[Private journal entry written on Saturday, May 5, 2012 – continued from previous post]
After dinner, Sara decided to ride with James in his vehicle. Cindy took me back to my studio – which is where my car was parked. In the few minutes we had alone in her truck, I took advantage of the fact Sara was not with us (this was the first time I’d ever been with Cindy without Sara) and I had a conversation with her that was similar to the conversation I had with James during dinner.
She asked me how long it had been since I had done the partying thing. I told her that it has been four or five years since I’ve gone out to a bar and hit on men . . . and probably two years or so since I’ve had any alcohol.
She said that alcohol is not a big part of her life although they do enjoy, for example, having a glass of wine with dinner. She inquired if something like that would be a problem for me.
Me: I don’t seem to have the full-fledged alcoholism thing going . . . it’s not like I’ll go off on a two-week bender if I have one drink. In fact, I probably would do fine with a glass of wine with dinner as long as the social situation didn’t trigger some emotional crap.
But, for example, if I had a glass of wine while on a first date, there is a good chance that trying to maneuver my way through a first date would bring up my stuff around men and sex and fear of rejection . . . so that would not be a situation in which it would be wise for me to have a drink.
Cindy: What might happen in that case?
Me: If things got stirred up for me emotionally, I would find it hard to stop at just one drink . . . and then there is a chance I’d throw caution to the wind and would end up driving drunk or having a one-night stand.
On the other hand, if I went out to dinner with an old friend and I knew there wasn’t much space for my emotional crap to get triggered, and if I were in a emotionally stable place overall that week, I’d probably do just fine with a glass of wine with dinner.
However, in order for it to be safe for me to have a drink, I have to try to predict how all the details of the social event would fall into place . . . and that is pretty hard to do. I don’t always know what might trigger me or what might happen unexpectedly that could throw me off balance.
It isn’t worth it to me . . . it is too much risk just for the pleasure of having a glass of wine with dinner. So, I’ve decided to just not drink at all.
Cindy: It sounds like a smart choice!
Me: Thank you . . . I think so.
Once she dropped me off at the studio, I jumped in my car and drove the six blocks home. And that was the end of a very enjoyable evening.
So, today, I’m processing my feelings around the evening . . .
I still find myself wanting to share the details of my journey with people. It makes sense on one hand . . . the last ten years have impacted who I am at my core. The difficulties I’ve faced have changed me because I had to change in order to survive. And, I believe that change has been for the better . . .
Of course I would want to share that whole experience with people with whom I feel emotionally connected. How better to let them see my true colors?
I’m not sharing the details of the dark times as a way to be a victim or to gain sympathy or to excuse the parts of “who I am” that I have not yet embraced . . . no, I’m sharing those details because I am amazed with myself . . . I am amazed that I survived and that I am finding a way through.
I think I got emotional when Sara performed because it made me so very aware of how far I’ve come . . . that seven or eight years ago, I was routinely getting drunk and sleeping with strangers . . . and now, I’m conducting myself honorably, I can be trusted to behave myself around men, and I’m sharing talents that were almost strangled by my molester . . . and, I’m making a difference in the lives of these kids . . . I’m really making a difference . . . and last night was about the honoring and celebration of my contribution to the world . . . and that I’ve arrived at a place in my journey where I can contribute to the world in a meaningful way.
As I’m thinking about that this morning, I’m almost more emotional now than I was last night. Tears are freely running down my face as I’m journaling.
It was a really meaningful night for me. It left me with a strange feeling . . . it’s a good feeling . . . it’s a sense that I’m a normal person and that I “belong”. I think I’m in awe of how far I’ve come. I really do feel like a normal person. I feel like I’m doing normal things and contributing in normal ways and I don’t have secrets anymore.
Maybe that’s it . . . I don’t have secrets anymore . . . I think that’s it . . . I don’t have any shameful secrets now. I’ve always felt dirty and disgusting and shamed and ashamed and shameful, and that’s going away.
I’m starting to embrace the idea that I am respectable now.
Maybe that’s another part of it . . . last night vividly confirmed for me that respectable people consider me to be respectable. Not only do I know I’m respectable, but other people see me that same way.
Anyway, it’s just kind of a strange, new place for me to be, but I like it. It’s a good feeling.
I wanted to share a sense of this experience with Edward, so I had the following email exchange with him this afternoon:
Hi, Edward -
Another share-worthy moment . . .
Last night, the cop/paramedic couple (James & Cindy — the husband and their eight-year-old daughter are both piano students of mine) invited me to attend the Charter Academy’s student talent show as their guest. Their daughter, Sara, was performing an arrangement of Fur Elise by Beethoven that I arranged just for her.
(Six other of my students were also performing, so on the way into the show and as we were leaving, I got mobbed by kids and parents . . . I was so popular that we had a hard time getting out of there, LOL!)
After the talent show, James and Cindy took me out to dinner (just the four of us).
During the evening, Cindy (the paramedic) told me that she appreciated how my efforts with their daughter has allowed her to blossom and to be able to get up on a stage, all by herself, and perform in front of 200 people. Then, James (the cop) thanked me for allowing them to spend the evening with them — he said they don’t have a lot of close friends that they socialize with and that they consider me part of their family and value the chance to get to know me better. It was a very impactful statement for me to hear.
It took me until this afternoon to figure out why I was so impacted by their words . . .
I am learning what it feels like to be respected and (loved?) by respectable people . . . I am learning what it feels like to behave in a respectable manner around men and by doing so, I’m now getting to establish emotionally intimate relationships with quality people. And, I have no secret behaviors that cause me to think of myself as “shameful” and “disgusting” . . . I’m able to live my life in an “open book” way. I’m living life as a respectable person — I am respectable now.
It’s a whole new world . . . one that feels really good to me.
Welcome to your whole new world. How wonderful!