long-term relationship was.
It was this relationship that was bonded with booze, beer mostly, and a community that revolved around a local pub. His life and his job revolved around beer and if I wanted to spend time with him, it usually involved imbibing some kind of hoppy concoction and slowly getting more and more hazy as the things that we really needed to talk about became background noise to the abrasive bar chatter.
He was unhappy. I was unhappy. We were unhappy, and no amount of craft beer was going to change that—numb it, yes, but mend it, no.
His criticism caused me to shrink and shut down. I became tame—a wraith—wandering between the worlds not really engaging in life, craving touch and sex.
The night I had realized my headache was about leaving myself behind was also the last time I tried to reach out to him. He had given me the cold shoulder again. As I lay in bed sobbing, I pulled all my energy into my center. Suddenly the relentless migraine rolled back like a motorcycle visor and I was able to see and feel myself and my life clearly.
I left him. I found me.
Two and a half years, 20 dates, and six lovers later—I know when I am leaving myself behind. And I catch myself.
I know what’s a deal breaker; not that I am looking for a relationship at this time, but I am discerning about who and what I spend my time and energy on and with. I know what I am attracted to in a man and what will keep me coming back for more.
I also know that I truly get off on unleashing my heart and creativity into the world, and in comparison to that, sex pales for long-term satisfaction. Don’t get me wrong—I love sex! I love men. I just love me more.
Writing will always be my first, second, and third love. Any man who enters my life will have to contend with that. No amount of booze or even great booty will serve as a distraction from my purpose ever again.
My body has become a fine-tuned antenna. It brings me to great heights of pleasure, as well as disgust. It seems I cannot turn off one without the other suffering, so I am what I am—a live wire. I am wired for pleasure and passion, but I won’t ignore my pain, either.
I am sensitive, sweet, and tender, and this gentleness coexists with a fierce protectiveness of myself and those whom I love. I have always been this way, but I have never felt so alive or as full of feeling as I am now.
I am still weaving my way without numbing or regressing, but leaving plenty of space for my humanness to stumble through. The obstacle courses that my sad, traumatized little brain tries to throw in the way feel less real by the day.
Sometimes I step in my own wounds. I still think that the reality that I once lived—walking on eggshells and being gaslit by one partner and repeatedly betrayed by another—is somehow going to seep back in and take over my life, even though there is mounting evidence to the contrary.
I feel supported. The people I choose to work with, play with, share with, and go to bed with are trustworthy. I just wish I could get that to sink the fuck in, already!
I also am beginning to suspect I can actually trust my instincts. I hone them. Anything that I engage in is intended to serve them—never dull them.
So I pour myself and my insecurities a drink and this is what I hear:
1. It’s time to write, dance, walk, and fuck your way to freedom. Yes!
2. You can trust who you are, what you are becoming, and who and what you are choosing, because you can trust you.
3. Don’t take yourself so seriously—play!
4. It’s okay to feel enthusiastic—bubble, gush, and bloom.
5. You never enjoyed obstacle courses. (True, I’ve always been more of a jungle gym kind of girl.) Stop putting them up between yourself and your desires.
6. Perfectionism and pleasure are incompatible. Let yourself be giggly and messy.
7. Even when you are feeling insecure, you are more charming than you know.
8. Your body is wise—listen, feel as deeply as it invites you.
9. Get out of your head and into your life! (This specifically for the energy that tends to get stuck and becomes headaches and anxiety.) Take up as much room as you need.
10. It’s not rejection. It’s scheduling.
11. Just fucking breathe.
The spirits speak and I, a humble mortal, wiggle warmly in their wisdom.