Day 365

One year.

I have been writing every day, for one year.  The chronicles are lengthy and deep, laugh-inspiring and dangerous, loving and deadly, long-winded and diminutive.  365 steps in the direction of recovery, that’s what that means.  But perhaps not.

Yesterday, my wife had a risky yet eye-opening foray into job-people-asshole-relationships.  This foray showed us that her next steps require some sort of job search, career path.  I am on board; ultimately, I want her happiness, for her to be grateful and appreciative, above all else.  I love her and we will make it work.  Luckily it was just a warning shot though, a burnt orange instead of a bright red, one that will allow us to take the next steps – while tenuously – on our own terms.  Given how things have been articulated here, recovering herself would be a way to frame this.

As for me, I am currently stepping into a new form of self-reality (I know that self-actualization is a more proper term, but the douche factor requires a less-accurate synonym), stepping into a new understanding of myself.  I started writing because we understood its value as a recovery tool for me, because we were looking for experts on me when we were the only two true ones.  As a result, we know many more of my triggers, warning signals, agitators and alienators than we did one year ago.  We also know that when stress gets away from me and us that dire consequences ensue: judge and jury, I give you broken hand.  I also know many more of my feelings, my loves and desires, my cares and Tz’u, my purpose as Don and my hopes and faith.  I feel more comfortable being who I am after 365 days, partially because we have expanded the me version of me, but also because we have explored the me version of me, which has given us an understanding of shoulds and the parts of me that are me, not black.  As we discussed earlier in the week, my wife and I know that my next steps in recovery include rest and managing the inevitable stresses of living on the edge, of giving 100% to do good and be beautiful, amazing and loving.

Odd thing is, if I hadn’t been pushed off the edge two weekends ago, I wouldn’t have had cause to have the difficult conversation with my aunt last weekend.  And if my wife hadn’t had her encounter of the fucked up kind, I would not have gone to my aunt for counsel about college teaching (a reach out that wouldn’t have happened without the difficult conversation), she would not have seen her potential for vivid expansion and I would not have found a potential perma-support in Kind Science Work Friend.  So is this really about recovery?

Through blogging, I have learned so much.  By writing, I have faced demons with my wife, with her affair, with my family, with my brother’s illness, with my blackness.  Like our summer before life happened, writing allowed growth beyond belief.  However, I will stop blogging after today and this is my final Tale as the Recovering Recoverer.  Not because I don’t love writing – I will continue to do that as a tool.  But given the acquired understanding of the last 365 days, I now understand that this is not a path of recovery, not solely.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I am recovered by any means.  I will continue to understand that I am recovering from anxiety and hyper-vigilance, perfectionism, orthorexia and disordered eating – my personal blackness.  I understand that the potential for that blackness taking over will always be there.  I understand that we will need to face every day one day at a time, with serenity and courage and wisdom.  I understand that I and we will continue to adapt our vivid to fit the current lines and colours, to use my tools and support system and stay vigilant against the blacknesses within us.

But I understand that this is only a part of me.  I have realized that I have not been writing about a path of recovery, not solely.  This is not a story about recovering from a deficit; this is a story of growth.  No, there is not an ending here, but that’s because this is a tale of a different sort – this is 365 days of life.

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Day 364

5:30PM:

Before I broke my hand, I signed on to supervise tonight’s school dance.  This was before the broken hand, before the broken spirit (thank you kindly frosty workplace, as yesterday’s slips of the tongue revealed), before the broken heart, before the broken sleep last night (and many more before that night), before the broken pain threshold (fucking hurts in the bones).  I wanted to bail.  I thought all afternoon about an out, about sixty-two outs.

And then, I thought about a model.  I thought about WWGD = What Would Gibbs Do.  He would keep his word.  Ultimately, I want to keep my word.

As has been made clear throughout this chronicle, there is a code by which I live.  These rules are fundamental parts of the ME version of me.  The best models, I have taken pieces of them.  The best ideas, I have developed elements from them.  The me version of me is a mosaic of these all.  Specific to this character though, these are the Gibbs-ean pieces of me:

Rule 1: Never screw over your partner.

Be the best of you, not the worst of them.  Treat others as you wish to be treated.  The Golden Rule.

