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I am acquainted with the twelve step crowd by association. I have to say, I find them to be absolutely fascinating: not unlike the painter crowd - where comparing breakdowns and bruises is a common bonding experience. When any one of these friends of mine comes walking into my kitchen, I know I can be prepared to have the most authentic conversation, face to face, that I have ever had with anyone including my own Mother.

Common conversation with anyone else:

'How are you?'

'Good...you?' (twitching half smile as they cruise past you without any intention of hearing your answer)

Common conversation with any one of these friends of mine:

'Ah, pretty fucking shitty man. My brain has been hamster wheeling all week man - and you know it always comes out on my family - Sue was packed and ready leave me yesterday. It's tough you know but fuck at least I'm not puking all over myself in some corner, I have to thank God for that. How are you? How's the baby is she healthy now? You look great you know.'

(Deep look into my eyes and wait for my reply.)

Coming from someone who has had her own private version of 'hit bottom': that messy, ugly, awkward period that is not romantic or poetic or sexy as our current trend of 'hot broken souls' would like us to believe - I find these two interconnected social circles to be a relief.

Early on, when my angry shock of chopped off hair was growing back and I was training myself to eat three meals a day, I spent a lot of energy scrambling to hide my weaknesses, my fragility, my history behind pristine resumes and drunken conversations on philosophy and literature. And if I didn't get too in depth or too human, I was considered not too much of a drag to hang out with.

It's no wonder this period of life was vastly more lonely than the two and a half years I spent checked out of reality altogether.

These days I feel even - I'm able to maintain a relationship, hold down a job, keep friends and kiss my daughter on the head once in a while. The storm doesn't come in so often and when it does, it doesn't knock me off my feet. I can't put my finger on what caused the evening out. I don't have a twelve step program or a sponsor. I do have a slew of psychology and self help books, some I Ching coins, a room to paint in when I'm feeling exceptionally crazy, a renewed faith in my own version of God, a solid partner and a little girl who was given to me by whatever ubiquitous element in the universe knew it would land my feet on the ground.

Don't get me wrong, there are still days I let the devil in - kicking the dog, screaming at the top of my lungs, honking and veering past the heavily tattooed neighbor in a road hogging breaking down Cadillac and screaming 'What!?!!!' at his lit car as he lumbers past staring at me in my driveway with some aim to intimidate me.

Not sexy, not poetic.

The sun is shining through my window this morning and it only took two hours to clean the house that was suffocating chaos early this morning. The girl is in bed and I have the rest of the day to paint and to drink coffee, to kiss my man and to listen to Willy crooning 'Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain'.

I'm looking forward to soon when another one of my friends will wander into my kitchen and remind me why it's okay that I am a human.

9:42 a.m. - 2007-09-30


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