Dancing on the edge of doom


If you haven’t watched the movie Friends with Money, it’s a movie about a circle of friends where one has been struggling financially, and in love. This character, Olivia, is a maid, and is played by Jennifer Aniston.

I don’t remember the movie much (it came out 2006), but I remember the tension, between Olivia and the rest of her friends. I don’t remember if the movie equivocated her financial struggles to the rest of the group’s struggles–I hope not.

I’ve been wanting to write about how people see money and poverty in this country, but I feel like that may have to be a book, or a blog series. There are too many emotions, too. I want to be clear-headed, and that means maybe I have to be rid of my own financial struggles before I can write about it. But I doubt this will ever be not a loaded topic.

So instead, I’ll write about this morning. I woke up early because I needed to pay a bill before late charges were due. This is also the first month in a couple of months that I didn’t split up my rent. I’m still behind on other bills, so many bills, but it felt good to be able to pay rent on time and the storage payment on time. I wanted to make sure I had enough, that the money that I spent at Target had been deducted. I had planned as well as I could, and I didn’t forget anything, didn’t forget any purchases or automatic deduction. Good, good, good.

I then requested my unemployment insurance, as I do every other Wednesday. I look at the balance and realize that I’m a couple of payments away from being done with it, like this month. I had finally gotten to this place of quasi-stability and now I feel the earth just move under me, moving by my own fears–along with some circumstances.

And then I feel my age. I still feel like I’m 10 years behind where I should be. It’s not the Capricorn demandingness. It’s society’s judgy fingers pointing at me, and it’s just me. It’s not even the (seemingly) lofty dreams traveling abroad or publishing a memoirs. I’m fine, for now, that those dreams seem out of reach. So it’s not that.

What I felt this morning was doom, look at that balance, looking at time having slipped by as I’ve struggled, as I’ve felt like Olivia–like, I have friends, but this is my solo journey out of whatever morass has been.

My last year of my 30s and I’m going into my fourth of unemployment, my fifth of year of living Florida.

What is going on?  

That questions has many answers, and none of them really have comfort for me. So, I won’t go through the litany of that. The answers do not matter and they don’t solve anything. And that it’s doom talking. That’s just reality talking.

I went back to bed, having these conversations with Spirit and the angels–at the very least, I’ve gotten so much better and reaching out to sources that can help, and reaching out to them instantly. Somehow, through a little bit of pragmatism and comfort, I was able to walk back away from the edge of doom.

There are no spiritual blocks. If anything, my heart is painfully, woefully open.

There’s nothing wrong with me. I’ve been busting my ass probably more being sort of underemployed than unemployed. And even if I wasn’t busting my ass, there would still be nothing wrong with me.

Those are the uneasy answers that don’t solve anything. There are others that I can’t control–race, gender, the state I live in currently–and I can talk about them, but again, no comfort, no solutions.

Looking into the chasm of doom, I asked, “Is this all there is?” If it is, life cannot go on at this angle, at this velocity, at this trajectory. Something will need to drastically shift.

And Spirit answered back, “Of course not.”

That’s the condensed version of that conversation. But I believe, even through tears–of course not.

Of course not.

To bring in some numerology–and I apologize that I don’t explain enough here. I’ll do better, starting now–my life path is a 7. Besides that my life is really about the inner journey (perfect for a writer, right?), I had read somewhere that this life path has a lot of struggle. That actually gives me comfort, that I’ve been going through things as part of the 7 life path package.

What’s a 39 year old writer with an MFA doing in pajama pants, in bed, doing, living with two old white male roommates who produce a lot of hair and phlegm and probably poor political decisions? I really don’t know. I’m clearly here to figure that out. Or not. Maybe it’s not meant to be figured out. And maybe this has nothing to do with my value as a person. It probably doesn’t, even as it feels so wrong, and I feel caged up with a lot of wasted, unused potential. Sometimes, I shake the cage.

I admit, living here, being here in this moments, as I hear in between songs the disgusting punctuation of coughs from one of those old roomies–this feels like one of my worst failures, and it’s off the heels of following the biggest dream I’ve ever had: to tell my story. Even if I re-frame living here as a triumph, that this is the longest I’ve lived anywhere in Florida, that this is the picture of stability even as this house as gone under infestations and two owners, that I found this place after living with a very threatened, fearful, abusive woman–it’s still really shitty. It’s still not what I want, barely what I need. It feels like things will never change, or if they change, it won’t be for the better. Somehow, I’ve danced near the edge of doom again.

Is this all there is? Of course not.

This life is not the one I would choose, the extra hard lonely everything life. I’m not really into fate that much, nor do I think we’re all just floating around on free will (and we thank goodness for that). Clearly, it’s some amalgam of the two. But I do feel like this life chose me a bit more than I chose it. I try to lean into that a little bit, the absurdity, the crazy literary part of it (these two dudes were not here when I moved in), the hand-on-my-forehead tragedy of it. It’s my gig. I’m really good at it.

This morning I woke up and it was dark, cloudy. I wasn’t really sure if the sun was going to come out today. It had been forecasted for rain. I had to keep turning the lights on and off as the clouds past. It’s not afternoon, and I can see thin cirrus clouds, and the sky, and the sun, some leaves waving in branches as they are about to let go in a last gasp of death.

I didn’t know the sun would come out today, but it did. So, as I lean into this fated part of my life, just for a little bit, I’m not sure if I have enough of a fight to wait for the sun. But today, I won’t let doom or existential loneliness win. This is the daily battle, and it’s also a daily decision to even put up the fight. That’s what I have control over, no matter who or what is in my life.

What’s funny is that as I pull tarot and oracle cards, the sun is always out, things are always improving. That money is on the way, that lover is tapping me on the shoulder, the celebrations are in tow, a new home has been found, that local community has its arms wide open for me. But as spiritual as my life path is, I’m still earthbound. I still want the physical evidence. But for now,  I only see the empty space that awaits all those things that materialized spiritually. And, as much as I run away from it and hate it, that’s the definition of faith–the waiting around in that narrow liminal space, that in-between time, the dark, grey morning skies before the afternoon sun appears.

I can write it a 100 different ways, but that’s all I have: the same, laborious story of waiting, and the things you do as you wait. And I can only hope that as I continue to re-write it, that someone feels a little less crazy or wrong or forgotten or alone.

Keep waiting. You’ve got to keep waiting.

This is life. This is how it goes. When we get those long hoped-for things, they will replaced with new long hoped-for things, and we can only hope that we’ll be grateful, that we won’t forget how it was like being in this particular, cramped narrow hallway; that when we get to that new expansive room, we can breathe in that new air deeply, with deep and solemn gratitude.

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