it’s just a wave ūüĆä

kill the shark1

I’m writing as a way to avoid some other writing. But I am a week behind here, so it makes sense to write here, too.

[The quote in the image is more aspirational than anything (You’ll see. Not there yet).]

Yesterday, I seemed to have a light bulb fire on about my life purpose with spirituality. If you want to read the poorly threaded tweets, start here. It’s an essay unto itself, but not worth regurgitating here–not yet, anyway.

Also, yesterday, I did a lot of energy work. Energy work is like body work, but, um, with energy and with your spirit? Reiki is the closest mainstream manifestation of it. I also was doing a bit of Access Consciousness stuff–and that could also be its own essay, because like with everything, there’s some stuff I agree with, and some stuff where I go–yes, the pursuit of spirituality is a human endeavor and I cannot expect everyone to get it right.

And actually, my tweetstorm last night is connected to listening/watching a bunch of YouTube videos one of the co-creators of Access, and he talks a lot about changing the world. And, through his work, I’m sure he does.

Anyway, back to avoidance. Access Consciousness is energy work, too, and I’ve never paid for any of it (it can be pricey). But I kind of forgot that it was energy work. I was just listening all day and night and then today, I got a little triggered.

I was planning on writing a lot today, doing some social media content tomorrow, and then finally, finally, working on my freelancing strategy on Tuesday. I headed out on a beautiful morning to the pharmacy to pick up some meds on sale. On my way back, I am turning into my driving and I see a white tow truck parked across the street.

That was part of the trigger. The other part was that on this fine Easter morning, my apparently disreputable car lender had called and left two voicemails, after I had written them not to do so.

I had to give up my car two years ago because I was barely making any money as an adjunct English professor and a part-time technical writer. It doesn’t sting as much anymore, but it was shame I carried around for a long time. Failing at self-sufficiency post-grad school is an albatross that seems to strangle me from time to time.

Today was one of those times.

Logically, I know that I’m not as far behind as I was back in grad school. But the lender, who has class action lawsuits against it for these harassing calls–those calls plunged my planned productive day into a deep well of anxiety that I am now just climbing out.

And what bitter irony. The very thing that would help me stay on top of my bills, working, is the very thing those calls helped to derail. And the tow truck–I can rationalize that it’s not just waiting for me. I could even used it as motivation for writing.

So, I filed a complaint because I was over this. I didn’t deserve this sort of harassment. Still, I was drowning in my anxious thoughts, thoughts don’t even have words. It was just dark and gray, full of doom and fright.

I tried to climb out of this whirlpool of fear. I had the websites opened for the first article I needed to write–a 500 word piece on posture–and then I went into pulling tarot and oracle cards for the week, playing some video games, tweeting, and listening to a podcast that plunged me deeper into my emotions.

The podcast was on daughters dealing with narcissistic mothers. I never really thought of my mother as a narcissist–a term that’s been thrown around a lot. I know my father is one (I’m sure there are plenty of Leos who are narcissists)–that was always very clear.

The podcaster is a psychotherapist, so she was clinically painting a horrible picture that I suddenly recognized. The thing is, my mom is so¬†nice to everyone. She’s very giving and kind. But the Pisces that she is, she can get up on her cross and be a martyr every once in a while. But when this woman described some of my mother’s behaviors, I was shocked. It was hard to believe that this nice person was so…selfish.

I had just been telling a friend yesterday that I didn’t think my parents should have been parents. They should have been DINKs (dual income, no kids). But I was probably conceived 40 years ago this week. Not kidding, this week. I always thought I came a little too early for my parents’ brand new marriage, being married in a new, profoundly racist country.

So after being thrown under that revelatory rogue wave, I had to stop myself from listening to more personal development podcasts. I have a lot to sit with, between the Access stuff, the other energy work, and dealing with the truth of my mother.

Whew.

As I sip my honey vanilla chamomile tea–tea that I should drink a lot more often and a lot sooner–I think about, and have been thinking about, the strain of financial pressure and the now clear purpose of this underemployment.

Besides that I’m learning some scary, fierce radical trust in the Universe, I’m starting to realize that there’s no way I could have had all these revelations if I was working a 9 to 5, busy with friends and a relationship–you know, having what I would call a healthy adult life.

My life has been stripped down to the essentials. My world is so small.

What I’m going through is a bit like surgery. The cuts need to be made to get in there and repair those tears, or to remove the malignancies. I have been focusing on the initial incisions–not working full-time–and not what’s been happening while I’ve been under. Sometimes it feels like I am only given some whiskey and a bit of leather to bite while I’m surgery.

Yet I know that I know that I know: this is necessary, no matter what type of spiritual anesthesia I’m under. The accumulation of trauma and loss is most likely not letting me actually have that healthy adult life anyway. Just the narcissistic parents alone–that’s enough for me to take a pause, examine those gangrenous wounds, get them treated and healed once for all.

I deserve the pause. I deserve the healing. I deserve to be whole.

Last week, I was telling another friend that I was unsure if I was in a place of allowance–that this is happening whether I like or not, that I’m clearly in a season of lean, and that fighting against it is not smart–or, that I’m suffering from learned helplessness. I learned about this in college during my psychology studies.

In animal studies, which I can say in retrospect, this sounds really cruel to do–after an animal keeps getting zapped trying to reach for food or whatever else it’s trying to do, the animal stops trying. The animal study I had learned about was some rat or mouse in some water who just stopped trying to swim.

This phenomenon¬†is a marker of clinical depression and other mental health issues. It’s like your soul becomes catatonic. What’s the point of trying, of fighting? I’ll just get zapped by Life again anyway. It can be a coping mechanism, but it’s not one anyone would want to use long-term.

Learned helplessness, ultimately, is a death sentence. Maybe literally, but definitely more figuratively. In relating to my friend, I had been scared that I wasn’t doing enough. I wasn’t sure if this had all taken its toll and I wasn’t even treading water anymore. It’d make sense if my mental health has taken a beating.

And then, serendipitously, all this work was coming to me, the work that I am currently avoiding, work that I probably won’t touch until tomorrow.

So the title of this post. One of my musical problematic faves is John Mayer. He and Norah Jones, who is not problematic, are like my version of easy listening–music my dad loved to listen to after classical music and some folk music.

I can listen to this type of coffeehouse music and not have to think. It’s well-crafted, decent, inoffensive music. It’s like drinking a bunch of Coronas while sitting on the beach. You could do it all day and it wouldn’t be a big deal, although you should probably be drinking something with a little more flavor.

Anyway, Mayer has this new song called “Emoji of a Wave.” I’ve been listening to the “Wave 2” part of this album a lot, which I don’t really do with music. It’s been soothing, inoffensive, easy.

