Animal

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$250~Get spanked in an upscale neighborhood by a spanking expert. 

Get spanked for $250 by an expert? *Click

I turn my laptop screen toward me so no one can see [I am alone] and hunch over the keys like a 12 year old who accidentally stumbled upon free porn.  My eyes are darting across the sentences hungrily feasting on key words like “apparatuses” and “safe words.”  He claims to be an expert at spanking and has already made mention of owning many useful tools to back that up. It seems a shame to pass up an opportunity to get paid to be spanked by an expert.  If there ever was to be a “Once in a Lifetime” moment this was it!  So, I answer his ad, it was clear I must.

This wasn’t just about the money.  Getting paid was part of the thrill for me.  I think I was taught to believe the money aspect of this experience to be a degrading and shameful contingency, but for me, the money was security for absolution of no hard feelings.  I didn’t want this expert spanker to love me, or be my boyfriend, or pine over me when I’m away.  I wanted a contained experience that didn’t bleed into the every day of my life.  I wanted to know that whatever I became in this moment was safe to stay there.

We exchanged emails with photographs.  I sent him a recent picture that featured me in a sexy pin-up pose, of course.  And he sent me a selfie headshot which featured a head of long and wild curls in streaks of different colors surrounding a mischievous grin and warm eyes.  He was a total burner, I could tell.  I immediately pegged him for a pot grower [which I was right about.] It was amazing to look at this man’s face and not have to consider him as someone who will share my responsibilities in my career, kids, or livelihood.  All I had to do was look at his face and ask,

“Is this the face of a man who I want to spank me?”

Yes.  I believed he would do just fine.  Already the lift of judgement and expectation has set me free.  I spent the days leading up to our set date feeling excited and giddy about the idea that I would be learning something very new yet, deep-rooted.

When I arrived to his house he was just as he looked in his picture except with different colored streaks in his curls.  He was chill and intense at the same time.  He immediately reminded me of Animal from The Muppet Show; disheveled hair, cool demeanor, shoulders that seemed slightly raised up like he spends his time pounding away on a drum kit when he’s not busy expertly spanking his Submissives.

We talked a little about cannabis before indulging in it.  I chose the Sativa for the “floof” and not the “chill.”  We talked about what this experience was about, what I want from it, and what he does as a Dominant.  He gave me my safe word “Pause” and let me know that as an expert he is reading me and measuring my willingness.  The Submissive is ultimately the one in control.  He had advised me that if there was anything I wanted to release in my life, that a lot of people use this type of sexual experience to channel that.  Oh but which channel to start with?… When there were no more questions and after he tested me to see if I remembered the only three words I could say, “Pause” and “Yes Sir,” things moved quickly.

“Stand here [points next to a large, circular cushion on the floor] and take off your pants.”

I begin to do as I am told.

“Yes Sir.” He inflicts sharply.

“Yes Sir.” I obey.

He tells me to kneel down in front of him, and sit on my feet.

“Yes Sir.” I say kneeling.

“Good Girl.” He says in a silky voice that I haven’t heard from him yet causing a flutter in my belly.

Animals’ Dom side is emerging.  Even though he is stoned there is a bright fire in his eyes and my body flushes hot when he looks me up and down.

“Look at what we have here…aren’t you cute?”  He is grinning a devilish grin and swiveling his chair side to side.  I fucking love this.

“Open your legs and stick your butt out yoga style.”

It is effective, my pussy and my ass relax and become exposed, by back is bowed and I feel like a feline perched on a bluff.  Animal becomes my tamer and circles me like a lion on a pedestal.  He tells me to raise my arms and masterfully slips off my tank top.  He instructs me to hold out my arms palms up and straps leather cuff’s around each one.

“This is your first time with me so I won’t restrain you, I am only going to put these on so you get used to them [I feel assured which increases my excitement and I relax more]…M’mm, you’re little…”  He gives me a smile that says he knows he’s in for a treat.  I blush and give him eyes that say “Yes Sir.”

He continues dressing my neck with a leather choker and a thick chain leash.  He lets the chain fall down my sternum.  It is heavier than I thought it would be and makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end like tiny soldiers.

“Stand up,” He rises quickly guiding the leash like a ringmaster leading me to my feet and holding the leash steady as I stand up straight like the statue Aphrodite.

He looks me up and down again. I imagine his tongue in his mouth writhing in his own spit, hungry for me, starving himself in this moment.  He firmly but gently pulls the leash down and sits on the couch next to the circle cushion.

“Sit down”

I start to sit and he directs me to face away from him cross-legged.  He begins to knead my neck and my shoulders.  I like his hands.  They’re not rough and large in a burly, man-handle-me sense.  And they’re not too dainty that I feel like they could never be as hard as I want them to be.  They were androgynous and skillful.

“Up” He leads me up to my feet quickly and then back down to my knees, still on the pillow.

“Kneel down.  Spread your legs.  Always spread your legs.”  Animal grips the back of my neck and pushes me downward so that my head lands on his socked foot.

“Put your hands up to my foot”.  Animal starts to stroke my back, gently drilling small circles into my muscles.  He runs his fingers lightly down my spine and over my ass then back up the sides of my hips and grips firmly around my waist.  My muscles spasm and my body lights up.  He slips his foot out from under me and stands up as I stay in Child’s Pose.  He tells me to keep my head down and raise my ass up as high as I can.

“Grab your ass and spread your cheeks.”

“Yes Sir”, I grab and squeeze and pull my cheeks apart.

“Grab deeper than that.”

I reach back my hands, fingers spread wide as they can, and pull back from as far in as my asshole.  And I wait.

Slap! Drag…Slap! Slap! Drag…  It feels like a mop head of leather beating against my pussy and ass.  It tickles my skin and slaps like a bitch fight, not hard but hard enough to get a taste. I immediately feel playful.

Tap!Tap!Tap!Tap!Tap!  He slips something thin and hard between my legs and taps upward against my clit.  I guessed it was the slim bamboo cane I saw among his apparatuses.  I am so turned on.  This is thrilling.

Animal pushes something hard and cool against my pussy and asshole.  It feels like a jar but not hollow, and with irregular edges but not sharp. He slides it up and down, up and down firmly.

“Somebody has a wet pussy…” I realize my hips are rolling in and out slowly, rubbing itself against this hard, dense object.  He wedges it between me and the floor, beneath my clit, and I grind against it.  My pussy has made it very slippery.

“Up on your feet.”  I barely register what is happening when the chain is being pulled upward and I am rising like an obedient fuck servant that I suddenly want to be.

As the blood rushes down from my head and the white lights fade, he swiftly unclips the chain leash then haphazardly clears out a corner of the room points and orders me to stand in it.  Quickly I walk over and face the corner.

“Stick your ass out, make it cute.”  My body is on high frequency right now, it feels like it is vibrating and can be heard like a refrigerator.

Swack! It is the riding crop.  I giggle, startled.  Swack!  He slides the leather tip around in circles on my ass and the back of my thighs, then delights me with a series of mini swacks that bring me higher up on my toes.  I am asking for more by shamelessly shoving my pussy out there!  I start laughing.  I am beside myself.  I feel nervous to laugh at first, afraid to offend him, but then suddenly I stop giving a fuck and let my giggles turn to spurts of maniacal groans between spankings.

“Back to me.  Sit on my knee.”  He’s seated in his black swivel chair and I sit on his knee and we stare at each other with feisty eyes, grinning.  He grabs my head and brings it down to his chest above his heart and holds me there.  He buries his face into my neck, one hand still wrapped around it and pets my body’s silhouette with the other.  I allow myself to melt into him.  It was the closest I felt to what it must be like to purr.

