We are such complicated creatures. We have so many layers and long buried memories and old pangs of hurt. When I came to AA I was scared to enter a public place like a coffee shop. I was scared everyone was looking at me, that they knew about that tangle of darkness inside of me. I was so deluded. I didn’t get that they were too wrapped up in their own lives. They didn’t care about me!
People started coming up to me after two years. “Wow, I remember you. You look up now! Before you kept your head down all the time and wouldn’t look anyone in the eye!” Yep. That was me. And AA changed me. I went to meetings. I went to the social outings kicking & screaming. For me those social outings were like torture. It was all I could do to keep myself there and not bolt away at any moment. But they changed me. I began to laugh. I got the courage to interject something in the conversation (I still have trouble with this!). I made friends. Good friends, friends that didn’t leave me alone at bars.
I worked my steps and made amends. Step 9 scared me more than any other step, it took me years to compute that they were even possible. I hate letting people down. I hate confrontation. I hate apologizing. Step 9 changed me too. I stopped holding grudges. I began to apologize quickly after I did something. Stuff stopped festering and some long buried hurts were rooted out. When I pass people at work or on the street I do my best to look them in the eyes, smile, and say, ‘hey.’ AA gave me that. I don’t always want to but I try my best to do it.
More work still needs to be done. Or, I should say, ongoing maintenance still needs to be done. I’ve kept this contrary action thing up, I went to a meeting last Wednesday that I’ve never been too AND LOVED IT. It’s 10 minutes away from my house! I’ve heard many of the women at my Monday meeting talk of this meeting and I never took the time to figure out where it was and how to go. It’s appropriate that it’s lovingly referred to not by it’s name but after a nearby housing community. Two of my old beloved home groups back in Long Beach were referenced by the street names they were on, instead of the group’s actual name. One moved like 5-7 times to all different streets but it was still called after that original street name. I felt alright in my own skin at that meeting. I texted my sponsor after about how much I loved it. I signed up to chair on my 7 years in April. I realized the people pleaser inside would make me go so people there wouldn’t think I just came on my birthday. It takes what it takes I guess.
Having my friends and H’s Grandma here over his birthday weekend was great. It was a lot too and I called my sponsor the other night to hash it all out. That was my other contrary action, instead of spinning about everything (I’m a professional mental spinner!), I talked to her instead. What it all came down to was my character defect of perfectionism. This is why I love party planning so much. I can manipulate and plan. I have control. I can perfect it. Relationships, people, and myself, those are things that are perfectly imperfect. I still have such a hard time with things not being ‘perfect.’ Of things not going the way I envision.
The time spent with friends and family was great! I hate that I dwell on this or that, replay scenes or stuff I’ve said over and over, dissecting it. Judging myself about it. It was good that I talked to my sponsor. She helped me gain a new perspective.
And….I’m way over sugar. I decompressed last week after everyone left by hanging out with H, not going to yoga, and eating all of the leftover s’more pops, pancake cake, maple syrup cupcakes, ect. I didn’t really eat all of it, I brought some to my AA meetings! At one point my stomach felt like I was 5 months pregnant! I don’t overly judge myself when I do this, usually it’s because I’m spinning about something and it distracts me. I never want to have an eating disorder again so I try to be gentle with myself & food. But tons of sugar makes me feel sick too, so some walking away from it & prayer needs to be done too!
One of my friends stayed an extra day and we went to Multnomah Falls and downtown Portland:
We drove to Portland from the falls. We were to be gone for about 6-7 hours so I brought my pump. I’ve never given a thought to how there aren’t outlets available in a lot of public restrooms, or perhaps the first two I tried just didn’t have any? It takes me just 10 minutes to pump, but I need an outlet! Powell’s Books tried, they directed my to a somewhat private nook of the store. Wasn’t happening though! I put the pump back in my friend’s car, I gave up. We wandered on to some very Portlandian stores and came across this one: They helped out! The sweet shop girl asked us how we were when we entered and my friend being the friend she is started telling her about my pump situation. She said, ‘You can pump in our bitchen!” A ‘bitchen’ evidently is a kitchen/bathroom. So I pumped! Very cool bitchen, I was entertained while pumping by all of the interesting stuff on the walls:
The store carries some very hip and modern clothes and accessories. It was #internationalwomensday as well! Go women! Thank you to the store for helping a mama out! Class act. We headed to the food carts: Turned one corner and saw this guy, really scared the bleep out of me. It reminded me of the way my son reacts to our exercise ball. I literally grabbed my friends arm and nestled into her side!
To round out the evening we bypassed the line at Voodoos and grabbed some mini donuts (more sugar!) from the Donut Byte Labs food cart:
Lastly, here are some pics from my drive to the yoga studio I’ve been going to. I managed to leave early one day and grab my camera:
Lovely, eh? The love affair with Oregon continues. I will post lumberjack party pictures once I get them!