El B’s

Alcohol was the master I served for over a decade. But like most alcoholics and addicts of my type, I often take orders from other afflictions. In fact, I’ve written about that for AfterParty Magazine.

I suffer from disordered eating.

There, I said it. Let me be clear, though: I do not identify as an anorexic, nor have I ever purged as a result of binge eating. But I struggle, every day, with the obsession that I am not the size, weight or body type I am meant to be.  According to whom? That remains to be seen.

I wait about two weeks in-between “weighing sessions.” I allow that amount of time to elapse because every time I step on the scale, my heart sinks into my feet. The act itself ruins my entire day. It’s disappointing to self-report that I’ve gained another two pounds; it’s devastating to admit that I lost even more control over my weight. I never cared as much about such a small amount of El Be’s (=lbs, pounds) as I do right now. Not even when I was 16, tortured by the idea of going to Lake Mary for my sweet sixteen, forced to be bikini-clad in public. The idea that anyone other than my immediate family would see me in a bathing suit horrified me.

The first time I knew I had a problem with eating versus drinking was the first break I came home to visit my family freshman year of college. I studied at a small liberal arts college in Vermont, where I discovered the delights of Rolling Rock, 99 Apples and 10-foot glass sculptures from head shops. I mostly remember the -47 degree weather and the fact that one cannot step outside with wet hair without icicles forming. My family took notice that I gained weight, the dreaded Freshman Fifteen. It was actually the verbiage they used, saying my face looked “puffy.” That was code for fat, I thought. Looking back, i’m positive that what they saw were the first physical signs of my alcoholism. It stuck with me, despite their obvious love as evidence contrary to my negative thought processes. I spent the subsequent two weeks fasting on Yoplait and black olives. Fucking disgusting. Yet, effective–

I dropped 12 pounds in two weeks.

I came back to school expecting a huge reaction from my friends. There was none. I was bummed. More than that, I was super angry. Why had I gone to the great lengths I did in order to lose weight? Furthermore, why did I bother staving off my desire to drink in order to starve? I wanted someone to notice how much my hard work had paid off. I also wanted a goddamn potato chip. So I started working out, and I got both.

My best friend in college was my favorite person to work out with. We used to giggle uncontrollably anytime we came to the gym still wreaking of booze (amateurs.)  I take most of the credit for that one, especially after I started sweating. It was hard to take much of anything seriously by that point, but we prevailed. My modus operandi was the elliptical. I loved that I did not have to go anywhere or do anything except move in the exact same motion for an hour in order to burn precisely 650 calories. What a gift. What a coincidence, too, because that’s how many servings of pretzels/chips/crackers I would eat later. The law of averages doing its due diligence, I guess.

I categorize my second semester of freshman year as the darkest few months of my life. Well, until sophomore year when my dad died. Oh, and grad school in New York. Followed closely by the San Bernardino/San Diego days. It’s been quite the ride into the depths! More to the point, I found that no matter where I was, I felt better about my drinking when I could manipulate the intake of food I’d give myself in a given day. I decided never to count my drinks, only my calories. I saw just one snag in this plan: I got hungry after a few drinks. That meant Oreos after hours. Speaking of which, and not to get too far off track, but there was one point during my senior year of college when I went home for Thanksgiving with one of my best friends and her family. We got shit-faced with her friends going out to all her old stomping ground bars. When we got home, I felt sick. Sick, like, I hadn’t eaten more than half a bagel all day, so my body didn’t have the ability to absorb the narsty amount of alcohol I dumped into my system. Lest we forget my affinity for Oreos, I got to a point where I had to throw up. Once I did, I saw that the contents in the toilet were completely black. I ran to my friend worried I was dying. She very sweetly tried to explain to me that what I was seeing were the Oreos I ate earlier, not sudden death. I laughed out loud, but inside I felt like a complete asshole.

