It takes almost everything I have to meet a demon in my closet who has been there since I was a little baby. Abandonment, shame, guilt, the events in life that led to the root of these feelings and the neurosis upon which I have been acting.
I cannot drink because Hyde awaits on the other side of a bottle. Whatever I came here to do, it’s a sink or swim game. No wading in the shallows for me, not anymore.
The anxiety is pure energy. Once I push through the emotional discomfort which seems so painful and disorienting and polycausal I cannot place it, only to discover it is the very basic disappointment of being a human being in a body with a lot of things in her mind and nothing constructive to make of them.
I sit down. Meditate. Run. Run. My lungs burn. My throat hurts and it feels like my heart is ready to make its final squeeze before letting go and giving up. The running motivated me not to smoke initially and helped to alleviate the anger which is a result of brain and liver damage from heavy drinking.
Projection is a low-level coping skill, so I have clearly damaged my brain significantly.
The night in jail acts like a key that unlocks a flood of memories that I begin to write down in some semblance of a story only to realize it is remarkable. How I came to wind up in jail for being drunk when, originally, I set out to avoid this person at all costs.
How did I get here?
When I unleashed the monster from the lake of my childhood traumas, the poor thing came up dead and cold. Although parents had caused the wounds which initially opened the pains of the experiences which led to these lives and the likelihood of these actions, it is only now that the reality I’m wholly responsible for my life as an adult is sinking in.
Lauren Groff’s Lake Monster in The Monsters of Templeton was a symbol that I couldn’t have begun to understand six months ago. Today it is genetic inheritance, the subconscious factors that motivate us, the strong influence of small moments over time especially, the need for spaces in which the old is cleared and the new is seen, the inevitable influence of change upon all things through time.
Jail is the best and worst thing that could have happened to me.
I’m unquestionably sober. When cravings start to creep in like mirages in a desert, I decide to set a long-term goal of running a marathon. Two weeks later I’m running four miles on weekends in ninety-five degrees feeling the way my body has adjusted to the heat by making me shiver when I slow down. Maybe it’s heat stroke.
Running through the grave yard, I think of how ironic it would be for me to drop dead there until the heat is eased by the shade beneath a cluster of tall maples over a fork in the road. A breeze picks up, cools the sweat on my neck and face and I’m grateful like it’s cold water.