After taking a muchly needed blogging/writing hiatus that has lasted most of the past three years (not fully and completely but mostly), lately I have had this deep craving to come back to writing… for others.
I have written a bunch of ramblings, journal entries, scribbles here and there, but mostly for myself. Writing has always been one of the ways that I can make sense of the chaos inside of my head. And it works… most of the time.
So much has changed in my life over the past three years that I don’t even know where to start. I am letting go of the need to update you on all of the (gory) details kind reader, and instead I think I will just start with what is present.
Yesterday I… (haha, see what I did there?) I jumped right back into the past. Man old habits are hard to break!
TODAY I find myself in Nordegg, sitting on the deck of our family cabin, drinking tea and rambling on… words spilling onto the page, with a “loose” intention of actually sharing this post.
You see, it turns out that I am actually a really intense introvert.
I know. News to me too. Like EARTH-SHATTERING-REPEAT-IT-A-BILLION-TIMES-OVER-UNTIL-I-GET-IT-THROUGH-MY-TINY-SKULL news.
I didn’t discover this about myself until approximately 509 days ago (and 11 hours and 10 mins)… which just-so-happens to be the same date/time/hour that I chose to begin abstaining from drinking alcohol. Yep. I have been living in sobriety for the past 16 or so months.
Sobriety has been a LOOOOOOONG time coming for me. Like more than ten years coming.
Funny thing, was that I had no idea that I had been working my way towards this lifestyle until I actually began the process of living sober.
And let me tell you, it has been an epic process. One of such life-changing magnitude that no amount of capslocks could convey the epicness of it all… so I am even going to forego the capslocks… you are just going to have to take my word for it this time.
What I can tell you after more than a year living in sobriety is this: my life continues to get better every single day.
But sobriety is another topic for another day. And I promise, pinky-swear promise, that you haven’t heard the last from me about it, but today I want to talk about being a newly-discovered-introvert.
Now, for anyone who has known me for any stretch of time, you might be as baffled as I am about this discovery. To the outside world, I know that I have always seemed gregarious, loud even, bubbly, giddy and social butterfly-ey (I so know that is not a thing, but I just made it one). What you most likely didn’t know (because I even denied it to myself for most of my life), is that social situations have always been hard for me. Like, choose-your-wardrobe-carefully-because-of-the-epic-pitstains hard. Oh the sweating. The ridiculous and inevitable sweating that virtually ANY and ALL social situations resulted in.
And, as far as I can tell, I have always been like that. I was born like that. As a child I can remember being the very happiest when I was playing by myself with my league of imaginary friends and making up my world as I went. And I was GOOD at that. Actually, I was brilliant at that (and still am).
Somewhere in elementary school I figured out that I was a bit different in this regard. I got the strong message that I needed to make “friends” and play in a group rather than by myself in my own little world. And it was hard for me. Always and all ways. Acutally, it was excruciating. So, what I ended up doing was choosing a very few and small select group of people to let into my private little world, people who I trusted to fully see the real me (and this totally backfired on me a zillion times but again, another post for another day). Outside of my very select group of peeps, I figured out that if I made myself big enough, puffy enough, LOUD enough, that they wouldn’t ever get to see my spongy, soft bits. They wouldn’t see that I was dying of self-consciousness every moment of every day.
Everything changed when I found alcohol. I took my first drink at 11 years old and I knew that I had found a friend that would be by my side for a very long time. Forever I thought. You see, when you have the kind of social anxiety and intense introversion that I had, alcohol makes it all go away. All of a sudden you actually ARE gregarious, funny, loud and comfortable being seen… on some level anyway.
Still a lot of sweating and careful shirt choosing, but you know that there is something out there to can (and will) relieve the intense feelings of…shame. That’s what I was feeling: shame and self-loathing.
Now it’s a looooong story about how the intense amount of shame and self-loathing came to live all up in my grill, and maybe we’ll get to that someday. But TODAY we are back to introversion, and sobriety.
Fast-forward 25 years (that is how long I was a drinker for, a quarter of a century) and I finally had done enough work on myself to kick the bottle. To give up my crutch. To walk alone.
And for the past year? A whole lotta epic sweating has ensued. Like throw-away-bags-of-ruined-clothes epic. But you know what else has happened? Some not-so-sweaty days. Some really good boundary-setting. Some unapologetic acts of self-love. Some very candid conversations about this very topic within sacred spaces and circles. And now? Some serious honesty with you kind reader.
I share this now on the world-wide-internets because I deeply know from experience that there is someone out there who needs to read it. Someone who might feel some of these same feelings but who feels completely alone and isolated. Someone who thinks that no one else on the planet can possibly understand all of the anxiety, shame and sweating.
In the past, reading other people’s real and vulnerable accounts of their self-exploration and revelation has literally saved my life. Literally.
And, I’m ready. I’m simply ready to be seen again. As this “new” version of myself. As this deeper, truer version of myself. As this er… sweatier version of myself.
And I am sweating. I can be real about that. As I push post, you can bet the sweat will be running.
And you know what? I ‘m doing it anyway.
Yours in trust,
Dancing Coyote Woman