Where Am I?

No, I’ve not lost my mind or gone senile (yet) and dementia is hopefully a few years away and even though I have the worst sense of direction on the planet, I know physically where I am at this moment.  I just don’t know where I am at the moment…ya know?

This sober thing can fuck with your head sometimes.  Except in the very beginning, it’s always a good fuck with your head. (Is that even possible?  I digress.)  For me it’s always about who I am and what I’m doing and where I’m going.  Not literally like, “I’m a 53 year old woman who could stand to lose 10 or 50 pounds who works for a bank and is currently excited about going to see her youngest granddaughter in a few weeks.”  That’s the easy part.

It’s more about who am I and what am I doing and where am I and where am I going inside that I’m talking about.  (Yes…I did just end that sentence in preposition.  This is a casual blog.  I don’t get paid for it.  Geez lighten up!)  It’s about this journey to liking myself and being okay with the kind of human I am.

On that front I have to ask…where the hell am I?  I’ve made a helluva lot of progress these past four years but where am I going and how am I going to get there?

I know I’m happy.  What’s more I’m happy in a way I never thought possible which is to say, content.  I no longer need a bigger house or granite counter tops or a sports car to make me happy.  I used to crave things like that.  Now I’m content with the things we have and, to be honest, could likely be content with a lot less.  I’m happy with the relationships I’ve forged in my life and the children (adults?) that I’ve raised.  I’m happy that I didn’t let my drinking ruin those relationships or children.

I’m just plain friggin’ happy people!

But inside me about me?  Yeah…not so much.  Still working on that little piece of the puzzle.  Which is normal if you think about it.  What I’m trying to change is the equivalent of raising yet another child.  In addition, I have to UNDO all the damage that was done over 49 years and insert all the good from the last four.  It’s like a rubber band.  I keep pulling at it and stretching it farther and farther but as soon as I let my guard down and let go, it’s snaps right back into it’s former shape.

Except…

Except that each time I stretch it, it changes a little.  It becomes a little more flexible, stretched out, loosey goosey if you will.  Over time it will either find some middle ground in between tight ass strong and floppy loose or it will break.  Either way it will be a permanent change. 

I’m trying to stretch that mother fucker to a place where I accept me, just as I am, for just who I am.  A place where I forgive myself easily and am kind to me.  A place of acceptance and unconditional love.  Until I can find that place, no amount of weight loss or plastic surgery, or make up, or new clothes (in any size) will matter.  Until I can say that I love myself for who I am, right now, I’ll continue to take two steps forward and five steps back in my self improvement efforts.  Until I can work on the inside there will be little or no change on the outside.  Until I can truly believe that the outside doesn’t matter, I’m doomed to believe that it does.

Clear as mud?

I’ve written about this many times.  Most recently here.  It keeps coming up…like heartburn.  Everytime I look at a photo of myself or pass by a mirror or store window, my first thought, I shit you not is, “What is my mom doing here?”  Followed closely by, “Who is that fat old lady?”  And ending with a slump of the shoulders and a loud sigh…

Everytime I lose a little weight I sabotage myself and gain it all back.  I’ve taken in the same damn pair of pants about eleventy-billion times, only to have to let them out again a few weeks later.  Why?  Who the fuck knows?  Same thing with my hair – cut it…let it grow…dye it…tie it…throw it over your shoulder like a continental soldier but whatever you do CHANGE IT.  It’s like building a mansion on sand…doesn’t matter how pretty it is, without a decent foundation it will all come crumbling down…eventually.

So for now I’ll just keep chip, chip, chipping away at the inside and hope that, eventually, the light will shine through those dirty window and show the beauty within.  (Okay…that preposition was for poetic effect!)

Namaste

 

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Why I Love My Ink

I didn’t get my first tattoo until I was 45.  As I’ve said before…it was a mid-life thing (assuming I live to be 90).  It was cheaper than a sports car or plastic surgery and way less damaging than an affair.  I got a simple Om symbol in the small of my back (yes…tramp stamp).  I chose that spot because it was the place least likely to change regardless of what my body did as I aged…when I die at 90 it would be mostly recognizable.  In addition, the symbol had, and continues to have a deep, spiritual meaning for me.  My life was in the shitter at the time and I needed something.  I expected it to help…it did…a little.

What I didn’t expect was to fall in love with all things ink.  When I grew up the only people who had or got tattoos were bikers, sailors, gang bangers or trashy women.  To have a tattoo meant that you were part of the dregs of society and any friends I had that got tattoos at 18 or so, were in the process of having theirs removed while I was going under the needles.  But the art was evolving and I was fascinated.  I wanted something that was private and just mine (at my age there wasn’t any danger of my thong and tat peeking out of my jeans at a party) and my new art filled the bill.  I was in love.

So much so that I planned and thought about my next piece almost immediately.  I had my daughter (the artist) design something around my Om symbol that would not only add color but make it more meaningful.  Around my symbol she drew six cherry blossoms (for each of my kids), five little buds (for each of the grandkids) all of which paid homage to my hometown, Washington, DC.  In my 50th year I had that one inked on my back during a business trip to Orlando.  I got lucky and the artist did a wonderful job but thinking back, I should have waited and done some research…it could have gone very, very wrong.

By then I was watching Miami Ink, LA Ink, InkMaster, Best Ink, and any other tattoo show that came on TV.  I love hearing the stories of why people want to change their bodies permanently and I love watching these amazing artists do their work.  Some are silly and irresponsible while others are joyful and celebrate life.  Then there are those that are sad and pay homage to loved ones lost.  Some are ill placed (neck and hand tattoos????? risky) while others are hidden so well only that “special” person and the owner will ever see them.  All are fairly expensive and the really good ones by the really great ones are sometimes actually cost prohibitive. 

The one I saw that truly changed my opinion of tattoos forever was a picture in a magazine of a woman who had a radical mastectomy on both breasts and was left with horrible disfiguring scars.  Instead of attempting reconstruction (always a deeply personal decision) she had the most beautiful tattoo done over her chest and under her arms to her back.  It was breathtaking and for a moment, you didn’t see the scars…only the art.  That’s when I realized the impact tattoos could have.

The most important tattoo I have is the one I got about a year into my sobriety.  I got my sober date (1/7/10) tattooed on the inside of my right wrist…my “drinking” hand.  That tattoo served many purposes.  First it served as a constant reminder of what I was fighting for.  Second it was like a talisman…guiding me through the tough times.  And finally, it was a reminder that if I picked up, having it removed was going to be expensive and hurt like a sonofabitch!  Let’s just say that simple, quick and inexpensive tattoo served its purpose.

I have a swirly hard to read tat on my right ankle that says “Let Go”.  My friend and I got them together and they match.  Whenever I’m having trouble remembering that I’m not in charge…I think of that little piece of ink.  It works.

Finally, I recently decided that my sober date had served it’s purpose and it was time to move forward and stop looking back.  I now have four cherry blossoms covering that date and the words “Be Still” in my favorite font below it.

It also reminds me that I’m not in charge..

“Be still and know that I am God…” ~ Psalm 46:10

What’s next?  Only time, money and my impulsiveness will tell.

Namaste