We were there this morning to watch my daughter play softball. This is the first year they actually keep score. Now is the time where they have winners and losers. She will start learning about competition. She will learn that the world is not perfect. Some people are better than you. Some people can achieve more. She hasn't learned yet about what it means to hate yourself, to hate parts of your body. She hasn't experienced much rejection or disappointment. She has two involved parents. For the moment, the world is at her fingertips. She believes everything is possible.
As I sat there in my Cadillac of lawn chairs, I felt completely at ease. I was one of the parents. I was one of the cool kids. I was there cheering my child on as she scored a run. Her dad and I beamed with pride that we had a winner on our hands, even if the game was small in the scheme of life. It was good to be on the winning side because next week might be an entirely different story. She was randomly assigned to this team. Life is a series of random choices that lead to success here. It could be entirely different.
When, it got hot outside, I took off my sweater. I had a tank top on. It is a long grey tank top, long enough to cover the rolls of fat I have gained in recovery. I have tattoos. I am sleeved to my elbows. I got the tattoos to cover up my track marks and scars. Does the world see me like I see myself? Am I Tracey the mom at this game? Or will I always carry the legacy of my years as a street junkie? I used to sit in broken down lawn chairs in alleyways. I used to fit in there. I was 100% comfortable sticking a needle in my arm in the middle of a busy street for anyone to see. Children passed by, getting directed away by their mothers while I wiped the dripping blood with alcohol pads and threw them on the ground. How many times had I sat with my black t-shirts cut off on a hot day picking at sores on my arms while others scurried off to be with their families? What damage did I do to others while I was busy killing myself?
People ask me all the time- what will I tell my children about drugs? My kids know I used to be a homeless drug addict. They don't really understand what it means but I don't keep these facts from them. They know I was in a movie about drugs. They know I spend many nights stuffing envelopes full of medical supplies to people who need help. I don't keep things from them. We discuss my scars. We have open conversations about my weight. I just want them to know that drug addicts are human beings worthy of compassion because that is how I truly feel.
The thing I realize the most in these sometimes awkward situations is that I need to have compassion for myself. I am not the sum of my past. I have gone willingly to many dark places. But that is not where I am today. I cannot forget the past nor can I change it. I accept myself, scars an all because I have no other choice. All my fears, all my anxiety comes from being afraid of this world of what we call "normal" people. The reality is I belong wherever I go because I am enough. I am beautiful, I am capable, I am lovable. So are you. Love yourself today even if you don't like your choices. You are not broken. You are one choice away from a whole different life.
I can relax in my deluxe camping chair because I have earned that comfy seat. I enjoy happiness where I can find it.