There’s something that happened in my life, and I’m not exactly sure what is was or when it happened, but whatever it was, it put my life on a whole different trajectory and I’m really struggling to understand whether or not I am content with it anymore.
Ten years ago, I was just finishing up my education at an Art Institute in Houston. It was a return to school after a long hiatus when I realized in my early twenties that my priorities were a bit unclear and decided that finishing at a university might need to be put on hold a bit while I sorted my life out and got all the drinking and drugging out of my system. Unfortunately, it never did and here I am at 41 years old working a mediocre job as a phone operator in a hotel in downtown Austin recently out of a two year toxic relationship with a man I love more than any of my previous boyfriends and for no logical reasons.
At one point in my life, I used to have dreams and ambition. Hell, I was on fire for a few years there. I worked for a wine and spirits distributor for a few years where I started out as a graphic designer fresh out of school. I did such a good job and networked well enough that I was able to move into a sales position for a few years and then eventually moving into a marketing manager position created specifically for me and the LGBT market in which I worked. Things looked good for me professionally.
In my personal life, things were going well also. I was living in a cute second floor apartment with lots of windows, allowing the spring breeze in Houston to keep the house cool. I had been dating a guy for a few years that as far as relationships went, I would say was healthy. I had a beautiful cat too. DJ was his name and he was the most affectionate, good-natured cat I have ever had. As far as an overall quality of life, I would say I was doing pretty damn good. However, because of the chaotic and insecure nature of my twenties, I always had this feeling that the rug was about to be pulled from under me at any time, so I could never really allow myself to enjoy this comfortable place I had found myself. That day eventually came for me as I always knew it would the day I got the phone call about my grandmother’s passing.
I was the oldest of the grandchildren in the family so I naturally had a close bond with her so when this happened, I took it very hard. I would cry and cry and cry it seemed. She was one of the few people in my life that actually would tell me I made her proud and that meant a lot to me. To deal with the pain of her loss, I began to use crystal meth fairly regularly and working a full time job with the amount of traveling I did, it began to affect my performance. I would stay up late into the night producing dance music and then take a Xanax to fall asleep only to oversleep at times missing important meetings and work obligations. It also made me very irritable and more antisocial than i normally was, which was creating conflict at work with other managers and pretty soon my boss had me on an action plan due to underperformance issues. That easy going stress free life I had been living for a while was slowly deteriorating until eventually, everyone at work had enough and I was let go.
This was the second crushing blow I brought upon myself and with anxiety high and no backup plan, I began to use even more meth to stop all of the pain I was going through. One of my girlfriends helped get me a job as a bar manager not too long after I was fired and I was able to cash out my 401k plan of around $9000 so ideally I should have been in a comfortable spot to bounce back, but when you come into a large amount of money like that with no financial disciple, I made a string of poor decisions and partied my ass off, had a lot of anonymous sex, bought things I didn’t need for my studio and basically took myself to the point where I wasn’t able to pay my rent and car note anymore.
These sort of things don’t bode well for someone already down on their luck so off I went down deeper down the spiral until finally I hit rock bottom. Well that particular rock bottom. Anyone who has had any history with drug abuse knows there is not just one rock bottom where you bounce back. If you continue to use, you will hit more and more bottoms as you go and this one was not tough enough to get me to the point where I had enough. My mother was bailing me out left and right, paying for the rent and car note until eventually I ended up moving in with her. The car was eventually repossessed as well, which broke my heart. It was the only brand new car i have ever purchased.
Looking back at some of the idiotic things I have done or purchased makes me cringe, but if I hadn’t had done them, I would not be this enlightened soul I am today. So whenever you begin to beat yourself up for the things in your past, cut yourself a break, forgive yourself and do better moving forward.