true success

miguel-bruna-704166-unsplash

Photo by Miguel Bruna on Unsplash

I had my weekly coaching session with my business coach yesterday, and it was a humbling experience because I felt like I had run out of runway to take my life in the direction that I have wanted to for so long.

My writing business has taken a while to recover from losing an anchor client back in April. So for going on five months now, I’ve been trying my best to get a new one. Technically, this anchor client would be my coach: we barter writing services for coaching services.

But I have tunnel vision–no, myopia, about this goal.

And that’s a typical Capricorn–get that money!

But I am miserable.

And it’s not just because of limited funds. It’s that life has become about this one thing, and the rest of me is resisting–and rightfully so.

my precious

Last week, my coach and I talked about scheduling my time better (something that came up around this time last year). And I didn’t do anything about it last week because somehow time got away from me. 🙄

I dealt with the pressure of time pretty well last year. I was having these low-key panic attacks over writing, waiting until the last minute to get things done. I sought out an astrologer, we worked on those issues, and then I had more structure.

But then I slowly got out of the habit of having structured time to do the things I want and need to do.

Being so driven for one thing has made me dull. What am I outside of this one goal, outside of what is, or isn’t in my bank account?

I’ve quoted Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club before, but this quote really reminds me of what I am.

You are not your job, you’re not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You are not your fucking khakis. You are all singing, all dancing crap of the world.

This individuation from old coping mechanisms–chiefly delaying gratification to the point that I never get any when tasks are done–it’s painful, but it’s also one that makes me laugh because this is when I feel like the all singing, all dancing crap of the world.

Coping mechanisms work until they don’t. I’m not sure how long I’ve been running on fumes, but I’ve reached the point that effort alone isn’t enough. Working hard isn’t getting me anywhere because I feel terrible and self-defeated about it. It’s an inescapable ouroboros of misery, a leminscate of terror.

When I reach out to people about business opportunities, it almost feels like I am tossing coins in a fountain, just wishing for something to come back. But I’m putting in much more effort and intention in every email and contact request I make.

Why can’t I give myself any credit for that skillful effort?

Sure, I can rewind back to how my parents were hypercritical of me, how they rarely gave me praise for any good I did. Their brittle view of their little girl and firstborn was one that already interfaced with my unyielding, intense, and, at times, cruel way I looked at myself.

Yet my “inner mean girl” never seems to be hurling insults and epithets at me–well, not that often. It’s more that she withholds any credit, any praise, any celebration of success. If I do celebrate, it seems stupid because it’s not the big win. That’s all that matters to me.

And what an empty life that is. It’s not self-discipline. It’s self-deprivation.

No carrots, just sticks.

Business is actually picking up, but I am acting like I’m going to go through my own personal recession again. The fear keeps me on this treadmill of terror. I keep running, running, running…and getting nowhere. I’m lost in a labyrinth of longing and loss.

I’m just tired, sweaty, and sore–and for all the wrong reasons.

And to my credit–having a successful business isn’t for some deep personal reason. I’m still doing this because there aren’t any other options right now. This is it. This is about survival. I am committed, whether I want to be or not–but I want to be.

What’s interesting about all this, too–this is all happening in the background. It’s subliminal messaging I’ve given myself probably for my whole life. It worked for a while, being this driven and merciless to myself.

But not anymore.

My coach asked me what success looks like–without this big win that I’m obsessed with.

It was laughable but ultimately sad because I didn’t think I was that successful.

My coach pressed back with questions: well, what about finishing your client work on time? What about following up on emails from prospective clients? How many people did you reach out to last week?

The problem is a lot of what I do just ends up disappearing into the ether of time. I don’t keep track. They are just tasks or events that occur, and I move onto the next.

I can only seem to congratulate myself for tough wins, like when I finished this project over the weekend that seemed to be mired in doubt and confusion from the client. So I just decided to finish it and hope for the best.

The client accepted the work and gave me a 5-star review. And here’s the GIF I used to celebrate:

YES

I celebrated that win on Twitter today, but according to my coach, I should be celebrating much more often.

