I spent the day yesterday at the beach. Well several beaches actually. The hunger for healing in me great, and I guess I need the ocean for that.
It was a gorgeous day. Perfect weather. And I walked miles, listening to music and just being present for myself. Which is a little painful right now, because all these character defects of mine are swirling about and tend (as I might have mentioned) to want to take me out.
What I find in myself beach combing is the entire person. All of me. As I walk, take in the waves, the shells, the rocks, the people, the birds and dogs, naked people, I find myself. The wonderful, amazing parts and the hard, difficult and shameful ones too.
I have gotten a lot of feedback from my two most recent posts and really would like to clarify something: just because I want to drink or think about offing myself doesn’t mean that I am really close to doing it. There is a gap between the two and it is a really important gap. It could be really short or, in my case, really long. I was not suicidal the other day. I just was being shaken up, Godquaked (Nicole thank you for this word) into a new level of consciousness. And I am dramatic, and an alcoholic so it is always going to look like some scene from a movie...I guess I just like it that way.
I am saying this because I want to clarify. And I want to underscore that people who are acutely suicidal actually behave quite differently. I was not close to drinking or death, but my feelings were. I felt horrible about myself and when I feel like that, I do not want to be here anymore. I want to exit, leave me, you and stop the awful feeling. And for me, words, blogs, owning that I feel a particular way, is the only thing that I can do to get some relief. I have to speak the shameful secret of wanting to self destruct. I have to call it out, let you know that I am suffering. Because if I don’t, it becomes a secret. And secrets kill more people than I can even count. And I do not want to be one of those people. So I cannot keep secrets, not even my own.
As I walked the shoreline yesterday, I was sad, happy, content, peaceful, resigned, terrified, ashamed, grieving, and healing all at the same time. I smiled at the little kids, the happy families, the dogs playing in the surf, the older married couples that walked hand in hand through the shore lapping waves. What I was more than anything else was present. For my life and theirs. And I felt a part of even though I was not really part of their lives. Just a witness. But don’t we all need witnesses? People to see us and make our existence mean something more? I do. And yesterday I was grateful to be that person for others. Witnessing their lives, smiling as I quietly waded through the waves and their lives.
I was separated yesterday from everyone. I walked alone for hours. But I was ok. I allowed their lives to touch me, while remaining just a little distant. And it was exactly what I needed, a casual observer to life being lived and loved. And I guess in my own way, I was doing my own version of that.
I have so resisted life’s incessant demand that I be alone. Seeking comfort in the lives of others, but not really being able to engage. At least not fully, always holding back and running when things get hard. But I am learning, slowly, to engage and be present and enjoy this connected disconnectedness and to begin to try to do it differently.
I have almost a compulsion to be seaside right now. Yesterday I walked miles of two different beaches, first because I needed a new perspective and then my old haunt because I need the comfort of familiarity. And the shore was the only place I could find that yesterday.
My life is being shaken up. And I have had some very strong feelings about it. And I have done my best to share those feelings because I really don’t know what else to do with them. I am a bit of a mess. But my willingness to share it, to own it, to put it out there is my attempt to show my humanness so that others might also feel comfortable doing the same. I am wrestling some pretty hard things right now, life changing, altering and well earth shaking. But I am here, doing the deal, showing up for this life, that is painful, hard, wonderful and amazing all at the same time.
I do not want to die or drink or even continue to do all the maladaptive things that are more socially acceptable...I want to live. But for me, owning the other side of life, has to happen. For if I keep quiet about the dark underbelly of my thoughts and feelings, it becomes all that I know. Somehow, those dark feelings and thoughts, as uncomfortable as they are to share, keeping them secret and silenced are the larger and greater threat to my existence. That which I fail to utter, shall be my undoing.
So I utter. I share. I perhaps look crazy and a mess and frightening to some. And that is ok. I am saving my life with every post, every word that I put out there to let you know that my life is this beautiful disaster and it likely will not ever be anything different because I am in it. And if you could see where I started, you would be amazed. But if you look only at my right now, you might be horrified. I know, me too. LOL. But I try to stay present, letting go of all the yesterdays and tomorrows because they are anchors that weigh me down in a time where I cannot exist really - the future or the past. I really only have right now. And I am doing my best to be present and give voice to who and what I am in this moment.
And in many areas of my life, I am fucking it up. And in some others I am doing fantastic. But right now, I am alive, healthy, happy, content. Looking forward to spending the last two days of summer with my daughter before school starts. Looking forward to being home, in my life, tending to the things and beings that matter to me, while at the very same time trying to figure out what is going on with me in these other areas of my life that are such an amazing mess.
God has shaken up my life on all the fronts that I have previously believed were solid: my career, my finances and my relationships. But today all of that is up in the air. And I am sorting through all the many feelings I have about all of it. And trying my best to be honest about my confusion, my pain and my suffering in the pervasive hope that I can save myself with words shared, and perhaps someone else might be helped in the process. That is my forever ardent hope...
And I will spend as much time as I can walking the ocean’s edge, taking note of life that comes and goes, the carnage that lies wasted on the beach and the new life that begins right where the old one perished. So many life lessons beach combing. And for me, the thing that I find over and over again as I comb the beach in search of comfort is myself. Unadorned and unlovely, but doing my best.