Two summers ago, I saw a doctor for my anxiety. My counselor was sweet and helpful, and eventually responsible for helping me turn to yoga as a physical calming method. However, my body had had enough. I was a year and a half sober, deeply immersed in my 12-step program, yet suffering from debilitating anxiety. She prescribed me a medication that, long story short, made me very sick. I won’t go into the ghastly detail it would take to describe what I went through, but let’s just say my symptoms mimicked those of food poisoning. Twenty-four-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week, five-month-long-food poisoning.

I dropped 25 pounds in two months. I didn’t have 25 pounds to lose.

Once my symptoms let up, I had been on my medication for about six months. I felt so much better mentally. And eventually, I got my physical strength back. The one symptom I hadn’t anticipated remaining was the deathly fear I had of gaining all that weight back. So I began restricting. Multiple friends messaged me on social media, asking if I was okay after they saw a picture of myself I had posted. This made me feel exposed, guilty. Especially considering that the friends who said something were not in any way dramatic or critical, just worried. I felt embarrassed and stripped of justification. The medicine no longer caused me to lose weight. My doctor noticed, too. She confronted me about how much weight I kept losing. I told her what I was eating with about as much honesty as when I told my doctor in Los Angeles how much I drank–

The Limit Does Not Exist.

Another, little-known fact: my fiance is a cook at a swanky restaurant. When he moved home from NYC, he was taken aback by my appearance. If I’m being honest with myself, he had been concerned a few months prior. I chose to deflect then, but I couldn’t exactly swat away the truth with him standing in front of me, mano y mano. He expressed to me that there was deep irony in him dedicating his life to loving food, with a girlfriend who chose not to eat any. He was upset and worried. I came clean about how deep my obsession went, but I don’t think that allowed the worry to lessen. So I made it a point to eat every single meal he created. After a few months, I gained back nearly every pound I lost. I was at once proud and horrified.

It’s amazing. Amazing how the brain can convince you that you don’t need food, or love, or honesty. There is way more to this story than what I’ve disclosed here. But that’s because it’s an ongoing issue. I know there are people reading this–particularly women–who know exactly what I’m talking about. Those of us in recovery from anything know that there is almost always a long road to walk in order to heal. I am not sure what my road will look like, but I don’t want to know right now. If I knew what early sobriety would have required of me, I’m not sure I would have followed through with the journey. Thank God for blissful ignorance.

And thank God for writing.

xx

How I Know

I’m going to write as much as possible for the next few days. It’s Friday, and students from all of the public and private schools where I substitute are on overlapping Spring Breaks. I kinda forgot the kids would be out of school for this long (two weeks). I’m relieved to have a break. As much as I bitch to those who will listen, I feel grateful to have more than one job. It’s times like these I can afford to be clueless about my constantly-revolving schedule.

Now, for this:

I’ve had a big, ongoing fear that I will one day run out of things to talk about. Like, somehow my thoughts will stop evolving. I think the deeper fear is that I will have nothing good enough to say that will keep people’s attention. But that’s a bullshit false humility. As long as my brain is functioning on all cylinders, I will have something to talk about. Every time I try not to think or not to write, my brain won’t let me be. Last night was one of those nights. I got to sleep around 3:00 AM.

At 7:00 AM I lurched out of bed. For the past week I’ve barely slapped together one night of decent sleep. It’s tempting to get frustrated by my exhaustion, but I know to pause; I’ve been here before. I did about .5 seconds of research just now to discover that others experience similar physical responses to mine when their Sixth Sense takes over, whether that’s sleeplessness, choppy breathing, sweating, racing thoughts or stomach aches. According to Method 3 of Wikihow’s “3 Ways to Follow Your Intuition,” I have good reason to listen to my Spidey Senses:

Pay attention to your physical reactions. Dangerous or uncomfortable situations may trigger a physical stress response. In addition to an upset stomach, you might feel your palms sweating and your heart racing. In some cases, our bodies pick up on the signs that something is amiss before our brains do. Listen to what your body is telling you: these stress reactions are a signal to the conscious mind to be on guard.

