I’m still alive–just have been working a lot, which I’m grateful for
, even if the pay leaves a lot to be desired.
What’s been interesting about the work is that I get to choose the topics and in the past three weeks, I have
- a greater appreciation for trees
- a deeper respect for Motown (specifically the Funk Brothers, the exceptional session musicians featured in the doc Standing in the Shadow of Motown)
- a more nuanced view of my journey out of evangelicalism via a podcast on the same topic
- a more complicated, less nostalgic view of what happened in the 1980s (assassinations galore, major disasters, so many plane crashes, the Berlin Wall came down kind of because of a lack of communication (but also a ton of protests and defections?)…seriously, though–so many assassinations and assassination attempts…Grenada invasion was super sketch, but wow, technology improved a lot)
- a bigger disdain of the Bible–seriously, the Old Testament is fuckery AND I really don’t like how Jesus talked to his mother at the wedding in Cana. Being the Son of God does not mean you get to sass your mom in public when she asks you a question.
- a larger knowledge of how evangelicals and others view the Rapture and the end-times–had no idea eschatology was even a thing until last month,
- a greater desire to travel the world, and
- a deeper sadness and utter frustration over what’s happened over sub-saharan post-colonial Africa. For example, The Gambia was basically created around a river for the slave trade?! What?! And there were Ebola health workers killed in Guinea because people thought white folks were going to harm them, and well, it’s hard to blame them, but again–colonialism caused this shit.
With the above, I’ve been able to quell at least one of the two constant miseries I had–poverty of money. Being broke was really fucking with my head because of course it was.
And now that I’m not as broke, and I have a bit of a routine, I feel less buffeted by stress and more clear-headed.
New knowledge and reckonings aside, I’ve found, or re-found, my new but old companion is music. I am getting clear(er) about its importance in my life. I’ve written about this before here, how I keep forgetting its importance in my everyday life, listening to it.
Now I’m at the point that I want to be making music… but not sure what that’s going to look like, but I hope a year from now, I’m not just writing about this desire.
Yet even as I sit here, I’m starting to see how I missed so much in my youth by not having my parents kindly me in the direction of the arts.
When I was young, I wrote. I played music. But both happened when I was a tween or teen, both of which I wanted to do on my own.
It’s hard for me not to feel like I missed out on some window of not only greatness (yes, that sounds arrogant, but both writing and music come a lot easier to me than other things) if not just a room of solace and pleasure while my family started to implode.
So yeah, sure…I feel like I’d be a lot further along as an artist–if I’ve going to use that title for myself.
Some of this is stupid to think about, though. I am now pretty amor fati about where I ended up.
I did (and continue to do) the best I could with what I had.
It’s strange and yet very sensical how much was decided by my parents–what I believed, what I did as a child and when I did it. Even leaving the house to go to college–that was still throttled by my parents.
But I’m almost 41 now. My parents definitely do not have control over my life. But the fingerprints of what they did and did not do still mark my life.
So now, I’m thinking about what I want as my life’s center. It’s been survival for so long, but that isn’t really enough to get me up in the morning.
It used to be the Church, which almost made it easy for me to check out on or table my own desires.
And then it was relating to people, which was probably some leftover hangover from Church.
And then, as I keep saying here and over and over, people kept leaving.
So what makes me happy?
What would my life look like if I just focused on the things (and people) that make me happy?
And this isn’t about blind hedonism. I’m definitely not one to avoid discomfort or challenges. It’s about balance, along with just realizing I do have some choice and power.
One bad habit I picked up in church was to hang in there a bit too long for the “greater good”, a greater good that never arrived. I put up with people, places, things and ideas that I would never choose otherwise.
So between my evangelical upbringing and my autocratic parents (the two are tightly related), there were decisions that I never had the freedom to consider. One of them was that I could make my life about what I want to do, not just about what is the right thing to do.
There’s a tension here, because I do have some power and control, and yet I recognize that I don’t have that much.
When I dance with Fate, who is leading?
This autumn, I realized I was waiting around for things to get better and that in some ways I had been doing this my whole life.
Another bad habit picked up from evangelicalism.
One inherent belief I’ve had that I’ve never really challenged is that things, mainly the things out of my control, always tend to work out…well, do they? And what “things” do I want to happen? How am I helping them to come into being? And are they the “things” that I truly want?
Maybe I have a little more control than I thought. Maybe the Universe is waiting for me to act differently. Maybe the way I look at divinity in general is wrong.
Maybe life is more random than I thought. Maybe I’m just incredibly unlucky.
I didn’t think that I was just floating through life, but since this year of 40 has been a heart-rendering and embarrassing failure, I 1) understand why we believe in deities because 2) so much of life is not in our control.
It’d be nice to think there was Someone who had your back, no matter what.
But there’s some freedom in knowing that maybe there really isn’t (OK, I have guides and angels I chat with, but I mean like a Supreme anything)…
I can’t really control most people or circumstances. A lot of life’s unfairness is based on some really stupid shit that isn’t worth worrying about since I can’t control or change it. And that sounds like I don’t care about social ills like poverty. But I mean this more on a smaller scale–like how the landlady here may mean well, but there’s still things left undone in this house.
The Serenity Prayer really makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it?
Today, I went into the bedroom of that subhuman piece of shit who used to live here. The Russian kid moved out a couple of weeks ago. He left the door wide open.
The room still had the faint but insistent smell of cheap cigarettes–and that’s after it had been professionally cleaned.
I had been haunted by that room–and part of me still is. Evil definitely lived and flourished there.
But I felt compelled to face my fears. I went in and sprayed a juniper sage smudging spray–copiously. Then I sprayed it all over the house, including my room.
Living with that pathetic, bony sack of fuckery…I can’t believe that I ever did and that he’s really gone. I can’t believe what I’ve endured this year at all, really–but how peaceful I feel in the aftermath.
For my own psyche, I knew I needed to go in there today and face the space that tortured me for months. All that was left was the light of a setting sun, a couple of hangers, and some random things in the closet.
There was a lot I couldn’t control in that situation–being yelled at, smoked on, and ultimately ignored by the owners without receiving due compensation.
But he did eventually leave, because I forced the issue. And I’m really proud of that.
I didn’t plan on this being a normal-length-for-me blog post. I just haven’t had the time, energy, or space to devote to writing here. And I’m taking a bit of a social media break until the new moon in Capricorn for now.
There’s so much more to ponder and consider, now that it seems like I’m done mourning my circumstances. The clarity of thought and feeling is just pouring through now.
For now, what gets me up in the morning is curiosity. And, I feel very repetitive right now, like I’m ending this blog post in a way I’ve ended it before, so forgive me if you’re a long-time reader and know where this is going…
This story is continually unfolding, as all of our stories are. And I’m not yet sure how this main character is going to pull this caper of having a good life off.
But I’m rooting for her, hard.
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