April 2006, Nigeria: Reflection on Drinking and Self

i didn’t drink or smoke at all when i was in nigeria. i rarely saw anyone that smoked. but i was offered drinks and just said no. i wanted that time to be absolutely clear and i couldn’t be happier to have done that.

“i kind of like to not write things down for a while because i like the way they swirl around in my head. after i write it down, it’s different. i’m thinking a lot about drinking. it’s so enmeshed in work and relationships and social time and expectations (my own and my projected). in a way i just want to be flat out done because there is no more ‘will i or won’t i?’ element of choice is taken away and the new struggle is just upholding the choice not to drink. but what about ______? vacations, special occasions, just wanting a beer, hanging out with friends, going out dancing? so many situations to take a stand in. either way, things can’t continue as they have been. what about what i want for myself now, today? i want ambition, discipline, drive, self control, creativity, energy to act on that creativity, i want to not feel shitty in the morning. i want to feel like getting up and doing my pages and then going to the gym is not harder than getting up, turning on the tv, laying on the couch and calling it a day. i want to be open. i want to recreate/rediscover who i know i am. i want to come from a place of competence and capability. i want to feel my confident self when i’m with my mom. i cried on the way to the airport because nothing would ever be the same. and it isn’t. all of my agitation in life has no more basis. i’m not unwanted, i’m not unloved, i’m not rejected by both my parents, i’m not the center of the universe which isn’t getting it’s proper love/respect/acknowledgement. i don’t have to apologize for who i am. i am learning to accept being neither/both. i’m becoming comfortable and accepting of my calm, resting self. my dad is real and he makes it ok for me to be so many of the things i am. i’m attached to people and it’s ok. kinship and the unknown is ok. my fantasies are ok. my dreams are ok. i don’t need to be perpetually embarrassed. i’ve seen lagos, i know lagos. it’s in my heart and my memories. it’s ok that i’m watching out the window and blueprinting art pieces as i go. that’s still living it, experienceing it, memorizing it. it’s ok to be uncomfortable here and want to go home. it’s ok to be comfortable here and see places for rent and wonder what i could afford if i stayed here for a while. and it’s ok that the thought of that is scary and depressing and exciting all at once.”

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