I haven’t talked about this in awhile, but I have a pretty intense story that I point to whenever I start to feel like my gut instincts lead me astray.

On a weekend in the 90s, my twin sister and I were at a Pizza Hut doing the whole “Book It” challenge (do you remember that?!) with our parents. We were two slices deep into our personal pan pizzas when I started to feel my heart beat hard and quick. I ignored it at first because I didn’t want to be perceived as a hypochondriac. (Note: not reaching out for help would be a theme that would follow me well into the next decade). I must have given a weird look, so my mom asked me what was wrong. She sounded worried when I told her, but for whatever reason we all decided to just chill and see what would happen. Minutes later, my heart started palpitating. It didn’t hurt, but I knew something was off in my body. I started to sweat and hyperventilate. Not a moment passed before my dad got a phone call from my older sister’s husband who had gone into labor. He told us that her second born child was delivered safely, but that he had a congenital heart defect. We all sat there stunned not really knowing what to make of this development. Thankfully, my nephew pulled through and is a healthy young man today. But even then, I knew this was something worth remembering. I believe I had a premonition that day.

Though I could go on about the negatives of my anxiety as a result of intuitive thought, having one to listen to in the first place is my favorite part of being human. It’s the most basic and efficient way to suss out any situation by leaning almost completely on my Higher Power. There is no real way to substantiate intuitive thoughts, at least not scientifically. Though, I have read some thoroughly-research articles on the matter, including one published the year I was born. All I know is that my inner knowledge wakes up when I hear certain music or smell familiar fragrances. Is it a spiritual thing? Do other people feel senses at the same time in potentially dangerous situations? I think it’s worth investigating.

Consider this my field research.

xx

Dipped and Dyed

It was two o’clock on a Sunday when my eyes fluttered open. The light was bright–like, make-me-wretch-violently, bright. “Good,” I breathed warily, “It’s not rush hour yet.”

It was two o’clock, to be exact, on Easter Sunday. Really, it was just another day. As long as the Ralph’s on La Brea stayed open until I could get there-or-be-square, fit to be tied, on the buy-one-get-one-half-off sale for Oyster Bay Sauvingnon Blanc wine. Give me wine (from obscure regions like Marlborough of New Zealand), or give me death! Though to be fair, what was more urgent for me was to keep my parking spot secured outside of the apartment. That would require some hustle on my part, to and from the store to secure our provisions. Ah, to be young and drunk!

I enjoyed the forgotten holidays the most. Forgotten to me, that is; Christ rising seems to strike a memorable cord with others. Merely a detail. I didn’t need divine celebration. Like, ever. Who needs God when something secret, magical and sacred happens on the days that officially require nothing out of me, an atheist, and even less from the general hedonistic crowd I worshiped booze with? Rhetorical questions for (holi)dayssssss.

I drank because it made me feel bright and shiny, like the child of God I was fashioned to be. Cloaked in a shroud of false confidence, I celebrated that shit out of holidays I cared nothing about. I had every reason to feel uplifted: good job, a designated drinking buddy (boyfriend), available friends, temporary money in the bank and tight jeans. That’s all I ever needed to have a good time. A pair of Ray Bans didn’t hurt, either. Gotta look the part. Too bad underneath those shades my eyes were blood shot, my energies fixated on my next drink and the future pack of cigarettes necessary to mask my homesickness for the holidays. Staycations are slightly less fun when your alcoholism forces you into them.

