A Tale of Two Pictures

Can you see it? It's funny how you see it in others and miss it in yourself. I was going though old pics from a year ago, exploring the images I took from a solo hike shortly after my last drink, and I came across this image. It seems perfectly juxtaposed against the second image from our recent vacation. Can you see the difference? To think, this was how I was interacting in my world. 
Sad eyes. Fake smile. 

I didn't fake it till I made it to this point. Honestly, I barely made it. Some days I was 100% certain I wouldn't make it at all. I struggled. I fought against the healing that I needed. Yet here I am. Not every day is a win. But each day is another day. For that I am grateful.

This summer has been slow for our business. Not unheard of in our industry, but it is scary as hell when this is your livelihood. The very thing that keeps a roof over your head and food on the table. Instead of seeing it as an industry trend I was internalizing it as personal failure. I kept telling myself, it's not enough. *sigh* That damn little voice in my head. Not good enough, not fast enough, not strong enough, blah blah blah. Shut up!

Then we went on vacation...and before you decide to judge me on why we would do THAT being as broke as we are, be sure you check yourself. This is my life and my journey, make your own decisions and I will applaud you. Our family needed a break. We needed to reconnect. Y'all, it was the BEST week I have had in such a long time. The perfect follow up to my one year of sobriety birthday. We took all of our work, and did absolutely NOTHING. I played on the beach and at the pool, there were lots of family cuddles and ice cream and fantastic beach sex (by now you know I overshare, right?), I thoroughly enjoyed myself and my family. I breathed. Deeply. I felt the most alive I have felt in so long. I even saw dolphins. Magical seems so hokey, and that is exactly what it was. I even took some time to reconnect with my past self, and apologize for some poor life choices and behavior to people that rocked my world and helped me become the woman I am becoming. Apologies that I have thought about for YEARS. Why? Because that's what I do best, beat myself up. You want to talk about humbling, try that on for size. I imagine that Dr. Brené Brown is nudging me and telling me, "girl, that's just a big heaping dose of vulnerability." If I ever win the life lottery and meet her I will be mortified that I ever typed that, but it helps me keep on trucking. I am learning that I actually have an active role in my life. I am accepting, per my therapist and sponsor's very insistent affirmations, I am NOT A VICTIM. Maybe I was, but I am not anymore. It is time to take charge.

I see these pictures, and beyond the obvious, I see a woman who has persevered. A woman who is living a life full of challenge, and rising to meet it every step of the way. I am not afraid of apologizing, I embrace that I am human. I acknowledge that I have many more amends to make to people even closer to my heart. I am accepting that these beautiful humans that have been and are currently in my life have contributed greatly to my present. And I am no longer resenting any of it. I am grateful for ALL I have endured. The good, the bad, the imperfectly perfect. I like this Jessica, and I see that she is going to go places and do things the likes of which the Jessica from just one year ago could never have imagined.

My spouse recently sent me an application to be a TED fellow, and while I don't think I am there quite yet...maybe it is not outside of my realm of possibilities. Maybe nothing is.
After all, I'm not a 15 year old scared girl anymore. 
I am a 35 year old woman with a helluva past, present, and future. 
And I am damn proud of that.

***Sweet human, whoever you are that is reading these words right now, you are loved. You are not alone. I send you the biggest virtual hug I can. You don't need a a big step, you just need one small step in the right direction (yea, I quoted the TV show Shield...completely relevant). So go take it, I'm cheering for you and I love you.***


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