I have never been an overly-emotional human being. I used to pride myself on being able to keep a dry eye in the face of overwhelming bullshit. I was weirdly proud of that. It seemed like a badge of strength that I secretly wore. It was my superhero power. Ms. Steelnerves.
At least I used to be that way.
Fast-forward to the current state of affairs. I have become an ever-loving emotional mess. I feel everything. Deeply. Personally. In my mind’s narrative I imagine myself to be something along the lines of a slightly deranged duck. To the normal observer, I am a duck like most other ducks, swimming steadily and serenely around the pond. A rather perceptive observer may notice me bobbing and weaving a little differently than the rest the well-winged fowl. They may have a fleeting thought that something isn’t quite right but they don’t discriminate with the bread crumbs. Below the surface, however, my little duck feet thrash like mad in desperate effort to keep me afloat and appear unruffled by the riptide of bullshit underneath.
Alcohol was my flotation device. It was what kept this duck swimming straight in spite of all. It was my courage. It was my friend. It tucked me in at night and made me stop thinking. It helped me stop feeling.
Dad died of Huntington’s disease? Wine will certainly help.
I have a 50% chance of the same fate? More wine.
Oh. And my kids as well?? Um. Maybe a martini tonight…
Mom (aka… best friend) died of cancer? I will have wine with a chaser of wine, thanks.
Child with autism? Well, I guess I will have a drink.
Divorce? Drink more.
Friends screw you over? More.
Harrassed at work? Double more.
And on and on and on it goes until there isn’t enough alcohol in the world to cover up the damage and the pain and the fatigue from trying to be ok all the time; to appear to be like all the other ducks. But, I am not like all the other ducks. I know that now. I am an alcoholic duck and we are a whole different species.
Ms. Steelnerves cries a lot now. Somewhere along the sobriety pathway my superhero power developed a short circuit. And that is ok. I don’t need that badge anymore.