Let me tell you who I was a year ago.
One little year ago, I had gone as far as I could with the way I was doing it. After 40 years, my body, my mind, and my spirit had splintered into as many shards as could still be Ace-bandaged together and called human. I was 60 pounds overweight, riddled with internal physical ailments and let’s not even start on the emotional problems. I had a history of abusive relationships (not just with men), shame oozing out of my pores, and a lifelong anxiety disorder that had spiraled so out of control I was (again) drinking daily just to quietly cope.
I was sick to my stomach every single day, had nightmares, body aches, acne, depression – you name it.
By the way, I’d pretty much been working on this state of being for a good lifetime at that point. As it turns out, a train plowing into you in slow-motion is still a trainwreck. And I was.
Not that everyone in the world knew it. I’m sure if anyone looked close enough you could see that I was white-knuckling it. I was irritable nearly all the time to those close to me. Miserable. It took all of my energy to create the daily facade of “normal”, “together”, “funny, “happy”, “educated”, “professional”. It took all day and all night and then I had to get up on 3 hours of sleep and do it again. But damn if I wasn’t hell-bent on making sure everyone else was ok. My child, my family, my friends, my pets, my co-workers. Aw, wasn’t I such a great person? No.
Ever hear the expression “You can’t pour from an empty cup”?
I’d been pouring from my internal, unreplenished cup for so long it was dryer than a Steven Wright set in Phoenix.
I wasn’t a great person. I resented EVERYONE.
Who had I become?
When I tell you that I didn’t recognize myself, I mean that. When I looked in the mirror, I looked like a stranger. Pictures of myself made tears spring to my eyes. Who was I?
Where was my spark? I’d look at photos of myself from 15-20-25 years ago and think – where did that smile go? Even as a child of traumatic upbringing, I still had hope back then. I still believed in love and had ambition. I had spark. I shone light. Deep down I could remember it – vaguely. But by this time a year ago, I was pretty much consumed by nurturing the negative, miserable, crying, bitter ball of rage and resentment that fueled my every moment. I didn’t recognize words that came out of my mouth, thoughts in my head. Happy people annoyed me. Couples made me gag. People with money were assholes. I’d just had it.
In the fall of 2017, my relationship had downshifted from “troubled” into complete shambles. I was pretty sure my teenager needed counseling if not medication, and to add insult to actual injury, I shattered my arm – ironically – on morning I spent nature-walking to get myself “centered.” Goes to show how off-balance I really was, huh?
It was a desperate time. I was miserable and bankrupt – emotionally, physically, spiritually, and with the mounting medical bills, almost financially.
You’d think that was enough. But it wasn’t. I kept this going for another 6 months. During that time, I helped a close loved one through a very traumatic time of both physical and mental illness including hospitalizations and travel time. It was important and needed to be done and I don’t regret my desire to help. However, it was something that I was not in any shape to do. I was lugging around a bum arm, trying to work full-time (somehow!) to pay the bills, yet I couldn’t even fasten my own bra. I was in constant pain (that I was learning was somewhat abated by prescription narcotics) and here I was flying across the country to help someone else who was nearly dying because they “needed me”. Excuse me! I needed me. And frankly, the mental and physical pain was getting to be too much. Slowly, but very surely, I was dying. And in the 3am panic sessions, where only I was present, I’d discuss it openly with myself. I knew something had to change.
One thing I haven’t told you is that for the past 10 years, I’ve been on a spiritual journey that began after my divorce. We’ll talk more about the journey later, but my point is, I’ve been doing a LOT of work. Can’t you tell?? That was a joke. But seriously, believe it or not, I’ve been working on myself and making progress in bits for years. Learning to say no more, setting more boundaries, understanding what is meant by “self-love” and so forth. I have a standing meeting with my Soul Therapist every single week that I never miss and it’s because I learn something. She’s kept me alive and given me all the tools I needed to change my life. And sometimes I did. In spurts. But never consistently.
Much like physical fitness, you can’t make a half-ass commitment and expect a sculpted-ass result, am I right? So, in 2018, I made a decision to get serious about my own happiness. I decided to finally DO THE DAMN WORK and APPLY everything I’ve learned in my spiritual journey. I made a commitment myself in a way I never have before. This, by the way, blew – at first. More on that later.
Since early 2018, I have not had a any mood-altering substance (sans caffeine, but I’m human people), I am happy in my job, my relationship is so good sometimes I can’t believe it’s real, my relationship with my child is deeper and richer than it has been before and I feel strong about my parenting. Nearly all of my ailments are gone (and there were a lot) and I am down 40 pounds. I started teaching Zumba – I love that! And now I’m writing to you. I am bummed to report that my anxiety is still a constant struggle, but I cope with it in new and different ways. Anxiety is a part of who I am. I need to learn to love that. Still working on that part and that’s why I’m here. I am still working on everything and will be for the rest of my life, but let me share something with you: I am happy. And I have never, ever, truly meant that before in my life. Not ever.
Thank you for spending even just a small part of your time with me. I know it’s valuable. I hope you’ll consider joining my readership. I’ll be sharing stories of hope and triumph, pathways to health, spiritual wellness, physical fitness, jokes and more. Yeah, I said jokes. Sometimes it’s either that or cry, right?
One last thing: I’m a bit of a tough-lover. Some things I say may seem abrupt. Please don’t take it as angry or aggressive. It’s just that I’ve learned that no matter how much I want to analyze the hell out of something, justify my own actions, explain my reasons, at the end of the day, acceptance is just way less energy. And more times than not, the answer is not in my lacy handkerchief of tears. It’s in my big-girl panties. Well, not IN my big-girl panties. You know what I mean.
I don’t know you yet, but I love you.
Thank you for joining This Happy Hour.
Shit’s about to get fun.