Updated: Aug 5, 2019
I have a list next to my computer of all the blogs I need to actually write, or finish.
While I was gardening today, I realized I don't have to keep beating myself up for not accomplishing the things I want to, they way I have them in my head. I have this blog, and it's been mostly stagnant for much more time than I'd like to admit. So instead of feeling less than or useless, I've decided to try something new. I'll still have my list of serious, in-depth blog topics I will write about... but I'm going to sit down once a week and just free-write about all that's happening in my head, and in my life.
Welcome to Unicorn Reflections.
I'll start with where I am today. I am at day 820 sober. And in 11 days, I'll be celebrating two years nicotine free.
With that being said, let me tell you that even with about 2 years free of both these substances, it does not mean that it's easy. I still have the seemingly random craving for a cigarette. And I still sometimes think: "Hey, I can have just one drink at the party." NO. I can't. So, one day at a time I continue to take it. I wake up and pray for the strength to continue this path and I thank Him for my second chance to be here and live life to it's fullest.
I am currently sitting in my kitchen... MY kitchen. If you don't know me personally, I've recently bought a house. (With the complete generosity of my father helping with the down payment to get here. Thank you pops!) Some days I wake up and feel like it's just too good to be true. But every day I find myself smiling because I've found a place to really make my own and it's really, really close to perfect. Having Buddy the Dog has allowed me to meet my neighbors and really feel comfortable here. For living in a city, I'm truly surprised with how friendly and neighborly everyone has been.
I'm exhausted from a long weekend of hard, manual housework. I realized that my depression has taken over a large part of my motivation lately. By forcing myself to clean and organize and take control of this house, I have finally found the satisfaction of completing things again. I'm hoping that this continues and rubs off in other aspects of my life as well. Focusing has been really tough for me lately. I've acknowledged to myself that I've continued to say yes when I have too much on my plate. Now it's just a matter of getting out of the weeds and taking on a more respectable load that I can balance. Must. Stop. People. Pleasing.
My heart hurts for the passing of Chester Bennington, as I'm still not fully wrapped my head around the passing of Chris Cornell. It may seem silly to some to mourn for the loss of life of people I've never personally known, but their music has been my savior so many times in the past, it's hard not to feel a hole in my soul. The media has talked about both having mental illness and addiction issues and that they both committed suicide. So obviously this breaks my heart even more. Which is yet another reason why I feel I need to start blogging more and telling my story. Mental illness is a forever, on-going battle... just like being sober, I have to take one day at a time with my mental health. My depression can sneak up on me out of nowhere. And no matter how many tools I have in my toolbox to fight off my anxiety attacks and general deafening thoughts, that too can hit me hard and sometimes out of no where. I have to be on guard and constantly aware of myself in order to make the next right move. This is the main reason I choose every day to stay sober. I can't numb myself and be proactive about making a better version of myself. The deaths of Chris and Chester have been heavy to feel, but I still have hope. I hope that the more mental illness is shown in the spotlight, the stigma will be washed away. And all those people saying terrible things about others will realize how awful and terrible a thing it is to be suicidal. There is always hope.
Today at church I had two "a-ha" moments. Things that I've been really praying for, and they were basically like :::SLAP::: here's the answer silly girl. The first was about doubting myself. I've been putting off writing a research paper because I keep doubting my ability to go back to school and pursue Theology and Ministry. (note: it took me a few minutes to write that out. I haven't told more than a handful of people about this and it's still a terrifying thought) I'm not only seeing doubt in my path, but fear. And it's been paralyzing lately. I'm working day by day on my surrender. Let go, let God. And every time I successfully do that, for however many minutes, I feel calm, whole, and ridiculously happy and free. This is why I know it's the right path. So today at church, in the opening prayer the Pastor said something along the lines of: "Please give us the courage to open our hearts to Your word and passionately follow them." That's probably NOTHING what was said, other than the use of the word courage... but that's what I heard, and needed to hear. So needless to say, I have to get cracking on this paper and sending in my application to North Park University. The other slap in the face was something I've been trying to put into practice for a very long time, but haven't been able to figure out just how to make it happen in reality. FORGIVENESS. But more specifically, forgiveness of someone who truly hurt me to the core and I mostly just don't want to forgive him. And just like Jonah felt of the Ninevites, I'd rather see him find the wrath of his consequences than throw on the sackcloth and repent. Yes, I know how awful that sounds. But it's true. I've struggled with letting go of this anger and hurt and resentment I've had for over two years now. And today, the sermon was called "Second Chances." Boy, do I know all about those. But it's not just about having the grace bestowed upon me... it's about sharing that good news to others, and forgiving everyone freely, just as He has done for me. As the Pastor noted: "Spiritual maturity is the ability and willingness to be led to places we'd rather not go." So guess what I did this afternoon while gardening? I genuinely prayed for the person who hurt me. I asked that he be shown the same grace I have been given. How can I not want that for everyone? Being alive today, being awake to the reality in front of me... this is what life is all about. I am present and overjoyed to be able to share my story... and now I finally understand how to forgive... To do as I've been shown.
As I sit here and quickly type in between the bites of Pad Thai, I'm also thinking of my week to come and realizing I probably should wrap this up and begin my nightly routine. I send out into the universe so much love and hope to you all.
Grace and peace-