Last night, our family went looking for a video we'd taken a few years ago of my son singing a tune from, "Calamity Jane" -a musical starring Doris Day who is by all account much too adorable to be Calamity but also much too adorable to be criticized. It took us awhile to find it because my picture and video files aren't organized -if you know me personally, you aren't shocked over this fact. We rifled through the years, playing video after video. I saw my kids grow from diapers to size 8 jeans before my eyes.
It was surreal watching little clips of our life back then. What stood out -besides the obvious cuteness that is My Children -was the background. My house. I watched the decorations shifting and changing, the mess always constant.
It looks nothing like my house now. There's still a mess, but it sings a different tune now.
I listened to my voice behind the camera and I felt a gnawing ache in my belly -I ached because I KNEW what The Girl Holding the Camera was going through. I could see the date each video was taken and I knew, roughly, what was going on around then.
I remember the month after my rock bottom when God blessed me with three separate highly contagious illnesses that spread through my entire family and kept EVERYONE AWAY and ME AWAY FROM EVERYONE and I sang great and giant praises unto God for it.
I remember the months I spent in bed, trying my best to just GET UP.
And strangely, I remember trying to decorate my house but not really knowing what the heck to do. I remember trying one thing and then another, never quite content. I'd spend a day on a wall and walk away at the end of it exhausted and discontented, too tired to bother messing with it for months. I'd stare at it and just feel... off.
I began to accept myself as an Inferior Decorator.
"It's just who I am," I shrugged myself into apathy.
But you know what? It isn't who I am. Am I a professional decorator? Oh, gosh no. But guess what I'm not? I'm not an inferior anything.
I looked at those shifting walls last night and I realized that I was witnessing what happens to a woman when she's completely out of touch with herself. I had neglected myself and been neglected by those who loved me. I had sustained abuse and wasn't aware of it.
I only knew that my walls were off. I didn't realize it was because I WAS OFF.
I was out of touch, and I had no idea how to hear myself, how to listen.
Today, I'm typing from the same computer I've typed from for years. I think of the things these keys have held -the truths, the pains, the tears, the laughter. I've bonded with this dying, geriatric lap top and I wonder if it sees what's happened. I wonder if it sees what I see.
The day I opened it up for the first time, I was set on TELLING. I was set on writing and telling and teaching others.
I love teaching. It's one part of myself I've never truly lost, though for a time it went completely haywire. I blogged daily about anything I felt worthwhile, which was truly, truly everything. Everything, that is, except the truth.
I blogged about mediocre custard filling and posted rushed tutorials on how to make zipper flowers -something I was pretty bunk at, but felt a nagging feeling to shout it from the rooftop anyway.
I poured the sparse amount of life-blood in me into showing others stuff.
I can see why. I understand my hunger and need to be validated and seen. I get that. Given a rewind button, I'd probably do the same thing. Maybe in a different way? But knowing what I know about myself, I'm sure I'd run back to that numb, out-of-touch place.
I can't tell you how many times I literally fell asleep on my floor from exhaustion. Dropped, plopped and woke up at 2 am, flat on my belly, carpet print on my cheek.
It felt absolutely natural to be THAT busy.
Since those videos were taken, things have changed. They didn't change right away -I didn't even realize HOW MUCH had changed until last night. What's more: they're still changing.
As I've worked -REALLY worked -recovery, I feel as if I've woken up. Chancing blasphemy, I'd say that Jesus kissed Sleep Beauty and together, we're building a kingdom.
The glorious proof lies on my walls -I'm not discontented anymore. I love my walls. I can HEAR what I want, what I need, and what brings me joy. I find myself throwing things away and making room for what really thrills me.
On Saturday, I wore my glasses all day because -I SWARE -my eyes told me they were tired of having contacts forced on them.
As I began working recovery, I was still focused on helping and telling. I walked into meetings wondering what I had to offer THEM. I felt a responsibility to use my words to shift the direction of conversation (should it wander into no-no territory) and I would calculate WHAT to say and WHEN and HOW and I made sure I looked nice too.
Somewhere along the lines, Socrates bonked me on the head and I realized that
I'm not the first person he's rattled with this profound, life-breathing mantra.
As that truth sunk in (it took a long time), a new world began to unfold. Suddenly, it wasn't about Alicia and what She had to offer the meetings, people, internet and nature... it was ABOUT the meetings, the people, and nature.
The Sleeping Beauty that awoke wasn't ME at all... not really in the sense I thought -it was my innate, my secret, silenced innate.
And as she awoke, she was STARVING. She'd been starved for years, and she bloomed as she ate. I nourished her when I could, and she became louder with every bite of Soul Food.
She is strong today.
She is a strong student.
She walks into nature and wonders what it might teach her. She looks into the eyes of passing strangers and wonders what parts of God they carry inside of them. She walks into meetings and wonders what there is to learn that day -because she knows there is SO VERY MUCH, more more than will ever fit in one speck of a lifetime.
She is curious, and the older I get, the more child-like she becomes. She is my Benjamin Button which is uncanny because WE BOTH have had a school-girl crush on F. Scott Fitzgerald since the 10th grade.
It's all very Barbra Mandrell singing, "I was [flapper] when [flapper] wasn't cool."
What I'm trying to get out here, pal, is that
Which is really, truly something because I didn't know I couldn't until I saw those videos and saw from a third-person perspective what Soul Blockage looks like.
From where I sit now, I can smell the fragrant lilies that I knew I needed from the grocery store last night. I can see the old cookbooks stacked in a wire basket where a gigantic pile of papers and fabric used to be. I can feel the familiar tick of the keys I love so much, the kind that feed my soul but (unfortunately) not my belly.
My innate is my teacher. She is Christ within, teaching me as I listen that though I don't believe it yet, I AM WORTHY. She prompts me to do crazy things like clean the window over my sink, and I obey... five minutes later as I watch the sun set through a clean, clear window, a message is sent, "You are worth clarity. You are worth this peace."
She prompts me to rest on the couch, to rest my soul, to meditate, to rest in God.
She prompts me to find the present. She prompts me to let go of the past, the future, and others.
Her power is beyond comprehension.
And today I can let go of the days behind me when I tied her up and shoved a sock in her mouth. Today I can reach inside of myself.
And I can listen.
This is a miracle, and it bringeth about miracles... like walls that remind me of her: