18 Months – The End of The Hustle

Today, July 2, 2017, marks eighteen months sober! This is an amazing celebration indeed — one that I will start as I wake in just a few hours and head out on a boat with close friends and B in the summer sun on my first vacation of a very busy year. This milestone of one and a half years marks the beginning of a new era and the end of the hustle. 


When I first stopped drinking — both the first and second times — I felt a large (subconscious at the time) desire to hustle for the worthiness of my sobriety. What do I mean “hustle for the worthiness” of it? Well, Brene Brown teaches that our worthiness is that sense of “I am enough just as I am, and don’t have to do anything to show that I belong” — SO, in the context of my sobriety, hustling for my “sober-worthiness” meant that I felt like I needed to prove that I was worthy of being in recovery — that I belonged. I constantly wanted to make sure that people understood not only that I am sober but WHY I was sober — not just because it is better for me and because I deserve to have a life that is healthy both physically and emotionally but because (insert crazy story here to prove that I am a bad drunk). 

Hustling for your worthiness in any facet of life is exhausting and you never quite win the hustle, and the same is true for sober-worthiness. I was out there trying to prove that I was “enough” to be sober and in recovery hoping to prove myself to who? I guess the same people that I am always trying to prove myself to, and depending on the day that could be just about anyone. I have always wanted to have approval from others and honestly, drinking gave me a break from that –sort of, or so I thought, but not really. There were moments were drinking allowed me to pretend to embrace an IDGAF attitude that I truly don’t have too often in life when I think about others and what they think of me. So, just as I wonder if I’m “enough” in regards to being worthy of other things (as we all do), I wanted to prove I was “enough” of a drunk to become sober. News flash to me: I didn’t have to hustle to prove anything, my drunk behaviors did that for me. 

I think another reason that I was hustling for sober-worthiness was because I had what some would call a “high bottom” –even though I’ve decided I’m not so fond of that word– and I guess I felt guilty for not hitting the “rock bottom” that others have to sometimes hit before becoming sober. I (luckily) never lost a job, got a DUI or ended up in jail (as an adult) due to drinking. I carried a 4.2GPA in graduate school during active addiction and after, held down two jobs and checked some of those “adulting” boxes like buying a car, starting a retirement account, etc. all while blacking out for 2 or 3 days of the week. On the surface, to those who did not know me intimately enough to realize that my drinking and other substance abuse was killing me from the inside out, I looked like I was doing just fine. Sure, I got drunk and made an ass out of myself but I was “just young” and “would grow out of it.” I was really good at rationalizing, even better at pulling others into my alcohol abuse and the best at covering up. And honestly, as bad as it sounds, having an older sister who has struggled with heroin addiction for nearly fifteen years, lost a child, jobs, been in jail, etc. and still continues to use sets the bar a little high — not to say it’s an addict competition but I did feel like I was some sort of imposter compared to her, not that any one else was comparing. All of this combined with this continued “never enough” script that can run in my head created this feeling of being undeserving of being in recovery, stupid for sharing my story and unworthy of getting sober. 

That, my friends, is bullshit. All of the above is bullshit. It is all some idea that I made up in my mind — a load of crap. Just like hustling for my worthiness of being a fan of a specific type of music because I haven’t been to 100 shows, or hustling for my worthiness as a competent professional because I “look young,” hustling for my worthiness of being sober because I haven’t had a significant “on paper” consequence is ridiculous and is a battle never to be won. It took a long time, but I finally think I am realizing this: there is no need to hustle for sober — or any other type — of worthiness. I should be celebrating that I am sober not trying to check boxes on all the reasons that I should not be using and handing it in for some sort of grade.

I didn’t even realize that I was hustling at first but once I figured it out, I realized that giving up this hustle was necessary to continue down this path in a healthy manner that allowed me to move forward. When I was drinking, I was hustling for my worthiness as a person, especially as a social being and to continue to do this would only hold me back in my soberity, and I knew it. I started to realize that I had to sort of force myself to begin to believe that I had nothing to prove because no matter what any one thought of me, I knew that this choice was for me, and that I am a better person for being sober whether I was ever “enough” of a drunk to be sober or not, on the outside. What does it even mean to be “enough” of a drunk, anyway? Like really. If you are any of a “drunk” shouldn’t it be time to reconsider your alcohol use? 

