It’s been raining here in Playa for almost a month. It’s been a nice change in the weather, and I can’t say I’ve minded a break from the sun and sand in exchange for sipping coffee and watching movies. But all month? No matter how much I said I didn’t mind, it took it’s toll; sloshing through puddles on foot, trying to avoid crater-sized pot-holes on the roads, constantly feeling soggy, shelter-hopping, celebrating Independence day in the rain.
While we haven’t experienced any wild storms like in other parts of the country, I had a mini-hurricane brewing in my mind and soul. It blew in off the ocean, carried on a dark cloud to settle inside my head for a day or so, creating havoc by churning everything up.
It’s not that I haven’t experienced it before, but that’s the funny thing, because every time it happens I feel slightly under-equipped to deal with it, as though, ‘I should know by now,’ how to handle the mental and emotional turmoil which occasionally comes to rest inside my head and heart.
But I don’t, because that’s the nature of the disease I live with (I’m an alcoholic whether I drink or not, raw deal, right?); it lays in wait and ascends when I least expect it, toppling over the tower of truths I think I know and replacing it with fear and self-loathing and a feeling that my skin has whipped off and I’ve been left shivering in the breeze.
Sounds pretty dramatic, right?
It’s actually not.
I go on with my day, I meet friends for coffee, I work.
Once upon a time I isolated, I lashed out at Tyrhone, or created other problems to ‘really have a reason’ to be upset, in order to make some sort of sense out of the senselessness of my dis-ease. But thankfully today, I let it wash over me.
Like the rain that removes the dirt from the half-erected concrete buildings here, I let the emotional storm rage through me and hope it takes something away with it I no longer need, and when it does, I’ll be renewed.
Because I know that the negative thoughts and feelings are not the truth. I know they are old tapes that just forgot they’d been turned off, and my hyper-sensitivity to the world and it’s noisy busyness also serves me with a generous amount of joy, love and compassion. I know it will pass and is simply part of this wonderful journey of recovery I’m on, which doesn’t mean ‘cured’ and certainly doesn’t mean ‘fixed’.
It means facing the world and myself without hiding from it or numbing against it. It means going through stuff rather than around it.
It means accepting times of dis-ease, along with all the joy and love and miracles.
Because every day truly is a miracle for me, I just forget sometimes and start measuring myself against the rules of the external world, reverting to the old idea that if I just do more, have more success, and be better than I am, I’ll be okay; that somehow more readers, more ‘likes’ and more more is the answer when I know it’s not and never will be.
It never will be. But like I said, I forget sometimes that the internal laws of love and acceptance are the only ones worth aspiring to.
And so, we walk. Since Tyrhone quit smoking, we walk and walk. We walk for no reason other than to do so, and whilst sometimes he has to drag me away from my computer, I’m always grateful he does.
We walk, and we talk, about everything and nothing. We laugh and feel like kids on school holidays by the sheer aimlessness of it all, through the back streets and the front streets, over cracked, un-eaven pathways, dodging live, dangling wires which hang lifelessly from telegraph poles; skipping across intersections.
We round corners and are greeted by little reminders of nature’s perfection and dazzling beauty.
We sit in tiny parks, sheltering from the rain, we slosh through puddles, we shout at thoughtless drivers who splash us with their cars.
We notice the colors of the buildings, the wet, sticky heat of the air and the smells coming from Cocina Economicos. We are reminded that the very fact we have time to do this is such a blessing, and that the simple life without overloaded calendars and mounting bills and the freedom to ‘just walk’ is the one for us.
Last night, as my ‘storm’ was passing, we treated ourselves to pricey but delicious Thai food, because we can. Sometimes I remember how much money I used to waste on booze on cabs and handbags and shoes, and simply have to lash out recklessly on $25 pad Thai and green curry.
We chose a movie to watch simply because it starred Aaron Paul from Breaking Bad, and it ended up being Exactly What I Needed, reminding me of how far I have come and what a miracle it is that Tyrhone and I are together and happy, aptly titled, Smashed.
I encourage anyone who has a recovering alcoholic in their family or friendship circle to watch it as it is the most true-to-life depiction I’ve seen. Because it’s not always about homelessness or losing jobs or going to jail or drug addiction. Sometimes it’s just about getting sick and tired of being sick and tired and trying another way because you’re scared and lost and unsure of whether you even have a problem, even though when you look back it’s rather obvious you had a Pretty Big Problem.
As my heart leaped with love for good film-making, excellent acting and a brilliant script coupled with a story I could very much relate to, the credits rolled along with tears of gratitude for just how far I’ve come. I realised that weathering the odd emotional storm is a teeny tiny price to pay for the life of love and freedom I’ve been given, because behind every dark cloud, the sun continues to shine brilliantly bright.