I didn’t mean to spend half of today writing a heavy post about rape and gender. It took me close to five hours to write that post. I am tempted to say I wish I was the kind of person who could set these issues aside, that I didn’t have a pit bull mind crushing a hundred pounds of pressure on the questions that meet my teeth, but I can’t because I don’t wish for an easier mind. I have come to value what gifts I have and if they make me dark at times, if they cast shadows against your light I can’t apologize for it. I have always been willing to pay the consequences for my curiosity, for my anger, for my accusations, for pointing uncomfortable questions in everyone’s direction.
I have paid dearly and it’s still worth it.
It’s exquisitely uncomfortable having an obsessive mind and one that will not toe the social line.
I have rarely spared myself. I try to always be human in my exploration of this world we share. I know I’m not always right. I have always been willing to recognize this publicly. I have always been willing to listen to other people even when it hurts to do so. And I have always trusted myself enough to know when it’s time to step away or shut someone out who isn’t interested in arriving at a mutual truth.
This mind of mine is something I will take with all its traps and dark corners because it also encourages me to find arcs of healing light.
There are only three things I want to change about myself and that’s my body size, how much alcohol I drink, and that I cry. All terribly private and destructive sources of self loathing. I want to hurt myself for having gotten so fat. I want to hurt myself for letting my drinking get out of control (though it’s self fulfilling as the drinking itself is very damaging). And I want to hurt myself viciously every time I cry in front of another human being. I know this is not healthy. I want to rip my skin open every time I expose my vulnerability to others.*
I was exhausted after writing the heavy today. So I’m up now that the whole house is asleep and I have watched a few reruns of SNL on Netflix and cleaned my office and set up my inspiration doors and done dishes and taken out recycling and here I am. It’s 2am. Officially the last day of the year. My favorite day of the year. Even more than my birthday. More than thanksgiving. More than the first day when summer air gives way to the vague chill of autumn.
Winter is open today.
My season is TODAY. My time is NOW.
I am a pragmatic person and know that calenders are the imagination and organization of time by humankind. I know that the New Year is just a symbolic turning of the page – a pretend point at which the days are reset – I know that nothing really changes. I know that resolutions are illusions and that time marches on exactly the same as it has every other day of the year. Still…
I believe in new beginnings.
I believe in fresh starts.
I believe in clean slates.
I don’t believe in deities or devils or voodoo or magic wands or fairies or goblins or fountains of youth.
I have no use for such things.
But I can always use a new beginning. I feel it every time I move house. I feel it every time I end a destructive relationship. I feel it every time I start a new project. I feel it every time I press a fresh hope against my skull. I feel it every time I look at my son and see what old mores he’s shedding – what new humor he’s exploring.
The curse of the obsessive mind is that it doesn’t let go of anything and doesn’t distinguish between positive and negative – it just grips everything with equal strength and endurance.
The blessing of the obsessive mind is that it never gives up hope. Never. I am essentially an alcoholic**. I am obese. After 25 years of promising not to hurt myself again I am still fighting the urge nearly every day. I am such a fucking mess of a person. But I believe that I can heal, that I can change, that I can fix myself on MY TERMS.
The blessing of the obsessive mind is that as assiduously as it grips the negative – it grips the positive.
I can’t let go of hope. I hold onto it every single day because it’s what has kept me alive. It’s what has allowed my life to bloom with gifts of love and support and laughter. It’s what has given me the strength to become a better person all the time. I’m not calcifying as a middle aged person because my obsessive brain won’t let me.
I’m about to drop a little more heavy but only in the service of the light I seek as my spirit season opens. I am a winter girl. I like the dark days, I feel alive as temperatures drop, I am awake and alive and this is the most regenerative time of year for me.
I am a snow bird.
This has been a long fucking year. It has held terrors for me and truths that have choked my airways. It featured the douche-brothers and the first suicidal ideation I have experienced since I was 26 years old. The dark has been like chloroform. It’s time for a list to burn:
- This year started by finding out we finally got approved for the Hamp loan which was supposed to help us hang onto our house in McMinnville. We paid one month’s new mortgage (barely a relief from the original mortgage) before I saw my husband come home broken- spirited and realized that it was imperative that we get out of McMinnville.
