All of my possessions.

I’ve been a lil slow on the key stroke lately because I’m currently acting, and I have to say it’s been a strangely and wonderfully odd experience.  Each night I leave the stage I am utterly drained.  Think about Swayze in Ghost … okay well think about his situation in reverse. Every time he jumped into Whoopi‘s body (umm … yeah), he was completely drained afterwards.  For 2hrs four characters that were and are honest to God human beings inhabit the inside of me.  It’s like slicing the pie of my conscious self into four pieces, four very different pieces.  I try my best to have each “spirit” tell a 100% honest story  that usually begins in a place that I can personally relate to on some level.  It’s been like an exorcism sans the pea soup and holy water.  I never thought that I could love acting this much. Who knows, this might just be habit forming ;).

Rosie.

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Gratitude by the hour.

Alright, so rather than go on a long and winding diatribe about how grateful I am for all I have (see my Facebook wall for that), I’m going to give you a quick and dirty trick I picked up for keeping gratitude with me all year.  While my friend Mekkah and I were working on some project or another, a robotic voice announced the time.  It grabbed my attention even while we were up to our necks in concept creation. She quickly informed me that I wasn’t loosing my mind and that it was her computer announcing the time.  She sets a reminder for every hour so she isn’t late to her appointments.

A light bulb turned on immediately. It had to be  some type of divine intervention, but in that very moment I decided to add the same setting to my computer, only I was going to do it to remind myself to be grateful. Every hour, on the hour (when my comp is on, which is a lot) for the last few weeks  a robotic Australian voice announces the time to which I simply respond “thank you”.  I am already seeing results in the form of a mild shift in my attitude. When I’m frustrated or angry and I hear the time, I still say thank you. That millisecond taken reminds me that it’s never as bad as I think it is. If I’m in a great place, it reminds me to give thanks for that too.

There’s my trick.  I hope you find use for it or something similar.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Rosie.

1096: A Testimony.

I woke up yesterday morning at approximately the same time I did on November 10, 2009.  On November 10, 2012, I knew exactly where I was; at home.  I was in my less than savory bedroom with clothes in need of washing, papers in need of filing.  My first thought, as usual, was “Okay, what do I have to do today?”  November 10, 2009 was worlds different.  I woke up not knowing where I was and only vaguely sure who I was.  Dirty clothing and assorted documents were the least of my worries.  I was sick, in my body, in my mind, and worst of all in my spirit.  That morning I knew, in a way that old women tend to know things, that if I didn’t stop getting high, I was going to end up dead or in a situation where I sorely wished I was.

It’s hard to describe the type of desperation one feels during a bottom.  The closest I could come would be to say it’s like an animal caught by it’s leg in a steel trap.  That would be the obsession element of addiction.  You’re there, stuck, you know something bad is going to happen if you don’t get out.  You’d be willing to chew your leg off to get out, but you can’t. You’re too terrified to think.  So, that’s the cycle of thought:

I want to stop.  I can’t.  I’m afraid.

(repeated so often, in my case that I was ready to drive off a bridge … literally.)

Then, you hear the hunter coming.  It’s the compulsion element and you know once it has a hold of you, your ass is done.  During active addiction, when the hunter shows up, you freeze up.  He gets you, fricassees that ass, and serves you for supper. The wonderful part about a bottom, if you’re realize you’re at one, is you become willing to chew your fucking leg off (or anything else for that matter.)

On November 10, 2009 I chewed my leg off, well I should say, I removed the trap with the help of my family, my friends, a great recovery program, and my higher power.  Yesterday marked the three year anniversary of my escape from the trap, the thing with addiction is, the trap is out their waiting for me at any time.  The minute I forget that and think it’s  safe for me to test the hunter, is the moment of my assured doom.

While I must stay vigilant, being clean for me hasn’t just been about existing in a bubble while being afraid of my own shadow.  It’s been the opposite in fact.  Abstaining is just that, not using while white knuckling it through existence. Recovery has turned my world on it’s  ass challenging everything I ever thought about my life and myself.  It makes me realize just how great things can be. I have lived more boldly, honestly, and beautifully in the last three years than I had in the thirty-three that proceeded them.  Gratitude only scratches the surface of what I feel about my life right now.

