freedom! ’17

freedom 17_SOM.jpgToday is the 1st anniversary of the last day I worked for someone else. That was not the plan, though.

I was working a short contract position at a theme park as a technical writer. I thought that this was what I wanted to do professionally, even before I graduated from grad school (which I did three years ago last month).

The gig paid well. The people I worked with, for the most part, were great to work with. My team of writers, though, was not. It was icy, insular, and white, like an igloo with the door shut.

I was sad that my contract wasn’t renewed. I knew I had done an excellent job. But maybe politics got in the way. It was a long commute from my side of town, most of which I didn’t do with my own car yet.

So here’s what’s happened to me since then, in somewhat chronological order:

  • I evacuated and went home due to Hurricane Matthew.
  • Went on unemployment
  • Signed up for “content mills”–website that people use to hire writers for cheap
  • Went on food stamps
  • Applied for full-time jobs
  • Had my room flood due to busted pipes
  • Found a steady client for social media work
  • Started to find new friends (online but still)
  • Saw one awful housemate move out and a worse one move in
  • Helped a friend move from Miami to D.C.
  • Lost my car, again
  • Focused on my blog again
  • Went to St. Pete for a women’s retreat
  • Got a new website for my writing business, then switched developers
  • Partnered with a friend to do copy editing and writing
  • Updated my writing rates
  • Evacuated to Chicago for 12 days because of Hurricane Irma
  • Finished two big copy editing and writing projects (just this month)

It’s been a lot, and to have the freedom to create my own schedule, to work from home—even if home is obnoxious a lot of the time—it’s a freedom I’ve experienced before, when I was working as a contracted grant writer. It was nice to get work done in Chicago without having to need anything except my computer. My business is me.

And to even say that I have a small business—that’s really wild. I wasn’t signing up to do the content mills because I wanted to. I didn’t even necessarily want to be on this path. But a solar return (astrological term for birthday) report that I received almost two years ago confirmed that I needed to work for myself.

I just didn’t think it’d be so soon.

It’s been a little harrowing, though—and that’s an understatement. But I didn’t expect to be a small business owner, I really didn’t. All I have wanted since I’ve been in Florida is to support myself, which had gotten increasingly harder to do. The opportunities are here, but they don’t seem to be for me.

But Twitter has especially helped me out–with job opportunities, with fundraising, with emotional support. It’s funny how I came down here thinking I’d get that from the people I knew down here. But Florida has been the land of surprising disappointments. And after this hurricane evacuation, and seeing how easy it was to be in Chicago, I plan on leaving here in 2018. I have long overstayed my welcome, but I’ll write more on that later.

I don’t have much to say except that I am grateful—and maybe a little exhausted. I waded through swamps of humiliation, doubt, and frustration and I feel like things are finally going to be even beyond where I wanted them to be, yet where I need them to be.

Here’s to Freedom! ’17. 🙌🏾🎉🍾🍻

body work

my body SOM

I went on a beach retreat this past weekend. It was good and intriguing and stimulating. I feel really grounded and supported now. I’m not sure if I have new friends yet, but I at least got to swim a little in the Gulf of Mexico and be reunited with an old friend who moved to where we were staying. And, you know, get some spiritual downloads and healing and community. AND, beach time!

I may blog about my experiences later, but this is about my body, my fat body.

Ever since I came down to Florida, I got gwith a car and without a car. And the photos I saw of myself–I didn’t like them. I didn’t recognize myself.

These days, I’m rarely in situations outside of the land of selfies to see my whole body. It was really bewildering to see.

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So that’s me at the labyrinth at the Dali Museum in St. Pete. I loved it in there!

Sidenote: my retreat leader said that first pic with the sun on me is an orb. ” An angel is on your shoulder!” she said. I don’t even remember feeling that.

Anyway, I actually don’t mind the first two pics. It’s the last one. One of my retreat mates took it soon after I had ordered her to go sit with the others so I could take their pictures. It’s not a flattering picture, IMHO, even though I at least look really happy.

So, in this post, here’s what I’m not going  I’m not going pick my body apart. I’m not going to say I need to lose weight. I’m not going to say anything else negative. I’m just trying to semi-publicly wrestle with my self-image. I look like a Ghanaian woman, to be honest. My cousins on my mom’s side are around this size. I’m pretty sure I’m the average size of an American woman.