- I hadn’t admitted to Philip that I had already been fantasizing about dying for months before we agreed to move. Because I wasn’t going to be the crazy-ass reason we abandoned the second house we owned in McMinnville. I wasn’t going to open the closet of horrors.
- When Philip admitted he had looked at job listings in the Bay Area I told him that he needed to decide that that’s what he wanted or not because once the door was open to move back home I was not going to be able to shut it.
- Max had one of the toughest school years ever at the Charter School. Certain things had improved but in so many ways his behaviors disintegrated and his health was weakened by anxieties.
- Once Philip opened the door to moving home I let all my bitterness and heartache and loneliness and suicidal feelings generated by McMinnville flood out of my heart onto my carpet which no amount of spray could cleanse or erase. It was visceral and toxic and dangerous.
- There were months of Philip secretly looking for work. I couldn’t share. I couldn’t breath my own desperate pleas to the universe to give Philip a good job with benefits. It wore us both down. But Philip’s morale could not have been worse. There are not so many jobs out there for graphic artists, what with this awful depression we’ve been in the middle of for years.
- Philip moved to California without us. I have not been separated from Philip for more than 10 days in the course of our 19 years of marriage. He moved with a truckload of shit. He left me in the town that made me want to die. It needed to be. I HAD to be.
- The last month before our move was a hell. A complete and devastating HELL. I started drinking so much that even Russian alcoholics would be impressed with how much beer it would take to make me even a little tipsy. I ate cheese by the block and gained all the weight back I had previously lost. Every single day I just did what I had to to not fall apart.
- I still mostly fell apart. My bowels pretty much staged a revolution and I haven’t been the same since. It’s been so profound that I developed internal hemorrhoids which was only officially diagnosed last week after my first ever rectal exam accompanied by the most humiliating panic attack I’ve had in a decade in front of the doctor.
- It took medals of honor from all our friends and family to get us back home and I am still thanking and blessing and wishing gold glitter on everyone who helped us achieve the impossible.
We have been home six months. Philip loves his job. We love my mom and aunt’s house that we’re living in. Max is thriving in school for the moment and I feel so much support and love from my friends here. I just spent Christmas morning with my guys and my mom and it was cozy and comfortable and happy. Then we went south to my dad’s house and partied with family and family friends and it felt so good to be at my dad’s again. Jews throw the BEST Christmas parties, in case you didn’t know.
Tonight I have finished unpacking. Completely. It was important to get it done so that this new year is completely fresh and unsullied by the business of this past year.
I am happy.
Other than those three things I hate about myself.
I believe in new beginnings.
I believe in fresh starts.
I believe in clean slates.
As flawed as I am, I have enough power to believe in them for you too.
*I am giving you the polite version of my feelings and the level of self harm I am inspired to inflict. It is testament to my self control that I DON’T rip my skin open and haven’t since I was 17 years old.
**In most things I am open to discussion and your opinions – in this matter I am not open at all. I only share this because I feel I need to be honest right now and say the truth. “Alcoholic” is a dangerous term in my opinion. I know what most Americans think about it – that it is an unfixable condition. That once an alcoholic – always and alcoholic. I refuse to subscribe to this. I need to find my own way and in my own time. I have been protective of myself in this regard until today. I have alluded but not admitted my problem outright because I don’t want to give any of you the power to crush me, to destroy my hope, to preach, to proselytize, to harp on me. I have my own journey in this way and it is unacceptable to me to never drink alcohol again in my life. If this is, in fact, the way it ends up needing to be – I’m going to get there because I see it for myself. This is one of the rare times I am unwilling to listen to any of you if you think I can’t do this my way. So criticize or moralize at your own peril. I am feeling very protective of myself even in having opened up enough to admit my problem out loud.