Someone told me the other day that my story was an inspiration. I cringed a little, as compliments make me squirm, but it’s true.  Well no, maybe my life a testimony.  That’s it!  It’s a testimony that an overweight black girl raised poor in a housing project can persevere through sex abuse, being raised by and then becoming a single parent, a turbulent marriage, addiction, frequent battles with self hatred and loneliness  and host of other internal cluster fucks. The beauty of it is, my testimony isn’t the only one.

So, on my anniversary I’d like to wish you the best life you can possibly live.  Make it your testimony, your highest truth.

Rosie.

1095 days + today = One day at a time.

Election Anxiety or Today is the Last Day Before Tomorrow.

It did not occur to me until two days ago how much anxiety I have around this election. It, like most of my anxiety, stems back from my childhood. One of my earliest memories is of me waking up the Wednesday after Election Day, the first day of the Reagan presidency. I was probably 4 or 5. My mother was rushing around to get me dressed to take me to day care. She said something while she was dressing me that I promise you I can remember until this day: Hurry up, so I can get you there while you can still go.

I was terrified. I didn’t understand that she meant the vouchers that allowed me to attend day care would be snatched under this presidency. All I heard was that I would no longer be able to go to this happy place, with pleasant smells, singing, coloring, and pleasant familiar faces that I’d become used to. A few months later it came to pass. My mom lost her child care vouchers.  I spent most of my days in front of a television (mostly PBS thank God) with my Nana who had to quit her job, that was also an asset to the family, in order to take care of me while my mom worked longer hours at what was then New Jersey Bell where she’d worked since she was sixteen. I said all that to say my mom was anything but a leech to the system. she went out and got it daily and appreciated the support she did get when she got it.

A year or so later came crack, drug wars, joblessness, further urban decay, and the destruction of anything resembling stable mental health care system. Enter the menacing issue of homelessness then plop me, small child with a vivid imagination, in the middle and it’s not hard to see why I believed Reagan was Satan incarnate. Somebody had a good time during the Reagan era. but it damn sure wasn’t the people I grew up with.

Mitt Romney strikes that kind of fear in me. There’s is such a disconnect between him and people of color and poor people that it should seem obvious that he shouldn’t be leading this multicultural nation, but alas this only seems obvious to people of color. I don’t know if there is a point to this except to say that I’m frightened. I’m not even sure how justified it is, but I am. I’ll await the results like everyone around the country and world today. Despite the results, I know we’ll survive. What that survival looks like, is another matter all together.

Rosie.

As IT is.

It’s 9:10 am.  I drop my kid off at school and breeze down the highway trying to decide where I want to eat breakfast.  My breakfast date is going to be an hour late or so.  I’m eat-my-hand hungry so I decide to segue to our newly regular bagel shop.  I dash off highway 277 at the N. Davidson exit and plan on making  a U and getting back on the highway.  Not so much.  I run into a line of disgruntled  commuters waiting on a the AM train.  They caught it, and not in a good way.

Instead of looping around and avoiding the sure to be 10 minute or so wait as the train idles through, I decided to sit. I put the car in park even, exhibiting a type of patience that’s becoming easier to as I get older.  Immediately my “gut” tells me to continue reading the chapter in Eat, Pray, Love that I’d been in this morning (I shan’t be judged for my literary choices.)  I do what my gut tells me, read the following, and promptly burst into tears in the line of disgruntled commuters:

“The Bhagavad Gita — that ancient Indian Yogic text — says that it is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else’s perfection. So now I have started living my own life.  Imperfect and clumsy as it may look, it is resembling me now, thoroughly.”  — Eat, Pray, Love the 30th bead.

Ever since I’ve decided to go to school, got accepted, and found out that my past financial follies were keeping me stateside for the moment, I’ve been looking at my life.  I’ve been examining and reexamining it as one does fruit before purchasing.  I looked at all the imperfections. I sueeze myself through introspection to find that I was, as my friend Shelly would put it, R.Y.P.E. (realizing my potential everyday). That’s pretty dope, because I’m now recognizing that many don’t and never will.

In the end if my writing career and my life mean anything to others I want it to be an example of how to live life fully and on its own terms measuring successes with one’s own yard stick.  It may not be a perfect life.  I may never stop falling for the wrong men or get myself together financially, but I’ll never stop trying all while living the best life I know how; the one I have.

Salud!

Rosie.

Wait!  Funny how things come full circle.  When I wrote the following piece, I thought it was abut my blog.  Little did I  know 🙂 : As is.