I’ve written a lot in the past week, and if you’re a patron of my blog, then you read about the adventure I took last week. That’s all to say, I’m a little written out (and yet, I’m sure I’ll find the words for this week’s blog post!).
The original goal of this blog was to chronicle all the supernatural and spiritual phenomena that happens to me. That would have been a daily blog, honestly–it’s been too much to keep up with. And I feel very fortunate to say that. I was telling a friend the other day that I’ve gotten used to daily signs, so I’d be afraid if I suddenly wasn’t getting any signs.
One thing I’ve been learning while I’ve been seemingly stuck in a house with two older white men who are not in the best health, mentally or otherwise, is how to healthily detach from unhealthy situations.
That wasn’t really the goal, though.
Usually, my goal in a tough circumstance, is to get out of it ASAP. I think that’s how most people are. But a lot of times, we can’t, for whatever reasons.
A lot of times, we’re in transition from an undesirable place to a more desirable place.
So what should you do while you make this journey from here to there?
The very first thing to do is to accept where you’re at. And maybe this is where the somewhat annoying and inaccurate adage, “Suffering is optional” actually makes sense.
So much of life is really undefined, and lived on the way to somewhere. We get a glimpse ahead, and that’s about it. Only a step or two is illuminated ahead.
As you journey through life, trying to get to a more palatable place, there’s a point that complaining about where you’re currently at only drains and further depresses you. It only makes you feel more stuck.
Wishing you were somewhere else doesn’t get you to somewhere else any quicker.
Accepting where you’re at is also a way to assess things more rationally.
Sometimes acceptance involves a lot of investigation.
Have I done all I can within these circumstances? Are these barriers systemic? Is it worth the energy to pursue this path?
While I was away, I had a convo with my friend about my housing situation, and it just dawned on me how white culture of keeping up appearances is why things haven’t changed around here, after months of complaints.
The landlady and the other guy I call the shut-in–they both have told me that they want the creep gone. But if you saw their interactions with him, you’d never know it. They are chipper and cheerful, accommodating and welcoming.
Ultimately, they enable someone who is a narcissist, with poor boundaries and entitlement issues, actively psychotic, and, ultimately–just an unkind and selfish person.
So really, that’s really something I can’t fight against–at least by myself. Really, the only remedy is to leave–which is exactly what I was working on last week, and for the past few months.
Once you accept where you’re at, then you can make plans for change.
Now that you have a better sense of where you’re at, what you’re capable of, what your resources are, then planning for change is a lot easier. But even then, there could be bigger things going on than you can see or perceive.
Like, you know…your spiritual growth. No, really.
Financially, I always have just enough to stay here and pay my bills. It’s madness, because my expenses are very low. Like I know how to make money…or so I thought.
I don’t want to get into the woo-woo/metaphysics about why I’m a bit stuck, because that involves, in my opinion, a lot of self-blame. And I think a lot of it just doesn’t take into consideration societal influences. It assumes a lot of white privilege.
Some of the stuckness has happened because that freelancing is hard, period. I keep kind of saying this plaintively (it’s pretty whiny), that I didn’t sign up for the freelance life. But I’ve realized that whether I signed up for it or not, I need to start treating it as something that isn’t going to go away for a while.
So I may as well make the best of it.
Making the best of it involves ridding myself of ignorance. Freelancing is a business. I have my own business now. So I’ve been learning the business side more in the past few weeks. I’ve had to be patient with myself because I want to rush ahead and get to the better place–not only because I learn quickly, but because–well, poverty sucks.
And some of it is just bad luck–I lost a major client a few weeks ago, and things haven’t improved since then, which brings me back to the first point: freelancing is hard.
And there’s just the obvious barriers that I don’t even think about–race and gender. I don’t think about them much at all since they aren’t things I can change. But I know they play into this mess a lot.
Because of the stuckness and a real lack of momentum, I’ve had to dig deep spiritually. I hate to use the cliché, “grow where you’re planted,” but…ta da, that’s me.
I still don’t feel like I’ve gotten where I need to be spiritually. I’m closer, though…
When you accept where you’re at, you’re better able to see what you can push back against and what you need to work around.
When I came back from my adventure last week, I had already discovered that all my clothes reeked of cigarette smoke, so I wasn’t surprised that my room smelled terribly of cigarette smoke. It’s something I will eventually mention to this lazy landlady.
I was so disgusted that I also decided to investigate and see if legal action was an option. And as I had suspected, really, it’d be so much cheaper and easier to move.
Through all of that, I didn’t feel as anxious as I usually would. Even though absolutely nothing has changed circumstantially, I have some deep, (hopefully) lasting peace.
So when things don’t change circumstantially, after taking more traditional courses of actions, usually that means there’s something bigger here to learn or grow in/through/beyond.
