Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen. ~Author unknown, attributed to a 7-year-old named Bobby
home has taken on a new identity for me over the last few years. in 2004 i found myself back in colorado after having crashed and burned in california. i was merely considering getting into recovery and i had an epiphany regarding home. i had always had an aversion to living here in the rockies because its pace is much much slower than my manic side- or the side that rules my impulses and my decisions. but i have always done better here- been more grounded here, and remained tethered to the earth here.
this year, i have felt like immersing myself in the holiday like not before. i put up a tree for the 1st time since i bought the house 2007. i put decorations on the outside of the house. i found gifts for friends instead of just cards. and i hosted a very small dinner on saturday night. i had tried entertaining at my house in 2009, but it didn’t go perfectly and i got frustrated. as a matter of fact, i yelled at a cousin at the end of thanksgiving dinner that year, and he and i haven’t spoken since then.
this year- 8 years into my drug free life, i have created a new home. i have tried – not with great ease- to entertain at that home and welcome others into my world. last night i had a small faction of my tribe over for a holiday dinner and movie. it was surprisingly easy and comfortable. it was quiet. it was sweet. it was intimate. and it was warm.
it was definitely home. i have a large extended family that remains distant. there were the years that i wasn’t able to be around alcohol followed by the years i chose not to be around it. just like many families, many of mine have its romance with booze and drugs. some seem enmeshed. it has been easier to stay aloof. unexpectedly, i got a card in the mail from that cousin i mentioned. he’s moved on to la and to the next phase of his life. i put one back in the mail immediately. i have sent one every year, but i can’t remember whether he has. he has been struggling with anger- probably disappointment, his mental health, and his drinking and pot smoking. i remain in no position to be judgmental about struggles of that kind.
at the hospital where i work, this is the 2nd year i have played santa at the women and family service’s party. this time, we laid out the event differently and the moments with santa were much more intimate. i met kids who were thrilled to list what they wanted for the holiday and proud to declare that they had been good. then there were the ones who screamed in my face when they realized they might leave the safety of mom’s arms and be put in my lap. it was the funniest thing i have seen in awhile. i think this might fill anyone with the spirit of the holidays. it certainly did me. but what got me more was the comradeship and the teamwork that my co-workers displayed for this whole thing. everyone pitched in and no one had to be asked to participate.
as the seasons go by, i find it easier to be present. there remain ancient guideposts and scars, but the newness of my awareness of them fades much of their strength. i am happy to be happy today.
whew! what a month this march has been. as i start to look back it definitely feels as if march aggressively blew in like a lion in my life. and it ripped the blindfold i had been wearing about who i am. it’s sobering to be reminded of some weaknesses, especially when it involves my judgement and ego. sobering indeed to find i am still impulsive to a fault at times and let my decisions be dictated by my pride.
but at the end of the day, this simply underlines my humanity. my head understands all this but there is this part that expects so much more from me. if you follow me here, you know this is a broken record. comfort is here though because i am human. flawed, average, vulnerable. no biggie.
i met a guy who spent 23 years in prison. he was released about 5 years ago for a couple of years only to find out he was hiv positive. for some odd reason he went back to the joint after 2 years and is now back out and trying to put together a life. he is homeless, has been smoking crack no doubt because it numbs everything out, and i’m sure he’s weighing the options of being on the outside versus going back in.
my impression is that he may not know he is doing this. he’s been locked up so long that he may not have the skills or the cojones to carve out a new life. this was a heart-opening meeting for me and i am pulling for him. i guess i am pulling for him in the sense that whatever decision he makes, it won’t be too tragic or painful for him. i’ll bet he has suffered enough in his life.
the dark side of benzos keeps creeping onto my pages. there are folks who take meds for pain. now many people who do this don’t run into negative issues, but there are some who can’t seem to moderate themselves. more, more more becomes the battle cry and lying, drama, and greed often follow. and trying to assist in picking up the pieces at this stage can be a roller coaster. air bags not included.
i cried at the conclusion of american idol this week. casey’s reaction to being saved was reality tv at its very best. everybody needs a moment or two like that in their lives. and actually, this season seems to be a little more gentle and easy as far as the judges go. maybe simon brought an unnecessary critical edge. i guess we’ll see.
meth is still cutting a swatch through the field of young gay men’s dreams in my town. guy after guy keep turning up with broken lives, dessimated hearts, and hollowed out eyes in need of some tlc. don’t know if we have all they need, but we have redefined our focus on how to help. knowing this and living this offers me reprieve. i just hope others get some, too.
i came across a guy named mike posner ‘cuz he did a cover of adele’s “rolling in the deep” (embedded in sidebar) which immediately became a favorite. his album debuted in august ’10 and i think he is probably one to watch – or listen for…