Tag Archives: death

Do what you want, and do it now

24 Sep

10:53 pm

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve posted–per usual; I have never been so busy in my entire life, it seems, with work!  BUT, I wanted to get this quick one in because well, it can’t wait:

Someone in my family unexpectedly, and rather unceremoniously, DIED this morning, and it was quite shocking!?  It IS quite shocking.  I mean, one minute you’re doing something in the back yard, the next minute, you’re dead.

Your big, huge, amazing life–the one that you spent countless hours trying to live, to not live, to outsmart, to hack, to tweak, to overhaul, to fill and fill and fill–is gone.  In an instant.  And no one really cares that much; no one outside the people who knew him, or you, or her.  (I mentioned it on a work call, because I was a bit blown away, and my colleagues were like, Ohhh, I’m sorry; and by the next split second, they were laughing about something, and we had all moved on.  The momentous event–the most important event of your life, I might say–of his death was left behind, dissolved in memory even as my mouth was still hot from breathing it.)

What did I conclude, then, today, as I felt alternately sad, angry, and well, selfishly pained for my own self, imagining a similar loss that will one day happen to me, and how it might rip me to shreds?  Well, one, don’t waste time on bad people.  You and only you get to make the call as to what that means, but to me, it means toxic people, or people who don’t want to help themselves.  Two, do what you want, and do it now.  It’s as simple as that.

Do what you want, and do it now!

I had an interview today that put me further than ever on what I think I want to be my new path–a career change into the nonprofit world.  Pretty happy about that, actually.  And, we done gave our notice weeks ago, so we’re definitely packing up a trailer of stuff and towing it to our next home in November–a place that we have yet to determine, but will probably have things like water, and trees, blue and green…and humidity, sweet Jesus, humidity!?

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Life is too sweet to be bitter

25 Jul

4:52 pm

I came across a story today that about Kris Carr, and it totally inspired me. Here’s her final quote of the piece:

I think that life is just too sweet to be bitter. Once I was able to change my focus, desperation led to inspiration. I made so many changes, and I thought: This is an awesome life. I mean, honestly, I don’t think anyone has a better life than me. How can you live with the knowledge of cancer? I might not ever be able to get rid of it, but I can’t let that ruin my life. . . . I think: Just go for it. Life is a terminal condition. We’re all going to die. Cancer patients just have more information, but we all, in some ways, wait for permission to live.

For many reasons, this struck me as relevant to sobriety. It strikes at the core of what we avoid as drinkers: we wait for permission to live, we live in fear, we don’t just Go For It. Once we change our focus, we can go from desperate to not drink to inspired to live life.

Today, I’m reconfirming my commitment to running more, embracing the challenge of developing balance in my life, and giving up (trying to) the Diet Coke. If there are small things I can do (juicing might come soon, why not?), then let’s DO THIS.

I wonder, how long was I running on fumes?

6 May

5:37 pm

Cuz these days, I have no motivation. Sure, I do stuff, I’m planning stuff, but only if charged on sugar and caffeine. And, I could be doing SO much more. The natural spring of ambition I had in college? Good Jesus, that’s over. The kind I had in my mid-20s, when I was spending 12 hours a day working for startups in the Valley? Man, I can’t remember that girl. In my late 20s and early 30s, planning my “escape” to the Big Apple, where I’d then spend 5 more years running around, going to grad school, becoming a new career? I’d be amazed to summon the ghost of that person, let alone an ounce of that sort of oomph.

I just don’t care, is how I feel right now. None of it really matters. I will go, one day, and so will you. And likely, there is no benevolent consciousness waiting to engulf me. I wish there was, but considering how many people believe this, it’s almost a sure bet that it’s going to be nothing like that in the “afterlife.”

I don’t know. It’s almost like, when I gave up drinkin’, I lost my recklessness–a large amount of which HELPED me. Helped me to get jazzed about life. About change. About movement, and action. Helped me in ways big and small to do the job of a journalist, that’s for sure.

I’m waiting, and nothing’s happening. I want another “big adventure,” but honestly, I don’t have much desire to look into it, plan it, and go for it. No reckless energy to fuel an insane sort of curiosity. Maybe it’s called getting old? Middle age?

This…inertia…has been with me all my life, though. This darkness–psychological and physical in symptoms–it’s a constant companion, and all I can say is, some people know it better than others. I’ve learned to deal with the twitchy mind: It doesn’t get better the next day; you MAKE it better. You get through, grit your teeth, hoping that you appear “normal” enough to get by in the outside world. It’s partly why I drank. For me, though, it’s always there, looming WAY louder than wolfie’s “I want wine” voice. I want wine to quiet the booming wind tunnels blowing inside me.

