This past week, while quarantined in my bed with an unknown virus, I had a pseudo-shaman-eureka-moment.
Maybe it was the dehydration, or, maybe it was the 19 hours of sleep that I got the night before, but, I woke up to find shadows dancing on the ceiling, feeling completely alone, and yet, somehow, completely capable of caring for my own well being. After years of feeling like a perpetual child, I had a moment where I began to understand, I think, it what it is to actually be an adult — it was completely devastating — and liberating.
I would never have arrived at this moment if I weren’t sober. Because, self-reliance isn’t something you find at the bottom of a rocks glass. In my drinking days I was reliant on at least 1 other person at all times — a Mr. Jim Beam — and most of the time, 2 people, if we’re counting Tony — my favorite bartender.
How did I get here — Sobriety? Adulthood? When did I become responsible enough to care for this person?
I can hardly remember. And, I still forget my own strength. I’ve always pawned my victories. There’s something incredibly scary about being in control, especially when you feel like you should be anything but.
In my sick bed — bored with streaming television, fatigued by books, and with little energy to move, I found myself wondering when my determination, my heart — the parts that got me sober — stopped beating with wild fervor. Sure, I still go through the motions. I take my obligatory morning shower. I sit in traffic. I shuffle my feet to work. I chuckle at my boss’ jokes. But, everyday, I’m still just waiting. Waiting for something to happen.
When did I stop getting out of bed? I’ve been ill for a week, but, it feels like so, so much longer.
Staring at the ceiling, things start to come together. Though, truly, nothing really comes to us while we’re laying in bed — or while we’re standing still. The universe has never been perfect or logical or sequential when delivering the goods. I’ve always had to meet the stars half way.
I must choreograph the movements. I have to dance it. To make it. To write it. And for the first time I think, maybe, I get it: You have to treat adulthood the same way you would alcoholism or the flu. — Sleep it off.
I decide to set my alarm. I’m getting up. I’m going.
I’ve got plans to meet the stars half way there.
**Artwork By: Andrew Wyeth; Christina’s Bedroom, 1947, Watercolor on Paper.