“Stand up!”  Our cuddle is quick and effective.  I feel safe and checked in.  I am more open to where this will go.  He leads me back to the couch pulling the chain firmly and smoothly until I am kneeled on the floor with my torso bent over the seat of his black vinyl couch.  Animal grabs the back of my head with both hands from behind, leans over to my ear and says in a low slither,

“You have a beautiful asssssss.”  Spank!  I am creaming.  He pushes what feels like his thumb firmly against my asshole and pulses a bit there.  He feels my asshole pucker as if to give his thumb a kiss.  Animal leans over me, grabs the back of my neck and pulls me into him and says,

“Someone likes to get fucked in the ass.”

“Yes Sir.”  I mustn’t lie.

Swack! Swack! Swack! Swack! I am laughing again my ass is on fire.  He is also enjoying himself, I see it in his eyes he knows he’s getting more out of this.

Animal guides me back to kneeling on the circular cushion on the floor and quickly tugs his jeans off and seats himself on the couch in front of me.  With no hesitation he reaches over, grabs my head and pulls me to his cock which was about 75% hard.  He shoves it all the way to the back of my throat in one push.  I can’t breathe, it didn’t take long for the same mucus lubricant to fill my nostrils and pour out all over my face, making it impossible to breathe with his cock in my throat.  This was it, my place of humility, with my mouth wide open and suffocating on my powerlessness.  It is a gift to let this go.

“Back on your knees”

I am directed to kneel on the couch with my feet on the seat and my hands on the back.

Swack!  At last.  A hard pussy slap.  Swack!  I bounce off my knees.  I feel like I might cry, there is a feeling of floating, and I push my pussy out begging for more.  I am ready to shoot out into the galaxy.

“Stand up”

He yanks me up and looks me dead on.  We are both frisky, full of sparks, and he tells me to get down on the ground and grabs me by the collar and brings me into a downward dog, yanks out the small butt plug, and mounts me rubbing his cock on my ass.  He is rubbing the tip of his cock up and down both my holes with his hands gripped around my hips.

“I am not going to put it in your pussy.”

I did tense up and was prepared to say “Pause” when his cock slid over my pussy, but he was reading me like an experienced Dom and did not get carried away with himself, showing control and trust.  He shoves the tip of his cock in my ass.  It slides in with ease and he pushes down steadily.  He pumps and lets me take it, advising me to breathe deeply, which causes my ass to have long, deep contractions.  I moan a primal sound that seemed to rise from beyond my battered throat.  The sounds I am making are igniting the horny abandon that allows for filthy words and crude gestures.  I feel I would do anything to cum hard.  I feel I want to roll around the ground sticking my pussy up in the air in different ways mewing and licking my paws to show him how horny I am.

“Shut the fuck up!  Did I say you could be loud?”  He covers my mouth and nose with his hand and presses down firmly to seal my airways.  I wait patiently, my brain slow to catch up still so full of oxygen from breathing so heavily.  He releases his hand from my face.  I take one breath.  He covers my airways again.

“Good Girl….”  My body becomes relaxed and limp and I calm down from such a stimulated state.

“Breathe deeply”  I concentrate on finding a steady breath.  I find it quickly and let it take me like a kite.  I feel euphoric.  He sees my body relax and straightens out my legs from under me and mounts me again.  Now relaxed, my ass receives him and he pumps his cock in and out.  I am sensitive, a warm flush has covered my body, my body is static and a white light blinds me.  I imagine the sparks in my nerves are shining like glitter on my body.

“You can make noise again.”  He releases my mouth and I continue to release the ferrel animal in me as he slaps my cheeks and shoves his fingers down my throat and fucks my ass to eternity.

He cleans my ass and orders me to stand up.  He points to the shower and tells me to wash up.

Like that it is over.  It isn’t awkward.  He allows me to check in with my safety net, to let them know all is well and that I wasn’t maimed and murdered.  We discuss future arrangements.  He says beyond this, pay will not be included.  I admit that I was disappointed, at first.  The security for no attachments seemed less likely, however, it seemed too good to be true to get paid to be trained by an expert on something I surely want to be an expert in myself.

I decide I like the idea that I could visit Animal when I needed to channel something intense.  I like the idea of being someone’s sexual pet, and that I could slink over to his den and purr in his lap when I need to growl at the moon.

Beyond Say Less and Laugh More

Okay, I admit.  When the infamous “Ugly Face Beyonce” went viral, I laughed.  I looked at the picture over and over and over again and just doubled over.  I laughed because who knows how many times she makes this face when she dances and nobody really catches it?  I laughed at this intimate moment when gravity defied motion and her skin doesn’t seem to know which way to stretch, and her eyes haven’t quite caught up with her rather intense, jerky dance style, and every muscle in her curvaceous body seemed to be flexed at the same time, and how some photographer snapped the million dollar photo of this golden diva looking a bit more like The Rock.  And who cares?  Every one!  There seems to be a wave of pleasure going over her fans, and you can crudely see them all going up in arms like a halftime cheer in a sold out sports arena.  Her biggest fans are quick to laugh in her face, at her face, and the many distorted faces she absolutely makes in the throes of a rigorous performance.  And they should, because it’s funny shit.  It could be the charming thing about her if she would learn to look at herself and say “Yep, that’s my I’m getting freaky face.”  For people who “UnFan” her because she is a lot more of a natural human being than we secretly hoped she wasn’t, than guess what?  They’re not fans. What I wanted from Beyonce in this time of humble humility, was for her to laugh at herself.  I wanted her to go on The Tonight Show w/Jimmy Fallon and re-enact the top 5 ugly faces she makes.  I wanted her to show everyone that she is beautiful inside and out.  I was really bummed out when it felt like a scramble to hide what nature does to us sometimes.  Everyone has their ugliest face.  Everyone has had a slow motion fall, knowing that bystanders are witnessing in that horrific moment, the terror in your eyes and the contortion of your mouth as you make an ungraceful pummel to the ground like a person who has never fallen in their life.  And we’ve all had friends take our picture, usually after a night of abusive drinking, of our mouth loosely open like a chronic mouth breather and our eyes are half-open and crossed under heavy eye-lids.  Why should Beyonce be any different? What gets me is Beyonce didn’t own that beautiful mug of hers for the good/the bad/and the ugly.  She has the power to teach people, especially women and young idols, to accept themselves for everything they are.  She has the platform to turn this human moment into a hilarious joke she is sharing with the world.  And sadly, she let her publicist do all the talking and she let down her fans.

Got Lucky Today

There are days that just have a natural, receptive vibe as if your body has invisible, tentacle-like receptors that reach out feeling for vibrations that easily move you.  This morning was this way, and within 50 minutes between taking my daughter to school and coming back home, my day was completely filled with life.  This day needn’t go further it’s perfect right now, and it’s literally Lucky.

I woke up still feeling the leftover pot cookie my lovely neighbor shared with me while celebrating my children’s Godfather’s birthday the night before.  It was a sweet night of story telling and our kids getting along in what seemed like a new understanding of one another, a silent awareness of each other’s coming of age.

Last night my daughter also asked me what the first worst thing I ever lost was and how did I feel about it?  Such questions. I told her of a dog that I had as a child, a Sheltie called Bambi who I loved and adored.  When my mother came to the U.S. she had to live with my American grandparents who she felt looked down on her as a foreigner. My mother is not a dog lover, dismissing them for their smell and neediness. However, my grandmother had a Sheltie that showed a lot of empathetic devotion towards my mom, perhaps her only friend for a while. When the time came for my family to decide on getting a dog, my mother agreed with the stipulation that we get a Sheltie. I guess my mom didn’t realize that not all dogs are the same, much like people.  My mother thought Bambi was flawed so she made us give her away.  One late evening, I saw my parents through my bedroom window delivering her to a family that lived just across the way.  I would visit her and sit in her dog house until her new family moved away which, thankfully, was not long after she was handed over.  My daughter cried when I told her this, her tears touching my heart so deeply, her compassion such affirmation of a good person I’ve been raising.