Giving up the hustle isn’t just about giving up the messages you send yourself, it’s also about giving up those people that cause you to feel like you have to hustle. In active addiction, I managed to surround myself with people who caused me to feel like I had something to prove. I spent a lot of time navigating social situations that involved people that I simultaneously felt like I didn’t even really care for but also had to “win over.” The internal battle that went on when bouncing between disliking people and feeling like you have to get their approval was so anxiety provoking and overwhelming that I would drink more and then mold myself to fit into what I thought they wanted me to be, resulting in even worse consequences for myself. So, if you want to give up this hustle, maybe even before you start to repeat to yourself over and over how worthy you are of your sobriety, I recommend this to everyone: GIVE UP THE PEOPLE WHO MAKE YOU FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE TO HUSTLE FOR YOUR WORTHINESS. It is SO freeing! You don’t even have to be sober to do this. If someone makes you feel like you are not enough and you know it’s not you, thank them for their service to you and let them be on their way. You don’t need to hustle for anyone’s approval, not even your own. 

So, here I am, breathing a little less rapidly when I say I’m sober and not filling up the moments after that with horror stories. Oh, and did I mention 18 months sober? **DOES HAPPY DANCE**

Giving up the hustle doesn’t mean I’m going to stop sharing my story, so trust that I’ll continue to be on here writing about my recovery, my sobriety and how it all is going. Actually, it means just the opposite. It makes me want to share more of my story — pieces that I kept quiet, pieces that show not just how bad the addiction was but how great recovery is, how worth it sobriety is and how worthy we all are of it. It also doesn’t mean that I am never going to feel inferior or feel like I am hustling for my sober-worthiness or just my regular old worthiness again, either. It just means it’s all a little bit lighter, at least for right now. Maybe my sobriety is just becoming more imprinted in who I am and my way of being. Maybe the people I am surrounded by now make it a little easier to just be me. Maybe I make it a little easier for myself to just be me. There are many things that giving up this hustle means but the most important is: I am enough and I am worthy of sobriety and recovery, just as I am. 

So here I am, Day 546, feeling full of joy, gratitude, light and love — and still staying up way past by bedtime just for way better and much more satisfying reasons. I am truly one of the luckiest, without anything to prove and no complaints.  

Oh, and PS — If you’re wondering, you are enough and worthy of anything you desire, just as your are, too. You don’t have anything to prove or hustle for. 

Advertisements

Transitions

Today I decided that I cannot hold one more piece of new information without unloading some of the current information in my head. Then I immediately decided that this was an unrealistic decision because well, let’s be realistic here. 

I have been really slacking on keeping this thing up so here are some new things going on in my life: I leave for vacation in t-minus 2 days (see above for why this is so important). I bought a house and move in 5 weeks. My teenage niece is living with me and B. I am team captain-ing (yes this is a verb) of two different teams and therefore fundraising for two different non-profits with events one month away from each other. I’m halfway through reading at least 3 books and listening to 1. I am halfway through tidying up as outlined in the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up (which I did finish reading, by the way). Oh, and I have put myself in time-out from saying “yes” to any other commitments or starting any new projects until I move August (see above for why this is also so improtant). I am still sober and I have had a little too much caffeine so far today and still have half an espresso drink on my desk. 

Okay, now that that is all out of the way. Life is good and let’s get to the transition stuff… 

First things first, let me just say: I SUCK AT TRANSITIONS! (OK, OK.. Positive self-talk): I’m not great at transitions. 

I am getting better at them, BUT I just don’t do super great with the grey area of things and I also don’t do well with things ending and new things beginning, so put those two traits together and well, there I am not being great at transitions. 

Generally, I prefer for one thing to end abruptly and then to dive head first into like 10 others things, usually making sure to burn a bridge or two on the way. Okay, I don’t actually prefer that but this is generally how transitions go for me. 