We yanked the vodka out of his freezer to take some morning shots. “Oooo wait, there’s some Jager left!” he shouts, “Two more shots. Two for me, I mean. Maybe you, too.” Our couple unit had stayed drunk 28 nights (and some days) to date, a fact we were most proud to highlight. We woke up that day, like the previous 28, hungover and ill-prepared for human contact. And almost on cue, his parents called minutes after our morning “juice” to send their Easter love. And we felt the love. A bottle of Dom Perignon was in our future, sponsored by his generous and somewhat clueless family. “What do you two have planned for today? Dad and I are gonna enjoy this weather.” “Uh, we’ll probably cook some dinner, maybe go out later.” I covered my mouth to stifle my laughter. The only time he and I ever cooked anything, it was the elk his family hunted then put into the freezer. It was delicious, but not in my flavor profile. I think I had forgotten the greens (or was it a carb?) on the stove, setting off the fire alarm. We spent the next 15 minutes fanning the smoke away from the alarm and out of the windows. I took that opportunity to light up a cigarette with my head popped outside. I was selfish. Beyond that, I had a nasty habit of leaving shit on the stove or in the oven while wasted. By a grace higher than I deserved, I never needed to lean on mine or anyone else’s renter’s insurance for fire damage.

I composed myself enough to feign interest for this conversation. We chatted his folks up for awhile on speaker phone, batting away the sunshine streaming through the blinds as if it were a swarm of hornets. Might as well have been. “Oh, shit, we gotta call you back, Mom. We love you.” God forbid we don’t take the incoming call from his neighbor, a man I introduced him to when we moved my couch into his apartment. “Let’s hang out with Christina,” he chirps. For those of us who don’t abuse legal or illegal substances, Christina is a name we used when referring to cocaine. I guess you could say this was our version of an Easter egg hunt–search all the plastic eggs to find your perfect dime bag! Jelly beans are bullshit.

The Neighbors. This was the moniker we used to describe our troupe of European gay men who took us to The Abbey like every night. Easter weekend was no exception. Had I been more harmonious with a calendar, I’d be able to tell you when exactly The Neighbors introduced me to poppers. I know it was while watching sweaty men undulate under strobe lights, dancing to Britney’s Toxic. “Lift up your chin and close your eyes,” one of them said. “Inhale, NOW.” It was then I officially became the Girl with Kaleidoscope Eyes. “Wow. This makes me want to do it.” “Do what? He giggled. “Dance like no one’s watching,” I very seriously replied. That was the same night my boyfriend dropped me while giving me a drunken piggy back ride home.

The Dom Perignon didn’t last but for a few measly sips. It kind of devastated me. Sixty bones for a legit bottle of booze and it lasted no longer than the Popov vodka we’d later destroy. For someone who blacked out regularly, I would never forget the nights when I just couldn’t get drunk. Didn’t matter what swill I dumped down my gullet–my liver couldn’t process my drinking at the rate I was going. For an alcoholic of my type, there is no greater heart break.

I wish I could tell you I recognized my need to change right then and there, but I couldn’t. Not enough light seeped through the blinds that day, I guess.

Can’t explain, but it’s almost hard to recognize myself
Slowly I’ve changed, turned into someone else
I find myself doin’ things I’d never do
Dreamin’ of [it] the whole day through
Can’t explain, there is no need
There’s no one else who’s been inside of me

Can’t be explained
And there ain’t no reason to
Something strange
Just takes over you

I drank because alcohol made me feel less alone. I spent time with people who I had nothing in common with because it made me feel more interesting. I experimented with other substance because I wanted to defy my family who had raised me to love myself. With every sip of champagne, I spat in the fire, fanning the flames, drinking at others. I broke my own heart, repeatedly, in order to do what my disease saw fit: drink like no one was watching, until eventually, they couldn’t look away.

This is my third sober Easter. Dipped and dyed, purified. I don’t know that my sobriety makes me feel any closer to the holiday. It does make me wonder how many masses I’ve sat through white knuckling the pew. I have’t tried to investigate that too closely. But with every passing year, I get a little more used to celebrating holidays with my family. My mother continues to make me and my sister elaborate Easter baskets. I still wake up early on Easter Sunday to pick through the fake grass to find jelly beans hidden at the bottom of the basket. I don’t avoid the sunlight coming into my room, either, especially when the plants I have need all the light they can get. This year, like the last, I feel closer to okay. From Perignon champs to French Press cafe.