It’s a lovely San Francisco late September morning today, which is our warmest and brightest times.  I am in a bohemian mood dressed in floral, culotte shorts and a black felt, wide brim hat. I feel like Jodi Foster in Taxi mixed with Fairuza Balk in The Craft.

When we got to school, I had the pleasure of sitting in with my daughters third grade class while the children took their Friday spelling test.  They count down out loud in Dutch, Spanish, and the teachers own Native American.  They all chimed with impeccable timing and clarity like a word song. It was so lovely and sweet. I had no idea they did this.

Walking home with my 2 year old son we approach a street repair crew that he must gawk at.  My son doesn’t realize that he is causing the street crew to gawk at me.  I don’t pretend to not recognize this.  The crew and I have a silent understanding that this gawking and blushing session is happening, which makes it much lighter while my son calls out back-hoes and tractors.

Continuing our regular route home, as I find he is much less adventurous in this way than my free-spirit 8 year old daughter, we fall in upon an old man with a walker.  We begin to pass when he starts talking to me.  Slightly ahead there is an Asian man sporting neon green sunglasses lingering on, listening, and taking in our encounter.  I feel alerted that an “encounter” is underway.  The old man starts in with a voice that sounds like he listens to a lot of east coast blues. His face is long and his eyes are feisty and fogged over with grey clouds.

Old Man: “Do you wanna hear something that will help you?”

Me: “Yes.”

Old Man: “When you wake up in the morning and you stretch, and you use the lavatory, and you climb back into bed and maybe your little guy is there [points to my son ahead] and he’s waking up…that’s all you need to do. There is no better life.  You can’t be a crybaby about this and that, [gestures with one hand up in mocking exasperation, the other on his walker.] You all want to cry a lot, don’t you?”

Me: *Blink*

Old Man: “Don’t you?”

Me: “Oh. Yes.”

Old Man: “Well you don’t need to do that. This conversation is all that matters…taking the time. Right?”

Me: “Yes.” [I’m getting it now.]

Old Man: “My name is Mmiucky”

Me: “Mucky?”

Old Man: “You ever heard an M sound like an L before?”

Me: “Well…no.”

Old Man: “LLLucky.” [More exasperated hand gestures.]

Me: “Great name.”

The Asian man has stopped being ahead and instead waits for us to catch up.

The Asian man: “Okay Lucky, let’s catch this bus.”

I see what is happening now.

Lucky to the Asian man: “Hey, wasn’t that fun though?”

The Asian man to Lucky: “Yeah, that was fun.”

Yeah that was fun.  Lucky even.

Love Me, But Love Me Not

I was going to apologize for the loss of momentum and delay in getting this next post out, but I promised you I would be unapologetic and I meant it.  I got stuck in a place that I was trying to leap over.  I thought I was going to go right into sexuality after the last entry.  It seemed appropriate since dancing has brought out my sexual nature and being sober has allowed me to feel it.  However, when I started in on it, it wasn’t something I could just go right into.  I had to think about who I am sexually; my first experiences, my first exposures, my first lusts and feelings and curiosities.  Apparently this wasn’t going to be some juicy revelation about feeling frisky again, and I wasn’t going to just debate the primitive value vs. the emotional value of sex, and I certainly wasn’t going to contemplate out loud how sex doesn’t have the same value or meaning across the world, or in every generation, or sometimes in your own home.  This just wasn’t going to go down like that no matter how much I tried.

So, I found myself going back in time.  I have been feeling travel-worn from roaming around in my memories the same way I would roam around the neighborhoods I lived in, singing to myself, and looking for friends and daydreaming about being someone else.  And when I started to write I saw myself as a little girl that I wanted to help.  I wanted to reach into my brain and pull myself out and hold my child self.  It’s strange when you learn something about your past as an adult even though you remember it the same.  There were things that happened as a kid that, at the time, I didn’t really understand.  I just remember those times as incidences, as moments that caused a change and maybe tears were shed, or words were yelled, or there were sacred moments of laughter.  But, it’s not until I’ve gotten older and have had my own experiences, have made my own mistakes, have become a parent myself, that life events even from childhood have taken on so much more meaning.

For the past couple weeks after beginning this blog, I’ve struggled with insecurity, complete and utter sadness, loneliness and self-loathing.  Simultaneously, I’ve been disgusted with myself for all of this, hoping my kids don’t catch me staring off with tears and snot running down my face as I stand over the kitchen sink with dirty dishes in my hands and hot running water wasting down the drain.  I’ve tapped into this place in me that feels pathetic and the last thing I want is to feel sorry for myself.  Still, I remember when I almost couldn’t feel any of this, and that’s a worse feeling.

I didn’t learn about sex from my parents.  I don’t remember my parents talking or teaching me and my brother about anything that was personal.  They told us to be clean, treat people the way we want to be treated, stick up for ourselves, be a good sport, and to eat all of our food.  That’s what I remember about what they taught us.  Surely there were more lessons and most likely I have a selective memory, but I also couldn’t tell you what those other lessons were.  When it came to sex and puberty, my brother and I learned from the the kids in our neighborhoods, and from our own experiences.  We almost never told my parents about it and they never asked.

My first secret was a sexual one, which is probably why it stands out so much.  I’m a pretty open person, the type to tell on myself for doing something wrong, but this particular secret I didn’t tell my mother until I was about 20 years old.

I have a clear memory of almost being molested when I was about 4 years old.  We were living in Navy Housing in San Diego.  My brother was in Kindergarten, my father was either gone on another West/Pac Navy tour or just working, and my mother was home.  I was wearing a hand-me-down PacMan raincoat, I distinctly remember the plastic smell and the squeaking sound the jacket made as I wandered around Navy Housing talking to myself and lost in my imagination.  There was a boy in the neighborhood who was known for having every single Star Wars doll that was ever made.  Looking back, I don’t know what he was doing home, but he was home alone when I knocked on his door to see if I could play with some of his toys.  I was startled when he returned to the door with no pants on and holding a case that concealed most of his Star Wars figurines.  Even at that age I felt conflicted because I sensed I shouldn’t be there, still, I really wanted to play with his toys.  He sat cross-legged in front of his screen door that was ajar between us.  I was kneeled down on the outside, eyeing the case through the screen.  I’m guessing he was about 13 from the patch of hair I recall sprouting above his penis.  That was what was strange to me, I’d never seen a penis with hair before.  He began pulling out a few different Princess Lea dolls, one was wearing all red and another in a white robe.  He must have seen my eyes grow wide with excitement because he held up the white one and said, “If you touch this [pointing to his penis] I will give you this Lea.”  I hesitated for a moment then reached around the screen door with half my body in and poked his penis and grabbed the doll.  I quickly sat back on my heels and anticipated the next deal he was going to make now eyeing the red Princess Lea like a dog would eye a steak on the dinner table.  Next, he held up the red Lea and said “Now, this time, if I touch you [pointing down to indicate my private part] then I will give you this Lea.”  I sat still for a few solid seconds, I didn’t expect him to say that.  I thought for sure he was going to make me poke at his penis again which, so far, had been pretty painless so when he said that, an immediate wave of confusion and shame washed over me.  I was so thankful for that screen door.  I got up and bolted to the nearest place I could think of.  I ran to the baseball field that was just a block away from my duplex.  I hid in the dugout and played with my new Lea, not really enjoying her and not really understanding why.  There was a hollow pole about 2 feet long sticking up out of the ground where a wooden bench once rested on top of.  I was holding my Princess Lea above it, pretending she was walking on the edge and accidentally dropped her in.  At first I was so upset I started crying thinking of what I had just done to get her.  But, when I realized my mother would ask me where I got it when I got home, I was relieved I dropped her down the tube.

