Most days I wake up feeling ten years old. Then I look in the mirror and remember I am 50! What? I’m way too messed up to be 50. 50 year old women are supposed to have it all together. 50 year old women are supposed to be wise and revered. I cannot possibly be 50.
I planned on having it all together at 50. I remember sitting on my sofa at age 25, writing out my life script and by age 50 life was supposed to be pretty darn good. Change that…as an adult child of an alcoholic, life was supposed to be PERFECT! I’d have a secure job, nice home, loving husband and the newborn baby cooing at me from the nearby crib would be a happy, functioning adult. I would most likely be looking forward to my first grandchild at age 50.
Today I sit on the couch in my nice home. I have a secure job that keeps my stomach in knots most days. My loving husband and I are trying to figure out how to live together in our newly emptied nest. My nice home is dirty and cluttered, but I find myself too depressed to get up and clean it. It will be PERFECTLY SPOTLESS by next Friday when company arrives; but, for now, I am content to start a blog about my childhood rather than clean. I have learned through the years that a clean house does not make for a clean soul and at this moment I need a clean, uncluttered heart and soul so much more than I need a nice, clean house in a nice, fancy neighborhood.
A clean heart and soul have not always been top priority for me. Growing up on the corner of East 24th street in Texarkana, Arkansas, I desperately longed for a nice house in a fancy neighborhood. I longed to live the life I saw portrayed on the sitcoms every Friday night. The life script I wrote at 25 was mostly based on what I grew up watching on tv. As an Adult Child of an Alcoholic, I had no idea what normal really looked like. So television became my life coach. Television families did not live in old Craftsman style houses in the 1970’s. I did. Television families lived in modern housing developments. I didn’t; therefore, I was perpetually ashamed of my house and by extension, my family.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved my family! I just sensed we weren’t like other families. For one, my mother was chronically ill with Rheumatoid Arthritis. No one else’s mother walked like Frankenstein…No one else had a grandmother who lived with them! I never got to go visit the grandparents. All were dead, but Nanny, my mother’s mother who was there at every turn to tell me just how annoying I really was.
I took the title for my blog from my childhood address. I really did live on the corner of East 24th street and Hickory. Most days it felt like the corner of crazy. There were beautiful days filled with sunshine. But most days, the sun was clouded by chronic pain and the long shadows cast by two alcoholic grandfathers I never knew.
This blog is my attempt to declutter my soul by deliberately taking a long, hard look at the skeletons that have too long been hidden in my psychic closet. It is my prayer that this blog will find you, if like me, you are an ACoA trying to make sense of your life and find your real purpose.
I am a Christian writer and the image of a clean, uncluttered heart comes from the prayer of David recorded in Psalm 51. I pray that God will be glorified in all that I share.