It’s just been weird to see myself from when I graduated grad school, probably 50 pounds lighter due to poverty and then looking at myself now. It’s good to reacquaint myself with this wider me.

There’s other stuff too–the PCOS acne/bacne. The hirsutism. The bloating. It’s just not things I’m used to, especially not being on the meds I’d take for PCOS.

And there’s that I look so much like my father. I don’t think my father is ugly, though. I think he’s a handsome man. But there’s a bit of an internal war when I see how much I look like him vs. how much I really don’t like him as a person, even though I have compassion for his mental health issues and how hard it was to acculturate into a white supremacist American culture as a doctor. It broke him. I feel that and acknowledge that.

But my body–my seemingly unwieldy body that isn’t that active but isn’t eating too terribly anymore. Even that sentence is very judgmental. It’s a body. It’s mine. It has carried me through so many traumas and triumphs. I’m really grateful that it has brought this far. I only want to be healthy–whatever that means for me. Healthy doesn’t necessarily mean skinnier, either.

At this point, I’d definitely want to be more active and eat more fruits and vegetables. The former is tougher (not enough safe space and it’s hot and rainy out), but the latter is happening. That’s really all I care about.

I’m so grateful for the many voices on Twitter when it comes to true body acceptance, especially for @OK2BeFat. That account has challenged my own perceptions of fatness and where one’s self-worth should be. Our society has made it so easy to judge each other and ourselves based on our bodies, to varying degrees: skin color and tone, gender expression, height, weight, hair texture and length–and on and on it goes.

It’s OK to be fat. And I am fat. 🤷🏾

Sidenote: I have to say–I don’t know how other people see me, though. My weight doesn’t usually correlate to how people perceive how much I weigh. I don’t know if I’ve being treated differently. Obviously, it’s a big issue.

I love the woman walking in the cool labyrinth, looking forward to the journey within. But do I love the woman with her hand on her hip, tossing her head back in laughter after she had a fierce queenly scowl? I do. I want to say “of course I do!” especially since the weight came on during an intense stressful period with very little support. But even if the weight came on during a happy marriage or a pregnancy or a fun-filled vacation…or through no joy or sorrow at all–my weight isn’t who I am. I don’t mean that in a dissociative way, either. I mean that as I am a spiritual being having a human experience. We all are.

Do I want to be less fat? Sure. But if it doesn’t happen, I’m more at peace about it, either way.

It was interesting to go into the Gulf of Mexico yesterday in a two-piece retro-inspired swimsuit. High-waisted with an underwire top. I was thinking about thinking about how I looked. I wasn’t really thinking about it as much as I thought.

As I pulled off my light cotton cover-up, I walked in the powdery white sands with a retreat mate and was greeted by the surprisingly cool aquamarine waters of the Gulf that almost drowned me as a teenager over 20 years ago. I hadn’t been in there since. I had lost my float, though. Or maybe I wasn’t calm enough to float.

But in the water, my size didn’t matter. Out of the water, my size didn’t matter.

I could use my weight as an excuse to not love myself fully, to not find a life partner, or new friends, or anything else that I wanted. I use excuse as a word just for me because this society is fatphobic as fuck. It’s very discriminatory and unflinchingly cruel to fat folks.

We collectively are.

I’m really OK, in my body, right now–even if I don’t feel like it. OK means–valuable, accepted, loved, adored, worthy, all those fucking fabulous superlatives. I do not have to hold my breath and wait for the weight to come off and then all this good will come.

“I’ll start loving myself if–”

“I’ll wait to start that new business because–”

“I won’t fully accept myself until–”

No. There are no conditions for love, for good. I don’t need to fix myself. Good can come right now. I can go seek the good right now.

My body is precious and valuable. And that’s that.

08.12.12

some mysterious fractal

August 12, 2012 is when I finally made it to Florida to start grad school. It was on a Sunday. I was supposed to leave the day before, but the movers I hired were terrible and took too long. I guess I missed my flight? I couldn’t get a hold of any friends to crash with so I had to stay at this noisy airport hotel.

I had to stay with my cousin here for a couple of weeks because my stuff was being bounced around all over the east coast. Such a disreputable moving company.

I don’t even want to rehash all of that because it was horrible and I am tired of complaining about how horrible life has been down here. I think the horror magnifies with how hopeful I was to finally find my tribe, to make a real connection with a blood family member, to escape the cold and growing disappointments of Chicago.

Well, life had other plans for me.

It’s been very transformative spiritually. Going into year six of my life down here, I feel like I’ve unloaded a lot of emotional and spiritual baggage. I feel cleansed and unencumbered. But the journey to get to this very precious place has been very expensive: on my bank account, on my credit, on my body, on whatever I would call my social life.

Has it been worth it? I’m not entirely sure yet. This is a rather 7 of Pentacles moment right now. I’m looking at what I’ve grown so far and knowing there is more work to do.

Instead of regaling you with how shitty and disappointing and heartbreaking and humiliating and scary (and I’m pretty sure this blog has detailed a lot of that, so just peruse the archives for a good gasp, cry, or sigh), I’d rather just pivot from here and say that I’m done with this period of my life–or maybe my (very warranted) emotional response to it.

I’m not like Katrina and the Waves walking on sunshine yet, but I am tired of feeling like my life is one long, painful climb, even if that is the Capricorn way. Eventually, I want to be able to rest and enjoy the views up here…

 

The prolonged money and housing instability has been interesting to navigate as someone who is a Capricorn sun and rising with a Cancer moon. My sojourn in Florida has hit me where it hurts, over and over. That’s probably due to Pluto and his heavy demolition crew obliterating my 1st house of self, where my Capricorn sun and rising reside.

Who am I without a stellar reputation? Without stable housing? Without friends to lean on? Without a reliable stream of money?

What is my home? Who is my family?

I don’t really know what the answers to those rhetorical questions are. I believe I’m making it up as I go along–as we all do. I thought I knew those answers.

I didn’t realize how much I had relied on my plucky nature to get me out of jams, and how I have always had a strong community there for me to lift me up. Even with social media, I had both strong online and offline communities, where even both worlds would begin to meld. I met my last boyfriend in an MSN chat room and then we met in IRL–he lived in the same city and went to college with people I knew from my church.

It’s hard to have these stalwarts stripped away–sometimes very violently, and sometimes very slowly. But all the same, it’s left me very vulnerable and open–well, it’s easier to hear from Spirit in this way.

Looking back over these five years, I don’t have much gratitude for this stripping process yet. Still, because I want to change my attitude towards whatever has been unfolding in my life, I took myself out to dinner downtown.

As a sidenote, I do think it’s funny how some Americans will roll up into a nice restaurant and wear soccer jerseys or whatever else seems like casual attire.

My Cancer moon needed to be fed and nurtured. It felt so good to eat the (sometimes literal) fruits of my labor (I had a peach salad and a peach cobbler). As my current housing situation is driving me a lot batty,  it was also nice to not physically be here for three hours, to breathe healthier air in a different space, to not have the draining energy of this newest, inconsiderate boarder. I could at least afford to do this for myself, to celebrate my survival in a tough, unsympathetic state. That’s an accomplishment in it of itself.

But that’s the reframe right there: survival of losses, not just the losses. It’s what I’m good at. I do like to to triumph over circumstances. It may not be that I got to keep my car or my housing or my bank account at a consistent level. I have survived those losses. It seems right now the triumph is over death, over giving up, over having my spirit decimated.

I’m in a real spiritually desperate place right now. I am desperate for real, meaningful change; desperate to have Spirit move me–both literally and figuratively–to a place where I am nurtured and can be nurtured; to a place of deep fulfillment and appreciation; to a place where I can be fully myself again. I am desperate enough to not solely look to other people to help me. I am desperate enough to shut out the world and to look within for all the treasures that were hidden underneath all of the things I’ve lost. I am desperate enough to not look to myself first and then come to the end of myself–I want to look to Spirit first where there is no beginning and no end.

I’ll be going on a retreat this weekend and I hope that my desperation will be met with opportunities and answers and practical solutions, and maybe a little more patience and strength as I keep journeying from the “here” of discontent to the “there” of “finally!”

By the way, that’s a perpetual round trip we all make, from discontent to contentment.

