In the few years, I have been in recovery for my gambling addiction I have learned a lot about myself and how others react to the mistakes I have made. One of the most important — people will decide who you are without genuinely knowing who you are.
By all outward appearances a picture may be painted so beautifully, we believe the artist must only feel joy or love. Dig deeper, and the story in the artist’s eyes is possibly one of heartache and pain. Something I think us Humans forget from time to time, we are all made of layers. Pages and pages of stories that create the layers of our person.
I am fortunate to have a few friends who accept me for my layers. They are the ones I allow to dig deep and peel away at my onion. Others, I have realised, are unable to see past the sting I cause their eyes.
I have spent a lifetime wondering why women are so hard on other women. Addiction recovery has an exceptional theme. Do not judge another’s “why.” Still, in a group of women, I tend to find myself lost in crossed glances and judgment. Opinion on how I speak, how I look, my mistakes, my parenting, my weight, my job, my sexual preferences, my…everything.
In my experience women can be extraordinarily judgmental, whether they are in your circle of friends or not. Why? I don’t know. If I could define a woman’s reasoning, I’d probably be rich as fuck. I scarcely articulate my own thoughts, and I am a writer. To explain the complexity of another woman’s mind would be – genius – and that I am not.
Not all women are damaging to others. But some are. Those are the ones I have decided to expel from my life. It isn’t that I am better in any way — than anyone. No. My reasoning — I want to live a life in which my circle of friends would rather give me the benefit of the doubt over whispering words of judgment into the rest of my friend’s ears.
That goes for anyone I choose to let into my life.
I can be loud, obnoxious and hard to take at times. I can argue until there is no wind left in my lungs. I can cry over the hurt I once endured and at the same time pretend nothing will ever hurt my heart. I am stubborn and proud to a fault. Being lewd and sexual is never filtered, and my competitive nature is strong. Revealing my shortcomings is much easier for me than accepting my strengths. I know better than anyone, my faults.
To be judged or gossiped about for who you are, is daunting, hurtful. Gutting. It certainly should never happen by the people you call friends.
Recently, I spent the day with a close circle of friends. A ladies day out. Not your typical girls day. A day-drunk filled with seedy bars no respectable girl should be caught in. However, it was planned carefully by a friend I hold dear to my heart. Every precaution was made to keep us safe.
But, I am Darla.
I have existed in a lifetime full of odd. I emphatically live in a world saturated by Murphy’s Law. So much so, renaming it to Darla’s law is a viable antidote. If it is going to happen, it is going to happen to Darla. No doubt about it.
That is not to say I haven’t placed myself in positions (after thought is an amazing tool), in which induced my destiny. I understand (more than anyone), the predicaments I have injected myself in. However, a predicament is just that. An embarrassing situation. A place in which a person knows they could have done better, been better. Reacted, aptly.
I am a clutz; I live without forethought and far too often speak my mind. I am brave as fuck, and rarely consider my embarrassment when moving towards a destination. What that means, is I am your girl when it comes to asking a stranger on the street if I may have a taste of the bagel he is eating or running naked into the ocean on a dare.
My mantra, life is too short to worry if “that guy” thinks I am an idiot. Instead, I will let my people pleasing consume friendships and relationships. Strangers do not scare me. Weirdness drives me. To judge others is not my forte; I love observing a person who is living unapologetically. Those are my people, and possibly why I do my best to live in that manner.
Back to the story.
Before we hit the town, a list was given to us, a scavenger hunt of sorts. My competitive brain wanted nothing but to win. Win what? I didn’t care; I just wanted to win. Teams were grouped in fours. However, since Darla’s law and odd numbers, my team ended up being the only group of three. No biggie, we got this.
The challenges included anything from walking a stranger’s dog to taking a shot of putrid booze with a random at the bar. My super power, as I said, is a lack of fear, or forethought, whatever, it is my super power, I can call it what I want.
The day progressed, and I became more than a little tipsy. We all did. Well, most of us. The challenges became easier as the liquid courage varnished our throats. My team was ahead in the scavenger hunt and my competitive brain clouded by alcohol begged to win the race. With one less girl on our team, I had no problem picking up the pace.
The group of close to twenty of us had finished up lunch at one of the “cleaner” pubs and were getting ready to head out. My head a little foggy, but not murky enough to know I should pee before we made the trek, I went to find the bathroom.
The last thing I remember is pushing open a black door, walking towards a bathroom stall and feeling a sting to the top of my head. Woken by a few of my friends, twenty minutes later and wrapped around a toilet, to say the least, I was confused. As I came to, I found myself vomiting profusely, initially not noticing the bump to my head. My vision blurred and my bearings gone, I believed everyone when they told me I was just drunk.
I was tipsy when I walked into that bathroom; I was even a little drunk but no more than many of the girls on the pub crawl. I don’t want to say I can hold my alcohol. But, I can hold my alcohol.
It wasn’t until I was on my way home with a few of the lovely women who took care of me, I realised I had completely lost my vision. Gone. Everything a blur, my head started to ache. I had lost all depth perception and I began to freak out. Fortunately, these remarkable women made sure to admit me to the hospital. There is where I found out I was extremely concussed. So badly, I lost my eyesight for a few days after.
Unfortunately, I don’t know if I slipped and hit my head in the bathroom that day, or what happened. I still remember nothing of the time I was knocked out and on the floor.
In the twenty minutes, I was knocked to the floor and seriously concussed a few things happened. A group of fabulous ladies went into protection mode. Others were put out by my injury, and I was judged as a being reckless and ignorant when in reality, I was injured.
It broke my heart. It was devastating to know these friends decided to hurl hateful rhetoric and not see me for who I am or recognise the predicament I was in. As it was, I was embarrassed I had caused a panic, but to find out “friends” judged me for it, absolutely crushed me.
As I’ve grown I’ve learned I wasn’t made to be easy for everyone. Nor was everyone created to be easy for me. What a boring world if we felt soulful connections with everyone we met.
It has taken me years to allow myself to disconnect from people who tend to make me feel worthless in my skin. A difficult task for the girl who wears her heart on her sleeve. I use to find it hard to walk away from people who continually ripped my heart from my chest, for fear of hurting them. However, I think I worked too hard at relationships that burned instead of embracing the people who took the time to peel off the cracked onion-like skin I carefully wear to protect my heart.
I am worthy of love, no matter how hard it is to love me. I realise now; not everyone is meant to be a part of my life. Some don’t have the persistence it takes to get to my soft inner core, whether I burn their eyes or not.