And back to how I grew up–we didn’t really celebrate much of anything, not even my birthday after a while.

But I am tired of feeling like life is a slog when it comes to my everyday life. If life is about the journey, not the destination, then it’s time to start acting like that. It’s time to start embracing the bulk of my life.

So my homework for this week is to schedule my time so I can start doing more of the other things I love–like tarot and astrology professional development, writing professional development, and journal about my work day.

Astrologically, I realized today that there’s a lot of restructuring (Saturn) and healing (Chiron) that has been going on in my life for the past few months. It’s uncomfortable, painful, and even embarrassing sometimes.

A lot of old hurts and wounds are being drawn to the surface for healing. But the timing isn’t quite right yet. But that’s OK. Healing is still in progress.

What’s funny is that so many times as I’ve been working to get to a place of OK to better, I always think–now the real healing is going to begin. I’ve finally arrived! But there are always layers, layers which have served as protection for a battered and weary heart.

The healing journey is never-ending, but it does get easier, because eventually there are less layers, even if we accumulate new hurts and wounds along the way. And also–we accumulate wisdom and other therapeutic tools to keep us safe and to help us heal more quickly.

This time, I’ll say again that this seems like I’m in the inner chambers of all that I’ve endured and what’s befallen me…and letting the weight of all the years just all fall off of me. I wish it was some dramatic reveal, like a slinky evening gown that I could shrug off.

And that’s because I’m impatient. And rightfully so. It’s been a constricting time–not only by circumstances, but my own almost grandiose ambitions and expectations I have for myself.

I hate to glorify suffering, but I can at least see some semblance of sanity woven through the last six years of my life. It’s like what I said last time, how my heart has expanded with empathy. I feel so much more connected to my fellow human beings because I’ve been so much closer to my dusty existence than the loftier life of the mind.

I didn’t have to choose that empathy, though. And I didn’t all the time. Sometimes I chose bitterness and entitlement–and sometimes I felt those choices were unavoidable and inevitable. Even still–choice or no choice–I want to choose differently now.

And failing over and over, but still rebounding and trying again after each failure–sure, that’s part of my journey as a double Capricorn, trudging up and sometimes falling down the mountain. But so is triumph, the mountaintop view.

That brings me back to what I believe success is. It’s not the just the glittery, glorious triumphs, the accolades, the praise and the parades.

It’s the gritty rebound.

It’s picking yourself up out of the mud and trying again. It’s letting people help you get up again. It’s helping others get up and keep going.

So it brings tears to my eyes to admit this to myself for the first time: my time in Florida has been extremely successful, that my life is a glittering, glorious success.

It’s time to feel good, and proud, about that.

feel good SOM

If you liked what you’ve read, I’d love your support as a patron on Patreon. Tiers starts at just $1/month. I blog about things that I don’t post here.

If you want to give a one-time gift or monthly gift, hit me up on Paypal.

Thanks for your support! 💘

 

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the book

2017-07-18 18.29.16I need to write a book.

So says two astrologers, a medium, and two intuitives, over the past few years.

I’ve written two books. One is my master’s thesis, which I haven’t touched in 4 years.

The other is a hopefully literary romance novel, which I I wrote during grad school and two rounds of #NaNoWriMo.

The novel needs major revisions and time. And I need to start doing that this month.

And this kind of writing is really important, to me, and to my life purpose. One intuitive told me recently that my guides said copywriting was “too mechanical.”

I agree, but…here’s the healthy fear–trying to create a living for myself.

It seems like I’m looking at a washed out bridge and being told to cross over to this land of creative writing…which I left when I graduated from grad school. I never thought of this as a viable profession.

The memoir…I don’t think I can publish that until my parents pass. I am sure that I have four years and counting of wisdom that would re-work that memoir anyway. That’s a life’s work.

I do know the steps I need to take with the romance novel. This is what I learned in grad school.

Revise, revise, revise. Start looking for an agent. Start pitching to publishers.

I don’t think I’m being told to just drop everything and start doing that, too. I still have to support myself. Eventually, supporting myself will happen.

