The Only Way Out Is In.

Tons-o-tears this week. In my very early sobriety I cried quite a bit, but for different reasons. I felt humbled and scared and loved but I cried because I couldn’t believe all of the work I had ahead of me. I knew it meant consistent pain, loss, and ‘moving on’ from so many things I wasn’t ready to let go of. These are exhausting thoughts, especially when they’re relentless. I’ve cried at least once every day this week, for much of the same reasons, but less because of disbelief/shock. I haven’t broken down at work or in public (not intentionally or anything, it’s just how it’s been), but they have been still kind of unexpected and authentic, these mighty tears. They feel good. I remember people talking about the release of crying being cathartic as something I never really understood. It always gave me a headache, I always felt foggier after. I get it now. Now that I’m crying for the right reasons. Better reasons. Honest reasons.

It’s funny how it works, isn’t it? I cry because my heart is broken that my person left without a goodbye, seemingly without looking back. I cry because my best friend/Roomie forgave me for all the shameless shit I did while I was drinking and because I didn’t have to ask her to, she just did. I cry because my friends remember my tiny silent victories and shower me with praise and love when I least expect them to. I cry because I miss NB and have so much I wish I could talk about with him and there’s just no way it will happen. I cry because he hasn’t come back, and he probably never will. (I cry because I still had to put ‘probably’ in that last sentence). I cry because I’m starting to like myself and it’s terrifying and new and raw and it comes up at the moments when I was used to feeling the most ugly and disgusting and unlovable. I cry because I gave up the crutch that forever sheltered me while simultaneously scaring the shit out of me, and because I don’t really miss it all that much. I cry because not missing it is reassuring. I cry because of the many nights I can’t remember and equally too because of the nights I can. I cry because it’s uncomfortable to let things, feelings and people in, but I know it’s critical that I do it anyway.

I cried the other night because I felt homesick for the first time, ever. I’m not joking. I’ve never felt that way before and I kept tearing up because I didn’t know how to describe it. Until I explained it to Roomie, sitting outside in the alley, I didn’t understand what homesickness was. I realized that it has nothing to do with the where or when, it’s the feeling we miss. That blanketing love. That illusion of safety that our families somehow give us, even when there’s no way it could be true or lasting. That unwavering faith that I could never be abandoned or feel alone as long as I stayed in that same place. I felt the pull to return to the house that I don’t particularly miss and never really loved. The physical urge to lie on the beige leather couch while my dad sat in his burgundy leather chair. Both of which were in the den that always smelled like cigarettes and sometimes Bell’s scotch, but had the perfect combination of home-y comfort and tasteful interior design. My mom was noticeably absent on these evenings, which meant freedom. It meant putting my feet up. Not having to sit as far away from the other side of the couch as possible to avoid contact with her. My dad and I would shoot the shit about our days and watch mindless TV, we did this often. I would light up like I had some delicious secret when we both laughed at unremarkable sitcom jokes because it confirmed that somehow we were on the same wavelength and that meant we could never be disconnected, not in a million years. It also meant that we couldn’t possibly disagree about the big things, which ultimately led me to believe my father hated my mother just as much as I did (I was wrong about this, it turns out).  I think on summer evenings where I’d be reading and he’d be playing golf on his PlayStation, and he’d pause the game so I could read him a line or two from whatever book I was living in that day. Perpetually saying, “hold on, peanut… okay, go ahead”. I would excitedly dictate what I had just found and wait for his eyes to widen. This rarely happened. More often than not his responses were dismissive of the epiphanies that the words held for me. I resented him for this. I would sulk and sigh and clam up, a bit disheartened, and continue to read to myself. When I would get the guts to revisit said revelatory line(s) hours/days/years later, I often realized I had interpreted them wrong, which to this day can make me wince at my silent anger towards him.

