Last summer was heavy. I wrote in the midde of winter, rather clumsily, about how I had gone and gotten sober last July, and how it had managed to last until the end of the year.
It still lasts today, for today. That's how I mark the time now, not because I'm told to, but because that is how it works for me now. Some things just move in and become the right things, the way things go.
Everything is different, even the things that are the same. I always liked an Albert Camus quote from a book called Return to Tipasa that I've never read, "In the middle of winter I at last discovered that there was in me an invincible summer." I see it mostly on Pinterest now (quotes, that's where I see quotes) in references to love of the season or a need for tenacity in struggle, and I guess it fits both ways for me. I'm a summertime girl. Loathe cold. Bitch all through the winter months that they are here--driving in snow is horrible, being cold is horrible, winter is horrible, on and on and on until March--and love everything about spring from the day it drops in.
It popped into my head when I sat down to write about some goals I've got this summer, an opportunity that came along at a perfect point where I actually feel ready to make some goals again, with some, any, optimism that I'm in a place to follow through. And although it's too grandiose for me to own, because I am very vincible, I am so vincible--I just like the idea. I like the idea of it always being summer. There is just always so much more possibility there. I'm in a better mood about it.
Early sobriety is no joke. I don't even really feel like writing about it, but it's everywhere around everything so it's stupid not to. I honestly don't think I could explain it accurately if I tried, but I frame it for myself as Oz after the brown of Kansas. A stumble and a fall and a weird, chaotic trip. All the colors after there weren't any. Some freaky people. Witches in my own brain, mostly. Friends I wouldn't have chosen but that is why I shouldn't be in charge of anything. And those colors, they never turn off, after years of everything be sort of dulled. The lights and sound, can't shut anything up.
After it happened last summer, I spent the rest of the season blinking into space as my brain woke up and reformed into some kind of new shape (I know that how it is isn't permanent even now, it just keeps going, changing around, putty or something.) I took a lot of pictures of flowers, which seemed to be the thing that made sense that I liked that I could tag with parts of my before and after. It was just important at the time to feel some kind of continuity at all, because it wasn't anywhere I looked.
This winter, I worked, mostly, inside and out. I sat with myself a lot as I was more able to do that, sometimes with people I could trust to get the fragments that started to fall back into place and into a more recognizable, hopefully better whole person here.
Spring. I started to think beyond the initial 20 minutes or the next hour I could swing without freaking out, and I found a focus that I barely recognized, because it hadn't been there for a long time, maybe not ever. It's been interesting, more than anything--a daily first date with myself, as someone who has been through the same thing described it. A daily first date in a fun house, really, wacko mirrors and shifting metal floors and weird dreams and clowns. God I hate clowns.
The biggest difference is my filter. I can't handle bullshit anymore, basically, especially the kind I create. I can't do it. I have to walk away, or stop listening, or change something, almost immediately. It is the most important thing I do every day, and sometimes the most difficult. But that's what happens now.
(Oh, because google is my friend I learned that kd lang also had an album called Invincible Summer, and "Summerfling" is so...not kd to me, but kd all the same. Super pop don't-steal-my-summer kd. Holy moley.)
Drunk or sober, my heart is mostly a dive bar, even now when I don't go to those places in real life. It's a relaxed space. There is a decent jukebox and a lot of good people who mean well. It means well. And it's got some grace in the shabby places.