Right now, though, supporting myself is the main priority/anxiety. And it’s consuming me–although not as much.

It’s a lot of work to connect with people and convert them into clients, especially when you need the work now now now.

Things are looking up, though. And at this point, I need to get out of the fear of screwing this up.

I need to just start doing something, like revising that romance novel this week.

This is a part of myself that I used to not be in touch with as a kid. And I met someone recently who also was really into writing as a kid, but feels like that’s all behind him now.

For his sake alone, I hope that isn’t true. In my 30s, I went back to writing, to the daydream of working with a steaming cup of coffee, in my PJs, with a typewriter. Thank goodness the typewriter doesn’t need to be a part of this dream now, but I’m pretty close to what I wanted to do.  And I have no regrets about retrieving those very precious parts of myself.

I had a conversation with an old friend last night who I had no idea was a creative. I have known her for at least a decade and that’s because we sang together at church. So I only knew about her musical side.

Specifically, in her younger years, she was into acting and dancing. She loved musical theater when she was younger but didn’t pursue it in college.

I was so excited to hear that she was getting back in touch with those creative parts of herself that she had abandoned after her mother’s death when she was a little girl.

I’ve had Lyz Lenz’s piercing essay about the importance of writing during times of despair, like what’s going on in America…like what’s going on in the world. It’s a great essay and you should read it.

I’ve journaled to make sense of ineffable pain and suffering. I’ve written to beg someone to come back to me. I’ve written introductions and conclusions. I’ve written a myriad of letters by hand. I’ve typed thousands of emails.

I’ve written about myself here and elsewhere–and rarely has that been uplifting.

But when it comes to fiction, I’ve written mainly for my own pleasure.

I realize I don’t even think about writing like this anymore, so I’m glad it’s back in my view. I should be reading The Rumpus. I should have my writing in The Rumpus.

But life has happened, over and over. That distracting little minx, LIFE.

But also, life has been asking me to write books. So I’ve been ignoring that call. Yet it’s easy to ignore when you’re just focused on trying to survive and create a copywriting business for yourself. I’m starting to see the fruits of my labor recently, too.

But dreams, little girl dreams of writing a novel. I have to feed those hungry dreams now.

But but but…it’s scary, for some reason. To start revising this novel, this means that this wasn’t some writing stunt.

I’m revising it so other people can read it. Publishing. Sending it out into the world. To share.

Unlike here, where the readership is so low, this is like writing in a diary. Although I value every little eyeball that looks at what I write.

I went to school for this. And yet. I really didn’t think I’d be doing anything really special with writing, not for a long time.

But here come these dreams, begging for nourishment.

My fears of rejection (and maybe of success) have to be pushed aside now, fear that seemed to have kept me safe.

Deep down, I’m actually a little excited. I loved the world I created and it was great respite and healing for me as I wrote those characters. It’s just strange to really take this seriously. And that may be the literary snob that has been beaten into me from earning an MFA.

But that’s the thing about writing that I love the most–the world building that ends up nourishing you. And you can only hope that other people will find the same nourishment, the same pleasure, the same solace, the same joy, the same wonder…

Writing is magical and alchemical. Even after doing this on and off since I was a 1st grader, I still don’t understand how it all works.

The connections it creates between people. The worlds that are impacted and created. The characters that we come to know and love as friends and family. The parallels that start to run through a writer’s life and the lives of their characters.

And as I think about it…it’s the creative process that mirrors the natural world, and it puts me more in tune with the earth itself. It’s something so tangible and yet something so immaterial at the same time.

And for you, reading this–I hope that if you’ve let some little children and dreams behind, for whatever reason, that you’re able to retrieve those children and bring them up as your own.

It’s never too late to find that nascent creative spark.

If you liked what you’ve read, I’d love your support as a patron on Patreon. Tiers starts at just $1/month. I blog about things that I don’t post here.

If you want to give a one-time gift or monthly gift, hit me up on Paypal.

