Long Slow Surf: Swimming
October 3, 2012

One month into a one month course on swimming this much I know, I am a three stroke, same side breather. Awesome. I also know I am taking another month of lessons but we’ll get to that in a minute.

When I started writing about this adventure I mentioned my physical therapist’s ‘suggestion’ that I get a kick board to use during laps. He didn’t elaborate on the value of using a kick board and I didn’t ask what they might be. Rather, I dismissed the whole idea as boring (read: not the ‘suggestion’ I wanted to hear) and promptly forgot about it. Then the lessons started. Night one of my first round of swimming lessons began with, you guessed it, an introduction to the kick board and it’s uses in swimming practice. Perfect.

Turns out, that amongst other things the kick board when used during laps is a great way to work on ‘the core’ muscle groups. My core is awful. Always has been, actually, to be fair it is much improved thanks to my Muay Thai workouts but still…weak. So, she (my swim instructor), had me at core. Ever used a kick board during laps? It is a lot of work and not a lot of movement. In fact, if you’re not conscious of your kicks you will likely be moving backward. Awesome. In the days after lessons started and practicing began in earnest it was not lost on me how much further along my core and thus my swimming would be if I had taken the DIRECTION of starting with a kick board back in July. Whoops.

Got my first board!!!! Kick board, anyway. My ‘lazy’ swimming practices have been replaced in the last month with some measure of discipline. I bought my very own kick board, worked out my personal comfort regarding side breathing and learned my stroke count. These basic understandings of swimming and swimming practices have altered my time spent in the pool, dramatically. Laps are switched off between kick boarding and free style. Hell, lap lengths have gone from swimming the width of the pool to swimming the length. All that in four weeks.

The last month spent in lessons not only served to re-instill fundamental swimming practices for me but also brought to the forefront a few elements of this ‘surfing adventure’ that will need to be engaged sooner rather than later. I say surfing because that is the ‘end game’ but I am fully aware that the specific elements that I am engaging today are about swimming, what’s at hand are equipment, suits, weather and still more training.

Equipment

Not only did this one month of swim lessons warrant the purchasing of a kick board but also in short order my first set of goggles. These buys may seem innocuous enough but as it happens equipment purchases get pretty complicated pretty quickly. Goggles: The pair I have are Swedish style and ideal for the pool. They’re not going to cut it in open water. Just google ‘open water swimming goggles’ the 4 billion blogs, lists, rankings and reviews that comes up is staggering. And, that’s just goggles! My next purchase will likely not be goggle related at all as I already know that I need a swim cap. A swim cap! (<–Ew.) Google that shit, too. Geez-a-loo.

The point above is this, I will be negotiating a myriad of equipment purchases from open water goggles to wet suits to bigger boards in fairly short order and the task is daunting.

Suits

Swimming suits should probably come under equipment but they don’t, not really. Not yet. For now, it’s like this, there is nothing particularly functional about any of the fashionable suits I own while doing laps. NOT EVEN the one piece. As a result, sport suits have just hit my radar  and present their own path to be negotiated. Swim suits lead directly to water wear in general, it’s not all about ‘suits,’ people. These all lead to wet suits…

Weather

Wet suits lead to weather. It is October. October begs the question, are you really going to start open water swimming in the winter?????? It is possible here in the South lands but is it a good idea? I’m thinking not. I’m thinking open water swimming is on delay until the spring. Maybe by then I will have figured out which goggles and which wet suit to wear! Between now and then, I think (<–at this moment) I’m staying in the pool.

The Next Right Step

October brings with it another month of lessons. This months lessons are not meant to focus on swimming basics, well…not swimming pool basics. I have figured out through a ton of reading that there are a couple of open water basic skills that I will need to work on in a pool. First among them, dolphin diving. Second, sighting. To that end, I have signed up for another month with directions. After that, I have located a local pool that offers several hours of lane use day or night through out the week, year round. I will be getting a pass there to continue working on swimming skills during the late Fall and Winter.

Not to worry though, the ocean and boards are in my immediate future. I have resolved to spend more time paddle boarding in the coming months. If you have not paddle boarded, do. For me there is a tranquility in paddle boarding that I find in fairly short order upon paddling out. So much so that it begs the question, why do I wait so long between paddling days? Why?

