Who Am I?

Image result for cow milk vs soy milk

Living according to my truth is a challenging endeavour! I would like to adopt a more androgynous style, but not even sure where to begin. I look at men and I think, “Damn! I love what he is wearing!”. I realised I have a crush on Jonathan Van Ness from the Fab 5 in Queer Eye – I don’t mean a romantic crush, I mean, I love the way he looks! That lushes, lovely, long hair – he is just a beautiful man!

I am a lesbian woman, who loved wearing boys clothing growing up, but then quickly adopted a heterosexual woman wardrobe to fend off the lesbian accusations when I was younger – because in my family, “nothing would be worse than one of us coming home with a woman”.

Ahhhh… so my internalised homophobia blossomed!

13 years after coming out of the closet and 3 years after rebuilding my self in a sober sense, after 15 years of drug and alcohol addiction. I am finally experimenting with my look again. Hips make it hard! I am still not entirely comfortable shopping in the men’s section and androgynous stores are hard to come by in Melbourne (or I’m not entirely sure where to look yet). Another thing… I cut my hair off, to play around with the more masculine look, but I got a heterosexual female to do it, which ended me up with a cut that looks more like my mother’s hairstyle than I do a lesbian. So now I am totally confused.

Physically it’s challenging, because I don’t even know what exactly I want to look like and shame often keeps me from even experimenting. The truth is, I need help! For me it is very easy to flaunt the long blonde hair and fit into a heterosexual world by dressing a certain way and not correcting people when they assume that when I am talking about my partner, that I am referring to a man. That is not my truth and I am hiding the most important part of myself. I don’t think I would like to fit into a stereotypical lesbian look either, because deep down inside I would rather look like a beautiful gay man – so where does that make me fit into the LGBTIQ initialism?

On the spiritual and emotional front 12 step fellowships are helping me address that shame and the low self worth that I used to use drugs and alcohol to forget about. Working through this stuff layer by layer. Each year I get closer to the feelings and closer to the core of why I used to drink. In addition to discovering what I like to wear and how I want to look, I am discovering what I like to do, what I need from friends and what I am willing to accept. The friendships I have built in the last 3 years are not always the best for me, they were built on the foundation of: “I will be ok with things that aren’t ok, so long as you will love me and wont reject me.”

Letting go of these friendships is hard and sometimes very lonely. Living my truth is not easy! I have to spend lots of time working out how not to do things, before I find out how to do things, in a way that truly resinates with my soul. This is posses to be quite difficult for my inner perfectionist, who growing up was beaten for making mistakes.

I’ve become vegan, because I am really against breeding animals just to kill them. If it is not ok for millions of people to be loaded onto cattle trains to be transported to their death, then why is it ok to do that to animals?!? I am against global warming, consumerism and destroying our planet, though Soy crop agriculture is just as damaging, so does that mean that drinking soy milk is ok? Or have I just bought into another fad? I know soy uses less energy than cow’s milk, so good for global warming, but what about the decline in forest conservation, herbicides and nitrogen rich fertiliser they use to expand soy bean plantations?

The truth is I would really like to know where my food is coming from, but I don’t have the time to grow it myself, nor source local farmers and produce, because I am thoroughly enmeshed in the very system that I am trying to stand up against – And I have to face facts, we don’t have a big enough garden for a goat!

It has been a journey! One which leads to so much confusion and uncertainty. Who am I and what do I stand for? But most importantly, do I really have enough courage to be different?

Turn Around

Image result for turn around

I was sitting in a pool hall, a couple of nights ago, watching the tennis waiting for my client to finish playing pool. My head was pounding – maybe it was caffeine withdrawal. I went tea free that day, where before I have been drinking between 1-3 cups a day. I was on google, trying to find out whether or not tea has more caffeine than coffee, I read mixed reviews, they were all relative.

