Sober Voting

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

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While Patience Percolates

The sweetest sound in my mornings is the subtle music coffee makes¬†while it percolates. The only overture which guarantees I’ll make it anywhere–ever–is the promise¬†of coffee. I don’t have much luck once I get downstairs to pour my first cup because I outrun the speed at which the coffee drips. I remember when I helped my mother purchase our coffee-maker; I insisted she buy the one where you can pour a cup while the machine suspends its production. One can always put the¬†pot back on its burner. This mad rush in the morning drives my mother crazy. She doesn’t get why I can’t just¬†wait.¬†Maybe¬†put more makeup on or something? she asks. No, mom, it doesn’t work that way. There isn’t enough mascara in the world.

Lack of patience, she portends, will make for unnecessarily miserable days to come.

My coffee routine, of course, is a microcosm of my world view. My absence of patience has led me down many creative dead ends in my lifetime. This is not to say that my mistakes are less beautiful than my successes, just that they are less obvious and much more difficult to unravel. So we shall call them creative cul-de-sacs.

Thanks to my practice of silence with self, meditation hastens my patience production right along. What’s interesting, though, is it also makes me feel irritable or sometimes angry. When I sit still for 12 minutes, as I have done most days for the past week, I feel great until I don’t. It’s almost as if my addictive self gets frustrated with the few minutes where my spirit and soul spurn my brain’s anxious intrusions. I am rarely ever angry with a person or an event on these occasions. I feel frustrated for absolutely no reason at all–not one I can recognize, anyway.

I fell into a thought cul-de-sac this week with my teacher life. On Thursday, a parent of one of the school’s students came in to tutor me in science, equipped with cool demos and funny stories of his teaching experiences. I listened with rapt attention, hanging onto his every word. I thought, “How the fuck am I ever going to be able to understand the laws of the universe, let alone teach them?” My thoughts made their crescendo to a point where if this nice man looked up from his book, he would have witnessed the thought bubble¬†hover ’round my head. He kept talking, though, so I kept swatting the thought bubble aside to obsess over later.

I’ve started three careers since 2009. I’ve been a political organizer, a writer and now a teacher–five years, eight months and six months, respectively. Never once did I picture myself skipping into the sunset while fundraising for candidates. Never once did I imagine birds chirping as I write the final pages of my novel, greeting the daylight with no sleep on a deadline that looms. But more than once, I’ve pictured myself teaching sixth graders about protons and neutrons–and liking what I see. More than once, I’ve watched as the smile creeps across a students face when she correctly identifies the phases of the moon in order, no less. More than once, I saw myself fulfilling my vocation.

My twin called me on Friday to see how things were going. I told her how intimidated I was by the whole “being teacher-ready” process. I explained how much of a paradox it is that more people are leaving the profession than are coming into it. And why do I have to work so hard for credentials and placement when that is the case? She went into real-talk mode immediately. “What do you define as success?” she asks. And for the first time in my life, I answered without a convoluted response: “I want to be a good teacher, that’s all.” She told me how hard it will be to have that success. She is in her third year of residency as a podiatrist, living in something similar to a sleep-deprived hell. She told me that to work toward something I define as success, I can’t be fooled by self-doubt. That I have to work hard to remain focused. That I have to be patient–“Lucy. You HAVE to be patient,” she repeats thrice, for dramatic effect.

On many a campaign trail, I learned from training that a voter won’t be fazed by a candidate’s message until he’s heard it an average of¬†seven times–and in as many ways. I wonder at this point how many times my sis will have to repeat herself for the message to resonate. As it turns out, the pursuit of success as I’ve defined it will not be subject to my impatience. Lest I forget, I promised myself over two years ago that my ultimate definition of success is to remain sober one day at a time. That’s all. It is clear to me now that I will have to remind myself of this definition every day, multiple times a day. But when I don’t remember to do this, and my coffee is still brewing, I’ll need a little help from my friends. Who knows? Maybe I can remind them, too.

And like a good friend, I’ll tell them it’s “Time for Da Percolator.”

A good friend who gets songs from the 90’s stuck in their heads.

 

Photo courtesy of Healthy Home and Kitchen