All of the early moments were so reassuring and wonderful until I got older and the distance widened between us. It widened until it became almost 4500 kilometres. I think more on our relationship in my sobriety. The realization that he loved my mother even though she was/is a fuck of an alcoholic who terrorized my sister and I, and that my loathing of her didn’t change that, took me many years to accept. I don’t know if I’m even there yet. I’m just shy of 4 months sober and these jagged little pills are still making their way down my gullet (shout out to Alanis Morissette, the first voice of my teenage angst).

These small moments aren’t daydreams, they are memories, some more coloured than others. These tiny rituals became safety blankets for my young self, so I suppose it doesn’t take a famous German psychoanalyst to presume I would wax nostalgic about them given my current turmoil. What it comes down to is that I miss that connection, plain and simple. I miss having unshakeable trust in someone to stick around, love me, push me and hold me when the time called for it. I miss feeling special and irreplaceable. Everyday I grow with the knowledge that this feeling is trying to teach me something that can only be learned from my decision to take this path.

A little while ago I had a longer-than-usual conversation with a brunch regular at the restaurant. He’s cute and I’ve certainly noticed him, but I’m not (and wasn’t when I met him) in the place where I’m looking or interested. Anyway, he seems like a nice guy. He’s around my age, looks like he’s in shape, always half asleep and smiley and most of what he says is quite endearing. He isn’t trying too hard, or at all. He tells me his name, what he does for a living, we both quietly confess our leaning toward introversion and then he asks me what I like to do for fun, and I can’t believe I don’t have anything remotely interesting or witty to say to him! 6 months ago my answer would have been straightforward, I drink. I like wine, Jameson and beer and I like to slam it, sip it and savour it. Now that is no longer in my vocabulary and luckily I mentioned this at some point previous to this conversation, I stammer something along the lines of ‘uhhh… I don’t really know how to answer that… I like to read. And I sit at the park a lot. Oh! I just bought a telescope.’ and he laughs because I’m a bumbling idiot. Sober Lana gots no game. He proceeds to ask me out, at least that’s what it felt like. Says he’d like to go on a hike/take me fishing. I kind of imply that I’m going through some shit but vaguely commit. ‘That sounds great, one day.’ I love to fish. I love the outdoors. I didn’t really mention this but he seems to recognize that in me anyway. He doesn’t push for my number or hand me his, leaving the ball entirely in my court. He continues to come in sporadically after this. Cut to a few weeks later (today), he drops in for breakfast, ever so sluggishly, smiling sweetly and I find myself jittery. I haven’t even approached my second cup of coffee at this point and the idea that HE was having this effect on me made me laugh out loud. I idle near his table taking a payment at another and ask him if he wants more water, as I do so, I confidently put my hand on his shoulder. Strange of me to do, but it happens. And lemme just say FUCK, guys, those shoulders though. I realize that when he said in passing that he’s an active person it was a sneaky way of saying, ‘I’m fucking jacked. I live for the gym. I will forever be in better shape than you but am too humble to say this aloud’. Meeee-ow.

I immediately find my friend/co-worker in the bussing station and tell her I will 150% let this guy bench press me with his dick (???). Exact words. This makes no sense, but I bet you know what I’m getting at regardless. I go to print his bill as I see him grabbing his backpack, he says that he’s left something on the table for me but I can’t look until he leaves, something for ‘all those lonely nights at the park’. I assume that it’s his number (and hopefully some cash, or else he’s leaving without paying me). I was right about the cash. But what he left for me was two books. Both of which are about astronomy, sky-watching. They are old and used and absolutely perfect. Swoon. I scan the first few pages of each for numerical scrawl and there’s zilch. Smooth move, dude. Ball is still in my court. I know I’m not ready for anything serious, but also can’t stop thinking of different ways to get this guy my number. So, maybe I shouldn’t write off the idea of dating. If it gets that far, I plan on being honest about what’s going on in my heart and head just for the sake of transparency. I don’t know whether it’ll matter or not, but I’m not starting a friendship/relationship/anything with anybody under false pretences. I have no idea what the fuck I want or what the fuck I’m even ready for, and I probably won’t for a while. Now, to actually somehow get him my number or get his (something I’ve never done in the history of my life, not ever). EEK.

