December 5, 2020 by Molly Patrick

Smelly chair

When we stop running from our feelings and feel them instead, we learn a whole lot.

I wouldn’t call this activity “enjoyable,” but it has helped me continue to live the life that I want, instead of one that is chiseled out of a constant state of reaction.

When you really start to face your shit, all the walls that you’ve built up over the years to protect yourself begin to crumble. And while the process might not be enjoyable, I believe that my life is more enjoyable because of it.

When I first quit drinking, there was a chair in my living room that I called my “Embrace the Suck" chair. Luanne and I were living in Arizona in a tiny house the size of a matchbox. We had no AC, and the summers would sometimes reach 115° F (46° C).

We were committed to making Clean Food Dirty Girl successful and, in order to do that, we both had to work on it much more than full time. And to do that we couldn’t get traditional jobs. And because we didn't have traditional jobs, we had just enough money to pay our rent, pay our bills, and buy essential groceries each week. We had a bed and a couch in our tiny house, but no other furniture. Because you don’t buy furniture when you can barely afford groceries.

Early one morning, I left the house to go for a walk, and that’s when I spotted it. Discarded right next to the dumpster across the street from our house sat a big beautiful chair. I crossed the street to take a closer look. This chair was magnificent. It had a gorgeous wooden frame, and a thick futon sat on top of the frame. It was so deep and wide that it could easily fit two people. The frame had hinges so you could lay it flat and turn it into a small bed. It was sturdy and expensive looking, and I wanted it! The only problem was, it stank SO BAD.

The chair smelled so strong of cat spray and cat pee that as soon as you were a few feet from the chair, the aroma would waft into your nostrils, stinging them as it entered. But the chair was so lovely. But it smelled so bad. But it would be so comfy. But damn it, it really did reek. But it was so nice. But I literally gagged when I got close to it. But it was probably custom-made. But what bodily fluids, cat or otherwise, were hidden in the inner workings of the futon? But I wanted a chair. Fuck it. I would make this chair mine.

I called for Luanne, and together, we wrestled it over to our house, gagging all the while. We left it outside and began the cleaning process. It took a few days of thorough cleaning and sunning before it smelled good enough to come inside our house and find its new home by the tiny shed window in our living room / bedroom / dining room.

This chair wasn’t called the “Embrace the Suck” chair because we were so broke that we had to get our furniture from dumpsters, no, no. It was called the “Embrace the Suck” chair because the morning I found that chair also happened to be the first morning of my sobriety.

From that day forward, as soon as the cravings for alcohol hit (which were frequent and intense), I would sit my ass in that big, beautiful, smelly chair, and I would sink into the suck (and whatever else ungodly things were in that chair).

It wasn’t a wallowing, “poor me” vibe. It was more of a “this is when I would normally drink and instead, I’m going to sit in this chair and feel all the feelings bubbling up to the surface that weren't allowed to bubble up when I drank” vibe. It was hard. It was weird. It was painful. It was empowering.

My walls came down and that chair held it all.

Over on the blog today I’m bringing back Erica Williams for a December check-in. We talk a little about food, but mainly we talk about being a human person in the month of December in the year 2020. The topic of crumbling walls came up in our chat, and I was reminded of my “Embrace the Suck” chair.

I no longer have that chair, we got rid of it when we moved to Hawaii, but I will always be grateful that it found me right when I needed it.

The world works in mysterious ways, and sometimes the things we need to help us through show up in the unlikeliest of places.

Meet me over on the blog because where we’re also giving you a whole food plant based chocolate peanut cookie recipe.

Molly

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