The last two days, at least in the mornings, it’s been pretty gloomy. Normally, I’d jump on my skateboard, but yesterday, I needed to put together an E-bike for one of Haley’s friends. And this morning, it was starting to rain, and the sun wasn’t out, and I felt pretty depressed from it. I was pretty surprised at just how much the weather affects me. I can’t imagine living back near Chicago. I’d be a wreck!
But both yesterday and today, ended up amazing. Today’s not over, but I figure it’s only going to get better. The other interesting thing I noticed… Today’s shitty morning was what got me reflecting on yesterday and I remembered how beautiful of a day it turned out to be, and what transpired… If it wasn’t gloomy this morning.. If I jumped out of bed, with a spring in my step, like usual, then I may have forgotten all about yesterday (at least, for awhile). And that would’ve been a tragedy.
I’m no expert at e-bikes, whatsoever. But my daughters love using them to get around, and so do their friends. We have several. And I put them together. So one of my daughter’s friend’s birthday was yesterday, and her mother bought her an e-bike, just like one of ours. She asked me if I could put it together for her daughter, and to hold it at my garage until yesterday (her birthday). I was honored that one of my girls friend’s parents were actually talking to me. I’m not sure if people avoided me before, or if it was me avoiding them, but regardless, interactions were minimal at best.
I said yes, of course, and was so excited I could do someone else a favor. When you’re a drug addict or alcoholic and people know, they tend not to ask much of you, for obvious and legitimate reasons. And people know. They can sense it if they are paying attention. You may not know what is wrong, but you can feel a sense of loneliness and shame perhaps.. Nonetheless, it doesn’t make it easy to feel included.
Remember when I said I was no expert at e-bikes? Yeah… I put the front wheel on backwards..
Now I don’t recall what led up to this point… But Haley’s friend’s took the bikes to Vons or something, and I came back into the house and got angry. I don’t even remember what it was about. I remember starting to yell at the girls about cleanliness, and I got angry about a shirt Haley was wearing, and I upset her. I knew I upset her. I went a bit too far perhaps. But whatever the catalyst, it almost doesn’t matter. Because I stormed off, out of the house into the garage. But I stopped myself… I could feel the energy in the house, and it wasn’t good and it was my fault. And I really don’t want that kind of energy sitting around bringing everyone down. And I felt horrible over what I had just said, or yelled. So I go back inside, hat in hand…
Sorry wasn’t going to cut it….
I saw it, immediately, in her eyes… I felt her pain. Her embarrassment. And it didn’t feel fair. So I almost run to her and hold her tighter than I ever have before.. And I keep telling her I was sorry, and that it’s okay, and that I love her so much. And she starts balling uncontrollably, and then I do as well, and we hugged and cried for what felt like an eternity. My only regret was I didn’t grab Chloe to join us. I’ll make sure she feels part of the family today, for sure… It was the closest I’ve felt to my own family than I’ve ever felt before. It felt like she had been waiting for this for years. And I had robbed her of being loved for so long.
I think I went upstairs into my room. I was putting shoes on, so I could go skate.. I needed to process this, and I felt good, and wanted to burn some energy.
But then something even crazier happened…
She shows up in my room and hugs me again, and says thank you… And goes on to explain that their whole lives, they always had someone picking up after them, and that they just got used to it, and will work on it, and so on. I was so amazed and so happy and so excited that I saw immediate gratification from something so simple as letting someone know they are loved, that they are safe… that I hardly remember what our conversation was about..
Community in real time…
So then we get invited to Haley’s friend’s home for her birthday dinner. Chloe didn’t want to go, for some reason. I will speak to her about this today, after school. But at her friend’s house, was a great bbq dinner waiting for us, with a good friend and neighbor of theirs, who has similar interests to me. But what I loved about this experience… It was as powerful to me as any psychedelic I’ve ever taken…
I sat back watching the craziness of this family unfold before me, in such joy and amusement and warmth, and love. It was just her mom and her daughters (several), and me and Haley and their neighbor. What a lively bunch of girls.. Haley and I were just laughing hysterical, joining in on the fun. We had cake, and sang happy birthday, and so on. I’m used to a bunch of sisters in family’s.. So I felt right at home.
There’s a whole different vibe with larger families.. You see the bickering and fighting, but underneath all that, is a well oiled machine running at peak output, at all times, no matter how trying the times.
Needless to say, it was an awesome day that started out so-so, but ended up being one of my favorite days…. and I have to remember that.
This morning was rough. It was gloomy, and was starting to drizzle. So I just knew it was going to be rough.
I knew I had to do some sort of physical activity. It’s the quickest way for me to elevate my mood. But it was starting to rain, so I decided not to mope around. My old response to having a shitty day, or being depressed in general, was to go into my bedroom, close the door, curl up in my bed, and just sink into my despair. Not answering phone calls, or doorbells, or messages.. Oh and let’s not forget the drugs and alcohol. I would be drowning myself in whatever I could get my hands on, to get me not feeling the way I currently was.
Just sleep in a day or two….
Obviously, this sort of behavior is not conducive to healthy living… I understand this now. I know it’s a slippery slope. One morning, I stay in bed under the covers, sober or not, if I’m not careful, pretty soon I’m only getting out of bed to drive my daughters to school and I have a needle in my arm when I get home.
It’s that crafty.
This is why it’s so important to have other outlets.. You need the clarity to recognize when this stuff creeps up, and do the opposite of what feels comfortable. Because for awhile, what is comfortable may not be what’s healthy. I don’t know how long it takes for healthy to be the comfortable choice, but until then… I just trust that my natural instinct right now, is possibly not the best course of action. I speak to others about my thought process. I ask my therapist sometimes a dozen times a day if I’m doing the right thing… I talk to my finance guy… I talk to my friends… I talk to my family… I talk to my friends at the restaurants and bars I’m always in.
So I drove my daughters to school, and then put on a Shi Heng Yi – Do This When Life Is Hard video and started working on this website, to keep myself occupied until I could skate, or hike, or do anything outside to burn some energy and lift my spirits. Also checked in with my therapist, told her what was going on with me this morning, and of course, she tells me to go take a hike, etc… And that the Sun was coming out by her, and it should be soon by me. And sure enough, I look outside, and the Sun was shining… Burning the clouds where it could.
I close the laptop, jump off my bed, throw the skateboard in the car and take off to the skatepark. I feel better instantly, but there was a lot of people there so I didn’t stay too long. One guy was being filmed also, so it was a little busier. Plus I hadn’t eaten yet.