“I’m lighting the long way home”

sia som

Last week, I did this values exercise for my myself and my business. It started off with a plethora of attributes, like accomplishment, service, justice, equity, power, and respect.

I started with 10 words, then ranked them, then came down to five. The first two surprised me, mainly because deep down, I didn’t think these were what I should ideally pick: freedom and financial stability.

This week, I have to come up with definitions for these five words, which may surprise me again.

I’ve been emotionally pushing against having very little freedom and not much financial stability. The thought that keeps stabbing me in my head is that I shouldn’t be here.

I should be living somewhere else, around my people…or off traveling, exploring new lands.

I think of the shut-in housemate who is retired and divorced and drives Uber and Lyft. He’s either driving or in his stinky room, lying on his bed without sheets, blankly staring out into nothing…

I am not in the twilight of my years yet, but I feel like him…just some unused sack of carbon, sitting around, doing nothing of importance.

I feel wasted.

I don’t feel free because financial instability has been plaguing me for the past two years, the two years where I’ve been struggling to create a real life for myself.

And I want to reframe this time period so badly, but all I can think is that this part of my life is marred by continual failure–and it’s all because I don’t have those two values or goals consistently flowing in my life.

I want to be proud of myself of believing in myself, of putting myself out there, of finding work. And some days, I am. Not everyone can be entrepreneurial. Hell, I’m not even sure if I can be. It’s not something just anyone can do. I’ve had people also come to me.

It’s taking time to redefine was success looks like, but I’m even impatient with that process.

It’s really of no comfort right now that I’ve been sidelined, let alone that I am not measuring up to my own ideas of basic self-sufficiency. It eats at my sense of self.

Who am I if I can’t pay my bills or feed myself?

(And what do I think of people who can’t do those things either? How come they receive compassion from me and I can’t give it to myself? Maybe we’re made of things that have nothing to do with money…)

I know something bigger than creating a successful business is being created in my life, but this whole poverty thing is a lot distracting–even though I know it’s temporary…

What’s trying to strangle me, in this period of waiting and wondering, is grief.


In my 30s, two big career  dreams have had to die.

The first was becoming a child psychiatrist. And although I’m happy to be a writer and editor, my passion for mental health can get really technical–and I love that (and uh…need to market that about myself).

I’ll always be a little sad that I won’t be able to help people in the way I had initially wanted–doubly.

Yesterday, someone I follow on Twitter had asked about whether they could cut seeing their psychiatrist since their appointments are usually brief. I told them that sadly, psychiatrists can’t bill for psychotherapy anymore, and now, all they can do is med monitoring, which is checking in to see how the meds one takes are performing. It’s important for them to keep track of how the meds are doing, but the appointments are 10 minutes at most.

And that would have been my life, even more frustratingly so with children.

Also, those dreams are from a woman who barely exists anymore…

At 17, I was so worried I wouldn’t be able to get married, have my first kid, and be done with my medical training by age 30.

But those goals seemed like inevitabilities. Why wouldn’t I be a doctor, married, and have a child?

I’m still a little sad that I disappointed my younger self. Even now, I still think that I really should have been traditionally successful, even with all the ridiculous challenges and obstacles which stood in my way.

What I wanted seemed like a given to happen. And maybe that had to do with how many people saw me as pretty darn great–especially academically.

I still see having a family happening, but the timeline is just jumbled up now. I can’t see that far anymore…

Who I was when I made that plan is not who I am now. And it’s funny that I thought who I was as a person would be so stable.

Maybe I should have seen these changes all along…

The way I started to see God and people and myself started changing in college, where I felt free, and even compelled, to question everything.

Who I would have married at age 30 would have been a completely different person than who I’d be open to marry now.

I’m happy about that. Very.

I’ve failed myself over and over in how I thought this whole life thing would turn out, and how little control I have over outcomes. That’s a grief that I’m still working through…or working through me.

Freedom and financial stability maybe maddingly elusive for now, but I’m really happy, proud, and even delighted about who I am as a person.

It just seems that I was wrong about would be around for this better me.


The second grief is over lost communities. The first one was lost after I left the Church. I’m mostly over that.

I’ve said on this blog often that I came down to Florida thinking I’d find these fellow writers that would be my community.

I’m finally the person I’m supposed to be now, choosing the career that I should have chosen decades ago.

So where is the parade and trophy and applause?

What I got instead was an intense and bewildering spiritual initiation that I’m still in the throes in.

It’s still taking time to heal from the betrayal and the rejection–both from myself and from others.

