Enoughness, Part One.

 

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I would be sipping a La Croix, of course.

 

I’m going to blame all of this on Harry and Meghan’s wedding.

And on Lifetime television, which is to blame for so many, many things.

Also, on my children because why not?

Perhaps the dog was involved too.

So, last night as I was sitting on the couch, trying to write an article about prayer and other highly spiritual matters, I flipped on the television (I know. It’s not the best practice to have the tellie on whilst trying to write but it was 8 pm and let’s face it, I wasn’t aiming for a Pulitzer at that point. I was hoping to stay awake and also somewhat intelligible, all at the same time. Thus: Project Runway! It keeps me awake because Heidi’s voice is just scratchy enough in the background to keep the synapses firing. I don’t really watch, folks. I just listen to them cattily eye each other’s work while I type away, until the runway show where they’ve created a wedding gown out of tinfoil and dog food (and yes that has actually happened on that show)

Oh wow. I just put a parenthesis inside a parenthesis without really realizing it. Perhaps I should get back on track. Not even gonna fix it though. I’m gonna own my nutball grammar. That’s how I roll.

Back to me and the couch and scrolling through Lifetime. There it was: that terribly accurate movie about Harry and Meghan. It was just sitting there, in my cue, with the actor/Harry looking all handsome and red-headed and British and royal but yet still rebellious AND sensitive all at ONCE. Yes, also, Meghan actress was great. But HARRY. That’s the stuff, right there. And so, I clicked on it.

But, as so often happens when I just watch something (I put the Pulitzer wanna-be article aside, folks. Harry/actor needed my undivided) I started to feel a bit… peckish.

Ok, that’s not really true. I had a great dinner. I was totally full, actually. But I just wanted to munch, you know?

And then… I ate our kitchen.

If I’d had the chance, and it wouldn’t have been weird, I woulda gone next door (but only during a commercial break!) and eaten their kitchen too.

I am not even going to trouble you with the details of what I inhaled, but let’s just say that Cool Ranch Doritos were involved and I actually don’t even LIKE Cool Ranch Doritos. In fact, I would say? Not much of anything that I scarfed down last night (during the commercial breaks! Of which there were a lot! Unfortunately!) was really all that yummy. I dunno. Is a half of a hamburger bun smeared with honey, yummy? It seemed kinda pathetic, my bun, and all it’s honey.

Backstory: Wayyyyyy back in November I told you about some changes I wanted to make for me. Issues with health and food and my ability to procrastinate so hard on some things that it could be my own Olympic event where I could win GOLD. Which, if you think about it, isn’t so bad… a gold medal and all. But I wouldn’t ever get around to actually winning it.

So, November, I started to do a few things, reallllllly slowly:

  1. I started a running program again. It had been sorta willy nilly until then and did you know? If you try to run three miles willy nilly your thighs say things like, “I don’t UNDERSTAND why you are DOING this to me! This is just mean! Let’s stop right now.”  Thighs that argue? Never good.
  2. I tried to understand that I am actually really and for once and for all a REAL WRITER. Did I mention that BOOK TWO IS COMING OUT? I know. It shocks me still.
  3. I tried to understand food.
  4. And me. Me + food.
  5. Y’all. It’s complicated.

What I’m trying to say here is that I had finally gotten to the point where I needed to address some stuff in my life. And life, as it tends to be, made this hard.

(My husband would like to insert here that it wasn’t “life” it was ME. I make things harder than I need them to be. He says this to me once in a while and I roll my eyes at him and flounce out of the room in a huff. I would like to establish again that it was LIFE that did this to me, and my tendency to overthink and mull and perhaps worry a bit too much had NOTHING to do with it. Flounce flounce flounce. )

The hard truth of it was this: I had gained a heck of a lot of weight and I’m short and I was feeling rather awful about it all – both physically and mentally. You know the feeling. When you avoid reflective surfaces and your pants start saying prayers before you tug them on, and walking the dog makes you question why you have a dog.

Pair all that with this whole public persona thing that goes along with being an author of now TWO books (coming out in August, I promise. I did not make this up). = negative self talk and some really bad choices involving fried chicken.

Y’all. I have issues.

I know this comes as life-shattering news to you.

I think it all sorta stems from the being an alcoholic thing, but I want to tread lightly there, because far too many people in recovery get sober and then think, “Well then! Let’s fix ALL the things!”

No. Nope. NOPETY-NOPE, sober people. Slow down. Getting sober is hard enough.