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Long Slow Surf: Drowning
September 24, 2012

Ten minutes late for my first swimming lesson. How’s that for kicking off my big surf adventure?! Could be kind of concerning, I guess? As I already know how to swim I’m not particularly worried about it though. I’m just not a “strong” swimmer. I’m a “gettin by” swimmer. <—And, that is in a pool.

 

 

It occurred to me sometime early this summer that I had to learn how to surf. Blame it on the books I was reading. Desire, books and a whole lot of inaction sums up my “summer of learning how to surf.” In my defense, I spent the early weeks of summer with a boot on my left ankle and/or in physical therapy working to regain a full range of motion after a “small” tear. (Quick FYI on tears: big or small, when the attending medical staff offer condolences that your ankle isn’t broken they mean it. <–Months. M-O-N-T-H-S.)

After the boot came off and the PT began…June…I started asking my therapist at every session, can I run? No. Dojo? No. Run? No. Really? No.

Fuck.

A couple weeks in I was informed I should be swimming. Specifically, a kick board was mentioned and laps. Boring. Can I run? No.

So, I swam. No kick board, some laps. Whatev. Then, in mid July, at a session I asked, can I run? No. Dojo? No. Run? No. Surf? Yeah, we’ll tape your ankle like a gymnast. Uh….really? Yeah, tape it up.

Fuck.

Suddenly moving along my ‘learn to surf’ obsession, from the theoretical to the real, was hinged entirely to my ACTUALLY learning how to surf! Conveniently, I got the ok to surf just days before the US Open of Surfing came to Huntington Beach. There was exactly no chance I was going to try to get near a wave while that circus was in town. I was, however, going to go to the circus.

The US Open of Surfing

 

 

In the days between my PT therapist green lighting surfing and the start of the Surf Open all my concerns regarding surfing had an opportunity to ferment in my psyche. First and foremost, drowning. No, kids, not sharks. D-R-O-W-N-I-N-G.

It is with pure awe that I stare out over my local beaches, on any given day, and see dozens to hundreds of people of all ages and shapes charging out into the Pacific like it ain’t no thing. It seemed to me that everyone everywhere that could swim had somehow been blessed with the ability to take that skill into open water. That is not how my swimming skills developed!

I have been in the water since I was a kid, lakes, pools, rivers, okay. None of the aforementioned experience has led me to believe that I could charge out into the ocean and handle my shit with complete competence. If there was a class on that, I missed it. And, it must just be me, right? There are toddlers with boards, grannies, too, not to mention, athletes and seriously out of shape folks. Further proof that the whole world can swim came by virtue of the fact that nobody ever talks about swimming relative to surfing. I had gone through a half dozen books, read a couple back issues of Surfer, lived in beach communities for years at this point…swimming or, more specifically, not being an open water swimmer is not a subject that had come up.

Fuck.

How does one explain to a surf instructor that they were not gifted with an innate ability to swim in open water? Sure, sure, that three year old appears comfortable but this 30+ year old has some concerns…

Enter the pros. My intention with the US Open of Surfing was to simply stop by mid-week, have a look around, see a heat or two and bounce. Accordingly, I grabbed a coffee and headed down to the pier in the early hours of the morning. Sitting in the bleachers with half-a-dozen others, coffee in their hands, calling into the office, etc. it seemed like an interesting enough way to spend an hour. Then the characters from those books I had been reading came to life on the waves before me, names I had never heard of and ones that I had. My first heat was Rob Machado’s only heat. Awesome! I saw my first heat, second, third…two and half-hours later I had a new plan. Be back first thing in the morning, dressed appropriately with everything I could possibly need for the day and not move again.

And so it was.

Sitting on the beach the next afternoon surrounded by thousands of people the event announcer made mention of a life guard charging into the rip tide, what he said was (and this is a paraphrase) ‘nothing ruins a life guard’s day like a board from Cost Co and a kid that can’t swim.’ Holy. Shit. ←Right. There. That is when it hit me, half those people may not even know how to swim! They are just hauling their dumb asses out into the ocean on some kind of ‘what could go wrong’ faith! Awesome!

Just so we’re clear, had I just charged out into the ocean and gotten caught in that rip tide I would be that fool out there flailing trying to swim back in while being sucked out. What do I know about swimming parallel to the beach?!

In the interest of driving home the ‘start with your swimming skills’ lesson, the Universe, saw fit that night to move Laird Hamilton’s book, “Force of Nature: Mind, Body, Soul (And, of course, Surfing)” to the top of my reading pile. The book had been in the pile for some time but it is not as if I only have one book pile, people. Thus, it was not until THAT night that I cracked THAT book. Rather than a ‘chapter’ book it is more of a ‘section’ book, there is no need to read it from beginning to end so I didn’t. I skipped around pen-ultimately getting to “fear” and “training to surf.”

On “fear,” Hamilton writes:

“You can spend your whole life fence-sitting because you’re frightened of something bad that might happen—or you can launch yourself into it with all of your conviction and all of your intelligence. Here’s my advice: Meet up with your fears. If you’re afraid of sharks, go learn all about sharks. Get into the water with one. If you respect fear, face it straight on and act anyway.” (P.8)

On “training for surfing:”

“SWIM: Get yourself a pair of fins, and hit the water.” (P.198)

Okay.

I’m afraid of drowning. Swimming is a part of training for surfing. Got it. Facing that fear, for me, isn’t as simple as grabbing some fins. Unless, of course, fins come with an explanation of rip tides and any other inherent risk of open water swimming I would need to know about? Assuming that they don’t, for me, surfing begins with swimming lessons.

Swimming lessons have begun…give or take 10 minutes.

And then…
November 11, 2010

This week has afforded me the opportunity to experience levels of degradation I didn’t even know were possible. I’m tired.

365
October 22, 2010

That’s one.

 

 

 

 

 

9 Months Later
July 22, 2010

Today marks 9 months sober for me.

In an odd turn of events it seems to me that while things have gotten easier by degrees, shit is no less complicated, nor, have things gotten all that pleasant.

Not sure anyone ever said things would get pleasant, come to think of it. It is however, an assumption that I did make.

In the shortest possible recap, in the last 9 months, my longest standing relationships have either ended or been altered so thoroughly they certainly seem to have ended. The oddest part of this occurrence, in at least one instance I am okay with that. In the other, not so much. Turns out though, I don’t get a vote. It is what it is and I’m going to go ahead and assume this like everything else is a part of the master plan. Just the same, I am struck by the knowledge that while some of the terrain in my life looks familiar, I recognize the faces and I know the language…I’ve never been here before.

Absolutely EVERYTHING has changed but only by degrees.

Spring Has Sprung
April 22, 2010

Last Wednesday I turned 35. Today, I have 6 months. Last night was my first night in my new place. This morning, whether I want to or not, everything I do is getting done different.

What He Said
February 13, 2010

Just a few posts back, I was retching about the 8th step that it seems daunting and I don’t want to do it. Mostly because the 9th step follows. I’ve no idea how that gets done. I am fairly certain though that my amends will not occur in any kind of public sphere. I could be wrong. I own that up front, however, as I don’t usually operate in a public sphere I’m feeling pretty confident. Not to mention relieved. Oh, and blessed. Why is that, you have not asked?

Every Thursday I read Duff’s blog over on the Seattle Weekly site. This week’s blog, All Apologies, is in fact a shining example of how steps 8 & 9 get done. (Just in time, too. Funny that.)  I have been feeling overwhelmed on multiple levels for the past couple of weeks and have had no small amount of anxiety about how to move forward working my steps. That Duff’s column this week speaks exactly (although indirectly) toward one of the (identified) hurdles in front of me doesn’t surprise me, per se. There is a bit of a ‘burning bush’ quality to it that made me giggle. Mostly, I am grateful, once again, for the example that he has set.

The REST of the blog did not make me giggle.

 

Welcome To The Jungle

**Note: For the rest of this to make sense it assumes you’ve read Duff’s blog. Also, the remainder of this blog is a bit of a meander through my own response to Kurt’s suicide.**

 

Guns N’ Roses was/is my favorite band.* I’m certain I’ve mentioned this. Maybe Guns became my favorite band in exactly the same fashion that everyone else in the world came to find their favorite band, I don’t pretend to know. What I do know is that Guns hit my life in exactly the moment I needed them most and they brought to the table exactly what I needed most. The ‘short version’ explication of that statement would be: they were how I found my voice. The realistic explication of that statement would take a lifetime to explain and I’m simply not willing to share. For the purposes of moving on here, it is of note that music gave me a world-view and Guns was the cornerstone of that world-view. Guns and being a ‘good’ fan is where I learned faith (blind-fucking-faith), loyalty and, though I could not have readily identified it, hope.

 Seattle

I was aware that Duff was from Seattle, however,  he was not the means by which I found Seattle Music. A very good friend of mine in highschool was from Seattle. (Actually, he was a run away. He would not have characterized himself as such and I certainly didn’t think of him in that regard at the time, but, given our ages and the fact that he was out in the world on his own…vagabond? Again, the age makes that term problematic for me.) Whether or not he was born and/or raised in Seattle, I don’t recall or I never knew. Whatever. He had spent some time in Seattle and he brought with him to California in his trusty backpack (along with all of his other worldly possessions) a series of cassette tapes which housed the likes of Nirvana, Mudhoney, Soundgarden, et al. I loved Bleach.   Actually, I loved every tape he had and every band on them. That is how I got Seattle music. Not ahead of the curve, either. Nevermind was out and Seattle was on the cusp of ascending to the heights of musics cultural cache on a global scale. None of which bothered me, fyi. My favorite band was the ‘biggest band in the world,’ so what did I know from ‘underground?’

Seattle was an easy fit for me musically and Nirvana was cool. Until, the VMA’s. I sat at home watching the show because ‘they’ were there and by ‘they’ I mean Guns. It is true a whole host of other bands that I liked, if not loved, were also there but it would be a flat-out lie to suggest that I cared about anything other than Guns. By 1991, that band (and a core group of friends.**) was the only ‘thing’ left in this world that I held on to. They (Them/their music it all gets conflated.) were the tether that bound me to this life when nothing else was enough. 

When Kurt (and Courtney) started talking-blathering really at the show, I was assaulted, not to put to fine a point on it. I was unprepaired for their theatrics and not a terribly sophisticated emotional being to begin with (In my defense I was all of 15.) so to have this band whom I liked-come ‘out of nowhere’ and behave like JERKS, I was stunned. And done. That was the end of Nirvana for me and that was before the ‘fall out,’ before the news reports of Duff chasing Krist around the backstage area, etc.

In life, my wagons at the point were pretty tightly circled and you were either in or out. I’ve explained before how detachment worked in my young life, I had two points on my emotional/social spectrum-love or loathe. There were no in-between and when I was done-to my mind there was nothing left to discuss, to consider, to feel. That’s how I coped. 

Nirvana was out. Relative to that one event. No more cds, no concerts, no gear; they may well have become the ‘biggest band in the world’ thereafter and there is absolutely nothing about that that I could speak to. I didn’t follow, I didn’t care. 

sifting…

 

 I was standing in the entry way of our house between the living room and the dining room when the news came across the tv. I convulsed. My knees buckled. I’m not much of a screamer. The thing is I tend to lose my voice when I’m in pain or in fear, the result of which amounts to a kind of extended period of having the wind knocked out of me. You can’t hear me, no one can, but I am screaming. I was screaming.

I was so pissed. So very angry.

He quit.

He broke the fucking rule.

Before I got my voice back, before I could let go of any of the rage–my poor Mother was there. Making excuses for my having a reaction at all, really. I was tired. Overwrought. At the time my Great Grandmother was rapidly deteriorating from late stage Alzheimer’s and I was one of her care givers. Anyway she spun it, I could not possibly have been having a reaction like that to Kurt Cobain. I was though. Nothing in my very flimsy defenses prepared me for that event. How could it? I cut him out. I wrote them off. My having an emotional reaction was a VIOLATION of MY OWN fucking code of conduct. I detach with a cleaver. Nothing and no one should be able to come back from that.

 He broke the rule, the rules actually. I lived with some fairly quiet terrors-quiet in as much as I could not articulate what they were or often what they meant. I can sit here now and type that there were 3 fears that Kurt’s suicide brought front and center-without warning and without even a suggestion of sugar-coating. One, on more than one occasion I lived by a singular rule, typically only expressed as a punchline, Don’t jump. Whatever happens, under no circumstances-jump. Should suffice to say, don’t pull the trigger falls under the same heading. Upsetting as that sentiment may or may not be for anyone, my truth is I never imagined as a kid, as a teen or even as an early adult that I would live this long. I didn’t know how, frankly. And often enough, I couldn’t imagine wanting too. But I am a rules girl, THANK GOD. Don’t jump, sometimes that’s all it came down to.

Two, I lived with the constant gnawing fear that at any moment one of my heroes could die. Accidentally, of course. I couldn’t talk openly about their choices or their demons because I HAD TO DEFEND THEM. Guns, being as big as they were bred as much contempt as they ever did admiration. Kids at school had shit to say about them. Teachers had shit to say about them. Grown women accosted my mother, for her failure in parenting,  in the grocery store because I was wearing a Guns t-shirt.  The mailman had shit to say, to me, after St. Louis as if I WAS accountable, wtf? More over, my own Father and I went rounds alternately because ‘they’ were what was wrong with me; or because I could care about them (junkies/alcoholics/assholes) and make him miserable because he drank ‘a little.’ I think, B* might be the only person that I ever had a conversation with about how scared I was of their various addictions. It would have been disloyal to concede any of the accusations being hurled and admitting my own fears would have amounted to some kind of failure as a fan. So, they were just ‘cool.’ Just, ‘bad asses.’ Everyone else needed to either ‘man the fuck up’ or ‘mind their own business.’ In terms of any public discourse, I absolutely set them up to be infallible and in private my stomach dropped EVERYTIME one of them was reported dead. Dead. Those news reports circulated repeatedly. Kurt’s death was not a drill. 

Three, as already mentioned I was not supposed to FEEL anything at all.

It would be ideal to sit here and say after Kurt’s death, I explored and thereby validated my feelings, thus, reconciling them and growing from the experience. That didn’t happen. I did eventually catch my breath, recover my voice and start yelling. I cursed him out. Yelling as if he could hear me. Then I got hold of myself. Packed my feeling on the matter away and to the degree that I have ever engaged the subject since, it has been largely analytical in nature. Until this week’s blog.

I never grieved for Kurt. I was far to fucking scared for me to consider his loss. If people ‘like him’ who had it all-a career, money, an ‘actual’ future were throwing in the fucking towel-WHAT WOULD THAT MEAN FOR ME?

I get it. I don’t want to. But I do. Kurt didn’t see a future, either. At least not one that was tenable. That is heartbreaking.

 I am grateful to have grown enough to actually be able to grieve for Kurt. I am so very grateful to have lived this long.

 

 

*Guns for me ceased to exist circa 1994.

**While I loved and needed my friends they did not embody for me a way out and I desperately needed to believe there was a way out. Guns did embody that. 

7th Inning Stretch
February 6, 2010

*Took me a moment to find the light switch in here.*

It is month two in the new year and I can honestly say I have not accomplished much. Though, I’ve no idea what it is I might have accomplished had I, in fact, done something. No matter. Here is a break down on where things stand…

I have now spent weeks steadfastly avoiding myself. Yes, this is very much in the realm of possibility I have managed it with greater or lesser success for much of my life. One would think that ‘knowing what I know now’ I would not prolong the inevitable but rather would jump in with both feet, run headlong into the next phase (read:step) of recovery. One, would be dead wrong. I’m sitting firmly on my ass on the 3rd and the 7th steps respectively. Turns out, pretty much the same GD step. I throw the GD in simply for ironic amusement and well for spite.

Step:3 (in AA)  Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

 

Straight forward enough, right? I’ve done this step before. Hell, I’ve done it long enough to know it NEVER ends. I turn my stinking will over every day if not 327 times a day. What is more, I have a God of my own understanding. I did NOT when I walked into the rooms of program a year ago but that could not be further from the truth today. I know what having a God in my life feels like. I know what it does for me and yet…here I sit.

Step: 7 (Al-Anon) Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

 

Yep, still sitting. It is not lost on me that should I move forward on either of these steps I shall find myself squarely on Steps 4 & 8, neither of which is appealing. I KNOW how ‘awkward’ 4 is. I can guess, how much 8 sucks. I get it. That’s not the only hold up though. In a very real sense (for me) the idea with respect to both steps of letting go of the self that I know (FUCKED UP as ‘she’ might be!) is terrifying. Drinking in my family is a tie that binds, period. What happens when you cut that loose? Actually, I’m not interested in what happens to you. What happens to me? What happens when I’m cut loose across the board? What is left of my relationships? What is left of me?

There is a line in the big book that sums up how I am currently seeing things (I will include the preceeding line for context): He stood in the Presence of Infinite Power and Love.  He had stepped from bridge to shore. (56)

I have been to the shore. Today, I’m sitting on the bridge.

*I’m 104.

There Is No Easy Way…
December 10, 2009

To Climb a Mountain. 

