I Figured It Out

Last week, I got to spend some time with my first college friend, friend for 30 years this year, friend for life. I'm also simultaneously working on a personal essay for my writing workshop about a boy I was in madly, deeply with, also from that college-era-early-20s time. Yesterday, I went for a run and tried and tried to keep my head where my feet were, first day of Spring, an equinox. I could feel my freckles popping with every bright bloom, but my thoughts kept saying, Let's go back, back, go back to that time, 20, 25, 30. Let's go back and dissect and examine, let's cut and splay it open and see what went wrong, what went right. 

I have a mix of love and hate with time travel, I'm certain we all do. I hate that it doesn't make me angry, or maybe that is what I love. I love that I am okay with what happened, or maybe that is what I hate. It was before I understood the gravity of the situation and maybe it was more ignorance and less denial then, but even though I always blacked out, even though I had woken up on city pavement, I still did not know that alcohol had already enveloped me, stunting my growth as it swallowed me whole. I still thought there was some magic formula yet to figure out or it was just some moral failing that I could rewind somehow, but when I did, and I was so determined, then I would reap all of the benefits from drinking again. I would be less stupid, less careless, less sloppy, less vomit, less piss. I would be all fun, all promiscuity and precociousness, all dancing on tables.

Hell, if I could have ever successfully pulled off dancing on a table, I may still be drinking.

And that's the thing.

I wanted it to make me into a table-dancer, and it never did.

I wanted it to make me irresistible, and it never did.

I wanted it to make me into a funny girl, the funniest girl in the room, surrounded by adoration and when she snarked that line, everyone would crack their heads back in a roar. And it never did.

It never happened.

I went to a George Saunders book signing event a few weeks ago. I went alone and it was standing room only and I wedged myself into a spot in front of a book shelf, next to a plant. I was fully there, I was feeling so embodied, so joyful, unforced laughter and nods spilled out of me, I felt uninhibited and free. After the presentation, I waited in line for my book to be signed with about 150 other Austinites. I approached a little shakily as I would approaching anyone for whom I have much respect and because my body shakes now, it shakes when scared, excited, anxious and he told me, Hey. You. You are a terrific audience member. I noticed you.

If you had told me then that that person I was looking for was right here, I would have never believed you. I would have shook my head and cried and smited you even. Come on, fish swim, birds fly and I drink, of course I drink. Just hang on while I figure it out.

Hang on.

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I finally figured it out.


I published a new tiny vignette on Medium in my series about relationships and alcohol, if you get the boreds and feel like indulging me!

The Music Trigger

I can be nostalgic to a fault, and the fault point can be dangerous territory for an alcoholic. They say not to romanticize the drink, but some fun was had and I have some records to prove it. Aside from the fun records, there are also the break-up records, the make-out records, the dance party for one records, the road trip records, the lay on the couch and cry records, the paint all night and indecipherably journal records and every single one of those musical relationships involved booze, in copious amounts. Of course there are all of the other musical montages of dance clubs, dance halls, festivals, dive shows and arena shows---all booze fueled and duh! It's hard to navigate in early sobriety. Sometimes I think I'm longing for a band or a song and I put it on and then, bam, I want to drink. I've had to re-enter with some trepidation and avoid some altogether. Nothing zaps you back to a time and place quite like a song can. 

I have now seen a few shows in sobriety. A few things stand out, some more obvious than others. Buying a ticket, picking out an appropriate outfit, paying for parking, sitters and a tshirt and remembering the entire show is hands-down, pretty amazing. Not losing your phone or purse, pretty cool. Knowing how you are getting home, also not to be scoffed at in the least. The smaller, surprising nuances were having to leave for the bathroom only once and not feeling a cringe over swaying into someone's personal space during my favorite song. I saw Nirvana, the Nevermind tour in 1991 and I remember the very beginning, maybe one song and waiting in line for the bathroom, my entire music concert history X 1000. I've not been to a dance club or a dance party yet. Maybe it will happen, maybe it will never happen, maybe it's already happened and that will just have to do. To be determined.

I've had this relic since my Grateful Dead days, if that is not obvious. They definitely represent a time when some fun was had, I can remember some flashes of fun. I like to pull them out every once in a while and work on them, add a patch or a scrap, repair another hole, add some embroidery. 

Fun tip: Mexican or South American textiles make the best patches. They are already embroidered, the are thick and durable and are found aplenty at most thrift stores (feel free to correct me if that is just specific to Texas thrift). And embroidery is the best way to pass some time, even if you are doing it in front of some Netflix or with some records spinning. I'll do a more embroidery specific post someday, but easy enough to fall down the Google tutorial hole or use a 1970's craft book, my personal fave. 

 

Some days, it is easier said than done. I have become very good at compartmentalizing and it works. It keeps me from walking into traffic most days. It's those days that I really want to shut that door, slam it even, that the thoughts start spilling under the door like smoke. If I just crack it a little, eventually I'll get used to breathing some smoke. And then I put on some Fleetwood Mac and know that everything is going to be okay.