As I was writing this it dawned on me that I didn’t run home.  I was 4 years old, why didn’t I go home?  As a parent I especially wonder this because I hope that my own daughter, in a time of fear or uncertainty, would feel that her home is a place where she feels safe, protected, and loved.

And so it continues, this epic heartache, this break in my arteries that continues to leak out this ability to feel loved.  Since I’ve been sober, I keep coming back to this.  I grew up barely ever crying, trying to be so tough and knowing I wouldn’t get very much sympathy if I did cry.  Now I cannot seem to stop the tears from coming, and I mostly do it in private.  I do believe my child self would tell me to stop all this nonsense.

My mother went through some serious bouts of depression, some times were darker but it was always really there.  I don’t have a lot of memories of my dad.  He had interest in sports, which seemed to be the only way to connect with him, so unless you were active in any, he didn’t say or inquire much.  For a couple years I rode in my dad’s Volkswagon Beetle at around 6am almost every morning to go to ice-skating lessons.  This was the most time I’d ever spent with him which is what I liked about ice-skating the most.  My dad loved ice-skating and seemed to love watching me.  It’s like he finally found something to connect with me on.  Ice skating was really expensive and I was well aware of it.  I didn’t really love it enough to put my family through any hardships while I pouted my way through more lessons so, like every other sport I attempted, I quit. After that, my dad and I went back to not knowing each other.  This was in Washington State where we moved to from San Diego when I was in 4th grade.  It felt like the greyest place on earth and I’d never seen so many white people in one place.  It was intimidating.  I never felt intimidated by anyone until I moved to Washington.  In San Diego, I went to school with mostly Mexican and African American kids in National City.  My skin was always dark from the sunshine so I blended in and I never thought twice about people’s race or how much money anyone had.

Living in Washington was my first experience with classism.  I despised what it did to my brother.  He envied all the wealthy kids and their giant houses in new developments and all their fancy cars.  He would criticize what we had and point out how awful and ugly everything was in our house.  He didn’t like any of the clothes we got, he was never happy with the shoes we could afford.  My brother was good at soccer and baseball, playing on select teams, receiving awards, and was friends with kids whose parents pretty much owned the leagues.  He would show off his rich friend’s stuff to me, insisting I go with him to their houses so he can show me rooms that no one was even allowed to walk into because they might disrupt the carpet tracks vacuumed into them.  It made me feel lonelier seeing my brother fall into this.  Every day my mom grew less motivated, working odd jobs here and there spending her spare time making things, until all she had the energy to do was play video games while chain-smoking.  I can barely remember my dad being home except for when we had home projects that he would work on.  I learned my dad spent a lot of time drinking on the military base he worked on.  In 6th grade, I also learned what the behaviors of an alcoholic were from D.A.R.E (Drug. Abuse. Resistance. Education.), so I came home to my mom and asked her if my dad was an alcoholic.  She asked me where I heard that and I told her I learned about it in school.  She looked straight into my eyes and said “Yes, he is.”  Since I had always monitored my parents marital happiness and financial problems, I felt I was part responsible in making my dad behave better.  I instantly became angry with him and thought he was the reason for all the issues that were going on in our family.  Looking back, and having become an alcoholic myself, I don’t think that my dad drank as bad as I made it out to be.  None the less, he drank to escape his family and his life, perhaps himself, which is the root of it all for any alcoholic.  From 12-14 years old I would wait up late with my mom and interrogate my dad when he’d come home late after drinking, which did seem to be more often, though not daily.  He would show up drunk to my brother’s baseball practice, or to my ice-skating lessons that were in the evening.  My brother was embarrassed of our house and our stuff, and I was embarrassed of our family.  We all stopped talking to each other.  I spent most of my time in my room talking to my friend on the phone or at other people’s houses.  My mom used to criticize me for how much time I spent at my friend’s house saying, “You always try to go find a better family.”  When I was really little I would try to stay at my friend’s house during lunch because their parents actually made them lunch.  One girl’s mother, particularly, often made grilled cheese sandwiches which to me was as good as eating at a restaurant when she would.  My brother and I would scour our kitchen for whatever was readily available like cold hotdogs out of the package, bologna with the peppercorns punched out, or sometimes we’d even suck on bouillon cubes when there was nothing that didn’t need to be cooked.  I was mortified the first time one of my friends told me that their mom said I had to go home for lunch and I can’t keep coming over to eat their food.  After that, when I spent a lot of time at someone’s house I would start participating in their chores, feeling like I should contribute since they were feeding me and giving me a place I felt at home in.  I did this all the way up until I stopped living with my parents.  I still feel like I need to earn my keep wherever I am or else I have no right being there.

When I was 13, my dad had retired from the Navy and was working a couple jobs at a time.  We were really broke and our family was at a low.  My mom was the worst I’d seen her, barely leaving the house or changing out of her pajamas.  It’s hard to believe that she was only a couple years older than I am now when she was like this, which is a huge reason why I am doing this blog.  My dad finally got a lead for a job in Japan.  He’d been traveling to California, maybe for some kind of training (I can’t recall) and had called to check in on us.  My brother and I were both on the phone at the same time telling him how things were going and how aloof and dark my mom had been.  He asked to speak to her so my brother gave her the phone and I stayed on in my room (the days of land lines and phones in every room,) covering the mouthpiece so I could listen in.

My dad:  “The kids are saying you’re not doing anything, just sitting around playing Dr. Mario and barely leaving the house….”

My mom:  “Yeah so.  I don’t care… I don’t care about them…I don’t care about any of this… So what?”

After hearing her say this, I became the most scared I ever felt in my life. I had been experiencing “mean girls” for a couple years and only had a couple of real friends.  The rest were superficial, not people I would ever invite over let alone allow into my house to meet my family.  People at school seemed afraid to like me because it could result in having other people not like them for being my friend.  And now my mother didn’t give a shit about me.  I really believed that I had some kind of unlikeable quality in me and I couldn’t figure out what it was.

I was in eighth grade the first time I confronted my mom about her depression and how scared I felt about her.  I wrote her a long letter telling her that it worried me to see her not care about anything when we needed her.  I left the letter for her to find and when I got home she was waiting for me in our kitchen sitting on a barstool.  She had been crying but she also seemed a bit happy.  I think she felt a sense of purpose, a new sense of urgency or hope.  I couldn’t believe it, it worked!  She was better and she was going to try to stop being so depressing.  I really believed that.  I didn’t know depression was a sickness.  I thought she had a choice to be better. But a few days later I came home from school and she was kneeled down on the carpet with a Nintendo controller in her hands, and a cigarette hanging out of her mouth just daring to ash on her threadbare, pink sweatpants that she always wore.  I said “Hi Mom” in a voice that was sure not to hide my disappointment, to which there was no reply.  A couple years before that, my dad had hand-written a “contract” to me promising me he was never going to drink again because it meant so much to me, his “Sweetie.”  It was a silly piece of paper that I held onto for years and eventually threw in his face to remind him of how often he lied.  My father once read my diary when we first moved back to Japan right before my Freshman year of High School.  In it I spoke of boys I made out with, wanting to have sex for the first time, and smoking weed (a couple stems and some shake) once.  He told my mom I was some kind of nymphomaniac and druggie.  I wasn’t really that mad that he read it, I acted like I was because I was always mad at him then.  I was actually happy he wondered about me or had any interest at all.  I told him all he had to do was ask, but my dad never asked me questions, ever.