Thanks for your support!  💘

My 10 Most Popular Posts (so far)

real popularity SOMHi friends,

I’ve written over 100 posts in the past 3.5 years. So I thought it’d be a good time today to look back on what I’ve written. I’m going to list from the oldest to the latest, what my most popular posts have been.

Next week, I’ll show you my least popular posts.

If you want to support my work here, become a patron on Patreon!

I can’t tell you why these were more popular than others, because, for example, This Is My Time felt like a personal triumph, but no one barely looked at it.

  1. Woo fucking woo–my first post!
  2. Just Enough Light–my second post!
  3. A trip to woo-woo land–that one time I went to see an angel card reader
  4. I need your help/How can I help you?–This was a month after my contract had ended. I’m pretty sure this still applies almost 2 years later as a freelancer. AND this is my most popular post!
  5. how to be your own mother — Mommy issues!
  6. the astrology of my family — I’ll be updating this today because I got something about my father wrong (appropriate for Father’s Day?)
  7. it’s time to move on, it’s time to get going — a tribute to the late, great Tom Petty
  8. the greatest wound, the greatest healing — existential loneliness sucks.
  9. hell is living with other people — my almost complete history of terrible roommates
  10. Digging Up Old Roots: An Elegy — buh bye, Christianity

If you’ve been with me from the very first post, thanks for being on my writing journey with me. Especially if you’ve been a long-time patron of mine, your material support has meant the world to me.

Wherever you picked up to come along for the ride, I appreciate you. I hope you have a great week and a beautiful Summer Solstice.

Share in the comments what your favorite post is from the sun opposite moon blog!

If you liked what you’ve read, I’d love your support as a patron on Patreon. Tiers starts at just $1/month. 

If you want to give a one-time gift or monthly gift, hit me up on Paypal.

Thank you so much for your support!  💘

 

 

 

a reluctant hot take

women and cats SOM

 

I’m usually not a “hot take” writer, but it’s about that short story from the New Yorker, “Cat Person” by Kristen Roupenian. It was a story that was buzzing on Twitter over the weekend. I listened to her tell the story, which I suggest you should do.

It’s a timely piece, as we’re going through a revolution of how women are seen and treated. And, it’s a well-written piece. It reminds me of being in grad school–I read the New Yorker for a whole semester. It was good to read literary fiction again.

If you haven’t read or listened to the story, you should stop here because there be spoilers ahead…

One thing that has been sticking out to me about this story is our relationship with technology. When I started my novel in grad school which I have completed the first draft for during #NaNoWriMo, I was trying to wrestle with a story of being enchanted by and then ghosted by a man via our blogs. The novel went a completely different and to me lovely direction, but I want to get back to that topic next year.

What I realized after reading “Cat Person” was how analog I am in a digital world, especially in the land of love and relationships. But I always thought it was something I was doing wrong. If you want to count me not understanding how to be in the 21st century as wrong, then I’m hella wrong.

But really, though–it’s about how we communicate, or don’t effectively communicate with each other.

I’ve been on social media since I was 18 years old, starting with sixdegrees (RIP). I’ve had countless friendships and a few relationships or situationships–through that site and other sites. It seemed like an outflow of what I was doing offline with people–connecting on viewpoints and hobbies and passions.

Right around when I was basically fed up with dating or whatever I called my love life, the smartphone came around. “Cat Person” has so much to do with texting, and I am not really a texter.

Here’s a big section from the story that stuck out to me:

Soon she noticed that when she texted him he usually texted her back right away, but if she took more than a few hours to respond his next message would always be short and wouldn’t include a question, so it was up to her to re-initiate the conversation, which she always did. A few times, she got distracted for a day or so and wondered if the exchange would die out altogether, but then she’d think of something funny to tell him or she’d see a picture on the Internet that was relevant to their conversation, and they’d start up again.

This really stuck out because it described what the story calls a dance, but one that actually makes me quite dizzy and ill. It’s the 21st century form of the chase, except the gender roles have been reversed.