I went from tearing up finishing Sarah Hepola’s book Blackout, to thinking about how I missed my dad, to smiling stupidly realizing that I not only potentially want to flirt/hang out/fuck some dude that isn’t NB, that I actually went through all of these motions/feelings/strange desires sober. Is this what growing up looks like?

I forgot to mention: I’m meeting a new therapist tomorrow! Her name is Jeannine and I don’t know what spawned me to continue on my hunt for yet another ear, but I’m willing to bet $185 dollars an hour can buy some damn fine wisdom, advice, or at the very least an unbiased viewpoint. We shall see either way! OH AND I quit smoking last week. After I hit my 100 days of sobriety I decided it was time to ditch the sticks, too.

So much change! It feels right even though it’s all really fucking hard and confusing. I’m just forever repeating to myself that this is all worth it and big beautiful things will come out of this stinking shit sandwich, even if it isn’t the case. Wanna know my biggest secret as of late? More and more I truly believe it is.

100 Days: Part 2.

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Sometimes you wake up anxious and lonely and scared about the future and you don’t understand how something that’s supposed to be good can feel so awful and isolating… and then someone takes the time to remind you of why you chose this path and that it’s not always going to be sunshine and rainbows but it certainly will be worthwhile (even if it takes for fucking ever). I am so grateful for these kind of days. Today marks one hundred days of sobriety, days which included many tears and ugly heartbreak and also so. much. love.

I shared this on instagram/facebook today. Guess I’m out of the closet so to speak! Feels good. Feels right.

100 days.

I wanted to lie, you know, when I was asked the other day how I was doing. I was asked if I was ‘seeing someone’ to keep my body/mind distracted. Pssh. That’s cute, isn’t it? I wanted to lie when I was asked if it felt fair, this loss as punishment/consequence for my behaviour. I didn’t lie because I’m not going to give in to that wily cunt that lives deep inside me.

The lying bitch that kept trying to silence the truth when it whispered for years ‘you have a drinking problem’. The liar that shushed me so many times when I said that something felt off. Something’s wrong, Lana. Run, don’t walk. I let this voice dictate most of my life. She’s a part of me, I can’t get rid of her. But I allowed her to have her way with me, this I know. Most of my problems were minimized or dismissed. Most of my pain was diminished or laughed away. This liar is not just cruel, she is smart. She is ugly. But she can be oh-so-comforting. I now have to tell her to fuck off daily. I am doing it as I type this.

No, I’m not okay, and no I’m not fucking anybody AND NO, I DON’T THINK THAT THIS IS FUCKING FAIR. I’m empty, guys. I’m alone and I’m confused and I’m working too hard because it’s easier than sitting at home. I’m freaking out over changes in my body/mind/life because it’s easier than letting the real-er shit take over.

I’m not fucking okay, and that in itself is okay. I say this repeatedly. My mantra.

The past few days I’ve decided not to fight any of this. I’ve decided that even though I’m terrified of what’s coming, letting the liar take over is the more horrifying of my options. I have to give myself up to this process. It’s trying to teach me something, I can feel it. It’s saying more than ‘I hope you learned your lesson’. It’s trying to show me a part of myself I’ve been avoiding. The alone me. The lonely me.

I’ve done a lot of whining on this blog and I haven’t meant to, I’ve been experiencing intense conflict and loss and haven’t found an outlet for it. I think that the more time that passes the more insight I will gain, even some may come from the angry, needy girl who shares my brain space. I am trying to open myself a bit more to this part of the journey each morning. I do so without the help of him or anybody else. I sit with myself no matter how uncomfortable and even though I experience mostly deafening silence, I know this too is a lesson. I just don’t know what exactly I’m being taught yet.

I’m trying to get all of the women that live inside me to say the same thing until I can’t do a thing but listen to them. A few have quietly begun and the chorus gets louder every moment.

Surrender. Surrender. Surrender.

S.O.B.

