Early morning light is as renewing for me as a trip to the sea.
There is something, ....about its promise, ..and constance, which strengthens me.
I was refreshed last night after a visit with a dear friend.
Let's call her, Beauty,...because that's what she is,...
She is one of a few, but is the One, non-family member who moved about with me during my first steps/months/years of sobriety. Beauty and I met in the months after the birth of our first babies. I was 35, ..she, a few years younger than me. We met as friends do, sharing the shallows and the depths, with boundary, but truest of sharing for sure.
She came to know me as a stay-at-home mom, struggling alongside my husband on our single income budget....suddenly decimated by unemployment and scared. She came to know me as a young mother, both adoring and abhoring days alone in my house, ... lavishing in the depths of love I felt and also drowning in the loneliness & boredom.
She came to know my intensity and my easily spoken view of reality.
Meaning I never hid how incredibly blessed or how incredibly challenged I felt within the universe of mothering & marriage. I am a guns-blazing, f'bombing kinda talker. I say it how I see it... how I feel it.
She came to know me easily, & we absolutely got one another.
As she grew into my life and as I relaxed more, and shared more, .. looking back I can see how I held back in so many ways. And I guess by this I mean,.... she didn't know the severity of my worried mind.
She didn't know the truest"me" of then.
I let her see the fun but kinda reserved me. Not the frivolous girl I really had been. I let her see the "yeah! this friendship & feeling thing is SO easy without cocktails side of me, until I couldn't pretend anymore and needed to retract into myself. I found it all so hard.
Interestingly, both the first years of choosing to move away from alcohol,.. and of parenthood.. bring about deep acceptance of our SELVES. And, most certainly within the realities of no alcohol, it's a year or so - or many- of getting comfortable,.. or not so comfortable.. with who we are, who we've been.
There is so much self we have pushed down. ... It's a true time of discovery.
Somewhere down the line we come to believe - or feel - that drinking brings out the best in us, the fun in us, the true Us in us, .... but that is false.
These sides ARE reflections of Us, but are NOT our truest, best, most beautiful parts.
They just are not.
Sobriety is a time of learning new boundaries. Of learning who is good for you, and who is not so good for you. ..... this friend, Beauty, .... she didn't run, or judge, ... she nurtured me. She ultimately allowed me .... to be my MOST self guarded, ...to be turtle slow in growth, ...to be my most selfish Self in all the right ways while I figured out how I needed to be.
See, ...for me, ...an ultimate people pleaser, ...a boundaries challenged gal ... finding my voice without alcohol was truly challenging. Perhaps my biggest challenge. And I'm still learning.
Learning my voice,... trusting my choices, ...I was a child all over again. It didn't come easily for me. BECAUSE, ...as a child BEFORE,.. I strived to people please. And this NEW child, ...the child of NOW, needed to learn how to BE. Had to learn when too much time together was too much, had to learn what I truly needed from the friends around me. .... hard to put into words really.
Life without alcohol, coupled with meeting new friends through parenthood,.... was ridiculously hard for me. And still is.
But from my earliest memories, I always wanted to please others. I just did.
It was who I was, who I am. And getting to know this, and coming to recognize both the good & bad sides of this piece of me .... IS IMPORTANT.
My dear friend decided she'd grow with me. .....she was up for the ride.
Knowingly or unknowingly she encouraged me, challenged me, she let me BE.
We ARGUED when she told me I wasn't meeting her own parameter of needs.
I had SUCH a hard time hearing that.
... I had SUCH a HARD TIME hearing that, .... and had a hard time finding my own balance of hearing her, & of pushing back, & of stating my own needs (distance) within it. My withdrawn, learning self both needed and wanted her there (in the background) but I wasn't skilled enough @ giving of myself unaided back to her. I was having an extremely hard time with this form of intimacy.
She pushed me. gently. enough. though. & was constant.
We waded through. We took step by step .... but, she deserved more.
I realized this after spending time with her. She absolutely deserved more.
She gave me the Grace to BE where I needed to be for years, truly. And she has never gone away. Words can not express the comfort I find in that.
But she does deserve more; and so it's here, realizing this, that I MUST continue to grow. Beyond the comfort she has allowed me.
Beauty, ...see, ..she gave me her presence, without her presence,.. and now I must create the chances to give back to her. We came to know one another through motherhood. We were also growing like children do through the bumps and scrapes and squabbles and beauty of Life. She, a constant through it all.
Finding balance is not often easy, in fact it's pretty damn hard. I've learned that being selfish is Ok, ...with limitation. Something I didn't understand before.
And Beauty, ...she waited while I learned.
It is Ok to have voice, it is Ok to push back, it is Ok to say No.
It is OK. And doesn't have to mean you will forfeit happiness, or a great friendship, .... although, we can not live solitarily and truly become complete. There must be balance.
We need one another like the night needs the dawn.
Constance encouraging us to rise, and to seek, ...constance encouraging us to spring forth, ...to find the light, ...to grow.
Thank you Beauty. I believe I am finally able to uncurl from the bud into the flower to give more. And for your constant dawn, I will forever know you will be there should the new developing buds ever feel scared again.