(And, by the way, I hate gender roles, I hate “the chase,” I hate all of that proscribed bullshit about how people should relate to each other since it’s so heavily steeped in misogyny and patriarchy anyway.)

Beyond this tech-heavy period and the fair and equitable treatment of women, this short story resonated with me because of how real (and really flawed) the characters were, and how real the situations were.

I was reminded of being in that dizzying dance with someone–pre-smartphone. I had a relationship while I was in college with an older man, this futures and commodities broker from a yuppie part of town–and I had met him in a chat room. I can’t even remember how we got together. I just remembered going out and drinking in his yuppie part of town, going back to his place, rinse repeat.

It was fun, even though clearly he was not my person.

Eventually, as I got a little closer and wanted to be just a tad more serious, and maybe the turning point was helping me move after I had to take a leave of absence from college, he ghosted.

I never blamed myself for that (I just wanted my Maxwell CD back!). Also, I’ve ghosted a dude–and this was still pre-smartphone.

But in other instances, especially lately, I have, a lot, like there is something really, really wrong with me. It’s not something that’s obvious. It’s just this dull, heavy weight that I drag around, of being some sort of misfit.

Yet through this story, I realized that in terms of how I communicate with people, I’m still stuck in the past where the internet enhanced life, not where it became life.

Back in college and soon after, being online wasn’t as prominent as it is now. You couldn’t drag a desktop computer with you. Online life and offline life were two distinct things. Online life connected you to offline life. But now, being online is so much more easier.

There are smartphones, tablets, smart watches, laptops, and notebooks. On a larger scale, we have the Internet of Things with wearables, smart thermostats, smart sensors, smart TVs, and remote doorbells and cameras. Bluetooth anything and everything. Through mobile apps, people can always know where you are.

We’re so much more accessible and have so many more forms of communication, and yet miscommunications and disconnections happen so much more often.

I’ve tried to adapt. I’ve been on dating sites and that’s just a lesson in being ignored or disrespected. But connecting with people in general just seems…fleeting.

Yesterday and today, I was talking to a friend about this story both on a literary and cultural level, and it was all just coming together, the realization of that dull, heavy weight that had been dragging me down. There was so much more clarity about the last 13 years of my life.

Although Margot, the main female character, is not at all like me, that section I shared above made me realize how much I’ve done that very thing–of trying to keep conversations going, of trying to contort myself into someone I’m not, just to get or keep someone’s attention.

Things fizzling out aren’t necessarily my fault. Sometimes, it’s that men generally really do suck at communication–that’s been an issue since time immemorial.

The Twitter account @MenCatPerson posted screenshots of men reacting to the short story. It showcased that not only do so many men fail at communication with women, but also fundamentally and obstinately fail to respect, understand, and appreciate women, which, I would dare say, is a major theme of this piece.

But layering on the technology piece, there was something that really rang true about how Margot and Robert were communicating and not communicating.

It wasn’t a line-by-line fit (I’m twice as old as Margot, so I’ve got a lot more maturity under my belt), but the spirit of it: the incessant waiting for intentions to be made clear, the self-doubt and constant questioning of one’s own intentions, the trying to make things fit when they really aren’t supposed to, just waiting for a reply or a phone call–all of that will haunt me for some time.

Granted, how Margot and Robert treated each other was nowhere near optimal (which is putting it lightly), and Robert, with being older, he should have had more experience in treating her better–ideally, anyway. But the gender and power dynamics that were happening, especially at the end of the story–again, I will be haunted.

What this story did for me was liberate me from being hurt or upset when communication drops–especially with men. I won’t be blaming myself to see what went wrong, trying to comb through every word I said.

Also, if I, being an early adopter of social media, can’t seem to get it right online (and sometimes offline), then how can I expect others to do the same? It’s a bit of a crapshoot, and it’s because this is all so new still, and we’re still trying to get the hang of online communication.

Just this year, I feel like I’ve found friends that are really there, as people. Even if the geography stinks, as it tends to do when you find friends online, it still beats forced solitude.

