Art, The Journey, Unteach Me

Rewriting Your Story

The Icing on the Cake

The original writing on this little piece of cyber real estate was published on October 3, 2016. It came to life when I was seven months sober, so it has been parked on WordPress for nearly five years—and it has served as the second mini-chapter of the tale of my recovery—a story that was titled “Unteach Me.”

Some time ago, I made the decision to pull the story off of the web (ever so slowly) and recycle or reuse the existing pages with updates to the pieces—or totally new content. That was just shy of a year ago, and I’m finally getting around to Chapter TWO. Now you know what I meant by “ever so slowly.”

In its original state, Rewriting Your Story was part of an introduction to my narrative, and it provided a brief synopsis of the “when, how, and whys” of my journey into the bottle. In short, things went haywire during my adolescence, which is very common. Drinking helped me drown out my fears, awkwardness, and the teenage angst that had invaded my psyche—or my inner life.

I was in the midst of an existential crisis. I wanted to feel normal again, and I wanted to have fun, and drinking helped me accomplish both of these things simultaneously.

Stories like mine are important to specific people—mainly those who are finally admitting or coming to terms with the fact that they have some kind of problem. They may stumble upon my pages because they have started putting their feelers out; looking for some kind of comfort, help, direction… or hope.

That being said, it’s important for me to acknowledge the fact that no matter where these rewrites take me… God and recovery are at the heart of my blog. And my life. They are my anchor and my chain.

Everything else is just icing on the cake.


About the Image

My illustration is a bit of a copy of the original photograph that I used as my featured image for this chapter. First of all, I just love old VW Vans. But the real reason that it seemed so appropriate was the fact that our lives, our spiritual journeys here on earth, are like adventurous, wild, and unexpected road trips.

We encounter highs and lows, require regular fill ups and countless repairs and overhauls, and we have to endure some dull long ass drives through the desert. Or Texas. Anyone who’s ever driven through Texas knows what I’m talking about. It takes FOREVER to get to the other side!

Anyway, that’s how I see rewriting our stories. We take a break from our travels and we look at where we’ve been and where we want to go. We map out some new roads and we plan our next adventure. If we’re doing it right… each time we loop around it should get easier. And better. And if not, we can scrap it all and start over. Edit. Cut. Rewrite. How cool is that?

That’s about all for now. I hope you enjoyed my new chapter!

Stay tuned for the next rewrite, The Author of My Life

Coming soon!


READ MORE POSTS IN THIS SERIES
In The Beginning
Rewriting Your Story

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Faith, Life from A to Z

Endurance with Ease

In thinking about the letter “E,” the words energy and endurance came to mind. As I started working on my image, I wasn’t sure which one I was going to talk about, or what I would even say, so I created something that might tie the two words together. Obviously, this woman has energy, and it’s possible she’s trying to build her endurance. Still, I was drawing a blank.

And then I found my inspiration (thank you Google). This incredible quote by William Barclay…

“Endurance is not just the ability to bear a hard thing, but to turn it into glory.”

As a recovering alcoholic who is now joyously sober (going on 5 years next month), and an agnostic turned believer, this quote really resonated with me. When you’re living a life of transformation, and sharing that story with others… it can be terrifying at first. Self-doubt loves to rear it’s ugly head and whisper things like “What if you fail? What if you screw it all up? What will your story say about you then?!?

It’s a weird place to be. You want to tell EVERYONE the story of how God changed your life, with the innocence and excitement of a child, but you also sense that you’ll have to bear the weight of this HUGE adult responsibility… you have to STAY that way. You have to STAY sober. Otherwise, your story will be like so many other stories out there. “Yeah, God changed me alright. But then I turned around and changed myself back.”

If there is anything good at all that comes from the dark times that so many of us experience—no matter what those dark times might be—it’s that these trials, hardships and adversities make us stronger. They build our endurance. We have to get to the other side of them first, of course, but once we do… we are different.

The way I see it now is that if I was able to live through the hell that I put myself through when I was in my disease, I sure as hell can live out my sobriety. And with a daily surrender, there’s really nothing for me to bear. I turn it over to Him and then it’s in His hands. I get to live in His grace… and He gets all the glory.

Amen… and End of Story!

Thanks for joining me in my series Life: From A to Z. I hope you enjoyed my thoughts on the letter “E,” and I’ll see you around soon for the letter “F!”


Some of you may have noticed that I’ve changed image styles again. I was recently inspired by an interesting abstract piece that I saw and so I’ve been experimenting with these motion blur backgrounds. When I added the woman (who I photographed at the beach some time ago), I noticed that the colors of her clothes and skin were blending with the water… almost perfectly. How cool is that?!

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Let’s start anew!

After 3 years and 10 months of being on this blog, and while suffering from COVID-itis (also known as having extra time and trying to make good use of it), I’ve decided… WHAT THE HECK, let’s go back to the beginning.

