July 15, 2010
Ray Bradbury talked about having a secret self that was truly the mastermind behind his many works of art. He said that you have to believe in that self as a writer or you shouldn’t be doing it.
There are many things I’ve wanted to be in my life. In all honesty, there are many things I wanted to be yesterday… but writing is something that I always thought I could never do. However, I’ve wanted to do it more than anything.
In high school, when the question of “what do you want to be” kept coming up again and again, I scrambled for something that sounded good – something I am guilty of to this day as well… however, when I started telling people, out of the blue one day, that I wanted to be a journalist, it actually landed with me. That was, of course, until I realized what being a journalist was all about – I didn’t want to be the one doing the reporting and dissecting of information for the public. That sounded terrible… really, I just wanted to write.
My secret self has written a variety of things over the years, but my public and insecure self believed that I was never good enough to actually become a writer. So, it has been something I’ve done secretly since I was very young. In recent years, I’ve given it up altogether; instead turning to things that everyone else said I was good at. To this day, many people find it interesting that I do nothing with my artistic ability. I am a fantastic artist – I’ve done pieces of art that I look at later and can’t believe I created with my own hands. But they don’t move me… I don’t have the passion for art like I do for books, stories, poems and Facebook status updates. I like what people have to say about things. I have a lot to say however I struggle daily with the forums presented to me on which my podium stands.
But alas, I am very ready to be done worrying about my audience, what people will think, who I will offend, who I will attract and whether or not I am truly good enough to call myself a writer. My secret self says write - and at a time in my life where I simply don’t have faith in anything my public and insecure self says, it’s the only voice I feel like listening to.
So, I have decided to start this blog – while I certainly hope that it adds some sort of enrichment or insight into your own life and it’s constant bag of tricks, I am completely confident that it will for me and that is the ultimate fulfillment I am searching for.
I turned 30 on July 2nd. I made a bigger deal out of it than maybe I should have – thinking that some wisdom granting fairy would come land on my shoulder and point me in the direction of true happiness. I wanted to do something important with my 30th year – so I made these crazy declarations about changing everything about the way I have been living my life for the last 5, 10, 15 years – I decided to go through a sort of detox. Now, mind you, I live in Las Vegas, Sin City, a place I truly love and appreciate for its rebellious past, adventurous present and the general removal of the words “Last Call.” So, the idea of giving up five things that make up a pretty big part of a Sin City lifestyle seemed like quite a challenge. Therefore, I made declarations to give up the following five “Sins”: Liquor, Cigarettes, Gambling, Marijuana and Sex.
So, two weeks ago, the morning of July 1st, sitting at a breakfast bar in Mimi’s Café on Fort Apache and Charleston, I wrote rules for myself in yet another journal that I purchased to hopefully catapult me into this world of writing that I’ve always wanted to live in. Over the next week or so, I’d like to share the rules I have set in place for myself, some insight on why I chose them and my current status update on each one. I will be blogging as often as necessary throughout the next year to see what becomes of each rule as well as the different results I see as time goes on. Please enjoy and at the risk of sounding a little harsh, feedback is not only unnecessary, it is not encouraged. My self-conscious and insecure self has a bad habit of taking other’s opinions too seriously. This is about me – and only my reactions and emotions to what becomes of these rules in the next year matter.
However, I believe it’s through the sharing of thoughts and ideas that we can truly connect as humans. So please… read on.
Liquor: For the next year, I am only allowing myself to drink alcoholic beverages in the form of beer or wine and as much as possible, the beer of choice should be a light option. I will not consume any hard alcohol in an attempt to become intoxicated. I will use only my best judgment in social situations while drinking and am also make a promise never to drive if I think I’ve had too much to drink.
So, a little history on this rule… I’ve never considered myself to be an alcoholic – I have family members that are alcoholics. The face of my grandmother on my mom’s side is the image that pops up in my head when the word is
As teenagers, my brother and I lived in a neighborhood that had a wooded area surrounding it. One day, while cutting through a trail in the woods on our way back home from playing softball or something on a nearby school’s field, we passed my grandmother, standing near a tree, completely stoic in nature, like something out of an eerie independent film. We hadn’t seen her in a long time and here she was, drunk and tracking down the family, probably looking for money or some other resource to keep her afloat.
Up until this moment, I had pretty decent memories of my grandmother. As a young child, I remember my grandma being sober, always having chocolate on hand and saying silly things in her cockney British accent. I could never understand why my mom so cautiously kept her distance. Grandma seemed perfectly fine to me. However, a year or so before the woods incident, I was home alone and received a phone call from Grandma, who had been drinking and decided she wanted to tell me all the things she disliked about my dad, who, by the way, has been my hero since I first laid eyes on him. I remember sitting in the corner of the house, cordless phone in hand, crying and shaking, but not actually hanging up the phone. I was wrapped up in a sick fascination about who this woman really was. I talked about it with my mom when she got home. She was furious, of course, and I was starting to understand why my Grandma wasn’t in my life the way my friends’ grandmas were. But it wasn’t until I saw her standing by that tree on a sunny afternoon in Washington that I truly understood what it meant to be an alcoholic.
My father also has family that fit this category – I have an uncle that tried to kill himself, another that has been in and out of jail almost his whole adult life, and a few other family members who have battled their own addictions. I have never really been close with my father’s side of the family so more often than not, hearing about these incidents when they happened where more like watching stories on the evening news. I knew they were happening, but it didn’t affect my life directly. Losing my Grandma that day in the woods was something that affected my in a way I would never realize until years later. To this day, I have no idea where my Grandma is – whether she is here in the U.S. or back in England or even if she is still alive. Like so many other things that have come and gone in my life, she is simply “written off” and forgotten. When I start getting close to someone, having these two things happen to me are still my biggest fears.
The irony? I started drinking to keep people at a distance from the beginning – something that will continue to come up as a common thread as I continue on with my rules. I didn’t realize it at the time, I just thought I wanted to get silly and have a good time. My secret self knew I was up to something else, however.
I’ve been pulled over twice in Las Vegas – both times, had my acting skills not been up to par, I would’ve tested above the legal limit for BAC and know firsthand what it’s like to be in jail, dealing with courts, lawyers, maybe even have my own anti-drinking device attached to my ankle. But, both times the cops believed I was simply speeding to merge on to the freeway and texting while driving, therefore swerving out of my lanes. I’m not proud of the fact that I was able to get out of these terrible outcomes, but grateful to have the opportunity not to be put in the same situation again.
So, yes, while I have been known to be a “fun drunk” and I sure love the taste of Jagermeister, it is for the fear of isolation and rejection as well as not being in a sober frame of mind as I continue on with this project that I have decided to limit my drinking.
Current status: I’ve allowed myself a few back doors (like, mimosas are champagne and champagne is a form of wine so it’s okay to have 4 huge glasses and then go to work) and cider is not technically alcohol so it’s okay to drink this very high alcoholic beverage while enjoying my irish breakfast in the middle of the day.
I never claimed this was going to be easy.
I have a long way to go and know that if I am in a position where drinking is just part of the activity, it needs to be me and my buddy, Michelob Ultra all the way. Because when it takes me an hour and a half to finish one beer (thank you, Ultra, for tasting so terrible), I can rest assured that I am not drinking to get drunk. One day at a time.
Next up, Cigarettes… stay tuned – and thanks for your interest. Tv