Now I’m free
I’m free fallin’
Yeah, I’m free
(songwriter: Tom Petty)
Right now my thoughts and feelings are in free fall. They are sending me into the stratosphere. I’m spinning like a suited-up gravity-free astronaut in the weightless atmosphere of space.
Here’s an example showing how my thoughts and feelings spin out of control.
A man I went to High School with just died. It’s not that I was especially close to him. He was part of the gang I used to hang out with. A nice and good man. A very talented artist – especially pen & ink. Because we had lost touch, he was frozen in time to me at twenty-two years old.
After many decades, we re-connected a couple years ago on Facebook. (To me that’s the real value of Facebook). Right after connecting I learned through his emails and posts that he and his wife were in dire straits. Lost his job as a studio illustrator, and couldn’t find new work because of
his our age. About to become homeless at his our age. Difficulty finding work, combined with some financial disasters, he was now broke and almost-homeless — at our age.
I felt his vulnerability as he posted his plight on Facebook, asking for help. That was really scary to me. On Facebook! He was willing to be naked to the world to get help. It made me feel my own vulnerability; and how fortunate I am. Even having skated close to personal disaster a few times over the last dozen years, here I am still standing, still healthy – a roof over my head, and in a good space.
I never feel the age that I am – and don’t think of my friends as being that age either. But tipping over into sixty is a good solid advanced number! Is it a general human thing to think that if we know someone, they won’t suffer the hardships the rest of humanity suffers? I, and those I know, are outside of that human condition stuff. I want to believe that. People I know would never be in dire straits at the advanced age we are now. People I know are never going to die.
I realize in moments like this – I am not going to live forever. There are choices I will no longer have to select from (eg have children, apply for my first job, have a decades long enduring marriage like my parents, etc.)
And round and round she goes, where she stops – nobody knows!
(Ted Mack’s Amateur Hour)
And off I go!
Normally this is the point where I’d get a bottle of wine and numb it all right down. Maybe put on some music; have one of my favorite artists sing me a sad song. There I’d sit, numbed, crying and being tortured by my thoughts and regrets.
Last night I instead forced myself to sit in my sadness and let my thoughts progress without drink.
Because he and I hung out with the same people in high school, I started thinking about that gang and various couplings. I never seemed to be able to meet anyone, never had a boyfriend in High School. I began – again – that familiar dialog with myself – what was wrong with me? It must have been me. Then started thinking about family systems as part of creating this ‘fault’ of mine of not being able to have a boyfriend or relationship.
From there I started thinking about the relationships I have had over the years. The good ones that I didn’t choose to keep because I wanted excitement in my life – to pursue great adventure. Thinking about the ones I should never ever have let darken my doorstep. Why did I allow those men to come into my life?
The regrets merry-go-round.
My favorite choice of what to ride on the merry-go-round is the high-steppin’ pony. And that pony is “It’s all my fault.”
Choices I made in my finances. Choices I made in jobs. Choices I made in men. Choices I made in where to live. Only focusing on the bad – not thinking about how those choices may have left me a little embattled and road weary – but it all turned out okay in the end.
And now rounding onto my most recent relationship – and reliving the crash and burn of that. Going straight into shame, regret and remorse. I shouldn’t have done this. I shouldn’t have made that choice. etc. etc. etc. Blah, blah, blah. Trying to turn back the hands of time (thanks for that line Cher 🙂 ) and wished I had never met him.
I used my wine o’clock time to work myself up into a state of despair and self-pity. Basically beating myself up for not having lived a different life – and not being a different person than who I am.
I choose to ignore the good things I have: Sitting in a comfortable seat. Sitting warm and surrounded by my precious things. Sitting with a bit of money in the bank. Sitting with a job. Sitting with a roof over my head. Sitting with warmth, and food in the fridge. Sitting here preparing for my next holiday – to visit my elderly but vibrant father (I still have my father! A true blessing.).
Leave your front door and your back door open.
Allow your thoughts to come and go.
Just don’t serve them tea.
Instead, today, I sit in sobriety with my feelings and thoughts and let them pass through me. Observing, but ensuring I move them along. Not offering them tea, as a Buddhist quote goes. Not letting them torture me. No beating myself up with them.
And I shed tears, but I did move through them. Without alcohol.
P.S. Tom Petty name checks a lot of my teen years locations… Reseda, Ventura Boulevard, over Mulholland. Yep, I’m a Valley Girl.