I recently attended a class in which the professor pointed at the ceiling and described the work of philosophers as often being “up there.” I attributed the gesture to refer to the somewhat ethereal, other galaxy nature of philosophical questions, arguments, and rhetoric.
Maybe that’s part of what I enjoy so much about philosophy. I like bouncing around thoughts and conjectures about things with little practical, grounded application in everyday life. Today I began by reflecting on something that bugs me but it’s altogether human– our need to put everything and everyone in a box.
I am talking about categorization. Definition. You’re tall. I’m short. He’s Asian. I’m Caucasian. She’s gay; I am straight. You’re chemically balanced without the aid of an SSRI. I’m a recovering alcoholic prone to depression. Boxes.
Categorizing people and things helps us organize information and thereby make sense of it… at the same time, it sucks. Like when someone sticks another person in a box and seals it with a particularly judgmental label.
Allow me to be more specific. And first, this requires of me a brief confession: I lied earlier this week. I apologize. I’ve not been uninspired or unable to blog. Sure, I’ve had the sniffles and felt clogged and snotty, but not so terrible I can’t function. Truthfully, I have been dying to blog. But I felt as though I could not. You see, this past week, my blog became fodder for a certain person’s continual beat-down of someone I care about. A means by which to get to this person, to shame this person.
When I got this information, I responded very poorly. I internalized it; I began to think, maybe this person is right… maybe I am totally fucked up and my blogging is indicative of my lack of fitness–emotional or otherwise. Then I got mad at other people in my life. For not “standing up for me” or for telling this person where to stick it. I lost sight of the issue at hand. Really, this person used my blog as a convenient vehicle to go after someone else. But you know, like any good alcoholic, I forget sometimes that the world doesn’t revolve around me. Instead of acknowledging this and putting it in its proper place (the garbage), I became very, very sad. As in, trouble-getting-out-of-bed sad. Not-sure-what-the-point-of-all-this-work-is sad. Crying-while-driving sad.
Then, this afternoon and quite suddenly, call it luck, the Universe, God, good fortune, or whatever floats your particular spiritual boat, I was jettisoned out of this funk. While my man friend may not be aware of this, I am unspeakably grateful to him for (among many things) his inability to put up with self pity. He grants me a small portion and then promptly and directly calls me on it. Which is fucking infuriating.
In fact, I just took a furious shower and furiously scrubbed off two layers of furious dermis because I was so furious. And I am still a little bit furious. But mostly I am appreciative. Because here I have someone in my life who keeps it real, who wants to see me show up and be happy, who won’t let me get away with my usual, old-narrative bullshit. So I have no choice but to nut up and move on. Thank you, my love.
I suppose I should have expected some dissension over my blog… I am putting my life on display in a very public and some may think, crude, fashion. I’ve been doing this for about one year now. My ultimate goal is to pen a book. It’s probably good for me to be reminded that many subscribe to unenlightened views on addiction.
Regardless of my bruised ego and shattered idealism, I will continue to write. I can’t not. It’s part of me. When I don’t write, I feel weighted down. I act nuts. For the sake of everyone I love (and don’t love), I am compelled to keep sharing in this manner. At the same time, no one has to read this. One cool thing about the Internet… you can navigate where you want to travel and what you elect to read. My blog not your bag? Sweet. Move along then. Also, it really doesn’t bear repeating but here I go, repeating it… GLASS HOUSES. For serious.
Anyway, if you are new to my blog, I’d like to take this opportunity to clarify a few key premises. My name is Andrea. I am an alcoholic. I took my last drink on May 10, 2009. By the time I sobered up, I’d done things I never thought I’d do. I lied. I cheated. I played unfairly. I went against my moral compass all over the place.
That’s all relatively uninteresting, however–alcoholics with drunkalogues and sob stories are a dime a dozen. What’s worthy of note is my recovery. I am an addict, living my life mostly happy, sometimes crazy, while not needing to drink. That requires self-reflection, discipline, care, tenderness (to self, which I am still cultivating), humor, service, honesty, and love. Part of how I am at service to others is in my frank, unadorned, plain sharing of my life.
From the get-go of this journey, I determined I would not indulge anyone in the stigma around alcoholism, or mental illness for that matter. That’s one party I won’t attend, nor will I permit ignorance, misunderstanding, and hatred to rule my life. I am a better person for being an alcoholic. I stand by that always.
Funny, we’ve been talking a ton about the honey badger up in here this past week. (If you aren’t familiar with the honey badger, check it out on YouTube). My man friend is a self-ascribed honey badger. As in, whatever, I don’t care. In response to life’s trials and tribulations. Like the honey badger responds to venomous snakes, bee hives, and whatever comes his way. He just don’t care; he keeps going.
I am borrowing some honey badger attitude. I’m not adopting a nihilist approach; clearly I care. It’s just that I am from this point forth limiting what I give a crap about. Where I put my attention, how I channel my energy. So I keep on keeping on. Old lovers, nay sayers, cobras, pshaw. I don’t give a crap.
Peace and love.