I drank way too much last night.
It started out with dinner with a good friend. We had wine and some incredible mediterranean food and got into some deep discussions. I love those. The kinds of discussions where it’s food for the soul and you leave feeling sated and full in spirit. I love the safe spaces friends can provide where your burdens become suddenly lighter because you’re carrying them together. I love emotional transparency and vulnerability. Gah. It really was beautiful.
Then I ubered to meet two friends at another bar, more deep discussions (though I must say they started to get a little gibberish-y towards the end cause… vodka). Then ubered to karaoke, sang a song (killed it), then ubered to yet another bar for last call. I don’t even know how much alcohol I consumed. Wine, vodka, whiskey. Oof.
This is 35. For me.
At 31, I was living in the suburbs. I had a home and a yard and a husband who drove a Subaru. I was also in the best shape of my life. Four years later and I now live in a loft in downtown Dallas, I’ve put on 10 pounds from all my late night drinking, my hangovers are getting increasingly worse and I’ve probably dated half of the available men in this city.
Sometimes, in the aftermath of an evening like last night, I sit and wonder … What am I doing? Sometimes I’ve felt guilt or shame. Like ‘Aly, get your shit together. You’re 35 now. You gotta stop this.’ But right now, I don’t. I’m learning to accept this present state in my journey, to not fight it. Every stage of my life has been different. And these past four years have been some of incredible transformation and growth. This is another stage. A phase. I don’t believe this will be my life forever, but this is my life right now and that is ok.
I’ve been doing some real digging and soul searching these last few weeks. And it’s been exciting. After years of not fully understanding my own pain and why I did certain things, I think I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to my anxiety and poor relationship choices. Or at least that’s what I’m hoping. In all this digging and searching, I’ve been reflecting on some past negative behaviors and patterns. One of the big truths I’ve discovered about me is that I have not been very kind to myself in the past. I tend to judge me very harshly for my mistakes. ‘You walked away from a man who wanted to be married to you and provide for you? You are ungrateful and selfish.’ ‘You slept with that guy? Ew, Aly. Get your shit straight.’ ‘Super weird and awkward around that ex? Aly, why can’t you just be normal?’ ‘Let that guy walk all over you even though everyone warned you he would? GD girl, I thought you were smarter than that.’
I hold on to every hurt and wound and carry every mistake with me as if it’s written on my skin. I replay every harsh word said to me, whether it’s true or not and then I say further terrible things to myself. Ick. I also build myself up too though. I can brag about myself for sure. But in reading about my particular wounds, I’ve realized I tend to vacillate between overvaluing myself and undervaluing myself, but never actually VALUING myself. I want to BELIEVE I’m amazing and I might even describe myself as such, but deep down, I’m really looking for someone else (most specifically a man) to come into my life and say yes, you are valuable. But the truth is… right now? I wouldn’t believe him if he did. I have work to do. Until I genuinely start believing I’m valuable and worth love and until I start TRULY loving myself, it wouldn’t matter if the GD love of my life Jake Gyllenhaal came in and said that to me … I wouldn’t believe him.
It’s heavy, this baggage of mine. But I’m ready for it to be lighter. Starting now.
I need to let go of the image of that 31 year old girl. Yes, she was more responsible. Yes, she was in better shape. Yes, she had a more secure and stable future for herself. Yes, she was nearly out of debt. Yes, her liver was probably in WAY better condition than it is now. But my god, she was miserable. Her life was half-lived and half-full. She was isolated and alone. She didn’t believe in herself.
I’m proud of her. She didn’t make a mistake walking away from that life. She wasn’t ungrateful. She was brave. She was wild. And she is currently facing her demons and she’s ready to choose good things for herself.
This is 35. And my life is a bit of a mess right now but that’s ok. I’m a creative person and I know that sometimes my BEST work is really really messy before it turns into something really incredible. It’s the process right? I’m in the middle of that process, of becoming the me I’m going to be.
One day I might have a house again. I might even have a husband. But for now I have whiskey and wine and karaoke and some pretty great conversations with some pretty great people.
So tonight I’ll raise a glass to the girl from four years ago and the girl I am today. I can’t wait to see who she becomes in the next four years.