The Remembering

Part Three in the Series: A Journey to Belonging

What I decided to do was do nothing. I felt that the answer to the why of my new vision was inside me. Being busy trying to find it in recovery meetings, inventories, or talking wasn’t going to give me an understanding. So, by all standards outside me, I was depressed. The meds weren’t working. I even put aside all of Brené Brown’s ‘stuff’.

The best way to explain what I’m going to share is to tell you they are random thoughts without any connection…just things I remembered.

Accidental overdose, tired of being tired, thought Ritalin would help. My physical make-up as an addict kicked in and I ended up in ICU. Then on to the psych unit really angry that I was alive—was reintroduced to meds. Ended up in an apartment complex for “crazy” people and participated in a drop-in center for the chronically mental ill. Sat in on group and heard the same thing over and over. I sat one time and listened to the staff leader and thought I could do better based on my life experience and recovery program. Same people in same booths playing the same card games. Then ‘it’ happened. I came out of my apartment to the end of the street—turning north would get me to the drop-in center. But for some reason I looked south and thought, I have every right in the world to go downtown. Something changed. I listened to people’s stories at the center. I wasn’t judging actions. Eventually I dropped out of the program.

More memories…I became part of a nursing program as a liaison between students and the homeless. Published a homeless newsletter recruiting people to share their stories, had a paper I wrote published in a nursing journal. Then the program ran its course and I wasn’t getting the continued attention. Bedbugs and my unwillingness to pay for the landlord getting rid of them lead to my moving to the basement apartment of a friend. Cancer surgery got rid of all the cancer, but I ended up with an infection that landed me in a nursing home for 9 months. Ended up in Upland, California, because I lost the apartment.

So I sat with the memories with a somewhat detached view. Seeing old patterns, how I got people to leave, how I blamed others.

I found a significant answer to a long-standing question: Why am I always drawn to people who don’t have time for me or are not emotionally available? Then my recovery program kicked in. I can’t give away something I don’t have. I had to find a way to be more trusting, to share the emotions as I experienced them.

Winters are rainy where I am. After six cloudy days, the sun finally appeared which made me feel better—and BOOM! I did the written work as Brené suggested in her first book (“I Thought It Was Just Me”) good enough; not all of it but what I did was all that was required of me.

Both times of that undefined change in me came from wanting something better and believing I deserved it.

Liz Gilbert taught me to be curious when writing is difficult, when the ideas aren’t happening. So, I am curious about lizards and hydrants and squirrels. But, I’m most curious about my reactions and feelings.

I will continue to share my less shameful life. For now, as Liz suggests, I will get it done even if it’s not perfect with another affirmation by Barbara.

“It’s never too late to become who and what you were meant to be. All that has come before you will lead you exactly to your future self.”