I remember what it was like to drink. Not the occasionally party or night out with friends. No I remember what it was like to be unsure of how to live on without it. I sucked at the tit of a So-Co bottle as if it was my entire lively sustenance, nothing felt quite as freeing as that searing tingle that violently lapped it’s fiery tongue as it cavorted between my cheeks. Sometime’s I would hold that first swig in private, close my eyes and basque as I felt the sensation of it floating against my teeth, flushing my cheeks, and soaking into my stiff and guarded walls. I’d throw my head back in relief as the scorching elixir now continued its healing process through my esophagus, easing my heart and numbing my mind. The thoughts are what got to me, the thoughts of not fitting.
I didn’t fit with friends, I was too callused, too cruel. At times I was not outspoken enough. I was the introverted extrovert that no one seemed to understand. My inbox is full of voices of my past, sometimes I have to shut them out, it is like cruel game of High School Roulette, some messages are kind, while some can prove bitter and distasteful. Some are contrived by as a result of my distance, some were created unintentional through my deliberate actions.
The pressures from family seemed so alienating, the continuous misfires to satisfy their completely reasonable expectations.
I was disconnected from my husband. I thought to myself perhaps a baby would fix our issues, and then I’d stare once more, my body aching now for that second relieving swig. The light would retract through the bottle, fractals bouncing off the swirling golden liquid within, but how could I give up this solace for any length of time?
Bullying was a struggle no doubt, but the bullies were not who left the lasting scars. It was the casual comments, the simple harmless statements that dug into the crumbling foundation that remained of my self worth. I didn’t fit in they would say, not with the preps, and not with the losers. I dressed too rich but I lived too poor. I was never there due to travel, or I was annoyingly around. I was too quiet, I needed to speak up more; I was cruel and too frank. I don’t love our lord Jesus enough, I’m allowing Satan too much control. And then I am too righteous and need to chill out. For some they may call it liquid courage, but my vice’s goal was only to reach some form of equilibrium.
I felt alone too often. Like when I tried to launch a new business, or sat amongst a sea of untouched food I had prepared for a party in college. Like when I tried to start a second business, or just needed some friends and some queso. Like the day I gave birth to my first daughter, and then years later, when I threw a shower that no one came to. Like when I waited for those I loved the most to fulfill those empty promises of wanting to be close to me. Like when I’m in a room full of people, but not a living soul even notices me. Like when I again found an empty visitor log for a newly born baby K. Am I selfish, or are they? Perhaps it’s just the waves of life, my highs meet only with their lows, my connections are just out of grasp. My step-dad once told me, it’s hard, when you are up everyone wants a piece of it, help for a plane ticket here, or assistance in covering their debts there. And then when your pockets are empty, and you seek a friend it seems you stand alone. People are dark and selfish that way, and I’m sorry. I cried that night, harder than I have ever cried, I mourned unguarded kindness.
Today I don’t drink for medicine, in fact I had forgotten its draw. I am not as young as I once was, and somehow through my first pregnancy my body has lost all tolerance for alcohol. There is no relief, no intoxication, only vomit. The inability to fall back is freeing sometimes.
Then there are weeks, the hard ones, those birthday ones, when I am reminded that nothing has really changed. I have a new husband and kids. I live in a new house, new town, new state. But at the core my problems are still the same. I am too distant a friend, I speak out too little, but when I do speak it is too frank. I am too absent, travel too much, not around enough. Then on the other hand, I am the last to find out, because I am too involved. I am too caring, too tenacious. My opinions spout out, not out of judgement but out of love.
Only now I’ve left this trail behind me while walking stone cold sober. I have nothing else to blame. I am reeling from the crippling backlash with no real escape. That’s why I write. The things I write are not interesting enough, but telling of all. My vulnerability is disgusting and for some the truth is too honest. I once unintentionally hurt and embarrassed through drunk dials and blurry memories that played out like ghosts in my head for weeks, and sometimes years. But now I slash through the hearts and souls through the written word. Words are powerful, dangerous, almost as if they should not be handled without proper thought or mindfulness, this is why I bite my tongue. You can’t fix what is said, you can only move on.
My silence this week has separated me from a project and gift I was incredibly excited and passionate about. I seek purpose after purpose, and aside from my book, it was my purpose. I had plans, exciting plans, not that any of that matters now. Someone else was louder than me, someone else was present at the right time, sweeping that purpose out from under me. With tonights further silence I sealed my fate on the matter. It’s harsh and cold but being the sober adult leads to many unfair situations.
My volatile outspoken word in one instance has changed our bond. Where there was once trust in my reliable calm, there is now only fear of my unpredictable outbursts. This is not uncommon, I have lost many through the simple five second snap of my venomous outpour. My temper can get away from me, it’s only for a moment, but the tiniest pebble can cast a wide range of ripples. For that I was cast out, untrusted, and last to know.
I stand in front of the scale between good judgement and bad judgement, between right and wrong. I stare at a scale placed in front of me, on the right is to speak and the other is to hold silent. On the left is to say yes and the right is to say no. Every possible choice in every possible scenario lies in the bronze bowls, one to the left and one to the right. As I try to gauge the scale along its beam my spastic thwarts impede my ability to achieve a perfect poise.
Perhaps there is not always right or wrong, but just life. Life can really be sweet, and life can really suck. In my bag I carry a hypothetical pair of glasses that hold a tint of rose. On days like today I slowly pull them out and place them on. I close my eyes and try to push the negativity out, I return to my computer and pull up my word. The words consistently bouncing in my mind are dependable, people are not. I need a selfish purpose, something empowering of me. I need a purpose that trusts me and withstands my erratic pace. The word is that purpose.