I purchase eco-friendly cleaning supplies and toss them into my Powell’s tote bag at the Target self-checkout. I soften instantly driving home. Eddie Vedder sings “Better Man” in a live recording from Pearl Jam’s 2003 Yokohama, Japan tour on the radio. I know this song best from The OA, to be honest. I always knew it before, just like everyone knows it, but I really listened to it on this show.
“She dreams in color. She dreams in red. Can’t find a better man.”
I love how one person can shift the camera focus and show you another in just the right light, and then there they are, an angel for you to draw from whenever you need them, just like any good playlist or mixtape. I hope people out there are still making mixtapes for each other.
My dad and I had a deep conversation about music last month on our car ride home from Gainesville to Orlando. He told me he was into the Beatles, Bob Dylan and Tom Petty in the 70’s. He said, “If you listened to The Eagles and Chicago, you were a little more clean cut. If you listened to Led Zeppelin you were a little heavier.” Then, as Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit” began to play on the radio, he said, “If you listened to this, you were probably on drugs at a festival.”
Is it safe to say that I could see myself in all of these groups?
I love how dark I am. I’m not afraid of the ones with bad reputations. I love your broken parts. I know what it’s like to abandon yourself and act against what you know to be right. I’ve even, at times, floated above myself in real time. I’ve watched myself destroy perfectly good relationships. I’ve watched myself hurt the people I love. But more than anything, I’ve watched myself tear apart my own spirit one drunken night after another and lived to tell about it.
I’m not afraid of the things you’ve done. If anything, it means we probably have a lot in common. People have said a lot of things about me. Some of it is true. Most of it isn’t. We aren’t all bad or all good, and I wish everyone would stop chopping each other into parts to be weighed. I wish everyone would stop cancelling each other out. I love how dark you are.
I make it home and unpack my pregnancy-friendly/eco-friendly supplies onto the counter. I’m beyond excited for a day of cleaning my own damn kitchen and bathroom. After years of living out of hotels and apartments, I crave the ritual of cleaning my own space.
Scrolling through Instagram, I get lost in a few beautiful dance videos that light me up with appreciation rather than the flaming burst of inferiority I’ve grown accustomed to over the last few years. It took a while to get here, but here I am.
I was a dancer once. For most of my life I was a dancer. It was my everything. Then, faster than I ever expected, it wasn’t. I wasn’t. Dance isn’t something that waits for you to get your shit together and come back when you’re ready for it. The months pull away at your threading until you are further and further out from the anchor. Unless you fight your way back to it, it’s not waiting for you on the other side when you come back.
I let dance go so I could tend to someone who didn’t need me around, as it turned out. Sometimes I miss dancing and using my body in that way so much I want to scream.
Watching it leave was like dreaming of screaming and having nothing come out. Just air. No signs of help in sight. Sometimes it’s difficult to accept consequences from the person I was at that time in my life. I put everything important to me on hold for the guy I was dating. But first and foremost, I put everything on hold for my drinking. I was weighted to the ground with codependent behaviors, and it still makes me sad sometimes that I don’t have dance anymore the way that I used to. I could sit here and feel really sorry for myself (and sometimes I do), but right now, I’m just grateful that I have so many other outlets to let this energy flow through. Where would I be if dancing were all that I did?
I know I will never write anything truly great until I stop caring about what people think of me. So as far as reputations go, what could I possibly be afraid of at this point? What does it mean if everyone leaves? Am I wrong? I still love how dark I am.
There really isn’t anything to fear, so why not start by telling the whole truth. You know?
We saw baby’s face for this first time in 3D last Monday. His head was hiding behind my belly button, so I had to stand up and do a bunch of squats and lunges to get him to move around. Baby has my chin. I can’t stop thinking about the moment he will leave my body and take his first breaths out in the world. From water to air. Crossing borders and becoming real. My water sign baby, I can’t wait to meet you.
He loves to move around. As I fall in love with another Nicholas Palmquist dance video, this one to Florence and the Machine, so does baby. He already dances as much as my heart still wants to.
In this mash up reflection on darkness, I am reminded of this past summer when Michael and I went to LA for a few days. We drove up to the Griffith Observatory one morning during the “June Gloom” coastal fog.
A coyote trotted up to my passenger side window and stared at me for what felt like a long time.
I told my mom it was a sign. She laughed A LOT and said, “It was just a hungry animal, Jacqui. You’re so funny.”
Maybe…but I told Allyson the same story, and she said, “Wow! Coyotes are tricksters of the universe.” THAT felt more accurate. If it isn’t a sign, it’s nothing right? Where is the lesson and growth in that? I’d like to think everything is a sign. I’d like to think that we have everything we need right now. It was a damn sign from a probably very hungry coyote. (I love you, Mom).
Tonight I feel that energy. That trickster energy. Throwing ourselves out into the universe means anything can happen. Sometimes I like the steadiness of my higher power, but right now I like the unpredictability of knowing anything can happen. These are the great contrasts that allow us to stay afloat while still stretching the boundaries of possibility.
Don’t ever be afraid of your darkness. It’s one of the most beautiful stories you will ever tell.
For more on the creative sobriety journey check out my facebook page The OAM, or follow me on Instagram @jacqui.hathaway.