So right now I am in more than one transition, and trying to take things one at a time, with the biggest transition being the house. I have been trying to take this one smoothly and calmly but it is a LOOONG transition (They are renting the house back for a month and a half — I actually closed a few weeks ago but don’t move til August) and so it is really dragging it out, testing my patience, making me live in the grey area. Hey, the universe gives you what you need, right? The good thing is there isn’t much to sabotage. I think. B and I are moving together and I can’t wait to bid adeui to where we are leaving. I guess that would be the thing I am most in danger of sabotaging. Not the actual house of course but just the whole process of how the renting of his house will go and all of that. I have actually tried to take myself out of that whole process to avoid the issue. For me, that is growth. Stepping back rather than micromanaging and sabotaging. Although at times I’m still trying to micromanage while avoid but hey, progress takes time. 

On that note, are transitions this hard for everyone? I wonder this quite often. The other day I thought back to my first college apartment and how I got in a huge fight with a roommate about ketchup and cleaning or something dumb just a few days before we moved, or how I generally make sure I don’t have great relationships with upper management on my way out of any job (oops!). I’m wondering if maybe there is some subconscious reason for all of this or if it’s the norm. I’m not really sure why this wouldn’t just be my subconscious but who knows. 

And, what makes transitions so hard? I guess it’s all that unknown that makes it so tough for me. Like what is going to be like when I leave here and change to something else? Will it be better? Will it be worse? Better burn that bridge so I can’t wonder. Ha. But seriously. Change is hard. 

The good thing is that I’m definitely aware that my sobriety and my stability mentally and physically have contributed to this transition (1) being able to happen and (2) not being so chaotic. It’s super hard to manage the grey area when you are in the middle of a black out. And I am also a MASTER drunk sabotager. So for my sobriety, I am grateful. That is all. 

Day 543 of sobriety, 37 days til moving day. 

Still Change

 

I stand.

At the edge of the water, toes spread wide in the sand. I stand.

The breeze is cool and strong, whipping sand at times but I don’t mind.

I stand.

Still.

Still in body, still in mind. Am I still in breath, too?

I stand.

Still.

This. This is it. This feeling of stillness. Of peace. Of contentment. I search for this feeling and here it is.

Still.

The water is cold. It brushes my feet and I feel the life of the sea connecting with my toes.

Cold. Energizing. The waves, I watch them as they move, as they dance.

In and out, ebb and flow, back and forth.

Here on this beach, I stand.

Still.

But it is all changing.

 

Shame Funk

Lately, I have been in the funkiest funk. I have felt like I shouldn’t be writing because it should all be rainbows and butterflies, right? But it’s not. There isn’t any real reason for me to be in such a funk. I have a lot of good things in the works, but then again I hate waiting for good things to work out. I get really anxious and antsy why I have to wait, and well I have about 3 more months of waiting something out until it actually changes, so there’s that. I’d like to say that’s all of it but it’s really not…

I have been consumed by shame lately. Silently but still consumed. 

You know how you remember details of a bad dream throughout the day sometimes? Yep, it’s like that. Except with my life. I have these flashes of memories, sometimes while driving, trying to sleep, talking to someone (really whenever) of things that instantly make me want to crawl into a hole and hide. 

I know that shame cannot survive being spoken, but I don’t want to speak the things I am feelings out loud. 

I know that keeping feelings inside will literally eat a person up. 

But yet, here I am. 

Consumed with shame. Consumed with all the bad decisions I have made. The terrible ways I have treated others and mainly myself, because even though I fucked numerous people over while I was I actively using, the other person I continued to keep fucking over repeatedly was myself. Over and over. 

I still have my sobriety, so there’s that. There is always that. 

5 Tips to Prevent Alcohol Culture From Stealing Your Soul

Sometimes, I will be on social media, or other times, I’ll be walking in a store trying to get my shopping on, and then BAM, something pops into my view and my eyes roll so far into the back of my head that I think they might stay there for eternity. 

