Monday, May 2, 2016

Taking Life Slow

I'm a balls to the walls kinda girl. I don't like to tip toe into the pool. I cannon ball in, literally and figureatively. I feel very uncomfortable wading into things.

I think my make up is just to go all in or not at all. What's the point of getting wet if I'm not gonna get soaked? Why have one drink when I can get plastered in 15 minutes ? Why hangout with someone a couple of times when we both know we just want to have sex?

Ok, let's talk about that last one-

I had dinner with my mom last night and at one point she was just like, " I wish [relationships] weren't so complicated for you." Sigh.

Thanks, me too.

It 100% is because I over analyzed life. I mean, let's be real what aspect of my life, that should be simple have I not complicated? I can't eat food or drink correctly, so when it comes to other people obviously I screw that up a lot...

Now, I'm analyzing the idea of "taking it slow". . .
Even as I write that sentence I'm like, "Du Fuq?"

I just want someone to explain it to me. I don't get it.

My therapist tried to explain it like this-
"Think about a faucet, you want the water running- you don't want it totally shut off- but you don't want it flooding. So you want like a gentle stream."
Metaphors are helpful to me so this makes some sense.

Flooding and turning the faucet off I have done.
A couple of years ago the sink was closed for business. I had a big DO NOT ENTER SIGN and the gates were closed. Let me tell you, no one was getting in. And for good reason, I had my own personal shit to deal with.
But then the gates opened again, and it was just zero to 100 real quick....
*hand palm


And now I have PTSD from last year's string of literal nut jobs... 2015 was by far my worst year men. Or best year with finding the wrong men... Actually that's a total lie. 2008-2012 was just as bad.
I just have the world's track record. Or best track record for picking horrible men. 

" I wish [relationships] weren't so complicated for you." Sigh.

So now, I don't know, I'm trying to be more conscious. The first step in correcting any behavior is being self-aware. So recognizing where I have fucked up is the first step...I guess. 

I haven't really asked for comments or anything in a long time. Usually I come to a resolution myself through writing about things that baffle me, with this not so much.
If anyone has any way to truly make sense of the topic taking it slow- really in any aspect of life- comment somewhere and let me know. I would love to hear other people's opinions on this topic. Let me hear what you think about this...

BUT... I just had this revelation, 
I am so uncomfortable right now in life because I am trying to do this [take it slow] with every aspect of my life. 

I am really happy for the first time in a long time because I am slowing the gears down. 
The past year my life has been a traumatic roller coaster ride with extremely low lows. And then quick fleeting highs. I haven't fully sustained myself in a while. It's been constant damage control, all the time. I have worked extra hard during the week, 12 hour days, only to go out with my friends dancing until 3-5am on the weekends. I have gone into fight or flight mode- choosing fight, but it's been hard to get out of that routine.
Slowing things down- like everything- might be my solution to my constant search of balance.
Balance isn't something you just instantly achieve. It doesn't just randomly show up, like most things in life. It takes work, effort and maintenance. 

And I always know when I am uncomfortable, I am growing. 

It's never really dawned on me until just now though, that balance takes effort. I thought balance would just come to me... but that is not the case. 
I am taking life slowly. One thing at a time. Life is no longer flight or fight and I don't have to just coast. I can put in effort in everything I do. 

As much as I agree that, ""Life is an endless series of train-wrecks with only brief, commercial-like breaks of happiness." I think there is a possiblity to find peace in the moments of happiness. And by creating moderation for yourself you get longer commercial breaks 

And let me tell you it's painful sometimes. Being uncomfortable is so uncomfortable. I want to crawl out of my skin. 
I want to send that text, I want to spend all of my money  right away, I want to fill every ounce of my time with doing things,  I want to travel and I don't want to leave. 


But that's not the pace we are going at.
Don't pigeon hole yourself, is my biggest take away. Take a step back, realize the bigger picture and retract your impulses. 
Hey, Yab? It sounds like your growing onwards and upwards. 
  click it.

Monday, April 18, 2016

I'm Moving. Literally.

Right now is one of those times that the only way I can make sense of my life is by sitting down and writing about it. 

Recently a lot of the times my life hasn't made sense is because of things that have happened at me. My friend dying, my dogs dying, life just happens sometimes. Usually it's a series of mishaps. This situation is different. I have entirely created this situation for myself. 

And for the first time in a long time, it's not a bad decision I have made. Well... maybe I have made a couple of good decision in the past years, but I've also fucked up a number of times. 

So, I'm currently in my second year of AmeriCorps and I had been applying for full-time jobs for when my term of service is up- in July, with no avail. I applied to seriously so many jobs I lost count and I barely heard back from any of them. I finally came across another AmeriCorps position by accident and my initial reaction was, "fuck no. Not again." 

I love helping people but I hate not getting paid lots of money. Such is the struggle with life, right? You're either in a job that's stressful that you hate and you're making a ton of money- but you're always stressed. Or you're in a job you love that gives you purpose and you don't get paid enough- and you're always stressed about the paycheck. It's really tough to find the middle ground. 

