Of Fudge & Feelings
In the fall of 2007, I got divorced. I promptly purchased a bumper sticker that I affixed to my car that read:
“Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes.” Maggie Kuhn
In the process of extricating myself from a 13-year marriage, I had to speak my mind. Voice shaking, soft, shimmering like heat lines as the words floated across the room to the ears of my surprised, starter spouse. I didn’t stop speaking after I left. For many years leading up to that, I didn’t have a voice. My 20s were spent without any solid boundaries. I was a doormat – professionally, personally. No need for a voice then, you simply acquiesce and you pour all your time into the job. Aiming for perfection. Working to make people happy.
Let me tell you the sad, hard truth of the matter in case you haven’t figured this one out: Happiness is an inside job.
You know what that means? Yeah. You're the one who has to do the work. Or don’t. Your choice. Yep. Happiness is a choice. That means we need to take some responsibility. Oh, fuuuuuuuuddddddddggggggeeeee.
The year that followed the demise of my starter marriage was so full of baking, cooking, reading… of joy. I lived at a frenzied pace that first year, attempting to make up for what I perceived as lost time for years prior that had slipped away in an alcohol induced miasma where I was drowning all those pesky feelings, none of which were happy. At this same time, my friend was very ill with cancer so I felt this compulsion to wring every bit of life out of each and every one of the days that I’d been blessed with. I read Eat, Pray, Love, which had been released a year prior to my divorce, and tossed it aside half way through thinking, “Christ. I don’t need to read about this. I’m living this.” For approximately one year, I lived large in a 500-square foot space where I created more joy than the prior 7 years I’d spent in the 1,800+ square feet. This all sounds so easy breezy but it wasn’t. When I left that relationship, I had laid tracks which had added up to 3 years of sobriety by that point. Guess what comes with sobriety? Feelings. I’d been drowning those fuckers for years and there they were. Swirling to the surface. Fudge.
So I sat with those feelings. Walked through them. Can’t scare me…much. Although the journey towards happiness is an inside job, it isn't one you have to do alone. In my case, I did this with people in AA, including a sponsor. I logged time on a therapist’s couch. I dug deep, not wide and shallow. Wide and shallow gets you nowhere but it’s comfortable. You can float on wide and, not too shallow, in a puffy little inner tube, wearing rose colored glasses. Ahhhhh....
Or you can do work. Find your voice. Use your voice. Make decisions that not everyone will agree with or support. Eat. Pray. Love. Be you.