Baldy is done. In a manner of speaking. This mountain has bested me a couple of times. Strangely I have now been to San Antonio peak but have not seen the sign, so…am I done? I have no idea. If anyone has followed along my BFF and I have attempted to get to the top of this peak on numerous occasions and in the process have encountered record high temperatures, snakes, water shortages, wrong turns, falling boulders and so on and so on. It would be a disservice not to mention that our failure to simply climb a  mountain (because that is all it is, right?), at the risk of sounding melodramatic, was crushing. Fuck. How could it possibley be that hard? You get a map, you pack your gear, you get there, you do it. Only that is not how it ever worked out. 

There is no easy way…

For this last trek up the mountain we elected to go the ‘easy route.’ The plan: drive up to the ski park, take the gondolo lift up to the summit, hike out to the peak across the Devil’s Backbone (6.1 miles round trip), done.  Great. We made the drive, that was the easy part. The gondola is closed during the week and we were up there on a Tuesday. From the point that we were at there was a fire road that runs up to the summit, 3 miles. 

3 miles winding up the remainder of the hill to the summit. When we reached the summit is when I had to stop, take my shoes off and tape my already popped blisters. I wore the wrong socks. New socks. Bad socks. Not new shoes (I’m not that thick! 😉 ), new socks. Both feet taped at the ankle and the toes, 3 miles in. Then there was the 3 miles ‘out’ to the peak. Most of which was straight up. All of which was treacherous? Well, it might have been the elevation gain? It might have been the pain? It most certainly was the increasing dread that this fucking mountain had done it again! 

The trek out to San Antonio peak was the longest 3 miles of my life. Is that 3 miles as the crow flies? I don’t know but I am hard pressed to believe that all those ridges, the switch backs, the straight vertical incline amounts to 3 M*F*ing miles, but, lets say it does. The longest, call it 2.9 miles of my life actually because I was so hungry and so tired I did not bother to climb to the sign. I sat, I ate, I waited for my BFF to come back down. She took the camera. We have ‘proof.’ The last stretch of that climb is just shale, a barren peak covered in washed out grey rock, frigid winds, no cover and it is STRAIGHT up. For the love of all that is holy. There were no balloons. No parade. No elation. No sense of accomplishment. Hell, I couldn’t be bothered to go to the sign. 

the sign

 

To Climb a mountain…

  

I’ve had hollow victories before but I ‘expected’ something more out of actually getting to the top of that peak. It took a couple weeks actually and a meeting with my sponsor to come round. Our conversation began and ended with her asking a few ‘simple’ questions, like  ‘how long did you smoke?’ ‘What was the elevation gain?’ ‘You taped up both feet at what point?’  

Oh, Right. I’ve seen the view below with my very own eyes. 

The View

October 2009
October 19, 2009

“now an epiphany in one dark night,

and I’m sorry, so sorry,  that it took so long”
                                                                                                      

 

I have known since July that October 2009 was going to be ‘a problem.’  How, you have not asked? I started signing all dates as October dates. Every single time. To the degree that I was getting calls from work about deposit slips and the like all being ‘pre-dated’ since they were October dates. Ridiculous. There was a trainee at work with me at the end of July and I handed him all of the paperwork and ‘suggested’ he check every single date. He did. They were wrong. So I tell him the story that for 2-3 weeks at that point I had been dating EVERYTHING for October. I follow up my share with something to the effect of , “Clearly, I will be hit by a bus in October.” He responds with, “That’s not what it means at all! It means in October great things are coming!!!” enthusiasm not added, he appeared to believe that shit. I, in turn, stared at him as if he were brain damaged. That said, it was a curious idea and as October has approached I have been increasingly curious as to what the hell would happen. The month is only half over but so far…

October 4:

 

I ran my first half marathon on October 4.  It still doesn’t feel like an accomplishment but I know that it was. It also got its own post so I will not go into detail here.

 

October 7:

 

PJ  and old friends. I saw PJ for the ‘first time.’ First time being used a bit loosely here. Apparently, PJ and I were at Lollapalooza in 1992. I have no memory of this. A ticket stub. Witnesses. No memory.  Also, I went with friend to see PJ in Golden Gate park years ago but Eddie walked off stage moments into the set. Apparently, he was ill but nothing was said at the time. As a direct result of that experience I never tried to see PJ again. Until now.

PJ is to my BFF what Guns (now Sluff, aka Slash and Duff) was to me. They are her people and an part of her world view. I dig PJ. I dig her more. Ergo I dig them more than most other musics. Make sense? Anyway. We went together to the show on the 7th. It was incredible.