Happy Easter xx

The Marrying Kind

I’m beginning to think I’m not the marrying kind.

-Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City


There was once a time in my life where I actually quoted that shit out loud. To other people. Who might have been listening.

In high school and college (admittedly my prime SATC-watching years) I had a recurring wedding dream. I pictured myself walking down the isle toward my groom. Each time, in a full–on black and white filter–he would turn around and all I would see is a faceless man in a tux.

Those were my only wedding dreams.

And here I am, fianced. After all of the years of recklessness with other people’s hearts, I am responsible for this one very important heart. That responsibility is the honor and privilege of my lifetime. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would be planning a wedding at 30 years old with a man I love. Frankly, it surprised me when I made it to my 27th birthday, let alone making it to a life worth living with a person worth loving.

Needless to say, I am a reluctant wedding planner but a willing bridal participant. The level of details that go into a one-time wedding event stultify me. Except for the hours moments I go on Pinterest or get a phonecall from one of my best friends; those tend to be actual fun. Left to my own devices, I would walk my candy-ass to a courthouse and get married in the city of Richmond. I know I’d regret it, so I have to keep reminding myself that I am not the only one whose dreams I need to consider.

Despite the frenetic degree of google-doc’ing, one of the best things to emerge from this engagement is my burgeoning spiritual practice. I’ve maintained a joyful and fun daily yoga practice with the Gaia and Yoga With Adriene online communities. But I realized last week that I needed more. I started meditating again, this time taking my spiritual cues from Krishna Kaur and Gabby Bernstein. I feel lighter and more willing to chill. My yoga and meditation practices commune to bolster my self-esteem.

I still curse a lot, but I don’t want that to ever change.

I maintain that gratitude for where I am today keeps me present. I know that being engaged or planning a wedding doesn’t define me anymore than singledom or marriage ever did or ever will. That knowledge of “enoughness” within me, as-is, remains the second best thing to emerge from this process. I still get caught up in the budgets and the apparent infinity that is wedding color schemes, but it doesn’t mean that I have to stay caught. Loved ones tell me to enjoy the planning process, which I intend to take to heart. Otherwise I will continue to rail against 1). The Wedding Industrial Complex and 2). The Patriarchy.

I am and always will be a compulsive, over-thinking, excitable, loving and inappropriate woman. As it turns out, I am enough.

I am the marrying kind.

 

 

This is Not a Think Piece

I’m sad.

I’m sad with a sinus infection, acquired exactly one week ago.

I hate it. The election actually made me sick.

Furthermore, the post-election news cycle practically begs me (us) to bitch. It also begs the question of who we’ve become (or regressed to) as a society. But I promise I won’t propose a solution, not on that. I’m not really the demographic of human whose voice needs to be heard right now.

I just want to admit something:

I have no idea what to do, what to say or how to act now that my first sober election has come to pass. After five years as a drunk/progressive political organizer, I voted–sober–for the first time on an actual election day (no absentee voting, no early voting). This is the first election year where I did not have to knock on doors or make phone calls to GOTMF (Get Out the Mother Fucking Vote). I thought I was home free in a swing state, no less!

Up until this point in my recovery, there was one sober behavior I prided myself on: the ability to admit how much I hated working in politics. The drink made me do it! I would have never gotten or stayed in the business if it weren’t for the booze! DC is Hollywood for Ugly People!

Except maybe I was wrong.

We are effectively–those of us who give a fuck–political organizers now. Or maybe, more accurately, agents of change. At least that’s what feels like the ethical way to be to reverse recent fuckery. At this point, I’ll be taking way more of my cues as a citizen of this country from Black Lives Matter, The Southern Poverty Law Center, the ACLU, Planned Parenthood and the Human Rights Campaign. Definitely not from angry white ladies who voted for echoes of the Third Reich.