I stopped drinking coffee about 3 months ago, because when I got triggered into my PTSD I found it impossible to deescalate. My heart rate used to go through the roof. On one hand I was happy that I had more umph to tackle the office job and function beautifully with a tea in me. On the other hand the moment something triggered me, I had to spend half the day trying to bring myself back down to earth again… and then add to that a dash of hormones, and voila… a disaster!!! They don’t lie when they say addicts are sensitive souls. I don’t know how I used to take crystal meth, if one cup of tea spins me out. No wonder I was afraid to leave my apartment.

So much had changed in the last 3 years, it’s absolute madness! This time 3 years ago I was sitting in an apartment in Cape Town, I had probably been awake for at least 3 days. I had just lost the second job in one month. I was about to miss my sister’s wedding, because I couldn’t guarantee that I would go to it sober, so I felt like, as her bridesmaid I would be doing her a disservice AND I had just sold my car and given all the money to my partner to pay for my flight to Melbourne. The car money got spent on one months rent and a heap load more meth. My family weren’t talking to me and the relationship I was in, was so toxic it was messy and violent and the police were getting involved.

This was the time in my life where I started to feel like things were going wrong for me. Up until that point I thought I was invincible. I used to roll off sayings like, “You are what you eat!…. That’s funny, I don’t remember eating a fucking LEGEND!!!” – The wilder the night, the bigger the ego boost. I used to supply all the gear, so naturally I felt responsible for everyone else’s level of happiness. It was like a game, where social standing was as valuable as money and in the scene I knew everybody! It didn’t occur to me that there were people outside of the scene and that the particular scene I was in, was not necessarily the scene anybody ever wants to be in – its more like where you don’t want to end up.

Before the end, I’m talking about the last 3-6 months of my using, I was floating around completely oblivious and it is because of one specific coping mechanism: Dissociation – “the action of disconnecting or separating or the state of being disconnected.” – Just like my mother, I only chose to remember the good things, so it was like the bad things never even happened. This developed in early childhood. I learnt to use a computer when I was 4 years old (which now I would imagine is quite common) – I was an avid gamer and would much rather escape into the digital world than deal with my reality. I was a day dreamer to such extremes that I would walk into pools or fall over things and I was totally unable to pay attention during conversations. My first addiction was to TV, I used to watch it every possible second when I wasn’t at school or sleeping. According to my grandparents I was an insomniac since I was 2 years-old, so I got a lot of TV time in on a daily basis.

I became sexually active around 10 years old and compulsive busyness when my Dad left the country with my sister and left me behind. Out of all the things that worked to disconnect me from my reality, compulsive busyness took the cake. While I have been clean for almost 3 years now, I still fall into the trap of overloading my day and leaving no room to feel. I have a program for that thank God and probably the reason why I haven’t been putting out many blog posts of late… I am learning to just enjoy some time off. The more time off I have, the more exhausted I feel. I think I’m addicted to sleep as well 🙂

I feel like I am taking a fine tooth comb and brushing out these addictive lice, which just keep popping up all over the place – Not easy to see them either. The periods of time in between the suffering are getting longer and longer and so much more fulfilling. Today I am feeling grateful.

 

 

 

“Home”

Image result for finding home

I am at the airport again and thank God for that! I am so grateful that had two visits with my mom’s ex husband before I left. He is the closest thing I have had to a father figure. I feel like I retrieved a portion of sanity in those visits. I went ‘home’ for Christmas, back to South Africa after almost 3 years in Melbourne. I felt like I swam into a different world, where I was was in a completely different book to everyone in my family, let alone a different page. It was a place where understanding was a mere myth – something that you might’ve heard about in a  fairytale, but never experienced.

My heart broke in the same place it has broken so many times before. When I realised my sister – my supposed ‘team mate’ – will bat against me even against non-blood related relatives. I felt defeated and completely thrown under the bus. My innocent heart made the mistake of hoping I would go ‘home’ to find my sister there, the one I have been searching to connect with for my whole life. Instead I found a lonely truth, which triggered an overwhelming loss and sadness, that the connection I craved is impossible and the ‘home’ I was looking for, wasn’t there.

