In case you couldn’t tell, I’m prone to moping. I’m a major moper. It happens to the best of us – idealists in particular seem to get discouraged when anything less than optimum happens, and it takes some serious mental training to move away from the mope and into the cope.
I promise I’ll never write a sentence like that again.
Anyway, one of the things my sobriety program teaches is that you are what you think you are. So if your thoughts are, “I suck, this sucks, eff you, life, this blows!” it will, and does, indeed suck. The program founder suggests that you make a list of all the characteristics you’d like to be known by, and then repeat them to yourself as a mantra. Like, my list includes stuff like “feisty,” “invested,” and “calmly in control of the situation,” so my mantra would go something like, “I am a feisty woman. I am an invested woman. I am a woman who is calmly in control of the situation.”
I’m actually kind of amazed by what a sucker I’ve turned out to be for believing the things I say out loud about myself. I’m so impressionable!
Anyway, the past few weeks have been marked, in my life, by a lot of moping about things I was generally unhappy about. I’m planning my wedding in a city where I don’t know anyone socially besides my fiance, so things like trying on dresses have been things I’ve been putting off out of the fear of being lonely. And I’ve got an incredibly stressful job working with some highly chaotic people, in particular a boss who can’t decide which job titles he wants me to take on at any given point, and yells at me – yells, with profanity and whatnot – for following orders he forgot he gave me in the first place. And don’t even get me started on emails he’s sent me containing phrases like, “Get some hot chicks in dresses to be waitresses at our anniversary party,” and “Can I fire someone for being bipolar? Cause she’s getting on my nerves.”
Moping. Big time.
But I turned back to my sobriety program’s suggestion. It’s that or lots of Malbec, right? And I thought, okay, I want to be a woman who isn’t lonely in her own company. I don’t want to feel lonely planning my own wedding anymore, and that’s an internal thing. So maybe my mantra can be, “I am a woman who is well-attended in her own company.” And so I kind of just told myself that for a day or two, and all of a sudden I found I had the courage, yes, even the enthusiasm, to call a couple of bridal boutiques and make appointments to try on dresses, just me and myself, this weekend. I even promised myself that if I was able to find the silhouette I wanted, I would treat myself to some kind of pampering – delicious dessert, or a pedicure, or bringing home some kind of killer delicious takeout for dinner.
And I thought about my job and thought, no, I want to be a woman who is capable of handling these situations, and also a woman who stands up for herself, so I told myself, “I am a woman with a backbone and initiative. I am a talented, hard-working, capable, upbeat woman – generally – who deserves a job that is satisfying and rewarding.” And I started submitting resumes to new jobs on Wednesday, and Wednesday night I got contacted to have a job interview for Thursday afternoon. At the time of submission, I’m still waiting to hear back, but I’m just amazed that all it took was an attitude change to get the ball rolling in the direction I needed.
I couldn’t have done any of this drunk. I would have returned, repeatedly, to the bottle, wallowing in misery, futility, and a sense that things would never get better. It would have been a self-fulfilling prophecy. So today, regardless of how complex and challenging life can be, I am a grateful woman. I am an invested woman. I am a capable woman. I am a sober woman.
What kind of woman are you?