Sunday morning and I am in bed with a coffee enjoying my last morning of "freedom" so to speak. Tomorrow I go back to work a ft er being signed off sick for THREE MONTHS! I just felt my blood pressure leap as thoughts of some of you shaking your head and thinking I am weak, lazy, cheating, skiving, layabout, disgraceful etc. I could go on but I have to remind myself that your thoughts shouldn't affect me as much as they do, you don't know my circumstances, maybe you aren't thinking these things, maybe all those negative words are my thoughts projected out onto you. Some of you most certainly will be thinking those things and that is ok too. All I know is that for me these last 3 months have been a complex mixed bag of feelings, emotions, dreadful sickness, anxiety, understanding, compassion, self doubt, depression, elation, more sickness, and on and on I could go.
I have guilt about taking care of my own needs and part of that has led me to this extended time off work when my body just collapsed and flat out refused to cooperate until it had recuperated sufficiently. I realise here I am still trying to appease the people who think it is wrong I have had so much time off. However, I feel like a whole different person, I feel like the me of about 11 years ago, the me that had ups and downs but was still able to get on with life. The me before I started drinking and hating myself and torturing my soul with day to day verbal attacks. The me that is vitally important in my life and those around me who rely on me. I feel "normal" again, or as normal as I want or allow myself to be. I never want to be too vanilla although I can now appreciate that vanilla isn't just sad plain and boring but simple, unpretentious and actually enjoyable. No one needs to be a tutti-fruity mocha chocolate fizz bomb mango passion chilli all the time. Vanilla sometimes is good.
It has taken me this long to pick apart the tangle of webs I have spun around myself and for years I have felt trapped in this web but helpless to get out of it. Previous attempts to get out haven't got down to the reason that I got tangled in the first place and so have only ever been a short term fix. What I needed was to slow down or in my case STOP completely and thread by thread unravel and the reconnect in the right order.
Imagine the back of you modern tv, with the cable, the Internet, the phone, the DVD player, the stereo, the surround sound etc. Now all of these have been added over the years as they have been introduced to the TV so basically you have a tangle (well if it looks like the back of my TV anyway). All these cables are important to you and are needed to allow your TV to function as you want it to but the problem comes when you keep adding, first a Wii box, then Apple TV, the X-box. Pretty soon you have a huge tangle of cables and it is in no way clear which one connects to what and should you need to isolate one lead, it's going to take some time to unravel it. Unravel being the key word here. Some people believe it or not (I struggle to) have as the years have gone on taken time to make small adjustments as they have added new cables so the tangle has been avoided in a systematic and orderly fashion. Others have reached a certain point of cable chaos and paused to take the time to sort them out to avoid impending disaster. Rarer still ( I think but maybe I am wrong) is the person who with each additional cable has taken the time to label it and attach it in a logical tidy way. Who are you, you organised freak? Ha ha joking. My cables were so out of control I had taken to not even turning on the TV cos something had gone wrong a while back and I couldn't be bothered to deal with that tangle to allow me to watch one show. Basically, stretching this analogy to the extreme, one day you go to vacuum and you pull out the TV stand to get behind to the actual cobwebs and dust bunnies and in doing so dislodge ALL the leads from the TV. DISASTER OF EPIC PROPORTION!!! THAT my friends is where I ended up in October and it has taken me this long to connect everything back in the right order but also culling some dead leads like the VHS player and the dial up modem (I'm running out of metaphorical equipment I know the modem never went into the TV) ok I'm done now.
This time has literally been a reboot from the last 20 years. Whilst I have had some glorious years, really enjoyed raising my daughter and essentially been my own free agent when it comes to making decisions, I have had to cope with all the outcomes, disasters, life changing directions alone and that has been hard. I have had some good friends along the way but no family support or partner to take the reigns for a while. I have had my daughter every weekend bar one or two sleepovers for 18 years. No grandparents to babysit, or have her for the weekend, no partner or even ex-partner to just give me a break. Can you hear the sad violins playing ha ha. It is my lot and I did choose it I know but it has been a hard road and I have struggled to keep my head above water sometimes both financially and emotionally. Oh I'm getting a little teary now. This is not an exercise in self pity but an acknowledgement that it hasn't been easy and I am not just a weak whiny loser who can't hold her shit together. Ultimately I do believe everything happens for a reason and out of even the worse situations some good will come. What I do know for sure is that this would never ever have been possible if I had been drinking, I would have sunk further into the abyss and self pity/hatred and felt like a victim of circumstance rather than an independent woman temporarily weighed down by her baggage.
As I sit here today, things seem clearer, I have a direction I am headed and my mind feels freed up to make considered decisions. I am able to see the good and the bad and not make too harsh judgement on myself and know that I always tried my best even if that best looked pretty shitty to the outside world. Alcohol did act as a life ring in some way even if it was the very thing weighing me down in the end. Every decision even the poor ones have lead me to this point today even the years of drinking heavily have made me into the person I am right now. It was a blessing and a curse and one I can't change or rewrite to suit my needs. I am seven months sober and life just gets more interesting and deliberate each day. I still have a long way to go and still have some negative behaviours to tackle but I continue to be a work in progress and I am liking the progress and the person that is emerging. I even don't hate myself anymore, I can't say I am all the way to love but I definitely like myself, flabby belly, grey hairs, a few wrinkles (surprisingly few all things considered) and all. When I look in the mirror now I am much more likely to say "Ah bless you Ginger, you have done so well" than the old words "look at you, you disgusting wreck of a woman, how have you let it get this bad?"
Self-acceptance, self-love, healing the inner child are all very high on my agenda now and I have made huge strides in these areas and intend to do lots more but for now "Good job Ginger, well done!"