day list

Disney!! OMGJ@JKEJ@!!

I’m sitting outside a Starbucks right now.  It’s strange how much of my life revolves around coffee and the procurement thereof.  It’s overcast today, that sort of damp chill that settles on my skin like a wet dog nose.  It has been a truly surreal whirlwind of a week for me.

See, when I started the journey to sobriety, there were certain things they told me to do. Get a sponsor! Get a home group! Read the book! Keep coming back! WORK THE STEPS!

So I did.  Then all this other craziness started happening.  I started getting… dare I say: Happy.  It is still one of the strangest feelings in the world to wake up every day and not feel sick and green and hollowed out from the inside.  It’s always a surprise when people like me for me- not who I thought I should be.  I cleaned my house, then moved, then moved again, and again, and oh yea, two more times.  Each time I had to go through the mantra again: get a new sponsor, get a new home group, get plugged in to the fellowship.  Each time I can feel that part of me that wants to feel cool and accepted start to rear it’s ego laden head, and squash it down firmly.  I’m terrified of crowds.  Really.  I always feel like someone who I think is cool is going to look over at me and point:

You! You don’t belong with us!  We are the cool kids, and you- you are so not cool.  You are a poser! You are a geek, and awkward, and fat.

The list goes on.  But.  It never happens. They laugh at my jokes.  They give me nicknames.  (Dude, nicknames- I am so totally a fourth grader who always wanted one.)  Going to an AA meeting is like pushing yourself face first into the waves.  The ebb and flow of humanity is awesome- in the actual literal sense of the word as well as the slang.  They’ve probed and pushed and pried down my walls.  I can catch myself out in a lie now.

Which I totally do ALL THE TIME.  Example: I was going to stay in a hotel room with Jacob (the ex not ex it’s complicated guy) the night before Disney, but I found myself telling Maria that we were going to meet up the day of and head  up. Weird, right?

Well, it’s like this.  I have arguments and conversations with people in my head that I think would happen if I told them the truth.  It’s always completely incorrect, because yea, I am so not a mind reader.  Also, I am really bad at gambling and guessing.  But the arguments go the way I think they would in the WORST possible scenario.  Which convinces some part of me that I shouldn’t tell them what is really going on, that it would be easier for them (HA!) and me, if they thought something completely different.  I should also mention that I am a terrible liar.  Much like Simon.  I can’t make eye contact, I hedge, and I usually do it over the phone to avoid them seeing the visual tells.  It’s a terrible thing, but now- since AA- I can call back, or own up to the lie, tell them the truth, and feel better.  Which I did.  It’s still hard to own up, but it’s definitely worth it.

**

Now, Disney.  Huh.  It was insane!  Got there the night before and stayed in the Saratoga Springs Resort Hotel.  Jacob is a total hotel snob, I’m perfectly fine with a thirty dollar a night flop, but he apparently needs something closer to luxury.  As he was footing the bill, I saw no real need to argue the point.  It was AMAZING.  Soft beds, great water pressure, folded point toilet paper, and towels crinkled like origami fans waving hello in the morning.  There was a balcony that overlooked a golf course and I totally felt like a rebel smoking in Disney.

We met up in Downtown Disney, which is a very strange place if I might add.  It’s this semi circle boulevard of shops and bright shiny lights that made me feel like I was in a carnival.  They seem to pump the smell of fried onions into the air to cause massive cravings for deep friend anything.  There’s a circus like building that holds the Cirque du Soleil which I totally want to see, and a dinosaur popping out of the cement with blinking red eyes.  We met up, giggled, walked around and took it all in.  Then the food was needed.  Everything was closed by this point, so we ended up forced to attempt to eat at Planet Hollywood.

I’m a food snob.  Really, I am.  This was sub par.  Rubbery chicken something and overly loud music.  The pasta carbonara was good, but I seriously felt ill at the amount of butter and grease that was pushed bodily into two portions.  The decor was kick ass though, and we spent a good half an hour pointing and awwing as we meandered through the THREE levels. (Which makes the server in me cringe at the ability to keep food warm when trying to manuever up stairs or whatnot.)

