“The only way out of the labyrinth of suffering is to forgive.”- John Green
Recently I entered my inner circle for one of my programs. For those of you who don’t know what I am talking about and aren’t gifted with the blessing of having to create sobriety circles to keep your shit together congrats! If you are interested to know “sobriety circles” are a tool for recovery in which you put things in your inner circle that are shitty, you fill your middle circle with things that will lead you to the middle circle, and things that make you feel like life is just peachy in your outer circle. That may not be a 100% accurate description but there you have it. This is the kind of shit I must do to keep myself from going off the rails.
Anywho… I went into my inner circle two weeks ago and I did something that I consider self-harm which is to snoop on my partner. The things I found didn’t make me feel awesome but let’s be honest that’s what I wanted right? I love to be miserable because it distracts me from being a grown up.
The details of how that went down aren’t all mine to tell so I will let them be. The important part is the lessons I learned and am still learning. Having sobriety slips is the gift that keeps on giving folks! I confessed my crime and we worked through it but it put me back in a bad headspace for almost two weeks. One which I have worked really hard to get out of. One where I easily become triggered, jealous, and very angry. One where the fire of rage takes over me and I act like a crazy person. It put me back in that place where I think I have the power to change things that I don’t have the power to change.
I did’t really realize the well it opened up until I was watching Top Chef on demand instead of Prime Video. I usually keep to my Netflix and Prime because television tends to surprise me. I get triggered by overly sexual content and on tv one moment you will be watching Top Chef and the next you are watching a girl get naked to sell you something. I don’t particularly enjoy the roller coaster. I had forgotten why I avoid commercials but I had to get my Top Chef fix and Amazon didn’t post the episode, so there we were… and surprise! The incredibly beautiful Jennifer Lawrence pops up on screen and jumps into a pool of water or some shit to sell perfume. Her nipples were very apparent. The rush of adrenaline came over me and I immediately felt less than. Not even less than, more like a piece of steamy poo.
So in this moment when I am wanting to make this horrible feeling someone else’s fault I take a deep breath. I become sure my partner is going to never be intimate with me again because I don’t look like that and I take another deep breath. And then it dawned on me… You can turn away. What can I change in this situation? I can stop watching the damn commercial. I did just that and It helped. I looked a little crazy staring at the wall instead of the tv but whatevs. I took the power back and I changed what I could change. No one is a hero for forcing themselves to consume things that trigger their own trauma. Don’t be tough in these moments.
Later I was talking to my partner about it and he was like, “you know… that’s not really my thing.” Well let’s just be honest, Jennifer Lawrence is everyone’s thing but I get it. And he’s right, It’s MY THING and it’s my responsibility to own it and not project my own fears onto him. Due to the perfect combinations of events in my life I get triggered by commercials and ads often. So I told him that, “Well it’s my thing.” Because it really truly is and it’s not his fault.
I am a peach to be in a partnership with I’m sure. And no disrespect to Jennifer Lawrence… she is allowed to do whatever she wants with her blessings and she is one of my favorite actresses of all time. She is beautiful/talented and that doesn’t change my own brand of beauty. It doesn’t change yours either.
I painted this picture because I was feeling extremely overwhelmed. Coming off of a very dramatic and emotionally challenging couple of days I just didn’t want to get out of bed. Even though there were only nice things planned for the day (hello 98 year old woman’s birthday celebration), I didn’t want to face the day. I was lying in bed and said, I will get up in 20 minutes… I will get up in another 10 minutes… Maybe I won’t get up because I am pretty sure my body weighs 500 pounds and if I leave this bed something bad will happen.
The truth is, is that nothing extra bad was going to happen because it was already happening. What I didn’t want to face was right there in the bed with me. It WAS me. It was my own emotions, my own shame, my own inability to deal with the things that had transpired over the last week. It was my own fear of what I would fuck up today, it was rage, loneliness, jealousy and it was cuddled up right next to me.
I thought to myself… Am I going to flake again? Am I going to stay in this bed all day and miss a 98 year old woman’s birthday when it could be her last? Am I going to choose to indulge in self-pity again? and if I do will I then want to use and rise to the occasion of being the addict that I am? Well fuck… that sounds miserable doesn’t it?! That’s not why I go to all those meetings and do stupid shit like tell a room full of people my deepest darkest secrets day in and day out. That’s not joy, connection, or serenity. It’s isolation and isolation is dangerous for me. It’s that sick part of my brain trying to rekindle what once was… it’s like a bad ex boyfriend who can’t take a hint and keeps texting and texting and texting until you engage and invite chaos back into your life. Well I didn’t want to invite chaos back into my life today! So I dragged my ass out of bed, chugged some coffee, put on some skin tight jeans, some red lipstick, and my favorite heels and I suited up. More importantly I showed up!
When I got home I painted because I wanted to remind myself that I can show up even if I’m overwhelmed. I wanted to paint what that morning felt like to me… it felt like a tidal wave was waiting to drop on top of me if I stepped out of my bed. So that’s what I painted and it morphed into something different for me. Not while I painted it, but later in the week because of some comments from others that made me look at it differently. It changed to a representation of resilience and strength. Even in the face of all those emotions that feel like they are going to take over your whole being, I have to always remember I have choices. It might not feel like it sometimes but I do. I can choose to suit up and show up or I can choose to indulge the sick part of me and let it get bigger. In those moments where I choose to suit up and show up that is absolutely strength at work because it’s really hard to do. So congrats to me for flexing a different muscle.