I absolutely hate this time of year. I fucking hate it. Getting through Thanksgiving without drinking was a challenge, my first sober Thanksgiving in eight years. It’s been a while since I’ve had to white knuckle through a day without drinking, but Thanksgiving was an ordeal. I drank to get through this time of year because the beginning of winter is painful. I never wanted to remember November and December, so I drank through them and chalked it up to celebrating the holidays or being social. Instead, I was actually getting shitfaced so I could forget why this time of year is incredibly unsettling. Many have told me I should be grateful and thankful for the things I have, and in short, I am. I have a family that supports my sobriety and my current challenges, when others may not have a family at all. But now that I can remember waking up and going to bed each night, every day becomes a reminder of why I drank to get rid of a lot of pain. Social media doesn’t make it any better, seeing families with a traditional home cooked turkey and stuffing and friends and sweater vests and the family dog wearing some ridiculous headpiece bought on sale while in line at Target. The entire concept of “traditions” was eliminated for me years ago. Chinese food and a movie? Sure, that’s become the new trend. But the current tradition of partaking in a severe language barrier and agreeing on a movie we can all enjoy isn’t what I imagined Thanksgiving to be when I was younger. My nuclear family was dismembered. I had to make decisions about where to spend which holidays with who. I had to make a phone call to the people I wasn’t with, reassuring them that I’ll be with them the next year. There’s too much stress for the holidays: planning, expenses, consumerism. Another reason I drank through the holidays was to make it seem just like any other day, because that's what I did. Someone recently said to me, “Why did you come to open mic on your birthday?” And honestly, I just wanted to treat it like any other day. My birthday is something I no longer lose sleep over, either because I was too excited or too drunk to sleep. Thanksgiving is no longer an opportunity to attempt to explain a vaporizer to the elderly or tell the person you’re hopelessly in love with that you’re still hopelessly in love with them. Why can’t holidays just be DAYS. Fuck this time of year.
I have major, major jealousy issues. Major, like they have subordinates major. Well, I thought I did.
Jealousy, the feeling or showing envy of someone or their achievements and advantages.
Envy, a feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else’s possessions, qualities, or luck.
A lot of my issues come from envy. For some, envy is a sin. For others, it’s a stage in a series of murders based on the seven sins. I want what a lot of other people have, and had. Allowing myself to be envious severely disabled my self-esteem and self-worth. They have better things than me! I used to have what they have, and therefore, they are better than me. Why do I let myself do this? My vicious rumination cycle has been rampant with thoughts that I cannot let go of. Even in my head, I tell myself “just fucking let go.” And I can’t. The envy which occurred in the past is still very present in the now. How can I let go of something if it keeps affecting me day after day, when something or someone is a constant reminder of feeling pain from years ago? How do I get rid of that? The drive for perfectionism has also been relatively out of control. I recently noticed I have acne around my shoulders. I practically broke down when I realized my skin wasn’t free of blemishes. I want to be perfect. And there’s that phrase of “nobody’s perfect,” but in this particular example, I feel that others will also notice my shoulders and deem myself as something less than perfect. I know acne doesn’t have any bearing on my self worth and it is hardly a reflection of my character. So why do I need to reapply make up after crying from the realization that if I show any sign of damage, I will be completely disregarded. I am tremendously afraid to be vulnerable or show any sign of weakness. All these things tie together in a dangerous nexus, which has become elaborate and intricate. Someone abandoned me, and I blame myself because I think it’s because I’m not perfect. Later in life, I’ll encounter the same experience, where I find a quality, like acne, to deem myself less than perfect. Then someone will notice and abandon me because I’m not perfect. I believe I’ve made progress because I’ve recognized this inaccuracy within myself. I’m constantly bracing for impact, and it’s exhausting. I can never admit to being less than perfect because I am afraid that will change someone’s perception of me, or it will alter the course of my life if they find out my real emotions, my true feelings, the ones I go to great lengths to hide. I am still hurt, and it could be frustrating for others. Ultimately, I am afraid if I expose my true self, I’ll cause everyone around me to abandon me.
I’m currently working on my fourth step for AA. The fourth step requires me to make a list of my sexual conquests, which at best is…spotty, my resentments towards people and institutions, my fears, and eventually, making a list of my faults and the things I did wrong. Many people who work the steps in AA back out around the fourth step because it enables them to confront their fears and character defects. I can’t back out, and I won’t. I am trying to be as strong as I can through this, but every day I feel weaker and if I really admit to my faults as a character, I’ll find myself alone and isolated. I know the truth within myself, but explaining to others the exact nature of my wrongs and my emotions will make me seem less than perfect. And there are people I want to be perfect for but I can’t. And so my rumination cycle continues, the fear that someone will leave me because I’m not perfect. Ridiculous.
Being this paranoid is exhausting. Why am I so concerned with how what others think about me? I’ve always been a people pleaser, and part of me desperately wants others to like me. These self imposed criteria is incredibly Costanzaesque, or Larrydavidesque if you’re being technical. I need to relax and keep it simple. But keeping it simple implies that I’m overwhelmed and that something is wrong…see what I mean?
Part of me writing this post is to help me cope with my anxiety, that putting it out there that I’m less than perfect allows me to be okay with not adhering to perfectionism. I’m not perfect, and that’s okay with you. Hopefully.