As the solar eclipse comes closer, I know there’s more coming my way—actually good things, things I’ve been wanting for so long, like stability, like expansion, like love in all forms. Lately, it’s been wonderful to have things to look forward to, not just things to dread.

As I grow older and closer to the midpoint of my life, I feel the pressure of limited time and there’s so much I want to do with my life than just survive. I have to trust that all that I’ve gone through here was not in vain–that there’s a purpose that’s greater than my own soul growth and spiritual development, that the ripple effect will be wider than I will ever know.

It’s really easy to forget, that even within the chaos, there’s some order—even if we don’t understand it yet, like some mysterious fractal that begins to unfold.

I have to trust that this unfolding, albeit painful, is truly both beautiful and beneficial. Otherwise, my life has been utter madness without any method or reason. I’m not talented enough to invent reasons or methodology on my own.

So here I go, with another long trust fall with the Universe. Even as I squirm and question and fret, there’s still a knowing that I am following, that nothing is ever wasted, that at least some of this wild and wacky ride will make sense, soon.

lucy, desi, lucie, desi jr.

family is more than blood SOM

I recently wrote about my own family’s astrology, which really tripped me out because of how my brother and I were the solutions of what elements my parents lack (earth and water). I randomly stumbled upon Desi Arnaz’s natal chart because he and I have similar chart patterns (bowls above the horizon). I noticed that he and my mother have the same birthday.

I had read that Lucille Ball had noted that her marriage to Desi wasn’t anywhere near as pleasant as it was portrayed on the TV show, “I Love Lucy.” And then I saw that she was a Leo. It was like my parents, but reversed–including in age (Lucy is older than Desi).

Today is Lucy’s birthday. She would have been 106 years old if she were still living. She is a Leo like my father. What’s interesting about Lucy and Desi involves their moons and ascendant/rising signs. Desi has a Cancer moon and rising. Lucy has a Capricorn moon and rising. By degrees, both of those placements are in strong opposition.

Guess what their children’s sun signs are? Lucie Arnaz has a Cancer sun, Capricorn moon (hello full moon baby, like my brother), Leo rising. Desi Arnaz, Jr. has a Capricorn sun, Pisces moon, Aquarius rising.

I looked at their north nodes, which have a lot to do with fate.

  • Lucy’s north node is in Taurus.
  • Desi’s north node is in Capricorn.
  • Lucie’s north node is in Pisces.
  • Desi Jr.’s north node is in Aquarius.

And here are some interesting connections in their charts:

  • Lucie’s midheaven is in Taurus is conjunct, but not by degree, to her mother’s north node.
  • Lucie’s north node is conjunct to her dad’s sun.
  • Desi Jr.’s south node, in Leo, is conjunct his mother’s sun.
  • Desi Jr’s Mercury in Capricorn, is conjunct his father’s north node.

I didn’t want to start looking at what all these signs may mean about their relationships to each other, or their individual personality traits–that would take a lot of time and it’s not necessarily my focus of this post. I just thought it was so random to have a famous family have the same sun signs as my family, but all in different configurations.

The north node contacts make me think that although this marriage ended in divorce, there was a lot fated for this family to be together, to learn from each other.

Additionally, quincunx relationships, or relationships with signs five signs away (the angle is 150 degrees), can feel like fate. The Obamas are a classic example of how that can work, and work beautifully (Pres. Obama being a Leo, and the First Lady as a Capricorn). But it can take work. It can be really tough. I can only imagine what a Leo woman living with a Pisces man could feel like. Maybe those lunar and ascendant oppositions weren’t harmonious. I can tell you as someone who has that Capricorn-Cancer opposition, it’s a push-pull seesaw that can give me emotional motion sickness. It doesn’t mean, though, that I can’t find some spiritual Dramamine, or a way to keep my eye on the horizon. And that goes for relationships with people, too.

I don’t want to get too heavy into the synastry (relationship astrology), but it doesn’t seem that hot between Lucy and Desi, in retrospect. I don’t personally think any relationship is doomed because of synastry. It can be a good user’s manual for a relationship, or a post-mortem of why a relationship worked–or didn’t work.

If you didn’t get any of that somewhat technical astrology jargon, here is your TL;DR: you and your family, for better and for worse, are probably bound by fate in ways that you don’t even realize. Astrology is a way to explain those connections, to make sense of the randomness of the genetic lottery that we’re all a part of. Even when I felt like I never belonged with my family, I can see how I am inextricably tied to them, and them to me. Even if it’s not the happily ever after that I’ve fruitlessly sought, I know that our astrological aspects to each other, even just our sun signs, have taught me things about loving myself (Leo), the importance of family and close friends (Cancer), and spirituality (Pisces).

Even when things end, there’s still a lot of good left.

 

 

astrology & superstition

astrology SOM

As Mercury Retrograde’s shadow period continues to loom long, I have been thinking about the collective pop culture freakout that will happen next weekend when Mercury’s retrograde transit begins in earnest. It’s a little bit annoying since it seems to be the only time that people care about astrology. But my annoyance isn’t because I’m some rabid evangelist for astrology (although my close friends may disagree). Astrology is a paradigm that seems to work for me…for now.

Mercury Retrograde nowadays can feel like a silly superstition, like not walking under a ladder or owning a black cat. Superstitions have a way of becoming the scapegoat for all that goes wrong (or even right) in a person’s life.

I wonder where I start to feel like astrology is merely more information that I can use to lead my life in a better, more informed way instead of just an excuse for why things don’t go the way I want (or vice versa).

Currently, I’m having some problems in my bathroom. The toilet isn’t filling its tank very well. Usually, a toilet’s tank takes about a minute or less to fill. It’s taking 15 minutes now. And recently, there are some pipes screeching and banging behind my toilet when no one is using it.

My computer has given me a blue screen of death twice. It’s not old.

So what’s going on? It seems like things are just falling apart all at once.

With the toilet, this house is old. I have Uranus in my 4th house, which has to do with home life. Uranus is a bit of a wild card. It’s hard to know what will happen. It’s like a scary jack-in-the-box. I’m not a fan. I had my room flood during this Uranus transit, so the pipes are brand new. But, again: this house is old. I’m also getting a new toilet seat because I bet that toilet seat has never been replaced. It’s wooden and painted. The paint is chipped and stained. The seat itself is broken underneath. The seat will be replaced and the hissing fill will get fixed soon.

As for the computer, although it’s pretty speedy, it needs more RAM mainly because Google Chrome is a greedy little application. But, I’m not purchasing any new RAM until Mercury Retrograde is really over, meaning we’ve cleared the shadow period where Mercury makes it way back to the degree where it started its seemingly wayward course.

That’s the conventional wisdom of dealing with the trickster planet’s moonwalk in the stars: don’t buy any new technology. The reasoning is that if I buy something now, it may not work correctly and I will have to return it later, wasting both my time and my money.

Is that wisdom or superstition? Are these planetary and lunar transits more like weather reports? For example, it would be foolish to go out without an umbrella in Florida, especially in rainy. I’ve done it and it’s horrible–soaked to the bone, in denim.

There are other do’s and don’ts which all have to do with travel, communication, and technology:

  • If you have to travel, prepare for delays.
  • Back up your documents (to the cloud!).
  • Re-read your emails before your send them.
  • Make sure your car is running well.
  • Think twice if an old friend or ex re-enters your life.

There’s a lot of anecdotal evidence to buttress all this advice. It’s good advice no matter the transit or season. It just takes extra time. But then I also think about confirmation bias and the power of suggestion. Am I just more sensitive to these transits because I know about them, or do they explain phenomena that otherwise would have made no sense otherwise?

The way I see Mercury Retrograde, as well as all retrograde transits, is that they are times for review. We are eternal beings that live in a temporal world. Things break, fail, or become ruined. There’s not much in the world that will last–even relationships; even our bodies. We need to have time to repair and to release.

Mercury Retrograde can also be an invitation to rest, to slow down. Maybe in our fast-paced modern world, that invitation is more salient now that even 100 years ago. But in our speeding around to get things done, things get overlooked.

Mercury Retrograde can be a time of review. Are we being good stewards of the things we own? Are these things owning us? Maybe these exes or former friends that come out of the woodwork are a test to see if these relationships have really ended. Have we really moved on?

Sidenote: It seems a little unfair that Mercury Retrograde happens at key times during the academic year. Right now, many families are preparing for their children to return back to school and to college. Today is the last day of a tax-free weekend in Florida, so the stores may be crammed with people buying computers and other technological gadgets (as well as clothing and shoes). Other school preparations involve just getting there (with all the things that have been bought): traveling across the state or the country. The shadow period for Mercury Retrograde won’t end until most people are back in school, around mid-September.

The next Mercury Retrograde this year will happen in early December, with the shadow period beginning in mid-November and ending in mid-January 2018. What a crummy time to travel. That’s during Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. It’s also a crummy time to study and possibly have your computer’s hard drive fail as you are writing a final paper. That happened to me five years ago, during the final retrograde shadow period. I had an extended warranty and was able to get it replaced for free, but it was scary and inconvenient when it happened.

So what are you to do? You can’t just sit at home and avoid everything. That’s what I believe superstition does–imprisons and limits people. I believe astrology really tries not to do that, even if it there is discussion about seemingly limiting transits, like a Mercury Retrograde. It seems like astrology tries to empower and illuminate.

I’ve come to some rueful acceptance that I can’t catch all the “good” transits in the way that I want, especially the Venusian ones. But then again, all the “bad” ones don’t catch me, either. And that’s part of the mystery, of life. There’s so much interplay between the potential of the stars, my own free will, the Universe itself, and what others’ free wills…and maybe Fate with a capital F.

So with this Mercury Retrograde coming up, and with life–do the best you can in light of that old adage: “To be forewarned is to be forearmed.” This transit isn’t a black cat crossing your path. It’s just a season of a different kind of awareness. There are plenty of astrologers who can help you out, too.

 

 

sad songs really say so much

sad songs SOM

As a Cancer moon, I have been noticing lately how I’ve gotten a little addicted to sad songs. I’m not too much into the “name it and claim it” crowd, since that is a crowd I have been desperately trying to get away from. But I do believe words have power (hello? I’m a writer). I didn’t want to start some incantation of listening to sad songs.

This same predilection for possibly enjoying the sadness probably started in grad school, which was really difficult for multiple reasons. I was writing about my past, dealing with rejection, and feeling altogether misunderstood. I started watching kdramas as a way to feel emotion about someone else’s deeply emotional stories. Now, I don’t feel like I have the emotional space to watch them.

Music has been slowly making its way back into my life, although not yet in the creative sense. I was feeling a little uninspired about what’s been out there. And, as Mercury Retrograde has been showing its shadow since last Monday, I’ve been in some major nostalgia. I was remember how Belle & Sebastian meant and maybe still means a lot to my ex’s best friend. That’s still unfortunately my first memory of the Scottish band, even though I liked them way before I had met the ex and his friend.

Enough about them, though. I have been addicted to the song, “Winterbreak” by MUNA, and it was really upsetting me how much I love it, especially the chorus.

Oh, baby I think we both know
This is a love that we won’t get right
Still if you said that you wanted
I know I’ll always have one more try

I’ll say this much: there’s a situation that I feel where these lyrics may be true. But I’m not sure if I’m just in love with the song, or am also in love with the lyrics of the song that seem to sing my heart’s confusion and angst. I do know it relates to how I see my mother.

But, as Elton John sings, these songs are doing something for me.

Turn ’em on, turn ’em on
Turn on those sad songs
When all hope is gone
Why don’t you tune in and turn them on

They reach into your room, oh oh oh
Just feel their gentle touch (gentle touch)
When all hope is gone
Sad songs say so much

My fear of conjuring up the broken heart that hasn’t yet arrived may be premature. Yet, in a sense, as I wait for answers, my heart is already broken. Whatever was to take form as I wanted it to and when I wanted to has yet to be.

There’s a little sorrow when things don’t work out when and how you want them to. It doesn’t mean that all hope is lost. It may mean that I’ve been dodging my disappointment in a way that music is not allowing me to. It’s nudging me to be a little braver with my sadness, and maybe to usher in some healing, too.

Right now, my efforts in remaining positive feel like slowly deflating balloons.

Maybe it’s OK to let them pop completely…

Sometimes, there’s a little comfort and self-protection when you think the worst has come. At least you can plan for how you feel and how to move on. It seems a lot riskier to plan for joy, to plan for sunny days, for good weather.

What if you get caught in the rain of your disappointments?

This reminds me of a beautiful quote from Stephen Colbert.

