This year I have been introduced to the concept of ‘the grass is greener’ thinking. It plays off the old adage that the grass is always greener on the other side – a concept I have always intellectually understood. But I never really paid attention to how it played into my every day life. And this mindset is a constant in my life these days. Now that sobriety has forced me to live in every moment, I am blown away by how many reactive alternative realities my mind is capable of dreaming up for me. It takes real discipline to work through these distractions, and to then commit to one thing for an extended period of time.
My mind was blown the day that someone much wiser than me sat me down, and explained that no, all my anxiety and self fear is not going to be solved by moving zip codes / getting a new tattoo / buying a new wardrobe / dropping out of college etc. No matter what I did, or where I went to, eventually the dust will settle and I will still be there with myself. Maybe with a great new haircut and a handful of new experiences, but it will still be me.
This pattern of being encapsulates my adult life perfectly. From 17 onwards, I have never stayed in a home for more than a year. I have broken a decade’s worth of leases, and in this time, lived in over 16 homes. I did half a music degree, then started a psychology degree, before landing on engineering. This year I completed my first year of a bachelor’s of science in food and nutrition. And I have contemplated dropping out with every single hurdle I come across. I think, oh I don’t really need this, I work full time and have been careful with my money. I would probably be a terrible nutritionist anyway. I would probably be a better doctor/DJ/rocket scientist/trophy wife. Maybe I should get back into oboe.
It is fucking exhausting being wired this way. Just ask my husband. But I have really learned the power that comes from facing up to your own weaknesses. I have a soft spot for a new beginning, for the phoenix rising from the ashes. I love a good rebirth. I have never really had the tenacity to hang in there once the rebirth is over and reality strikes. I am a hard worker, and am capable of tunnel vision to the point of self detriment. But when this energy gets pulled astray by my wishful thinking, I have to ability to completely decimate my life, and those I love.
I’m working on it.
The fact remains, that it takes a huge strength of character to encounter a problem; and instead of searching for the easy route, choosing to work through to an end that is not based in fear. Before I got sober, I chose to entertain some strange possibilities about who I might be. I would get so caught up in the drama of the possibility of my existence, that I was removing myself from my life. For the first time, I was running away from my husband and from the communication we share that I am proud of.
I do not want to write about this period of my life. But I feel that power comes from speaking about ourselves at our most shameful. When we can acknowledge and assimilate ourselves at our worst, our lives can unfold in a meaningful way. I do not want to run from the parts of me that I do not like anymore.
So this means that when the going gets tough in my life, because it always will, I do not look for the next address to drag my husband to. I do not look for the easiest way to numb myself from the realities of life. I force myself to do the small things each day that make me feel better, and then I do no more. When it comes to my school work, I honor the deal I made with myself – that I would consider retiring from modeling only when I had a bachelors degree. When it comes to my marriage, I honor the person I chose to spend the rest of my life with, and I open my mouth and I talk. And when it comes to my friends and loved ones, I choose the path of most loving communication. But most of all, I honor myself and what I know to be true. When your point of reference is a constantly moving target like mine, this can be the hardest thing your mind can throw at you.
The key for me, is to keep it simple. The person I know to be true can be boiled down to a few key essences. When everything I think I like and think I want is swirling in my head, I can put down roots in the parts of me that have not changed since I got memory. When I feel completely overwhelmed, I force myself to take a few breaths and quiet my mind. I then write a few sentences about what I want. And then I look at what I can do today to become that person tomorrow. Everything after that gets a bit easier.
Choosing the path of honesty and tenacity is tiring. I am not going to pretend that this is easy for me – in my life - albeit unwittingly - I have consistently chosen the path of least resistance. Now that that has been taken off the table, I am forced to sit with the discomfort of staying in one place to deal with my life as it grows. It hurts, I am uncomfortable and grumpy… And then I feel better. My life shifts around the boundaries I have set, and I have a little bit more self esteem.
Most importantly, my life doesn’t do a 90 degree turn into the unknown. I stay on track, and I keep building my boat. For when the sea will get rough.
And that is about all I can do at this time. Showing up is half the battle after all.
Peace and love,