Thursday, July 13, 2017

Sometimes, I drink too much...

Oprah talks about her spiritual practice of writing down 5 things she's grateful for every day. I always count blessings in my head, but I don't always write them down. Recently, I listened to a podcast that mentioned the effectiveness of making lists. Getting stuff out of your head and onto a piece of paper.

I've always been a big list maker. On paper. On my notes app. On Google keep. My husband coaxes, "Just tell Alexa." But I only see Alexa's list when I open the app. My paper lists I see every time I walk through the kitchen, which is roughly 475,000 times a day.

Then I usually remember to buy coffee, cheese, dishwasher soap ... to take the recycling, proofread, make doctor appointments.

For the past few months, I've been making gratitude lists. It's a great addition to my spiritual practice and naturally has had unexpected additional benefits. For instance, I see every day what makes me thrive and can focus on guiding my energy in that direction and avoid getting pulled down draining rabbit holes.

But it's also made me see areas that need attention.

This is so uncomfortable for me to write about, which makes me feel certain that it's exactly what I need to do.

Sometimes, I drink too much.

I don't think I'm an alcoholic. Most alcoholics would agree, right? Denial. If I'm being completely honest, many standard tests would say I'm an alcoholic even if I can't say that.

I say: Sometimes, I drink too much.

I don't drink and drive. I don't neglect my kids. I don't usually fight with people or become belligerent. But sometimes Lily tells me things I don't remember doing or saying.

I don't shake from withdrawal. I don't wake up "needing a drink." I don't hide my drinking. But sometimes, I wake up and don't remember how the evening ended or how I got to bed.

I don't drink every day. Sometimes, I have just one or two drinks. I don't drink to forget, but sometimes I forget because I drink.

I don't obsess about drinking or schedule my life around it, but sometimes I wake up filled with guilt and shame and text my friends to apologize for whatever I might have done that I don't remember doing.

More and more, this eats at me: Sometimes, I drink too much.

Here's the thing: Alcohol is part of our culture, and I'm afraid of what I'll lose by not drinking. Can I still go to girls' nights if I don't drink? What will I do in the hot tub at night, while Brad drinks whiskey and smokes a cigar? Can I sit by the pool and not enjoy Landsharks? Do I want to? Can I go to a paint and sip and not...sip?

This is hard for me to write. I feel incredibly ashamed of drinking too much. I feel really vulnerable admitting these things. I'm scared knowing that lots of people will judge the shit out of me. My hands are shaking as I prepare to hit the publish button.

And yet ... it's just one life we get. I know what I want to do with mine. Be authentic. Love wholeheartedly. Tell the truth...even when it's scary and painful.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Crescent Moons and Critical Morons

A few times a month, we make a very early morning drive to the airport for my husband to fly to his work destination for the week. Sometimes it's so early that I feel nauseated (my body rejects being forced to function at such an early hour.) A few times, I've felt anxious that I might fall asleep driving home, so I listen to lively podcasts and keep my windows down or air cranked up--I don't feel as sleepy when I'm cold.

This week, however, it wasn't hard to stay awake because for my entire drive, I had a stunning view of the waning crescent moon and Venus. It was breathtaking. I wanted send Brad--who worries about my safety when I'm driving home alone in the wee hours of the morning--a picture. I won't drive and take pictures so when I stopped at a light, I tried to capture my amazing view. Of course, it looked nothing like what I was observing. Remember when people tried to take iphone pics of the super moon? Pretty much.

I wanted to share it with him, but I couldn't make him see what I saw.

That happens to me a lot. What about you? Do you ever want people to get your point, but they don't? Want to make someone understand you, but they can't. I really try to support and encourage other people, so when they don't reciprocate, I sometimes feel hurt and disappointed.

For years when people asked me what I did, it caused a lot of turmoil. If I say, "I'm a writer," people often respond, "Oh you mean your blog? Do you actually get paid to write?" That's awkward. Think: "Oh, you're just a mom." When I say, "I'm an editor," that sounds more legit, and no one really questions it mainly because most people don't know what an editor does. Brad has an impressive job title. No one asks him if he gets paid to do his job. Truthfully, I write and edit. I get paid for some of the stuff I write and edit. Not that it's anyone's business, but let's just clear that up.

It's uncomfortable to do something that isn't mainstream, but I've always danced to the beat of my own drum. Occasionally, it just feels cool for other people to hear the beat too instead of looking at me like, "What is she doing?" But it's all good. I hear it and keep on grooving.

Too often, I see people posting about whatever dream they're passionately pursuing, and some person will make a shitty comment. Who are you to start a business? Who are you to move to different country? Who are you to quit your stable job to make jewelry? Who are you to write a book? You get it. Well, who are you not to? It pisses me off, and I want to encourage them not to let these people slow their progress.

Sometimes other people feel threatened when we follow our dreams. Follow them anyway. When people mock or criticize you, it's not about you, it's about them. No one who is legitimately happy, doing what they love, and living their best life has any desire to piss on someone else's dreams. It doesn't happen.

In church, you hear about the great heroes of the Bible who were alcoholics, thieves, prostitutes and murderers who followed their dream. "God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called." What makes those people different? They didn't worry about what anyone thought or said, they trusted God and went for it.

Gretchen Rubin tells a story in her podcast about advice she heard in college. “Successful people are willing to do things that unsuccessful people are not willing to do.” That can look like putting yourself out there even if it means opening yourself up to criticism. It means doing everything in your power to turn that dream burning in your soul into reality. 

I think often about the poet Mary Oliver's words:

I don't plan to abandon my dreams because of what other people think. Even if no one else can see your magnificent view, focus on it; the moon will guide you home.