On our way out of the show we were shoulder tapped by some dude. Or so I thought, as I stood there staring blankly. ‘Dude’ is one of our good friends from high school. I guy we spent nearly every day with for YEARS. Had not seen him in 16 or so years… Very strange, very cool. He also, gave me a heads up on finding a couple of other friends from ‘back in the day.’ One of whom I sought out the next morning.

For the purposes of clarity if the PJ friend is Dude than the ‘follow up’ friend is F. Swapped re-introduction messages with F on the 8th and 9th. Very strange, very cool.

 

October 9:

 

Went to a meeting at my first convention EVER. The convention being SCAAC. Awkward. Really really uncomfortable. I had when I registered though signed up for a 5k/10k fun run on the 10th it seemed like ‘fun’ at the time.  This is relevant because the first topic of the first meeting that I went to was “Have Fun.” Had I known this was the topic prior to walking in the room I would NOT have gone in. I HATE this topic. Have fun, play-any variation of either of those two makes me ill. Oh! AND they don’t allow you to NOT share. Right, you have to get up and share and everyone in the room fucking stares at you until you do. RIDICULOUS.

So I shared. I HATE this fucking topic. More important than sharing that I hate the topic I explained why. I have no idea what is ‘fun.’ I have no idea how to ‘play.’ I like to read. I like live music or music in any form for that matter. I have started to run. That’s it. My list of fun is rather short. Largely because I have no idea who I am.

 

October 10:

 Came in 3rd on my ‘fun run!’ That is how I spent my morning and then I spent my afternoon and evening with friends. Friends that I grew up with and had not seen in more than 10 years. We played Guitar Hero, Wii and sang karaoke until after midnight. In case you missed that, friends that I ‘played with’ when I was young walked back into my life after more than a decade and we PLAYED all over again. Who knew?

On my way out the door a friend of mine who is sober asked me what my deal is and so I answered. I said, “I’m a double winner and I’m in program.” In case you missed that, I admitted to another human being besides my sponsor that I have more than one disease.

 

October 11:

 This day began near 1am when I just opened my mouth and spewed truths about my life which, a.) should not be uttered at 1am; and, b.) are no good as parting shots on your way out the door. FTW. Whatever. I went home and I went to bed. I woke in time to hit the Sunday morning beach meeting. Not only is this my home group but it is the first meeting I ever walked into. There is no other place I could have gone to get perspective on what had happened the night before. Topic? Trust. Trust yourself. Trust others.

Went back to my friends to hang and watch football after the meeting. My friend met me at the door. Literally. Waiting just outside. We sat and (mutually) spewed our stories. Still have not gotten my head around the relief that came with talking to someone who I actually know, someone who actually knows me and gets it. ALL of it.

 

October 12:

 

My sponsor, totally unfazed by everything I tell her.

 

October 14:

 

Spent most of the morning and much of the early afternoon doing everything I could think of other than my 4th step. I have to do this step. I do. I just can’t get my brain to go there.  Managed to avoid it in the evening too! Went over to my friends’ home to log some baby time! Spent my afternoon and evening playing with their little girl. Got to take part in bath time and bed time.  I provided the story time lap for the evening!!! Is there anything more calming then a baby snuggling with you?

 

Baby time was so great I actually went to my favorite meeting late. I considered not going because I detest walking in…forget being late.  I have no idea why but the walking in part of meetings still kills me. EVERY TIME. Alas, favorite meeting and because my schedule sucks I never know if I can attend. I went late. It’s an AA meeting. A sat next to a friend and at the end he said, “when are you going to share?” I said, “RIGHT after I start identifying.” He smirked. In all the months that I have gone to open AA meetings NO ONE has ever asked me when I was going to share. Of course, in all those months I had never admitted to anyone other than my sponsor that there was anything to share. Strange days, indeed.

15 minutes after the meeting ended my phone rang. I was driving and answered anyway. Not my habit. My Mom was calling to tell me that my Uncle had died. This would be my second Uncle in less than a year. Both of my Dad’s older brothers. One was functional.  One was not. It was in part my oldest Uncle’s death that served as a catalyst for my coming into program at all. It occurred to me, last December, that this is how it is going to end…for my father.  It seemed imperative that I come to terms with that reality and figure out how to live through it. So I went to Al-Anon.

 

This October it occurs to me that this is how it could end. I have to work a second program.

 

 

This Blog was Soundtracked to:

Visqueen, “So Long”