I don’t want to feel sorry for a rich white dude, but I feel like he’s so aware to the point that he abstracts and obliterates any sort of gotdamn good sense and proper self-awareness (I’m glad he’s in therapy, though–everyone should go to therapy). And, since he’s a Libra, I think he drink his own Kool-Aid a little too much and is charmed by his own words. And, he may be trying too to hard to be earnest.¬†He has had some cringe-worthy, almost unforgivable moments.

Oh well, back to this song. The song has the lyrics “It’s just a wave; it’s just a wave.”¬†and it has one of the Beach Boys, Al Jardine, along with his son, Matt, singing some beautiful background vocals (Mayer had David Crosby and Graham Nash singing BGVs on his earlier album,¬†Born and Raised). The story of how that came about is pretty cool.

So today, I wiped out on some emotional waves, some really irrational shit with the car payments. My mind knows that it’s not real, that I am safe and fine. But my mushy Cancer moon knows that it’s connected to how my childhood became more and more erratic and unstable. I survived it “just fine”–but these things have a way of catching up with you.

And, so, my emotions have called a work strike. I don’t blame them. With all that I’ve been processing lately, I deserve to take a break during this holiday. Maybe it’s OK to be kinder to myself.

I don’t think I’m recreating those unsure moments now to feel comfortable, but I am a little tired of being comfortable with the low-grade fever of anxiety that I’ve lived with for years down here, riding these undulating waves of chaos and panic. But as I keep telling myself and others–I signed up for this. This is me, following my dream of becoming a writer, almost 30 years too late, but right on time nonetheless.

It’s been fucking scary. Shit. And expensive. Capricorns don’t allow themselves to be scared, but the situations I had been since I moved down here? I didn’t think I signed up for all of that. Could that all have been a part of this healing process? Looking back, I can shake an 8-ball and read: Most Likely.

But it’s nowhere near as bad now.

I’m not as behind on my car payments as I had been in grad school. Somehow, the Universe keeps giving me just enough, even though I’d rather be Scrooge McDuck diving into a vault, filled with gold coins. I can’t wait to be utterly bored by stability.

So, I repeat to myself that it’s just a wave, it’s just a wave, and that I need to hold on until I can finally wash up on shore and take a real breath. I know I’m close.

Earlier today, I reached out for a tarot reading since I still feel like I’m not doing enough–even if Spirit almost screams at me that I am not blocked. Reaching out for help while I’m a lowkey panic is OK (I’m saying this more for my benefit and edification). And it always seems the act of reaching out is more important than the reading itself.

And even before I did that today, before I had my little internal collapse, I felt like if there was any learned helplessness, that it was starting to abate.

I do feel like this is temporary. I do feel like things will get better. I do feel like that I will have that so-called healthy, adult life.

Holding out hope like that feels a little less dangerous now. I just wish I could relax into the spiritual practice of living moment by moment, day by day, not anguishing over whether I will be able to pay my bills.

And it’s a lot to ask of a feeble human: to trust in supernatural beings to take care of earthly needs.

But it’s in those emoji wave wipeouts, the near drownings in bottomless wells of anxiety–

faith…

 

 

It’s just a wave; it’s just a wave.

 

 

no one/the drift

no one1

No one will take care of me but me…

It’s a steely truth that I have been in slow acceptance of throughout my 30s, and especially during and after grad school.

I keep writing about this time I’ve been in, going on seven months of job insecurity and underemployment. It’s become boring and painful at the same time. Boring because it’s repetitive–even though, I’m so grateful more work has shown up. Painful because I don’t feel any closer to stability than I did on October 1st.

But there has been one hallmark of stability. Two years ago today, I moved into this house. This is the longest I have lived at one spot in Florida. That is worth celebrating. When I first came here, I was hoping for a stable, chill, no drama dwelling. I moved here because I didn’t have a car at the time and I could walk to the job I had.

I didn’t really get any of that.

I have survived an overbearing elderly landlady, a long house sale, an infestation, two stoners, two major water leaks. Currently, ¬†I’m surviving lackadaisical landlords and the roommate who has a disgusting, chronic cough. Noise-canceling headphones have been a saving grace for me and for that old man. Although it seems like this home seems like a step away from hospice or the old folks home, it’s still my home, and two years of residence is something I had to fight for, especially this year.

Back to the past: I had posted on my Patreon¬†for my $10 and above readers an old post from 2012, right before I moved down here. Money concerns were pressing–I wasn’t even sure how I’d make it down here, if I could buy a car. I did and I did, and then I lost things on the way and lost the car. I’ve been bobbing up and down here, nearly drowning so many times…

The reason why I left Chicago, besides that I had been thoroughly chilled from 15 winters, was that my friendships had started to end, mainly though people moving on with their families. I had no real sense of my own family–soul family or otherwise. Chicago is a transient city and I had never planned on staying for so long. I wanted to live in New York City after college–and then 9/11 happened. Chicago wasn’t a bad city to overstay in. Dreams change, die, transform, and are reborn–sometimes.

I let go of all expectations…

I came down here to follow my dreams and was shocked to find that no one really gave shit, either way. There was no welcome party or parade for following my heart–just a lot of heartache. I was the only one who could propel myself towards my goal of becoming a writer. If only I had known it would be cost so much–physically, emotionally, financially–I would have saved up for a few years.

But this continental drift of people away from me is not geographically bound. Grad school was a shameful and excruciating experience–a reintroduction in white supremacy and the underside of humanity (a little dramatic there, but I lived with and still with some really awful people). The tribe I was supposed to find did not exist. I’ve been able to accept that the relational reasons of why I came down here are now not what keeps me here.

I keep me here. My love for the land: the lack of snow, the curious, unique creatures, my own curiosity of the beaches. I came for a cousin and a friend and neither are here now. My safety net was left in Chicago. I never really had one here and I can’t seem to weave one that lasts. I’ve resented it a lot, but resentment is melting into wisdom and a newfound appreciation of my grit.

For now, I keep me here, and that is more than enough.

So. It seems as if I’m in a season of deep solitude, which is hard when you need help to pay you bills. I’m very self-reliant, so the quote above is an internal mantra that I live by. But I’m also very resourceful. It’s strange for me not to find work easily. It’s strange for me to not find a new group of people to belong to–even if I battle waves of existential angst and dread. It’s strange that my elasticity and resiliency has some slack in it; I’m not bouncing back. I feel like a deflated foursquare ball and last week stomped me flat.

Two weeks ago, I had a great job interview that amounted to…nothing except a rather insulting rejection email. I’m only insulted because it came at 7pm last Friday, after I had a conversation with the interviewer who said that he wouldn’t leave me waiting for news.

I had a feeling on Thursday that this job wasn’t mine. I could go back over and over in my mind as to what I did wrong. I was utterly charming. I pwned that interview. I sent a handwritten thank you note, which usually clinches it. I did nothing wrong.

But because I wasn’t feeling it, I needed some spiritual confirmation. I did some divination (oracle cards) that showed me emphatically that it was a no, but I kept asking until I got a yes. Not very wise–it’s a waste of time to do that. I really needed to accept that this was not going to happen.

I was livid to be sitting around all day, like I was waiting for some guy to call, and then getting a “Good afternoon” email. Fuck you, dude. I really wanted to the opportunity to grow, to be stable, to have health insurance again. I hated that connected to this person that I will never see again. I hated wanting anything so much. I hated that this was so out of my control, that this invisible white hand may have, once again, smacked me down. And that “fuck you” maybe should be directed at the Universe?

Friday was the six month anniversary of this underemployment season. I was hoping to end 180 days with a fist pump of victory. I got a punch in the gut that sent me to the floor instead.

It doesn’t piss me off as much now. It’s been said that underneath anger is hurt. So the anger lid has been unscrewed, and now it’s just sad. Disappointment. Fear. Anxiety. Defeat. Dread. When will this end? If I can rely on life being ever-changing, why am I going in this straight line towards my *gulp* destruction? What is going to knock me off of this calamitous trajectory of where everything continues to go tragically wrong?

And usually, I’d turn to Twitter to share my woes, but after going on nine years of sharing, I feel the drift there, too. So I mentioned it in a couple of tweets. One person followed up with me, a tarot reading friend that I’ve known since 2015. It was nice to know that she was rooting for me. I shared in on FB and another friend said she was praying for me–one that has been admittedly too busy to keep in touch.

Maybe the drift is mutual.

The lack of caring doubly hurts, especially since I¬†know that I’ve sown seeds of love in caring in others. Where is my harvest? Where is my return of investment? So many unanswered rhetorical questions…

After consulting at least five different tarot readers about my job outlook, there has been no inclination that I’m doing anything wrong. Things will improve. One day? Will it be in this lifetime?

I believe there’s a couple of things going on.

1) Aging. People my age (I’ll be 40 this year) tend to focus on their families. It makes sense since kids these days have schedules that rival their parents. If adults my age don’t have families of their own, making new friends, let alone sustaining the old ones, becomes harder and harder to do. Competing schedules and priorities are the main culprit. I can’t really throw a tantrum over this anymore. I acquiesce to it, even though I feel so unprepared on how to handle it.

2) We’re not all the same. I think about my brother. He’s gone through emotional hell, but even with his behavioral issues, I still find him to be the most caring person I’ve met. He cares, period. There’s no sense of needing reciprocity or balance. He just cares because that’s who he is. He knows when people needs hugs and gives them away freely. He has an innocence that is worth protecting and fostering.

Because growing up, my intellect was what was praised and even taken for granted, I never thought that my brother and I were cut from the same caring cloth. I thought of myself as hard, cold, steely–very Capricorn traits. My brother is a Cancer with a Capricorn moon, and I have a Cancer moon.

I’ve been accused of being selfish and not a good friend–ironically from people who were selfish and not good friends. So as a Capricorn sun and rising, I work hard to not need anything from anyone. When I do, it feels like there’s a power imbalance. Being vulnerable is awkward, even for a compulsive oversharer like me. If the roles were reversed, where I give care, then I don’t feel the power imbalance. It feels like being a human being, having a human experience.

As weird as it seems to declare it: I care, a lot, and reciprocity of said caring is not necessarily why I was created. We’re not all the same. Most of us really don’t know how to hold space for people who are going through tough times. It’s something has to be learned over time. And one day, I’ll be more than OK with that. But for now, I’m not really OK with it.

And maybe that’s why I’ve been in positions of asking for help so many gotdamn times in my 30s, to the point I’m trying not to associate myself with being extremely needy. Per usual, Capricorns are extremely hard on themselves and self-compassion is very hard to cultivate until you’re forced to.

Well, I’m being forced to.

At the same time, asking for help so often has almost hardened me from the resounding rejection that comes through silence and unmet needs.

Very almost.

After Friday, feeling so angry and upset, and then feeling angry and upset for not having any real resource for help or comfort, I had no choice but to look within.

Although I’m in a severe friends and family drought, I have Spirit and guides and angels. and ancestors, all here, all ready and willing to help me. Even writing this makes me feel really destitute, but I know that the circumstances, whether created by the Universe or by an apathetic world, guided me to stop looking outside of myself for support.

It feels, very pathetically, ¬†like having imaginary friends and it feels like a human failing. All these acquaintances, none of the real intimacy that I’ve had in the past. But if reaching out only leaves my hand empty, then there’s a reason for it.

I love and accept myself.

It’s not because I’m a horrible person, because even horrible people have friends and family. It’s not because I’m not deserving. It’s not because I’m not worthy. It just is–but it is for a reason, a really good reason: that I’m enough. I’ve got enough; I’ve got to love myself through this season in a way that I’ve never had to before.

I realized last week that although I have been through hell and back many times, the difference was having a community who rallied around me. I don’t have one, really, at present. It feels like I have individuals, but not a group.

I know that my perspective can be warped, too. Years ago, before I moved down here, a former friend and I were chatting and he was offering love and support, but it felt like whatever he and his family was offering wasn’t enough. Maybe that’s the biggest reason why we’re now former friends.

Maybe I was a walking black hole of love then, a lot more busted up and raw than I am now. We all have our limits of love, but I know that whatever this is now is not that.

It’s a bit of a mindfuck for me, the drifting away from groups. I’ve had to re-define my self-worth and what I base it on. It’s been rattling me to re-establish who I am without the influence of others. As someone who has been proudly independent, I’ve been slowly realizing how much my identity was formed by the people around me. We all are formed that way, so there’s nothing wrong with it. But I must be somehow imbalanced.

When things go chronically wrong, it’s very easy to keep fighting against the current that is guiding you along in another direction. I’m not sure why my finances are taking so long to become stable, or why this part of the journey is like The Hermit tarot card. I didn’t sign up for the solitary sojourn through loneliness and despair, but here I am, sojourning. I’m still alive, which always feels miraculous because there hasn’t been much to grateful for or to look forward to. It’s been sheer will to stay here on this plane.

And since this has been such a horrendous, disappointing time, I need shelter and protection. Whatever I’m feeling doesn’t need to be broadcast into the void. My feelings are precious. They really do matter, even if no one ever affirms them or sees them or cares for me. Because I’ve been speaking into the wind for so long, at least for now, I’m taking this concrete self-care step of sharing here only.

I hope soon, as I continue to commune in the spiritual world, I don’t consider it to be the consolation prize of isolation. I want to view this as a foundation-building time. Right now, I really resent it, but I’m tired. I want to go with the flow and find the new inner resources that I’ve had at my fingertips all along. I want to be¬†able say that “I’m never alone” and really mean it.