But, I have some years in recovery, now. And it was time. My heart was telling me. And if I had learned anything in recovery it’s that when your heart says things like, “Dana? You are making yourself sad. Let’s work on this,” I have to listen.

And now it’s May. Seven months later. And last night I ate New Jersey. What can I say? I TOLD YOU I WAS MESSED UP.

I have, also, lost quite a bit of weight since November. I have found muscles again. It has been a process.  A long one. It has involved not a diet or a plan or rice cakes or any of that. It’s involved me trying to figure out me, and that’s not been a heck of a lot harder than eating rice cakes.

Progress, not perfection folks.

I am going to write more about this. I need to. I might even tell you what I did and why and how and all that stuff (people always want to know the ins and outs, and I get that). I just wanted to talk about it what I’ve been figuring out.

It has to do with understanding Enoughness. And yes, that’s a made up word but it’s my blog.

So, this morning, as I am sipping my coffee and contemplating a run with thighs that don’t argue back so much as they did in November, I thought I’d tell you one part of the journey that has finally, FINALLY  made sense to me. And it’s this:

When you eat New Jersey, you don’t have to eat the entire eastern seaboard too.

And you can forgive yourself.

And also? It’s a metaphorical New Jersey, so there’s thank God for that.

 

 

Oh and also? I’m just gonna leave this right here:

 

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I MEAN….IT’S UNCANNY.

 

I will now start referring to myself as, Her Royal Highness, the Duchess of Momsie.

Has a ring to it, no?

Flounce, flounce, flounce

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Momsie is a G rated blog. And she’s recommending an (almost) X rated Netflix show.

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WAIT. Just stay with me, here, Ok?

This was me about five minutes prior to posting this:

Me: NO DON’T DO IT. CRAZY SAUCE. WRITE ABOUT PUPPIES.

Y’all. I’m not gonna write about puppies.

With the help of Netflix, I’m going to get serious with you.

I meant to post about some great Netflix shows for kids and teens and other heartening options, because yes, there are many there. I have gobs and gobs of things on Netflix that I watch that warm my soul and make me smile and make my children chortle with laughter…

Today is not such a day.

Today, I am recommending this:maxresdefault.jpg

Guys. This show broke. My. Heart.

Two years ago I spoke at the Whole Women’s Conference – a gathering for women who felt broken, lost, addicted, and all of the above. There, I met Annie Lobert, an ex porn star who had found Jesus, and whose mission is to offer assistance and ministry to women stuck in this industry.

And, yes, “stuck” is the right term.

I think… I think this post is going to upset some of y’all. I am so sorry. I’m going to post it anyway.

In this era of social media, amateur porn is blowing up. Did you know, Twitter still has NO sorts of filters, so basically anyone who has a Twitter account can access porn, free and easy, whenever they like?

The minimum age for a Twitter account is 13. The average age for a person to be exposed to porn? 11.

That’s in three years, for my oldest.

Amateur porn is here, and here’s one of its spokespersons:

“Amateurs come across better on screen. Our customers feel that. Especially by women you can see it. They still feel strong pain.”

So, here’s the deal. This show does not take an easy look at this. It’s not clearly anti-porn or pro. It is fairly unbiased. And for that, I am kind of grateful. Because… the girls’ faces. They don’t need to ask the leaning questions or mess with the dialogue or twist the events or MESS WITH IT AT ALL. THE GIRLS’ FACES.

Nobody really wants this life. And yet, it’s happening.

 

The website Fight the New Drug tells us: The main job for these girls? To look young. “Teen” is one of the top keywords in porn searches.      (http://fightthenewdrug.org/10-porn-stats-that-will-blow-your-mind/)

Guys. The IWF tells us: “Child porn is one of the fastest growing online businesses.”

It. Is. Everywhere.

I’m not a fan.

Maybe… you disagree. Maybe you see it as a choice, as a part of healthy human sexuality, as a part of expression and just being plain honest with ourselves. Maybe it’s empowering.

Maybe. But. Just look at their faces, ok? And, there’s so many of them. These girls. They don’t look like victims. They’re smiling. There’s hundreds of them. Or more. So… how can they be victims if SO many of them are signing up to be a click away for someone?

Just watch Hot Girls Wanted. And, there? Just look at their faces.

I do warn you – there is nudity and all the rest of it here. The film does not show the porn in action, but yes, nudity happens.  It’s not an easy film to watch. But, I did. And I cried. And, then I asked God three things:
I have two boys, and I cannot help but wonder – what will this industry be like when they are 11?
And also,  is there any way I can help those girls? Is there any way I could just hug on them, and tell them, somehow, what they’re worth? What they are really, really worth?
And, God, there are so many. Why? Why did we let this go for so long? Why weren’t we paying attention?
Ok, finally.
I read up on the definition of “exposed.” You know, to reveal, to uncover. To leave cold.
The antonym for exposed is “protect.”
And the final definition? Waaaaaay down the page, at the bottom, where you would miss it unless you’re an English teacher like me and kept reading?
Exposed: to leave a child to die.

Embrace the addict

Linking up with my favorite people again today for Five Minute Friday. The theme?

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I know. Writing about addiction again today.

Where, Momsie? Where is your funny self? Where are the cat pictures and endless throwing of children under the proverbial bus because they are maddening and adorable? Where ARE you?

Oh, don’t worry. I’m here. Hanging out with my inner addict.

We all have one. We do. You can argue with me all you want, but then I might say, very annoyingly, “Well, perhaps your addiction is control. Or being right. Or, God help you, some combination of both which we all know WORKS SO WELL.”

I wouldn’t say that to you because it would be rather self-righteous and, as I said, annoying, and we are friends. But you better believe I’d be thinking it.

I have an inner addict. I named her Esmerelda, and she likes to speak up at times when I am Hungry. Or Angry. Or Lonely. Or Tired.*

Sadly, I am any combination of these at about forty majillion times a day because life is not fair. Life is hard. Sing it with me folks. Oh blah dee, oh blah da… life goes on.

Yesterday Red had a total conniption because Blonde did not help him clean up EXACTLY EQUAL TO HIS CLEANING UP after lunch. If you have kids, you know. Anyhow, if I could have split the dirt and crumbs and smears of peanut butter down the middle with yellow crimezone tape, it would have helped, but … dare we go back to that wonderfulness that is:

LIFE IS NOT FAIR.

It was day four of our spring break together. Red was underslept and oversugared and basically? He lost his sh%T. Sorry. It’s a bad word but in this case – nothing else really suffices. I, as Mother In Charge of All the Things, had a few choices on how to deal:

  1. Smiting
  2. Timeouts with the Smiting
  3. #2 paired with a lecture, possibly a powerpoint presentation on Life Really is So Unfair.
  4. Run away.

I did none of these. I don’t know why. I was just… tired myself. So, I sat down on the floor, dusted away some crumbs to make room, and patted the floor for Red to come sit with me.

He eyed me, suspiciously. This was a different tactic. Perhaps I was gonna hog tie him when he approached and take him away to Military Unfairness School?

Nope. I just patted the floor, and when he came over, I grabbed him and held on. Then, I smushed his little fact in my hands (not too hard, but the good, Mom smushing) and I looked in his eyes and said, “Breathe. Just breathe in. Breathe out. I love you. It’s ok.”

The kid slowed down and looked at me, and remembered who he was.

And stopped freaking out.

I know. Perhaps he needed a timeout or some sort of discipline, but right then? I needed to hug him.

We behave badly sometimes. We grip onto things that are wrong. We rail and rant. We do things that are awful and unfair and shameful.

We want and want and want some more.

And… repeat.

It’s the whole bashing up against our sinfulness that is life, and did I mention? Not very fair.

But He is fair. And right then, He told me to hug my boy. Amidst his mess.

I guess what I’m trying to say, is be kind to the one who grips onto something too hard. He might just be falling apart with all the unfairness of it. Embrace him. Embrace yourself, if that’s who we’re talking about here. You better believe, I’m who we’re talking about here. (It’s my favorite topic, you know. Me.)

Embrace the addict. She knows it’s not fair. She needs a lot of love.

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*HALT. One of those acronym thingies I learned in recovery. If you start to fizzle out on your day? Are you HALT-ing? Or, if you’re me, are you SHALT-ing (sarcastic, hungry angry… etc)

Recovery has all sorts of those thingies. Like, One Day at a Time. And …Keep it Simple.

And, Be still and know that you are so not God.

I kinda made that last one up. But I did kinda steal it from a higher authority.

Fight the Good Fight

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Sometimes being afraid just takes up too much time in the day.

And sometimes, we can fear the strangest things.

Y’all, I am fighting off some gunk lately. It is real, biological gunk as I think I might be getting the horrible plague-flu that is going around the boys’ school. I substitute there, and just yesterday a little sweetheart came up and coughed in my general direction and I swear I could SEE the horrible plague-germs attack me.

