Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Down the rabbit hole

......I’ll start my story by telling you all that this particular blog is not one of those happy go lucky, feel good blogs. It’s a blog full of what people these days would call “brutally, honest truth.” And while it may not be pretty, sometimes putting your own thoughts and pain out there may help someone else as much or more than it helps yourself. I’ve come to realize in these past few years you can either put the real truth out there… or you can let people spin it into whatever sick story they want. I choose to be honest with you because whether you’re new to my blog, loyal followers or just stopping through… I want you to know that you’re getting the real me. The Good, The Bad, The Ugly… but always ME. We’ve been through a lot together over the years so… no secrets now right?

I don't want this to come across as soap boxy or a public service announcement or the episode of Saved by the Bell where Jesse Spano becomes addicted to caffeine pills. And be forewarned, this blog’s style is a little different from the usual.. so don’t fret if you don’t like it as much. I’m simply telling a story the best way I know how, in the best voice I know how. And hoping that maybe by writing this down I can help others know they aren’t alone. So without further ado, I give you..

Down the Rabbit Hole.

As I sat in a dark room on a dreary winter evening.. I couldn’t help but ask myself..

“How did I allow myself to get here?”

For anyone that has fallen down the rabbit hole, you know what it feels like. That sickening feeling of weightlessness and helplessness just waiting to see where you land. I’ve fallen down here once before and somehow managed to find my way out, but it wasn’t without the help of my family and friends. As anyone that has seen it will tell you… It’s a dark place, that rabbit hole. Once it sucks you in, you wind up in this whole different world with its topsy turvy views of how people in society should not only look, but how they should act as well.

When my journey began almost five years ago, I was thrown into an entirely different world. Until then, I was used to my daily routine, with my small, close family and my real friends. My normal friends. Not supermodels, or baller athletes, or movie stars, or public figures, or hanger-on’ers trying to get ahead. They were the people that loved me as I was. But they don’t belong in this other world, and nor would they want to.

I exist in a world that in order to get ahead, you have to take one pill to get your body smaller, and another to…. well, get your body smaller. So much so, I began to treat my body like an iPhone. Need to get skinny? Need to have Abs? Need to poop? Well, there's a pill for that. Their world tells me a size zero isn't small enough. And would prefer me to look like a Bratz Doll than an actual human being. It’s a sad place where one bad photograph or one wrong angle, robs you of all the beautiful moments you've had. But all these pills made it hard for my body to know how to function on its own. It only knew them. It needed them.

It was hard competing in a world that was seemingly always on the move. I had always lived a fast paced, busy life. Downtime was unheard of to me. I was the queen of “To-Do Lists” and mine seemed to go on for days, but I didn’t mind. But once my magazines came out, those lists seemed to multiply into books that seemed to multiply into editions, until I found myself in the middle of a library. To say I was overwhelmed, well.. that’s an understatement. Still, I smiled, because there is no frowning... not on the outside at least, and certainly not in this world. So I continued to run, faster and faster, chasing the white rabbit that is my career… and NOT a metaphor for illegal drug use.

I’ve met a lot of characters along my journey back. Most just kept me from moving forward, and so they were quickly discarded. But some managed to hang around, and some for far longer than they should have. The latest was a charming guy. A guy with a great grin and big ideas. But a tad misguided and certainly naïve to how real life works. His small town upbringing had kept him relatively grounded, but something was still not right. He talked of good values, and family, and his future… and of small government and being patriotic. Yet he worked for arguably one of the more hated and corrupted companies on the planet. How well he treated someone was measured in receipts from his credit card and gifts I really had little use for. Not to say I wasn’t grateful, but it seemed to me he really missed the boat as to what I was all about. To him, in his mind, in his world.. his ways were perfectly sane, but through my eyes he appeared just downright… “mad.” And even though I cared about him, I just couldn't continue to exist in his world and maintain sanity in my own.