As I make my way through Aries season, I’m learning how to really be self-reliant and self-sufficient. I may not be able to do anything about this social drift, but I can make sure that I access the Source to everything I need, and just keep going–even if I’m in that space beyond hopeless, beyond exhaustion, ¬†beyond the end of myself…

“I accept that”/the lost tribe

acceptance1_SOM

Lately I’ve been binge-watching the outlaw biker show,¬†Sons of Anarchy, and one of the minor characters, Chucky, says the title a lot. He’s got…some issues. If you’ve watched the show, then you know what I mean. It’s clear that he’s been in a lot of therapy that had some¬†Eastern/Buddhist leanings. As a sidenote, I find it really intriguing how new age/spiritualist messaging has filtered through pop culture.

I woke up this morning thinking about that phrase: “I accept that.” As the new moon in Aries starts a new lunar cycle, I definitely feel the urge to start again, to leave the past behind.

What am I actually accepting today? That, in this Venus retrograde season, where we’re reviewing what we value, and that includes relationships, there’s no going back to the glory days of my relational life–and that would be college, where I found my people, people who valued a rich interior life, people who were really thought, really snarky, and really there for me.

I accept that most if not all of them miss me the way I have missed them. I’ve been living in mourning since I left and returned to college to finish. That’s at least 17 years of sorrow. Life happened the way it did, and even though I’m friends with people from college on Facebook, it’s not the same. We’ve all gone on with our lives–without each other.

Case in point: I noticed that my first year roomie, a fellow Capricorn, was in town on vacation while I was in grad school. I reached out to her, met her son–it was fun. But, it wasn’t the same. Later, I reached out to her during one of my many hard times down here, and I got some kind, almost condescending “there there” words, but no real help. Whatever real friendship we had dissolved in the seas of time.

Currently, she’s doing really well, working in municipal government. I’m torn between being proud of her, being insanely jealous of how her life has been so stable and rewarding, and just being tired of putting any emotional thought or concern into her or her seemingly fabulous life whatsoever. I’m pretty sure it’s all of the above.

Multiply that times a few people, and it’s a constant emotional drain, like a pipe that’s been leaking for a while, and then all of a sudden, a pipe bursts. I wistfully look back on these relationships that were supposed to matter–that’s the bill of goods you’re sold as you go into college and graduate school, that these will be lifetime friends. I don’t really have any.

Add to it that it’s very hard to make friends post-college, then I wonder if finding a lost tribe is possible, or worth it. Adulting is hard enough, but it does help to have some semblance of support.

Earlier last week, I thought of how school past junior high was always full of conflict. All these lifelong friends I was supposed to have do not exist. What I have instead are boring acquaintances. I get to see their babies and their spouses and their vacations and all the curated happiness they allow to filter through their Facebook feeds. No tinges of intimacy.

Another story: a friend of mine and I connected on Facebook a few years ago, and I spilled my guts about a mutual friend who basically cut me out of her life because I was a little too Mercury in Sagittarius-blunt about the death of her father. I said she must be glad about it. Maybe she had come up in conversation–I’m not sure why I brought it up. Usually, I don’t disclose things without a reason.

That other friend and I had seemingly parallel lives, and we bonded on that. Friend #1 reacted like I had uncorked bad wine–she was compassionate, but it just seemed like time had rolled on, and that I had spewed some irrelevant vinegar all over her. I had apologized to Friend #2, but it’s definitely up to her to accept, or to not accept, my apology, or to forgive, or to not forgive me. I did the best I could with my antidepressant-addled brain, making my way on my own painful journey. When ours intersected at her father’s death, we abruptly parted ways. And all I can do now is shrug. I’m done mourning what can’t be undone.

I don’t think I won’t meet people like the ones I met in college again, but there won’t be the same shared sense of mission, of collective awakening that seems to happen only in college. We were all writing our own bildungsromans, together, being the major and minor characters in our life stories. And with my family’s drama dragging me down, I missed out on the final chapters that my friends were writing. I had faded into an apathetic background, into obsolescence.

But this is what I accept: if my story was meant to be any other way, it would have been so. I fought hard to stay in school and get back into school, and most of those friends fell out of touch during that time. I did the best that I could with the resources that I had. And, if I had mattered more, people would have stayed in touch. The only person that kind of kept in touch years after I had left is dead. So, that’s that.

I’m frowning as I write this because acceptance isn’t necessarily some pain-free experience. I’m sad that a lot of the human condition I’ve experience involves losing a lot of people–or maybe never really having them at all. So much of my time was recovering from familial wounds. So maybe the better term is acquiesce. I reluctantly, but without protest, accept that I’ve lost way more people than I have kept.

I’ve been ruminating about how I had been framing my life here as an isolated one, as someone who is completely emotionally destitute. This support group I’ve been attending for the past few weeks at first seemed to be my local only lifeline. Now I’m not so sure.

I skipped two times in a row because of allergies and because of writing deadlines. I didn’t miss the group, and yet I made myself go last week and it was canceled when I was just 10 minutes away. I didn’t miss the group because the last two times I shared about my life, it just seemed to not land on any place of understanding. And it hurt, doubly. Sharing with strangers isn’t easy, but the lack of response is a sort of rejection. Yet I was definitely missed. I received text messages from a couple of people wondering where I was. It was nice, but there wasn’t a mutual sense of being missed.

I don’t know what that group will mean to me in the future, if I will go this week or ever again. And that’s 100% completely fine with whatever outcome comes to being (yes, I’m saying that more for my own edification). I probably needed this group to realize that I’m not as bad off as I think I am, even if these people will definitely not be the lost tribe that I am looking for.

And that’s why I have gone back to my college years, in my mind, when I was able to share deeply and intensely, for hours, and not get blank stares in return. It was a special time, but I live in a different time now. I accept that.

Also: I am¬†finally learning some fucking discretion about who I share my life to. Those recent heartbreaking and honestly embarrassing group experiences reminded me that most people will not care about the quotidian details of my life. There’s something I’m currently going through that only one person knows about–which is not really normal for me, but it feels mature and normal now, to value myself, my life, my desires, my passions, and to share them with people who do the same.

Maybe, most of all, it’s that I do have good relationships with people online. It’s not the same as being in the flesh with folks, but it has been enough for a while. I kept making my life wrong and empty and less than by valuing in-person relationships over just relationships in general.

I accept that this is the path I’m on. It’s not the one I’d actively choose for myself, and many times it’s unpleasant and soul-crushing. But I’m doing the absolute best that I can. I accept that no other relationships are going to rise from the dead and be as awesome and as close and as meaningful as the relationships I have in my life right now. I’ve tried, and it’s just…never the same.