Obsess. Scream. Pull my hair out. Wail like the shitty little puke that sat at table 45 did today when his waffles didn’t get put in front of him as soon as he sat down. That’s what the past few days have been like. Context is important but I’ll spare the play-by-play for now. The short version is that NB subliminally (no, I’m not crazy, he really did) reached out to me, because of course he fucking did. So I then wrote him a calm and collected message to tell him I thought it was unfair/cruel and that he had until mid-August to speak actual words to me before I blocked/deleted his number and changed my own. I guess She got ahold of his phone and somehow my address, and we had a lovely impromptu chat outside of my house. I didn’t try to correct her or fight her or compete against her or plead with her. I listened, apologized sincerely and answered any question she had honestly.  She had plenty to say, obviously, most of which I anticipated and took as dignified as the Other Woman can in this situation. Apparently I am delusional and manipulative, and with my wily witchy ways, wooed him into my web. Like that alliteration or what?  So, basically, I’m a sorceress with a magic vagina who eats people’s partners for funsies. Yep. There’s the short version. 

Here’s how I’m not handling things. I’m still sober. That’s all I’ve got. I think a lot. I spend much of my time on the couch staring off into space. That’s it. Tonight I was thinking about feelings and how we describe them (or choose not to). I have a lot of opinions on what’s gone down lately, but I have a hard time expressing myself honestly. Sometimes we say things because we think we’re supposed to. They fit. They make people more comfortable. They sound better out loud to us, to them.

I say, ‘I’m working on acceptance. I want to get to the place where I can forgive him’. I’m really saying, ‘how could he do this to me? How could he not protect me? I was the only one on his side’.

I laugh at work and a friend says, ‘I haven’t heard that in a long time, you must be doing better!’ I say, “Yeah! Today’s an okay day actually”. I’m really saying, ‘the absurdity of what just happened to my heart makes me burst into laughter because there is nothing left to do’.

I say, ‘I guess it could always be worse, right?’ I’m really saying, ‘what is happening is far worse than anything I’ve ever imagined’.

These small conversations make me laugh and cry and rage. How do you handle the fact that the person that you held in such high esteem betrayed your confidence, privacy, and love without saying a word? You don’t. I don’t know how. Is it even possible?

I sit in my house, I go to work, I run errands, I watch TV and am learning to ignore the questions cycling through my head throughout the day. I try not to look over my shoulder at work and at home (I’ve been told I won’t be left alone unless I leave my job, and Vancouver).

I ask myself a hundred more times, ‘how could he do this to me?’
I say, ‘guess he wasn’t who I thought he was, that pile of garbage’.
I’m really saying ‘he owed me more than this.’
Ask another hundred times, ‘how could he fucking do this to me?’.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Betrayal, what a bitch. I’m an idiot, a naive little girl.

P.S. Rot in hell, you piece of shit.

Accept and Let Go.

I am meditating on acceptance. I don’t really know where to start. I guess I could go with ‘I can’t change a decision that was made by somebody else‘. So I’ll say that again.
I can’t change that NB chose to remove himself from my life. Whether it was by force, by choice, by blackmail, by whatever! I can’t do anything about it. The circumstances that surround it do not matter. It is what it is. There is nothing to do except embrace the facts of the situation. He chose a different life, and now that means things must change in mine. Just writing that make me feel a bit better.

I don’t have to mope or mourn if it doesn’t feel natural.
I don’t have to laugh and pretend nothing is wrong if it doesn’t feel natural.
I just have to be true to how I’m feeling and wait for it to pass.
That’s it. I think I can handle that.

When I was still drinking, I (vaguely) remember being shit-faced and crying because I hated what the NB situation was doing to me. I was lying on my kitchen floor sobbing into his lap. Snot everywhere (über attractive). He stroked my hair and told me honest but comforting things while I cried it all out. I remember saying that I didn’t care what choice he made but he had to make one. I said that frequently. Part of me did mean it, but the bigger, uglier part wanted him to choose me. So there it is, the thing that hurts the most to admit.

He chose to let me go, which means I have to let him go, even though I don’t want to. I didn’t want any of this. But realizing that I don’t want to let him go, and that I would have done anything to prevent it from happening doesn’t fucking change anything. It’s still the way it is, against my wishes sure, but that also doesn’t change a thing. The only thing I can do from here is keep living my life, albeit a little differently now.