I read a saying in a meeting, “An expectation is just a premeditated resentment.” – Boy, is that the truth! All wasn’t lost though. There were a few times last year where things got really tough in recovery and the wound I dug into for the purpose of self discovery, started to hurt so badly that I just wanted to go home – I had this fictitious idea that I would get some kind of love and nurture in South Africa and that sense of family that I couldn’t get in Australia. This ideal only exists in story books – I realised the cold hard truth, that I am not part of the family, but nor did I want to be. That the place where I felt safest, was the very place I left, in the pursuit of safety – ironically. My ‘Home’ resides in me and the love that I want is never going to come from the family that never gave it, because the only person who has changed is me.

Flying back to Australia, I felt empty, but relieved and strangely enough I felt quite a lot of hope, I felt like letting go of my expectations was a hugely freeing process. I was left with an empty space, which felt to me more like a blank canvas – It was something quite spectacular, because all of a sudden I could let go of the “should be’s” and what I thought life “should” look like, because it was the first time ever that I wasn’t desperately trying to fit into a box – where wearing a dress, being a racist and drinking 3 bottles of wine a night is absolutely normal – I can now paint my own picture and be surrounded by people who share my values – For me this is a beautiful place to be.

One good thing that came from the whole trip, is that I got into that desperate place, where I’ll take on any suggestion to help me recover, The result: I read a book by Mara Gleason – “One Thought Changes Everything”. All I can say is – PROFOUND! Initially the book got recommended, I ‘thought’, “I’m an addict, my thinking is the problem, why would I read a book about thinking?” – The first two parts I was judgemental of the writing style and actually resenting every second of it… Now that I have finished it, I am thanking God for giving me the perseverance. I now know my thoughts, just like my feelings, have a lifespan and just like a flame, they will eventually burn out. I had the HALT’s on board when I got home with jet lag and my head was racing (catastrophe thinking) and somehow I was able to detach and not become all consumed… It wasn’t a perfect experience, nor was it a tidy one… It was different and the changes have just kept on coming. I feel more present than I have ever been.

Today I am grateful.

 

Consumed

Image result for consumed

An addict resides inside my head
She lies, still and dormant, you’d think she’s dead
She pulls the wool and blocks my stare
So cunning and baffling, I forget she’s there

She stuns me with her cloak of denial
My purest of intentions, turn black and vile
It matters not if you are the softest thing
She’ll drag you along, on a string

No part of you bothered to consider
She’ll blow you of for a higher bidder
For a more palatable flavour of the week
Passes you up as tongue-in-cheek

You try to love her – she tries to score
She leaves you bleeding on the floor
My power gone, I am all consumed
My body a shell, she keeps groomed

To seduce you and to get her way
I am insane, to think I have a say
She may be quite, but she is always awake
Waiting, whip in hand for my mistake

I tear through everything trying to run
I cry in a corner – what have I done?
The pain scars the faces of those I hold dear
Who were scorned by my reaction as I tore through in fear

Shaking my head, my hands cover my face
My mind beats me down, “you are a disgrace!”
Shamefully I glance back at all the debris
God please help! This is killing me!

Addict Uncovered

If you have been following previous posts, you are well aware of the struggle I have been having with intrigue. I have been yoyo-ing back and fourth for several days, about whether or not I should try going on a sober date or if I should just run for the hills. After much contemplation, I decided to run, for fear of loosing control of myself. Being the all or nothing kind of girl that I am, not only did I run away. I asked to cut contact. She respected my boundary, which I was really grateful for, because I was really kicking and screaming setting that one and battling to hold it in place.