Having a tenderhearted Cancer moon that really values relationships and the past-I’ve wasted that precious emotional side of me exerting a lot of effort into dead things, like my past. As alive as it can be in my life, it’s so very, very dead. All of it. It got me to where I am now, but I’ve been living in the cemetery of my youth for such a long time. I accept that my life still looks like the remnants of a forest fire, still smoldering, still raining ash. I also accept that through all that fire, fertile soil is underfoot. Seeds have been planted. Sprouts are appearing and will continue to appear.

So, with the newness of Spring, of Aries season, and of this new moon in Aries tomorrow, I welcome more new life, new chances to be understood and seen and heard, and new chances to not waste time on trying to revive dead things. I can instead use the rich organic matter of pain and loss as the fertilizer for new dreams and a new life. I don’t have to wait. It can start right now. I’m not dead: only my past is.

P.S. I am baking apples because I hate Gala apples and I accidentally picked some up. I saw the number 55 (which means big changes coming) right before I returned my cinnamon onto a shelf. While I did that, I brushed passed a favorite mug of mine. It crashed and broke into a musical explosion. Holding onto my past is like holding onto a shattered mug. Instead of holding onto those broken pieces, or trying to glue them back together, I swept them up and threw them away.

The Wonders of Worry

This post started off in about May 2015, so I want to come back to it.

I want to posit that, within reason, worry does some effective work. This isn’t necessarily woo-woo, but I do hear in woo-woo circles about letting go, not being afraid, etc. etc. etc. Much more easier said than done.

I won’t go into the reptilian brain, fight-flight-or-freeze, our ancestry, or any of the cool science we already know about stress, cortisol, and fear.

Last night, I had been fretting about the end of the semester, but also my career path. I was pretty sure I wanted to be done with teaching. I have a very volatile love/hate relationship with teaching. I currently teach English composition at a community college, but it’s been fraught with mistakes and worries (how many times can I revise a syllabus? why can’t I seem to get to the details sooner? why is my tongue tied? why do I still have stage fright anytime I lecture? why doesn’t Blackboard ever seem to work?!) Sometimes, I love how I can get through to a student, when I can see them learn. I had a couple of students tell me last night that they enjoyed my class. But sometimes, I’m dealing with freakouts from them as well as just sheer disrespect (why aren’t they reading my emails? why don’t they just do what I say?).

Part of me wants to give it another shot–although with so many students who withdrew, I don’t know if I’ll be given that shot. The pay is abysmal–it comes with no benefits, but there’s something about transferring knowledge, wisdom, and experience that as a nerd, I really like. I have learned a lot about what to do and what not to do, so I want to try again. At least today, I do.

And today, I’m at peace. Well, the thing I was worried about was whether I was doing the final right (it seems like I was, but if not, then I’m sure I’ll hear about it). But it was also the worry of whether I’d be making the right or wrong decision–do I stick it out, knowing that I deserve to be paid better? But why am I so miserable? Is it because of a lack of confidence? Even though these questions have haunted me all semester, today they aren’t as bothersome.

Worry, in my eyes, is something that you do because you feel like you can’t do anything. It’s like the being on the treadmill of your mind, working off fear.

Almost two years later after I first began this post, I still think this is true, that worry can be useful. A recent study showed that worry is linked to a high IQ. Additionally, people who are happy and cheerful, of course, aren’t the ones who brood over problems. But that very brooding can be used for problem-solving–and guess what? Happy people are worse at problem solving.

Earlier this month, I had a freakout moment about money, one of many I’ve had over the past six months being underemployed. But this one almost crippled me. I couldn’t go hang out with my friend as planned because I had erroneously thought that I’d have enough for an outing. So I had to cancel. ¬†I really started to brood–how could I get myself out of this situation?

A friend gave me a quick writing job that I did in a couple of hours, which he was impressed by. Another friend gave me some writing work and many ideas to help me find work. All that worry actually created some money.

Would I say I’m neurotic? Definitely not. I’m definitely hyperaware of my environment, of people around me, and how people perceive me. I’m sure I had to learn how to do that living with my father who increasingly became mentally ill. It’s a survival tactic.

Whenever I think everything will work out and just leave things alone–I’m always caught off guard by my optimism. It’s like the Universe gives me a #WellActually and wakes me up.

Of course, though–there needs to be a middle way. I was physically upset from the money stress, and no one wants to have elevated levels of cortisol if they don’t have to. But I don’t want to walk around blindly in a bubble of bliss either.

How I can really believe things will work out without becoming spiritually lazy? I want to put in my effort. When does concern morph into worry which can become a disfiguring anxiety?

I’m still trying to figure that out for myself. I know that anxiety can simply be prolonged worry that¬†you can feel in your body, that you can see shut down your mind. I’ve had my share of that.

Right now, I’m concerned that I will go into a third month of not being able to pay for my car while paying for everything else. And today, I woke up with that dread. How will I get out of this hole this time? I basically need like $200 (although to catch up I’d need about 4 times that)

Last night, an obnoxious but I guess necessary writing job came up and I completed it. There’s $20 dollars. A writing professional organization got me off of their waiting list last night and it’s only $4.50/month (a huge discount!) for me to have access to all these writing gigs and employers. I bid for two jobs today and I also applied for a contract technical writing position after a recruiter asked me to apply. The money is good and it comes with benefits.

And maybe, metaphysically, Spirit has been taking some pity on me, as I worry. So maybe these opportunities are now become visible? This month really seems to have taken a shift, and I’m not sure if it’s me that has changed (probably) or just life as I know it (probably), or a combination of other things that I can’t see or perceive (most definitely).

Not to laud worry too much, there is a dark side: stress can make you so stupid. You can’t think clearly for solutions, if worry’s stranglehold starts to choke you out and make you see stars. No one wants that.

So, I’m not going to push worry to the side and say that it can’t solve problems. Think of the scientists who brood over diseases, searching for the latest cure. That’s just one example of worry in action. Worry has its wonders and its drawbacks, and we have to learn to find the middle way of this important part of the human condition. It textures our world and our perspective, and it can be the spark of imagination and inspiration to solving our problems.

We just can’t let worry rule us.

parents and children

I had some very deep revelations about my parents last night. It was a lot less like being brought to my knees and a lot more like a light fog finally lifting.

Lately, the same tarot cards came up in separate readings–ones I did for myself, ones that people did for everyone, and one that a friend for me. These are probably some of the most unfun, unfavorable cards. I’d even rather have the Death card come up.

 

Five of Cups: The traditional image is of a person with a long black cloak of cape, head bowed, with three golden chalices spilled to his left, and two upright golden chalices. You can call this the “don’t cry over spilled milk” card–focus on the unspilled two cups you still have. The cups in tarot represent our emotions.