But then I started thinking... AmeriCorps helps to pay relocation fees. So they pay to help you move... 

I have always hated Philly. I grew up in the suburbs but I was in the city a lot, my dad lived in Fairmount when I was a kid so I did grow up a lot around the city. Nothing is more fucking annoying to me then when people try to tell me where I'm from. I know Philadelphia and all of the surrounding suburbs like the back of my hand. I went to high school 30mins from my house and I went to an all girls catholic school so by association I know all the other all girls and all boys catholic school kids from the suburbs class of '09. 
I went to summer camp with all the kids from the mainline so I know those schools and I know of all those kids circa 2009. My dad also lived around there so I grew up around there as well. Now half of my friends went to Abington High School so I know a bunch of those kids too. The list goes on... 

I'm a wanderlust even in my own town.
And let me tell you- a lot of people never leave Philly. 

I think I'm an optimist with a negative attitude. I like to think the best of situations but I also have a constant negative outlook on things. Some people would be like NOOO you're so bubbly and happy go lucky!! But my best friends know I'm a fucking Bitch. Capital B. 
So naturally, I've always wanted to get away from here. I had that hometown itch from a young age. I actually use to wish I grew up in Louisiana back roads or something so it made sense for me to want to get away from home, very Sweethome Alabama. 

So I left. 

I went to VT, I made friends and I lost my mind.

Then I came home. 

Coming back to Philly was the antithesis of my being. I wanted nothing to do with this town. I also wanted to die, I was extremely depressed and well... I was getting sober. 

Sometimes on anniversaries people say Happy Birthday because when you choose to get sober you choose a new life, wether it's conscious or not. In making that choice, I began to start to create a new version of Philadelphia. 

Over the past four years I have made the best friends and managed, with some help, to create a life for myself that is beyond anything I ever thought I could. 
But the idea of leaving Philly has always still been in my head because it was planted there a long time ago.

So back to AmeriCorps... 
On a fluke I applied for a VISTA Leadership position in Greeley, CO. Why not? I thought if nothing else it would be informational. I heard back from them the next day and was offered the position about a week later. 

I have always wanted to go to Colorado next. Why? I don't know. I wanted to go to New York originally but not anymore. There's too many people and it makes you an angry person. I want to feel more alive, not more stressed out. All my friends from VT who have moved to CO seem to love their lives. 

So....I accepted the CO position. And now I am moving to Colorado. 
Like what the fuck. 

Now, I've had this revelation. After the shock that I'm moving in settled in, which happened about two weeks later aka 20 minutes ago. I realized... I do not hate Philadelphia. In fact I love it. And it's not because it's where I'm from but it's because I have finally, after 25 years, have made it my home. 

GREAT... great timing to realize this... 

I love my friends that I have made here. I love the kind of people in Philadelphia. I love the food. I fucking love my friends. I love biking around this city, I know where the hills are and the short cuts and how long it will take me to get anywhere. I love the family I babysit for. I love being close to my family. I love knowing everyone here- and that was something I hated.


Oh OH OH and on top of realizing this, a guy- an actual guy I didn't meet on the internet, who seems like a decent-not-a-complete-asshole is actually interested in me right now. This hasn't happened in like two years... probably for reason I have created... 
And like that would be so typical of my life that some tragic love story forms and I leave for Colorado... 
Per usual I'm getting ahead of myself, because like I said he's just interested, but still- it gives me something else to stress about... 
Like what the fuck. 

I'm really scared. Change is hard and scary. 

But I know I need to do this. I know I will become resentful of everyone and everything in Philly if I don't do this for myself now. And if it's horrible I can come home. But I have to follow what I want. 

I wrote this for myself a little while ago,

"Trust yourself and love yourself enough to go somewhere new. You have never in your life lost your true friends. You know who you will lose and who you will gain. You are strong, smart and have the heart of a traveling gypsy and you must go. Don’t get stuck in Philly. Think about how small philly is compared to the universe and think about the small amount of this universe you get to explore."
I wrote that before I even applied for this position. I have to do this. You can't be Lauren, you always go to Paris.

To my friends, I will never leave. I will come back. A year is a small blip of time in our lives. One of my best qualities is that I can stay in touch with people. I love you so much and I look forward to you visiting me and telling you of my travels. 
You are such big parts of my life and I could never really leave you. 


Also I'm not leaving Philly until like late July- August so everyone calm down. 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

4 Years Strong

This past week I had 4 years sober and I still want to have a drink.

Sometimes I get the impression from friends or family members that they think I've been cured of my alcoholism and addiction because I no longer do drugs or drink.

I also have friends that think I have come so far since I got sober and am moving mountains.
"You are an inspiration to all women."

I'd say I'm somewhere in-between those two mind sets. I am by absolutely no means cured. In fact it's still hard to do a lot of things without a drink. But I'm kinda like a bonsai tree that has been pruned. I'm growing around a lot of difficulties/ shit. And at the same time four years doesn't feel like shit. It's just one day after the next that somehow has turned into four years.