I’m not happy to be here, nor am I happy to learn these lessons in this way. But at the very least, knowing that there’s something bigger and better happening here, it makes it easier to not GAF about whatever the creep is doing or not doing.
It’s easier to not take this personally. It’s easier to focus on what makes me happy, right now.
And then it’s easier to use the energy I’d use fretting and internally raging to focus on where I want to go next.
As I make that shift in my perspective, I’m really tired emotionally. And I have to figure out what will fill me back up. I caught up TV shows like The Good Fight and The Americans. I haven’t had much space for emotionally intense dramas. TV really isn’t an escape when it only reminds you how hard your own life is.
It’s also shifting focus, from survival mode to…”You know what? I am capable of leaving here, with my sanity and dignity in tact.”
And that takes time.
Even what I’m listing out here, I wouldn’t call it a linear process. Acceptance is not a one-shot deal. It’s a daily practice. Assessing your situation happens on a continual basis.
Even if you’re in some unbearable holding pattern, you have to have faith that things will change. Whether it’s by your own hand, or divine intervention (it’s usually a combination of the two), change is coming.
Change is always coming.
It’s hard to keep the faith when you feel emotionally tapped, but you have to start to look at what’s going on around you. There are signs.
For example, the more spiritual practices that I do, it seemed like things actually got worse here. The worsening wasn’t some sign to stop doing what I was doing. To me, it was a sign to keep going.
It’s like in a video game, when you’re trying to beat the boss, and right before he dies, he gets really desperate and will try everything to stop you from beating him. It can be almost wildly dangerous right before they are beaten.
Things got worse here when I asserted boundaries. They continued to worsen as I kept asserting my boundaries.
But I’m not going to stop. Having healthy boundaries is great and necessary.
And that part, to me, is done. There’s not much else that is going to change unless the creep decides to leave out of his own free will.
There’s no more reason to push, to be attached to these people.
Now I have to look forward.
Maybe the deliverance will be conventional–I’ll find a client that pays more than the former one. Or I’ll find a new full-time job.
Or maybe it’ll be unconventional. I’ll get an invitation to do something or to go somewhere.
Or it could a mix of both. Who knows?
What helps here is to get curious about what happens next.
Doom and despair can leave you feeling like the road stretched out before you never ends, never changes. It’s the seemingly never-ending hellscape scenery.
But, it’s not really true. And this isn’t even me talking about having some gratitude exercise or appreciate every good thing in life.
Sometimes, we just don’t have the space for that. So, maybe, you can just think: I wonder how tomorrow will be different. Who will I talk to? What will I learn? What will I experience?
This practice of curiosity has kept me alive. As a writer, I see myself in this story, as the main character, and I want to know what happens next to me.
When will she finally get out of this house? What job lead is going to pan out? Will she ever get her HEA? Who is she going to meet this year?
How will she be different a month from now? Six months? A year? Five years?
I keep picturing myself like some spiritual Houdini, like I’ve put myself in a straitjacket, hung myself upside down, in a water tank. The water is rising and I’m just wriggling, wriggling, wriggling, trying to free myself.
No pressure. ALL PRESSURE.
So. I’m here, with three people, including the grandmother who lives in the mother-in-law suite next door.
They are all living the twilight of their lives. Probably the next place they will live is in a nursing home…or hospice.
And that’s when I feel the doom and the hopelessness starting to rise. It’s scary to think that nothing will change, that I will be stuck here in this de facto old folks’ home, barely scraping by. They are so much closer to the end of it all. And I feel like I just started, at age 40.
Spiritually, I feel like I have endured and fought so much fucking nonsense to get to this space of…I get it. I finally get it.
I know what matters to me. I know what I’m about. I know what kind of people I want around me. I know what I’d want my family to look like. I know where I want to live and grow and thrive. I know how to keep better boundaries.
I know. I know. I know. And life is so short. I feel like I’ve wasted so much time…waiting, fighting, longing…
And I’m ready to apply this knowledge, to leave what so many call “God’s Waiting Room.”
My time has not yet come.
So sometimes, the suffering comes from feeling like there is so much more out there for me, and that these old folks are somehow in the way of my happiness.
It’s so easy to be angry, hurt, and sad–for very practical reasons. This housing situation is frighteningly and unreasonably absurd.
But then again, it’s also just the way it is. I can accept and even embrace the absurdity of living with someone who looks like the grim reaper.
Ultimately, the real question is this: do I want to give these people any power over me?
And the real answer is: no.
Eventually, I just have to say, and repeatedly say to myself, these people don’t matter, at all. What matters is me and my happiness.
The only harmony and peace found here will be within my own heart.
And that journey, even before I leave here, is the most important one I need to take right now.
So acceptance, assessment, allowing growth, planning, and curiosity…those are the things that are finally sustaining me as I journey to a better place. And I hope they will sustain you, as you travel from here to there.
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