So, then back to the hotel, which was confusing.  But we survived and set the alarm for 9:30 which is godawful early to this single/no babies chick.  We ended up talking until 1am however, thus negating the idea of going to bed at a decent hour.  I will cover the odd relationship status thing in a later post.

Morning arrives to coffee and a decision not to plan.  Ditch the electronics at the hotel room and take off for MGM studios.  Started on the Aerosmith rollercoaster.  Um yea.  I hate rollercoasters until I am actually strapped in and moving.  It’s weird. Every picture of me they take on rollercoasters is like OMG I IS DYING!! then I’m laughing my head off two seconds later and loving every minute of it.  Then Tower of Terror.  Once again I maintain that Rod Serling is the closest I’ll come to knowing the voice of God. Wash rinse repeat.   We ate lunch at this 50s diner place that was phenomenal.  Included kitchy decor and black and white predicta televisions.  Our waitress was surly and fabulous.  I had pot roast of awesome and Jacob chowed down on meatloaf. I loved it. We spent most of the meal giggling over old TV shows and plotting to see if we could really do four parks in one day. The meal was large and the day looked like it was going to be just about perfect.  I briefly considered doing the American Idol experience, but just as quickly decided not to.  I loved the little street performers who meander about and accost people with acting.  They were super fun.  I actually remembered to bring the camera this time, so bonus. We then wandered around MGM before deciding to move on to Animal Kingdom to see the fuckoff large fake tree.

If you weren’t aware, there is a fuckoff large fake tree:

It is made of something not tree and has all these animals carved into it.  We were right in front of an entire paddock of lazy kangaroos who would not bounce no matter how many times I attempted to show them what bouncing looked like.  I’m sure I looked insane, but dude, BOUNCING KANGAROOS!

We had just wandered past a couple of seemingly empty um, cages? Before being accosted by an anteater.  Seriously, and anteater.  They are LARGE! with tails like dusting fans.  Jacob casually mentioned at this point that he’d been sort of mugged by one in Peru.  I wanted to kick him, but settled on just listening to the fact that he’d been in Peru, and mugged by an anteater.  Apparently they just walk around and stick their long noses in people’s pockets looking for ants and leave anteater snot in their wake.  On second look, maybe no anteater peru stories for me.  Yet.

And then the rain hit. We bought what basically amounted to seven dollar condoms of useless.  They ripped, the hoods did not stay on, and there went any attempt I had made to keep the hair looking shiny and nice.  But, on the upside, everyone cleared out and we got to ride Everest and the Dinosaur trail ride of dark and explosiony with only a five minute wait.  There were otters doing cute otter things and huge fish.  Also, my digital camera ran out of juice right after this picture.  Lame.  So we bought disposables and I am waiting for them to get developed.  I always forget how much fun it is to have no control of how a picture turns out.  There is no delete on a disposable.

First thing to do at Magic Kingdom was change our reservations from 5:30 to nearer 9pm.  Pot roast takes a while to digest and I needed room for the delicious French food that Epcot had in store for us.  It was surprisingly easy.  We headed directly to Future Land, do not pass go, do not collect 200 bucks.  I love future land.  It has space mountain.  Which is terrifying in that “Oh god we just derailed for realz” kind of way.  By this point we were holding hands and being obscenely adorable.  It’s different in Disney, there is no eye rolling, just happy smiles from onlookers and hordes of babies to play peekaboo with.  We romped.  We rode the teacups.  We rode the carousel.  We ate funnel cakes and licked powdered sugar from our fingers.  There were pictures in front of the princess palace and the feeling that everything is wonderful.  At least for right now.

Disney really is a magical place.