Lately, I have felt SURROUNDED by alcohol culture. I know this isn’t a new thing but I feel like the volume on the screaming of individuals that they NEED to have alcohol is amped WAY up. Everywhere I look there seems to be something: “It’s Wine-O-Clock Somewhere” signs, “Number of Bottles of Wine for The Snow Storm” memes, and (YES, this is real) a “Being Sober Sucks” shirt. 

(Record Skips) 

Okay, okay, let me own my stuff before I go any further: Before I stopped drinking, I was a HUGE culprit of perpetuating alcohol culture (Well DUH, because I was addicted to alcohol). NUMBER ONE: I had a shot glass collection from all over the country/world. I would BEG people to bring me back shot glasses because I wanted to show off how cool they were, and how cool I was, of course. Items I also proudly owned: painted wine glasses on display, coasters with quotes about beer curing everything or whatever, a poster that said “Keep Calm and Drink Wine” and so on. I had NUMEROUS social media posts showing off pretty drinks, referencing booze, planning the next time I was going to get drunk and (of course) cursing my hangovers and bad decisions (Thanks, Facebook Memories for never letting me live those down). I am also pretty sure I used empty bottles of wine/liquor as a display at one point in my life because college, or grad school, or whatever. 

So, now that we have that all out of the way.. if any one wants that collection of shot glasses, let me know and you can come pick it up from my house. 

Like I was saying, I sometimes find myself getting SO triggered by these things. Maybe it’s confirmation bias (or maybe the winter just brings out the booze references) but it has seemed never ending the past few weeks. I could guess that some people will dismiss this and say it’s all because I “can’t have it” and deep down really want it but I don’t think that’s it. It’s just like this eye opening awareness that alcohol culture permeates EVERYTHING around me, and no matter how long I am sober, until this shifts at a cultural level, I will never NOT have to face this twisted humor. 

From my perspective, on the outside of the haze, all I see is people being manipulated by the media and alcohol companies into thinking that being obsessed with alcohol is cute and that alcohol is helping them to prove that they are cool, and they are passing this mentality down to their kids, letting them grow up in an alcohol enriched culture. We did this with cigarettes when doctors still thought they were safe, right? And now we have laws that regulate marketing so we don’t target kids? But, some how alcohol is different. I just don’t get it! It’s almost like breeding addiction, it’s almost like being in a cult where you worship wine and you have to surround yourself with reminders that wine is the savior.. almost.. but seriously.

(DEEP BREATH) 

Okay, I’m on a tangent. 

So, back to the actual post: If you are like me, sober, or just woke, and alcohol culture is making you wonder if you should just shut down your social media and order off Amazon forever, here’s what I have to offer you: 5 Tips to Prevent Alcohol Culture From Stealing Your Soul