I went on my first date without a drink, I've made friends through the comradeity of being sober, I've gotten jobs, I've kept jobs, I've acquired goals, I've had a relationship, I've gone to bars and had a better time than the drunk bitch falling down, I've lost friends, the list goes on.

But let me tell you, my life is still fucking hard. I think half the time I don't drink is because it would add another layer of insanity to my already insane life. Seriously if a camera followed me around for a week you would clearly see why I absolutely do not drink.

And I 100% am an addict. I do too much or too little. I throw myself into shit only to fall out of it or to fall out of life. I eat a whole box of cookies and can not eat one. Literally I'm not exaggerating.

I think it's easy too to say oh I haven't grown. Because how can I remember what it was like to not know what I now know? I have a hard time dealing with that. Remembering what it was like before I got to where I am. I either give myself too much credit or not enough.

Here's what I'm going to do for my 4 year anniversary, I'm going to tell you what it's been like being sober. Once a month approximately, I go somewhere and I tell my story about what it was like while I was drinking, how I got sober, and what it is like now. That story obviously has changed a lot since 2012. It's four years later and the shit that has happened in those four years feels like lightyears.

My first year of sobriety pretty much consisted of me never leaving my house and crying a lot. Sleeping a lot, taking a lot of medication, doing a lot of therapy, writing a lot, and not wanting to interact with anyone who I didn't have to. Something that I forget a lot of the time was that people scared the shit out of me. I have social anxiety and when I got sober I could barely fucking speak to a stranger. So as a result of that I rarely left the house and I refused to do AA.
I didn't initially decide to just give up alcohol for the rest of my life and the idea that I was an alcoholic was not something I was ready to admit. A part of me thought if I went to AA I was giving up and hanging up my hat. So instead, I stayed home and cried.

I visited Burlington probably four times that year and every time I visited I cried, but it was less and less.

Because I refused to socialize with human beings in a face to face interactions I took to the internet. There was a guy who I talked to quite a bit that ended up- unbeknownst to his knowledge- saving my life. He didn't drink because he didn't think it was cool and he actually really thought it was cool that I didn't drink. That changed my life. A guy being interested in me for me and not the fact that I was a drunk bitch. That was the first time in my adult life I started to realize I was worth more than a drink.

A lot of my alcoholism had been to cover up who I was. I hated myself for a good portion of my life. I thought I could only meet boys when I was drinking. This might seem superficial or silly to some but I am so deadass serious. The fact that a guy was interested in me because I didn't drink changed the way I thought about myself and ultimately changed my life.

My through process went from not drinking for one year to not drinking indefinitely. I never said never but I was no longer preparing myself for my next drink.

After I had a year sober I ran into the woman who ran the first IOP I went to and she invited me back to meet some clients. I met some people who I went to my first meeting with in years. I jumped right into it. I got a sponsor that night and I began doing the steps with her.

When I started to do the steps I started to breathe life again. The fears of humans started to slide away and I started to realize that me not picking up a drink didn't mean I had to not live life. In fact it meant I got to live a better quality life.

Year two of sobriety was kick ass. I made friends. Like really great friends. I went to tons of meetings. I started to have fun. I was able to go out dancing. Year two was like really living again.

I should say I stayed away from men for a long time. I thought about them but getting my life back in order was way more of a priority to me.

Then one day I let men back into my life. And I realized I could do that sober. I could have sex sober! Which was a crazy thought to me considering I lost my virginity in a black out. I was terrified to have sex sober. Then I did it and it was painless, and probably way less sloppy...

I moved into an apartment sober. I paid my own rent and utilizes while making an honest living. I met a guy and had a relationship sober. Then I had heartbreak sober.
I watched two people I live with relapse and I stayed sober. I found drugs in my room. Drugs in my best friends room while she told me she was sober. I learned that admitting powerless to alcohol also meant in regards to other people. Just because I was staying sober definitely did not mean everyone else was to.

I had to deal with other peoples active addiction. This has been the hardest part of sobriety for me. Seeing my friends throw away there lives. I've seen half of my friends relapse and go back out into the throws of addiction.

In my third year of sobriety I saw both my dogs and my former roommate/best friend die. I graduated from a year of full time service to America's poverty and I signed up for another year. I saw my best friend in sobriety have the most beautiful baby girl. I traveled to the West Coast and met a ton of really cool sober people.

I've learned how to deal with ups and downs. I've learned emotions are ok things to feel. It's good to cry and be sad and then be happy again.

That's the basics of my life sober. It's not my whole story and it's not all I see myself doing. I would never say "I'm not drinking for the rest of my life." Everyone has their limits in life. But I do know one of my many mantras in life are "Don't take a drink."

I am happy with my life and what I have created for myself. I still have a lot more I want to do. A lot more I want to achieve. I pray to God to keep me sane, out of the hospital, and away from a drink.

Here's and cheer's to 4 years...