I have been sober since Winter Solstice. The darkest and longest of nights.
My alcoholism is like a cruel puzzle.
I never really believed there was a bigger picture to be made. Some pieces were ridiculously large, pointy, stabby, loud, bright, awful. Other pieces were small and rounded and worn. Some were a message, some were silent. I just knew I felt like I never had all the piece I need at once so I kept drinking cuz who cares and why does it matter and no one is looking anyway.
You’d think nine months of pregnancy would’ve been the booze wake up call a person would need.
you’d think becoming a mother would redefine items of importance, reset the triage of life.
And yet I miss it.
I miss drinking.
I miss the way nothing was sharp, I could walk around like a dull pencil, used and scrawling.
I miss the fuzz around the edges, the blur. The lack of hard lines meant loose interpretation and back peddling was easier then.
I miss not showing up for myself. I’ve tried it a few times now, showing up for myself. It’s uncomfortable and inconsistent and wobbles like two bad legs on a chair.
I miss the comfort of sick and swollen, padded skin hugging me to numb. Pressure filled and layered and complicated but formulaic.
I miss feeling less.
I miss less feeling.
All this feeling is terrifying and I am like a stunted child filled with uncertainty masked as utter overconfidence defended by weak ego. The vulnerability, the powerlessness, the nerves, the sweat, the smell.
It’s not me.
I left most of what i knew about me at the bottom of a bottle. Crying without it these days is so much more painful.
This new person, this me, is already so tired of feeling and it’s only been a blink. A blip. Time shredding through me like paper cuts.
I feel incredibly alone.
Not in that familiar alone, in the unfamiliar one. A new one. A new alone.
Alone like I’m the only person who has been with me forever, alone like I am the only one who’s aware of my life’s nuances, ebbs, flows, traumas, and dreams... Alone like I am the only one who can actually listen to myself and understand and sympathize, empathize, therapize me.... and I’m a terrible at all of it.
I am a terrible, terrible friend to myself.
I’m a terrible listener. I ignore what my body asks for. I pretend my ears aren’t ringing and I sleep so I don’t have to think anymore. I’m terrible at reading my own body language, terrible at listening to my fight or flight. I’m terrible at allowing my thoughts finish uninterrupted.
I am lonely because I have no one but myself and my connection to myself sucks.
I want someone other than me to fit. I don’t want to look to myself for any thing. I want the answer to be outside of me, something or someone I can actually hold.
This is the second time this year i have had to tell myself... that no one... is coming... to save you, Mallory.
No one is coming to save you, Mallory.
You have to save yourself.
But I’m trying.
I’m trying to repair.
I’m trying to listen to the little tugs, the way my apprehensive breath falls.
I’m trying to be the big sister to myself that I never had.
And it is so uncomfortable.
It’s uncomfortable being sober, being all the feelings all the time.
I feel split.
Does anyone else feel like there’s more than one of themselves inside of them?
I feel like theres two of me in here.
One that always lets the other down. One that... makes the other one stay in shitty situations, dangerous ones. One that pours alcohol over both of them to cope. One that...when she gets an inch takes a mile and then lies about it cuz fuck it. One that constantly drags her feet and assumes the worst. She’s a bitch and a bully and a terrible friend to this... other beautiful creator self. This other self just wants love and touch and support and partnership and a home... to run away to. A home in someone else who’s nicer.
Who isn’t so terrible.
Most of who I am I have made record of.
I've been compelled to write since before puberty. What began as crayon sketchbooks turned into pen and paper journals filled and venting unrequited puppy love, parental divorce rage, misdirected self image hatred. This outpouring continued and morphed over the years into painting. Painting flooded into drawing and back to writing. Writing paralleled drawing and into song writing and guitaring. Doodling to blogging.
And... here... blogging hopefully back into painting.
I may not have been producing posts and doodles, but I've been saturating. I've been all the while recording... recording and afraid to be read.
I don't think I'm alone in having spent the last year making decisions that I believed would save the lives of other people. I spent the last year hoping the people around me were doing the same.
I did it again, though. Poured out too much from my own cup and left myself empty for too long. I wish I could sit here and write that I won't do it again. I'm sure I will.
People are their own galaxies... with gravity and rotation, with epicenters and orbiting rubbish belts. I think we forget, I forget, that when another entity is introduced to our galaxy, every degree within that galaxy shifts and changes. Some things get kicked out of the spin, more mass and less space. Everyone has to share the oxygen and... me... holding my breath so others can have more, does my galaxy any good.
It's just fake.
If anything wants in my galaxy again, my galaxy with a beautiful planet and most exquisite daughter moon--it's going to have to accept the fact that I breathe heavily. It's going to have to read the cannon of my life, read between the lines, read the scratches on paper, the colors on canvas, the fortune cookie scraps I keep, the doodles, the blogs, and be very very hungry for more.
In the meantime, my moon and I, we're gonna be the center, for once, together.
Once babies start moving... and biting and screeching, I think that's when they become toddlers. I've been kind of dormant on here because I'm chasing this fucking adorable rugrat around. As she is running around more she's tuckering out more and naps more... which means Mom gets to paint.
Here's a little sneak peak of what I'm working on.
They're not finished.
I'm fortunate to be part of a group showing this July at The Morris Burner Hostel. Alongside many other talented artists I will be painting my version? rendition? feeling baby centering around the theme of Medusa. I had forgotten about the show completely until a month ago when Jackie Dilworth reminded me of it--thank goodness.
Thank goodness for this show.
Just.... thank thank thank goodness.
Because of this show I am painting through some emotional baggage I've left bottled up for way too long.
Our stories, Medusa and mine, much like this painting, entwine.
You see, Medusa wasn't born vile. She was normal. Just a mortal Gorgon chillin. She was capable of death, capable of pain, and susceptible to life. She was a beautiful maiden. Medusa used to be a babe. She was so beautiful that Poseidon desired her... desired her so much that he raped her in the temple of Athena. Athena, pissed that her temple had been desecrated, cursed Medusa into being a hideous, snake hair'd monster who turned men to stone with her gaze. Athena cursed her and the world hunted her down for it.
I had no idea of Medusa's lineage, her narrative, or her rape.
I, too, have been assaulted in the temple of a goddess.
I, too, have been punished for this assault by banishment and emotional scarlet letterhood.
I, too, have paid a great price and have been contorted by the weight of action and repercussion.
I, too, have an assaulter who roams free as the sea.
I, too, have worn this face, this hair, this weight.
I, too, have looked into the mirror of myself and seen it's hideousness as well as it's mortality.
So I'm painting it. Well, I'm attempting to... Medusa and I are one in this freeing moment of self-realization. Caravaggio's Medusa has always been my favorite--androgynous, reactionary, revolted, and emptying. Her mouth agape, jaw locked in sound and rage and darkness. Caravaggio captured the exact moment where Medusa catches her own reflection, catches her own gaze, catches her own death.
Through the creation of this painting, I'm allowing this incident to die.
Through the three eyes of us, we see and recognize, we give in and succumb, and we will be reborn.
So.... folks, I haven't been doodling. I haven't been lollygagging, futzing, or forgetting.
I've been digging and digging and digging.
I've been dreaming and letting go and rebuilding.
I've been making something beautiful out of the present from the past.
I've been recreating myself every time I lift a paint brush.
I'll post a finished image when I'm through.
Mallory Kate is a blogger, artist, single mom and funny girl outta Nevada.
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