bottled up

We all have stories to share, but more often than not we compel ourselves to to keep them bottled up. All of those emotions, regrets and failures and mistakes, the things we wish we would have said or things we wish we could have done differently, those things that impact us in such a way that they become part of us. These things become ingrained into the fabric of who we are — they influence how we perceive those around us, how we interact with those closest to us, how we perceive ourselves, what we choose to share and who we choose to share it with. The heaviest of those things we choose to keep to ourselves, and over time, they inevitably chip away at us from the inside out. We all have these things, we all know this, and yet, we all choose to keep it bottled up.

me & wine

I have a love affair with wine — I love everything about it. And for a few years now, I’ve slowly amassed a modest little collection of wines. Bottles that I somehow rationalized to myself that I’d buy, forget it for a few years and then find a special occasion to drink it. But my problem has become that I cannot justify any sort of special occasion to open any of them, and there’s no way in hell I’m going to open one because I’m bored and it’s Tuesday night and I have nothing to drink.

you, Me & opening up: I’ll go first

This part is for you — I need your help, and actually, you need your help. I’m looking for people who have those aforementioned things bottled up that deep down they know they need to let go of, talk about, get the weight off their shoulders — use whatever analogy you want, but there’s some shit you’ve been dealing with and you feel like you can’t talk about it, that no one wants to listen to you, or you don’t know how to talk about it.

Full disclosure: we both know I’m not a therapist. From the time I was old enough to start internalizing thoughts and emotions, I did — I never wanted to talk to anyone about the things that effectively led to years of depression. I didn’t know how to, and I didn’t necessarily feel as though I had the right or best kind of avenues to do so — I was a kid getting punched in the stomach over and over by life and I didn’t know how to deal with any of it. My mom always told me that I bottled things up, and those things grew with me into adulthood. And after life happened, I recognized that I needed to talk to someone — I spent two years in counseling just learning how to talk to someone.

You wouldn’t be reading these words if it weren’t for something my son said to me. Being a parent is hard. Trying to be a good parent is harder. Being a kid is hardest. My son was learning lessons like most kids do, and not every lesson a child learns is a happy lesson — sometimes attitudes and emotions get the better of a preadolescent 11 year old boy when they’re sent to their room — but that’s life. For some very brief context, this wasn’t his first rodeo — he’d been on the circuit for way too long, and it seemed like he was bound to keep making the same mistakes and he continuously lied about them. There’s a thin line between my perception of him making an honest effort as he learns these life lessons and him simply not giving a shit.

I walked into his room to check on him once I thought he had settled down. He was sitting in the middle of his floor with his back to the door, lights off with just a little dappled sunlight trickling through the blinds. As I sat down next to him, I didn’t have the chance to speak before he broke down. It was one of those heavy cries that steal your breath. But through his tears, he said, “I just want to kill myself.” I lost it. I started crying with him, I held him, I felt so fucking powerless as his father because I didn’t know how to make it better.

That’s just one example, but I’ve got so much bottled up, things that I wrestle with and internalize, things that I know I need to talk about before they begin to consume me.

Your turn.

in the spirit of sharing

What I want from you is for you to drink my wine with me, tell me a story and get some shit off your chest, and let me document and share it. The wine is what brings people to the table — the vessel that puts people at ease and allows two people to come together to share in an experience with one another. Over the course of a bottle of wine or two — and it’s some damn good wine, trust me — we’ll share stories and I will ask you very direct and difficult questions. Questions that will be potentially uncomfortable for you to openly discuss, questions that will evoke all sorts of emotions, questions to things that you know you need to talk about. I’ll take some pictures, and no, not all photographs of you ugly crying. I’ll take notes. I’ll write about it. And then I’ll share it with others in the hope that it might afford someone else the opportunity to share something that they know they shouldn’t keep bottled up.

If you’re interested in putting those things out there over a bottle of really, really good wine, then please email me — I’d love to talk, and I’d love to listen.