What I am about to say may come as a shock to you. It may seem inappropriate for me to share such sensitive information all out on display like this for all of the world (or absolutely no one) to read. There is a freedom in either outcome. Who knows with these kinds of things anyway? What I do know is that what I am about to say is for anyone who feels stuck in that irreversible pit, so before you start to judge, save your shame for someone else because what I am about to say is for the person who may need to hear it.
I no longer stand at a podium for eight hours a day greeting passengers along for whatever ride they might want to take; tours of coffee, of cake, swirls of inspiration, of past, glances at my hips and sometimes my okay stage presence. I am no longer dulled down by an obligation of tulips taunting me through that glass window along Peachtree Street. My throat no longer aches and dries from talking about anything less than what I believe in. I no longer talk about cake, enthusiastically, for hours on end trying to sell something for some kind of approval that still does not make sense. I no longer stretch what I am to sound like it is something better. You can only pretend cake and sexism are as interesting and important as neuroplasticity and Rodin for so long before something starts to unscrew. I would rather just sit down and talk to you about either of those. I do not talk about cake unless we are about to eat it. I am no longer an overgrown teenager in a tight black skirt asking permission for respect unsure of what that looks like or if I deserve it. I no longer waltz around pretending that I deserve anything less. I am no longer a prisoner to everyone else’s version of my truth. I am no longer a scared, anorexic, drunk who accepts any form of love because she is so deprived of it. I no longer pretend like smoking cigarettes is cool. I am no longer ashamed of myself or the people I surround myself with. I take care of myself and my family. My life is under the influence of love, and I am no longer afraid to share it authentically.
I am no longer that woman, but there are still flickers of unfinished business bouncing around behind my eyes for justice, maybe even for borderline revenge. There are still parts of me that want to rise up like Uma Thurman in Kill Bill and make them pay. There are parts of me that want to wave whatever newfound confidence I have in the faces of a few cruel individuals who gave me hell and enjoyed it at one of the worst times in my life. There is a very specific part of me that wants to punch her in the glasses for digging herself into my wounds when we were all hurting. Wounds, however evolved will weep for themselves on occasion as they are always healing and evolving. Maybe, at one time, I would have actually punched that pious real-estate agent in the glasses if she’d made one more wrong move or dig at me at the wrong time about where she stayed in life and where I ended up, but not now. No, I’ll just mention it like this.
If I were reading this, I’d knick my tongue on the side of my cheek and shake my head a little because this is not the high road that I am taking. This is the middle road where we are all capable of living. Eventually this will all be an echo of something that has no effect on me at all. Eventually I won’t want to wave anything in the face of any particularly evil people at all. I don’t know. Whatever else hurts or frustrates you before you learn that you are equipped with the patience to dissolve it, keep breathing. Before you are bigger than the past that’s happened to you, keep breathing.
I remember the aimlessness of that time: I am floating around without any place to go, randomly bumping into things, sitting down wherever I can sit, crying hysterically all through midtown, like a ghost. After work at the Cafe, I’d go to my car and curl up in the backseat and drink. I would lay there with my cheek against the cigarette smoke filled upholstery too blank to go home. Out of everyone I knew I tell myself that I am the least equipped to cope with all that happened. I want to die a little, but I do not. I somehow make it home to the place that my mom made for me upstairs in the open loft. A place for her adult daughter to go after it happened. She put up black out curtains over the balcony like a wall and a portable closet from IKEA, so it would feel like a room. Sometimes, I would run a hot bath and turn off all of the lights without lighting any candles to really get the feeling of disappearing. Sitting in the darkness, I would hold my breath and go underwater because for those moments, in the black pool, it was okay. The abyss was freedom. Then I would wake up and do it all over again. On the way out of this place, that you will indeed get out of, you will forget that you are not drowning anymore, but I am here to tell you that it will end. You will find peace. Your pain will change you into something more beautiful than you thought possible if you take the risk to change it.
I ignored that I was sick under the impression that there was something horribly wrong with me. This stigma could have killed me. I had to stop looking at my drinking as pitiful because this was something “I did to myself”. I came back to life when I stopped believing what I heard about myself and started believing that I was a powerful force. Follow the voices that speak to you. You will know them when you hear them because they will feel like hope, and we all deserve to live full, complete lives. My changes from this very low place to where I am now were gradual. They were not overnight by any means. It was not the tell tale story of hitting my rock bottom one day and walking into this bright sober, wonderful life the next day. This was one thing at a time for me with a lot of lovely angels along the way. Best to you. ❤
Cover image: Sleep, Rodin 1889, Marble.