  1. Control What You Can (and Let Go Of What You Can’t): There is a lot of this shit that you just can’t control, so let it go BUT if you can control it, go for it. If there is someone who is consistently posting booze memes on social media, change your settings to see less of them or just flat out hide them. They will never know, and your blood pressure will thank you for it. Don’t like what a particular store has to offer in regards to merchandise it sells? Spend your hard earned dollars somewhere else! You can’t necessarily control the stock of every store you shop at, but if it makes you uncomfortable, don’t do it. 
  2. Don’t Take It Personally: A lot of the culprits who are glamorizing alcohol in my life are people I love and respect dearly. I know they are adults and they are free to make their own choices. Yes, it annoys me to see the posts but I don’t hold it against them and I let myself let go of the specific frustrations. I know that they are posting whatever or decorating with whatever because it serves a purpose to them, and that is enough for me to not take it personally. (SIDE NOTE: I also try not to assume that every person who loves alcohol is an alcohol abuser or addict, because that is one hell of a slippery slope that I don’t feel like sliding down with no padding.)
  3. BREATHE and LET IT GO: Sometimes I am in a store and I will see something that will make my mind wander right over to the edge of “What the FUCK?” And then, I just breathe. And I just let it go (cue Frozen theme) because just like other terrible decisions I see people make in the same place, the grocery store, if they want to load up on their wine sign and some High Fructose Corn Syrup, who am I to tell them what to put in their cart?
  4. Stay Supported: You know you have your people, and you love them dearly, so stay supported by your tribe! They are seeing all this shit, too, and they are just as confused about why this is normal. They also get the cognitive dissonance that comes with the fact that they were there too, at one point. Go to them, call them up, vent your frustrations, listen to their perspectives, love them. If you don’t know where your people are yet, FIND THEM. Go to a meeting, listen to some Podcasts, join an online recovery group. Find your tribe and love them hard. Fill your social media up with their positive posts instead of the most recent shot of a Bloody Mary. 
  5. Own Your Sobriety, Share Your Story and Lead by Example: YES! Own your fucking sobriety, you glorious being! You are foraging new ground by being a sober human, so go on with your bad self! By making the choice to be sober, you are ALREADY starting to change this culture. You are going against the norm, you are breaking ground! Share your story with those you trust enough to tell and let them know how alcohol abuse or addiction shaped you. You don’t HAVE to hide in the shadows or behind anonymity any longer (unless you want to, of course). When you share your story, you are helping more people than you know and you are helping to break the stigma that keeps this alcohol culture pumping through our veins rather than acknowledging the risks of it all. You are already leading by example just by being sober, but if you want to add some merch to it, support a sober artist, buy some shirts or signs that promote sobriety and own that shit! Spread positivity, spread hope and spread love! Be the badass change you want to see in this world. 

The truth is, we live in a world right now where a lot of people are looking for an escape and quite frankly, I don’t blame them. And to stand in the middle of the fire, to be in the shit and to stay sober, you are a badass and you shouldn’t have to feel lesser than for not wanting to drink alcohol. It shouldn’t have to distress you that this is our culture, and it doesn’t have to any longer. Alcohol had a control on you for a long time and it doesn’t now, so don’t give away your power to some bullshit marketing scheme when we may all be discussing how we fell prey to it in 50 years anyway. 

Own your truth, be you, and the rest will come! 


Fear: Bye, MF-er!

Fear is a motherfucker. Fear is a motherfucker that holds me back from myself. You know who’s fault that is? Mine. My fucking fault that I’m scared. Sure, there’s some shit in my past that might make you feel scared when you hear it. There’s fucked up shit in all of our pasts, right? That’s part of the human condition. But my fear, my fear is that I’ll be too much. I’ll be too much for you to handle. Too much for the parents of the kids I work with. Too much for my bosses. Too much for my friends. My family. My partner. I fear that if I open up and become the REAL owner of my story. Own the details and speak them out loud that I’ll be too much, I’ll get pushed away and push back, and then on top of that, I’ll fail.

I’m afraid I’ll fail and then I’ll be embarrassed. That I’ll end up on the sidelines. I’m afraid to fail. I’m afraid to put in SO much effort and give it my all and then fall on my fucking face. It’s part of the reason I stopped writing so much. It’s part of the reason I keep quiet about my journey to sobriety. It’s the reason I stir with pent up energy at times, edging to move forward but not sure what forward is or what forward means.

WHERE IS THIS ALL COMING FROM? Radio silence for months and I’m back on the blog ranting and raving about fear–the fuck? I was in a spin class earlier today–nope, I am not a “spinner” this was my second class in probably, six months but the instructor, oh man.. she is someone who will call you a pussy out of love. She will tell you to fuck yourself, and she means it, but in the best way possible. She said it today and it really struck a chord with me: If you are not happy, it’s your own fucking fault. She kept talking (or maybe this was before, I don’t know I was trying not to fall off my spin bike): You could die today. THIS! I live in SO much fear that I am going to die. SO much fear. Where does this fear come from? Because I have SO much I want to do, so much I know I can do but I’m so busy holding my own damn self back that I just hide it away.

But here’s the thing. I know that failure is a part of growth. I know that I WILL be too much for some people and that’s okay. So what am I really afraid of? My own fucking greatness. My own fucking happiness. I am afraid of my own success way more than I’m afraid of my failure. I’m afraid to make a difference because that means that I have to step out of my comfort zone. Afraid to REALLY WANT all of the effort that it takes.