Finally we moved to Epcot.  I love the monorail, my inner five year old thinks they are badass.  We were stuffed in with an entire troop of toddlers and strollers and Jacob got teary eyed at the idea of kids.  I think it just about made my heart break with happy.  Then we wandered epcot, poked around the Wall-E toys.  (It was our semi official first date movie after all, the first time around.) And rode the space flight ride that made me feel like the kid who went to Space Camp was still alive and well inside of me.  Then we travelled the world and I almost bought an obi from the ridiculously adorable japanese girls infesting the japan store.  Seriously. ADORABLE.  Then we were mystified by the bag of salted dehydrated crabs before moving on to France.  I had a dress, in a bag, with shoes.  They’d been carried around with me all day waiting for the Ally Sheedy moment from the breakfast club.  He went to see if the upstairs fancier place could take us while I changed.  I came out and it was worth every moment to see his face.  There will be a picture soon, I hope.

Dinner was amazing.  The whole day was amazing.  I’m not doing it justice right now.  Really I’m not.  I had blisters on my heels and wet jeans.  I had sore cheeks from smiling so much.  It was just about the perfect day.  We both thought so.  I can only hope that this is just one point, not the high point, of things to come.  I’ll keep everyone posted.

**

Also, I am ridiculously pleased that I blogged when I was happy.  Wasn’t sure I could do it.

Bonfires and characters

I used to have people living in my head.  Supposedly, they were just characters, but they never just stayed on the page.  They used to talk to me when I was having breakfast.  They laugh with me at the bar.  They’d love so hard it broke my heart. I miss them.

It’s been quiet in my head for almost three years, hell maybe more.

Writing is really difficult for me now that I’ve quit drinking.  It was like the alcohol tapped directly into that part of my brain that was wild and poetic.  I know this isn’t true, but it feels that way a lot of the time.  I was insane and the characters were a vivid manifestation of my insanity.  They were where I told the truth- wrapped in layers of lies.  They were all little parts of me that I fleshed out and gave names.  My sex drive, my insecurity, my ability to love, my bitterness- each had a place in the apartment building in my head.  The weirdest days were when they talked to each other.  I’d be sitting somewhere, faraway look in my eye, and just listen to my head talk to itself and entertain me.

But now it’s just me and this empty building full of bits and peices I’ve slowly started to collect back into the whole.  It’s like picking up a deck of cards that has been flung around and slowly trying to get them to fit back into the box.  I worry that the best work of my life is behind me.  That I’ve already written it.  I want to drag it out and show it off, but that part of my life is over.

So now I just have zygotes of stories and quiet.

The scariest part of all of this is that I wonder ALL THE TIME if I need to be miserable, to hate myself, to make something visceral and beautiful with words.  When Jacob left me, I wrote.  When my friend needed to walk away from me because I was killing myself, I wrote.  The pain was impetus.  It’s hard to write when I’m happy.  It’s hard for me to explain the beauty I see in the world when I’m content because I feel so FULL now.  I’m not empty anymore and I’m not scribbling imaginary friends onto the page because I need something to make me feel complete.

**

I went to a bonfire last night.  Boys were tossing around a football and lounging against each other’s shoulders.  Two girls sat to my right, bickering in high laughing voices about whether or not the darker haired one was dating her ex.  Across the fire sat a guy whose face had been beaten over the years by wild irish rose and crack pipes.  He smiled crookedly at me and I wondered if his gums got cold.  I curled up onto the bench and just watched them float around me, sparking with the fire and breathing in smoke.  I kept my voice low, quiet, an unconscious ploy to make them lean in to hear me.  I was stealing moments of togetherness and laughter.

“This is Meagn, she’s new here.” I’d nodded my hellos and stood solidly in my Chuck Taylors as each person shook my hand.  I kept looking around for my friend Kate, but she’s in California now.  I didn’t have Johnny G and his moutainous shoulders and wide thick palms to pat me on the back while I struggled to find balance.  There was no Jacob to curl against and hum quiet nothings against his jaw in the firelight.

I grinned at the stories.  I walked to the store and talked to the new boy with his twitchy little walk.  I kept reminding myself that these people knew my story, without me even having to tell it.  Some of them went further into the dark hole of addiction and some got out much earlier.

