I can never resist an ode to Tom Petty, and today was not a diamond.
This morning I woke up feeling like a complete failure. I broke my dry January pledge to have some sparkling rose… yes, I know #basic… with friends. My insecurity and fear of being left out commandeered my willpower. A few glasses in and long dormant emotions came spewing to the surface like a scene in Pompeii (did anyone actually see that movie, by the way?)
I should set the scene by explaining that I spent the weekend at a bachelorette party in Texas hill country with a large group of ladies, many of whom I have known since high school. They’re all smart, successful, kind people and spending time with them was wonderful. Two of these friends recently had babies, and another two are expecting their first. I am genuinely happy for them and wish nothing but the best for their marriages and their growing families.
This is what my grateful, balanced, loving, and optimistic self feels.
But what does my fearful, insecure, self-critical ego think of this same situation? An excuse to unleash every doubt and concern kept just beneath the surface.
- Will I ever get remarried?
- Will I be able to open myself up fully to someone?
- Do I truly want kids or is it just something that’s expected of me?
- If I do, will I be able to get pregnant?
- What if I am too old?
- What if my autoimmune disease causes infertility issues?
- What if gaining weight during pregnancy triggers my eating disorder that I have worked so hard to overcome?
So needless to say I was feeling super rational and figured that if I kept drinking there would be no harm. Ha! It was as if every sip was another lashing from my inner critic.
I woke up on my friend’s couch with a splitting headache and some Snapchat alerts for responses to snaps I don’t even remember sending. I haven’t drunk dialed, texted, or (insert social media platform made into a verb)-ed anyone in many years. It felt as if my life was a game of Chutes and Ladders, and I just jumped head first down the longest chute on the board. Here I was. Back at Square one.
Only, that just isn’t true.
The work I have put in was not wasted, and I am definitely not back at square one.
What happened? I'm imperfect. I stumbled. I landed flat on my face. And instead of using it as an excuse to emotionally cocoon I decided to get back up and move the F forward. I got out the planner a friend passionately recommended and started piecing together my goals for this year. Now I am feeling motivated and empowered instead of anxious and hopeless.
One thing I promised myself when I decided to share my story was that above all else, I would be honest. I think there is too much dishonesty and inauthenticity out there. A mix of blatant lies and lightly sugarcoated truths. I believe in being tactful and would never come at someone with honesty guns blazing to inflict pain. However, I also believe at the end of the day that being truthful is the best way to be.
So with that in mind… I am not writing this to make anyone feel uncomfortable. I am not demonizing alcohol. I am not trying to play the victim AT ALL. I am just being unapologetically honest about the thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that are experienced when you’re trying to improve your life, align with your values, and let go of the past. It’s not a cakewalk. It’s more like an American Ninja Warrior course.
I sat for a few minutes at my desk and thought about what would make today a successful day despite the less than ideal start this morning. I decided I’m going to yoga during my lunch hour then I’m stopping by the store to get some fresh ingredients for dinner. Little steps. I have also decided to give sobriety a try for a while as I continue to write and to heal. Every step forward counts, and everyone's steps may be a little different.
As I am typing, I am slowly getting the sense that I needed this reminder. I needed to hear my fearful ego and know that I am more powerful than it will ever be. My intuition, my belief in myself, and my faith that there is a great future ahead of me put the self-critic to bed today.
Maybe I will get remarried. Maybe I’ll travel the world and settle down much later. Maybe I will have kids someday. Maybe I will adopt if there are medical issues. For every fear there is an incredible opportunity. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s to come, even the inevitable hard times.
Last thing, in honor of MLK Jr. Day, below are some words of his that always stuck with me and truly helped me today.