3/12/10

Before

I found the post below sitting quietly in my drafts. I had completely forgotten it. I wrote it before we moved and before I quit drinking. I came across it today and realized that I must have known then. I knew I was going to quit drinking. It was coming. I had no idea, really and I didn't believe that I could. But I knew.

Written on December 20th, 2010 - exactly one month before:

Maybe she's not even a version of me. It's more like there's a piling up of these things that I've practiced being until they've covered up the real me.

I still have a lot of rubble to rifle through, and yet, I'm finally hopeful. Maybe it's the new chapter in our lives opening up, a move to a new place, a fresh start. The things I still struggle with, like we all do, seem smaller. I'm threatening to eradicate those things I'm tired of living.

Anger is there in the pile, this irritable, frustrated and negative absolute boulder of a thing sitting on the real me.

A habit boulder.

A person can think a certain way until that thinking is real and true, even if it didn't start out that way. We can tell ourselves lies until we believe them with nearly our whole hearts. That's what I did, anyway. I thought and thought defeating thoughts until I didn't even know I was thinking them, and then they took root in my head and heart and that's a very dangerous thing to do. A person can waste their entire life trapped like that, thinking they aren't good enough or their marriage isn't good enough or their mothering isn't good enough...and then doing things to stay in the rubble of thoughts.

I can still remember sitting at our first tiny little table years ago, pregnant with Miles and mad at our house for being too small. Mad that we bought it without thinking. Mad that there was dust everywhere, piling up like this other version of me while an addition was added for more space. Disgusted and self-centered and so easily done with it all.

It was then, I think. Then that I actually decided to stop trying to be positive, claiming exhaustion and I just can't handle this. No, I was not suffering, and yet there I sat like a spoiled child, wishing we had done things differently, giving up on who knows what. Somewhere in me, I allowed those defeating and irrational thoughts to trump the positive ones. I had no idea the stress we were about to endure with Asher's colic and hydrocephalus and I set myself up, ruminating around the negative thoughts. I set myself up to cope rather than conquer.

Even if I have been through some awful and ugly things in my life, even those things are not excuses for what I'm doing. Because the truth is that we can even be freed from the most traumatic of things, but only if we seek hope and stop thinking about ourselves all the time.

Now, my boys are here and they pull joy from my rubble and show me how to see life. So I try. I claw and I pray and I reach out when I start to stumble toward a funk. I simply try.

