Leaning against the headboard of our hotel bed, I stab red chopsticks into a bowl of cabbage and iceberg salad. I gaze out to the six feet of carpeted space in front of me and laugh. Tour life is strange sometimes. Living in a hotel is strange. But I’m used to strange. So I don’t mind living in a series of small boxes. For now, though, I’m going to Phoenix—away from the far-far out there of nomadic living.
Only one more day in Japan.
When the main character from Monsters of Templeton waits for her train, Lauren Groff describes her longing as an engine chugging into the station saying: Templeton, Templeton Templeton. Her train is calling her. It’s almost time for her to hop on.
I told Michael this story and told him that the closer I get to going home, I can hear my own train chugging into Fukuoka, Japan chanting: hot yoga, hot yoga, hot yoga. And that is a real story. I can hear it now (hot yoga, hot yoga, hot yoga.)
We had our Hanami picnic this week with everyone on tour. And yesterday I ate vegan bento boxes from Hakata Station with two beautiful friends. Then, we spent the afternoon in Nishi Park where Sakura blossoms roared at their full potential.
Is there anything more appropriate than falling cherry blossoms as my closing curtain for Japan? That feels appropriately sentimental.
Almost there (hot yoga, hot yoga, hot yoga).
The moment I step off the plane in Arizona and into the care of my sweet mother and father-in-law, I will live in the hot room. My batteries need to recharge after being afloat for a year and a half.
I will have two years of sobriety on April 3rd.
Sometimes it’s hard to remember what it was like before—there are so many befores.
I am 25 years old. Eyes are bloodshot and puffed out from sobbing. Mascara bleeds in oblong stretches over the sides of my eyes from laying flat on the ground crying. Standing in a white Midtown apartment letting daylight flood into a dark bathroom, I clench my knuckles into claws by my sides. I am lost in the mirror. I know I feel too much for my body. I know I feel more than anyone I know. And the weight of this knowing cripples me. I am alone with myself in a painful and important way. So God lets me feel alone.
There were countless nights where clarity fell all around me. Nights where I stumbled out for a cigarette from a bar, my brain swimming with wine and pills, to find a clear sky full of stars and the subtle hum of insects. What a gentle release to find silence after hours in the city—in my head. To step on wet grass and feel a swoosh of life for a moment even through the fog, was something. I didn’t know what. But I knew it was something. I was oblivious to that fact that I lived on the outside of my own life. There were endless nights on the other door of an epiphany—on the other side of myself.
I did not know that life was crushing me and trying to make me something new again. Life asked me to transform. But I didn’t know what that meant. So I didn’t break.A few more years, I said.
It did not get easier.
So I know what it means to be afraid of yourself. I was afraid of myself.
And most importantly, I know what a person means when they tell me that they cannot stop drinking. I listen. I sit, and I listen. Because I know exactly what they mean. Do you know what it’s like to disappear every single night? To lose the ones you love for choices you didn’t really want to make? To forget who you are completely? I do. And it wasn’t because I didn’t care. I cared a lot. In fact, I think I felt everything so intensely it terrified me.
The biggest inner dialouge shift for me over these past two years has gone from I cannot trust my thinking, to I can trust myself. I am sober, and I can trust myself.
Honoring the path that brought me here never gets old. To those who don’t understand, you don’t have to understand yet. It’s not your time. But I will say that the veil between worlds is thinner in sobriety. I am listening. I am fluid and connected. I am connected to my mind and body for once. I am connected to the world around me. And if that isn’t God, I don’t know what is.
I also know that I could never experience this life fully, truly like this, while I was drinking.
It took years for me to find the love I needed to quit drinking, smoking, and then taking prescription pills. But I did it with support from my husband Michael, my close friends, my online community and my family. I am free. I trust the timing of my life and my story. And I am free.
The tour will go on and finish Japan in Sendai without me. I will miss Michael and all of our friends on tour for a few months. But I can’t wait for Arizona. It will be a restoration pool to dive deep into while coming up for air at the same time. I hear it coming (hot yoga, hot yoga, hot yoga).
From there it will be another train coming for another reason. Longing is an invitation and not a distance thing anymore. It’s an idea coming for me that I have the tools to manifest. No one is a waste. We deserve to be here.
For more on the sobriety, yoga and travel journey check out my facebook page The OAM, or follow me on Instagram @jacqui.hathaway.