Do you know me? Have you any idea from whence I came?
And I mean the kind of darkness that reeks like shit and failure, the kind of darkness that feels like a nightmare, where at first you’re running because something is chasing and if you dare to stop you will surely die; and then it feels like you’re falling and now you really know you are about to die. And then the hands. Hands grabbing at your breasts and at your crotch and clawing your thighs so much, so hungry, it feels like your crawling skin might just up and walk away from your cringing flesh and brittling bones.
Darkness, understand? Darkness which follow you in the daylight with residual messages from shitty dreams causing you to think, surely they know! The world MUST know how much I don’t belong here, how much interloping my fake life is. Vicious whisperings from a mind turned against me, Not good enough, Don’t belong, Imposter, Child Slut, Throwaway, Leave now before you’re discovered, Wannabe, Peasant, Tramp, Unlady-like-mouth-like-a-sewer-unloveable-whore.
I crawled over my own demons to get here. I taught myself how to face those fuckers down. I sobered up (eight sober years now). I stopped avoiding my own eyes in the mirror. Twenty-five plus years of alcoholic brain whispering during hapless teeth-brushing— teeth-brushing for fuck’s sake!—don’t you dare look. Don’t you dare look into those bloodshot eyes, don’t you dare look at those flushed, sagging cheeks. Alcoholic. SHAME, strangling self-respect out of me. Shame, calling all the shots. Shame, stalking me like an unrelenting bloodhound, rooting out any inkling of joy and reminding me to, Wipe that fuckin smile off your face! Get back on your knees and crawl!
Ha! And now look. Look at what The Universe can do.
Not only am I still standing, I’m careening through my own life’s sky. Angels rallied, I felt them near all along (but what to do, I thought my mind was up to the usual tricks. I thought I was crazy), and my soul tapped this weary heart, took me by the hand and led me into the light, out of the darkness. Wait …. can I be here, can I stand in this space? Okay.
Huh. Look at that. I did alright, afterall. Happy marriage, amazing daughters, good friends, nice home, decent job. Not cartwheeling through life, but I guess this will do.
And then just as I began to think, stop wishing and hoping,—forget about those dreams, just keep your head down, Maria, keep living this ho-hum existence, at least you’re not dead, at least you’re making a living, be grateful, it could be worse, maybe this is as good as it gets— something in me ROARED. My wild woman woke up— crouched low, baring teeth, gnashing, spitting, cussing, arms bent in fighting position, fingers poised to claw, demanding to know, Who’s in charge here? What is this bullfuckery called life? Who do I see about turning all this shit around? Who can give me more?
And then I found her.
I found the boss. She was patiently staring back at me in the mirror. A nod, a tentative exchange ensued, endless hours of chatting, getting to know each other for the first time in years. We fell in love. And then we decided, let’s do something crazy, let’s publicly genuflect in mutual love. Let’s do that and see what happens. And so we did.
I started this blog. I began podcasting. And so it goes, the story continues. The best is still yet to come.
Currently listening to my girlboss playlist:
Alessia Cara — Wild Things
Alicia Keys — How it Feels to Fly
Beyonce — Sorry (I Ain’t Sorry)
Beyonce — Irreplaceable
Dua Lipa — New Rules
Missy Elliot — I’m Better
Rihanna — Work
Rihanna — Diamonds