Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving Thanks

I am aware of all the ways I can be ungrateful. It comes from self-centeredness.
My new sponsor, tough-as-nails on the outside/teddy bear on the inside, really gets this and has no problem telling me about it.

A grateful heart never drinks.

I might add: asking God how I may serve does not make room for selfish thinking.

For most of this week, I have been profoundly sad. Sadder than I have ever been. My sponsor thinks this is fantastic. Not because I am sad, but because I am deeply feeling and letting in Reality -- the Truth and what is here and what I have created. And then I have a tool which is to humbly ask God to take this and do with it what He will, trusting his plan for me.

So on the heels of this great Sadness, I awoke today giving thanks. It began on my knees when I met the day and continued in every waking moment since. For my connection to God. For my life and my breath. For having a home. For my dog - my constant, loving companion. For my loved ones, near and far. For being able to cook nutritious yummy food to bring to my sister's. For being sober and getting to a Gratitude meeting. For my AA family and my sponsor. For my own family - every single one. For the abundance and prosperity I have been blessed with. For the loving texts I received. For the friends who kept me company on the phone for my drive. For the Fall air and sunshine. For the people who worked at the WaWa on a Holiday so that I could get gas to travel. For my favorite women's AA meeting and the 4 others who showed up tonight. For a body that works and moves and feels deeply. For my humanness and my falling tears. For seeing another day on this earth.

My heart is open and full and aching all at the same time. I give thanks for its every beat and the Life I have been blessed with, if just for today.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Sad Clown

Sad Clown by ::big daddy k::
Sad Clown, a photo by ::big daddy k:: on Flickr.
"People say I'm the life of the party
cause I tell a joke or two
well I might be laughin
loud and hearty
but deep inside, I'm blue
so take a good look at my face
you see my smile looks out of place
if you come closer it's easy to trace
the tracks of my tears ..."
~ Smokey Robinson

I have had a significant amount of grief arise recently. It is for the one in me who has carried long-standing patterns that can be linked back to what I learned and how my ground was poisoned from my mother and my father as a little girl.    How I, in turn,  have poisoned where I stand.

I didn't have the kinds of victories that kids need to boost their self-esteem, to feel valued, to feel loved. I do not make these statements from a "Poor Me" place; they are statements of fact -- this is just the way it was. I didn't know my place in the world. So I made it up along the way. My mother did not allow me to have the fullness of accomplishments in public forums such as church; she, instead, would brag about something I did and talk about me as if I wasn't standing there so that she could receive the accolades. Every once in awhile I'd get an approving nod or smile from one of the other church ladies, kind of like when you're telling people about the great tricks your dog does and then someone coos and pats it on the head. It was like that.

One of the more painful realizations this past week was to fully see that I was a very sad child. You wouldn't know it, as the song lyrics imply above, unless you got close enough to take a good look at my face and see the tracks of my tears. I was, in fact, a sad clown. I was the kid who tried to do pranks and make funny gestures and faces to get you to laugh. I understand that this was a very clever strategy I devised to deflect from my pain -- so you couldn't see it and I didn't have to feel it.

I grieve this week for the little girl who lulled herself to sleep sobbing into the deep crevices of her pillow so that her sister who slept in the same room wouldn't hear. So that her father didn't have to bear the sight of a "big baby" as he would say aloud about any indicator in me that was going to lead to tearfulness. I grieve for the little boy who became my father because I am aware that his mother was depressed and sickly and it is likely that anything that was reminiscent of her poisoning ground activated his own toward me.

I began writing in diaries starting around age 10. I wrote melancholy poems by the age of 12. Not a soul saw these, nor did I reveal them. I had a closet full of journals up until the age of 18 that held my sadness. When I came home at the age of 21 to collect my stuff and move out, I discovered that all of this writing was tossed out -- by my mother. I was furious. I had wondered if she read any of them, but more so, that she discarded the outpourings of my soul. It is only now that I understand how much I drank AT her and loathed her during my twenties yet was never really in touch with those feelings.

And, I grieve for her too. The enabler of an alcoholic husband and the pressure of holding a family together so that it would not disintegrate. She too could not bear my sadness -- for to feel it would mean she might have to feel her own. She kept everything at bay so she would not break into a million shattered pieces. This is how she survived.

My sister refused to experience sadness and, instead, fought and rebelled. An early pregnancy found her kicked out and in the arms of an abusive father of her children.

My brother, on the other hand, took in the most toxic sips of the poison in our family -- the end result being isolation, withdrawal, and eventually a psychotic break. I believe he was deeply depressed -- he came by this rightly having inherited the crippling DNA from my father's side of the family.

Because I am awake and willing and sober -- I can feel ALL of this. It can exist in the same house with my genuine playfulness and joy. This needs to be felt in its fullness so that I can make room for what else may be dormant and not yet known to be birthed from me.

Farewell sad clown ... your make up is running and it's time to put away the costume. Live into the one who can be fully here, no disguise required.