We managed to last 3 days. I went to a meeting last night and she was there. I found it impossible to stop looking at her. So at the end of the meeting when her friend invited me to join them for dinner, naturally all resistance crumbled. I said yes and four us embarked on a Japanese experience, where the conversation flowed beautifully and the sexual tension was laid on thick between us. When the night was over I was left totally stimulated and salivating. So naturally I did the ‘responsible’ thing when I got home… I called her! (Hahaha! Bloody hell!!!)

We spoke on the phone for 2 hours and the conversation got really heated at many points. I was engrossed and totally entertaining the sexual intrigue. I was loving it! And hugely ashamed at the same time (typical of my addict behaviour) – I was frazzled by the end and was practically kissing my sobriety goodbye, when she asked me a question that changed EVERYTHING!  She said to me, “I really want to get to know you Nicole. Do you want to get to know me?” – I felt choked up and searched my brain for an answer… I let out a little giggle as I realised, I had no fucking idea! The only thing that was on my mind was sex! Asking me if I wanted to get to know her was as baffling to me, as asking, “What is the meaning of life?” – Hahahaha… Who Knows?!? – Not me!

It sounds crude and degrading and I really mean no disrespect to this woman, she is pretty cool, I think? 🙂 … It was in that moment and through that realisation of not knowing, that the fantasy was shattered and in front of me standing clear as day I saw my addict self. The light shinning brightly on every conversation we had ever had. How they were laced with ulterior motives and impure intentions. They were all driven by sex and seduction. I was delusional!

Now that I have seen my addict self and I am no longer consumed by her, I agreed to meet this woman for coffee. We went with the purpose of getting to know one another… I must say, it is truly amazing how little substance conversations have without intrigue. I feel like I am learning how to talk, it felt so unnatural – like, you have to think of questions and shit… and what do I really want to know? Smooth pick up lines slip out so easily, whereas this felt like stage fright at a comedy festival… awkward and uncomfortable!

So I’d like to say thank you, God! My Higher Power did for me what I could not do for myself. I was able to move through the fear and instead of being left deprived and wanting, I found myself in a situation that was simply was nowhere near as glamorous as the one I had built up in my head. The bubble has been burst and I am left with reality in all its imperfection… It’s Amazing! The truth has set me free – and I even learnt a little more about me today. Winning!

topless-women-take-new-york-uncovered-jordon-matters-5.jpg

Hunt – Pray

hunt.jpeg

To be honest, I have been lying here for a while wanting to write this, but tonight I just felt like checking out. I packed up my whole life today (again!) and when I empty the space around me, I feel I need to be 100% fulfilled inside, not to feel completely empty. It’s that whole in the soul thing, us addicts experience… While I have done a really good job in the last two weeks of showing up for myself, self-validating and fulfilment – Today I found myself searching. Did I want to compromise and connect with people that didn’t serve me, all for the sake of connection? Yes… but I abstained and I was left sitting with myself.

So how do I feel? Firstly I went into obsession over finances hahaha… the gifts of working a financial program and taking record of my numbers, it didn’t take very long to arrest the fear (because based on my expenses, I have nothing to be afraid about – today I have that clarity) – so with that obsession stopped in its track, I checked in with myself. It felt like anxiety, but what I think it is, is excitement, (very easily confused the two of those) – Uncomfortable with that feeling, I started to facebook stalk a girl who has invited me to a gig next Wednesday. I tried to look up another girl too, who I have started to connect with, but couldn’t find her online – In short – I am hunting!

I am not even allowed to date for another 6 months, so why even go there? Anything is better than sitting with the feeling. I am an addict – I am afraid of change! These poor girls are just victims of my misplaced sexualisation, because I will focus on anything, but myself (It doesn’t matter who they are, as long as we can engage). I am self-abandoning, because I am overwhelmed with the feeling. In tonight’s blog, I don’t have a profound message. I am going to pray and meditate and explore this feeling. Every feeling has a life span, like a flame, eventually it will burn out. Tonight I will have tea with my emotions. That is all I can do.