Something I’ve realized is that our stories get old. They become stale. When looking back from a new perspective, we see and feel things differently than we did in the past. Maybe we’ve learned more about our lives and our experiences and we need to expand on our old ideas. Or perhaps we find that some of the chapters we’ve lived are no longer relevant to our story; they’re history, and they no longer serve a purpose. Either way, each person’s story is their own, and it’s up to them to make use of it.

I’ve hemmed and hawed about what to do with my 4 year old story. I thought about taking it down— deleting the old pages—because it feels outdated to me, and I fear it’s value has expired. But, after much deliberation and consideration, I’ve decided that it would be more interesting and worthwhile to change it up, or “RE-write” the story—from a totally new perspective. 

In the Beginning was first shared on October 2, 2016. It was my very first post, and the very first chapter of my ongoing “real life” story. That’s a lot of firsts. This particular chapter focused on when my problems all started; adolescence. What I’ve learned since writing it, is that fear, loneliness, and confusion are common at that age, and there are many people who had the same exact thoughts, feelings and/or experiences during these young years (and beyond).

I think the key take-away here is that we are never as alone as we think we are, we just can’t find that out unless we are willing to open up and share. That being said, I’ve turned this old chapter into a poem about teenage angst, and the crucial thing that I was lacking in those days… faith.

Choose wisely

Innocence flutters away, 

As self-awareness blooms,

Philosophy fills the mind, 

With questions that consume.

Who am I? Why am I here?

What will I become?

What’s the reason for living?

And where did life come from?

Something inside of us shifts,

At this “coming of age,”

We begin to wear our masks,

And the world becomes our stage.

It’s a crossroads we all face,

Never sure which way to turn,

The directions seem unclear, and…

There are lessons we will learn.

Be strong, and choose wisely my child,

For so many will deceive,

But One will always guide you right,

And all those who ask… 

Receive. 


I created a new featured image as well… a little pink to represent the wonders of my innocence and youth.

Life is good, and God is great! 


READ MORE POSTS IN THIS SERIES
In The Beginning
Rewriting Your Story

journaling, The Journey, Unteach Me, writing

In the Beginning

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It’s official.

The world revolves. Or is it evolves?

For the last four and one-half months, I can literally use my fingers to count the number of times I’ve left the house to do something fun, interesting, or worthwhile.

It wasn’t until the past month or so that the situation started to affect my mental state. I realize that this story is redundant to everyone, because it’s not just my story—it’s almost everyone’s story!

For those of us who are in recovery, this type of solitude, or isolation, is a slippery slope. A downward slide that can send us sailing down into the pit if we fail to remain diligent.

I feel fortunate, however, because I’m a die hard optimist and I’m not one who is prone to depression. Or giving up. On the other hand, I have caught myself thinking–lately—that NOTHING is exciting anymore. It’s hard to “feel.”

I’m like the girl in my coloring project, looking out at the world through a crack and everything that is beautiful and wonderful is OUT THERE. And I don’t know if I’ll ever get OUT THERE again.

With that negative mindset, the world looks black & white—it is colorless! But… (hopefully the image comparison works in the reader) if I change my mindset, and decide to use this time to evolve, the colors start to appear…



Things begin to excite me again! I realized that not only are these unusual and difficult circumstances an opportunity for growth, they are “the perfect” opportunity for growth.

Because… if it’s easy, it probably isn’t growth.

I learned to always take on things I’d never done before. Growth and comfort do not coexist.

Ginni Rometty, Chairman, President & CEO of IBM

What an awesome quote! I know that making my way through COVID quarantine hardly compares to becoming the first woman to head IBM, but what the heck. Maybe it does!

I can consider myself a victim, the underdog, a casualty of my circumstances—living in a world that is black and white—devoid of any color and excitement. OR I can consider myself a conqueror, the victor, a survivor of the fittest—and I can color my world… any damn way that I choose!


Thank you for reading… I hope you found something enjoyable or inspiring here!

The featured image is my third “coloring project” done in Adobe Illustrator (with effects added in Smart Photo Editor). The project took several days, maybe even a week, and the relaxation that I experienced while working on it was worth every second.

Peace & Love!
—Janet

Coloring Projects, journaling, The Quarantine Collection

CoLoReVolvE

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writing

Better Together — Out of the Ashes

It is DAY ONE here at Out of the Ashes, a brand new collaboration in it’s infancy stage, and we welcome you to come and follow us along. Life is full of “new beginnings,” and many of our contributors have been there—oftentimes more than once. With our combined talent, creativity, knowledge and experience we hope […]

Better Together — Out of the Ashes

The new site is up! Thank you to all of you who have offered to collaborate—I will be in touch to coordinate your contributions very soon! It’s not as quick and easy as I would like, but that is life, eh?!

I hope that my followers will check out the new site, and follow it as well. It’s still a baby, but I hope to see it grow to maturity. I won’t make a habit of sharing every post, just enough to get things rolling.

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