Sometimes positive experiences can be harder to stomach than the negative ones. Being around healthy people doing healthy things in a healthy way can make me feel more alone than when I’m in the company of people who are struggling in one way or another. And yet, more than anything in the world, I yearn to be healthy and strong. I want to be able to remain the Janita I know myself to be, no matter who enters the room. Nevertheless it still feels like when I’m alone in the room with another person, there are three of us present: he/she, me and the shit I’m dealing with.

I just returned from a wonderful 3-day-vacation in Long Island, where I was paddle boarding, kayaking (for the first time), swimming and having an otherwise lovely time with absolutely lovely people. What for most people would be an awesome little vacation, ends up being quite a bit of work for me. Let me explain. My instinct is to isolate (because I can be anxious and awkward  around people), or let loose by drinking alcohol. Being that I no longer drink, and I’m surrounded by nice people who I love, neither is an option. In this situation it is my job to learn to connect, to hang out, to have conversations, to be present. I can’t tell you what a challenge this is for me! It feels like I’m using all my concentration and effort just to seem normal. And yet, I know I’m doing so much better in these situations than I ever have. I’m getting better, and it’s obvious. Unloading shit just takes time.

A morning dove had made a nest right on top of a doorway at the beach house I stayed at over the last few days. It seemed like an unlikely spot for a nest, seeing as there was quite a bit of traffic as we all went in and out of the area. Every time I passed through that door I looked at the mother-bird, who was eyeing all of us intently. We all grew quite fond of her and ended up naming her the posh, English name Margaret Daisy due to her Morning Dove-initials.

Perhaps a bit sappy, but I think about Margaret Daisy now as a metaphor for my own life. I’m in the middle of quite a bit of traffic, as I’m trying to nurture something fragile: my sanity and my health. The job that I’ve chosen as a person who likes to isolate and has addictive tendencies is not the easiest. But like Margaret Daisy, I’ve surrounded myself with good people who I can trust, (even if we’re both still eyeing them suspiciously…). Also like M.D., I have a roof over my head and a sense of serious purpose.

Below, are two pictures of Margaret Daisy and her eggs. I could make this ending superbly gooey by comparing her eggs to beautiful things I am hoping to hatch in my own life. But of course I won’t. That would be supremely cheesy indeed.