There is an ebb and flow to things, a seasonal and cyclical arc that swells and shrinks as we pass through our days and lives, and sometimes we need to pass through times of inertness and mid-level drabness. Neither here nor there type of deals. The pause before the next note on the scale. A certain form of unwanted stillness and unsureness. An uninvited indifferent disposition cast out towards ourselves and others.
A Meh-nace to society, if you will.
The word itself is bereft of joy, is almost onomatopoeic in form and truly conveys the true blandness that it so deftly conveys. Or maybe I am just the kind of person who waxes a little too much on such a simple word and identification. Most likely this is the way I deal with the low tides of my life and my recovery – express it, pass through it, live another day.
There is nothing wrong with a meh kind of day. Or days. Or week, which is where I feel entrenched in at the moment. I’m neither Number One Hit or One Hit Wonder. Just in the middle of the pack, like Jan or Peter Brady. I’m at a low simmer. I am dough at rest, awaiting further kneading and processing. I am in a state of just being here. Or there.
When I was active in my alcoholism, there was rarely a meh kind of day, or at least a full 24 hours of it. Everything was extremes. It was all treble and bass, no flat middle. I had to be on the way up to something, or I was crashing down from something. Whether it was the booze itself, the drama, the anger, the rush and crash of emotions, the fights, the laughing, the crying, the need to raise myself or bury myself…it all tired me out. There was no soft place to land. It was all about spiking and burning. No room in between, because in between meant reflection, self-appraisal, taking a look at my own world. And I didn’t like doing that. It hurt too much.
Back then, having a blah or just ‘ok’ day meant drinking it into another form, morphing the nothingness of the day away so I wouldn’t have to allow it to unfold on its own. Having a day where there was no clear cut direction or tone meant sitting in uncomfortableness and uncertainty. And sitting in that uncertainty brought out fears. And the marching out of fears to an alcoholic is one of the driving forces that sets us off to collide ourselves with others like atoms in a smasher. We don’t do uncomfortable very well. At least I didn’t.
Meh days also brought out anger. Why should everyone else have all the fun, the extreme pleasures, the secret to kick-ass living while I mucked about in the mire of Maker’s Mark? Of course, that was quite the exaggeration and lie (ooh, we’re good at those things too – yet more items to add to the CV of a Drunk). My perception was that I was the only one who was living in the dregs and doldrums of existence, while others had a charmed life. And what did they do to deserve it? I was smart, well-travelled, a student of years of therapy, a
drunk man of great potential. Didn’t they see that? So my expectations of everyone and myself ignited a small spark that quickly accelerated into a blazing inferno inside me. And we all know what happens when you add alcohol to flame. Resentments continued to smoulder long after the fire had gone out…on the rare occasional I let the flames die down, that is.
Days of ‘whatever’ also brought out my insecurities. And you can only imagine how many of those I had packed away like a hoarder. But unlike a hoarder, I had easy access to them. I knew exactly how to find them – sort of like punching “E5” into a vending machine and watching the little robot arm reach within itself and pluck out that thing you don’t really need per se, but is something to fill the void. Whenever I had a day where there wasn’t much emotional impact or life impact, I wondered what was wrong with me. I assumed life was going to be a carnival, bearded lady and all. I expected (oops, there’s that word again) that it would be an IKEA-fun-ball-room-for-kids kind of extravaganza. I started to search for the reasons that it wasn’t. Was it because I wasn’t attractive? That I wasn’t popular? Too nerdy? Not good enough for anyone? I took it to heart. Bad place to take that for an alcoholic of my type.
What I have come to see in my short recovery time is that it’s not about the car chases and the shoot out-like highs, or the abysmal and crippling depression-like lows. It’s not about being an emotional jetsetter, a plague of unstable and short lived jabs, climbing and plunging, swooning and sinking. It’s about just being. Sitting in whatever it is that I need to sit with. Sometimes it’s unpleasant. Sometimes it is pleasant. Like it has been lately – neither. And where I used to jump to the bottle to synthetically add smelling salts to my spirit, I just take it for what it is and let it flow.
The idea of a day that has no discernible demeanour is one that is sometimes still a bit jarring, but I am seeing it as a gift, in some way. It’s a blank canvas. It’s a respite from the trials and tribulations that sometimes engage us in life. It’s a time to look into self sans the lens of expectations or morbidity or criticism. It’s a chance to pull off the side of the highway, take a look at the map, and readjust. It’s a holding pattern in a way, of circling the landscape and taking in the breathtaking vastness of our gratitude and love for others.
I think about the days where I couldn’t sit and do much of anything other than churn through my thoughts over and over again and come out with bloody burger meat. The turmoil inside was too great, the idea of sobriety and feeling things for real was too overwhelming, the pain of just being too much. But I can see the joy in contemplating the now-ness of the moment, of serenity of chilling, the contentment of opening the window and feeling the rush of air on my face. Because these meh days, these days where I can’t see the compass, are exactly where they need to be. It’s not my map I am looking at. It’s the Creator’s, and I am just a passenger, a simple person doing the legwork while He directs and guides me on my journey. I am in this space because I am meant to be here.
So where does that bring me now? What does all this reflection and spiritual unfolding bring to my day, when I have to work, shop, cook, brush children’s teeth and pay bills? Not sure. Perhaps just knowing that I am supposed to do those things and not worry about anything else. Perhaps sensing that I am not needed to build the next tallest skyscraper in one day or dig a pit for my own burial is the point. Maybe its just sitting quietly and listening to the kids playing on the street or the birds yammering away or the sizzle of the neighbour testing out his new BBQ grill. You know, life stuff and not worrying about being Captain Everything.
It’s about being here, with you , with Him and with my spirit…vibrating in harmony, lifting my soul, opening my heart.