Month: September 2014

SOBER MUSCLES

There are these really disgusting men at the gym that wander aimlessly and look at themselves sexually in the mirror as if they might take themselves home and get themselves pregnant. They seem to be performing and appear to believe wholeheartedly that the entire gym population is staring at them and admiring their very large muscles and, in most cases, tiny chicken legs that don’t match the upper part of their body. They want everyone to know just how hard they worked to get into their current shape and they drive that point home by grunting and screaming like gorillas as they lift big metal bars into the air and put them back down on the floor with a THUD.

I get it, boys. Really. I do. I have been wandering around New York City over the past few weeks working out my sobriety muscles. I’ve been lifting really heavy emotional shit like death and anxiety. I’ve been curling very cumbersome and socially awkward situations in hopes that maybe I’d get stronger. And I have! Really, I have. And like you, I want everyone to know about the hard work I’ve put in and how it’s paying off. But I can’t run up to complete strangers and say things like I JUST DRANK COFFEE WITH A FRIEND WITHOUT GETTING DRUNK BEFORE I WENT! Well. I CAN say that to a complete stranger if I’d like to, but they aren’t going to understand the significance of it. They’re going to look at me the same way we look at those meatheads in the gym that scream with the intensity of someone taking the world’s most massively large shit. So who can we tell? EACH OTHER!

I went out to dinner the other night with the boyfriend and another couple. The discussion was had via email before we went regarding alcohol consumption and whether or not it was kosher for them to drink some wine at the table. I told them to do what they wanted to do and that I was fine either way. And I was. They got their wine and I got my club soda and we ate delicious food. There was nothing awkward about the beverages on the table. There WAS however some awkwardness on my part in terms of not feeling open and connected to the conversation being had. I felt pressured and cornered and had a hard time finding things to say. I think it was because they are friends that I’m not particularly close to and don’t see very often. They are LOVELY people, but there just isn’t a familiarity that makes me easy going around them yet. An amazing thing did happen, though. I suddenly became extremely aware of the fact that I was feeling off. As the conversation progressed, I was able to internally dialogue with myself briefly. I accepted the fact that I was feeling shy and uncomfortable, I told myself that it would all be okay and to just relax. I reminded myself that there were no expectations being placed on me and that the people seated across from us just wanted to have a good time. RELAX. RELAX. RELAX. And I did. I left that dinner feeling stronger and more prepared for future situations that would be similar. Like the musclemen, I wanted to GRUNT LOUDLY and let everyone in Williamsburg know that I just did something HARD. I ATE FUCKING DINNER WITH PEOPLE AND TALKED. And it is hard. No one gets that. But you do.

I recently spoke about my concern that I was declining invites and backing out of things due to the fact that I was simply afraid of feeling uncomfortable. And for me and my sobriety, that’s exactly what I was doing. It’s important to know your own boundaries and it is completely acceptable to avoid situations to maintain a level of serenity in the beginning where you are able to work through things. But I was becoming complacent in my solitude and realized that my sober social muscles would never grow stronger without experience. So I started accepting invites in moderation. And things are getting easier and easier.

I’m not at all advocating for any one person to force themselves into situations they are not comfortable with. You have to honor your own needs and take this at your own pace, I think. But I recognized that my refusal to reinsert myself into the lives of those who care about me was no longer about protecting my own sobriety. It was about an unconscious tendency I have to keep doing what I’ve been doing. Isolation was what I had grown accustomed to over the past 6.5 years and I was doing it in sobriety as well. So I made a conscious choice to start lifting the weights. Gradually and slowly. Easy does it. And it feels really good.

Advertisements

THESE SOBER LADIES

I’m not stupid. I know Facebook robots read my posts and that they know that I got sober and that I no longer have a hard time with stairs as a result. But they are advertising at me in really weird ways. WHAT ARE THESE LADIES DOING???

Let’s have a little fun and caption this photo. The winner gets nothing.

Here is mine: Six months! Congrats, Crystal. Come here, girl. Let mama pop your back.