Other than a deep sense of betrayal that I’m sure minorities in this country have felt since birth, I feel ashamed. To top that off, I haven’t felt more like drinking than when I watched the returns come in on November 9th, 2016.

I spent the hours prior to the close of polls waitressing for binge drinkers and stress eaters alike. I thought that by keeping busy and by being of service, I would avoid a nail-biter of a night. Yet from the beginning, I noticed that every one of my customers was in a shit mood (as reflected by their tips). And with that, I knew what was coming.

Hours later, I sat stunned. I felt sick with the irony that the retired politico and drunk in me got nostalgic for wine on Election Day–

A nausea brought on by the phenomenon of craving, not election results.

So there you have it.

Reality bites. Acceptance bites back.

My greatest work one week out from Election Day is equanimity. Love thy neighbor as thyself to keep it balanced? I’m not really an expert on this sort of thing. All I know is that addiction and recovery criss-cross giant swaths of the electorate that I would just as soon ignore and/or loathe if it weren’t for the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Peace and justice,

Lucy xo

 

 

Photo courtesy of PetaPixel

Blind Spots

I got in from New York City last night around 9:30pm. Nothing of note happened during the bus ride (s), except maybe for the Albanian man SCREAMING into his phone for SEVEN hours. Or the sub-zero temperatures. And/or the noxious smell of piss and shit from the “full service” bathrooms. Come to think of it, there was this one nice lady in front of me who was concerned the bus left me somewhere in Delaware. The bus driver needed a smoke and I needed to go number one. She was appalled that none of the other passengers “gave a fuck” that I was not back on the bus. After we exchanged sighs of relief that I was not left or abducted, she and I bonded over our love of being former smokers–the kind who don’t get left on a cigarette break at a bus stop off of I-95.

I knew I’d have a bus breakdown the minute I prepared to leave Richmond for NYC. I could be wrong, but the general disgustingness of any Greyhound station anywhere does not help any situation. Ever. The sounds, the smells, the bedazzled book bags. The shouting, garbled mess over the intercom. CAN’T. So it was no surprise to me that after I settled into my almost-fully-upholstered seat, into the hours-long day trip, I felt a dark cloud pass over me somewhere around Pennsylvania. I knew in my guts that something was about to go down, but I couldn’t pinpoint what that something was.

That something was–and always will be–New York.

To be clear: I do not hate the city. I hate me in the city. I feel like it’s picture day in middle school, the first day I ever got my period in eighth grade, the day I puked during the Pledge of Allegiance in fourth grade and that time I split my pants in college walking home from the bars back to campus in the snow with my ass hanging out. All of that discomfort, all the time, aggressively. We just do not get along.

That being said, the city and I are now at a cease-fire. We are sort of like middle-aged divorcees who have been forced into reconciliation for the sake of the family. (In this metaphor, my boyfriend is my family and I am the one who must save face so that I–and NYC–can share joint custody of him.) We don’t owe each other anything except showing up to smile for the camera, after which we can both go our separate ways. If I’m being honest, I am also the one who does not warn the City that it has spinach in its teeth before we pose for the picture.

Needless to say, traveling to my anti-North Star, Northern city is stressful. But I found a way to make it suck less.

Before I made it to NYC, our bus driver took a routine stop in New Jersey. I made a bee-line for the nearest Starbuck’s, where in line behind me stood a blind man I recognized from the bus. The way I recognized him was by his phone that spoke  to him, the same phone I cursed at for being so loud before I realized home boy was blind. SERENITY NOW. I blushed at my own rush to judgement, then got over it by purchasing a Pumpkin Spice Latte. Because I am a white female and that seems to be something we do a lot.

