This morning I studied spelling words with my youngest son. On this morning four years ago I woke up so hungover I could not get out of bed.
If you have read my story you know that four years ago today I was supposed to get up, make french toast, and study spelling words with my oldest son. Instead I had gotten so wasted the night before that I could not even get out of bed. Both of my boys stood by my bedside- eyes wide- part trusting, part curious while I squinted at them and tried to hide up how un-able my body was to function, while downstairs my husband made french toast and covered for me, again.
FOUR YEARS AGO.
December 7th has been an important date in my life since 2004- my oldest son was due to be born today, twelve years ago. He arrived exactly a week late. My sobriety arrived late too, not until December 7, 2012. But it arrived. That’s the important part.
I’ve thought so much about that morning, about the piece of my brain that packed up and disappeared forever, the idea that I am a person who never ever drinks moving in in it’s place so quickly and miraculously that I still examine myself with a sense of wonder at the revelation that occurred right here inside of me; inside of my sad, struggling, hungover, yearning to be free body that couldn’t get out of bed because I’d gotten so wasted- just four short years ago.
I am a miracle. Since I got sober I have always believed it in a secret way, in the aw shucks and scuffles my foot across the floor way. I have believed it in a quiet way, in the way that delights me but that I feel like I should hide because I don’t want to hurt anyone else’s feelings who maybe doesn’t know that we are all a miracle, and also I feel imposter syndrome big time sometimes. Add to that the way I wait for the other shoe to drop, only almost all the time, and I push down my light so no one can see or get overwhelmed by who I am.
It has taken every day of these four years to light my light- for me to get comfortable with being a lighthouse, because that is what I am. I’ve been doing so much reading and thinking and listening and learning all this time about what it means to own and embrace the who of being this person, to understand that I can say I am a child of God out loud and without feeling like a total dumbass because it means what I want it to mean- it means that the things I am alive to be and share are unique to me, to me alone. I found God in my spirituality, which for me is a totally different place than religion.The idea of God and saying God out loud still makes me feel squirmy, but I love the holy way it makes me feel inside to let myself be loved unconditionally by God, who is maybe the most beautiful version of us all.
I am proud of who I am. I took a shitty situation and made it beautiful, I took my broken self up gently and cared for the hurt and the pain and worked so fucking hard to get my feet on the ground and my heart into my hands. I will do that good work every single day of the rest of my life.
I am the perfect person for this job. “You are exactly the right person to do this,” someone said about something else and I immediately made it my motto for my life.
I hid behind my drinking until I couldn’t bear it one more day. I have hidden behind my fear until now. Does this mean I don’t ever feel afraid? Um, HELL NO. It means that I know I am afraid and I keep going. I am the only person, the only one who can do this just like I do. The only one who resonates and speaks and loves the way I do.
I’ve been practicing yoga for a long time. I used to worry about if I was wearing the right thing to class, get there and worry the whole class thought that I wasn’t doing it right, that people were thinking I didn’t belong there, convincing myself that I was an outsider in every situation in all parts of my life. Even through yoga teacher training and beginning to teach I felt like at any moment someone was going to come in and announce “GET OUT!! You are obviously not qualified to be here!” And then everyone would know I wasn’t supposed to be here, that I wasn’t supposed to be anywhere, that I wasn’t supposed to be.
These are all things I told myself, that I did pretty much everything wrong while struggling mightily to do everything right. No one ever walked up and said “Um, your downward facing dog is wrong” or “You are driving wrong” or “You obviously know nothing about putting groceries in a cart” or even “You suck”. It was me. All me. I told myself all these things to protect myself from being the person I am meant to be in the world. Because that shit can be big and scary! And it was easier to hide behind booze and fear than to put my naked vulnerable sweet self out into the world.
A few months ago one of my favorite yoga teachers said something at the beginning of class that blew me away. He said, “Think of your practice as an offering.” Later in that same class during a particularly challenging posture he said, “Do this pose as if God is watching.” As if God is watching, watching my offering I thought, and really put my whole heart and being into it- not to do the pose picture perfect, but to do my version of the pose as a beautiful offering to God, who was watching. Then I immediately made that another motto for my whole life.
This is where I am, four years in. I am living my life as an offering, because God is watching, because y’all are watching, because everyone I meet is watching, and someone else is watching them. I am exactly the right person to do this, I am the only person that can do it this one way I do. It is who I am meant to be: an offering lighthouse, practicing for God, shining my light gloriously every single day as a tribute to the gift I have been given. Thank you so much for reading, and for being here. We are all lights, miracles shining together.