No more making extra coffee on the days he’d pop by mid morning.
No more waiting to hear when he’s free, changing my day around to spend an hour or two together.
No more monitoring how much perfume I wear so he doesn’t leave the house smelling like another woman.
No more lonely evenings waiting to hear back from him.
No more staying up later than I should to see if he can steal away on the motorcycle.
No more secrets.
No more guilt.
No more waiting.

I anticipate feeling relieved someday soon. The confusion and struggles I’ve been facing in all of this makes me think of my first two weeks of sobriety. I was fucking terrified when I made the decision to never drink again. Firstly, I didn’t think I could do it and secondly, I didn’t think I would be the same person if I did (in a bad way). I didn’t know myself without the poison that kept me numb. I wasn’t sure I wanted to. I didn’t realize I would wake up one day not long after making said choice, feeling that a huge weight had been lifted off of me, feeling like a more authentic me. It was the best decision I’ve made to date, I have no true regrets even on my worst days.

Perhaps a similar epiphany is on the other side of this pain? I really hope so.

What Is Left To Do.

It’s my Sunday. It’s overcast and spitting rain which means I won’t be able to zone out at the park today. I have little errands to run and some house stuff to attend to but it’s been a productive weekend for me so I’m procrastinating a bit. I went and got a physical yesterday, glad it’s done with. It was uncomfortable but quick, as they usually are. In-and-out in 10 minutes (hardy-har). I’d like to meet someone who really enjoys being probed by a stranger… Anyway!

I sent NB a message the other night before bed, after debating for some time whether I needed to or not. Turns out I felt the need to apologize for how things ended and to clarify a couple of things about our final conversation. I feel like it was the right call. Perhaps I was apologizing on behalf of him, knowing I won’t ever get the apology I feel I deserve. I’m creating my own closure here. Whether he responds or not is irrelevant, I said what I had to. I meticulously thought out what exactly I was feeling and pressed send once I knew I didn’t have ulterior motives in doing so. So here we are, over two weeks without communication at all. The days are passing painfully slow. I feel different than I did in the first week. I’m exhausted. And the sadness is now coming in waves. I crave even more alone time, and I’m sensitive to every kind of stimulus around me. I guess this is normal for a break up? I’m getting smacked with insignificant memories which hurt regardless of how ridiculous/unimportant they were. Swallowing how much I miss him is no easy feat. I feel like I’m drinking poison.

All that is left to do is start moving on, I suppose. Is progress measurable when it comes to break ups? I don’t feel like I’m making any. I’m still in shock. I’m still angry. I’m still wondering how I will ever get close to another person in that way. I’m not going to go on dating sites. I’m not going to be able to have rebound sex. I just won’t. I know myself. I can’t drink this away. I can’t fuck this away. I can’t work this away. I just have to feel it, I guess? How long is it going to hurt like this? How many more hours do I have to jolt myself back to reality and remind myself he isn’t coming back?

In other news, I’m booking my flights back to Onterrible for the holidays. I’m being forced to visit, as my sister is having a baby in October and apparently family members are supposed to care about that sort of thing. Last trip home I took was an awful time, so I’m hellbent on making this one better. I won’t be staying with my parents, which was part of the reason everything went to shit during my previous visit, and I’ll be sober! I hope the sobriety makes dealing with my insane mother a bit more manageable (although intuition tells me the opposite).

Speaking of sobriety, July 25th is my 3 month mark. Feels like it’s been years.

This Is Where I’m At.

I read the newest post from one of my favourite bloggers this morning and was (as always) struck with envy that she could just write, even when she didn’t know how or what to say, or have an idea in mind. That is something I struggle with daily. I wake up saying “I will write today” and then lose motivation when I realize I don’t know what I want to say, or how to begin getting to the point I want to make.

Today I’m going to do something different. Today I’m just going to write.

Continue reading “This Is Where I’m At.”