I ran into a woman this week who I haven’t seen in about three years. We did some traveling together on a project for work and got to know each other a little bit. As we chatted (and over the last couple of days), I started thinking about who I was back then compared to who I am now.
Wow. Hold on to your seats people – there are some whopper self-realizations coming.
I was very newly sober when I took this job in March four years ago. Yes, you read that right. I was 3 months sober when I took this job. I was traveling with this woman in April and May. Yes, you read that right as well, business trips that soon after I quit drinking. It wasn’t pretty. Lots of white knuckled nights in my room and desperate phone calls to the hubs. Lots of cussing too – like the time I texted him that if they didn’t get the damn plane off the ground soon I was going to tear off the head of the first flight attendant that came by and piss down his or her neck.
I was a little stressed.
His response? Just a simple text.
That’s why I love him. He knew just what to say. I burst out laughing right there on the tarmac and all the flight attendants made it home with their heads in tact and I made it home sober.
Anyway, this woman was very needy when I first met her and me, being the careaholic that I’ve always been, sought not to just be her colleague but her friend. A friend who couldn’t just be but a friend who would fix her…because that’s what you do when you’re not happy with yourself. You fix other people. Who you barely know and who barely know you. On business trips. Which makes you feel good. From the outside.
Mother-freaking-fucker. Who does that? Oh yeah…I did.
It’s funny because when I think back to our conversations and time together, I cringe at how needy I was. How much I needed to be her savior. How much I needed to be needed. I’m not even sure she needed saving! But I thought she did so that was good enough for me.
Look, let’s face it, there was no way I was well enough at the time to work on any of that shit that was making me do crazy stuff like this. It was all I could do to stay in my room and not close down the hotel bar. I couldn’t let myself be concerned with a bunch of psycho-babble when my addiction called on a regular basis (collect) begging me to pick up. (Pick up…get it? Pick up a drink…pick up the phone? I slay me!) So I did what I knew how to do…nuture and care for other people – whether they wanted me to or not.
I hadn’t realized how much of that part of me was gone until I saw this woman. It’s been a real shock actually. I realized that now I love people at face value and try to offer opinions and help when asked (or when I see desperation). I try to only speak from my own experience (and my heart) and not psychoanalyze people because clearly, who the hell am I to psychoanalyze anyone?! Up until about two years ago I could barely tie my own shoes let alone help anyone else. But damn did I try!
Now here’s the kicker. You ready? I wasn’t.
I’m a better person now, a really good person. Wait…what? Me? A good person? Can’t be right. Something must be wrong with that statement. You mean my mother, and early childhood experiences and alcohol induced thoughts were all wrong? No…something must definitely be wrong with that statement.
I’m a better person now, a really good person.
Nope…all circuits are a go.
Looking back has made me realize that because I’m not so preoccupied with the insecurities and self recriminations, the need to be needed, the obsession with solving all the world’s problems, the attempt to make myself feel better from the outside, and the rest of the batshit crazy stuff that I’ve been carrying around for-freaking-ever; I have a greater capacity to be a better friend-wife-mother-grandmother-aunt. To solve some problems (not all). To raise my self awareness and be kinder to me. To respond when I am truly needed. To recognize that I must do the work to feel better because no one else can do it for me.
To really, really like who I am. In fact, maybe even love who I am.
Well fuck me naked…I’m finally growing up.