I WANT TO BE IN THE PICTURES

Woke up this morning feeling lovely. The sun was shining after a disgusting and rainy day the prior morning. And though it was dark and dreary yesterday, I still managed to have an upbeat day. I still said FUCK and SHIT a lot on the way to work as I got splashed by rain water from cars driving by, but it didn’t dictate my overall mood. And today the rain is GONE! And it’s FRIDAY. I can’t believe I look forward to Friday now. Some Fridays I have plans. But the empty Fridays are the ones I look forward to the most now. I look forward to swinging by the grocery store after work without any idea what I want. I walk around filling my cart with various non-alcoholic beverages, fresh fruit, chocolate or ice cream if I want to be bad (and I always want to be bad). I’ll swing by the drugstore and maybe grab a new kind of lip balm or a box of tea I’ve never had before or both. Maybe I’ll pick up a magazine if anything looks good and possibly a movie from Redbox though I typically rent from On Demand. I might grab the dog a new toy or a special kind of dinner to see how excited he gets when filet mignon is on the menu instead of kibble. Essentially, I fill my night up with options. Then I go home, get in my pajamas, order dinner, and sit safely in my bubble filled with all of the awesome things I like.  I remember the first Friday sober. It was awful. The second and third Friday weren’t so hot either. A general feeling of uneasiness, anxiety, not knowing what to do or how to relax. And then that all lifted.  

Got ready for work and opened my front door. This is a photo taken directly from my front stoop:

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Those are the catering trucks for the filming an episode of the CBS show Unforgettable starring Poppy Montgomery which is shooting DIRECTLY in front of our home. I saw an episode of Unforgettable a while ago but I forgot. (GROAN) There are two responses that a person might have when their life becomes invaded for an entire day by union stagehands. You might become angry and annoyed and throw eggs and underwear. OR. You might get really excited. I got excited. I’m a writer, specifically for theatre, but would love the opportunity to write on a comedy series someday. So to me, these kinds of things make me giddy. And as I walked from my front door to the train and passed all of the trucks, dressing rooms, and chain smoking production assistants, I experienced quite a few  and some very fucking bizarre emotional responses and thoughts.

First, I noticed that the signs said they’d be filming until approximately 10PM tonight so they’d be around when I got off work. Out of nowhere and obviously without any active participation of my own, the following thought flashed through my mind for a split second:

OH COOL! SO WHEN YOU GET HOME, YOU CAN HAVE A FEW COCKTAILS AND THEN MAKE A DRINK IN A PLASTIC CUP AND WALK AROUND THE SET AND TALK TO PEPOPLE AND SEE IF YOU CAN NETWORK AND MEET PEOPLE!

Okay. WHAT THE FUCK? Tell me how my head goes from seeing a film shoot to planning a night of drinking in 2 seconds? They are not at all related. My wires are severely crossed. I have no desire to drink. But the mere excitement of something happening out of the ordinary immediately caused my mind to seek accentuation. Excitement begets the need to be even more excited. Because excited on its own is never enough. I laughed out loud and also felt my face do this weird contorting thing and I’m sure my expression was equal parts amusement and OH MY GOD, REALLY? It passed. And none of those things are going to happen tonight, obvsies.

The next thing that I felt was a brief and disturbing pang in my soul. It was one of regret, shame, and the feeling that my life has already passed me by. I KNOW THAT’S NOT TRUE. But the sight of seeing mass amounts of people living their dreams really got to me. I live in an amazing city of opportunity and I’ve wasted six years of my life doing practically NOTHING. And all of my peers have passed me by. And it will never be mine. None of that will ever be mine. Nauseated, I stopped myself and thought something along these lines but I’m paraphrasing because all of these flashes of emotions and thoughts happened VERY fast:

YOU ARE 32 YEARS OLD. YOU ARE TALENTED. YOU ARE NOT ON ANYONE ELSE’S CLOCK. THERE IS NO RULE BOOK THAT SAYS YOU MUST HAVE ACCOMPLISHED X, Y, Z BY A CERTAIN AGE. YOU ARE GETTING STRONGER BY THE HOUR. BY THE DAY. IF YOU STAY SOBER, ALL OF YOUR WILDEST DREAMS CAN COME TRUE.

And then immediately following that, I saw…. THEM.

There is this gay couple that moved into a corner house about a block from mine. They purchased their home. I rent mine. They have an immaculately landscaped yard that people stop and stare at. Mine is disgusting and mostly cement. They seem to be wealthy or at least well off enough to never have to leave their home for work. I sometimes have a hard time paying my bills and put in 50+ hours a week at the office. I’m not proud to admit this, but I have spent almost 2 years in my disease walking past their house scowling in disgust at their seemingly perfect life. I’d roll my eyes every time I’d see them in their yard working on things WHICH IS EVERY SINGLE DAY. I mean, isn’t it DONE BY NOW? One time I saw one of them on their hands and knees trimming grass with a pair of FUCKING SCISSORS. Like. Blade by blade. Everything about them made me sick to my stomach.

I realized that the interior of their home is being used as a location for the film shoot. Which means they got paid a shit ton of money to let the show use their house. And the familiar feeling of disdain and, yeah, jealousy, came washing over me once again.

Ever since getting sober, my attitude has changed a bit. I still find them obsessively overbearing about the look of their property and wonder why they sometimes sit in their window watching people walk by. I think it’s because they want to see others admiring their work. But I’ve gotten a lot better about it. I’m not going to lie and say that I don’t care anymore. But I care a lot less. And that’s progress. But seeing the attention they were getting put me back momentarily where I had been. For two years I stumbled past their home from the liquor store with my bottle of vodka shooting dirty looks in their direction. How awful of a person had I become? No. NO. I didn’t become an awful person. I was a good person displaying symptoms of a terrible disease. I still have a lot of shame about how affected I was by this happily married couple. And here it was again in full force.

Why did I care so much? Why do I still care a little? It’s a few things. First, I think I’m embarrassed/ashamed/regretful that I didn’t keep my shit together. Their life was a reminder of where I could have been if I didn’t derail. And AGAIN, I must tell myself that I’m not living on anyone else’s clock. My journey is my journey. Second, I think it is a product of me not practicing gratitude for the things I do have. I’m working on that now and am part of a lovely gratitude group online. There are days where it feels stupid to make a list of the things I’m thankful for but when I do it consistently, I find myself amazed at the awesomeness around me and don’t covet or desire the riches of others quite as much. I mean, I still want a nice house, a nice yard, money to ease financial worries, and a job doing what I love BUT I don’t want YOUR house, yard, money, or job. And I don’t have to be mad at you for having it. And I don’t have to be mad at myself for not having it YET.

As I walked by their house, one of the men looked up at me and smiled. I think I was in mid-anger/disgust. But in a split second, I forced a smile and waved. And that action soothed my soul. And as I walked past them, that anger and disgust faded. And I was left with a clear mind to process why I felt the way I did and what it all meant and that those two men were a lovely couple who worked hard and are proud of what they have together. I mean, they are still fucking asshole freaks. Who trims grass with scissors?!? But they might be nice asshole freaks. Who knows? I’ve never bothered to find out.

And here I am at work drained but hopeful. A very intense two minute walk, a glimpse into the dark places that still exist, and a replenishment of strength and hope that MAYBE if I keep at this, I’ll be in a writer’s room someday preparing a script for one of those shoots.

33 comments

  1. Another A+ my friend. You’re right – you only need to be on your own timeline. My theme every day – “Today is the first day of the rest of my life.” Hey – today is the first day of the rest of your life too! Keep doing what you are doing and you will be writing for any show you want or creating your own! And if you have not read it, (but my guess is you probably have), but if not, reserve a weekend to read, “Where’d you go Bernadette?” So much about human nature in this fiction novel, and laugh out loud funny. The main character even has an internet assistant from India – very comical for all of us in the sobersphere!