I went to a Junior High School, which was seventh through ninth grade.  Again, it was in Washington State so it was predominantly white and pretty well-to-do, mostly middle and upper-middle class.  When I got to eighth grade I had blossomed a little and was getting noticed by some of the Freshman boys.  Right away at the beginning of the year a popular Freshman took notice of me and asked me out.  I was so surprised and so flattered.  I thought he saw something in me for a moment, something that no one else could see.  My family was so broken, I felt broken too, but this kid liked me.  He met me at my locker, walked me to my classes, wrote me love letters and called me every night on the phone.  I made him a beaded necklace and I tried to enjoy this.  But, I’d make excuses as to why he couldn’t come over or why I couldn’t go places with him.  I wouldn’t tell him that my house was the most depressing place in the world and that I had no money to go to the movies, or eat somewhere, or do anything.  He was 15 and had a truck waiting for him to be old enough to drive, and I couldn’t relate to that.  He told me he loved me and I broke up with him.  I couldn’t fake who I was anymore.  Later, another popular Freshman wooed me into girlfriend status and I dumped him pretty much the same way.  He invited me to his house to hang out and then go to a movie.  His parents were doctors and his house was like a museum, there was literally an antique wheelchair in the living room which had an entire wall made of glass that allowed for a breathtaking view of the Puget Sound.  He had his permit so, he drove me home in his soon-to-be car while his mom sat in the back seat.  I called him up that night and broke up with him, I couldn’t handle it.  When you get the attention of popular boys in school, a large portion of girls in the school will hate you for it.  And when you break up with the popular boys in school, those same girls openly hate you but now with the support of the guy you broke up with.  There never felt like a win with that, you just simply turn into a loser.  There was one guy that I would just make out with on the weekends because our best friends were dating and we just figured we may as well.  There was never any drama with it and we had tons of fun.  It was probably one of my healthiest relationships to date and it’s probably because he didn’t love me and he didn’t expect me to love him back.  It’s like if I didn’t want or expect someone to love me, I could be more myself.

This trend of being wooed and dumping boys continued throughout High School and into my 20’s. I never had a type.  What I had were guys that had families that I wanted to be in.  And the families that I could most relate to were the relationships that ended with the most heartache.  I had boyfriends that were tortured souls and our relationship thrived on extreme highs and lows, tests of sexual limits, doomed and drawn-out endings.  And there were a couple boyfriends who just realized that we were having fun and had a strong attraction, but not really each other’s beat and now we are casual Facebook friends.

I am a loyal person.  I love people.  I don’t like to stay mad, I truly want everyone to be happy.  I always want to be drama-free, even though I’m too restless and impatient for it to be.  I love when people tell me the truth, even if it’s hard to hear.  I am a forgiving person.  I try to accept reality, whatever I determine that to be.  And I try not to judge people, though I don’t claim to like everyone.  And I don’t know if any of this is enough to allow me to feel loved.  Theoretically it should be, I’m not dumb, I get the logical part of it all.  But I’m not sure I know if or when I’ve truly felt it.  How do you learn something like that?

Dreaming Again in Technicolor

I’m not sure what I expected for my first week of sobriety.  I think I imagined that everyone would sense an improved me, that I would give off new energy and excitement about life and there would be an extra skip to my step that would make heads turn and people would say, “That girl is a force….”  Well, that didn’t happen.  Not even close.  The first week I was exhausted.  I was so, so tired yet I couldn’t sleep.  I didn’t understand why I felt so depressed having made this conscious and vital step toward health and peace of mind.  I had restless legs, which was the alcohol trying to find a way out of my system, and once I did sleep it was so difficult to get up, it felt like my head had been steamrolled into my pillow.  One of the reasons that I couldn’t sleep too well, aside from the restless legs, is that when I did fall asleep I would dream hard.  My brain was an HD movie, vivid and elaborate.  I was like Dorothy when she stepped out into Munchkin Land in Technicolor, I felt that I too had been siphoned out of a dust cloud and kerplunked into a world of bright colors and dancing munchkins on acid.  And I think the part that was the most perplexing was not the dreams itself, but that I actually recalled my dreams.  I couldn’t remember the last time I dreamt.  I was disturbed by my own imagination.  But, once I realized this I actually got excited, I was sober and dreaming again.  Being sober was so trippy!!!  There was much to change before I could get too excited about going to bed.  How can I get to the point of falling asleep in a way that didn’t feel like torture?  I was white-knuckling my sobriety, cleaning more, constantly doing laundry, watching a ridiculous amount of Netflix shows while folding clothes.  I had to keep busy because if I didn’t, I could get bored and walk down the street and get a bottle of wine to nurse me back into black and white dreams I wouldn’t remember.

I had to recognize the times of day when I would feel most like drinking.  Since I moved to California, as a young adult, I was told that it was legal to consume one beer during your lunch break.  I never bothered to look this up to see if it was true but just believed what multiple people told me at face value.  It was too good to be true (which I usually am a skeptic of) but I absolutely wanted to believe it.  California can be its own special circumstance quite often so I just went with it and hoped my friends knew what they were talking about.  Really though, it is not true.  California is an “at will” state and you can be fired for any number of reasons if your employer doesn’t think that you are able to perform your duties.  Also, if any employee, especially a supervisor, knew that I was drinking off the clock and I came back and fell down in the store, acted out, or behaved in any questionable way, that boss can get fired for knowing I was a liability and then failing to act.  I had been putting myself and others on the line for nearly 10 years without knowing it.  Of course I wasn’t the only one doing this which made it seem justifiable.  It was like smoking weed, it wasn’t legal but no one wanted it to be enforced so we all willingly turned a blind eye.

So at lunch, I started eating places that either didn’t serve alcohol or had never served ME alcohol.  There were places I could go to that would just put an IPA on the table without asking if I wanted it, they just knew I did and I could almost hear the “Cheers” theme song play in my head.  I also had to start walking home a different route so not to be tempted into the bars that I would frequent.  Even in the grocery store, I had to avoid my favorite aisle flanked with names of countries I never visited but felt worldly in…Italy, France, Argentina, or just Napa Valley.  I used to get giddy filling my wine glass.  I nearly hugged myself when I took my first sip of the day.  I especially loved to drink while cooking which is why I think I thought I loved cooking. Cooking while drinking just made me look like a knowledgable foodie, like I had that thing I was so afraid to be without, an interest.  Really, I would have paired anything with alcohol, but it was fun to pretend there was a rhyme or reason.

Sobriety did make cooking less fun.  I still haven’t made my way back into it with as much enthusiasm.  But, it’s worth putting my excitement into other hobbies until the cooking bug sparks back up.  So that was the other thing, hobbies.  What the hell were my hobbies?  What did I really enjoy?  Oh this was a scary question, I was so stumped and so reluctant to confront this.  It felt like that scene in American Beauty when Kevin Spacey tells Mena Suvari that she’s boring.  I was afraid to know that about myself.  I was afraid that I would be completely boring as a sober person and it was only going to be more obvious to everyone around me.

One thing I was able to identify after I got through that first week of restless sleep, and once that first bit of energy started to kick in, was that I absolutely loved waking up sober and not being bogged down right away with headaches and shame.  Also, the act of changing up my routines, like eating in new places and walking home on a different path already made life more interesting.  I was able to see that I was actually quite boring as a drunk.  I was set in a routine and rarely ventured out of it.  With this tiny bit of encouragement I was able to try to remember what I used to enjoy doing, hence, figure out some new and productive ways to occupy myself.