Rule 3: Never be unreachable.

The code of the Don.  It’s why I sleep with my phone beside my pillow.

Rule 4: The best way to keep a secret? Keep it to yourself. Second best? Tell one other person – if you must. There is no third best.

I know my one.  I love my wife, my best friend, my confidant.

Rule 5: You don’t waste good.

Give your all, give your best.  Do all the good you possible can do.  Bring the love and care as best you can.  Be 100% in.  You do risk getting hurt, but the other way, you will waste good, waste life.

Rule 8: Never take anything for granted.

Look up.

Rule 10: Never get personally involved in a case.

Rule 12: Never date a co-worker.

Ok, broke those two  – but I said it was a mosaic of Gibbs and more, not a carbon copy.  And hell, he breaks the first rule constantly and as for the second, the NCIS series isn’t done yet!

Rule 14: Bend the line, don’t break it.

Don’t go so far or yell so loud that you become the problem, your message gets lost.  It does you and the cause a disservice.

Rule 15: Always work as a team.

Teamwork in family, work, marriage, even when you have to be the best of you as opposed to the worst of them.

Rule 18: It’s better to seek forgiveness than ask permission.

When in doubt, act like you’re supposed to be there.  When that doesn’t work, barrel through (case in point, 2011 Medical Tent incident in Penticton = importance of losing a swimmer supersedes grumpy-ass nurse). 

Rule 23: Never mess with a Marine’s coffee… if you want to live.

Same goes for tea (I’m thinking of you Tim Hortons double-double instead of double milk – yes, two years later I still remember this).

Rule 42: Never accept an apology from someone who just sucker punched you.

“I’m sorry” needs to matter.

Rule 45: Clean up the mess that you make.

Take responsibility for your actions.

Rule 51: Sometimes you’re wrong.

A hard lesson for me to learn.  It took me dropping to 135lbs and spending two weeks in a Mental hospital to come to this, to grow to this.  But I wouldn’t be here, be in this now, be on this path had I not.

The Unspoken Rule (as revealed by Mike Franks): You do what you have to do for family.

‘Nuff said.

So I will be a man of (or victim to) my word, because that’s the me version of me, because that’s the person that I want to be, because that’s what Gibbs would do.

Day 362

12:53AM:

Take care of yourself; you’re worth it.

That is a should for me.

I find value, strength and purpose in others, in connections, in care and Tz’u, in love and Don – to be that, I need to take care of me.

Take care of myself, by using the candle a day.

Take care of myself, by limiting myself to two things a day.

Take care of myself, by having a cut-off time for work and emails.

Take care of myself, by listening to my support system (the ever-strengthened one) when they see I’m doing too much and lend a helping hand (or hug).

Take care of myself, by having food timing and systems that work for me and us.

Take care of myself, by having (and really enjoying, a forgone conclusion) sex dates.

Take care of myself, by using my anti-blackness toolbox, like happy lists, looking up and writing.

Take care of myself, by alleviating the wife-blackness-related stress, being knowledgeable of her tough hormone weeks and setting lines with her of support, for her and us.

Take care of myself, so I can be Don for others.

Day 358

11AM:

My hand is broken in three places, but it doesn’t need to set off metal detectors.  I fought for a splint over a cast, knowing that since surgery isn’t needed, there was more to lose by not having mobility (not being able to wash, NEVER being able to type or write) than by not having security (not being able to knock it around, NEVER being able to weight-train).  I know that we dodged a bullet here.

Two years ago, there were motivations on her end.  This needs to be the last motivation of this year: my drinking, my loose language at work and this.  Her trifecta (belief in threes) is complete.  My hand being broken, that needs to be it.

Part of me reclaiming healthy is taking care of myself to take care of others.  That means using the tools, scaling back the stressors, leaning on my supports (even if they can let me down unpredictably, hopefully temporarily).  I got sucked in last week because I wasn’t healthy enough to support who I want to support and be prepared for when the shit gets flung from all directions in my direction.

She needs to do something, I need to do something, we need to do something.  Reclaiming healthy is on us – it is fueled by our hopes, our belief and faith, our strength and love and respect, our serenity and courage and wisdom, our unbelievable ability to soar, as only penguins can do.