    1. You are an excellent writer and very gifted. You just write right from the heart and throw caution to the wind. When I see my email and your blog shows up, it makes me smile. Thanks

  2. ooh I feel you. where I could have been…I’m on my way there now, but sometimes it is hard for me to look and see how much time I wasted.

    I hope this blog is taking you somewhere. When I see you in my inbox I get so excited- 💫💥✨ like that excited.

  3. Love how you talk us through what’s going on in your head. It is therapy for all of us. You are quite young and very talented…you have plenty of time for success. I would love to hear more about your theater work. I am taking my daughter to a Broadway show tonight. We are a bit obsessed with theater. ☺️

      1. Don’t judge, but we are seeing IF/WHEN. Most of the other shows we can see locally with our season passes. Broadway is stinking expensive!!

  4. Another insightful post.
    I expect you will be drinking tea with that couple Before you know it.

    Your are just where you should be.

    I heard Oprah on supersouksunday last week say she was content, but still looking for happiness.
    If Oprah is still searching for the meaning of life, we must all be too!

    Never to late to shake things up.

  5. Hi again London calling! I lived in one of those houses you see in the Richard Curtis movies. Awesome but you know you can be miserable in a mansion. I adored my house but I was drinking I it and sadly it had to be sold. I moved to a tiny rented place and my kids still talk fondly of that time. From what you say you have the riches of a supportive partner that I believe is worth more than money can buy. Love is the only thing really we need. I hear what you say about comparing yourself to your contemporaries and I did the same at your age. 20 years on the only ones I envy are those with good lasting relationships. Jobs come and go and I believe you have a talent because you always have something interesting to say and I look forward to hearing from you, That makes a writer yes?

    When you have time or inclination I would love to hear about what happened first time round why you ended up in Icu for 2 months and also how you got your sober mojo back with such force how you doing it? Would help me to know . Love xx

  6. I love your blog! I have since your very first post! I literally laughed out loud reading them, & that felt so good during my first weeks of sobriety :)) Thank you for your honesty, & sharing your journey…I think you may have a future book on your hands!!!

    1. Thanks, Mandy! OMG I would die if someone let me do a book! Let’s put that on into the universe and if any publisher or book agent stumbles upon this page one day, MANDY SAYS THIS COULD BE A FUTURE BOOK. AND WHAT MANDY SAYS, GOES. OKAY???

  7. Great post, as usual. I am currently in the middle of my first novel. I don’t have an agent or a publisher YET but I’ve always wanted to write this story so I decided to do it.

    It’s funny how when I was drinking, I had very little creativity (I’m writing a fantasy adventure about a boy and his grandfather) – I had to sit there and really work so hard to get what I needed from my brain. My creative spirit was locked deep in there and the drinking fog made it so hard to find.

    Now that I am sober (albeit 15 days), I am starting to feel those creative juices flowing, the fog is lifting and things are coming to me much faster. Not sure if this happens with your writing? But it just seems to me that things come easier these days. 3 pages, turns to 4 and before I know it, I’ve written 6 or 7.

    I definitely think you have amazing writing talent – a book, a screenplay definitely on the horizon for you. Keep it up!!! Your wildest dreams are within reach. And I hope mine are too!!!!

  8. You are already in the writers room my friend!! Your posts are insanely on point every time I read them..cannot wait for your play,book,movie to come out..inspiration..xo

  9. Your posts make my day! I like to settle down on the couch with a cup of tea in my hand, dogs at my feet and read about your days. Bliss.

  10. I realize I’m commenting on an old post but had to say I, once again, totally hear/feel/get you re the Fridays/the weekends – especially the empty ones. NO plans/duties/little responsibility. Grocery store/healthy’ish food/water/bed/OnDemand well mostly Dateline and 48 Hours Friday then Sat movie/no plans/duties the following day. HEAVEN. Then up early now on weekends. Before sober, never realized I was an early bird. Love being up before most then out for breakfast/coffee somewhere, then on to do whatever our little hearts desire. Yup yup. Isn’t sober living the BEST?! Joy in simple things. What were we thinking before?? Haha I know – we weren’t :). Addiction.

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