What a wonderful week I had and how very grateful I am to be sober and experience wonderful weeks. Seeing my first sponsor - Cajun Kenny - for the first time in 8 years just warmed my heart. He looks wonderful, a little grayer and little more of him to love but the smile, the voice and the attitude is all there. I have missed him and I am so glad he is in my life. In fact, I have had a longer relationship with Kenny than I did with my husband - which is weird, when you think about it. But Kenny is the person who helped turn on the light of sobriety for me, and that contribution to my life cannot be overlooked.
Then something strange happened yesterday at work. Even talking about it, admiting it outloud, feels icky and uncomfortable. However, I have learned that I am only as sick as my secrets and this is not a bad, evil secret. It's just kind of, well, WEIRD.
I got a new outfit. I have lost 34 pounds since January 7 of this year and I put that new outfit on. I looked fabulous. I looked like a professional woman with strength, grace and authority. I pinned my little sheriff badge to the lapel of the jacket of this outfit and I just felt so darn cute and good about myself. All the way to work, I felt put-together in a way only women can feel. I felt like a Lady.
Walking into the office I saw Elizabeth at our computer and she rarely looks up to greet me, so I did not expect her to this day either....but she did..and there was that little flicker in her eyes. My heart sank, my stomache tightened and I felt nervous and ready to run.
It was that flicker I have seen all my life but only recently (like in the past 5 years) began to understand. It is the flicker of jealousy. The flicker behind the eyes of an insecure woman, looking at a beautiful one, and thinking (automatically) "Bitch".
If I had been a really evil teenager, I would have started exploiting my looks at the age of 13. I would have gotten somewhere, anywhere, and made my body and face my real commodity.
But I never knew I was beautiful - seriously....I just figured I was Leslie the Doofus and went skipping merrily on my way, wondering why some girls just looked at me and hated my guts and others thought I was too wonderful for words when I had not done a darn THING to earn their trust or respect. People are weird. I did not understand them...and you know what? When I drank, it did not matter.
Today, I recognize the flicker behind the eyes...it still scares me, because it means that the insecure women are going to put me in their sites and try and take me out. And E has most of the power in the office still, though I am learning fast and so gaining ground. Her real advantage over me is that she sees Supervisor at the Records Dept as the be all and end all of her existence; for me it is a way to get a really great retirement in 2 years so I can study somewhere and get my masters and then doctorate in Theology. 'The Job' is not me...it supports me.
And so I do not mind letting her be the top dog in the kennel...because I don't live in the kennel, I just visit it and pick up a paycheck from it.
The situation was compounded by the entrance, throughout the afternoon, by men into this all-women environment. Men in suits and uniforms. Handsome and plain, fat and skinny...who cares, right? They are MEN and what they say MATTERS and when every single one said to me, "Wow, Leslie! You look really nice today!" or my Captain slapped me on the shoulder and said, "You have taken off a TON of weight...good goin', kid" (his actions could never have been mistaken for sexual harassment, trust me), E's faced got pinker and more pinched looking....and I felt sicker and sicker....
I took a page from my mother's life experience. I went outside. I got quiet. I prayed one decade of the Rosary and then asked my Guardian Angel, "What am I supposed to learn today?'
And the answer came: "LAUGHTER"
So I went back inside and the first chance I had, I let out one of my from-the-belly-unladylike-hoots of laughter....and suddenly, E seemed to relax.
You wanna know why?
Because the beautiful blonde in the fabulous outfit was not perfect...she is loud and laughs at stupid stuff and doesn't quite understand the difference between AW/F warrants or BW/M warrants and E is still top dog in the kennel.
What a goofy problem to have, right? Ok, you are right...but you know what? If you have spent most of your life wanting to be a part of the world and you have been shoved around because people look at you and think, "Stuck up, snobby bitch" only because you have straight teeth and a nose that ain't too big.....you get a little gunshy...add being sober to that and life can be kind of scary.
today, however, I have a program of recovery that tells me "it doesn't matter what you feel right now...but how you carry yourself will define your day. so get to work, doofus, and have some fun".
So I did.
St Cecilia, walk and pray with me today. Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, show me the path to true beauty. St. Therese - may I have a rose for Jillian Rose? She really wants one...and I think she deserves one, too.