So I pulled around the corner in my neighborhood one Sunday afternoon and found this sign, hand-crafted by JM (and a little reminiscent of his former days as a tagger on the streets of Los Angeles) attached to the front of my house.
It now hangs in my garage where at least once a day, it reminds me of the things I most care about.
Te amo, por vida…I LOVE YOU FOR LIFE, is another way of saying, I’m in–100% in. So let’s do this thing. Minute by minute, day by day, let’s map out what feels good. Let’s go with what works and let’s QUICKLY get rid of what isn’t working in each moment. Notice I said quickly, right? Because we can spend a lifetime mulling around in the BS. And we’ve wasted enough time, haven’t we?
If you expect to have an extraordinary life, you have to be willing to KILL YOUR BABIES. It’s a writing expression. Writers get really attached to sentences sometimes, because of how they sound, or how they make us (the writer) feel. But one of the things you learn when you step into a writing classroom, is that your job is to serve the page. That means that no matter how amazing a sentence may be, if it doesn’t serve the page, it has to go.
I carry that ideal into my sobriety. KILL THE BABIES. It means, get rid of what isn’t working. Sometimes there’s fear around this. There’s fear of making mistakes. But when I’m in that fear I just remember what I heard when I was new: If it’s meant to be, there’s nothing you can do to fuck it up. If it’s not meant for you, there’s nothing you can do to make it work. And I’ve gone to some pretty extreme lengths to make things that weren’t meant for me, work. To my own detriment.
Self-love is about cleaning the closet. It’s about killing the babies. Because when you have more space in your life (your head, your heart) you have more opportunity for new things to flood in. God abhors a vacuum. I always loved that saying. Because killing your babies and cleaning your closets can leave you feeling a little (or very!) lonely. NEWSFLASH: Loneliness is a temporary condition.
Example: I had a couple of years sober. I was dating a LOSER (hindsight is 20/20!), but I was pretty much certain that I was going to marry him. Compulsive gambler, 14 years clean and still selling drugs. YIKES! I had really high expectations for my life, huh? Let it suffice to say that our choices in early sobriety may not always be healthy. See, this choice I was making with this person was feeding my self-loathing, not my self-love. Furthermore, the extent to which I was willing to go on a regular basis to make this very unworkable relationship work, was self-loathing in action. Of course, I didn’t know that. When it ended, I think everyone in my inner AA circle took a huge breath of relief for me. But I was devastated. And it took me a long long time to get over it. God and I really battled it out that time, over which one of us was going to be in charge. But eventually, I lost. GOD HAS A PLAN THAT’S BETTER THAN YOURS. So relax into it, if and when you can. If you can’t relax into it, work towards relaxing into it. Sit down, all the way down, and lean towards your higher power’s love for you.
One of the things I learned from that disastrous experience was that the very thing I think will make me happy, may be just the thing that kills me (or gets me arrested, or makes me miserable). And the thing I might never think would bring me happiness can be the source of my greatest joy.
It’s been a long stressful month around here, for a variety of reasons. The other night I was innocently occupying JM’s side of the bed when out of nowhere he stood in the doorway of the bathroom and starting bombing me with flying tampons. Both of us ended up in a puddle of laughter. One of the greatest gifts of my marriage is that my husband constantly reminds me to lighten up. And I really, really need that in my life.
You’ve no doubt heard this one before. Self-love and self-loathing are like the wild dogs in a fight. Which one wins? The one you feed of course. As you clean your closets over the next few weeks, as we approach the new year, look at everything in your life and ask yourself which dog it’s feeding.