Day 350

7:15PM:

I do not regret that I find my value in people.  I find value and purpose in people, in others.  It means I get really fucking hurt, that I feel it to my core, in my nerves, throughout my circuitry.  Every time someone asks, “How are you?” and isn’t there for the answer, they take a part of me with them.  I am not necessarily surprised when I turn around as I am saddened by the loss of another part of my happy.

But in finding value and purpose in others not only gives me the reason to be Don, but the strength to do so as well, because it also means that I am not alone…

#1

can-stock-photo_csp18136716 “How’d it go today? (I figure you knocked it out of the park)… Good post-observation meeting?”

 

“And that’s why you’re awesome.  A lot of good comments.  And now I have some wisdom to share with you!”

can-stock-photo_csp18136716 “:).  I knew you would knock it out of the park.”

 

 

#2

 “You ok?”

“Unappreciated.  Not under, but un.  You know how it is here.”

 “Sorry a lot are feeling that way” (for an English teacher, not that grammatically correct when it comes to text messaging! – but I digress).

“Fuck ’em.  I know everything you do and all you do for that place and the support you give.  You were more thoughtful in your one phone call yesterday than most people there have been all week.”

 “Thanks friend”

 

#3

 “When a lot becomes too much I’m happy you’re by my side.  I can feel scared and at points hopeless, just for a second.  Because I know you’re there.”

“And that’s why it will never be too much.  Because foreverever together beats it every time.  Foreverever reclaimed.  I love you.”

 

 

 

Day 340

10AM:

Finished my Fleming Bond book last night (The Man with the Golden Gun).  With only one left, I wanted to cherish it, and I did.  In fact, I think I’ve taken so long between books to stretch out the experiences that I can go back to the start, not remembering much of what happened (I think I read Casino Royale close to ten years ago).  But that’s an investigation for another day.

For today, I have my remembrances, some quotes of genius from the man they call Fleming, from the man they call Bond:

Blofeld: “Since last January he has ceased to be an animal.  By a simple stroke of surgery on the woman he love, I reduced him to human dimensions” (You Only Live Twice, 245).

Animals above humans, you say…?

Bond’s suggested epitaph: “I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them.  I shall use my time” (260).

Be bold, be brave, be Don – do the most good in the time I have, share the most love and be the best of me.

“The man had taken off his macintosh. He was wearing an old reddish-brown tweed coat with his flannel trousers, a pale yellow Viyella summer shirt, and the dark blue and maroon zig-zagged tie of the Royal Artillery. It was tied with a Windsor knot. Bond mistrusted anyone who tied his tie with a Windsor knot. It showed too much vanity. It was often the mark of a cad” (From Russia With Love, Chapter 25).

Had to throw that one in there – an oldie but a goodie.

Day 332

11AM:

I’ve had a song stuck in my head all week. No, not that unusual for me. But it was Sheryl Crow (at least it’s not Rolling Stones’ Sympathy for the Devil while working with missionaries in Kenya):

Not sure if this quite sums up where we are, where I am on this road of recovery. Mostly due to the irony of the song, it doesn’t really fit (ever so snuggly, he remembered). It doesn’t fit reclaiming healthy, finding the me-est version of me.

What’s better is this:

Never been a huge Sloan fan, but they have a resoundingly appropriate chorus: “If it feels good, do it. Even if you shouldn’t. Don’t let people mess you around.”

I shouldn’t portion count, says majority opinion.

I should eat intuitively,  says majority opinion.

I should be able to rest if I just listen to my body, says majority opinion.

I haven’t been able to. It is not me, at least for now. I don’t feel hungry if I’m not constantly paying attention to it, checking the levels by a watch. I don’t like having to worry, about food in this case. I shouldn’t,  but these feel good, appropriate for me, right. They fit ever so snuggly.

So fuck you blackness and your shoulds, since that’s the source of them, I know.  We’ll do what works for us, the lines that work for us and make us vivid – a vividness that will fight to outshine even the blackest of your dark corners.

Redrawing the lines for the road ahead, so I can be the Don I want to be; seeing the lines form and others fade away.

Reclaiming healthy.