Last Friday night I really kicked up my heels. Somewhere deep down, my moxie was rising and a well-timed girls night set off the eruption. Absinthe, wine, gin…woo hooooo! Let’s just say that, had I been competing in the Mrs. Party Mom pageant, I totally would’ve won.
In fact, I won so huge that my inhibitions loosened enough for me to give my girlfriends an extemporaneous reading from my future tell-all autobiography. Historically, this seems to be what I do when I drink too much. (Aside: Perhaps you have something unsavory you notice about yourself when you’ve had too much to drink? Or even when you’re sober, but just not at your best?) I spilled every insidious story I could conjure–no specifics here; you have to get me drunk first. By purging myself of a few deep-down details, in my drunken state, I thought I’d somehow be free of their weight. I hoped I would be accepted despite them.
Blessings on my friends, because they are indeed an accepting bunch. However, instead of feeling free, it turns out I dredged my stuff only to feel it—hard—by the light of the next day. When I woke up at 10 in the morning because my immeasurably wondrous, and obviously majestically understanding, husband let me sleep in, my interior monologue unfolded something like this:
Wow, I was pretty drunk last night. That was so fun—wait, uh oh. I think I told them about that time I—why did I tell them that? Now they probably think I’m such a— What do they think of me now? I hope I didn’t offend anyone. I was saying whatever was on my mind, and that’s never good. I hope no one thinks I’m a horrible person. Oh shit. What if they do?! Oh, God, please make this awful feeling go away. Oh no! There was that random guy who was dancing with my friend and then sat down and I started talking to him about God and I’m pretty sure I attempted to give him a psychic reading. I’m so dumb. Why did I let myself lose control?
The feeling of overexposure took its place as a terrible beast sitting in my gut. Heavy. Depressing. Churning. Shame. The beast of shame rolled to meet my gaze and suddenly looked familiar. What do they think of me? Them, them, them. Ah! We meet again, old foe. You, my mortal enemy, were the voice that always prevented me from flying by asking, “But what will they think?” I defeated you weeks, months, maybe years ago. It was a grueling battle, but all that remained of your voice was the echo. Why have you returned, guns blazing?
And the voice replied: Because you have not yet accepted your own shadow.
My old foe stepped forward into the light and I saw that it was God:
Where there is light, there also is darkness. They coexist in this dualistic world. Neither is good or bad. It just is. I’m calling you to look at your dark sides and embrace them for what they are—a part of you. My child, do not hide who you are, even if it appears unsavory. Know thyself. Aspects of everyone’s karma and mental makeup cast shadows in their own light. I release you of all shame for revealing darkened sides of yourself, and I encourage you to accept all of who you are.
Standing in my kitchen, mid-task, with my mouth and the cabinet wide open, I felt lighter. Despite the fact that a.) I know it’s not good for my body to fill it with cocktails and deprive it of sleep, and b.) I technically broke my own vow (see my earlier post, “What? You mean drunk moms aren’t awesome?”), the suffocating shame from this Friday and a thousand Fridays was not rooted in my over-consumption of booze, but rather in my reliable tendency to drunkenly reveal darker sides of myself I haven’t yet examined, acknowledged and embraced.
Flying high on cocktails and candid girl talk, I delve into stories I’m traditionally too guarded to tell in sober daylight. From my days as a reckless sorority girl (YOLO!) to the present, an over-served Emily becomes a loose cannon. Then, when I wake the next day, I’m horrified at what might’ve come out of my mouth. On a more honest note, I’m afraid of what is actually inside of me. I’ve always tried to explain it away to myself that “drinking makes me someone I’m not.” Hold up, Princess. This is who you are and it’s high time you take a closer look at it.
What a relief! This is something I can face. Being charged with investigating my own shadows, feeling around in the pitch-black crevices of my consciousness, getting to know the darkened nooks and crannies of my whole self so that I may embrace my own complete nature… It’s a daunting assignment, and one that will surely require great attention, but at least it doesn’t have to be a battle any longer.
My wish for you: May you encounter your own shadows when the time is right, and may you feel completely supported and accepted for them in their revelation to you.
(Disclaimer: You can probably accomplish an investigation of your shadow side or the taming of your own shame with something other than absinthe and martinis. If I were to do the past few days all over again, I would probably choose prayer, meditation, therapy, devotional reading, chanting and a big hot bath. Just my two cents.)