And in the words of Esther (probably at some point or another if not today): If you are living in your comfort zone then fuck you.

Fuck me. Fuck fear. Bye, mother fucker. I want to live so boldly, and so true to myself that I don’t worry if some motherfucker kills me when I get out of my car late at night because I have given all there is to give. Because I have shared my story. Because I have given my all to make a difference.

Hi, my name is Courtney and I am/was addicted to alcohol. 

8/30/16 (CourtingPossibility) Grief Is Like The Ocean…

There’s a quote that I can’t shake this time of year, and it reads: “Whatever you imagined is wrong. There’s nothing romantic about death. Grief is like the Ocean. It’s deep and Dark and bigger than all of us. And pain is like a thief in the night. Quiet. Persistent. Unfair. Diminished by time and faith and love.”

This episode, Episode 3 of Season 6 of One Tree Hill, the one where Quentin Fields is suddenly killed in an unexpected turn of events (sorry late Netflix watchers) aired September 15, 2008, 734 days after my nephew was killed. And these words, this quote, they were written for a TV show, about a fictitious character, a pretend killing, but they stuck with me, sunk deep into my soul. I carried them with me, I cried reading them, I re-posted them on social media, I re-wrote them, I re-read them, they became ingrained in me.

Grief is bigger than all of us. We can study it, we can “treat” it, we can support people going through the grieving process. But it’s SO much bigger than every single one of us. And it doesn’t go away, maybe it fades… maybe… but it never goes away. And pain, “pain is like a thief in the night.” How true is this? The pain sneaks in at the strangest moments, and the physical sensations of our heart quickly being ripped out deafen ANY hopes of experiencing the joy of that moment.

This time of year used to be my craziest time of year, maybe it still is. August 30th is my nephew’s birthday; he would have been 12 this year. September 12th is the 10th anniversary of his death. His killing. I always say death but he didn’t just “die,” it wasn’t a natural cause and it wasn’t peaceful. He was killed. The details I would rather not get into but I can’t keep taking away from the brevity of it because I don’t want you, the reader, or whoever I am speaking to about it to be uncomfortable, to feel sad, to feel pity. He was fucking killed. By a doped up idiot who his mother was dating. We will leave it at that.

After it all happened, I avoided Baltimore like the plague. I detested this place for so long just for the association I had with his killing. I didn’t want to drive there, I definitely didn’t want to go there. Quite honestly, I’m not sure I’ve been on that street in Brooklyn again, and that’s just fine with me.

I was hateful, so incredibly hateful. To everyone. If you dared to smile in my direction from September 2006 to probably 2008, Godspeed my friend. But seriously. I remember a “come to Jesus” conversation with one of my best friends. She had been beside me through the whole thing from start to funeral. She had continued to stand beside me. The conversation went something like: You can be hurting, we are all hurting but you have to stop being a hateful bitch because no one wants to be around you. No kidding. Thinking back, I could’ve skipped being around me, too. The hate permeated the air like the smoke from my cigarettes.

So, this time of year, to “cope,” I spent boozing it up (and I mean capital B-O-O-Z-I-N-G I-T U-P) and being a hateful, spiteful human being. The two weeks or so in between his birthday and death day or whatever you call the anniversary were quite a guilty, grief stricken adventure. Two years ago, before I stopped drinking (the first time), this time of year was my worst bender to date possibly in all of my drinking history. It was several solid weeks (maybe a month) of pure disaster. Because why experience grief when you can stuff it deeper, right? Who was I kidding, there is no hiding from grief.

Last year was one of the first years that I felt like I actually grieved. I mean, I have spent years crying over this. But truly grieving and releasing pain, that came 9 years later… NINE YEARS. Truly feeling all of the feelings that come with the tears. The guilt, the sadness, the pain, the grief. It carves its way in and sometimes it feels like it will never get out. But then some days, it does, even if it takes several years. It starts to come out. Through tears, through stories, through the comfort of a friend, from words on a paper or on a screen. Grief gets out. Slowly but eventually, somehow even though you thought it never would, it begins to gently fade out.