The Tower: This is a fearsome card, with lightning striking a tower that is topped with a crown. Flames shooting out from the windows. Two people are falling headlong. It’s a shocker. It’s chaos. It’s destruction. It’s an undoing of the status quo.

Seven of Swords: There’s a man escaping with five swords, leaving two behind. He’s looking back with a smirk. Deception. Mental strategy. Manipulation. Theft. Guilt.

The Moon: There are two dogs barking at a moon sternly looking down. And, there’s some random lobster coming from the depths of a river or lake. The unconscious. Confusion. Dream world. Shadow. Intuition. Illusion. Darkness. Life cycles. Deepest fears. I love moonlight, but it’s not the best light for truly seeing yourself and the world.

Unfun cards, but life is unfun sometimes.

All this week, I’ve been worried that I ¬†was missing something, that I haven’t grieved enough, or that I’ve been involved in self-deception, or that something shocking was going to happen that was going to be for the worst. I’ve never had tarot upset me so much. So I had been dreading what this week was going to turn up.

I think I know what it is now.

I called my mom yesterday to check in on a family friend who lives in London. She has been battling bladder cancer, although she is cancer-free now. But due to the terror attack near Parliament yesterday, I was just concerned.

This family friend came to visit us right before I started kindergarten. I had this very odd habit of sucking my bottom lip. My only memory of her was us sitting at a table, and she telling me very plainly although very kindly that if I continued to suck my lip, kids in school would make fun of me. I stopped cold turkey, right then and there. So, I owe that auntie a lot!

Anyway, London time, we were sure she was in bed. My mom was going to check on her through WhatsApp the following day.

My mom had mentioned something about some program where people write down the history of their elders. I had been thinking about this myself with my own father, but how I’m not sure if I wanted to hear his stories, which always felt like he had been oppressed his whole life.

He’s been suffering from bipolar disorder for years, quite unmedicated. He lives separately from my mom. They have been separated for at least 17 years.

My mom asked if I kept in touch with him, and I said no. I made it clear to him in a phone call, when I was in my mid-20s, that I wouldn’t keep in touch if he wasn’t going to seek help for his mental health issues.

He pops in on Facebook sometimes. The first time he did, I almost had a mental health breakdown. I didn’t respond for months. It felt like he had broken through a locked gate. There was a period where he’d write me way early in the morning, 2am, 3am, which meant that he must have been in a manic state. My dad was never really a night owl, unlike me.

I brought up reasons why I didn’t keep in touch–how he had written me this scary looking screed of paranoia right before I cut off ties with him. It looked like pages out of the Bible, written in black and read–that made my mom laugh wryly, which made me feel. As a writer, I do wish I didn’t throw it away, but having left my home just a few years before, it was too painful to see the brilliant man I knew as my dad be disfigured by bipolar disorder.

He had written something else more recently that broke my heart and I never told anyone about. It was more paranoid delusions but he mentioned this instance of abuse that had happened to him as a little boy, in the vein that he felt like his mother did nothing to protect him. When I read it the first time, I knew that this was one of the vortices of pain that his life spun around, and thus our whole family silently whirled around, too. But I decided to let his estranged wife, my mother, know. Usually, I wouldn’t disclose this, but I felt like she needed to understand him a little more.

 

She didn’t know that this had happened. There was no OMG, no exclamation of shock. She had been taking some counseling classes through her church and herself had no idea how abuse could effectively ruin someone’s life. Until then, she didn’t understand the effects of trauma. So her reaction was more through the lens of acceptance; these things happen.

She¬†then brought up another instance of possible abuse that he had mentioned to her back when he was in medical school. She wasn’t sure if he had witnessed it or if it had happened to him. It broke my heart some more. I had a little more insight into why he had been such a selfish father and husband, why it seemed like he wasn’t that great at showing affection or caring. His own parental relationships felt even more strained than mine ever were.

I told my mom how his relationship with his mother, who chose not to attend his wedding, made me internalize no interest in learning about his side of the family. If she doesn’t care about my dad’s marriage, then she won’t care about the children that were created from it. She had her own mental health issues, most likely. When my dad came to visit her with his future mother-in-law, my mom’s mother, and a good friend of his, she yelled at them like they were intruders. That was not how you greeted your son, his friend, his future MIL, or guests of any kind. My mom’s mom had brought food, and I don’t even think my dad’s mom accepted it.

It’s probably no surprise that my dad and my mom’s mom (who are both Leos) got along famously. He was the kind of boyfriend you married. He helped with childcare with my mom’s mom of his future nieces and nephews after he got off of a hospital shift. So, before my mom’s mom died, she never knew how badly things had turned for him, and she never would in this life. My mom couldn’t bear to break her heart. I don’t blame her.

So my mom was in agreement with all I was saying…until we started to talk about how odd it was that my father was confessing to me in the first place. I had been tired of being a shrink and priest for my family, and said just as much to her. I said it with no bitterness or pain. I wondered if she really understood my point of view.

I was trying to show the difference of how parents and children should interact with each other, even as both age. In my view, if I have a child, I’ll always be their parent and that person would also be my child. The power dynamic, even if I became ill or suffered from dementia–it wouldn’t change. It’s what I signed up for. Even if we became best friends, I’d still be the parent. I’ll always try to protect them from harm, as much as I can without it being oppressive or overbearing. So, if I had had an incident of abuse, I probably wouldn’t spill the beans to my child in some random essay. There would be some context, i.e., a discussion about abuse, what happens if someone abuses you, who should you contact, etc. Or, maybe it’d come up in conversation. Even then, I’d be concerned about the burden I’d place on my child by telling her. It’d be my job to do that.

My dad always just spilled his guts to me, like in ways that I don’t even think he’d talk to his friends. A habitual line-crosser. And this may be some cultural expectation because I ask my mother if her dad was still alive and decided to confess things to her, would she think that was OK. And she said it would be.

I vaguely remember my thesis advisor saying that in West African culture, the eldest daughter could hold the role of counselor to her father (and I guess mother, too). In my American point of view, it feels like a double invasion of privacy.

Looking back, what’s strange to me is how I so invariably trusted my parents as a child and then just started seeing them as individuals well before I left for college. The transition to individuation happened so quickly–and part of that is the journey of adolescence to adulthood. These people with their lives, separate from mine, lives they lived before I came along, and lives their lived in parallel, but rarely in synchronization.

My phone was breaking up so it only seemed like she understood how inappropriate it was for him to tell me this through an essay until the end of our conversation. I hung up with a sense of heaviness, of responsibility, of finality.

This is really all to say that I get it now. It feels kind of sick and twisted for me to feel “better” about the emotional neglect I had as a child. Oh great, that explains why you were insufferable to live with! But I have the words and the knowledge about abuse and neglect that my parents, both medical professionals, never had. I don’t mean to slight my upbringing–it was tough in ways that showed no broken bones or bruises. I never went hungry. I was always clothed.

