A tornado picked me up a while back somewhere, only snippets of faces and places flashed and swirled in the stew of wind and debris as I flailed around trying to figure out which way was down. Or up. It depended on the day; days that began to blur into each other in the dim light, throwing my internal clock by shadows cast from cities and towns and buildings and bars and strangers and stage lights, all caught in the mix. Sometimes I would see through the flying dirt and catch a glimpse of the world outside the cyclone – calm and sunny, people walking along on the ground, heading in the direction they’re going, sure to get there more or less when they planned to, to do what they intended to do. What a weird and foreign reality…
I have been plopped here in my mild mannered hometown. The noise still echoing in my head, my ears still ringing, scrapes and bruises reminding me of where I just was, I sit dazed… I feel like Dorothy. My clothes are clean, I am in a safe and familiar place – and you where there, and you, and you!! It was all so real… Even stranger, it was.
I have a love-hate relationship with AA. I was introduced to it not long after my chemical adventures began, and it has plagued my drinking and using career ever since. At times I have been fully involved, loving the open free-talking folks with their heart breaking histories and common struggle for survival, drinking coffee and toasting to gratitude with the best of them. At other times I have despised the old 1930’s white male Christian-centric literature and their corny slogans, relevant or not, flinching every time the word “God” was flung about, fuming with resentment over what I felt was the blatant robbery of my blissfully innocent partying days. The truth is – I never had them. My innocence was broken long ago, with the weight of a reality that most children didn’t have to lose so much sleep over. I drank and used to cushion the blows of what felt like an incessant assault of my identity and my dreams, and that’s why it got so bad so fast. Not to mention I definitely have the gene and had excellent role models. Transition gave me a new lease on life and music kept me afloat for a long time, but somewhere along the way, it too couldn’t hang on to my ankles, and I was swept away. As far as AA goes, I desperately need the community, and I don’t give a shit anymore. Those folks have made it work, so I guess I’ll stick with them. I grudgingly knew I was with my people back in the day, and that remains true.
My people are the drunks, the junkies, the queers, and the crazies. The hippies, the pagans, the sex workers, the criminals, the fat folks, the coloreds, and the cripples. The too young, the too old, the too short, the too smart, the too poor. The people who’s appearance and position in life do not accurately tell the world who they really are. I identify with the struggle to be seen and heard through that disguise. This camaraderie strikes me as funny, as I sit now in my white middle class hetero-normative drag. In an AA meeting. Who’da thought.
I am and will remain eternally grateful for this time to rest and rebuild. I couldn’t keep it together in the midst of our crazy touring schedule. Ingrid and Michael made a tough decision on my behalf, when I couldn’t ask for help. I have been staggering around on the cliff’s edge, fighting off despair and misery like heckling pecking crows, and loosing fast. The ship was about to go down with me, despite appearances. After my crash landing, things never felt to screwed up, so shot in the foot. What a mess I have made. What an ass of myself I have made. How did I get so far from my center, and how do I get back? Those answers will come in time with the work that is calling, and I am willing to do it.
After just two weeks of clean time, I am able to look around and am blown away by the force that is cradling me. I’m not a God person in the sense of a grand personality somewhere out there in the sky with human thoughts and emotions that is separate from us, I use the word in a much more abstract way. So when good ol’ Bill Dub tells me I should find a power greater than myself that loves and supports me and cares about my well being, I have generally been stumped. But in the flood of Facebook comments, emails, letters, calls, and monetary support, I saw it – it’s you.
I am humbled. ‘Thank you’ seems like a pipsqueak of a response to what I have been given. I hope to give it back out to the world when I get myself sturdy.
“Evermore, Thanks” ~ Shakespeare