Sometimes I love looking back these days, I feel like I’m in a safe place to do so. Surprisingly, it’s not always the big dramatic things in my past that don’t happen anymore that fill me with gratitude, it’s the small things – the small things that all added together and made me a person I thought I was, but didn’t want to be.
Sure, it’s awesome that I haven’t peed by the side of the bed, had a hangover, broken a door, passed out in front of my kids, screamed at my family, or driven drunk in a while, but it’s really the small things that make me feel different.
Last night I was at a school event and I asked a friend who a certain teacher was on the stage, I recognized her but couldn’t place the name. She said “Oh, that’s Mrs. Allen. You don’t remember her? We had a ‘discussion’ about her once.” I said “I don’t exactly remember the discussion, but I was in a different place then.” She said “I know.” Our brief exchange felt so good to me, I will tell you why in a minute. While I don’t exactly remember the details of the “discussion”, I kind of remember it happening (more than once) and I can easily fill in the blanks: I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a “discussion”. I’m pretty sure it was at a booze-fest at my house or my neighbors. I’m pretty sure I was loaded. I’m pretty sure I was dissing this teacher because I remember at one time I felt she was burned out and just phoning it in. I’m pretty sure I had to be right. I’m pretty sure sure I couldn’t stop talking about it until I convinced my friend she was wrong. I’m pretty sure I wasted an hour of my life on something that doesn’t really matter. I am pretty sure I became restless, irritable, and discontent, and tried to pass it off as a healthy debate.
As I sat there watching this teacher giving her time after hours, celebrating the Jr. Honor Society kids who went above and beyond, I am also pretty sure I was wrong. I kind of felt like an asshole, but I was ok with that because I have learned how to forgive myself. Anyway, I realized the reason the exchange with my friend felt so good was because realized that I don’t have to do that anymore. It’s the small things that set me free.
I’m going to send this to my friend. I’m afraid of that, and she may think it is completely weird, but that’s the kind of shit that sets me free today, and I like being free.