But now I know

It is snowing here in Portland Oregon today, and I am grateful that I am in my warm house. As I get older I feel like I can’t handle the cold as much as I did when I was younger. I like looking at it, but go out in it? No thanks! Probably because I am not drinking anymore too. It used to be fun to take a shot of warm brandy, bundle up and walk the neighborhood in the snow. Walking in the snow doesn’t seem as fun without that alcohol coursing through my veins to keep me warm. So, I have replaced these tipsy walks with staying in my warm house and being creative. It is a more solitary experience, but I don’t feel lonely. In fact, just the opposite. Even though I am creating alone, I feel surrounded by love. I feel happy. I feel excited about what I am creating.

Being creative every weekend has trained my emotions and brain to go to that place. So, now when I wake up on Saturday morning my brain automatically starts thinking about what I want to write about. I have been writing my blog for a little over a year now, and it is amazing how in such a short time I have developed this very ingrained habit. I used to spend my Saturdays at the gym punishing myself for drinking and eating too much the night before. I wouldn’t stop working out until every last bit of energy had been squeezed out of me. Sometimes I would be arguing with a family member, friend or my husband so I would be texting angrily in between exercises. I would walk by the full length mirror and my critical eyes would only see my faults. My eyes wouldn’t see that I was in pretty good shape for my age, they wouldn’t see how hard I had worked all week, they wouldn’t see the emotions inside of me, except for anger. I was filled with shame and it clung on to me like a wet blanket. The drinking didn’t help. The drinking made me more anxious and short tempered.

But it wasn’t just the drinking. It was a combination of everything that I had been through, and everything I kept putting myself through. I couldn’t even comprehend being creative back then. It was always some far off goal to convert my detached garage into an art studio. It was going to happen one day, and that would be the day I would start drawing again. I never put a deadline on it, so the idea just floated around in space and seemed unachievable. I felt like I didn’t have the time to be creative, or maybe I felt like I didn’t deserve to feel the love that was inside of me. I didn’t deserve to develop and nurture that love in order to be creative. I saw myself as a worker. I needed to get things done. My self worth came from how other people saw me. If they saw me as productive that made me feel worthwhile. This came from my childhood, as I was trained as a child to see myself in terms of my value to other people. I was trained not to say no or stand up for myself. I thought because I had physically gotten away from my family that they didn’t affect me anymore. But they lived inside of me everyday. I repeated what I had learned from them over and over to the point that I didn’t even know that I could say no to myself. I didn’t know I had the power to change my behavior towards myself. That I could stop beating myself up. I didn’t have to work out at the gym until I felt like I was going to collapse. I didn’t have to drink alcohol to the point that I felt sick to my stomach, my skin dried out and my eyes glazed over. I didn’t know that it was within my control to stop my own self abuse. I didn’t know I had a choice, and it made me angry. I felt powerless. I was angry at myself, and I was angry at other people.

So, I thought I could burn off my anger by constantly moving. I was in a one woman race. But a race that had no clear finish line. This race sometimes consisted of me driving around town aimlessly. What was I trying to accomplish? Exhaustion. I was trying to exhaust myself. All that running around was being done to tire myself out so I could stand to be with myself. If I was tired, I didn’t have to look at myself. Plus if I was exhausted then I would have an excuse not to make changes. A part of me knew I needed to make changes in my life, but my fear of what those changes may look like stopped me. I was scared. My fear kept me going through the motions of a life I had outgrown. And it was easier to go through the motions when I was exhausted, drinking or hungover. It made it bearable to do nothing about my dissatisfaction.

It is snowing harder now than when I first started writing. It is supposed to snow all week, and that is okay. I am in my warm house being creative and there is no place that I would rather be. I don’t need to wander aimlessly anymore looking for my value in other people’s eyes. When I walk by the mirror in my house I smile at myself. I look goofy with my hair in a bun and my baggy sweats on. But I see myself now. I have compassion for who I was, like I would for a friend who didn’t know better at the time. I have come a long way from my frantic days of punishing myself. I see my own value now. I feel my worth, even when I am alone in my house. I never knew this feeling existed, or was possible. I am not angry anymore, even at my family. They never knew me. But now I know me, and that is all that matters.

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    1. Hi Jae, it is so true. It feels good to know myself well enough to stand by my beliefs and goals. In looking for approval from other people, I gave up what was important to me. I know I did that on my own as an adult, and now I try really hard not to do that anymore. It is still hard work to stand up for myself, but I see the rewards, and so I do it regardless of how hard it feels! Love, Peta

      1. Hello, I was wondering how I became so blessed as to find this to read today.
        I’ve been sitting in my Jeep wondering when I’m going to put air in the left front tire. I let someone borrow my Jeep over Christmas last year so he could see his daughter who lives over 60 miles away. This person neglected to tell me about the parking ticket he got while borrowing my Jeep. I will pay 40.00 for this ticket. I don’t want to.
        Things go for me this way on a continual basis. The few friends I do have say I’m “too nice.”
        I read ‘But now I know’
        And I’ll read it again.
        I have to remind myself
        A lot
        I am worth it and
        It’s not my fault.
        There are cruel reminders and I dwell on them.
        I want to forget the bad things.
        The bad things, 30 year up until now bad things.
        I’m wondering honestly
        When will I be truly happy.

        1. Hi Kim, you are a nice person by lending your jeep to a friend so he can see his daughter. It is not your fault that he didn’t tell you about the ticket or fill your tire. For me, happiness has started to come by looking inside and keeping the commitments to myself. It is not so much saying NO to others, but more saying YES to myself. In keeping these commitments to myself, my time becomes more valuable and I find that I don’t have as much time for people that don’t appreciate me. Also, in keeping the commitment to myself I feel like I have gained more confidence. You will find happiness, it will come. Love, Peta

  1. I loved reading this – it’s a bit like my own past situation and a bit of it still lingers! However, I’m working on it and hope to find my own true path very soon😊 Thanks for the inspiration 🌸

    1. Hi Orsa, it lingers for me too. I have bad days that I feel like I am living in the past again, and it takes a lot of energy and self care for me to snap out of it. I have to remind myself that I am just having thoughts of the past, and I do have control now and I can think differently and do things differently. I have given up on having the past completely disappear, I think it will linger always. Love, Peta

  2. This gave me goose bumps. Thank you for sharing your soul and being real. I’m so excited for the new you and will keep you in my prayers xoxo

    1. Thank you Shannon! Showing my true self through this blog has changed me this last year. There is something about writing my truth for everyone to read that is liberating, and helping let go of the past. Thank you for praying for me, it means so much to me. Love, Peta

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