I’d listened to a complete stranger tell me his story only a couple of hours before. “All I’d ever wanted was to be loved and understood.  AA gave me that.  You people love me.  You people understand.”

So sitting with my feet propped against the bricks circling the fire, feeling my toes grow toasty while my nose was cold.  I relaxed, just a little bit.

**

One day I’ll tell my story.  One day I’ll write it all down and I won’t be afraid.

Poisoned well water and self doubt taste the same.

Warning: This is a weird post and I totally almost deleted it because I was all UGH you’re gross.  Then decided to let it stand because fuck, it’s the truth- and I’m here to be honest.

**

Okay, here’s the thing.

I have deep seated self image issues just like almost every other girl I know.

When I was a teenager, my father bought me dresses- yellow flowing dresses with pastel flowers and a delicate neckline.  I liked baggy t-shirts, flannel, and loose jeans.  He would suggest I wear makeup.  I’d throw my hair into a ponytail and slouch into class and try to hide.  The first time a boy asked me out on a date, it was a joke.  I shaved my head in college, because I didn’t want to have to buy shampoo.

I lost my virginity to a drunk guy I picked up at a bar.  It was unspectacular and embarrassing.  He smelled sour like old rum and could barely get hard.  I spent years wishing I’d lost it to my first boyfriend who thought I was beautiful and wrote poetry on my arm.  He’d been extraordinarily tall and sweet, with soft hair that fell to his shoulders in loose curls.  His smile was crooked and his body was warm.  I remember making out with him in the back of his Jeep Cherokee and the feel of his erection through his jeans.  It scared me.  I broke up with him in a hail of insults and spectacular self loathing.

Later, I wondered if he would have held me like something special.  If he would have touched me like I was fragile.  I always thought it would have been a better first time than the drunken pawing I threw it away on.

But there’s this part of me that always believed I wasn’t worth much fuss.  That I was bland, average, and pudgy.  That I wasn’t funny or intelligent.  This small voice that told me that I was unworthy of love.  I listened to it for decades.

It was alot like drowning.  I’d crest for a moment: driving and the sun would come out from behind the hill just right to backlight the leaves on the trees and make the whole world glow with this absent minded beauty that would take my breath away.  I’d think in those split seconds that I needed to remember this- to hang on to that moment because it proved that there was something vibrating in the heart of this world that loved me enough to let me glimpse it.  Then the car would turn and the glow would fade along with the moment.  I’d get distracted by someone picking their nose in traffic and laugh.  The world would lose enough luster that I felt normal again.

I started drinking and that feeling got worse.  I’d drink to feel normal and happy at first, then it would sort of spiral out of my control and suddenly I was doing something disgusting and heartbreaking.  So I had to drink more to forget what I’d done, and it would start the whole cycle over again.  I stopped trusting women, because I knew what I was capable of- so fuck anything that could do the same to me.  I started sleeping with more and more people, hoping that they would love me enough that I could maybe love myself.  I confused sexual intimacy with love.

I’d move, change bars, change scenes, change my hair, my clothes, my drink.  Nothing worked.  I still hated myself.  I ate too much and started believing my own hype.  I went for weeks without showering, just so I could feel as gross on the outside as I did inside.  It was like I was trying to encrust myself in a warning label.

People would slip into my life- unexpected people who kept trying to get me to see how beautiful I was.  They’d just clamber right over the walls I threw up around myself.  Sometimes they walked away when I cut them.  Sometimes they cried.  I pushed and pushed. Only one ever stayed- but at a distance.

It was like being in the bottom of a well.  I could see the light, the ropes people were throwing me to climb.  I just didn’t think I was worth saving.

I wish I could say that one day I just woke up and it all changed, but that would be a lie.  It’s taken years of tears and hard work.  I still slip and I still feel uncomfortable in my own skin.  I push for compliments.  I’m needy.  I work myself into a spiral of self doubt that plunges me back into self destructive habits.  It’s a constant fight.