Sigh. I guess I can keep waiting for it to get better, but…man, it’s been a year, and I feel the same as I always did, only with more acceptance around this mentality when it strikes (which seems to be often, to varying degrees, these days).

The dogs have it easy, I assume; maybe, though, they, too, are bored with life? As an old friend once said to me, “Well, it’s a good thing life is short.” Isn’t it.

Healing is boring

21 Jan

2:42 am

Or, maybe I’ve just let it bore me, and therefore, define me as “bored.” Who knows, but I’m ready to rock and roll on out of this “thinkin’ about drinkin'” phase.

I feel a lot like my old self, now that I’m well past 90 days–made it to 100 last night. I’ve been having some GREAT days, with lots of coffee, running, swimming, dog walking, cooking, rastafarian food fair-going… What I mean is, I’m not sure how others feel, but quitting drinking has allowed me to literally go back to who I was. Where I left off, so to speak. Ready work, to play, to run around like a chicken with my head cut off again.

Really?, I secretly dig at myself. Or, is it the opposite? I don’t know, and that’s where I’m going to simply have to say, I don’t know myself right now and I’m going to have to live around that fact. Live anyway, y’know? Work, dream, plan, move forward, minute to minute, day to day.

See, I used to have a lot of well-defined needs, wants, and goals. Now, however, I feel like I’m not sure which, if any, of those needs, wants, and goals are even of any value! I think quitting drinking, actually, is but ONE SYMPTOM of the transition that is staring me in the face, like a disease: the disease of mid-life, of mortality. I could not both survive this disease and its symptoms AND drink, so I had to quit. And, now that I’ve quit, I see this crisis for what it is–a lot of work to do, a lot of information to parse. Sigh. I don’t even know if I’m making any sense, which is why I haven’t written in a few days.

All I know is, I’m feeling my way forward, with blinders on, and it’s NOT because I’m drunk and confused. And, I’m starting to feel like my old self, and it doesn’t mean that I want to down two bottles of wine. I might, if given the chance, though; but that’s MY CHOICE.

(Yes, this is the problem of having to go to bed sober; thoughts are still whirring, a lot of them negative, but only YOU can turn them off because you realize they’re meaningless; you can’t use The Wine, and it never did a good job anyway.)

Another mass shooting. What is wrong with this picture?

15 Dec

12:15 pm

Yeah, it’s a little fuzzy, n’est-ce pas?

I won’t ramble for long, but here’s my take.

Here, in “USA, Inc.”, we have issues. We glorify violence, and honor competition. We promote rampant consumerism. This leads to alienation and isolation, anxiety and depression, to name JUST A FEW. It sort of makes you want to drink. Or, shoot people. I’m not being in any way ironic.

I have NO idea (mainly because the mainstream media chooses not to delve into the mental health issue since it makes a less compelling story than, let’s say, “evil-doings,” but I digress) what was going on inside the head of the shooter, but let me tell you something: there was a point–more than one, honestly–during my middle and high school years that were, actually, low enough to make me contemplate killing of beings, namely myself. The self-loathing and anger that resulted from my feeling ostracized/ridiculed at school for being a good student; for being from a family who weren’t, to be frank, hicks; for simply being creative/artistic (let’s not even go into sexual preferences and/or orientation)–it led me to binge eat and then, binge drink. I couldn’t deal, and most of the time, I didn’t know HOW to deal aside from writing and dancing my emotions out. Unfortunately, I was too inhibited to dance in front of others. Fortunately, I clung to my belief in my grades as my ticket out, as well as my writing–my life raft.

