A Little Pizzazz on Casual Friday

Today I picked out a pearl-embellished little black dress to wear to work.  It’s Friday, which calls for a little pizzazz.

Even a gal who doesn’t “party” anymore can enjoy a flouncy dress to ring in the weekend, right?

Of course she can.

I strolled through Cambridge, Dunkin Donuts in hand and my Karen Walker shades on.  I felt fantastic, with a Holly Golightly energy about me.

Dressing up gives me life!

I hopped onto the bus in Harvard Square and headed into the office.  Listening to a song that I envisioned as the soundtrack to my glamorous morning commute, I closed my eyes and felt grateful for this summer day.

I hopped off the bus and walked into my office.  As I sat at my desk, a coworker walked by and said hello.

“You look nice today,” he remarked.

“Thank you,”  I replied.

“I say this because it’s casual Friday,” he continued.  “You don’t have to dress up.”

“I know.”  I smiled.  Dressing up makes me happy.”

Although it’s Friday and I could have worn jeans, life is about the moments- especially the small ones- that bring you joy.  Slow down and smell the flowers, spritz on that special perfume, and splurge on a delicious lunch.

Here’s to Casual Friday- and doing what gives your own workday a little pizzazz.

Shattering the Shame: Why I Haven’t Openly Talked About My Sobriety

“The truth will set you free, but not until it is finished with you.”

-David Foster Wallace

For the past ten years I’ve known I had a problem with alcohol.  Time and time again, my drinking caused me to be unpredictable, irresponsible, and downright destructive.  Despite knowing all of this, I spent the better part of the decade trying to “drink like a normal person.”

I grew up glamorizing a glass of wine, going to Sunday brunch, and dressing up to sip champagne.  Over the years I’ve proved to myself that there was nothing romantic about it, yet over and over I tried to take control of something that was out of my hands.

There have been many reasons I’ve held back from sharing my truth.  I’ve been worried I would be judged, ridiculed, or rejected.  I’ve romanticized the “good old days” and avoided sharing that I don’t drink; sometimes it just seemed easier for me have a drink than to explain myself.

I was afraid of being seen as broken or a burden.

I recently had a conversation with a woman I respect and look up to about the shame I carry about being an alcoholic.  For as long as I can remember, I’ve worn a mask of “having it all together” to avoid facing the problems that lie underneath.  I never realized it, but she recognized how my facade of looking and acting a certain way has blocked my ability to truly heal and accept myself for who I am.

I’ve held onto the shame so tightly that I didn’t even realize I had it.

Since I hadn’t been completely honest with myself and others, I went back to drinking more times and I can count- and it never, ever got any better.  I know this today, and I need to continue to remember it in the future.

Instead of continuing to pretend, I decided it was finally time to openly share my struggles- and my strength. From Brené Brown to Glennon Doyle, I’m in good recovery company- and hopefully my own journey will help someone else one day, too.

We only grow when we do something that makes us uncomfortable.

Someone to Quietly Sit With

Yesterday wasn’t anything out of the ordinary- yet it was a delightful Saturday afternoon.

It was one of those sunny, frigid December days; the type of day when you need sunglasses and gloves. With my notebook and planner in hand, I crept into a cafe for coffee and a warm place to write.

I spotted an empty seat by the window and hoped it would still be there by the time I ordered my drink. However, not only did I notice the empty seat- I noticed a familiar face at the spot next to what I hoped to be mine.

I remembered this person from the summer- we had sat next to each other at the window on the opposite side of the cafe. Just like me, he seemed to prefer the window seats- and just like the time before, I had my journal, planner, and black coffee.

We said a few words this time- chatting about the cold weather, our birthdays, and the dark winter days. He offered me his New Yorker magazine after writing in silence, looking out the window, and sipping warm drinks.

You always wonder what will come out of something like this; you wonder what the stranger sitting next to you will say, what they’ll do, or if you will ever see them again.

However, Saturday afternoon was perfect; because sometimes it’s just nice to have someone to quietly sit with.