Because of them, that version of me that is covering me, is being shed from my life. They are the catalyst, the reason for me to say, I'm leaving her.

~~~~~~~~~~
It kind of blows my mind that I was writing this and not thinking about drinking but kind of letting myself think about drinking but still not allowing myself to have this thought...

I wasn't just drinking to cope with anger and sadness...
anger and sadness were amplified because I was drinking.

Denial and rationalization are broken power tools.


This post is a part of Flashback Fridays over at Mylestones. Thank you, Jo.




30 clicked right here to comment:

Sabrina said...

oooh am I really the first? That is a first!

I like you! Lots.

Haley Quarles said...

I think it is interesting to see that even you knew this change was coming for you...and that you would be SO much for it in the end.

I'm still so proud and moved by your strength and honesty will all this.

So glad things get better for you with each passing day.

Jo@Mylestones said...

Oh this is so eerie. It's hard to believe that you weren't really writing about quitting drinking.

And the habit boulder--such a powerful analogy. This is good good stuff.

And of course you're not fired, or banned, or deleted, or whatever it is we do to non compliant carnival bloggers. Because I LOVE THIS, and I love that you shared it with us. (And it totally qualifies. Anything, as long as it's in the rear view mirror--is game for Flashback Friday!)

togetherforgood said...

Oh Heather. I think we all know when God's about to do something in us. We feel it coming, and we cling to the old and familiar like my boys cling to ragged blankets even as I offer them something new and beautiful.

I have been so blessed to watch you walk away from the ragged and familiar, to the new and a bit scary but truly lovely.

Keep on.

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

Corny comment. This made me think of that song "A change is gonna come"

Dawn said...

i love so much how hard God was working in you... for these words to be put down. even if your thoughts were different than His. and your words... learning to cope rather than conquer... they speak to me today, loud and clear. thanks.

Rebecca said...

This post speaks to me deeply. I especially love this:

Sadly, I have lived this way much of my marriage. My demons are different from yours, but demons they are. I have made a change as well, and it's scary. Emotions have intensified and I have to deal with them. Last night I just went into James' arms and just breathed long, slow breaths. I was on the verge of tears, not really understanding myself, but the hug helped me deal with it all.

We may be different, but we have the same feelings! I decided a month ago that the fear of change wasn't nearly as bad as the continually attempting to cope.

Rebecca said...

Weird. It deleted my quote in italics! Here's the part of your post I was referring to:

"I set myself up to cope rather than conquer."

Kelly said...

You inspire me. I feel this sluggish shroud draped over my life but I'm too lazy to rip it back and live the truth it hides. I feel myself tugging, though, and with each post, I put more strength behind it.

Amber said...

Wow. Beautiful. Heartfelt. Inspiring.

Thank you for dusting off this profound piece.

Kelly @ Love Well said...

You're right. This post is almost more powerful in hindsight.

Heather said...

wowza-I think it is great for you to look back and see 'her' even if it was right before you quit and this isn't a post about drinking.

You are so awesome and your words are so eloquent. I really feel the emotion and the struggle in your voice.

Thank you for sharing with us.

xo

Kelly Langner Sauer said...

Yeah, so I needed this today. Lately, I'm becoming aware of a "victim" mentality in myself - I don't know if it's just me, or if others would see it, but I think hard things on bad days. I DO have to try to reach past those thoughts - take the next moment new if I have failed in the last, remember that God is bigger.

Thanks for this. For putting words to what I've been sensing lately. Somehow, seeing it written is not so scary as I thought it might be.

So hard to stay in the light sometimes...

Angie said...

Wow. Just wow. There are no words. Only tears.

God is working in you... through you... I keep praying for you.

L.T. Elliot said...

"I claw and I pray and I reach out when I start to stumble toward a funk. I simply try."

This is how I'm surviving right now. Thank you--thank you for getting me.

Sharone said...

Heather, this post is so profoundly moving. I think we must all have this dull sense of something changing when God is getting ready to do major work--but you've managed to articulate it so powerfully. You're so right - denial and rationalization are broken power tools. They make a lot of noise, but they really only obscure the issues.

Thank you for this.

Boy Crazy said...

I can tell you wrote this for yourself and not for someone else. There's a raw, unsugar-coatedness quality to these posts that we know are safe in a notebook or a draft folder. Thanks for digging it out and sharing it, and this side of you. We love all of you, girl.

xo elizabeth

Lee of MWOB said...

You know what I love most about what I read here? This -

"Now, my boys are here and they pull joy from my rubble and show me how to see life. So I try. I claw and I pray and I reach out when I start to stumble toward a funk. I simply try.

Because of them, that version of me that is covering me, is being shed from my life. They are the catalyst, the reason for me to say, I'm leaving her."

What I see my friend is motherhood bringing out the very best in you. In between all that makes being a mama so.damn.hard., it's so inspiring to see those gorgeous boys of yours bringing out the fight in you. Inspiring you to change.

Oh dude. You're awesome.
xo

jolibe said...

I've always believed that journaling can be a channel for God to speak to you (like in Eat Pray Love), and this just proves it even more!

You are such a talented writer - thank you for sharing! :)

Rebekah said...

Have you been doing the Breaking Free study by Beth Moore? Same stuff, gal. Good stuff.

"Setting myself up to cope rather than conquer." I need to break free from that same mentality.

charrette said...

Wow. Amazing.

Just rolling back the clock a couple of months, what prescience this holds in retrospect.

sanjeet said...

. Thanks for digging it out and sharing it, and this side of you. We love all of you, girl.


Work From Home

wendy said...

Good post. I think it is funny that sometimes in life the things we DO in order to get rid of a feeling or thought actually ADDS to the very destructive thing we Do.

I know, that made no sense did it.
But I know what I meant.

One Crafty Mother said...

"I set myself up to cope rather than conquer."

What a true, brave thing this is... I still do this all the time.

This is a beautiful post. Thank you. It made me think about a lot of things. I'm wallowing in it today - I don't even really know what the 'it' is, but I know I'm wallowing. This pulled me up and out.

Thank you.

-Ellie

Annette Lyon said...

Oh, wow. I so needed this today.

I love how powerful writing is--and how truthful it is. We can say things we don't even realize we know, learn things we didn't know we knew.

txmomof3 said...

I think what really gets to me about this one is the role that writing plays in it. Your writing-down-of-it is a character in it just as much as you or your husband or your kids or the drinking or anything else. It reminds me of that E.M. Forster quote "How can I know what I think till I see what I say?" Those of us who write use it to get from one place to another. Sometimes, like with this draft you found, the writing seems to be ahead of our mind. Which makes sense--the writing is always going to be more in line with our heart and our soul. And lastly, what a gift to the rest of us that you share your writing. It is truly so perceptive, so inspiring. Thank you Heather.

Tessa said...

parts of this post remind me of a post of mine. It's about me being my biggest betrayer. Here it is if you want to check it out. I love your words and can totally relate to the phrase in one of your posts about "here is my heart, not please don't stamp on it"

Tessa said...

oops! I forgot the link. Here it is, my betrayal post...
http://www.mamasreflections.com/2010/02/betrayal.html

deyoder said...

Beautiful.

Sarah said...

THIS:
"A person can waste their entire life trapped like that, thinking they aren't good enough or their marriage isn't good enough or their mothering isn't good enough...and then doing things to stay in the rubble of thoughts."

AND THIS:
"I set myself up to cope rather than conquer."

I know, don't you love it when people quote YOU to YOU? Well, these quotes are little gems. And you're a little gem, a little light learning to shine unto herself.

There will always be rubble. Little bits of broken, ugly thought bouncing around in our minds and our hearts. But just how high we let the pile get, how thick, how dangerous, is up to us. We can clear it out with one happy thought, or positive experience. We can learn to juggle life without feeling so exasperated all the time. Without needing to say THIS IS TOO MUCH FOR ME AND I JUST CAN'T DEAL ANYMORE. (But forgive me when I say that those words DO still escape me from time to time. And I need to let them. And then I move on.)

This life thing is damn hard. Add in the quit drinking and figure out the YOU that is YOU and who YOU want to BE and it gets even harder. EVERY.DAY.

But you are a light. Shining a little spotlight on yourself. At just the right time. You've seized your moment. You've unlocked.

(okay. ramble done.)

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