Where am I? I’m sitting at my kitchen island in my red and white heart pajamas. Drinking my umpteenth cup of coffee. Listening to The Lumineers. Feeling wildly, wonderfully stuck. Yes, I said it. Stuck. But not stuck in a bad way. I swear. Stuck in a sludgy, human, this-is-life way. I’ve been staring at a blank screen, typing words and erasing them. This isn’t like me.
Or maybe it is.
The now me.
The new me.
It’s hard to explain really, but there’s stuff going on in my life that is affecting me, shifting my perspective and my priorities, and yet I’m not at liberty to write about this stuff and this makes me feel quiet, necessarily so. This is why I’ve been less present on the blog. So, yes, stuck in a certain sense, but decidedly unstuck in another sense because here I am being truthful (if vague) and my goodness, there is something so freeing about just telling it like it is, about refusing to pretend.
I haven’t been drinking. Two-plus weeks now. And I feel a tremendous sense of calm and clarity, but I’m also feeling everything else. Because this is what happens when you remove your numbing agent of choice, you feel it all. And this has been truly incredible. There is no gauzy filter between me and the world, no sneaky hangovers, no blurring of existential edges. It’s been amazing and unsettling. Both.
Someone told me the other day that there’s nothing so special about my drinking story. Nothing revelatory. Maybe not. Or maybe so. I don’t know yet. And I’m not sure it matters. Mine is not a story of extremes, of low bottoms. No. Mine is a subtle story of waking up, of wanting more, of deciding at the tender age of 37.5 that I want to actually see my life and feel it fully (or as fully as possible), even the harder stuff. Is it a privileged story? A blah story? Maybe.
But, my goodness, it is mine.
And maybe it’s not even a drinking story! I see this now. I think drinking has been a distraction from a bigger story, a deeper story, a story of self-discovery and identity. Maybe this is a story about a girl waking up in the middle of her life, looking around at her beautiful, imperfect world, and asking:
Who am I?
What do I want?
What does it mean to love and be loved, to gain and to lose?
What does it look like to tell the truth?
To live the truth?
I did a book event last night and this woman came up to me at the end of the evening and as I was signing her book, she said to me, sheepishly, You know. I have a story to tell. A whole book. I have been through a lot. But I’m not sure anyone would care or want to hear my story. And I looked at her and I said things, with an adamance that startled me.
It’s your story.
Do not apologize.
Write it down for YOU.
This morning, as I sit here in my silly pajamas, I smile big and realize I wasn’t just talking to her. I was talking to me. To all of us.
We all have stories. Stories we are living and processing, facing and escaping, moving toward and moving past. Stories we are dreaming about at night and in the shuffle of our busy days. Stories of being lost and being found, of being exquisitely, fruitfully stuck and then, whoa, like magic, starting again.
Stories we can’t tell.
Stories we must tell.
Stories that go to the heart of who we are.
Who we once were.
Who we are becoming. Because we are always, always, becoming.
That’s the most exciting part.