How strange to not be hung over today. How interesting it is to have the collection of memories I do from yesterday, my first 4th sober. I’m incredibly pleased with the events of the day, from the uncomfortable and trying to the carefree and happy reunion time that this fine independence day proved to be, I feel positive about yesterday and everything that happened therein.
We started the day early, heading out to Venice beach first thing to ensure a parking space. My past years spent on the beach have shown that every person and their mother enjoy watching fireworks sitting in the sand with the pacific ocean lapping at his or her feet, and this year was no different. Well, the difference was that I actually made it through the fireworks, remember the grand finale, which was indeed grand, and even had the wits to attend a house party on the beach-if ever so briefly. But the ocean was the same, chilly and comforting, one face was the same, my sweet Angle Pie, and one new face, E-Deezy, whose companionship was crucial in the enjoyment of the holiday. This was also his first 4th sober, and it was nice to have the support of another freshly found person to kick it with. Angel was also not drinking, and that was fun because we had no fears in driving home late night. No DUI’s here my friends. Not even possible.
At one point we were walking down the street, Saucy alongside me, and a drunk girl holding onto a pole for dear life started making ewwie gooey faces at Saucerton. We passed quickly, put Saucy in the backyard of a new friends place for safe keeping, and went back onto the beach to secure a good spot for viewing the sky party. On the way back to the beach, the very same “holding onto pole” girl was now “sleeping on sidewalk holding purse and random radio” girl, and the image of this poor woman passed out drunk with party goers and independent celebrants passing by quizzically has stuck with me. I thanked god that moment that I was not that girl….anymore. I have been. I have slept on plenty of sidewalks, front yards, and propped up against tires. Sometimes you are just tired. Sometimes you must go to sleep. Sometimes we drink too much. Yesterday was not that day for me, and I am grateful for this.
The firework display was brilliant, exploding in the shapes of saturn and her rings, in giant sea anemones with sparkling silver and purple tentacles, in squiggly bursts of shining light and in good old fashioned red white and blue balloons of fire. After the display we followed this group of America loving hooligans up the boardwalk, we on our way to a house party and they heading to wherever America takes them, the kids waving and running with huge flags, dancing up the pavement to Michael Jackson’s “Beat it”. They looked as if they’d had a blast, but once again I am glad that last night, I got to be me. Just plain old me.
I ran into a few old friends over the day, still in the industry, and the response to my appearance was pretty similar. The first, an old photographer buddy who almost didn’t recognize me, saying “I think I’ve shot you before, you smoked me out, and I couldn’t get your attention for more than 4 minutes” and I laughed saying “yeah, that sounds about right.” He asked me if I had quit the business, stating that I look years younger than I did when performing and something has changed drastically. I told him a bit of what I’m going through and his eyes said he understood the change taking place, and his words confirmed the look. Two other friends, at the house party later after the show, also mentioned how well I seem to be doing, and it has me wondering if the change in my appearance is so obvious, so obvious that every person around me can see but me. The two buddies later in the day are good friends, surfer boys I am thankful to have reconnected with, and Venice beach residents, so I smell weekends away, and the beach ahead. It’s absolutely wonderful to see old friends with new eyes, and know that there are some people that don’t care whether I’m Penny or Jennie, whether I can drink and smoke them under the table or not. It’s nice to see that old friends can be new friends, and that the friendship really was pure and worthwhile. It means the world to me, and helps me continue this path.
One thing happened during the day that has me a bit edgy today, and that was the thought that I’ve fucked up by moving to Hollywood instead of my beloved beach, with the ocean and the breeze and lighthearted and happy go lucky beachy way of life. As soon as we arrived I remembered how much I love it here, the air, the salt stinging my skin, the sun and the thick marine layer. I thought, “maybe after my year lease is up I can move out here, live back at the beach where I belong, walk the boardwalk and play in the sand.” But as the day went by, and the barely clothed men and women crossed my path, through clouds of marijuana smoke, and the hot smell of booze coming from the streets, I remembered what happens when I live at the beach, what happened when I lived in San Diego, even though it was wonderful, I didn’t progress as a human being. Smoke? yes. Yoga? certainly. Progress? Nil. I will move back to the ocean one day, when I have enough time away from the things that keep me complacent and mediocre, but today is not that day. So a weekend warrior I will remain, at least until there is enough distance between what I very easily fall into doing, and what I know I need to continue doing.
And this is where I am. Today. Right now. Continuing the path I’ve chosen to take. Be it up or down, I am committed to a different and new way of living, trying to remain open and confident, knowing that this is in fact what is best for me.