The only difference is I take the hands.  I try to let down the walls.  I try to talk about how I feel instead of bottling it or drowning it in booze.

It’s like going to sleep at an awkward fourteen and waking up thirty and still feeling the same way.  My ass is too big, my thighs slide together when I walk.  I have a pudge under my chin and around my hips.  I don’t like being naked.  I don’t like being seen.  But now I’m willing to admit it.  I’m willing to say: “I don’t feel pretty yet, but I know that I should.”

So, I’m terrified to meet a guy I think is hotter than me.  I’m terrified I’m going to see disappointment in his eyes when he realizes I’m not a size six- not even close.  (Well, maybe closer if I’m shopping at Anne Taylor because GOD BLESS HER she sizes large.)  I’m nervous and that brings all of these ugly insecurities right to the surface.

So yea, just thought I’d share.  Cause the more I talk, the less it’s inside me and the more I can face it.  Someday, I hope to be able to stand in front of a mirror and feel content.  Not happy, or thrilled, just content to be me.  I think that’s when I’ll really start to shine.

Ode to my kitchen.

My kitchen smells like saffron rice and cooked chicken.  It has mustard yellow walls with metal signs tacked into place.  They proclaim that I serve Meteor Coffee and Rocket Pops, but they lie.  I have a shelf full of sweet tarts my mother sent me for Christmas that tell the world I’m totally Team Jacob. (Werewolves are so much hotter, can we say boys piled like puppies?) I have a bag of baby carrots, summer sausage, and sharp white vermont cheddar in my fridge.  There is also an avacado that thunks miserably about in my veggie drawer that I should probably throw away.  I bought a bottle of pomegranate-lemonade with the intention of giving up soda, but the empty box of Dr Pepper is more the truth.

I love my new kitchen.  It has possibilities.  I’ve never been in an argument while pitching empty pizza boxes.  I’ve never made a meal for someone other than myself.  It’s never been tarnished with anything but good memories.

Kitchens are a strange place.  It is where my parent’s marriage fell apart over broken dishes and screams on Easter.  It’s where I cried miserably over learning the multiplication tables.  It’s where I can take a breath when family moments are so heart stoppingly beautiful I might just shake apart. I learned to cook a turkey in my father’s purple rag painted kitchen that was always littered with wine bottles and step kids.  I cooked out of necessity when my mother went to that dark place after the divorce- filled with migraines and depression.  I have had refrigerators filled with nothing but beer, and others spoke of happy couples learning to make meals together and talk about their day.

My ex was a steak and potatoes guy.  He’d cook the meat while I chopped tomatoes and carrots for a salad.  We’d bustle around each other like some strange dance, rubbing shoulders, bumping hips, and exchanging sauce filled kisses.  He told me he wanted to marry me in that kitchen, the same place he told me it was over.  He’d stack empty soda cans in the sink instead of reaching the foot and a half to the trash can.  The coffee pot was always a mess, drinds flung to the far corners to sneak under the fridge and into the laundry room.  He’d smile that huge crackling smile of his and fling his fingers out while I did the dishes and tell me about how ridiculous the patrons (and staff) at his library were.

There are no traces of him in my new place.  He’s not lingering on the floor with his records or sprawled across the couch waiting for me to join him with popcorn.  There is no table hockey game waiting for us on the kitchen table.  There are no arguments about money and the sweet taste of welcome home kisses. It’s a new tableau. I cook chicken.  I microwave popcorn.  I do my own dishes and there are never soda’s in the sink.

It feels empty.  No, it feels pregnant with that sort of soap bubble fragility of loneliness.  It’s like if I turn around too fast I’ll realize I’m on my own.  If I cook steak he’ll just wander in wearing his boxers and a grin.  I don’t want him back.  It’s just the habit; the routine of our relationship that sneaks back in when I’m not looking.

I don’t want a man in my life right now.  I want to learn to be happy just being me.  I want to wake up and stretch like a kitty and smile just because I’m awake.  I want to finish school and get a job.  I need to be independent.  I need friends. (Wow, I’m kind of needy right now.)