I don’t know what’s going on, really, with today’s kids, but by the time I got to my junior year of college, I had already gone through several major episodes of depression, been through the emotional mindfuck that is bulimia, and likely harbored some serious sociopathic leanings that never materialized, due to simply internalizing my hatred for the people who hated me (or so I thought). I was SO overwhelmed by a sense of “there is something seriously wrong with this place” that I HAD to escape. And I did, to France. Anything to get me away from the billboards, the commercials, the emptiness I felt at having everything and having nothing (and I came from a lower middle class family!). I felt suffocated by what I still see to be the ills of our society, which have NOTHING, really, to do with the “freedom” to own guns (there’s a great article in The New Yorker on the history of the first amendment’s “right to bear arms” clause):

1. Consumerism. The idea that things, instead of experiences, people, and places, will make you happy and/or content; that happiness and contentment, like EVERYTHING worth having, can be had by anything but hard work–attained over a period of years, if not an entire lifetime.
2. Glorification of violence. We can see it in everything from our movies to our wars, this “we’re-gonna-kick-your-head-in-cuz-we-can” mentality. (When I volunteered clearing rubble in [beautiful island] after the [natural disaster], the Brits and Aussies nicknamed the heaviest sledgehammer “‘Merica” because it could “smash a lot of shit and leave a mess behind.”)
3. Glorification of competition, egotism, greed, etc. Why aren’t more “feminine” ideologies instilled in us throughout our lives, like cooperation, conciliation, nonviolent conflict resolution? I guess I’m generalizing here, but how many of you would argue against the fact that most (all?) of these mass shootings have been perpetrated my men, and wars are declared mainly (exclusively?) by male leaders?

I wish it was different, but when I left “USA, Inc.” in 1994 for Tours and then Paris, France, I figuratively never looked back. Now, I’m living in [beautiful island], which I might consider a second-world country but would certainly agree that it’s NOT the mainland–and I feel like I can breathe, like I might never return to “that place.”

Anyhoo…how does this pertain to drinking? Well, all I can say is, I’ve never experienced this kind of grief, so I have no idea what I would do. BUT, I hope that I would not pick up. I mean, drinking almost seems pointless in situations like this; which, in a sense, is a testament to its futility in the face of confronting the things life throws our way.

I wish peace to all the families involved in this shiteous crime. That is all.

Am I punishing myself by staying sober?

6 Dec

1:21 am

Uh, talk about a heavy question. Then again, AA is heavy, and that’s where I heard someone pose this question recently in response to a death in her immediate circle.

Hmm…

Yes, in a sense, you are punishing yourself. You don’t get to obliviate, and that sucks. It’s a choice to live through the pain, or at least not circumvent it at will. However, in the grand scheme of things, you and us both know that you aren’t. Learning to cope with death–with pain and with grief–is necessary to live. Avoiding moving through it to the other side is escapism, not reward. Sobriety is the reward, as without it, you just keep going back to square one; you keep yourself in the pain, instead of moving past it. You cry, you drink, you cry because you drank. You wake up and wonder why the pain is still there. That sounds like punishment to me! (Easier said than done, especially when I’m not the one grieving a death, *especially* while sober.)

My first experience with grief came after the [beautiful island] [natural disaster]. I had times there–amazing, life-changing times. I had friends there, and some of those friends were crushed to death. After the [natural disaster], I had horrible sadness, confusion, and bouts of frantic anxiety–usually at night, in my bed. What would happen to me when I died? Would I float off into endless black nothingness? How could life be considered so precious when it was made of such a frail mold? If it could be taken so easily, how could (can) it really be so valuable? I couldn’t fall asleep at night, and would sometimes wake with feelings of being smothered.

I got through it, and for better or for worse, I don’t really think of death as bad anymore. Sure, it freaks me out, but death is. Death just is. I will die; the question is, will I accept this and then, how will I live my life? As a friend told me years ago, when I was in my early 20s and feeling bogged down by my first-world choices to the point of being depressed about life: Good thing it’s short, eh? Right, thanks.

In other words, drinking stalls your process and wastes your time. And, considering how few moments we have here, and how difficult it can be to learn to grasp and cherish them while sober…even if you want to drink, can you really, truly afford to? Life is short, and learning its lessons takes time. Why not start now, end quicker, and get out of class while the sun is still shining?

Going on 8 weeks tomorrow, and then (my second time around) 60 days this coming Monday! And, I’m NOT stopping this train. Drinking is simply not in my cards these days; sure, I’d like to, but when I re-think it, I don’t want to waste the hours drinking and being hung over. I have better things to do, things that provide me with much longer-term and substantial buzz than wine. Plus, I know that drinking wine after this long of being sober–I fell off ye olde wagon, remember?–will not feel good; the buzz’ll feel weird, and I likely won’t have a good time, mentally (static brain) and emotionally (downs for the first two glasses, blunted ups for however long it’ll take me to black out, which won’t be more than 2-4 more glasses). It’s not worth my valuable time anymore. Go, me.

(Still, wouldn’t it be nice…NO! Down, wolf, down.) 😉

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