Stay Sturdy

Hi everyone, anyone still out there? It has been quite some time since I’ve written anything and I actually have reasons, not excuses!

Lots of effort was required to get up to and through my one year anniversary. The pressure we place on ourselves is far more intense than anything an outsider could ever aspire to. The desire to drink didn’t surface but I definitely could feel some of the old ways of thinking working their way to the surface. Trying to manage the excitement of actually making it a whole year and prepping for the anticlimactic letdown of day 366 was incredibly challenging. I’m damn near to thirteen months so I think it’s safe to write again. I’m rusty and have been fighting with two potential blogs so I flipped a coin and this is the one that I start year two with.

I saw this cart at work one day and it fascinated me. There are probably a dozen or so of them rolling around. The carts have been around for decades. Some of the people that have worked there awhile guessed 50 years or more. Not sure why I was so taken with this particular model but I’m going to try and explain it to myself and in turn, maybe you as well.

I think the reason this post has been so vexing is that it is just another analogy but it’s one that helps me figure out roles and relationships. How things work together. Any different thoughts on how each piece works or what role it plays is welcome and encouraged!

Let’s start with the floor… I see the floor as life. It wouldn’t matter how masterfully built your cart was, if it didn’t have something to roll on, it would be useless. The challenge I’ve been working on is accepting that the floor my cart is rolling on isn’t perfectly polished and smooth. I’ve also realized that although our carts may be different, we are all sharing the same floor. The trick is to be mindful of the fact that this huge floor has infinite characteristics and we are all rolling over different spots, all the time. Some are jostling over the cracks of a broken heart while others are gliding across the freshly polished marble of new love. Some are stuck in a damaged section of anxiety and sorrow while others cruise smoothly across serenity and joy. Some of us had to fishtail, out of control, through something that spilled…

Now for the wheels. The wheels on this cart are decorative and functional. The builder could have used plain ole’ spokes but chose not to and I think that was on purpose. I think the wheel is our psyche. The ornate design is what people see. Or at least what we think they see. The edges of the wheels are beat up and even though we want to believe people only see the intricate design, eventually, the miles of abuse start to show. It’s impossible to hide. What I’m learning and hoping to share is that the miles are ok to see. They are just as much a part of our wheel, if not more, than the pretty parts. The dings and dents, the rust and chipped paint. All are parts​ of our wheel and if looked at from proper perspective, even more beautiful than the design we wanted people to see. I never dreamed I would become an old wheel but I did and now I know it’s ok. No longer rolling through the booze has removed the rust from the wheels. The path of AA isn’t perfectly smooth and sometimes it’s bumpier than the rum soaked floor I used to roll across. Some of those bumps are by design and while frustrating, they are necessary. They are built in to shake the big pieces of rust and buildup loose so that eventually, you can start the polishing process. Making a difficult apology removes the ugly rust but can leave a ding. Dings will smooth over time but rust tends to build up and get uglier as that time passes. The polishing part can be as simple as pausing to watch a sunset, noticing how many stars are actually in the sky, smiling at a stranger in the grocery store or as intricate as planning a fun date to spoil someone you care about. Options begin to present themselves without even looking.

Now for the decking. This is a tough part to write. This whole post has been a challenge for almost a month but this part really made me think. The decking is your friends, family and in my case, my sobriety. The wheels may never get a break but they are steel and are built for some of the self inflicted damage. The boards that make up the deck are sturdy and your cart would be useless without them but they take a beating. The hardest thing to come to terms with is that the beating they took because of me. That stings. The shame, regret and embarrassment can be overwhelming. The things I have thrown on my deck have been incredibly damaging. Some of the boards are completely shattered and can’t be repaired. Some of them are damaged but if patiently tended to, they can be repaired. Some of the boards are pure miracles. I decided to roll my cart off the floor straight into a car crusher. Some of the boards held. Mom and Dad. My friends. People I didn’t even know. Damage was done, no question, but they held. I found out that some actually were helping ​repair each other. I’m not dropping the sharp cornered, ten ton lies on my deck anymore. No more dumping gallons of toxic behavior on it either. Nope, in order for that sturdy cart to stay sturdy, all of it needs to be cared for. It’s important to remember that maintenance is much easier than repair. I’ve recently been introduced to a new maintenance technique called “talking”. I’m beta testing it right now and will keep you posted if this new voodoo actually works…

There. The cart experiment is finally done. I think I’ll be back to this one for additions and updates. Just taking the time to scratch this out has forced some notes on the yellow pad. A living blog post? Thinking so.

Thanks for reading this one. It’s clunky because I am out of practice and for that, I apologize. Maybe this will help shake a piece of rust loose or polish things a bit. You are all a big part of my decking and I really appreciate you.

Stay sturdy!

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Nikki says:

    I’ve taken a while to comment only because your blogs leave me speechless. Always a perfect analogy and they make me think. Another great one my friend! Stay sturdy !! Love you !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Derek Chowen says:

      Thank you, Nikki! Glad you liked it. I took a break for a bit and am happy to be back at it. Love you, too!!!

      Like

  2. Stay Sturdy – Stay the Course – it’s not always about the destination, but the journey – the journey is – and will always be.

    Liked by 1 person

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