Also, sadness and confusion. I am fighting that. And a complete lack of confidence. I am a lump of all of that.

Here’s the deal. I am working on book 2. This is wonderful and exciting and such a straight up gift from God. So, you know Satan has to get in on it, don’t you? Satan’s all:

“This is the worst drivel you have ever written. You just googled The Spice Girls, to put IN your book, are you kidding? Who is going to read this crud? Maybe Scary Spice but that’s IT. And, you know? It’s really, really important right now for you to go on the facebooks and waste about 30 min. scrolling, scrolling, so you can mush-ify your brain a little more, BECAUSE YOU CANNOT WRITE.”

Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Satan has a very good way of instilling fear, distracting, and then lumpifying me. Allow me to show you in a cool graphic display:

Step One:

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Step Two:

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Step Three:8182018_orig.png

 

Also, this morning I received an email rejecting my writing. It happens. It happens a lot, actually. If you want to be a writer, oftentimes you have to hold your writing out for others to see, and that merits some rejection.

Still hurts, though. Still makes Satan just rub his hands together in glee, so he can now sprinkle “SEE? I TOLD YOU SO. YOU CAN’T WRITE. GET A CLUE AND START FILLING OUT APPLICATIONS AT JC PENNY” onto my already mushy brain.

Not that working at JC Penny would be terrible. It’s just… retail does not really speak to me on a creative level, you know? And I decided, some years ago, when I laid down the wine and said, “Enough,” that my new addiction would be creativity. So, I have to have it.

I just have to. Or I wither.

Here’s the deal. Satan tries to wither us at any corner, any small space, any bit of emptiness he can wiggle into. He slides in, sneaks by, infiltrates oh so slowly, and next thing you know? You’ve start to feel fear. And then, you react.

I react by throwing a blanket over it, so I can pretend it’s not there. I try to numb it out. I poke my fingers in my ears and sing “La la la la la!!!” like I’m six.

I try all of these things and scroll on the facebooks too. It does the trick, for a while. But all the time, the fear is still there, shrouded, and waiting. So very, very patient.

Instead? Well, I want to breathe in God and breathe Him out and just sit with Him and talk about all this stuff. I forget to DO that. Such a simple thing.

Kelly Balarie’s book, Fear Fighting, gives us reminders and wisdom about all of this. It is a book that speaks to those of us who long for Control. Who Worry. Who hate Waiting. Who have felt the sting of Rejection. (These are all her chapter titles, and I re-read “Rejection and Opposition: They Have Issues just this morning.)

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I also want “rhythm with God.” I want to sit with Him in all of this, and then, get up and walk with Him and work it out. I don’t want to evade or cover up or sink into mushy, distracted, tired brain.

I am grateful for this book and for Kelly’s compassion. She’s been there. Oh, has she been there (Read her book; she’ll tell you all about it. )

Go do something un-mushifying today. I will too, with the help of too much coffee, Jesus, some good music (Sara Groves, of course) and this book.

Join the good fight. #FearFightingbook #DolifewithGod

And all God’s women said,  Amen?

Amen!

 

While Dreams of Martinis Danced in My Head.

Y’all. Christmas used to mean drinking.

It meant Bailey’s Irish Cream. And mulled wine (totally gross, and it involves the extra step of actually heating up the alcohol, which, if you think about it… why not just throw that stuff in the microwave if you must, but without the cinnamon sticks). It meant eggnog and rum. I think this is perhaps the most heinous of Christmassy drinks, but it was all “’tis the season” this and “let’s raise our glasses” that and I usually had my one cup of tricked-out eggnog and then just headed for the wine, like normal people do.

Anyhow.

I forget if I have told you…. have we had that whole uncomfortable, hey, did you know this little tidbit about me thing where I unload my personal history and tragedy, but in a totally “it’s all cool” kind of way – like if you came bopping up to me and said “Hey! Hi! Cute shoes! Did you know I used to steal cars?”

What I’m trying to say is: My name is Dana, and I’m an alcoholic.

I don’t drink anymore. But Christmas? Christmas is a time that I really remember it all. The insanity. The lying. The situation that somehow I had gotten myself into, me, an intelligent, “had it together” mom of two. Me. Hiding vodka in my closet, tucked away amongst all those cute shoes.

Christmas is for a lot of things. But for me, drinking is no longer one of them. Tonight, Christmas is for sneaking around with wrapping and tape and a La Croix, and lots of whispering and staying up way too late. It’s for eating yummy things and crying while I watch It’s a Wonderful Life. I always cry. It’s the law.