Tonight, I sit here at my computer with a LaCroix Sparkling Water (fancy, I know), listening to some sad music and writing. Not really writing with a purpose, more just writing to tell a story, debating if this even “blog worthy” or maybe it’s too personal. Decisions, decisions.

If I close my eyes, right now, nearly 10 years later, I can still hear my sister’s voice as it traveled from Baltimore to Damascus, through my mother’s cell phone early in the morning, before the sun came up on September 12, 2006: “He isn’t breathing! He isn’t breathing!” She was hysterical. Chills. I can still see the casket, the body, the people gathered around. The funeral, the drama that accompanies death, the police, the questions, the courthouses. I can still see the bruises the weeks before, suspicious but not suspicious enough for Baltimore City Child Protective Services. I can see the house, being in there after it all happened, the spoon in the trashcan, the conversations about what to do. It never truly leaves us, does it? The memories.

They aren’t all bad, though. The laugh. There is NO losing the memory of the laugh. There is no losing the joy that a 2 year old experiences even though you know that he has a horrible life. You know that his parent can’t handle taking care of him, that something dangerous is going on but you can’t do enough or say enough to get people to listen to you. And then he laughs, and it all disappears. It all goes away. Because anyone who has ever been around a child knows that their laugh pierces a room, and it pierces the worst pain in the world, shining a bright, white light on all that it touches. 

So when the grief and the pain sets in, because it does, I find solace in the comfort that he never got to lose the innocence and laughter. He never had to wonder why his mom just couldn’t get it together. He never had to experience loss or sadness. He never had to become this hard shelled being that we all become because of life. Who am I kidding? I think this maybe 2% of the time. It’s another one of those things I say and I type because it “makes people feel better.” I do feel those things, sort of. I am glad that he didn’t have to continue living in that house with those people under those circumstances. But I’m not fucking glad about any of the rest of it. I’m not glad that my sister was using drugs. I’m not glad that she shacked up with the biggest piece of shit known to man. I’m not glad that my niece was exposed to this. I’m not glad that this shattered my family. But saying I’m glad that he didn’t get to experience the pain, or that it brings me peace, it’s one of those things that you just say. It makes you “seem better.” It makes ME “seem” better. And sure, I am “better” but it never goes away, not truly. Never.

So this is another one of those “there is no lesson” kind of posts. I guess. Except that you don’t need to put the expectation on yourself (or allow others to put the expectation on you) that you should just “move on” after a certain amount of time. That like magic, poof all that sad shit should just disappear. Because it doesn’t work that way. There is no time that ticks on a clock several years or months or days after a death that says that you feel better. And you don’t need that. You need to feel those feelings. Losing a loved one defines us. You can’t run away from it. Maybe how you decide to handle it will help. Maybe it won’t. But in time, in your OWN time, you will begin to heal. Fuck anyone who says otherwise. That if it takes longer than 6 months or a year you have some sort of “disorder.” Fuck that.  I’m a mental health therapist and I say fuck those people. You WILL get through this but you will do it in your own way and on your own time. There’s nothing wrong with you if it takes nearly a decade or even two. You won’t even notice it at first. But it will come. Until then, take comfort in your loved ones, stay away from too much of anything and love yourself. Love yourself when you are crying and grieving, and when you are strong and smiling. 

10 years from now. On August 29, 2026, I will be sitting at my computer (or virtual reality, or whatever new fancy technology there is), listening to sad music, tears in my eyes, grieving the loss of an amazing little boy with the most beautiful blue eyes and pain-shattering laugh in the world. And there is not a damn thing wrong with that. 

Another quote I love from that episode about grief reads: “That’s what writers do. We put pen to paper in times of devastating tragedy. And we try and make sense of it. Maybe we will find some clarity in some of those words. Maybe we will find peace.”

That’s what writers do. I love you Anthony Joseph, forever and always. ❤