You Started It

Last year, man. WHAT a production. Gay marriage got really legal, fire arms were used for suffering, Bowie and The Weeknd released two new songs each, I filed for bankruptcy, LA had another earthquake (I think). And that Adele. The world danced on its axis–with the bravado of a psycho maestro.

2015, you were a real piece of work. Lots of emotions.

I began 2016 with Pellegrino, Ferrero Rocher, Ryan Seacrest and Times Square on the TV, transporting me back to where I¬†elbowed through thousands of¬†tourists not even 24 hours before. The drama of it all. I spent the hours prior to balls dropping ’round the world at an “alcathon” with my sponsor. We ate barbeque, listened to Scorpions and¬†managed to stay sober. All in all, I’d say it was a proper way to ring in the New Year.

I ushered in the daylight portion of January 1 with my (late) dad’s side of the family. I saw my cousin and his wifey, who¬†are in from Brussels. I informed him immediately¬†how I realized–as I hope he did–that¬†Antwerp is, in fact, also¬†in Belgium. I was really proud of that.¬†He tried to¬†humor me. Americans me and our my¬†bunk geography, boooooo. I then¬†went home to complete my first day of Yoga Camp, a 30-day, in-home yoga challenge. Yoga is legit the only thing that makes my spirit feel connected to the rest of my body. I took up a practice with YouTube–more specifically Yoga With Adriene (I seriously cannot say enough good things about her). Don’t fret, though, I’m not a resolutionist. It took about two hours of talking myself into doing something I already¬†wanted to do¬†before I could commit to the mat. Whatever, I did it and I loved it.

Yoga With Adriene

(That’s Adriene,¬†my new bud. Look how proud of me¬†she is).

I decided 2016 is already great. Great, because I’m alive, sober and still slingin curse words. I’ve already had about 40 million obsessive thoughts so far, but none of them were about drinking so FUCK. It’s working. And I’m working. Got a surprise paycheck from substituting, so I’m not complaining. Great, too, because I made a decision to start saving. Maybe for a car, but maybe for something else. Perhaps a move. All I can think about (not that this is anything new) is going back to Los Angeles. I won’t make any rash decisions because that shit is too expensive. Several thousand¬†ill-conceived moves led me to a mountain of debt that is currently getting “mitigated.” From 2008 to 2015, I had 12 different addresses. No more double-digit logistics. No, no, that’s not my way anymore. Only one.

The kicker is, I’ve set my intention to be where I am. Except I travel to Pennsylvania tomorrow to help my sister and her husband pack up for him to move. From NYC to VA to PA. Thank God for Greyhound. I straight up have no idea where I am headed in 2016. I was told early on in sobriety that if you don’t know what to do, don’t do anything. I’m practicing The Big Pause. But my heart knows what’s up. I’m not ignoring it, just priming it. My family is here, my boyfriend is in NYC and my heart is in LA. I have faith I’ll end up where I’m meant to be.

A big thank you to all of you for a great first year of bloggership. I’ve loved the process of spilling my guts to total strangers and friends in over 30 different countries. Thank you for reading…and listening.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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July Five, Look Alive

I placed and/or received phone calls from 15 different people yesterday. I did the uncool thing of not going to a meeting on the 4th of July. Instead, I glued my phone to my right ear and talked for a total of 4.5 hours. One of my friends had a birthday yesterday; two of my friends had anxiety; a few of my friends just went through the motions of another 24-hour period of sobriety. I woke up feeling like a million bucks on the 4th. Not a care in the world, even with massive clouds in the sky.

The electricity in the air yesterday most definitely could be attributed to the storm that loomed, threatening to shit all over the annual fireworks show in Colonial Heights. Alas, the storm came and went, just like the fireworks did. I felt an electrical current in the air as early as July 3rd, the day I actually did go to a meeting. July 3rd was the day that set off sparklers in me, not the 4th.

My most dear friend, whom I met at college, saw my last blog post and took that as a sign to come visit me all the way from DC. She high-tailed it in her ’92 Dodge after three plus hours of traffic and didn’t even wait to shut the door of her car before she ran up my front lawn to give me a barrel of a hug. It felt so good to see her, I could have cried. But I’m not really a cryer. That, my friends, will never change. Unless I win the lottery. Or I’m PMSing.

She is one of the most extraordinary humans I have ever met. She is a transgender female. I am pretty sure she is prettier than me. This was my first time seeing my incredible friend after she started transitioning. She and I have talked for hours about how our changes in life are so similar in that we have to constantly discard our fears. She makes me feel brave and beautiful. She is both of those things, and then some. We discovered over dinner at a Mexican restaurant that she is chemically more female than I am. She also flashed me her newish boobs and it was awesome. How did I get so lucky to have such an amazing person in my life? She is gorgeous. I want to be like her when (and if) I grow up.