To get back in touch with myself I had to take a trip down good ol’ Memory Lane and get to know myself again.  It involved rifling through boxes of photographs, journals that I haven’t had the stomach to read for years, and memorabilia whose significance I could no longer recall.  It was actually kind of liberating to approach myself with an open mind, knowing that I might find some incriminating evidence of a selfish individual, or style choices that remain forever questionable, or at best, qualities of a person I may even like.  I found journals filled with first times; first sex, first love, first time living on my own, first heartbreak.  I felt like I had so much to tell that me which was a good sign, because that meant I’d learned something since.  I found poetry I wrote that I found surprisingly… good.  I found myself sort of proud of me at 20 and thinking, “you’re alright, I like you.”  Meeting myself again in a subjective light, a little vignette of my young self, I found a few things that have been consistent about me, or dare I say, some talents?

I’ve always loved fashion which is why I’ve made a semi-career out of it.  From the time that I can remember, style has been important to me.  I saved up my allowance to buy the clothes that I really wanted and hair products that my mom never bought.  I was always adventurous with my hairstyle and putting outfits together.  Even when I entered into Junior High, when girls got really mean and could find any reason to spread a rumor or be cruel, I maintained my personal sense of style.  My mother made a lot of our clothes as children up into High School years though not as frequently.  She would teach me about fabrics and fit.  When we thrifted she would show me good finds by the quality of the material, the stitches and construction.   My mother sewed most of her own clothing and she would let me borrow pieces to incorporate into my own look.  While other kids were wearing Guess Jeans, Bass penny loafers, Adidas slip-on sandals and carrying colorful Liz Claiborne purses around, I was mix and matching pieces from my parents closet, anything from my mom’s pantsuits and silk tank tops to my dad’s flannels and turtlenecks.  I never had a signature style, I wore whatever my mood reflected, and I still do to this day.  I never realized, when I was supposed to be idealizing what kind of adult I wanted to become, that people made careers out of fashion, whether it be designing, merchandising, or styling.  Style was never something I identified in myself as a skill, it was just something I loved.  I never really knew anyone that loved their job.

In my more self-righteous and free-spirited days I would write poetry and perform spoken word.  I really don’t have any interest in doing that again, it also isn’t as trendy as it was when Mos Def and Saul Williams were the poster children for bohemian-speakeasy meets hip-hop.  But it was nice to remember myself as someone who was able to put myself out there, particularly coming out of High School, where I was not so confident to perform much in front of people.  In High School I was a cheerleader for a little while and enjoyed choreographing routines and making up cheers but was kind of limited in my athletic abilities.  Moreso, there was a group of girls that liked to sit in the front row during some of our halftime performances so they could laugh and heckle me.  Looking back I think I would have enjoyed theater, people tell me I’m very animated and can do spot-on impressions of people I know.  But then, the idea of putting myself in the position to be humiliated doing something I enjoyed was out of the question.

And then there was dancing.  Dancing was something I discovered I loved when I was able to get into dance clubs in Japan as a teenager, or with a fake ID stateside when I was underage.  It was when I felt the most beautiful, sexual, uninhibited, and confident.  I never had a problem going anywhere by myself.  Not ever.  When I was a child I would wander around endlessly from neighborhood to neighborhood.  As a teenager in Japan, I worked jobs after school and used my own money to take trains to random places.  I did end up in Karaoke bars with strangers singing Top 10 Hits and giggling the whole time.  That really does happen in Japan.  And then when I turned 21, I went to spoken word joints and dance clubs when I was restless and needed to let something out.  I met a lot of interesting characters during these excursions.  People would almost always be surprised that I was showing up places by myself.  Then, I didn’t really drink very much for a few reasons:  1) I usually had to drive home.  2) I generally couldn’t afford more than 2 drinks.  3) I spent the majority of the time dancing so I didn’t even think about the drinking most of the night.  One of my favorite people of all time to dance with is Reggie Watts who used to sing for a group called Maktub in Seattle, Washington.  He would frequent a night club called The Baltic Room on funk nights.  He was someone who made me realize that some people have a natural flow, a natural sense of self when dancing and that I was one of those people.  When we danced we never touched but would morph into each others movement as if we had some magical ball of energy we would pass back and forth.  Some of you may know Reggie as a multi-faceted talent on Comedy Central, famous now for his comedy and music, but to me Reggie is always my dance partner.

When I thought of dancing after becoming sober I was so afraid that it was something I could only do when I was sauced.  What if I only thought I could dance?  In San Francisco I prefer to dance with the gays.  I can dance like I really want to dance, fierce and voguing, grabbing on to some big Bear’s leather harness and dipping my back like Jennifer Grey to her Patrick Swayze.  Also, when you dance at gay oriented places, it’s more sexual, over the top, and “anything goes.”  I felt, at first, a little stiff and out of my element.  It didn’t take much to loosen up and feel like I was HOME!  A local DJ set called Honey Sound System had a residency every Sunday night that was my “church.”  The weirder more “out there” I danced the better.  You can’t do this at straight places.  You become “the one have who’s having the most fun,” as one guy put it to me.  You never want to be “the one.”

Dancing one night out a week was not enough.  I ached to dance.  And, I literally ached when I danced, I was so out of shape.  I hadn’t paid much attention to my body in years.  I was hipster-thin but I was soft and doughy.  I had no flexibility and little stamina.  My skin on my belly still sagged from my second birth and I barely needed to lean over before it resembled the skin of freshly shaved testicles.  Quitting alcohol made me shed about 10lbs right away which also made my skin seem dry and crepe-y in places.  My breasts completely disappeared.  A few months after getting sober I also stopped nursing.  My daughter so eloquently described my breasts as “sagly” gently combining two damning words together “saggy” and “sadly” to create “sagly.”  It really was the perfect word to describe them.  I mourned the loss of my breasts for nearly 6 months.  I will be damned if I don’t age naturally.  Go ahead and tell me how young I am and that I will change my mind when I get older, but I am determined to accept how I am destined to turn out.  In order to love my body I needed to do more of what made my body feel beautiful, which was dance.  I developed my own dance style/regimen which is a combination of classical, stripper, yoga poses, and hip hop.  Sound interesting?  To say the least.  I love to show off when I dance.  I’m a terrible partner dancer because I am a selfish dancer.  I only like to dance with people who don’t touch me too much or try to twirl me around out of my rhythm.  And I like to lead.  Guys find me emasculating to dance with unless I am seducing them with my body in which case they’re predominantly gay so it’s just for show.  Doing this started to build up muscle and increase my flexibility.  I felt strong and agile which made me feel sexual and frisky.  The muscle I built actually gave me the tiniest bit of an ass that use to be this area behind me that sort of melted into the back of my legs.  And my beloved breasts perked up, just a tad out of sagly status.

I dance almost every night, late, usually when everyone is asleep.  When I first started this routine I was really self-conscious to do this in front of my husband.  There is little to no place to go in our flat for privacy so I had to learn to be open with it.  I noticed I wouldn’t follow through with my movements or let myself get too artistic right away.  My husband would occupy himself most of the time on the IPad while I fumbled away half-naked with yoga stances I picked up off Instagram, or just dance around the room.  I’d check in my peripheral to see if my husband was watching, he never was. I kind of couldn’t believe it, I was half-naked after all.  To his defense, when I asked him about this later he did say that even though I was dancing around in my underwear, it didn’t feel like an invite to engage in any sexual activity.  He’s probably right, I was doing it entirely for me.   Dancing was my alcohol, I often can barely sleep unless I’ve done it for a little while.  I’m not trained so I never thought I could call myself a dancer.  But a photographer friend of mine asked me if I was a dancer to which I replied, “Well, I dance every day, I feel like I kind of have to.”  To which he said, “Then you’re a dancer.”

