the really numbing aspect to this is its familiarity. i am hardly an ingenue and yet i seem to do-si-do myself into the same position emotionally over and over like a choreographed bit on a network tv show blah-blah. it’s a little bit flashy and interesting to watch for a minute, but the experience becomes empty and flat after a short time.
the peer recovery support enclave we have begun at my workplace got its first bit of funding today. another clinic on campus that has been running in the black for the last couple of years got a small windfall from a grant we are both on and donated it to our peer program.
this is kind of exciting. it means that we have moved a step further in the direction of authenticity. there can be a bit of reimbursement for the volunteers, some incentives can be offered, and some modifications might be able to be made to the space carved out for the peer resource center.
when i heard this bit of news today, my heart lifted. a sense of progress and validation swirled around me like a scented candle when lit. sensory stimulation has not been a frequent visitor these last few years. working for a large organization has required me to stifle much of my creative urges and learn to develop patience and reserve.
i had lunch with a friend this week at tony’s market. had a grilled salmon with mixed greens and vinaigrette. lunch was great, but even better was the chance to talk with him about his life and mine. his youngest son just started kindergarten and has been in trouble since day 3- it made my heart smile- big time.
i got to share with him the unravelling of another truth for me. last summer, my good friend and sponsor was diagnosed with stage iv liver cancer and passed on before the autumn. i hadn’t understood what happened to me emotionally until these months later when my life shifted again and i was able to get some perspective. i now understand that i shut down pretty completely just like a storefront in the jewelry district at 5pm. the metal gate rolled down and locked out any chance of getting out or getting in. i became uber frustrated with an organization i was doing volunteer work with. i over-worked for awhile, over volunteered and then over reacted to bad policies and bad behavior and then resigned.i did this quietly and emotionless, but with my borderline-ish drama none-the-less. i became disenchanted with the team i had been situated with at my workplace and i transferred to another team. i didn’t make an announcement nor did i communicate my decision to any of that team. i spent about a grand on 3 holiday parties i helped throw which sent my finances into a turtle’s crawl. all of these actions are a direct response to my own emotional distress.
the frustrating part of all this is the lack of insight i had while these scenarios were playing out. the only awareness to which i was connected was the fact that these actions seemed to temporarily make me feel better. i nursed my sadness by withdrawing and turning inward all the while overspending to fill an emptiness i was trying to stave off- just like the little dutch boy with his finger in the hole of a dyke.
luckily, my whole life turned with new leadership at my day gig. suddenly i was asked to participate and be creative in lieu of the dummying down i had been doing for a couple of years. this incentive has jump started my emotional life and as the dead skin of my depression has shaken loose, i have caught of glimpse of where i have just been and it is both elementary and convoluted.
these glimpses of how i really am in the world are truly a bi-product of my daily decisions to not use. to grow up. to walk free. and once in awhile- like this week- i am able to be in touch with this freedom-and i just can’t get enough. i guess the more we change- the more we do stay the same.
i would venture that recognizing my nature and sitting with it in lieu of letting it carve my path is really the lesson here- or certainly one of the lessons. there is a very strong yet obscured sense of fear of failure with this project. there have been so much synchronicity that my inner voice tells me that something’s gotta give.
am i in fear of losing face? losing faith? appearing foolish? letting others down? succeeding? not having enough? honestly- prolly a little of all of them.
i took my mother to see “gatsby” last weekend. mixed review- but overall i loved the texture of the film. baz luhrmann always does over the top and there was no disappointment with this picture. leonardo was fairly droll, but his costumes seriously made me swoon. two in particular- the white linen suit with the orange tie he wore when he was being re-introduced to daisy and the pink pin stripe with the raspberry and orange necktie took me by complete surprise and triggered a memory of shopping on oak street in chicago at a boutique by the name of ultimo. the 1970’s always include vintage art deco as there was definitely a resurgence. it was fascinating, elegant, sensory, and educational.
i was 17 and was a dancer (go go boy) at a little hell hole. i met an older guy who took me to acapulco, ft lauderdale, and spent ridiculous amounts of money on me. it was like a game to me. sadly i was too young to understand that it was not at all a game for him. i believe he left our trysting with a sense of loss and a feeling of being wrung out. i walked away feeling just as empty as i had engaged in the affair. i had fun, but i really didn’t care much for the sense of hindsight and stupidity that i hadn’t seen or understood all that was involved in this affair. although i had collected a very sleek and sophisticated collection of french and italian ready-to-wear, it hadn’t made my life look any better than it had before the fling. as a matter of fact, another layer of fantasy and hope may have been peeled away.
i am certain that drug and alcohol use shielded (or barricaded) any significant personal growth with this experience. it took at least 30 or 35 years to distill all the fractured images and impressions from those days and repackage them into a collage that makes sense. i still love great clothes. shopping, and dressing with some style. but i try very hard to not dive into situations, relationships, and situations without trying to zoom out once in awhile. i certainly try to walk away from things in my life now without those same underwhelmed feelings i used to know so well.
try is the optimum word here. i fall short as much (if not more) as i succeed. but the thrill of living (and surfing) is paddling out and waiting and catching another wave.
“I am not a good surfer. In fact, I used surfing as a metaphor well before I ever left the beaches of my childhood–the painted desert and the valley of the sun. For those of you who do not know Phoenix well, you should understand that although it may seem paradoxical for an Arizonan/Phoenician to think about surfing, surfing provides an important psychological and metaphoric role in desert life. Desert rats (something I definitely was) think about sand as a medium upon which one can perform feats with postmodern sprezzatura. I grew up skateboarding, wagoning, bicycling, and generally sliding down sand dunes to break the boredom and to show my balance prowess. The taller the dune, the better. I was also lucky enough to spend a summer fortnight in Carlsbad California at a music camp (“one time at band camp…”). Every afternoon, for two weeks, I had the opportunity to boogie board and bodysurf until I was sunburned and my ears rang with the gurgle of the surf bubbling in my ears. The only analogous feeling to catching a wave and riding it in for me was riding a horse at full gallop. The energy was terrifying, electrifying, and almost mystical.”…from surfpoetry.blogspot.com