Recently, this odd image has been flitting through my mind: a cork, bobbing along in the waves. It's insistent but fleeting, like a fragment of an old childhood memory you're not sure really ever happened, or a dream you had just before you woke up and now can't quite recall. Every now and then, when I'm out walking, crossing the street maybe, or when I'm sitting down to dinner, or just picking up a book, and I glimpse this cork, somewhere in my mind just for a moment, bobbing along.
And from the first time I saw it, I knew without doubt, that cork is me. It's taken me a while to understand it, but it's coming clear. I'm getting a sense of myself as a cork that's been bobbing along in the waves all these years. I see how much I have been pushed and pulled by the forces around me. And part of what's interesting is this: I see this as something that's in the past. I used to be like that. I'm not anymore.
There's something that many people talk about once they become sober, and that's happening to me, too. I realize what a people pleaser I have been! Now if you knew me in person, you'd probably say, No way! I mostly come off as decisive, sure of myself, quick to speak up. I'm someone who has no trouble putting myself forward. I'm not all that nice at times. When I hear people talk about people pleasing, they always sound like they fold themselves passively around the will of others, or anyway that's what I've always pictured, and that's not me.
But maybe it has been me. Despite seeming to be a strong person at times, I simply haven't been all that aware of myself as someone who can shape a life of my own. It's the old, "not good at wanting" thing that I have talked about here in at least one earlier post. Years ago, I was dating a guy who had such a forceful personality, and whenever we were going to eat out, I'd refuse to make a suggestion because I knew he would just make the case for going somewhere else. I didn't want to be attached to a plan only to have it argued away. For me it was easier to simply not want to do anything in particular, and then I could be happy with whatever we did do. At the time I thought it was all very zen, not needing to be attached or in control, that whole story. Later I saw I was being swallowed up by him, and I left him. (And that's a whole other story.) But these days I think I've done too much of that in my life. I've let myself fall into this or that situation and then made the best of it once I was there. I've done a whole lot of accepting, but not a lot of wanting.
One great exception to this is my relationship with my husband. Being with him has been an active choice, and it enriches my life. Meeting him was lucky. But we chose each other.
But in work, and school, and in so many things, I feel I am only now coming into a sense of myself as someone who wants this and not that. I'm just feeling my way with it all. It's early days for these shoots to be growing here. Some are barely peeking their teeny green heads out of the dirt. But I have a strong sense of me, alive and hoping, and learning how to want whatever it is I want. I don't know much how to do that yet, and I don't even have much of a language for it. But I wanted to say all this today, write it down here, so I can remember the new green feel of it all later once it's not so new anymore.
That's me today, glad to be here, sober and learning all this. Peace and joy to you all. And green shoots all around!