In real life

In real life I’m purposeful. In real life I think. Constantly. I’m in my head every second of the day. And more often than not I’m told that’s a negative thing. But I’ve come to disagree. For me, it’s a positive, because being in my head keeps me in real life.

The biggest thing I’ve done “on a whim” was move to Georgia, and that wasn’t even on a whim. Not really. The second biggest thing I’ve done was move back. And even that, not so whimmy. (Totally a word by the way.) I’ve just begun to process this whirlwind year and it hasn’t been easy. And if you know me at all then you know when things aren’t easy, goodbye real life.

So I moved home and went straight into my typical “don’t think, just have fun” mode. Which means drink a lot of wine and vodka, eat whatever you want, and make decisions that you’re really only pretending to be okay with.

I really hate being in that mode.

I felt myself regressing. Not just into the 30 year old girl/woman (cue the Britney Spears, please) who was lost and brokenhearted in 2014, but into the person I was even before that. I felt myself becoming less sure of who I was and completely okay with being who everyone else wanted or needed me to be. Hello, not real life.

That’s a slippery slope for a brain like mine. Slippery mutha fuckin’ slope.

To keep myself off that slope, there’s a few things I have to do:

1. Remember how slippery that slope can be. Be aware of how far I can fall. I come from a shit line of genetics. I have a biological grandfather who was an alcoholic. A biological mother who died from the toll drugs and alcohol took on her body. A biological father who still struggles with his addiction. I have an uncle who died from addiction, and two siblings that struggle. I AM NOT DUMB. I know what I am wired for. I know I battle anxiety on the daily. I know what it means to want to escape. I know what happens if I don’t keep myself in check.

2. Never place blame. Stop myself. Be accountable. Move forward. I am not a victim. I have EVERY SINGLE REASON TO BE, and I am not. Even when someone else does something really awful to me, I am not the victim. I can’t be. I cannot place blame. I can be fair and see when something wasn’t my fault, but I better always remain accountable for my actions.

I don’t get to be a victim because I used to LOVE being the victim. Gross. It was a pity party and I was the guest of honor. I don’t get to be a jerk. I don’t get to drink too much and be shitty to people because that’s what I’m wired for. I don’t get to do whatever I want because bad shit has happened to me. No fucking way.

3. Stay in my head. Be vulnerable. Be present, but always remember. I am slowly but surely learning to stay present. Phone away, in the moment, show that I care presence. But in the back of my head, I am thinking. This will always be what brings me down and what picks me up again. On one hand, it is awful. The overthinking is what leads to some of my anxiety and fears. The constant wondering. The stress. The trying to keep my guard up.

But on the other hand? Pure beauty. The thinking is what makes me a writer. It’s what makes ordinary minutes for some into extraordinary moments for me. It’s what turns a sentence into a lyric. It’s what keeps me vulnerable, even when I hate it. It’s the reason I can always remember, and the reason I can always move forward while still looking back. And I have to look back on the bad, or I have no hopes of moving forward with the good.

I said earlier that I do things purposefully. And that’s true. When I’m at my best there is purpose at the center of everything I do. And love. Lots of that. But when I’m not in real life, there is no purpose. There is no care, a ton of worries, and usually…no love. Especially no self love.

Six days ago I started a Whole 30. (I’ll write more about that later.) I said it was because I felt like shit and wanted to get back on track. All true. But the purpose was greater.

After five weeks of being home, I didn’t like my choices. I was being shallow and petty. I was drinking too often and sleeping too little, I hadn’t run or lifted a barbell. I certainly hadn’t written. Overall? I had stopped being me. And I had absolutely forgotten why I had come back to Chicago. And I hate that.

I hate that I have fought so hard to become someone I am proud of, and that I just started throwing it aside. I’m not mad at myself, because some of those fun nights were very necessary and very, very fun. But now it’s time to be aware and move forward.

I’m not saying that I never plan on binging on pizza and wine with my best pals again. Or that I won’t ever be the girl who had too much to drink, or talked shit about someone, or chose a night out over a workout. I’m not that pretentious. What I am saying is that I’m going to focus on who I am in real life, so that I don’t want to escape it.

I’m going to continue to pick myself up and dust myself off, even when I don’t want to. And I’m going to stop listening to other people when they tell me I think too much, and instead be ridiculously grateful for the way I’m wired. Good and bad. The constant thinking and the slippery slopes. I’m going to do what’s best for ME, regardless of what others may think. I’m going to be thankful for who I am in real life.

(And I really think you should, too.)

Cheers! CasC
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