So, I may be stuck in a pre-smartphone mentality for the rest of my life, but it seems the better way to be. Although I am online most of the day because I write, I do try see people as people, who have feelings, hopes, dreams, and regrets.

I know my words have impact, and I know people’s words have impact on me. Just because I turn off my phone or shut the lid on my laptop doesn’t mean everyone’s lives are frozen in time or that people sublimate into nothing.

Yet beyond words, beyond intentions, beyond thoughts, beyond feelings–there are actions. Actions are so much easier to go by than a fictional storyline of what could possibly be be happening.

There could be some other person, or an illness, or too busy at work, or…just being done and over you, but doesn’t have enough guts to say it…or is completely about you and doesn’t have the guts to say it (yet?).

And, the actions that truly matter involve kindness and consideration. People hook up and get together all the time, and then it doesn’t work out. But because we think we can just turn off our phones or close our computers, that person will just disappear, like you were talking to some AI bot or a ghost.

That mentality has to shift, and soon. It’s dehumanizing and painful to be treated that way, to be seen as expendable.

Relationships are messy because people are messy. I want to be with people who don’t run away from the mess but embrace it. So I’m grateful for this story because it reminded me that, for now, where I am in my life, those kind of people are rare, and I cherish them as such. Yet it’s sadly a chronic symptom of a culture we live in, a very lonely and isolated culture.

We’re really not that good at keeping in touch and letting each other go.

Wanting to get closer to people, whether it’s for a night or for the rest of my life, is not a bad thing–even if I have to risk looking stupid, getting ghosted, being snubbed. It’s still worth it. I don’t have to transform into anyone else to find someone who isn’t afraid of a little mess, of seeing me as a whole person, of seeing me as someone with autonomy and worthy of respect.

I’ll leave you with a tweet I sent out last night:

If you liked what you’ve read, I’d love your support as a patron on Patreon. Tiers starts at just $1/month. 

If you want to give a one-time gift or monthly gift, hit me up on Paypal.

Thanks for your support! 💘

 

 

Sorry, I was NaNo-ing and working…

Dear sun opposite moon reader, 🤗

I had intended for this place to be treated professionally, to write every week, as a commitment to my creative writing practice. But I got called away to other things, paid things. 🤷🏾‍♀️

After the latest post, the greatest wound, the greatest healing, the following day, I was slammed with work for three weeks. 🤦🏾‍♀️

But I was grateful because it was a scary time. I had a huge lull in work in October. 🙏🏾

This is also National Novel Writing Month (#NaNoWriMo is the hashtag on Twitter). ✍🏾👩🏾‍💻 #️⃣

I finished my novel in 9 days total (50,182). 😲 🎉

I did NaNo last year and something similar happened. I couldn’t start until the last week. I finished the first half of my novel in 8 days. 😱

Last year, I was a lot more sleep deprived. This year, tired but not deliriously tired like I was this time last year. 😴🤤😪

So, TL;DR, bills had to be paid, a contest had to be won. 🙃

The things I have wanted to write take up a lot of room in my heart, which means it takes time to untangle all the words and the meaning into a blog post. 💗

I have work waiting for me tomorrow, which is a very good thing. But I have to think about my commitment to sunoppositemoon-motion–as in, it needs to be a priority. 🔝

But it can’t just be a diary. It needs to be art, or at least artful. That takes time, to write about your life creatively. 🤔

I definitely have stories. I just have to figure out how to balance the paying of bills with the art of my life–like most people. ⚖️

So, as much as I can, I’ll try to double up here to make up the time I lost. ⏱

But tonight, I’m going to give my hands and my brain a needed rest.. 🤯

Before I go, though–this month was so transformative. I worked out things in my life through my novel. 💪🏾

Peace lays heavy on me now, which is a wonderful way to go into the last days of being 39. 🕊

Thanks for your patience and hopefully I can get back to writing here this weekend. 🤓

Deborah 😘

If you liked what you’ve read, I’d love your support as a patron on Patreon. Tiers starts at just $1/month. 

If you want to give a one-time gift or monthly gift, hit me up on Paypal.

Thanks for your support! 💘