For the first time in a little while, I can say that I really feel quite well. I was sitting outside just now, watching the sky lighten a little bit and smiled. The last couple of days have taken the weight off me a bit, and I feel as if I am learning to breathe properly again.
Anyway, I have been writing a little bit about honesty today and, even though it’s slightly uncomfortable to post, in the spirit of honesty I am going to give it my best shot.
When I lived in Amsterdam and for a long time after, I thought I was the most honest drinker in the world. I was pretty upfront about what I drank, how much, and at what time of day. I thought that because I was loud about it, I was being honest. During a conversation last night I began recognise the subtle difference, and maybe that’s why it touched such a nerve.
Truth is, I was telling everyone everything all the time. I could dredge up my darkest secrets in two different languages, pull my soul out a hat like a rabbit and watch it twitch in the headlights. I could call that fun. But there’s nothing fun, and nothing admirable, about drinking so much that you turn your words into liquid. It was a smokescreen because, in reality, nobody drinks that much for a giggle. Back then, I wanted to be accepted but I only felt able to try for acceptance when I was too drunk to be able to recall any kind of rejection.
I took my bouts of self-hatred to mean that I had no self-pity.
I took my complete unwillingness to take any offence as a sign that I had no resentments.
I took my willingness to humiliate myself to mean that I had humility.
More and more, as I am really honest with myself, I am recognising that these things are not true. There is a lot more “unfolding” that I need to do and I haven’t quite got my head around it. But I am starting to do it- really do it- and learning in the process. I always thought it would be easy to admit my short-comings and the things that I’ve done, because I have spent so much of my life doing just that in pubs and bars and parties. It’s clear to me now that I am miles away from being able to do it realistically, honestly, sober.