This year I have come reached some pretty significant milestones. I turned 50 years young in March, I took my reproductive cycle full circle, and survived menopause. How? I will never know, and I decided to get sober and make changes for my health and well being so I am around to see my children graduate college, high school, get married, have children, (God willing). It took me some time to realize that I had been secretly, or not so secretly, as I never denied it to be honest, escaping into the wine bottle on way too many nights, and this wasn’t serving me or my family well to see me self medicate in this way. Like many vices, it never began that way, wine was a way to keep my demons at bay, and my anxiety from wreaking havoc with my day to day existence, only in my moments of clarity, I saw that it was a temporary fix and that it was really not doing anything but leading to weight gain, and more self loathing. See that’s the thing about using anything to self medicate, it never really solves the problem, and the minute you come down off that high, and yes…to me consuming a bottle or two of wine in a night (some nights) was a high, I would wake up feeling like shit, looking worse, and cursing the day for coming and not taking me in the night. It wasn’t that I was suicidal, it was that I was so consumed with guilt, anger, and self loathing that I couldn’t stand to look at myself in the mirror most days.
Being in therapy for the good part of 25 years, (not straight) but consistently for the past 10 years, I still grappled with the demons of my soul. We all have those inner demons, some to a lesser degree, some won’t accept or deal with theirs and therefore have convinced themselves it is everyone else around them who must be the problem, but that is for me to delve into on another day. See I have always been open and honest, and owned my madness. I resist saying crazy, because mental illness is not that, it is many, many things, but it is not crazy.
So as I turned 50, something happened. There was a shift in my attitude, in my soul, and just in myself in general. I took a good look around and saw what mattered. I made the decision to do whatever it took to make changes that would lead me closer to my higher purpose, and made me come to life, and you know what? I came out of it on the other side, wiser, kinder, stronger, and more empowered. Take for instance this blog, now 10 years ago I wanted to begin a writing and cooking forum, but I was so convinced that I wasn’t good enough, and it would be a disaster that I talked myself out of it. Low an behold, here I am pouring my heart and soul into the pages of my life in a very private, very intimate way, that sometimes leaves me naked and exposed, sometimes judged, but then I hear from a friend who messages me on Facebook to tell me how my story helped them, and I am renewed, or I get the approval of my fellow bloggers, and I understand that I am pretty fucking good at exposing my truths and getting my words out on paper, so to speak.
There are many people who think you are weak if you let people see who you really are, to me, I was never ashamed of who I am, I am compassionate, I am strong, I am intelligent, I am sexy, funny, loving, and I am the seeker and purveyor of truth, my truth, and I own it all. The good, bad, and the grotesque, because the sooner I see it, really see it for what it is, and deal with it instead of running from it, or drinking it down, it no longer has a hold on me and I can begin to see how things really are with objectivity and clarity.
So here I am having made some real life altering changes, facing the second half of my life with a renewed sense of self, a greater love for the ones who matter, compassion for those who deserve it, and a capacity to understand that I can be the voice of change in my life and in the world at large. Here is a compilation of ways I think turning fifty is pretty fucking nifty…… I’ll do my top 10 in David Letterman fashion…for laughs or pity if nothing more!
10. No more periods, means no worrying about pregnancy or 2:00 am feedings, more sex in the kitchen, the living room, the counter, in the backyard pool, sorry, TMI!
9. With the money I save from being sober, I can feed a small village for a year.
8. I am still considered menopausal, so I can tell anyone who pisses me off to “fuck off” and blame it on being hormonal, Italian, a bitch, or being off my meds!
7. Eating clean, will lead to better, healthier recipes, weight loss, and more walking around naked. Good for me, and my fireman, not so much for the fam.
6. With the kids off to college and doing there thing, more time to blog, go back to finish my Culinary Arts degree, take walks with my German Shepherd love, Jaxx, take up hobbies like pole dancing for Seniors, take drives around the kid’s campuses to pretend I am a co-ed to see what they are up to. (Good genes have me lookin’ a hard 29ish) I could totally pull off a being a Rutgers grad student who just recently stopped hittin’ the pipe.
5. Finding creative ways to look sexy in candlelight, with all the wine bottles I have laying around that I can use as candleholders.
4. With inner peace and clarity from being sober and healthy, I can see all the drunk people for the obnoxious assholes they really are, and be thankful I am not them.
3. Being more secure with myself, I don’t have to accept anyone’s mistreatment of me or my children, and am better equipped to deal with anyone who attempts to suck me into their toxic vortex. Fuck off, sad pathetic, little “extra” one.
2. With my hormones now regulating, my meds are more effective, less pesky flesh burning hot flashes, so now when my husband tells me I’m hot, I can accept it as a compliment and not rage at him with a frying pan in hand.
And my number one reason that fifty is nifty…..
- I am finally able to breathe and accept what is and let go of all the self defeating, behaviors, and the toxic people who are part of my experience, and see that sometimes you have just really have to tell a sista to SUCK IT, and not feel one bit of remorse or guilt about it! Ahhhhhhhh!!!!!!! No apologies for being me! NOT A ONE!!
Now most of you will see this is mostly tongue and cheek! I will let you decide which is which, and leave you with this, we are all doing the best we can at this very moment. Some of us are not ready to remove the veil and see their self in the raw, and that is ok, time will force your hand one way or another, sadly, if you do not attempt to at least befriend your true self, it will most likely happen when you are staring down your own immortality and it all comes into focus. Our life, our love, and what it all was for. Thankfully, I chose to seek my truth many years ago when I faced the death of my Mom in my arms at the age of just 21. This was the worst time of my life, but it lead to a lifetime of understanding and compassion, that made me an amazing Mom, an awesome wife, and a beautiful friend. It wasn’t easy, it was downright hard, full of heartbreak, contempt, resentment and anger, intense anger actually, but you know what? I did it! I made it, and the next 50 years are going to be….wait for it……. legendary, up to, and including, my last breath.