No, not today

Grant me the fucking serenity!

It’s coming up to 4am, it’s broad daylight and if I had trouble getting to sleep as it was, it’s bloody hopeless now. It’s crazy, because here I am, in my favourite spot on the planet and where my soul is most at peace … usually. Not this time. It’s like my entire being is in uproar and I have already decided that tomorrow I am calling in sick. I did it the second to last Friday of the counselling course – called in sick. OK, so I did have a blistering headache and it was just the afternoon I sacked off, but a headache never stopped me before – if I have a pulse, I turn up. I don’t have the course or work tomorrow, what I am calling in sick to is anything anyone may suggest we do tomorrow. Or today, rather.

I need to be a little mindful of how I put all of this. Partly because this could be read by anyone, so therefore a bit of a respect is in order so I don’t go and hurt people whilst I hold court here with no one else being able to give their view (or defence). Mostly, though, because this is a blog about recovery from addiction, I don’t want to send any reader into a real state of worry that I am in the middle of an almighty relapse. So without further ado, let’s establish some ground rules:

  1. My words, my view, my perspective. Not gospel. Just Anna’s musings. Through Anna’s eyes.
  2. As shit as I feel right now, I swear on Bambino’s life that I’d rather eat vomit than take a drink or anything else that might alter how I feel.

All good? OK, great.

I feel like I’m breaking. I wouldn’t call it a breakdown (she says immediately after calling it “breaking” – go figure), but I am definitely at a stage where I really have had my fill. I was buckling around the course, I was buckling at home and now I’m fucking buckling here at Falla too – of all fucking places. The ONE place in the world where my heart can truly beat unhurried.

So in my life, I appear to have a small selection of people who I feel less than good around. Half the time I can’t even pinpoint why but it’s as if the air changes when I’m around them. I’m not stupid enough to believe this is all to do with them – yeah, I’m looking at ME – but something has to change here. Change them? Again, not stupid enough. So that leaves moi. I need to change how I go about this and how I navigate people who, for whatever reason to do with me or them, leave me feeling shit.

I haven’t slept but given it’s 4am, I guess the evening I just sat through is strictly speaking yesterday (and how I wish I could just leave it there – in goddamn yesterday – and let this day I’ve just stayed awake into be a new day). And whilst I did speak up for bloody once, it was utterly pointless and only proved to me that my previous modus operandi – il silenzio – sometimes actually is the best way forward. I learned the skill of staying silent many moons ago and I learned it for good reason. Isn’t that so irritating? All this work I’ve been doing to “get over” it and be more vocal. Maybe I had it right all along? Whatever defence mechanisms we do have, we normally developed because at some point and in some way they worked.

It’s a mantra I often repeat to myself and I’ve repeated it many times here on this blog too: not my circus, not my monkeys. Really, this is just a variation of the part of the Serenity Prayer that tells me to accept the things I cannot change. “Things” most definitely includes other people. Another way of saying it is “don’t argue with stupid”. And yet another: “don’t wrestle with a pig, you’ll get muddy and what’s worse is the pig likes it”.

It’s quite simple when I break it all down: I can’t let things go.

Nope. Totally hopeless at it. I suck. Whoever or whatever drags in a stink that pollutes the air and for some reason I can’t fucking walk away. Oh no, I stay and inhale it until I’m choking on the fumes. Then, whilst retching, I probably thank them for it too. Or apologise. Or both. Then I bend over. You get the gist. It’s pathetic, really. I take shit I shouldn’t without protest.

Even simpler: I’m a push over who can’t let things go.

Fear also captures me in an ice cold grip. Last-night-but-still-today-for-me-who-hasn’t-gone-to-bed-yet was a prime example. I sit at a table and listen to bullshit. Hurtful and unfair bullshit. When I can’t take it anymore, I attempt Operation Speak One’s Mind. With devastating results. Boom goes my heart and suddenly I am shaking so bad I can’t even keep my voice steady – same old story – and nearly fainted too. Revert to standard procedure: shrink and go mute.

Simpler still: I am a scaredy-cat who can’t speak her truth, who then gets pushed over and can’t let things go.

Time for a reality check, no?

The bullshit? Yep, as far as I’m concerned that’s what it is. Bullshit of the highest order. I doubt the sources feel that way, but their truth isn’t mine and how they feel is nothing to do with me. Did I say anything I now regret? Nope. Ah, see, one of the wonderful things about sobriety – I very rarely these days have to spend my time wallowing in shame and regret. I spoke my fucking mind and said my peace. Well, some of it, before I felt too faint to continue. But this is progress because at least I didn’t just sit there listening to what I consider bullshit. This is good.

I don’t have to agree. I even managed to pipe up so I am not guilty of giving the impression I did either.

Now for the clincher. Do the bullshitters have to agree with me? Hm…. Is this where the shoe pinches, as we say here in Sweden? This may cut closer to the bone than I like to admit. I recently felt taken advantage of and part of my gripe was that the would-be-advantage-taker never gave any impression that they knew they had, much less acknowledged it or – God forbid – said “hey, I’m sorry“. And so I have to ask myself why I can’t believe, think and feel what I do without someone else’s approval?