Cynicism is not wisdom. Cynicism masquerades as wisdom, but cynicism is a self-imposed blindness. You put the blinders on yourself to protect yourself from a world that you think might hurt you or disappoint you. Be a fool. Believe things will be good. Better to be hurt.

How can I be more foolish? How can you?

In the meantime, as we gauge whether we should bring our sunglasses or our umbrellas, here’s a playlist of the songs I’ve been obsessed with. Some of these songs may not be really sad in the traditional sense, but I hope they bring you some comfort on some blissfully sad day.

coda

let go with love SOM

I have tweeted about my relationship with my mother before. I believed I deleted another thread from Easter when I realized that she was a narcissistic mother, but I did blog about it.

Maybe it’s through American pop culture, but I really wanted my mother to fight for me, for us–more than she has.

Our “ending” has been a little anti-climatic. I didn’t cry when I spoke to her this past week. I felt so in control, like a doctor giving a grave diagnosis and giving options to her patient.

As I summarized nearly 40 years of wanting and waiting, I had compassion for myself as I didn’t hear the responses I wanted: remorse; contrition; sadness.

I’m still wrestling with this a little bit, because this–waiting for her to show up emotionally–is at the heart of what has gone down between us for decades. What’s worse than hatred is apathy.

I can’t make her care about me in the way that I need. Her obstinacy to walking to the middle where reconciliation and restoration reside and flourish.

She only sees this as a right or wrong issue. The way she sees it is that she is emotionally available and she’s unwilling to change her behavior. It takes two, she said. Apparently, I’m still not doing enough. Enough of what? I don’t know.

You know that Rumi quote about meeting in that field beyond right and wrong? That’s where I am, but she decided not to meet me there.

My conversation with her last Thursday was really a coda to a swan song that started before I was born, where I was the scapegoat for the loss of her nursing career. By the way–if your mother or father blames you for ruining their lives, that’s a classic narcissist move.

What’s weird for me is how not-sad I feel. I feel whole and complete. I’m relieved. I don’t have to keep trying, like Capricorns are wont to do. We won’t give up until…is there an until, actually? Do we ever give up? That’s one of the dark sides of being stubborn sea goats. We need the discernment to know when to keep going and when to find a new path.

Any fires of sadness, grief, and anger were snuffed out by depriving it of the oxygen of my desire. Yet, I’m still sitting here, looking at the smoke rise to the heavens as she’s already left our campfire site.

So, that’s it.

One thing I’ve realized when relationships end, or at least drastically change course, is that I grieve the ending before it actually comes. So that conversation I had with my mother–she didn’t hear anything new except that I was done trying to make this work. We had been here before, many times.

I still love and care about her, as I told her twice on the phone.

I never heard those words back.

Right now, I feel unburdened. Clear. Clean. A gaping wound has finally sealed and healed. So, I’m grateful, because those kind of wounds tend to define a person until they are healed. Mother wounds may be some of the most stubborn to heal until you start to identify with you you are now.

When you learn how to be on your own side and be a good mother to yourself, the pain lessens and subsides. When you learn not to identify with the societal expectations of nuclear families and see yourself as someone who shouldn’t be ashamed but instead proud of having survived a loveless relationship, that’s the growth. That’s the “win” of being an adult child of a narcissistic parent.

Sadly, because we were never emotionally close, I don’t miss that much. I miss would might have been, what should have been.

That’s the only that may break me–knowing what I deserved vs. what I actually received. But what’s important is that I did deserve and will always deserve a mother who is openly proud of me, openly loves and supports me, is openly affectionate with me. I don’t have to beg for it. I don’t even need to ask for it.

Every child deserves to have parents who truly care about them without having to debase themselves to receive love. That is the tacit agreement parents and children make when children are brought into the world. Some of us are lucky to have that agreement to remain intact, while others of us have to recover from these agreements breaking.

And you can recover. Recovery–a new path to wholeness–is yours and waiting for you.

Now I can move on. I know the toxicity of this relationship has touched every relationship I have been in. Now I look forward to creating healthier relationships with people that are built on trust, reciprocity, respect, a genuine liking of each other, and, most of all, real love.

If you have a narcissistic parent, check out narcissisticmother.com. Also, this podcast from Terri Cole is what started me on this last leg of my healing journey regarding my mother.