His fun and games that I once found charming began to wear on my psyche as he could never understand why someone in my position would be “down.” And our once riveting conversations had morphed into debates, and then grueling knock down drag outs that would make Pacquiao Mayweather look like an undercard fight. So we parted ways, and my one true ally I had in this crazy world was gone. We both may say it’s for the best, but deep down we know differently. And when things go down the way they did, there's no going back.

Getting into the hole was easy, but getting out was always the hard part. The time before I was surrounded by my friends and family back home, but current circumstances prevent me from just picking up and going as I please. But one face reoccurs in my life, whose role is very much undefined. We’re both comfortable at an arm’s length away, but mutually appreciate one another’s quit wit and sarcasm. I’ve met him in the rabbit hole several times, and his wisdom has normally helped me see the way out.

So late one night, as we walked through the streets of New York, I asked him.. “Have you ever felt THIS way???”

It was dark outside, but I could still make out the features of his face. He looked back at me with a big bright smile and inquisitive eyes...

"No. But, you and I are similar creatures Miss Sterger, your heart is just way more exposed than mine. We substitute our work for our personal relationships with people. It’s why I admire and appreciate your drive. You’ve been down here before, and you’ll get back up. You’ve got an amazing journey ahead of you and it’s about to get started. So no use in letting your today, bring down your tomorrow. I’ve never understood the concept of sad. I know what it is; I just don’t ‘get it.’ I don't act like the world spins on its axis for me or any one person in particular. So whatever it is I may feel will pass.. and I just keep plugging along. Being sad is unproductive. So just channel it into what you do. And never look back."

Hmm, maybe he knows something I don't. Or maybe I still had an ally in this foreign land.

A few days later, a very close friend sent me a text..

Alice- "Well in our country you'd generally get to somewhere else -- if you run very fast for a long time, as we've been doing."

Queen- "A slow country! Now, here, you see it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that."

“What’s that?” I asked her.

“It’s a quote, from Alice and Wonderland,” she said. “I read it, and thought of you. It’s a beautiful description of ‘our’ lives.”

How right she was. The world is a rat race enough alone, but to end up in a city like New York and an industry like mine.. Well.. Ha, you do have to run twice as fast.

Her text didn’t draw me a road map to the bright red exit signs or anything, but it did let me know that there was someone out there that had seen the darkness of this dreary place too. And if she had made it out to help someone else, I had to do the same. After all, how does a girl who falls… no… actually jumps willingly down a rabbit hole into chaos, come out unchanged? Well, she really doesn’t. All you can hope for is to come out on the other side in one piece, a little bolder, little wiser and in a better place. And if you're lucky.. with someone who is brave enough and strong enough to accompany you on your next big journey.

4 comments:

Southern said...

You know the thing about the rabbit hole is until you get to the bottom, you cant start your way back out

Jordi said...

In the last four or so years, you have become a really good story teller. I'm never sure how much is real, but it is a good story. To me, that's something to be proud of.

Warren Wallace said...

There's nothing quite like a good dose of brutal honesty. Thanks for sharing. You work in a real competitive industry where people have to make a lot of sacrifices to be successful, so it's understandable that it sometimes takes it's toll on you emotionally, and physically. Hang in there and take care of yourself. Do your best to be honest with yourself, and try not to get lost in the madness of the world you work in. I've always found that I can depend on my close friends and family to help me out of the rabbit hole, and it sounds like you can as well.

Ray said...

Rabbit hole dark and deep
Safely keep
Baby rabbits as they’re born
Eyes closed, hairless, all forlorn

Rabbit hole dark and deep
Safely keep
Little rabbits growing older
Curious rabbits getting bolder

Rabbit hole dark and deep
Safely keep
Wandering rabbits escaping the hunt
Free from foxes, wolves and hounding hunks

Rabbit hole dark and deep
Safely keep
Older rabbits recovering & resting
Readying to charge the cabbage patch again

Rabbit hole dark and deep
Safely keep
Rabbit dreams as they sleep;
Awake to a new day’s magic harvest to reap.