Oh fuck, it’s THAT simple: I am a scaredy-cat who can’t speak her truth, who then gets pushed over and can’t let things go unless someone validates her perspective.

How fucking irritating.

Next stop, Sweet Oblivion! ALL CHANGE!

Maybe this will have to be a case of fake it til’ I make it, but this can’t go on. It’d seem I’ve lived my entire life based on other people’s approval, and what’s worse, it’s often people I don’t even particularly like. Even then, I let it crush me. No, I’m not even exaggerating here – it CRUSHES me. Like it crushed me tonight or yesterday or whatever this twilight zone now is. 4.30am. Hubby and I had a few games of Yatzee (Falla tradition) even though it was midnight by the time we got back here. By 1am we were in bed. I spent a good couple of hours further attempting to switch my brain off by reading but by 3.30am I gave up because I couldn’t. So I went downstairs, cried for a while and then came on here to pour my thoughts out in a further attempt at getting them to disperse a little. Well, it does help to turn thoughts into words, I’ve done it since I first learned to write. The books too – it was all I wanted and I pestered every adult in my vicinity to read to me endlessly until I cracked reading myself a couple of years before I went to school.

My mother is a teacher and she had no idea. Random fact about me, see. I started school and she had no idea I could already read fluently. No, I’m not some kind of genius, apparently it’s not that uncommon that kids crack the code themselves the way that I did. I’d like to think I’m special, alas … #annafunfacts

Sorry, lost the thread there, where were we?

Oh yes, learning to let go and my various attempts at stilling my mind.

You know how some people just let things wash over them. Like water off a duck’s back, is that the saying? You know what I mean. How do they do it?

I do have some ideas to try though, whilst embarking on my journey to Sweet Oblivion:

  1. Crushing words or event.
  2. Ask myself if I genuinely care about this thing or this person.
  3. Not my circus, not my monkeys or does this stray clown indeed belong to my circus?
  4. Act accordingly – let other circus be the other circus or get my clowns back in line.
  5. I can disagree without beating others into agreeing with my point of view.
  6. Let the things and people who truly matter be and feel the way they do. I don’t have to embrace the things I find hard to stomach.
  7. Let the fuck GO.

You know, even writing it, I don’t believe it. I’m not at my best when I’m sleep deprived and this holiday is getting stupid now, I’ve slept so incredibly badly. I don’t believe in the above but I know it’s how I would like to operate so that’s what I’m going to try harder at.

Starting today. I’m going to call in sick. Actually, hold up! No, that’s not it. I’m going to do what the hell I like. With Hubby. Maybe dad, who will no doubt turn up and let’s face it, even though I’ve had to concede he is a regular human being with flaws, he’s still on a pedestal in many ways and along with Hubby and Bambino he is one of a VERY select few I can stand to be around no matter my mood. All others needn’t bother. I don’t care if my heart actually beats itself out of my chest and hops away across the fields surrounding Falla, I will reply with this entire sentence:

No“.

No calling in sick. No excuses. Just a ‘no’. Well, I guess there’s no need to be a complete arsehole. Maybe I’ll extend it to “no, not today“. But if I want to be able to sleep soundly and not sit here at Falla – on holy ground as far as I’m concerned, which is what makes this even more infuriating – battling anxiety, dread and sorrow because of the opinions of people I wouldn’t actually ask for advice, then something has to fucking give. I mean, that’s so fucked up I don’t even know where to begin. Or actually, I have to stop giving. Stop being pushed over. Stop letting the air around me get polluted. Or rather, I need to stop staying with it. Walk away. LET GO.

Am I angry? Yes. I’ve been angry a lot over these past two months. Like I said, I’ve been buckling. Is it anyone’s fault but my own? Nope. And so can anyone else fix it for me? Hardly.

The simplest thing of all: this scaredy-cat needs to summon the courage to change the things she can.

Wow. 5am. This is now my favourite time of day, but it bloody helps if I have slept and of course I haven’t on this occasion. I do like this though, in a way, despite feeling so distraught just an hour ago. When I look out of the window I can see a couple of deer on the field outside. And here I am, sitting in the same spot that the Anna of Falla before me, dad’s grandmother, used to sit in. Slightly different as dad has renovated since then, but the kitchen table is pretty much in the same spot and I always sit in what used to be her spot. Funny how I just realised that, it was never deliberate, I just let my tired and wired mind travel back and remembered that. I have quite chunky black rimmed glasses too.

I do wonder what she would make of it all. This family is certainly full of stories and secrets that we seem to like keeping hidden. Problem is I can’t stand that. I can’t stand it but end up in a self enforced cage of silence that closes in on me and crushes me.

I don’t even know where to start. But maybe I’ve come face to face a little bit with some of the reasons why I buckle at speaking my mind. And I don’t fucking like it – never did – so it needs to change. Silence and escaping may have worked at some points but no longer.

Probably best if I get some sleep or I’ll end up telling people to fuck off and that won’t be ideal either. With some sleep maybe I can just go with the full sentence of “no” – that would be a good start.

Over and out.

Anna of Falla