I want to say to the world, just hang on, give me a second. I’m just over here trying to reinvent myself. It’s not easy, and it’s gonna take a minute. So back off, and quit tapping your feet and drumming on the desk top.

I’m not sure I know what I want to be when I grow up. Sue me. The point is … I don’t want to grow up. This responsibility crap is highly overrated and much ado about nothing as far as I am concerned. I have a t-shirt that says something to the effect of I will not play by the rules only to wind up at death’s door well behaved. I’m already feeling as though I’ve wasted far too much time being a (mostly) good girl.

Truth be told, I was a good girl only to the extent that I hid from life. I wanted to be a bad girl, but I was too afraid to go out on that limb. I preferred talking that talk but not reallly walking that walk, just talking it. Pretending. Bluffing my way into the same misery as though I had done the deeds. An articulate script full of sound and fury, bright lights and bass beats, smoke and mirrors.

I feel as though I’m a fraud, and it won’t take very long for the world to figure that I’m all talk and not much substance. There is something in the DSM about “imposter syndrome”, and maybe that’s my gig. It doesn’t much matter if there’s a label for it, but I’ve always felt like a fraud, like people were going to find out I’m just bullshitting my way through just about everything.

One would think that if I believed such things, I would not have very much to lose. But I do have a lot to lose. I have the illusion to lose, the delusion even. I have the fantasy that somewhere in there I know what the hell I’m doing, that somewhere inside me there’s a viable life.

In all honesty, I do feel my life is viable, but a dime a dozen. There’s nothing particularly special that I feel I can bring to any table. Perhaps I am chasing dreams of terminal uniqueness once again, as I did in early sobriety. Sobriety is one of the only things I feel that I’ve done more or less correctly, although from time to time I think I’m just faking it all. But the truth of all truths is that I do not drink, and I am not the same person I was when I did drink. And that’s the facts, Jack.

Today, I went to the un-church and it was fine. I didn’t go for the service, although I wish I had since my minister friend was speaking. I’ll catch it later on video I suppose. The only reason I went was for a meeting that I was supposed to lead, and only two other people showed up, one remotely. I would have been very content to have stayed home and done the meeting virtually, but we had agreed a month ago that we’d do it in person this month. Whatever. People do what they want to do.

I don’t always do what I want to do, I frequently do what I feel is expected and what I believe to be the correct answer. So much for freedom, truth, and the American way. These days I do make an effort to speak truth, even when my brain is telling me to make up a story. It’s much easier to be truthful, especially at my age when I can’t remember all the stories. What a pain in the arse to be wondering who you’ve told what, and in what order. Sooner or later I’m going to trip and fall on my butt with all that, so why bother.

Over the years, I’ve wondered why it is that I want to lie about things. Usually it’s because I’ve made a mistake, or a blunder, or screwed up something and want to hide it. Usually it’s wanting to reinvent the past, which never works. It’s not a rational thought process, though, so I can’t expect it to be effective. Even if I get caught in the lie, the real damage is directed inward, knowing that it’s not ethically or morally correct to lie but doing it anyway. That’s the kind of stuff that has always eaten at me from the inside out and makes me want to crawl out of my skin. So…let’s just leave the lying where it’s lying.

Once upon a time, I truly believed that reinventing myself was a sign of failure, a signal that my original format didn’t make it and I needed to come up with something new out of necessity. Over the past bit, however, I’ve been introduced to the concept that reinventing myself is not a failure but a process of discovery, of becoming. I suppose I reinvented myself when I got sober, and that was a very good thing.

It seems that I’m wanting to reinvent myself again, but it’s taking a bit too long for my liking. Maybe I’m just supposed to jump and take a risk, go on a wing and a prayer, and sort it out further after I’ve taken the leap. That’s just a bit terrifying, however, so before I fledge I think I’m going to do what the eaglet is doing, jumping up and down and flexing my wings to build strength. Taking a few very tiny stabs at hovering in the air and practicing. I suppose I don’t have to have a destination in mind to do that, only have to know that I’m going to fly in the near future.

There is a part of me that’s feeling annoyed because I don’t think it should have to be this hard. Maybe it’s not that hard, and I’m overcomplicating things. But maybe not. Maybe it is this hard, because sometimes life is hard and this is life. It’s my life, not somebody else’s life. So comparisons are really useless, especially when I don’t know the whole story that’s behind people I see who have accomplished things I’d like to accomplish. Recovery calls that comparing my insides to other people’s outsides, and that’s apples and oranges. Or something like that.

I have been thinking lately about someone I once loved, and don’t acknowledge any longer. Mercifully I don’t see her at all these days, but I still think about what happened to break the friendship. It wasn’t a friendship to me, because it was so much more than that. It wasn’t a friendship to her because it was so much less than that. I don’t even know what it was that I wanted, but I certainly wasn’t getting it. That’s usually the story of relationships where I have insanely intense feelings for someone, and come away feeling used and disrespected. I don’t even know if that’s true, but the feelings are real.

Whatever it is, I find it sucks mightily, and I don’t want that outcome any longer. I am very content to intentionally stay the hell out of everyone’s way at this point, and not entertain the prospect of forming new friendships. It’s simply not worth it. I feel things too deeply and cannot recover from a feeling of betrayal, or being treated as some trivial afterthought. A guy I knew once said he was having a similar experience, and couldn’t understand why he was viewed as the village priest – someone good to talk with and a lot of fun but never considered for a serious relationship, for romance, for partnership. I got it immediately, and I’ve never forgotten that. Village priestess is equally valid, and sucks equally as much.

So, all that aside, I am beginning to believe that I don’t have to draw up a set of engineering drawings for this reinvention process. That’s where my brain wants to go, into a design phase that is closely followed by an implementation phase and then a testing cycle and finally production. Goodness. Will I never shed this workplace mold? I don’t want it, but it seems to be self-aware on some level. Perhaps it’s just the cage, and the gate is open. But I digress.

Life is possible, however I choose to walk through it. Reinvention is possible, however it turns out. The past is the past, and I don’t need to fix that. I know that I can start fomr this point and create from here. I have a blank canvas, but I bring to it everything I’ve accrued from experience. Why is it so difficult to make the first mark, the first brush stroke? I am living in a black and white world, and I know there’s a world of color and texture and many dimensions. The Earth is definitely not flat, unless it becomes more important to control it than to be in it.

I think my instincts are correct, that it shouldn’t be this hard. It shouldn’t be this hard to live, to feel like I belong in m own skin, like I have a right to be here. It shouldn’t be this hard to feel that I’m not lying when I’m truly not lying. It should be this hard to feel happiness and security and satisfaction. It should be this hard, so why is it this hard? Maybe it’s not. Just maybe it’s not.

It will come out the way it’s supposed to. Trust the process.

Published by annzimmerman

I am Louisiana born and bred, now living in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Fortunately for me, I was already living in NC before Hurricane Katrina decimated my beloved New Orleans. An only child, I now feel that I have no personal history since the hurricane destroyed the relics and artifacts of my childhood. As I have always heard, c'est la vie. My Louisiana roots show in my love of good coffee, good food, and good music. My soggy native soil has also shown me that resilience is hard-wired in my consciousness; when the chips are down (or drowned)...bring it on.

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