unbridled joy

the ocean in Malibu, CA

My heart is full. My soul is soothed. My head is calm. As I sit at my gate in LAX typing this, I cannot help but smile. I’ve spent the last few days in Southern California, reconnecting with people who have been instrumental in my healing. I am overwhelmed with a deep sense of gratitude & unbridled joy. I’m exhausted in the best way possible, and these last few days have filled my tank, so to speak.

This getaway couldn’t have come at a more perfect time, as the last few weeks have been anxiety-ridden, with racing thoughts and a feeling of stress, of doom, of uneasiness in my chest. Fueled by irrationality, my brain felt like it was short-circuiting, and never at ease, not even in sleep. (Side note: starting in 2007, at least once a week I’ve had some rendition of what I like to call a “Nutcracker nightmare.” They vary in detail and severity, but essentially in every iteration, shit’s hitting the fan and I’m stressed AF, but the show must go on, though I usually wake before the show starts. In these last few weeks, I’ve had the nightmares with increasing frequency, which is not surprising considering 1) the time of year and 2) my elevated baseline anxiety. The other morning I woke up stressed out AF from a version in which my hair wouldn’t stay in a bun, I couldn’t find the right dressing room in the maze of hallways, and my costume didn’t fit because I’d gained so much weight. Those were all new plot lines. Usually, I’m just haunted by the fact that no one realizes I’m now 31, haven’t danced seriously in almost a decade, and am covered in tattoos that need a LOT of concealer to cover up. But I digress…)

My point is that things have not been easy lately– not terrible but not smooth sailing either. My body likes to do this relatively new thing where I get so anxious that I involuntarily throw up. 10 out of 10 do not recommend because it’s so frustrating when the one thing you used to “control” now controls you.

But the last few days were in stark contrast to the previous weeks. Though I went to bed exhausted every night, I slept well, despite my face hurting from smiling too much and laughing until I couldn’t breathe.

I flew in early morning Friday and was greeted at the car rental by a Benz SUV. #Bless the fact that I’m a gold tier member due to renting a car for many days while I was in outpatient treatment. I drove to Thousand Oaks, reunited with some of my very favorite people, and shared my recovery story during one of their morning groups. It all felt very surreal, blended with a combination of excitement & nervous energy. I did my best to paint a very real picture of recovery– none of this LIFE IS PERFECT & RAINBOWS & BUTTERFLIES & UNICORNS BULLSHIT that some people who shall remain nameless tend to do. I was vulnerable and authentic; I didn’t sugar coat things, nor did I reminisce about “the good ol’ days” when I was batshit. I spoke about attachment & connection and what shifted for me this last time in treatment. By the end of it, I felt 1) relieved that it was over and 2) grateful to have shared.

I have just under an hour before my flight back to Austin boards, and while I am v tired, I’m also v content & ready to hug my doggo when I get home. Plus, shit decided to catch fire in the middle of the night, so that’s my cue to flee.

I won’t bore y’all with the details of every little thing I did on this trip, but here’s a recap in pictures.

staff selfie
with some of my fave ppl after sharing in group
driving in the Benz to the Bu
the beach off of Malibu Pier
alumni reunion dinner with staff
alumni reunion dinner with staff
The Griffith Observatory
LA sunshine doin’ its thang
taking in the view
a little pupperino at The Dog Cafe LA
Manhattan Beach, CA before sunset
a wall in The Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles

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