I wrapped up my purchase pretty quickly. While waiting for what would turn out to be the best cup of coffee I’ve had in months, I overheard the blind man plead with the lady behind the counter to “comp” his coffee. The cynical side of me immediately assumed this dude gets stuff given to him all the time, due to his blindness. The way he approached the barista sure made it seem like his coffee should be on the house–that this is the way it’s always done and she needs to catch up. The barista wasn’t buying it. So me, being the sneaky sneak that I am, mushed myself right up beside him to lean over the counter with my debit card. I tried mouthing to the barista that “I’ve got this, whatever he wants,” but before I could HE SCOLDED ME FOR CUTTING HIM IN LINE. “Miss, the line starts back there.”

No good deed, right?

The moral of the story is, do something nice for someone with no strings attached. Otherwise, you’re in for a rude awakening.

xo

 

 

O.K.

The one (and quite possibly only) person who constitutes my “readership” pointed out tonight that I haven’t posted anything on here for awhile. I guess I didn’t have much to say.

That right there was a lie, right out of the gate.  The truth is, I made the executive decision to STFU.

F. Scott Fitzgerald once said, “You don’t write because you want to say something,” (I always do); you write because you’ve got to say something (I do, either way).” So you can imagine the confusion my predisposition to constantly run my mouth causes me. It pains me to not interject myself in others’ conversations. I always feel compelled to constantly bring something to the table, verbally. At times I feel what I’m saying is very important when it’s actually very pretentious. But by shutting it for the summer, I learned a thing or two about shutting it even more strategically.

very important and very pretentious.png

And what I’ve got to say to you tonight is “okay.”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten in trouble at work already for not just saying, “okay” while being instructed (That’s another lie;  I’ve gotten in trouble four separate times in the past month and a half [with two different bosses] for “defending myself” during a busy shift). I waitress almost full-time now, in addition to tutoring a beautiful young girl in third grade. I’d argue these are the best two jobs I’ve ever had. I’m not sure against whom I would be arguing this, other than my former self. A shattered ego has a way of resetting my perspective on all things, including (and most especially) jobs.

I don’t know what it is about being told what to do, but I’m not very good at it. To clarify, I’ve never been insubordinate at work on any job, at any time. I’d like to thank my former friend, alcohol, for helping me fake that scam of workforce submissiveness. Sure, I didn’t talk back to bosses, but I sure talked a lot of ish behind their backs. And of course, I drank my work blues away to some oblivion not even a “forever deleted” email could reach. It’s safe to say that alcohol had the opposite effect on my behavior that it would on your run-of-the-mill drunk; that is to say, it made me behave better (not worse) than I would on my own, unimpaired. However, at my new job I’ve had to face the fact that I can be a bit of a smart ass, hot head and overall know-it-all.

And all it took for me to drop the submissive/perfect employee act was a good, solid Italian family — one much more Italian than mine. My bosses (boss family, legit) are really really really good at their jobs. The restaurant is run like a big, bold Sicilian ship. Turns out, they know A LOT more about serving than I do. True to form, my deficit in serving skills is precisely why I never stuck with a serving job for more than a couple of months. I hate being 1. bad at / 2. not good at / 3. not the best at – things. Any and all things. When I don’t know what I’m doing, my ego feels exposed. I assume everyone around me can see that the Empress Wears No Clothes. In my humble(d) opinion, there is literally nothing worse for an addict/alcoholic who despises being called out in front of an empty audience. The biggest P.O.S. that is The Center of the Universe.

Charmed, I’m sure.

Up until last week, my mother and I have sustained the same argument every day for a year straight. Want to guess who had to be “right” in those arguments? Who had to have the last word? Who thoroughly “researched” her position before defending it? Who never just said, “okay?”

Me. The answer is me.

I don’t know how or why, but I was finally able to hear her message: “Just say ‘uh huh,’ even when you don’t agree with me.” What a heinous proposition. But for some reason, I actually heard her. I mean, really took it all in. My need to say everything BUT “okay” or “uh huh” is what has been getting me stuck with her and with my bosses.

My point here is, I had to shut up in order to shut up more. Know what I mean, Jelly Bean?

(Just say okay).

xo