Your goodness doesn’t cancel out your darkness nor the other way around. As Thomas Lloyd Qualls says, “Believing you are good is like believing in the half moon.” The unlit side of the moon is always there, whether we see a sliver or full, creamy sphere.
This kaleidoscope of things. Sometimes all the pieces come into focus in a way that’s so beautiful it hurts—like the plastic bag at the end of American Beauty. The ordinariness of life. The bigness of it, too. When it comes into focus, everything is clear and felt at once.
Today marks 1,000 days since September 28, 2014. The day before, I drank. Again. On that day, I was also the Vice President of Marketing at a PR agency in Boston, a not-yet-divorced-but-newly-separated single mom of a five-year-old girl, 37 years old, running and doing yoga regularly, and outwardly doing just fine.
What was delivered to me drop by painful drop in that time, was the notion of staying. Of not hoping for a different moment than the one I was in—not because I found the moment acceptable, but because fighting it became futile. Fighting it made me suffer. Immensely.
I have been wondering if I have a problem. Drinking for me took the form of 1-2 glasses of wine every day with dinner. I recently, without much thought, decided to give up drinking for Lent. The first week was somewhat difficult. I was a bit anxious and had cravings for my dinner time glasses of wine but as the second week began, I started feeling a surge of positivity and felt more open to everything, also more motivated to do things. I am now a month into it and wondered if I could be an alcoholic if I could quit so easily.
I’ve been writing about the day in the spring of 2012 when my husband and I had the conversation to separate, the day I took the same run for the first time, when the sensation of running both towards and away from something was so urgent I felt I might spin right off the land into the deep, endless waters.
The answers to the big questions are always both complicated and simple. There was a tipping point and there were countless things that nudged me toward it. I needed every person, every conversation, every book, poem, and word, every mistake. I needed the hands of thousands of others who'd gone before me, pressing gently on my back, lifting my feet, catching my falls.