Whew… well, that was big. First, let me say, thanks SO much to all of you who supported me in making my "100 Day" post (see below) a couple of weeks ago coming out about a decision I made in October 2017 to cut alcohol out of my life. It was something I was very nervous to do and had many a second (and 100th) thought about but you all made me feel so loved. Seriously. I probably cried 6 times that day and I didn’t even watch This Is Us till the next morning.
The day after “the day” I walked in to my daughter’s gymnastics building, where at least a quarter of the moms in my town are on any given weeknight. The phrase “lions den” came to mind as I tramped across the parking lot, glancing around out of the corner of my eye to see but preferably not see who I might run into. I sat down with my planner and began organizing for the next week and observing the madness that we’re all in together. What I saw though were just moms - dozens of moms (a few dads too), desperately trying to do right by themselves and by their kids, just like I do every day. I watched them carrying their toddlers or infant seats, necks strained and spines out of wack, corralling their older ones, warding off small catastrophes left and right (“Don’t touch that! The sign says no gymnastics in the lobby! Do you need to go potty? Are you sure????”). The lucky ones stole a few quiet moments to themselves once their kids were inside, to chat or sink into an armchair and check their social media feeds. The motivated ones headed upstairs to the indoor track, to race around in a circle, often with a baby strapped to their chests, on a conference call, or both! And the unluckiest ones, at least in my opinion, chased a toddler around for that hour, begging little, irrational, 18 month old demons to not do demon-things for just one hour.
So, still flying high from all the positive support I’ve received, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I was SO afraid of before telling the world about what I'm doing. I mean, I guess it wasn’t really realistic to think anyone would comment “’Bout time!” or anything like that. Someone close to me worried that if I came out about my choice, I’d be embarrassed if I ever change my mind. That’s something that I thought about a lot in the first couple of months after making this decision. This has been a learning process and I wasn’t always sure it was something I want to do forever. A lot of days I’m still not. But I breathe and wait it out (something that I’ve had to learn to do) and, at least thus far, I’ve always been blessed with clarity that this is my path. But back to that embarrassment question – what if this doesn’t work out? I asked my loved one to play that scenario out and asked who this invisible person is who will laugh at me for deciding to quit drinking and then changing my mind. Guys, that invisible person is a freaking DICK! And I couldn’t care less about being friends with him at all, let alone on Facebook.
But why do we spend so much of our lives frightened into submission by the invisible dick? Why do we fear him lurking behind mini-vans outside of gymnastics? The answer, of course, is that it’s inevitable. From the time we are irrational, 18 month old demons being chased by our own mothers, we receive the message that we might piss someone off. And much of this is necessary. We do need to learn how to function in a world without demonic behavior. Then we get into adolescence and early adulthood and the invisible dick REALLY becomes a force to be reckoned with. And that’s because, well, he’s actually not entirely invisible at that point. Unfortunately, there are an awful lot of real-life, flesh and blood dicks running around during that phase. I’m sure we all remember these people and can think of times that we aren’t proud of too. But I’m just going to throw out there that at some point along the journey, too many of us overcorrect from our demonic behavior and overestimate the number of real-life dicks who survive to adulthood. Then, in the name of pleasing the invisible dick, we lead smaller lives than we should. How sad is that? It makes me sick to think of how many of my own decisions up to this point have been controlled by a very likely non-existent person, who I don't even like. Because for far too long, I lived my life the opposite of OOF. I was absolutely full of them.
So, friends, my message in this first and “day after” post, when I thought surely I’d be regretting coming out with my decision to give up alcohol and when there's a part of me that still wants to hide and play it safe, is to just be brave and try your damnedest to forget about that dick that’s been sitting on your shoulder, scaring you into submission. In all likelihood, he’s not real. And if he is, he sucks and you can’t waste your life living according to his rules. Come from your heart, know that you’re living in accordance with your truth, and fuck that dick (sorry… I really just had to ;)).