Here is another one: Conjoined twins Sarah and Samantha tried dying their hair different colors to embrace their own individuality. But when Sarah wanted to get sober and Samantha wanted to keep watching Law and Order drunk with her pants off every night, Sarah knew she had to take action to save them both. So she bought this smart top and from the moment she put it on, Samantha realized that Sarah was serious and that it was time to stop once and for all. Now they watch Law and Order with their pants ON, a smile on their face, and a warm feeling in their heart.

A real post is coming soon.

WEATHER REPORT

The weather has been fucking incredible the past few days. Just lovely. It feels like Fall is just around the corner and I can’t wait to start wearing bulky sweaters and act like a happy asshole walking down the street with my pumpkin spice milk shake masquerading as coffee. Sweet and long anticipated relief from a mild but still humid summer. I hate summer. And last week summer was a BITCH. One last final FUCK YOU.

I was walking in the East Village and heading to a friend’s show. I had been dreading leaving the house because it was at least 90 degrees and the humidity was well over 80%. I complained the entire way to the subway station, savored the cool relief of the air conditioned car, and then started complaining all over again as my shirt became drenched in sweat. Absolutely miserable, I moaned and groaned as I rolled down the street. I felt disgusting and so extremely far from cute. 

Then I thought, Wait a minute. There is absolutely nothing you can do about this. It’s disgusting. You are sweating. Why are you emotionally and mentally exerting so much energy worrying about something that just IS. Everyone else is walking around with tittypit and asscrack sweat, too. You aren’t special. They have swampy butt, also. We’re all in this together! Relax!

And so I did. I surrendered to the heat. I took a deep breath and pulled my attention to my surroundings. I walked casually, allowing the sweat to drip freely down my face and back. I didn’t wipe it every two seconds. I didn’t worry about my shirt and the patches of wet spots that were growing larger by the minute. I just existed in it and stopped caring. I knew that relief would come. I would get to the theatre and sit in the cool space. Then I would leave and it would be gross again. Then I would get home and clean up and cool down once more. And eventually the heat itself would pass and summer would leave and everything would be comfortable for a while until the biting and brutal cold of winter took its place. And then that would pass, too, and peace and comfort would return. 

I’ve been thinking a lot about death lately. When my friend passed about a week and a half ago, I felt like I was immediately transported to a different dimension. Everything began to feel irrelevant: this blog, my artistic pursuits, money, my job, etc. It all seemed so arbitrary in the face of mortality. A young life taken too soon. Who cares about anything else? 

I spent the week following her passing in a state of shock. I was also angry. I was also very anxious about how mentally disturbed I had become as a result. While I didn’t want to drink, I did want something. Some kind of relief. I wanted the pain to stop. I wanted the emotions to go away. I wanted to feel like I did on Sunday morning before finding out on Facebook from her mother on Sunday afternoon. I wanted it all to DISAPPEAR. And I lived in that state for days on end. I was fighting something I couldn’t stop and it was EXHAUSTING.

On Saturday night I had the privilege of being able to watch my friend’s memorial service as it was broadcast on YouTube. It was a very celebratory event highlighting her immense sense of humor and larger than life personality. I was smiling more than crying. Since then, I’ve let go. I’ve surrendered to the pain and sadness. I’ve stopped fighting it. And like the seemingly unbearable heat of last week, it all becomes easier when I just STOP FIGHTING. Let it wash over me. Let it carry me. Let it hurt. Because it’s only temporary. Her spirit persists. The seasons change. The sweaters come out. The pumpkin spice returns. We smile. We cry. We sweat. We cool off. 

My mother took me tubing on a river when I was younger and I was told that there were going to be sections of the river that had white water. If I was to fall off of the tube for any reason, I was to float on my back the way she taught me in the pool and relax and stop fighting until the rapids calmed down. Such is life. It’s a beautiful, grand, expansive, and winding river. It is at once gloriously life-giving and destructive and gorgeous.

Just checked the weather and tomorrow we bounce back up to nearly 90 degrees. And that’s okay. 

BRB

Hi. You guys are sweethearts. Haven’t blogged in over a week, I think, and I’ve gotten lots of messages asking if I’m okay. I am. Had a rough week and a friend passed away. I’ll be back to talk about it when it seems appropriate. Thanks for your concern.

SUCKS. But I’m fucking sober.

Hope you all are well. 

XOXO