I. I’ve been frustrated by the pandemic. Coming out of the fog of too much wine for so long means I am coming into awareness of the feelings that lurked beneath that fog, and one of them is frustration. I’ve got stuff I want to do, and *waves at all of this* is standing in my way.
II. This would be less frustrating if I were in control of it, but I’m not. I did all the things – isolated, masked up, double vaxxed, looking for a booster (they are pretty hard to book at the moment for obvious reasons), and yet here we are back in lockdown in Ontario. I am hoping Omicron is going to lead us to herd immunity and this will soon be over-ish. We’ll still have to live with COVID but it will be endemic and less threatening. This is the hope. *Fingers Crossed*
Bring it on and so it is.
III. I’m grateful for my work because there is always something to draw me out of the ennui and existential angst that this life of “rinse and repeat” is bringing on. As long as I can bring whatever it is I’m experiencing in the moment into my creative practice, I feel like I can deal with it. It may not necessarily solve anything to express it but at least it means it isn’t taking up quite so much room in my body and mind.
IV. I do feel, though, like my world has shrunk. The usual experiences that fill me up (fests, mostly, and live music) have been lacking for me since late 2019. That’s a long time to go without soul food. Those kinds of experiences add something to the well I draw from as a journal artist, and I’ve had to depend solely on my very tiny world – mostly on my inner life – to fill that well. It’s made my creative practice a little less inspired. I’m not going to lie. So, I’ve marched my butt into the classes I have stored on my hard drive so I can add new experiences, techniques, imagery, etc. even though I’m pretty much stuck in the house.
I started Life Book 2022 this past week. Here’s where I’m at with that so far:
Week One – Soul Glow warm up with Tamara Laporte
Week One – Shine Your Light with Tamara Laporte – This one isn’t quite finished yet. I’m going to do a few things to it today, I think.
V. I’m reading again as well, though, and I’m not talking about audiobooks, either. They’re a perfectly valid way to read, and I leaned hard on them over the last few years as a way to lull myself to sleep, but lately I’ve been *so bored* of the “rinse repeat” I mentioned above that I’ve added some titles to my Kindle library and I’m reading throughout the day. “Cat Magic” by Whitley Striber is my current distraction. It’s a book I read way back in the 90’s that I absolutely loved. It’s been fun revisiting it. I don’t know where I’ll go after that’s done with but I have a few titles queued up. I’ll keep you posted.
VI. I’ve been knitting, too. Still working on that shawl I cast on the day I quit drinking and it’s coming along beautifully. It’s going to be the perfect reading shawl once I’m done with it. It’s on big enough needles (size 6) that it doesn’t bug my eyes and I’m just doing a straight purl row one knit row two to keep it easy to work on while I’m watching something mindless on the telly. This and a lot of organic kombuchu (ginger flavoured – mmmmmmmmm) and dark chocolate have been saving my bacon.
VII. SO BORED THOUGH OMG I’M READY FOR THE NEXT ADVENTURE.
VIII. Speaking of which, I have another level one pottery class scheduled for four weeks beginning Jan 18th, but I don’t know what’s going to happen with that given the current surge. SEE WHAT I MEAN BY FRUSTRATING? I have the feeling I’m going to come out of this thing with a serious case of wanderlust and the will to do something about it. Like get my passport. And maybe a car.
IX. Argh. *lol*
X. Okay, I’m done rambling. I’ve got Journal52 up for you. Click here to grab the file on Dropbox. We’re talking creativity this week.
GRAB THE FILE ON DROPBOX
How It Started (Day One) & How It’s Going (Day 37)
Hello, lovely ones! It’s been a little minute since last we typed, but I didn’t want the first Monday of 2022 to go by without a love letter from me to you, so grab a bevvie and settle in. I’ve got some things to tell you.
First of all, today marks 38 days since I decided that I wasn’t loving the way wine made me feel anymore. For the last 38 days, I have chosen sparkling water or tea instead of that ever-present glass of boxed Chardonnay. I did have a glass of champagne on New Year’s, but it was what we call a planned “blip” in my alcohol-free support community. I cut it with grapefruit Perrier, enjoyed that one glass, and did not have another.
Changing my relationship with alcohol has been the singular most precious gift I’ve ever given to myself. I mean, just look at those faces above. Day One – I was desperately depressed and anxious, and all too aware that I had tipped over from a pleasurable glass of wine now and then to a soul-sucking habit. Day 37 was New Year’s Day – the first New Year’s in about a decade that wasn’t spent with a pounding headache and a queasy belly. I taught that day, clear-eyed and fully present. I was in full possession of my will and my senses.
That little voice in my head that told me I was nothing without my wine – that my creativity would dry up, that I’d be bored all the time, that I needed it to get me through – has been proven a liar, because none of those things are true. My creativity is flowing. When I get bored (the danger zone for me for sure) I have activities I’ve chosen to replace the ones that drain me and do nothing to contribute to my general sense of aliveness in the world. The only thing I need to get me through is my *attention* and self-love and the toolbox of skills I’ve developed over many years of self-work and therapy.
In fact, I’ve discovered that a lot of my depression and anxiety, which I was using alcohol to medicate, was directly related to how much I was drinking.
As in I am no longer depressed or anxious.
I have all this energy now that I didn’t have before. My sleep patterns have changed dramatically. I’m in bed by 11 at the latest and I sleep through the night. New ideas fly at me from all directions and my ability to implement them has increased exponentially. There is nothing I’m phoning in. I’m excited. I’m optimistic. I’m alive in the world and I like it like that.
I spent the years from 2014 (when my marriage ended) until now gazing at the world through the fish-eyed lens of tear-stained eyes (Thank you Roger Waters for that line) because I legitimately did not know that what I thought was medicinal was actually poisonous. I didn’t know that what I was doing was keeping me stuck in protracted grief. I didn’t know that drinking was a gatekeeper, barring the way to optimism, hope, and change for the better.
But now I know.
And so, this is the way.
I don’t know if I’ll stay alcohol-free forever or if I’ll find my way to moderation. Some people can do that. Some can’t. I don’t know which I am at this moment in time, and I’m not in a place where I’m ready to experiment with that. That one glass of champagne on New Year’s was my way of saying “I am in control here” and it was a good experience, but I didn’t want to extend that experiment beyond that one glass on that one day. Perhaps in time, I’ll be one of those humans who can have a glass of wine with dinner or raise a toast on her birthday without descending into the hell that is daily drinking from noon and until midnight, but that time is not now. Now is the time to discover who I am unaltered, unfettered.
So far, I like who that is.
I am feeling all kinds of positive things about 2022. I survived 2020 and 2021, but just barely. As I pause here on the threshold that is the first Monday in a brand new year of days and weeks and months, I feel optimistic, hopeful, and energized. I feel ready to take my life to the next level wherein I am not merely getting through it.
I’m aiming higher.
I aim to thrive.
Thanks for listening.
P.S Throughout the course of 2022, I will be releasing new Journal52 art cards + musings. Here is the first!
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