I’ve started and stopped and started to write a post just like this one so many times over the last few weeks. I think one of the scary things for me about being so public about my life, on both my blog and my Instagram account, is when something changes (in this case dramatically so) I feel like I’m somehow deceiving me little community if or when I stop communicating. In this case, it comes back to my drinking. I am drinking again and have been for a few weeks. I have also made the decision to stop talking about my drinking story after this post. I’m revamping my blog and in the midst of just starting Tiffany Han’s, Raise Your Hand and Say Yes, year-long course. I want Etched in Awe to be a place where I talk about the creative work I’m doing, share essays and meditations on daily life, and starting in a few weeks…interact with other creators and makers in my brand new interview series, Women Who: Make, Create, and Collaborate.
With that said, I have been avoiding coming clean, so I do feel like I owe a small amount of an explanation. Because I chose to start drinking again I had to deal with two specific things I was in the midst of being involved in. Firstly, I chose to not take a course I had signed-up to take and invested in. I chose instead to delete the emails, let the books sit on my shelf, and find another course that I felt aligned more with where my head is at. I had and have a lot of guilt about this since the course was being taught by someone I consider my mentor. I just felt guilty showing up weekly to a mostly sober, albeit virtual, community.
Secondly, I was involved in an art exchange in a community of sober women. Again, I felt too guilty to post about the lovely piece I had received because I didn’t feel like it was any longer my place or space to do. Above is the piece Rachel made for me, where it sits proudly on my mantle. I gave her the first painting I’ve ever made which, even after a few weeks, still feels like a huge and beautiful accomplishment. I’m only sorry I didn’t post about either sooner.
Interestingly enough to me, this feeling of being ousted, or feeling like I don’t belong anymore, has absolutely nothing to do with either of these welcoming communities filled with women who only want to help me wherever I’m at, and much more to do with the guilt I feel about changing my mind (again) when it comes to alcohol. I do fully support all my friends anyone who feels like recovery is the right choice for them, but ultimately after years of dancing with sobriety, AA, and recovery, I feel more like it’s taking up space in my life and my head, instead of allowing me to fully be present on my own two feet in my own life.
I am someone who really clings to the past and drags it around with me until it fully takes over.
I think I’ve done something similar with drinking. There was a story I told myself for months and months and months and when I looked up, I saw that the story didn’t match my behavior and vice versa. But there was a lot of fear for me in leaving, in saying this isn’t right for me. It was mostly self-inflicted fear, but also the fear of losing a community of people I trust with my whole heart. It isn’t going to be easy, writing this isn’t easy, but I really feel it is essential to take some space from a topic that has driven almost the last 5 years. My creativity is finally coming back thanks to having a new job which doesn’t deplete me and thus allows me to spend time doing what I love when I’m off. It’s October and finally feeling cooler here in Boston.
I’m finding through writing in my journal almost daily that what I want to talk about doesn’t have very much, if anything to do with drinking, and mostly includes things like: relationships, boundaries, the beauty of every day rituals. Through my 100 Day Project I engaged in this past summer, I learned that I love to make collages and I want to give myself the space to continue to make and share those here on my blog. In short, I am pulling away from the part of myself that wants to obsess about my drinking and my drinking story based on my own assumption that either it will become really crucial to come to or slowly fall away.
The truth of here is this: I am a constantly evolving human being. What’s right for me today, may not be right for me tomorrow. My friend Christina always reminds me that we can change our minds. This is a scary thing for me to post, but it feels scarier not to. I’ll leave you with words from my favorite, Cheryl Strayed:
“Nobody will protect you from your suffering. You can’t cry it away or eat it away or starve it away or walk it away or punch it away or even therapy it away. It’s just there, and you have to survive it. You have to endure it. You have to live through it and love it and move on and be better for it and run as far as you can in the direction of your best and happiest dreams across the bridge that was built by your own desire to heal.”