The lack of boundaries my parents had with me makes sense now. How am I able to see that sharing sensitive information with a child, young or an adult, can be devastating for the child? And how come they can’t see that?

To throw in some astrology, Capricorns and Capricorn risings/ascendants (and I have both) are old souls who often feel like they raise their parents. They are the big daddies of the zodiac, so it makes sense. My brother is a Cancer, which is the mom of the zodiac. I feel like my parents gave birth to their own parents, especially my father. My brother is still very much scarred from my father’s absence. They have a symbiotic relationship that is probably the tightest in our family.

I don’t even think the “why” of this matters anymore. Both of my parents are staring into the twilight of their years. Like how those tarot cards were taunting and haunting me this week, I’ve always wondered if I ever felt sorry or sad enough about my parents’ emotional absence from my life. Like a weed that grows in the sidewalk but could have grown in rich soil–does it matter? The weed grows, nonetheless. But still, of course it does. That weed could have had a richer and fuller life in the right environment. But it’s also like the Five of Cups tarot card–it’s not so much about mourning as it is a way out of it. Focus on what you do have–a skill that I have yet to master.

Sometimes I wait for some ugly snot crying to just overtake me about my family, about my existential isolation, like The Tower. Maybe the right circumstances haven’t lined up–which usually for me is when I feel love and accepted, or see it in other people’s lives.

I don’t think the tears are necessary anymore.

I’m fine, even though I more than deserve two loving parents who can angibly love and support me and are always proud of me. And yes, the tarot cards were really about last night’s conversation more than anything.

A few hours before the phone call, I went through a short forgiveness meditation and focused on them. Forgiveness kept coming up in my oracle card readings, in emails, in tweets. I t even came up again today. Yet I hadn’t been feeling any sort of grudge–or honestly anything. And that’s why those tarot cards had been so frustrating. Have I not done the work here? I felt I had been honest with myself about everything, as much as I can be. I hadn’t been sitting here being upset with anyone. In fact, I was feeling very positive about my life. Hopeful, even.

The recent full moon in Virgo really helped me clarify what I wanted in a relationship–to¬†really be known, to not have to self-edit, to have true intimacy. I know that my relationship with my parents has probably blocked some amazing people in my life because, although I am fine, there’s the little girl who wants all of that, in a parental sense. The man I end up with cannot be my father and my name is not Electra.

So I did that meditation just to be sure that there wasn’t anything else in the way of developing healthy relationships and having my own family, whatever that will look like for me. It felt good. No tears. Just a lot of light and lightness. Nothing earth-shattering, just peaceful. And then that conversation with my mom happened. I wasn’t spoiling for it.

Still, grace floated down for me, for my parents. It’s so much easier for me to accept them now, and it’s sad that it stems from such painful, horrific reasons. I don’t have a daughter’s compassion for them, but a mother’s compassion.

Sidenote: this year, I’ve realized that if I never have kids, I had my mother, my father, and my brother that I have all parented and still somewhat parent. Most of all, I still need to parent myself, to respect my own boundaries and the boundaries of others, to remind myself that I deserve to be spared gory details, that I deserve some consideration, that I deserve some grace.

The cups have been spilled. The tower has been struck. The swords have been absconded, and the moon shone brightly, and I saw the shadows of my parents clearly. It feels like a last step to my own personal freedom from my past and even from my present.

I can finally believe, deep in my heart, that my parents did the best they could with the resources they had–and so did I. And it doesn’t mean that my mom and I will ever be close, or that I will ever talk to my dad again. It just means whatever lasting stains of resentment that colored my life have been cleansed. Maybe that will lay the path open for ugly crying. Or, maybe not.

Even though at times this came out of the blue, I have fought for over 25 years to get to this place of clarity and acceptance. I really deserve this win.

waiting for something decent and good

the waiting1

 

I applied for seven jobs today. It takes the edge off of the low-grade anxiety I’ve had for months. It almost crippled me yesterday–only to the point that I didn’t get to finish this article earlier to hopefully ensure I’d make it under the wire with getting paid today. I barely have any control over that, though. I was just too moody under this Cancer moon.

 

Last week, I got a letter where I was notified that I have to do some new hoop jumping to get SNAP. It’s like what I had to do for unemployment insurance–keep track of my job searches, do job-related things. Because being self-employed isn’t enough. This is new, as of last month. I guess Florida is employing people to do stupid admin work except for the people who actually need work. I need to talk to some case manager next Wednesday.

As I write this, I’m about $75 short on my phone bill, and I got the dreaded call earlier today that means that it’ll probably be turned off soon. For once, I’m not stressed out about it anymore. If it’s cut off, it’s cut off. It’s a waste of energy, resisting. There’s nothing I can do about it except ask for help continuously and keep looking for work that I can do.

Last week after my group, I had a talk with a friend, an Aries who co-leads the group. She had given me some blogging work and I was inquiring about more. I also wanted another POV on my work situation. She gave me some social media work that was optional for me to do. But I want to do it, so I can build up my portfolio.

You think taking advice from a Capricorn is hard? Whew. She gave me some good ideas but also made me look at myself, to see if I was too prideful. I will explore those job leads tomorrow. It was helpful to get new ideas of where to look because I knew I needed some new ideas. I even applied to a place that’s close to my house, a place I was told by another writer years ago that it was abusive. My Aries friend had worked there and I took her fiery enthusiasm and reconsidered. I consulted oracle cards twice and got the green light both times to apply.

I can’t really tell if I’m not being humble or open enough, even though my time in Florida has been taking it on the chin over and over–at least in my mind. And I’m a Capricorn–I’m born proud of myself.

Still, is it OK to say no to anything where I am on my feet for hours because of my jacked up knees? When does being humble transform into humiliation? Have I had enough of both?

These are questions for the Universe, and I don’t really feel the push to break my body to work–but I feel like that’s part of the narrative of poverty, of working in America.

In order to get help, you have to grovel, or be amusing, or to have successfully shown that you deserve it somehow. We glorify the stories of extreme asceticism and sacrifice, things we’re not even willing to do ourselves. But at the same time, we judge those who have less than us. It’s the same sort of mentality that has people thinking that people who get SNAP aren’t smart enough to buy food for themselves, or that all of them are lazy and aren’t doing enough.

It couldn’t be that the system is broken.

We value “working really hard”–unless you’re rich. Then it’s OK not to. We collectively think it’s OK because we all want to be rich one day. We all want the perks, the tax havens, the getting off easy for our sins, the different set of rules. We buy into the idea that if we work hard enough, then we’ll get that.

But most of us will never be rich.