To Each is Own Alcoholic

A friend raised a debate in the “comments” about alcoholic/non-alcoholic and characteristics that alcoholics have.  *To my friend, I hope you don’t mind if I use your example verbatim as I think it’s a very valid one.*  Said friend found that he was utterly miserable and saw a few other miserable friends make their way into rehab and then come back out at peace.  He drank and did drugs so maybe that can be him, too.  But, he didn’t quite have the characteristics that other alcoholics had.  What he learned was that alcoholics tend to learn something and then promptly forget, only to have to learn it all over again.  This cycle is never-ending and needs constant vigilance…hence the daily meetings, affirmations, etc.  But, when he learned something it tended to stick for the most part.  He realized that his misery was a result of life without parenting, being taught how to live, how to love, to fight, to grieve.  He wasn’t told if who he was was okay, whether it was good or bad and for him, it didn’t turn out too well.  To his response I can totally relate and perhaps so can many of you.  I started replying directly but realized this is a good 3rd entry so I decided my response could open the door for others to relate and give feedback as well.  Thanks Friend.

I understand this debate actually. I did a lot of that with myself and maybe find myself to be a combo deal. I spent an obsessive amount of time watching “Intervention” to make myself feel better about my level of alcoholism. “Phew, I’m not THAT bad…” I am someone who once I absolutely know something it is impossible for me to ignore it.  With alcohol, I wasn’t sure I was an alcoholic.  People around me didn’t seem to be hurting directly from it so it just seemed like drama that I dredged up within myself.  I felt like it was a way I was seeking attention, and maybe it was.  I think alcoholic for me may not be the medical definition or classic definition of dependency.  I was very willing to give it up, though it was difficult and with many, many failed attempts.  I never wanted to depend on it, I just did, whether it be from laziness or not having a clue of what else to do with myself.  It was a socially accepted activity that went under the radar of my family and friends because it came across as joining in as opposed to fading out.
And very much like my friend, I did not receive much guidance from my parents.  I was constantly learning from their mistakes as they were making them.  I was not taught how to find my way through life, or given many tools or values that could serve as an advocate on my shoulder when I was making poor decisions.  I was left to my own devices.  My parents “didn’t have to worry about me,” and I took that as not caring. They would argue that I had a good head on my shoulders and they trusted I would find my way, but my head was spinning and they didn’t realize that I needed a lot more than they knew how to give.  And quite honestly, they were selfish.  I think I’m too practical to make blatantly poor decisions like doing hard drugs, robbing banks, or being dishonest.  I also have a very “all or nothing” personality that made me afraid of certain drugs.  I never thought the easy way in or out of any situation could ever lead to anything worthwhile so I generally didn’t take those routes.  My brother has been one to find shortcuts through life that have led him way further behind than where he started so I certainly learned from his mistakes, maybe even more so than he has…which maybe isn’t fair to say.  He’s my brother, it’s hard not to come down hard on him.  If anything, I am the extreme opposite.  If it isn’t hard it doesn’t feel real.  I probably tend to make things too difficult, it’s just how I come to accept life, as difficult.  What this way of thinking did was make everything seem so hard that it discouraged me to try.  I would find reasons why I couldn’t progress in a conventional way, like get a loan for college so I can take classes in things I find interesting.  I couldn’t see how I could possibly find the time to work and go to school.  I didn’t want to take out loans because I absolutely hated the idea of owing anything.  (So I just let my Jeep Wrangler get repossessed and wiped off my credit report 7 years later.  Really f*cking responsible.)  I became good at talking myself out of doing anything all the time.  I settled for just working, working, working which made me lose sight of what I even found interesting anymore.  Interests started to feel like daydreams.  And daydreams are not practical.
And what came with alcohol was disappointment in myself.  I used it as a way to not tend to me.  My sense of self-worth was low. I felt talentless, uninteresting, unmotivated and wasteful.  Drinking seemed to be a good fit.  It was something to do that seemed to go with my mental state.  Like now, I feel very sexual and fiery and expressive, so I dance, model and write.  I fear that this state of being I am in now will pass me by without seeing where it could go.  I have imagined myself 10 years in the future remembering this time at 35 with regret and longing, sad and wistful of a time I could have really gotten to know the woman that I was meant to be.  I don’t know for sure because she has never said but, I do think my mother suffered from a loss of some of her womanhood.  She was depressed throughout her 30’s, I don’t know if she went through this or not, it seems she did.  I don’t think she felt able or empowered to do anything about it.  She seemed defeated and resigned to just ignore her calling. Sometimes all I have to do is think of her in these years to be inspired to go forth, even when I think I’m being selfish.  It seems equally selfish to throw your dreams away and become depressed and unwilling to love yourself.

There was an awakening in me that I am so thankful I recognized, even if I did it kicking and screaming.  It started around when I was 32-33 yrs old, as a niggling in my belly, a warmth in my chest, like a seed had been planted.  Eventually, this feeling grew into a sense of not being able to breathe, like whatever was growing was stealing every breath I took.  It seemed that if I didn’t tend to this bit of life that I would die inside myself and turn into a rotten person inside and out.  The sense of urgency to nurse this to full life was soon running rampant in me.  I wasn’t physically or mentally prepared for this.

My first reaction was to drink MORE, silence it and ignore this calling.  I was afraid to fail at changing my ways.  What I was doing was already accepted by my friends and family even if, deep down, I didn’t accept myself.  I had some pretty embarrassing and shameful moments that I barely remember.  I vaguely recall being in a cab and not being able to pay the driver because somewhere between possibly paying the bartender and getting into the cab I had lost my debit/credit card, which I did so many times that my bank said they would have to start charging me for a replacement.  I remembering arguing with the cab driver, though I couldn’t tell you exactly what I said.  What I do remember is that I wanted him to believe that I was good for it and I insanely pleaded that he come back the following day…as if he would be willing to waste any more of his time and energy.  He was totally irritated and just wanted me to get out of his cab.  I wouldn’t leave, I somehow really wanted him to tell me that he believed I would pay him back.  He was yelling at me telling me I have problems and to just get out.  I don’t know why I wouldn’t just get out, I wouldn’t let it go.  I also knew that I was coming across as a crazy person.  I was doing that thing that happens when you do or say something horrible and immediately wish you didn’t but then something in you just says “fuck it” and you keep going with it, continuing on saying horrible things.  It seemed I was doing this more often than I could even tell you I remembered.  Eventually the threat of calling the police shoved me out the door.  I apologized and told him I’d see him tomorrow.  WTF?  I still cringe recalling this behavior.  I think I was trying to reach a rock bottom.  I think I wanted people to tell me that I needed to make the change because just me telling myself didn’t seem to be enough.  I think I fantasized about my own intervention with a room full of people who cared.  I was blacking out after only a few drinks, it didn’t take much anymore.  I would also get dizzy in the shower, not able to bend my head forward without getting nauseous and vomiting a little.  There would be a little blood in my vomit, too.  That WAS scary.  That part was a bit of a secret because it was erring to the side of being a bit more like the people on “Intervention” that I swore I was better than.

I could tell my husband didn’t look forward to seeing me when I got home or just being around me when I was.  There was much to our disconnect that I won’t go into now and my behavior was just simply unattractive.  We also had our children that could distract us from each other, which was also our main connection and perhaps even our excuse for not finding the time to know each other.  And we would later both admit, that without our kids, we may not have much to relate on.

