Woo fucking woo

Well, here I am, and there you are. Hello.

About a month or so ago, I drafted a post that was detailing how I came from stubborn apathetic agnosticism to yucking it up in what I call WooWooLand (or more like woowooland). It was turning into a long, meandering essay. I’ll work on that for another time. I’m pretty sure this will turn into a long, meandering essay anyway.

The past 18+ months have been brutal. Over two years ago, I left Chi-town for O-town: the land of Mickey Mouse, tourists that are perpetually lost and can’t drive, tons of South Florida replants, speeders, car wrecks, more Rebel flag sightings that I can count, scary domestic violence reports on local news, lots of  scary, blinding rain, and my dream community that never appeared. Oh, and beaches.

I was drowning in culture shock, of how monochrome everything was, of how really different I was, especially racially. How is it at age 34, coming from Bombingham and Chicago, that race was so much more in my face, beating me around, making me feel less than human? How was that even possible? And then being a grad student, my finances went into a black hole pretty quickly after my first year because I didn’t have stipend support from my fellowship. After many, many, many job searches, I couldn’t find anything. A job found me in August, with its shitty pay and less than desirable work culture. By December, I had to give up my apartment and live in a house with a classmate of mine.

Simultaneously, I had been exploring personal growth/New Age/woo woo shit. I needed support and I wasn’t getting it from anyone except my therapist. I wish I had journaled that experience because it was strange, trying on all these programs that promoted positive thinking and tried to empower people. I look forward to writing about how privilege enables so much of this to happen, and also how it’s so much related to the prosperity gospel that I had run away from when I moved to Chicago from Birmingham. But those experiences and insights will be for another post.

Somehow, I made it through grad school, living with a gazillion people that didn’t really know me but knew each other really well, having a really weird energetic stand-off of a confusing romantic sort with a classmate (I don’t even know if I can write about that, because I still don’t get what happened), turning my part-time job into a full-time job, my thesis advisor pulling the plug on my thesis defense at the last minute, switching thesis advisors and bringing on a new committee member, paying for the summer term, successfully defending my thesis, losing my awful job because my integrity couldn’t stand it, finding a new place to live, losing that place because with whom I was living was mentally unstable and emotionally abusive, getting part-time work for a company in LA, and then setting off on a month-long odyssey around town through airbnb while trying to stay off the streets.

Somewhere inside of me, there is a trashheap of emotions that I’ll eventually need to sort through and identify and then discard again. I’m leaving so much out, like how I didn’t really get along with my classmates, which broke my expectations’ heart, but those are the main lowlights.

A growing silence from people I knew, loved, and cared about tried to choke my humanity and my dignity. It’s still there, but it doesn’t have its grubby hands on my neck any longer. I just accept it and soon it will be

My therapist from school basically kept me alive. I played with suicidal ideation like a cat would play with a dead mouse, just bat it around knowing that things had been unbearable, unlivable, untenable. Life could not go on this way, but hell, I’m resilient, more than most, and I will keep on resilienting, even if I am tired of resilienting.

As I thrust my hands into the fertile earth of a new spirituality, my sessions with my therapist became more about energy and astrology and my intuition and what I felt the Universe was asking me to do (trust, trust, and then trust some more). She told me to check out this metaphysical bookshop near the end of our time together, which lead me to three women doing three different readings, all involving angels. The second woman told me to go to the church that I am attending now, which is Christian, but a different type of woo woo than, say, a charismatic or Pentecostal church would be. Can you say past-life regression? Without choking on the term? Not sure yet, wow, this is pretty fucking woo woo, shit.

But it fits. It really fits. And I don’t have to try. I’m in a church that accepts and embraces everyone. Yes, everyone.

Fast forwarding a bit, I’m at a friend’s house, through church, through a book study that was being held here. They are letting me stay until the end of this month. I sang at church last Sunday. I just had a really good phone interview for a grant writing position at a place that is aligned with my job experience. It was also strange because a woman that I will probably live with, she works in the same field and we had been talking about it two days prior. Strange, or by design, I feel so much more encouraged about my life.

I stupidly look at friends who are 10 years my junior, having seemingly fabulous lives, jobs, loves, families, or at least all the fabulosity that they are allowing through social media. It’s been soul-crushing, because they most likely will not have had to face homelessness twice in a year, or wonder what the point is of listing someone’s name as an emergency contact, or really go through it like I did. It’s stupid to compare, since we all are on different journeys.

One phrase that has stuck with me during my spiritual fumbling around in the dark is this: I am not going through this for nothing: this humiliation, this abandonment, this stripping of things and people and places that I have clearly used to define myself. Who am I outside of a permanent address, a decent credit score, a life partner, a family of my own, a job that helps me fulfill my life purpose and supports me financially, friends, out of all of these things that I want, let alone need.

Let me sound like the spiritual snobs I hate. Maybe all of us are asked, are invited, to answer this question, maybe more than once.  A lot of us will decline the invitation, skim the surface like a speedboat, and then die. And that will be it. Some of us will accept the invitation and dive deep to answer the question. Some of us, circumstantially, will almost be forced to answer the question.

Who am I?

I didn’t set out to have this question asked or answered. I came down here to write a memoir, learn to write better and then enjoy Florida. And I’ve done all of those things, just not in the mathematical-shortest-distance-between-two-points sort of way.

Usually, no one sets out to answer this question. You are invited to answer it. After a year of excruciating inquiry, I can say that I am not my job, relationship status, number of friends, church, amount of money in my bank account (which is currently red). I’m not as stripped of my race, gender, and sexual orientation (yet), but I am stripped, like a beat of piece of furniture, waiting to be refinished.

I can honestly say that if my shit time in O-town hadn’t occurred, I wouldn’t be writing this. I wouldn’t have grown. I’m still be skimming the surface, avoiding the depths, the depths of racism, sexism, class privilege, the things that hamper the lives of millions and millions of people everyday, including my own. The depths of my secret people pleasing masked as severe avoidance. The depths of my depths.

Am I grateful yet? Not fully, not really? The bounty of this fierce harvest has not yet yielded. But it will. I got to the place of being grateful for having a safe place to sleep every night, even if it involved an early police visit (not me, for someone else), of having food to eat, of being clothed. Everything got really present, is really present. I don’t know where I will spend Thanksgiving. I don’t know when I’ll go up to Alabama for Christmas. I don’t even know what’s happening tomorrow besides 4 loads of laundry. And I don’t really care, nor have the time and space to care. The present is all I have.

Cliche, cliche, cliche.

Can’t really get that from everything being as I want it. When everything goes to shit, what do you do?

Well, you get on that woo woo shit, go deeper in it, look at the synchronicities–was that really just a coincidence? You’re seeing 44 and 2:22 and 1:11 on the clock all the time, and 8’s are following you around and you have a lot of private tarot readings with yourself and see what the Universe is saying you should know right now. You keep letting go of all those pesky expectations  you had about your time here, you embrace the people that have been put in your life as fellow travelers and teachers. You hope you’re able to thank those hard ass teachers later, even if you can’t right now.

You finally get to that place of incessant gratitude because you suck at being a self-sufficient adult. You can only be grateful for eating a Hot Pocket, relishing all that hot gooey cheese and cholesterol. You can only be grateful for the apples that your airbnb host gives you as you travel back into town, back to your friends’ house, friends who were concerned about your whereabouts, friends that invited you to stay with them. Even still, you can only be grateful that you got to even experience the green, rolling hills of Lake County, these steep hills of Florida that remind you of home, that call for your return.

You can only be grateful.

One thought on “Woo fucking woo

  1. Pingback: woo (hoo) woo | sun opposite moon

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