I want a stranger to be able to come into my house and explore my kitchen and learn little things about me.  I want them to grin at the doodle board I have on my fridge that says “You shine” and understand that people love me.  To understand that I haven’t erased that message and put up a to do list because I need the reminder that sometimes, in the right light, I’m glorious.

Jameson used to be the love of my life. Then we broke up.

Firstly, mad props to the mommy melee for the rockin’ header. Nailed it in one!  Also, my girl? She’s got posse, and they roll deep.  Thanks to all y’all who popped by for my fledgling run.  It was quite humbling to come home from work to such thoughtful comments.

***

The day I realized I needed to quit drinking I woke up in my neighbor’s bed and I couldn’t find my pants.  I think I tried to steal a boat.  One of those badass clipper ship sail boat things like in Romancing the Stone.  I’m pretty sure I’d been setting shots on fire at the bar and making a general douchebag of myself.  I’m pretty sure I puked and rallied.

Thing is, I’d gone out for one drink.  Just a beer with my boy (whose name I cannot remember now) to celebrate his birthday.  He drove a beautiful yellow and black ford falcon that I’d named Roxy Falcone.  Because it’s sacrilegious to own a bitchin’ car and not have a name for it.  The seats were black and the steering wheel stuck, but it was a convertible.  I wanted it, so I figured if I slept with him, I’d get it.  Jameson does weird things to my brain.

He was a nice guy with a face that was bland like mashed potatoes.  He had red hair that was fading in the florida sun and I’m pretty sure there were dimples.  He was sweet and owned a house and had plans.  He was exactly the kind of guy I liked to take out and mess up a bit.  Mostly because people shouldn’t just be so damn happy all the time.  Not when I was so miserable.  I just wanted to break things, all the time.

So I woke up, searched for my pants and tried to remember if I’d driven.  I scurried across the street and left him passed out in a sprawl of sheets.  My mouth tasted like I’d been licking the catbox.  I sat down on my carport- conveniently fleshed out with a futon, dart board, and a coffee table made out of a door I’d found that was littered from one end to the other with beer cans.  My lawn, I smirk to even call it that, was full of beer caps, and I’m pretty sure the youngsters I drank with pissed around the corner.  Oh yea, I was THAT neighbor.

My hands were shaking.  They’d been shaking for years.  A drunk tremble that only went away when I sampled the plethora of wines at work before my shift.  I couldn’t get my cigarette lit and suddenly I was crying.  I was disgusted with myself.  I was filthy.  My shower didn’t have hot water and I’m pretty sure the sink was full of cockroaches and dried macaroni.  Twenty nine year olds shouldn’t be living on macaroni and crying on their front porch at noon on a Tuesday.  Rockstars could always light their cigarettes.  Of course, rockstars also had musical talent.

So I did something I had never done before.  I asked for help.  Really asked.  I was tired of feeling like I didn’t fit in my own skin.  I was sick, that sort of sick that feels like I’d been gutted with a melon ball and filled with tacks and tar.  It’s like my life was that tooth that rotted from the inside; it still looked pretty on the outside, but every time I touched it- pain.

That was over two years ago.  I still haven’t had anything to drink, but that feeling still comes back.  I eat too much, wank too much (although I really wonder if that’s possible), and I’m still awkward in my own skin.

But today it rained and the ground was slick.  The lights of my neighbors porchlamp make the sidewalk glow.  There’s a gecko clinging to the ceiling and staring at me while I write.  The science of this ability still makes my heart hurt at the beauty of it.  There are atoms whirling chaotically and one plus one still equals two.

Today I’m just that girl who sits outside barefoot and inhales the wet air with a feeling close to happy.  I know I have to go inside at some point and vaccuum, put the laundry in the correct pile, do my dishes, and scoop the litter box.  Right now though?  I just want to listen to the rain.

And return those damn movies to blockbuster before they make me buy them.