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.

Here I go….my intro….at best

So I don’t really know what I’m doing.  Is this working?  Will this work?  Will any of this be helpful?  Do I care?  Do I care too much?  Certainly not the most original questions ever asked to one’s self but I will not promise you originality as that’s pretty hard to come by.  So do I want to be influential?  Not really.  If by some miracle I am and one person out there finds my ramblings to be an honest, refreshing approach to how we express our lives, than that certainly would be humbling.

I’m just here to vomit. Word vomit, emotion vomit, sexually vomit all over this blog.  Do I know the first thing about blogging?  No.  I know nothing.  Do I know the first thing about writing?  No.  I’m smart but I’m not especially educated.  I am inviting you to witness me trip and fumble my way through this technology that I know so little about and through my 30’s, a decade of urgent self assessment that, halfway through, has already proven to be my favorite and most scariest times.  I’m setting you up now to have the lowest expectations possible of my ability to formulate comprehensible thoughts and to articulate this to you in a way that could possibly engage you.  I am here to make YOU feel better about yourself through my own self humiliation, failures, achievements and perpetual state of restlessness.  I want you to know that you are not alone and completely alone.  Like me.  And this “thing” in me needs to get out before it eats away at my soul.  Dramatic, I know.

I am 35.  I’m a mother of a soulful and artistic 8 year old girl and a tenacious and clever 2 year old boy.  I am a wife that’s ready to redefine her marriage on so many levels and above all, I am a woman on fire, for the first time.  I’m fortunate to be happy with the age that I am.  There was never a time in my life, so far, that I wish I could return to or yearn for.  I didn’t love my childhood, I didn’t feel especially childlike in those years.  I was a sexually advanced, pervy kid and hypersensitive to the state of my parents marital and financial hardships.  I had an older brother that I felt protective of and I felt the need to be tough and edgy and different at all times.  My parents were young.  My father, from Texas was in the Navy which is how he met my mother in Japan.  My mother is proud to be Japanese and never really recognized me and my brother as such.  Sadly, neither my brother or I speak the language.
My parents are no longer together.  After 33 years of co-dependency they finally called it quits.  My father quickly remarried to another Japanese woman and lives with her in Japan, and my mother is an eccentric recluse living in Los Angeles, Ca.

The tender years of 12 years old through High School were wrought by mean girls, jealous and persistent to make me as cheap as the words they would write about me on the bathroom walls.  I didn’t cave in though.  Words like “slut” and “whore” didn’t turn me into one.  Deep down everyone has a bit of that in them.  I “lost” my virginity a week before my 18th birthday to a bartender that worked at Red Robin. I generally felt like Molly Ringwald in Pretty In Pink, always stylish but lower class to my upper middle class peers.  Hardly anyone ever came over to my house for many reasons beyond its being an unloved, split-level home built in the 70’s.  I was completely embarrassed of it, mostly because everything and everyone in it was as grey and depressing as the battleship grey color it was on the outside.   My senior class had a time capsule that was buried and supposedly will be excavated on our 20 year reunion (approaching soon) so then we can look back with fond memories of our early accomplishments.  There’s nothing in that capsule for me.  Nothing that I would ever want to see again.

My 20’s were just a blur of smoking weed, drinking alcohol, working a couple dozen failed jobs, being in multiple semi-long relationships that varied from emotional and mental abuse-to me totally taking advantage of a really nice guy-to falling madly in love.  I was always a sexual person, wreaking of sex in my early 20’s and then letting that become somewhat dormant by the end of it.  In this decade I became a mother and wife and tried to become a responsible person and build a community that I would later recognize as my family.  In all these years up until this point, I had no idea what I was good at or what I wanted to do.  I never went to college, no one ever pushed me and I certainly never pushed myself.  I was in survival mode from the moment I was born.  I was always pretty good at a lot of things and never excellent at anything.  I would beat myself up for this for many years, especially when I met my very multi-talented husband and moved to San Francisco where it seemed that everyone was either an artist or incredibly well-educated or wealthy.  All I could be was honest and hard-working.  That didn’t feel like much so I made the mistake of making my husband my passion putting all my hopes and effort into supporting him and his talents.  I see now that making another person your passion is a destined disappointment.  Even if he was the most successful person I know and everything was just as I hoped (which it isn’t) I would still be left with me, disregarded from the equation, ignored by myself and empty just waiting for fulfillment.  I had a love affair with alcohol that kept me company most nights and throughout some days.  Alcohol knew me better than anyone, heard all the ugly truths and saw all my gnarly faces.  But luckily for you, this isn’t a blog about my alcoholism, though a factor in everything I do now, it’s a blog about being a woman today.

Let me just say, this is a pretty summarized glimpse into my life to get you up to speed to today, or somewhere within the past 2 years which is where I need you to be if you are at all interested in reading any more.  What I plan to do with this, if I can even loosely call it a plan is tell you how I’m getting on with the choices I’ve made, the repercussions I face and all the unknown in-betweens that stand like elephants in the room until we have time and energy to move them out.  Maybe you’ll cry with me, laugh with or at me, want to shake or slap me (which i don’t mind) or even want to reach out and hug me.  I no doubt will make you uncomfortable when I talk about relationships, crossing over to the unconventional “open marriage” topic whose stigma is still so sadly faux pas, and considered a bandaid to an inevitable marriage doom.  I will awkwardly navigate through these times, and share them with you, like I did when I was a teenager, writing in my diary and mailing off the finished books to my friend thousands of miles away.  
And I look forward to your replies, if there are any to read, and I hope to learn from each other and develop a network of like-minded restless souls that have lots of ideas and no idea all at once.  I am also a self-portraitist which is just a term that makes “selfies” seem more valid and artistic.  You will find my self-musings scattered throughout this as well and hopefully you will just enjoy them for whatever they’re worth.