BABY PLAYS IN DIRT & DAD GOES TO REHAB

Yesterday afternoon was so warm you could go shirtless. The baby and I walked around town and when we got back we were both thirsty so we drank from a glass mason jar and went onto the back stoop. The yard is all dirt. Sitting on my lap, she reached down for the dirt and pebbles and weeds and sticks and leaves just like she reaches for everything else. It was Thursday and the week was long and intense and I was tired of resisting her urge to be free so I stood her up, sat her down and watched her claw fingernails into the soft soil. I removed her socks, and pants, and onesie, until it was just EllieRoo and the diaper.

The baby does what the baby wants. Without regard to gender roles or norms or Hollywood influence or hip hop influence or peer pressure. It’s inspiring.

She can sit in the bath tub and say ba-ba-ba while pushing an empty yogurt container around, tracking it’s wake with her other hand. She reaches for the hot water knob. Then cold water knob. Then returns to the yogurt container. As if the world in her head and the world out here are all the same happy, intriguing, fascinating play place.

I need to be less attached to my phone. For my sanity. I can already feel cracks cracking. But mostly for Ellie. I don’t want her to grow up with a dad divided between her and iPhone. I don’t want to replace alcohol addiction with social media. I’m worse than the average millennial checking their phone 85x per day.

I tell myself it’s multitasking. When she’s on the blanket in the kitchen, or in the dirt outside, or in the bath, or asleep on my shoulder—I have my phone out in a place I think she can’t see it. But multitasking is self-deception. I can either be online or here and now. You’re only where your attention is. I’m guilty of this. And have been for the last seven months.

Just like my old ways of daily drinking—wine at 9am, whiskey at 11, and 12:30, and 2, and 4 and on and on—I check my phone first thing at 5:30am. If I could check FB before silencing my alarm, I probably would. In my head, I tell myself a story justifying how my social media usage is essential because I’m an entrepreneur. How it’s the single most effective means to reach people. And how, especially for young artists trying to establish themselves, social media is a tremendously powerful platform. Honestly it feels like half truth, half me telling myself what the fear inside wants to hear.

The thing about Facebook and Instagram and the whole Internet is that there is no end. You never get to the bottom. This is Sisyphus with the boulder on the mountain. This is eternal suffering. Or eternal pleasure. The Internet is an example of what the Buddhists have been saying forever—you don’t get pleasure without pain. They are Siamese twins.

Today is Friday. Four years ago, when drinking was at it’s peak, I tried to give up drinking on Thursdays. Rarely did I make it to 11am. Once I’m done writing this, I’m going to delete the FB and Insta app from my phone. I’ll write and check and respond from my computer. But the anxiety won’t follow me around all day, won’t live in my pocket.

>>>NOTE TO THE READER: The past 8 months of daily diary has been whewwwwww….ups and downs and cycling between and around those two base camps. Actors and musicians giving acceptance speeches say stuff like, I could never have done this without the fans. I don’t know if they mean it, but I sure as hell do. I’m not sure what percentage of me continuing to write is my own inner ambition and mad drive, but reader support is the oft-thrown life vest when I feel like I’m floundering and up to nothing good and wasting my time and amounting to nothing. I want to take a moment and thank all the folks who support me on Patreon. I’m humbled and excited and scared and hopeful and I want you to know how grateful I am.

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