Life happens when you aren’t looking. It happens without pictures or videos. It happens whether we like it or not. I post a lot and take a lot of pictures. Say what you will about it because I don’t care. It helps me remember. I thought when I got sober that I would gain some memory back. I suppose it is coming back slowly, but over a decade of hard-core damage takes time. I obsessively write things down and keep lists. I have 3 calendars that I actively use. I have electronic lists and paper lists. I pride myself on my organization. Truthfully, I would cease to function if I wasn’t so organized.
People often tell me they feel like they know me or my child because of how much I post. I suppose they do know me more than others, but you don’t really know me. The point of all the posting is for me more than anyone else. It is the best way to document my life I have found, even better than this blog because it is in real-time. Facebook ever so kindly reminds me of years past. Sometimes I like it, others I cringe. Did I really say that? How stinking cheesy am I? Did I really post that? Did I really do that? Yes, Vanessa, you did. Facebook is helping me stay in my lane and enjoy life. I know crazy, but it is truly helping me remember the good, the bad and the oh so ugly. I need that. It helps my selective memory.
I do not get reminders of posts I didn’t make. So there is no reminder of Vivienne crying until she threw up almost daily when she was 2. There is no reminder of the epic fights Travis and I had. I know. I was there, but I didn’t take pictures of it. Well, I did take a few of Vivienne sobbing her eyes out over a broken pop tart she decided I was trying to force on her. I didn’t post about the pain I felt in early recovery on social media. So sometimes, I don’t get the full story, but I know what happened in between those frames and status updates.
I don’t think it is lying to omit the hurt and anguish life gives you from social media. I share the joy so that I can spread the joy. If you want to know about my pain, read this blog. What do you do with a sad status? Like it? And now we have those emoticon reactions: get angry? Say you are sad too? Nah. When I feel sad or just down or things just aren’t right, I reach out. I know those are the times I need solid wisdom from family and friends. I have those now. I didn’t at the end of my using. I had burned every bridge and was standing on my own sad little island no one wanted to visit. That has changed with time and years of sobriety. I have people in my life that love me and that truly care. I share the good and the bad. I have people who I can message and say, hey, this sucks, help. That is what keeps me sober.
That is another reason I am SO open and share so much. Sobriety. There are people who know things are off by my lack of posting or what I am posting. I get messages or phone calls. People call and ask, hey what is up? You good? And I can honestly say, nope. Head under water. No, I do not want to drink, most of the time. There are times that I get so frustrated that I do wish I could just numb that for one moment. I can’t. I know that. There are times I wish I could have just one and drink like a lady. It is easier after 4 years, but there are moments I feel fresh from using. There are moments I can almost taste it. Then, I remember what damage alcohol caused me. She is cunning. She is powerful. She would bring me to my knees. No, I will not drink, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to sometimes.
I think that sometimes people look at my life and think it is perfect. In fact, I know they do. My life is not perfect. I am grateful for all God has given me and the distance I have come, but my life is far from perfect. I love the journey I am on. I am learning to love the road and not the destination. That, for me, is the hard part. So often I get too excited about the destination and forget to enjoy the journey.
I live my life looking forward to things. Sometimes that prevents me from being in the right now. I don’t mean looking forward to more money or anything like that, although, let’s be real, that is a goal. I mean I look forward to fun things I am doing or places I am going. I am impatient so it seem like all I do is build up this anticipation for something that can’t possibly live up to what I have created it to be. I am always thinking, always. I am usually thinking about more than one thing. It is exhausting. I am working on slowing my mind settling these swirling thoughts.
When I got sober I thought I would be on synthetic medication for the rest of my life. I thought I would be numb forever. When I found essential oils it truly changed my life. I now had a way to manage my depression and anxiety. I use oils to truly live my life. However, this is much harder than I realized. I felt things. I felt everything. There are times it is maddening. There are times I just want to NOT feel. I assume I feel more, deeper, than many people. I cry, often. I cry daily. I hate this and love this about myself at the same time. My joy is euphoric, but my lows are utterly depressing. I know you have heard the “you can’t know true joy until you know true sorrow” quote. That is me. I know it, both of them. I often look at these “I deserve a drink” posts and think, man, that would be nice to have just one to numb some of this. I can’t I know that. What do I do instead? Oils. I am serious. Oils, running, baths and food. Oh, well and fishing. I am 4 years in and learning how to handle myself everyday.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love my life. I honestly never really knew how much fun life was until I got sober. Every day I feel like I am getting the hang of it a little more. Some days flat-out stink. Some days, I am glad they end. That is it. Overall, though, life is pretty neat and I am proud of the decisions I make. I post that. Those moments become my pics and shares. The other moments don’t get featured. They happen, but they aren’t what I want to feature That, is why I write this blog. I want you to know I am real. I want you to know sobriety is not clean-cut and shiny and pretty. Sobriety is a disease that lasts forever, but when you learn to turn it into a positive, it can become beautiful.