I thought the coolest thing about her being here would be her being here. I was wrong. She asked if she could join me at an open AA meeting. I was thrilled because I often feel alone out here at meetings. What a gift to go with one of my best friends–a stunning transgender woman next to me, a tattooed Los Angeles beotch–to an AA meeting together. She came with me to Colonial Whites, an affectionate term for a city that doesn’t care too much for black people or for justice. Here I thought that people might somehow judge her and me. I was wrong. To make a long story short, I acted as a lightning rod for controversy, not her. No one misgendered her; she was only met with kindness and respect. Good on ya, Colonial Whites — I did not see that one coming. I also didn’t expect that the dude sitting directly across from me who refused to identify with his first name would have such racist things to say with black people SITTING IN THE ROOM. I thought AA was supposed to be above all of that. He launched into a boring monologue about the racial tension and what a victim he was for being subjected to all of this. He lamented having to take down his Confederate flag. He described the WHITE flag being the only thing he wanted to see. White, for surrender. What a prick.

I know I shouldn’t have, but I jumped in to share directly after him. I thanked my Higher Power out loud for the tradition of Principles Before Personalities. I described my gratitude for being a liberal in the South these days. I also mentioned that I am sober and I have the ovaries to be myself now. It just didn’t feel right to sit idly by while someone spewed racist shit. I’ve bitten my tongue my whole life living out here and that just doesn’t work for me anymore. “Nobody” got up and left during my share. Byyyyyyyyyye.

I know my ego played a role. I know we are there at those meetings to get better. I prayed for that man last night and this morning. I thanked my Higher Power during the fireworks show for such simple beauty. My takeaway from this weekend was that my friend came to me when I needed her. I am fortunate to be so close to a person I love so much. She did not bat an eyelash the entire time she was with me, even as I became more and more agitated. She has learned to let go of the shit that doesn’t serve her. I am just now learning to do that.

I have taken today to reflect on another holiday spent sober. I feel for the people in the July 3rd meeting because we were all on edge right before the holiday. It isn’t easy to sit around a barbeque while people drink their 40 ounces to freedom. It is much easier to say “fuck it” and down a beer you don’t even like, much less a glass (or 10) of Chardonnay. I have compassion for myself and for others who still feel a pull toward alcohol, even when the obsession has been removed. That is why we have a program. That is why there are other people in our lives to help us see clearly when we cannot see for ourselves. I woke up this morning without a hangover or the sting of regret. I know I am not alone in that.

Happy July Five.

xo

Photo courtesy of espressoandcream.com

Consciousness is Sexy

The cosmos feel more benevolent than usual this month. I’ve been trolling the internet more fervently at month’s end to see what kinds of fuckery we’ve gotten ourselves into, only to find that June fuckery has turned into fortuitous blessings.

I am currently living in Petersburg, Virginia. Very few people–save any Civil War aficionados and re en actors–know of the significance this city held in the fall of the South. Petersburg was the last stop before the end of the war. Towards the end, the Union wanted to bring the city to its knees because it was a major supply line for the Confederates, where multiple railroads converged. The Union embarked on an 18-month siege. When the Union tunneled underneath Confederate earthworks, they set off a huge explosion that produced a giant crater. This backfired, bigtime. The Union charged after the explosion, only to be met with the Confederate defense. This event is known as The Battle of the Crater. There were other battles after this one, but the Union eventually wore Robert E. Lee down. Lee’s army evacuated Petersburg, after which the Union occupied the city. A week later, the South surrendered.

The CraterTo be clear: I could not possibly give less shits about the Civil War. I do, however, give many shits about how Confederate history has pervaded my city as well as Richmond’s. I take it personally when my eyes and ears are assaulted by fear-based racism. When a white psychopath decided to attack members in a church at Bible study in Charleston, South Carolina, he was met with the most significant defense of all: forgiveness. I suspect he did not see that one coming. When the Charleston massacre occurred at an historically-significant black church, the presumptuous, insidious relics of racism prepared to die.

I am part of the minority in Petersburg’s population of approximately 36,000 people. I am a white person in a city that is 79.1% black or African-American. And I love my city.

I am also a straight woman. But I would estimate that 98.88888 % of my friends (and some family) are of the LGBTQ variety. And I love my friends/family. The Supreme Court decided yesterday that they can now legally love and marry each other, too. Is it just me, or do you feel a shift in consciousness coming on?

Our country has an expansive history of learning the hard way from its self-manufactured misery. As an alcoholic, I can relate. We are stubborn. We are also innovative and persistent. We have been more comfortable creeping in the shadows of pain than living in the light of love. That doesn’t seem to sit well with us these days. My heart has fissures in it from years of trying to forcibly remove intolerance from my ignorant neighbors. That being said, I have not experienced being a person of color in this country, nor have I lived as a member of the LGBTQ community. I have loved, though. And for those of us who love, we learn to exercise that love by taking cues from others who are different than we are. We start off not knowing; that is when we take the leap to learn. That is how we raise our consciousness.

Everything that has transpired in the last couple of weeks forced us to open our eyes. Reality uncovered a black hole of despair to bring it to the light of our own understanding. We cannot hide behind cowardice or intolerance anymore. The light has punctured our tired version of darkness. We have to look at each other in the harsh light of day. We get to live in a country that rises in love, despite our defects of character. We are the lucky ones.

I feel all kinds of charged up by the bravery of those who meet calamity with serenity. I am taking my cues from you, America.

Now that’s sexy.

Photo courtesy of warfarehistorynetwork.com