Right now, we’re trying to dissect #Wealthcare, the new healthcare bill which is even worse than the current legislation. And guess who it serves? The rich–specifically, the insurance companies. The current climate seems to be bucking up against this idea of “hard work is salvation” and making the poor pay more. And of course, I’m a part of this climate, and it’s affecting me. All of these narratives play out in my mind and I question all of them, because this is about my humanity,¬†our humanity,¬† after all.

It’s infuriating and inhumane and completely American.

Tomorrow, I need to check in on jobs I’ve already applied for, including one that hasn’t gotten back to me in weeks. I’ve let that go, in my mind. ¬†Part of me doesn’t want to know, that I had put in all this work and that they decided to go with someone else and not tell me. I’m tough, but holding onto hope can be a wearying experience.

And I still can’t tell if I need to be working for myself or not–like officially. I wouldn’t mind it if it wasn’t in my room. Maybe in a co-working space…

I’m just kinda waiting around–but not. It’s more like stumbling around and looking. I’m not even sure what I’m looking for anymore. I’m not good at being lost.

I work almost every day, even weekends. It’s just hard when I’m doing all I can, but nothing has really broken through yet. Sometimes I think I should move because Florida is a tough state, but I don’t think I’m done here. I even asked the Universe about moving to the Gulf side of the state, but I got a strong no on that through oracle cards.

The questions continue. Do I want to be a writer anymore? It’s exhausting, doing these articles. Last week, I applied for a job that was more akin to what I used to do back in Chicago–a research coordinator. Maybe my writing life will be done soon.

And what of the rest of my life, that seems to be atrophying? A family. Friends I can rely on. Traveling this big, blue, beautiful world (I’m listening to Florence + The Machine), and just not struggling like this?

I had a huge epiphany: I had this belief that coming to Florida, I could finally be a full adult (or, my definition of it): self-sufficient, with furniture that matched, on my own, with my own transportation. I got to live like that for about a year.

The Universe had other plans.

All the while, I kept trying to bring the story back to that–self-sufficiency. Doing what I wanted, when I wanted. And that’s not the story to be told right now.

What I have been focusing on is uninteresting to me and yet it is the world I live in. Resisting it is tiring.

I don’t like obsessing over unpaid bills and the bales of ramen I will be eating until the 16th and whether I can afford some respite. I don’t like the sickening smells of food wafting in from the other side of the house. I don’t like listening to the incessant throat clearing and coughing from someone who doesn’t seem to give a shit about himself or others in this house. I don’t like having to remind the landlady to bring me a bathroom mirror and lights for outside of the house.

I have to separate myself from the stench, from the sounds, from the diet, from the bare wall in my bathroom that is missing a mirror.

Who the fuck am I outside of all these annoyances and failures?

And that’s why I have to go back to relying on a higher power–Someone who can who can unlock the cage from the outside, Someone who knows my whole story. Even if I’m not a Christian anymore, there’s still the part of me that needs to connect to something bigger, and better, than myself–especially in times like these.

I’ve been benevolently bailed out so many times. I can rely on that grace, even if it doesn’t show up when or how I want it to. So yeah, maybe tomorrow, the phone will truly turn off and it’ll take time to turn it back on.

Maybe things will just continue to worsen before they improve. But what will that do to me?

Whether it’s just my preoccupation with survival, or the feeling of doom that tries to snuff me out daily–I have to run on something else. I have to listen to something else. I have to focus on¬†something else.¬†Otherwise, it’s so easy to think something is wrong with me, that I’m not worthy of support or a good job or love or rest or anything else that is good. When things go wrong for a long time, it’s hard to believe that things will improve. It’s hard to wait, so very hard. It’s also difficult to keep pushing back at the narrative that because I’m in this frozen state, that means that I’m doing something wrong, that I’m wrong.

But if I don’t push back, I will get rolled over with doom, and I won’t survive it.

I think of all the things I’ve survived up to this point: a mentally ill father, my own mental illness in college, graduating college, dysfunctional friendships with white women (so, so many of these), peaks and troughs in my finances, unfair firings and layoffs, losing my car, grad school and all the disappointment, eviction (kinda twice), homelessness, ¬†abusive landladies and roommates, infestations.

That’s the short list. I’m sure I’m forgetting a lot of things.

Each painful incident, I’ve layered on rock-hard strength. I’m striated in multi-colored imperviousness. And as I get toughened, again, by the waiting and confusion and rejection and neglect, and by each article and job application and conversation and prayer and tarot card reading, I have to believe that it’s not just because the world is awful, and my strength is just a side effect of it.

One day soon, though, I will learn that the Universe holds all that I need–and that I can really trust. It seems to be the ultimate lesson here: how I’m never ever alone; how the spirit world is much more real and powerful that anyone I know.

Related to that: in tarot, I’ve been encountering the Magician card. Its basic meaning is that I have everything I need to create the life that I want. It seems like an enigma. What do I have? I do try to be grateful, but there’s something else impervious in me that is tired of painting on a faux face of gratitude–even though I believe in faking it to make it.

Still, I look at the card as it comes up each time. What do I have? I have myself–is that all I need? There’s a tension here, because I’ve been quite self-reliant and have been able to advocate for myself really well for my whole life. I’m torn between the steely nerve of self-reliance and the kinda scary, but soft and warm interdependence. It’ll always be like this, though, the seesaw between me and others.

But, I feel close in figuring out the balance, in figuring out this part of the journey. Like my last post, I don’t think there’s any new wisdom here to be found, or anything else to say, as I approach 2100 words. It’s more getting comfortable with uncertainty while I continue to learn to love myself–especially when life is hard. And that’s the essence of living a life, a spiritual life at that.

So what do I do while I wait, while I search, while I heal?

I went to the Dali Museum in St. Pete last weekend, and there was a Frida Kahlo exhibit. I had seen another exhibit at the SFMOMA¬†in 2008. I’ve seen and loved the movie Frida. But in this exhibit, I really began to understand the amount of physical ¬†and emotional pain she endured for all of her life. Because of the bus accident she survived, she turned to painting as solace. Her pain was beautiful, but it was definitely hers. As I read her quotes and looked at her self-portraits, I felt like I had found a comrade in suffering.

It made me think about all the pain that I’ve endured. What am I doing with it? The poverty, the abandonment, the frustration, the confusion, the rejection, the silence–they are all different colored paints that I can use to create something beautiful.

I can only hope that as I keep writing about this really tough time, something good, maybe even lasting, is being created.

I tried to drown my sorrows, but the bastards learned how to swim, and now I am overwhelmed by this decent and good feeling.
– Frida Kahlo

 

found poetry

I’m looking for old cover letters for a job application, and I found this random poem…I think, it’s my writing? I don’t recognize it, but it’s from my grad school days, 2012. I do like that new word I created…

inconsolable love

If you need anything, I’ll be inside my own sadness!

moonsmudge

I am raising a handful of Cains.