Christmas is all about second chances, after all. George Bailey understands that, I think. So does Christ. It’s his birthday and He is so happy celebrate it with all of us. Christmas is for playing endless board games and making candy and hoping the roads aren’t icy and splurging at the store to buy your kid a ridiculous Pikachu shirt because that odd yellow creature speaks my kid’s love language. I dunno. I don’t get it. But when I was a kid I went nutball for the Superfriends, so perhaps we’re just repeating ourselves.

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Christmas is for seeing how a baby gave us the colossal reset. It’s for taking a breath and realizing goodness and right is still in charge. Still good. Still right.

And still right here.

Have yourself a merry little Christmas. Mine will be spent playing bingo and eating cookies and probably forty thousand other things, all with family. For those with family far away or an empty chair at the table, I know. And I know for some, hanging up that one thing that plagues you so is still not part of the plan for Christmas. Do yourself a favor. Give yourself the gift of freedom. Set down the glass or the pill or the shopping or the comparing of the gambling or whatever it is that keeps you stuck.

Set it down and enjoy the best gift. Life.

Love you and Merry Sober Christmas.

 

 

“I would eventually have to tell.”

Let me show you how God works.

In my case, God does not work in mysterious ways. He knows, with me, he has to be a lot more CLEAR. He has to be, because I am, well, stubborn.

Y’all. Seriously. I’m “stubborn” like Richard Simmons is “Sassy.” We work it.

Anyhow… A few years ago I lost my mind. I drowned myself in a lot of wine, on a daily basis, and then, when the wine was over my head and I was choking for sanity, I grabbed onto more bottles and just sank even lower.

God worked: He got me out of there. He helped me out, dried me off, and we keep walking together. In fact, I am stuck to Him like really needy and sober GLUE until I get to meet him personally.

God worked. He got me writing gigs to keep me busy, and He asked me to start talking about the near-drowning stuff. He said, “Now. You need to tell.”

I now have a gig writing with Nazarene Publishing House. A column, for The Community, a blog that “provides content, insight, training, and conversations that inspire spiritual growth.”

I am totally freaked out that I am writing a column for anything that involved “training” and “spiritual growth.” I’m the one who used Richard Simmons earlier in this post, as a sort of analogous mentor, remember?

But yet, I’m a part of their crew. Ok, God does work in mysterious ways.

Now, I don’t usually do this, but I’m gonna ask you a favor. If you would, go peruse? Maybe subscribe? Follow on facebook, twitter, you know the drill. Perhaps I am biased, but there is some really good writing on there.

If you want to see my article, click here. Then, take a look around. It’s a good community.

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My Time Was Running Wild

Hooking up with Kate Motaung today on Five Minute Friday. The theme is:

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I still don’t know what I was waiting for
And my time was running wild
A million dead-end streets
And every time I thought I’d got it made
It seemed the taste was not so sweet
So I turned myself to face me
But I’ve never caught a glimpse
Of how the others must see the faker
I’m much too fast to take that test…

Time may change me
But I can’t trace time.

Changes – David Bowie

I have changed a lot. Time has changed me. God has changed me. I have allowed it to happen, and I have worked at it too. Some of the work has been relentless. Painful. My heart would break. I would sew up the rest of me and try again the next day, and time marches on.

When I finally turned to face me, the real me, the sober me, I also saw the faker. She had survived for a long time, and really, sometimes I miss her. The wild girl had a lot going for her. She always had to win, after all. And she did, a lot of the time. But her soul?

Oh, it always comes back to the soul. Isn’t that just the way?

I miss the sweet toast of champagne, sometimes, on a late Friday night, with my husband. A small celebration of a long week, parenting on, the mighty momma soldier keeping my house afloat, my children fed, the life rolling along. The champagne just kept me moving. But also, it put me to sleep. A long sleep. Like, for twenty years.

The taste of life is so much sharper now. The soul of this girl is intact, a little battered, and often times very, very tired.

But I am still standing. I can look at myself in the mirror. I know who she is now, that girl that stares back at me, battle worn, but alive.Very much alive.

No more dead-end streets.

Change is good. Scary as heck, but good. I cannot go back and trace the path I took, it is a tangled mess. But God got me here and I am forever grateful.

 

“Maybe we have to exist and live on the idea that we have one day at a time to live—and can we do that? Because if we could do that, we may be serving some really great thing.”[David Bowie interview with Guillaume Durand, 2002]

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