|In the neighborhood of Andersonville in Chicago, there is this glorious contraption of entertainment, the Puppet Bike.|
Anyway, I got there early and was sitting outside watching the Puppet Bike when this dude sat down next to me with a duffel bag and gym shoes with no laces. I know this look. It's the homeless look OR the look of someone on a psych ward who has had all their laces and belts stripped so they don't try to off themselves. I have lived both situations. Anyway, this dude sat there for a minute and pulled out a HUGE hard cover Dictionary and proceeded to read it. Upside down. I know this story. I have lived this story. I so vividly remember sitting on park benches trying desperately to act normal to appear normal to BE normal while I was casing the people walking around me to see if I could get any cash or favors from them.
This is the conversation:Him: "I was going to ask you if you had a smoke but I see you are pregnant."
My tears welled up as I answered, "I quit smoking right before I got pregnant, so I'm sorry I don't have one for you."
Him: "So you really did smoke?"
Me: "Yeah, I did a lot of things. I'm a recovering drunk."
JHim: "You sure don't look like one."
Me: "I've been where you are. Are you OK?"
Him: "I'm OK, I just wish I had a smoke right now."
Me: "Well I hope to see you at an AA meeting some time. They are all over the place, there's one right down the street here. My name is Katy." And I offered my hand in greeting, which he did not take.
Him: "Uh huh, hi Katy, good luck with your baby."
And off he goes.
Every time I have an encounter like this, I am terrified. I look at my life today and know I am ONE DRINK away from that man last night. I don't push AA, I offer it and suggest it and say, this is what I do and it works for me. I hope it works for you too. I can't NOT reach out to people. It makes my husband nervous, but I'm a smart cookie. I don't take a lot of risks, but I will risk helping someone if I can.
One of the reasons I loved smoking, and there are many, is that it was a chance to strike up conversations. Smoking can be a very social thing and there is not an opportunity for that if you aren't in a group with the smokers any longer. Sure, conversations can happen anywhere, but the smoker conversation is something unique. You know what I'm talking about. I miss it.
I went on to meet my girlfriends for dinner and we were transported back to being 19 and 20 years old and clueless but now with perspective appreciating the shit we went through. We had each other's backs then and it feels like we do now too - in a very different but lovely way that only people with shared history can have. We went through a very fucked up Theatre/Acting school for 4 years, and we have a bond because of that. We laughed a lot and all realize that we were together during a moment in time where we were young and naive and yet thought we knew everything. We didn't know shit.
I didn't tell them this story of my conversation with the gentleman wanting a smoke because while he is my people, he is not everybody's people. He is lost, he is pushed aside by society, but mostly by himself. He's not lost to me. Nobody is lost. They just have to make the choice to start being found.
The Thing I Love this Thursday is BEING FOUND. By old friends who appreciate you for exactly who you are and all you've been through and for a lost soul BEING FOUND by sheer grace.
I have this theory about why people like you and I go through shit. It's so that when we get out of it on the other side, we have something to offer to others who are still there. A hand, a kind word, an encouragement that things can get better, hope. You have a gift, and you share it. And it's beautiful. Love you.ReplyDelete
I'm glad you were found too. In so many ways. Most importantly, I'm glad I found you. :-) So many smiles over the last few months are due to you, sweet lady!!ReplyDelete
:( I never felt so powerless as when they took my shoelaces.ReplyDelete
This is the "thing" about you that I find endearing, beautiful and inspiring. Your passion for reaching out and wanting to help others. For being able to see the good in all people and helping them "find" the good inside; and then taking joy and celebrating for those who have "found" it. :o)ReplyDelete
You may have made his day a little brighter..you are a beam of sunshine and hope! I sure am glad I found you..but I know this isn't about me. xo ("Good luck w/ your baby"...kind of sad and sweet at the same time...)ReplyDelete
My boyfriend got drunk again last night after being sober for over a year. He was exactly where he was before, mean, jealous, paranoid, and semi-violent. I ended up leaving at 3:15 or so in the morning, after waking up to him drunk and going through my phone for proof of my indiscretions. It was terrifying and brought me back to places I never wanted to be. I'm glad I read your blog today, as I'm glad every time I read it, but especially today. Everything is fragile and you really only have today. Thank you for being so inspiring and trying so hard to help others. <3ReplyDelete
I am glad you left. Sometimes that is absolutely the best thing to do. YOu have to take care of yourself. Good for you. big hug and love to you.Delete
Staying wasn't even an option in my mind. I'm pregnant so I'm feeling pretty lost now but I'll figure it out.Delete
Wowzers. How did my office get so misty? Perhaps I kept a window open...ReplyDelete
This. is. beautiful.ReplyDelete
So are you.
A Design for Living. You've got it in spades and you know what to do to keep it. There are tears in my eyes and I have an overwhelming sense of gratitude. Gratitude for the program, gratitude for people that walk the walk, and the utmost gratitude that you are in my world - as a fellow drunk, a sober sister, and a friend. I strive to be more like you in your willingness to share what you have. Most people (and probably even me) would have sat there and ignored the man or even been irritated by his presence, but not you. Your compassion for those still suffering amazes me and today I will be more aware of that and make sure I am open to the opportunity to carry the message. <3 you always!ReplyDelete
Good stuff, Katy. You're an inspiration. xoxoReplyDelete
It's true: we didn't know shit, and I'll always have your back. Good to see you, mamma. xoxoReplyDelete
I have been a new "silent" follower for awhile, but you have now broke my silence. I freakin' luv what you have to say and get so excited when you have a new post. Your blog is blogtastic (okay cannot believe I just sounded like a super cheeseball, hangs head down in shame).ReplyDelete
come here Jackie. Big fat kiss to you!Delete
I just went out and told my husband about your blog today. Now even he (who wonders what I do all day, LOL) is interested in what you say each day. We have been sober together for almost 2 years. Another fan Katy <3ReplyDelete
So happy for you guys! XoxoDelete
I love, Love, LOVE reading your Blog & FB posts!! You & your message are so incredible!! You are an absolute JOY to behold!!ReplyDelete
what a wonderful message! Its great that you've been able to take control of your life again. Its very difficult to control an addiction. And its even greater that you believe in reaching out without judging and forcing your view point! It takes great sensitivity to do that. Your empathy for the man shines through. am glad I read this post today. The positivity recharged me :)ReplyDelete
What a wonderful and honest statement. Would that all of us who have walked across coals in our life reached out more often. Thanks for the reminder.ReplyDelete
This is a beautifully written, beautiful post. Love it and the thought behind it.ReplyDelete
just stumbled on you today. Good stuff. ;)ReplyDelete