As I mentioned, I had made some feeble attempts to stop drinking before, starting with a month-long cleanse that would only last a few days or no more than a week.  I had even looked up locations for AA meetings throughout the city, going as far as walking past them and not having the courage to go in.  Finally, I saw a Facebook post from a friend/acquaintance showing he had his 3 months coin for sobriety (I could be wrong about the months.)  I had no idea he had been struggling.  I messaged him to see if I could go to a meeting with him.  I’m not sure why him.  I was going to a wedding in Mexico the following week so I knew that I’d have to do it when I got back.  I was so nervous to go.  I didn’t tell anyone I was going, just my friend I reached out to.  I didn’t want it to be a thing I didn’t see through and then have to explain it to anyone.  Also, no one else but me seemed to think it was an issue so it felt like it was just for me to deal with.  On the day of the meeting I kept trying to find excuses that I could tell my friend to get out of going.  He’s so intuitive that I knew he would know I chickened out, though he would have never judged me for it.  I did go.  Other than writing my girlfriend’s mother a couple of years before, I had never called myself an alcoholic and certainly never said it out loud in front of a room full of people.  I didn’t know how meetings went down and when everyone started introducing themselves I panicked.  I wanted to run out of the room.  My friend saw my fear and assured me I don’t have to say anything, I don’t even have to say who I am.  I was one of the last people to go and it was a pretty large turnout.  By the time it was my turn EVERYONE had the courage to identify themselves as an addict and it would have been completely obvious that I was chicken shit.  I had to remind myself that I was already brave to be sitting there, though it was hard to consider myself as such.  Before I knew it, I was saying my name and telling everyone I was an alcoholic.  I felt like rainbows must have been shooting out of my mouth and a happy leprechaun was at the other end giving me a thumbs up.  The speaker that night was phenomenal.  I couldn’t believe he was telling us all his story and that this button-up shirt, wall street, successful, prestigious man was anything like me.

When I got home, I poured myself a glass of wine.  I was sitting at the kitchen table sipping it, disgusted with myself for disrespecting that night’s speaker with a toast.  Halfway through that glass, I poured it out as well as the rest of the bottle of wine.  That was my last sip, my last taste, my last shameful pour…hopefully forever.

The Second Jump

When I was a teenager, I had a fearless quality that escapes you once you become an adult, particularly a parent. You realize that any form of injury can mean the inability to work, which means the inability to pay bills and help with the kids and chores, which then makes you a burden on everyone.  I fear to be a burden.  You also realize that your body takes longer to heal and it doesn’t take much to get hurt.  When I was really little I played chicken with moving cars (let me not let you think this was highway speed limits but rather residential 15 mph zones.)  And as a teen, I used to jump off bridges and cliffs with friends during the summer in Washington State.  I remember the first jump being a whole lot easier than the second, nervous and full of adrenaline, showing off in front of friends, and not knowing how much it hurts when you smack the water.  Writing this entry I get the same anxiety as the second jump.  I know I can’t go diving into shallow waters.  This all has to be deep enough because I know how bad it can hurt if it isn’t.  One good thing is, it’s very doubtful that I can physically hurt myself writing this all out, but I can still achieve the rush of doing something daring so…WIN!

I’ve received some pretty incredible encouragement so far.  It’s motivation to keep honest and not self-criticize or over edit what I want to tell you.  One of my friends told me that she really thinks this will help her.  For her I will make this entry.  Mary Karr’s Memoirs inspired me the same way.

I cannot tell you how many times I sat up late in a running shower, drunk, and sobbing, and gurgling words out that I wouldn’t remember ever saying.  Always in the shower so I didn’t have to feel my tears, so they could get washed away as if they never were.  Did I actually cry?  Sometimes I don’t even know if I did.  Maybe I just imagined I did.  The very next morning I would turn over in bed and shamefully face my husband, who would give me a sweet “it’s okay” smile, and I would wonder how I could be so lucky that he put up with me for another night.  And then I would make promises to myself that today I wouldn’t drink.  Really, the only time I kept that promise was when I was so hungover from such a bender that even the thought of alcohol would make me sick.  There were many private episodes that resulted in me doing the “crazy laugh” at myself, paired with hysterical crying and then just flopping down on the bathroom floor, fetal and heaving.  While pathetic…it felt good to let it out, as most cries do, and I would feel better. I developed deserving reasons to drink varying from shitty days, rewarding days, National Corn Dog Day (not kidding)…anything.  You may think that 3 drinks isn’t too bad, though pushing it since we’re talking about vodka martinis, or a couple beers with a whiskey chaser (and I can’t remember if I considered the beer/chaser combo as one drink or two)…regardless, I always had red wine when I got home.  While my family knew I was “unwinding” they didn’t know I was absolutely LIT by the time I got home.  And because I was lit, I would “only” drink 1/2 to 3/4 of a bottle of wine when I was home leaving a bit for the next day.  I was so proud of myself when there was wine leftover.  It’s these “accomplishments” that make me so much more proud of the actual accomplishments I am able to achieve now as a sober person.

I had admitted to my husband a couple of times that I felt that I drank too much.  He said he didn’t think so.  Initially I would feel so relieved that I didn’t need to change anything about my drinking.  But deep down it made me feel more crazy.  Was I making this all up?  Was I just needy, begging for his attention?  Does he just not give a shit? I know San Francisco is a pretty boozy town and we drank for any occasion anyone could come up with but, incidentally, I’m pretty sure he was getting tired of me stumbling in after hours of “unwinding” then incoherently bitching him out for all the feelings I’d been suppressing, and most likely foaming at the mouth.  I don’t know, like I said, I blacked out all the time.  He was sometimes able to identify what kind of booze I had been drinking by the level of anger I was exuding.  Whiskey= waking him up, agitated, long-winded slurring, dark, emotional. *cringe* Tequila=frisky, talkative and excitable.  Beer=coming home really late because it took longer to get drunk, feeling ugly and bloated with a chance that I peed behind a car and got some on myself.  Wine=self-loathing and wanting to be left alone, my favorite.  *note: any of the above when consumed in a large abundance would result in Whiskey drinking behavior.

I can’t say I had a rock bottom.  There wasn’t an amass of friends who formed an intervention to help me back into the world of actually living life for real. Before I decided to break-up with the bottle I wrote a letter to my oldest friend’s mother, who has been sober for over 25 years, confessing that I think I am an alcoholic.  That was the first time I actually identified myself as such.  It was incredibly scary and she was incredibly supportive.  Just a couple of months after I wrote her, I was pregnant with my son.  I wish I could tell you I didn’t drink at all while pregnant because I did.  I drank a glass of wine a night and I savored every last drop.  After he was born I supplemented with formula more often than I thought I would because it was more important for me to not face the issues that I had been ignoring for a few years, which was a growing disconnect with my husband.  My son was not a bandaid baby.  As in, we didn’t have him to bring us back together.  He happened and I was happy to have him.  But my pregnancy didn’t bring my husband and I closer and I mentally prepared myself to be a single mom.  By thinking this way, I created more distance from husband and built up the resentment that was already forming into walls inside myself.

One of my biggest fears in life is to live with resentment and to let that build into a fortress surrounding me until there’s no way to get in and no way to get out.  I feel my mother experienced this and it was painful to watch her shrink away from any sort of light and fall deep into the dark.  I try to let go as often as I can.  I do feel I am capable of getting swallowed up by the past until all I see in the future are my memories.  Children are more keen to this type of behavior than anyone.  They may not know what is happening or understand why you’re so down or so far removed but, they know that you are some place sad and consuming.  I remember walking tenderly around my mother when she had episodes of brooding hopelessness.  I tried to have no reason to upset her or cause her more grief.  I have witnessed this from my own daughter on a couple of occasions and broke down immediately into tears when her eyes reflected the same little girl I was around my mom.  Every parent has moments that are not their best moments, believe me, I have had some doozies.  But, those concerned, wise-beyond-her-years, how can I not make this worse for you eyes are the eyes that I can see myself the most.  A child’s eyes are the most honest in the world, especially when they’re your child’s.