I spent too much time writing with other people at top-of-mind. Sometimes it was a singular person I was obsessed with. Sometimes it was multiple people who I imagined might read my writing. Sometimes it was for someone who I KNEW would never read my writing. But when I trace back the roots of my passion, the main reason why I started writing in the first place was to release a conversation in my head.
I assumed that since I was good at writing, I should also be comfortable speaking. But I understand now that I can translate my thoughts into words on paper much faster and more effectively than I can verbally. The older I get, the less I like talking to people and the more I wish I had the sense to keep my thoughts to myself. I would be so much more introverted if I wasn’t fueled by human connection.
So what exactly will this new iteration of The Chips I Didn’t Eat be? I haven’t decided. It’s not going to be what it used to be. My life isn’t what it used to be. I quit drinking, and as of last week I am taking a break from weed. Fuck me, right?
Your instinctual pity gives me hope that we all have more in common than we give ourselves credit for. As human beings we unequivocally agree that just waking up and living each day is taxing in one way or another.
Is this existential toil the reason we indulge in our vices?
Be it alcohol, weed, food, cigarettes… We consume things that are known to be harmful to our health, for momentary relief. I was the queen of hedonistic indulgence, because I felt that I suffered in equal proportion.
Alcohol was my favorite. I quit cold turkey on June 1st 2016. The hardest part of moving on from alcohol was the fact that I had to process all of the emotional baggage I stuffed away in the overhead compartment up my own ass. You can’t just wipe every week clean by getting blackout drunk Friday to Sunday. Trust and believe, it WILL catch up to you.
I still remember slugging through my weeks craving the Friday night release. Knowing I would stop lamenting my life for just a couple of nights. The top of my refrigerator was filled with handles of vodka. I didn’t care about my limits or tolerance level; I only knew one speed and it was GO FAST KAT. Run from your problems as fast as you fucking can. I drank until my body physically wouldn’t let me. I drank until I stopped thinking about how I wasn’t doing enough for my career. I drank until I stopped being pissed off about failing as a writer.
I drank to punish myself for failure. I drank to relieve myself of tension. I drank to pretend my problems were temporary. I drank to ease my fear of other people. I drank so that this city would feel like home and not a foreign country. I drank, thinking I was happy, not realizing the full extent of my discontent.
I lost so much passion during those years. My hair was a different color, my skin was pale, thin, flakey, red, itchy. I retained liquid and fat in an equal distribution across all 6 feet of me, a layer that felt like a rubber glove sealing in all of my mistakes. A constant reminder at every bend of my knee, that I had let myself go.
I don’t even want to be writing right now. I hate remembering these feelings. I hate remembering those years. Not because I’m embarrassed or ashamed, but because I feel sorry for myself. I feel guilty for the pressure I placed upon myself to “succeed” in the way that I always envisioned in my life template. I feel guilty for enduring what I endured just to be taken advantage of by people who viewed me as weak. I know they viewed me as weak, because you wouldn’t treat someone the way they treated me if you didn’t think you could get away with it.
Jokes on me, though, they were right.
I had no self respect because I had no source of pride. I had no source of confidence. I didn’t have an interesting story to tell, and I thought I would be a great writer. I can write because I am expressive, but before I turned 25 I had no perspective on life that was worth sharing. I didn’t have enough distance from my own experience to understand that I need to listen to other people before I get my chance to speak.
Now, damn, now… This feels like carving through scar tissue with a buzz saw. Yeah, I’m still hacking away looking for blood. My heart is so far away from the surface, I buried it. I built up a shield, one that barred me from understanding my emotions.
Once I quit drinking and it was time to face those emotions, I decided a good way to handle them would be to ignore them. I thought if I ignored them and I channeled them for long enough they would fade into the background noise.
EMOTIONS LIKE THESE ARE MEANT TO BE EXPRESSED AND SHARED. THEY ARE NOT TO BE TAKEN LIGHTLY. THEY ARE NOT TO BE UNDERMINED.
I fear myself more than I fear anyone else, because I understand now that all of the power to control my destiny is within my own head.
Yes, that’s the secret.
You are your own worst enemy. All of the people in your life who you feel are influencing your reason for living, they are an extension of you.
You choose who stays and who goes.
You choose the person you present to the world.
You choose the way you treat other people.
You choose the risks you take and the ones you don’t.
You choose to define your own limits.
Now that I’m back on here, my challenge to myself is to conquer my own thoughts. I thought I had conquered them for a long time because I exhausted myself to a point where emotions were difficult to feel. I channeled my emotions into exploring what my body is capable of. I donated my body to football, I fell in love with football. I lived for football.
You can’t live for anything or anyone until you’ve accepted yourself. Fully. You can’t have any doubts. You can’t half commit. You can’t rely on your vices to cope with your insecurities. Part of the journey to self actualization is accepting that you will never feel completely okay.
There are days where I feel so exceedingly happy that it doesn’t seem fair. There are days where I genuinely enjoy my own company so much that it feels like I’m in love. There are days where I look in the mirror and am overcome with pride and admiration for the woman I see.
That doesn’t mean that the dark days are gone. The dark days come back, as they always do. The dark days are part of who I am. I understand that without the dark days, I would not be capable of the spectrum of emotions within me. I accept depression as a toll, one that I will gladly pay as long as I never lose access to my own passion and intensity.
Sobriety is daunting. Yes, it definitely is.