“Land of the Misfit Toys”
Recently I hosted a recovery meeting at my house. A couple of my male friends from my home group and I were taking another couple of men through some step work and we gathered around my dining room table to read from the “Big Book” and have them underline passages and look words up etc…
These step meetings center around the first three steps of the twelve steps of recovery and they can take about four hours. If I am involved in these third step meetings, as we call them, I will generally feed people, and though it is serious business, it is always an intimate and enjoyable process that brings everyone involved closer together.
This particular meeting struck me, because as I sat my table surrounded by these men, I was momentarily overwhelmed. All four of them are first responders. They are either law enforcement or veterans and at least two of them have some form of post-traumatic-stress-disorder and so do I, though for a very different reason.
I was overcome as I looked around my dining room table at these somewhat gruff, but lovely men and felt an odd sense of belonging. Here I was, this mainline soccer mom, sitting dwarfed alongside all this masculine pain and I was utterly at ease. It struck me then that we were all God’s broken people and we were all so beautiful in our imperfection.
In recovery, I have had the opportunity to meet myself for the first time and have begun to break out of all the molds I and society had tried to cram myself into. I feel like I have had and have allowed myself to have so many labels over the course of my lifetime. I care now to be as label-less as possible. I want to be simply “Fiona” because that one label encompasses so much all on its own and continues to grow in its own scope daily.
I don’t fit in anywhere anymore except among the misfits and it is rather glorious. To be free of the molds means I see myself differently now and therefore I see others differently also. For the most part, I try to suspend judgment and not place people in boxes or label them until I have actually talked to them. Until I have connected with them on some level, I want to keep my mind open as much as I can to meet them spirit-to-spirit and not place them where society tells me they should be placed.
Once I was able to start doing that I began to meet a range of people I had never given the time of day to before. It was like discovering new colors and sounds I’d never seen or heard. The scope of my vision and hearing expanded and people looked and sounded more attractive to me. They became works of art in all their flawed humanity.
I think often now about how many years my senses were shut down. I think of how many lovely people I walked by in my life, never bothering to give them the time of day because of some pre-conceived notion, label or mold I had already placed them in. I won’t waste my time on the “what ifs”, but concentrate instead on honing my senses to being as open as they can be so that I can welcome others to the kind shores of the land of the misfit toys.