I go to the garden. My reasons are messy and fluid, resembling the task.
The 95 degree temperature hits me in the face as I sluggishly climb out of my car. Searching the field, I identify three backs bent. I see them from afar. Why am I here? There is no turning back as the heat punches then catches in my throat.
There are things growing. I am amazed my first night by the thought of food coming from somewhere. I pull up dirt covered onions, cutting of roots and tops. I learn quickly and try to be efficient. Drop them in the bin, but not too rough. Not enough to bruise. My hands reek of onion and I wipe the moist liquid from the onions on my perspiring arms. I’m hoping this keeps the mosquitoes at bay as twilight approaches. I did not spray myself before coming, though in a type A moment I had come prepared. I didn’t want to come off as a novice stinking of bug spray. That night was my first in the garden.
I am nervous, as I am doing anything new. Intensely shy, I do not like meeting people. I can carry a conversation fine but more often than I like to admit, I’m just too lazy. Self-centered even, I suppose. Showing an interest in someone, even when I care about them, even when they interest me, even when I know someone already takes so much out of me. There is a price.
This is a quality I hate about myself. How I wish I were different.
I wonder, after getting gussied up for a wedding yesterday, why being with people so hard for me? I was drained and tired afterward. Some people relish parties! Though happy for the bride and groom, all I could think about was being exhausted.
Partly this was for the fact that there was an open bar. That brought up all sorts of unexpected feelings. Damn it, I think to myself, I still resent that I cannot drink. Being a drunk (former drunk, of course) this is more than a little ironic to me.
It’s just not fair kept echoing through me, whiny and complaining. Deep and pulsing, a humming in my soul. Not fair, not fair, not fair!!! I was feeling deeply sorry for myself. And this is how I know, how I knew, even then that I cannot drink ever again. I know even now that I am a drunk that doesn’t drink.
I wish I were different.
Four years ago this week I quit drinking – it was for good this time.
I should go to an AA meeting and get a four year chip. But I don’t do AA. Not absolutely sure why.
I guess, I like to act like I’m not really an alcoholic. I just “don’t drink” and when I’m not around it I’m “fine.” But I don’t think I’m happy not drinking and this scares me more than you could know.
I am finding joy and peace, learning to feel the abundance of my life. But I need to find out why other sober people are happy even at an open bar. But not me.
I realized last night, sitting across from a young gal from my church who was kind of sloppy from drinking three giant glasses of wine, that I am not a happy sober person. I watched her enviously as she made at least three trips to the bar and brought each one back to our table. And I knew. There are some things that I need to sort out.
I wish I were different but maybe that’s the thing. I am me. I was a crazy falling down drunk, once upon a time. It was no fairy tale. And I am no princess. I am a drunk, I may be sober, straight and clean, but I couldn’t have a good time last night mostly because I forgot who I was. And I felt deprived.
I wish I were different. But I am me.
Trudging through the cauliflower and tomatoes and watermelon plants today, lugging loads of weeds, carrying hefty loads of hay I worked hard. I worked to help. I worked for penance. I worked to forget. Who knows? Perhaps all that and more.
I know this – I am grateful to sweat, for my health, to be here, to be alive. Yes, even to be sober.
I may wish I were different but I can only be me.
I can only live this one life. Oh I have regrets. Watching others last night brought up plenty of regrets, touched a well of sorrow, a deep recess carved in my soul, but in the end as I embraced the truth of Christ’s grace this morning at church, singing gratefully, I was more thirsty for more of Jesus,
You see, I know I’m a sinner.
I know I’m forgiven.
I need to forgive myself. And perhaps, even give something back. Four years sober I don’t know much. I have no great wisdom about how and why. There is more I don’t know than what I do. But this is me. This is who I am.
I have to stop wishing otherwise.