Friday, May 23, 2014

Sober on Bourbon Street

I saw this shirt today and flipped out. It's like it was made just for me:

Because that is ME to a T. Haha - get it? I know...that was a terrible pun. I don't blame you if you stop reading now.

This is my first trip to New Orleans and (so far) I’m doing it stone-cold sober. On my way into town on the plane last night I suddenly flashed back to the first time I realized that those little tiny bottles of booze were less than 3 oz and could go in my quart-size ziploc bag in my carry-on. I was overjoyed at the idea of having alcohol on the plane for a third of the price the airline would charge me. ANY way to save money while drinking was money well-spent, and a good reason to drink. Hell, everything was a good reason to drink.

While I'm a naturally wacky, outgoing person to begin with, for a long time that had to be supplemented with alcohol when I was in a public space with a bunch of people I didn't know.  Everywhere I went, I was worried that people were judging me. How arrogant is that? To think that every stranger I meet is taking time to look at, observe, and make a judgment about me is incredibly self-centered. Most of the time, other people are not thinking about you. Really. They're not. They are thinking about the turkey they need to get for dinner, whether or not they remembered to do something important, or are ruminating over what drink to get next. 

And even if they were looking at, and thinking about you, why should that even matter? 

The moment I accepted "what other people think of me is none of my business" as a personal truth, I lost my fear of people and my self-diagnosed social anxiety subsided. 

Tonight I got up to "sing" karaoke and rocked out to P!nk for 3 minutes and 23 seconds without any regard for what people in the audience thought about my performance or my dress. Sure, before going up there I was a little nervous, and even dragged a girlfriend up with me. I paused briefly and let my fear go.

And was time to rock out. To a drinking song, but hey, "Raise Your Glass" is kind of my anthem...
So if you're too school for cool
(I mean)
And you're treated like a fool
(You're treated like a fool)
You can choose to let it go
We can always, we can always party on our own

So many of P!nk's lyrics speak to me personally, and this one is no exception. The idea that you can choose to let go of the way other people treat you and think of you is not something that I ever REALLY believed in...until I got sober. Learning how to let go of that judgment is not easy, but also incredibly liberating. Once you realize that drama doesn't HAVE to impact you, there's nothing to stop you from having fun whenever you want!

As I danced down Bourbon Street tonight (regardless of whether or not we heard music) I realized that I have a great gift. As a result of working hard learning to love myself, I've given myself permission to cut loose in whatever way I see fit! Whether that's dancing down Bourbon Street, wearing a kissing sticker on my chest, or screaming along to a karaoke track, it doesn't matter.

All that matters is that I stay true to who I am and what I want.

When I try to mold myself to meet someone else's expectations, THEN I run into trouble! 

So let's raise our glasses to never limiting our radiance to blend in with others! 

p.s. P!nk - you're my hero :-)