But as I said last week, I have to remind myself that I don’t really belong to most people. And I’d rather take solace in that truth instead of clinging to the lie that I’ve lived most of my life–that I am some everyperson.

When I embrace that prickly truth, though…I do get excited that there’s still hope that the home I find within myself will be found in other people, too.

My people are out there; they really are.

But a lot of my life has been about sifting through who is not for me. And that has been rough.

Last week, I talked about this friend who had come on Facebook, accusing me of ending our friendship when they had been really rude towards me, and yet there was no evidence of that terrible conversation–and that really freaked me out.

I thought we could work through our differences, to find a place of healing. But those missing messages let me know that they were trying to scrub away the dirty parts of our friendship, the part that actually caused it to end. And, well…I can’t someone who scrubs the only record of our friendship for years like that.

On Monday morning, I told them that we were done and that I was no longer going to read their messages.  I unfriended them and their partner. I barely looked at what they sent back.

“I am shocked…” is all I saw. I plan on deleting that whole thread sometime, but that message goes unread for now–as I had said it would.

If anyone had read our conversation, no one would be shocked about how things went down.

To cut off someone who I’ve known for most of my life but seems to be in some self-hating loop of how they are trying to be everything to everyone (the same thing I heard three years ago)… came from a place of finality and resolve.

I deserve friends who are trustworthy and honest with themselves.

The old me would have fought harder for our friendship. But just like three years ago, I realized that I had been trying too hard without many benefits.

And that’s one thing I told them–friendship doesn’t have to be this hard or complicated.

That made me quite sad for the next few days–unexpectedly. I had left things pretty much in their hands in 2016. I was done then. But to resuscitate this corpse of a relationship and then kill it again…it took its toll. I had to drag myself through my daily routine.

And it wasn’t just them. It was just the overall trend of people leaving or having to usher people out of my life this year.

It’s getting pretty old.


If I feel sad about how my life has turned out, I can give myself permission to feel that. And that’s been tough, to be honest with myself about how bad things have gone, about how much unfairness I’ve had to endure.

Sometimes I think those truths will crush me. I’m tired of trying to outrun them.

On the other hand…if there’s an opportunity that I can see coming on my horizon, I can give myself permission to feel a little hope.

Part of me–OK, most of me–wants to fast forward to this really crappy and disappointing part of my life.

Yet I keep marveling at how life continues to worsen and how I continue to become a better version of me.

This isn’t to glorify my suffering or anguish–or even to make sense of it. All I can do is endure it and hope it ends sooner than later.

I’d really like to be cruising on Easy Street right now. I’d really like to not have my character shaped and reshaped. I’d really like to not be growing so damn much spiritually.

But this is all I have, including my sadness and anger that this is all I have. To be able to embrace whatever I have in front of me, with some grace and dignity–that may be a better rubric to grade myself with than whether I have the freedom to take off and travel at a moment’s notice or even that I have “my people” around me.


I was trying to say this last week, but one thing that’s been bugging me is this idea and truth that you need others to have true and lasting success. No one is a self-made person.

Everything I’ve been trying to do with business seems to be dead, or at least dormant–in my eyes, anyway. I know there are signs of life starting to stir…but it doesn’t alleviate the nagging questions of how I will pay my bills every month. Every month since May, it’s been a mystery.

When those nagging financial pressures make me lose sleep and grind my teeth, it’s hard to have the patience that one needs to build something that will last.

Yet I’m growing a garden. I’ve planted a lot of seeds. And I just have to keep showing up, watering and weeding…and things will grow.

And yet every month, the mystery of the bills being paid gets solved. Somehow things work out–not the way I want to, usually, but they do work out.

I’m not homeless. That’s really the only rule I can use to show that things are OK.

But I’m ambitious! Darn this relentless ambition! And I see other people succeed, so I start to ponder–why not me? And why not now?

This meme (which looks like it’s from The 700 Club) is how I feel:

jesus

I’m in my garden with maybe a sprout or two peeking out from some rich soils of hope and desire…and that’s it.

I have this message ringing in my head, that I can’t be successful on my own. And then I have this isolation that isn’t really by my doing–it’s just what poverty does.

When I look around me, it’s that widening circle of people I’ve been feeling and seeing.

So if I haven’t found my peeps, and my business is dormant, then it’s my fault, right? This is what I think.

There must be a way to solve this. So what more can I do?

I frantically look for answers to improve marketing–and find the answers, and start implementing them…

Its fertilizer for the garden. But the growth still takes time.

I’ve practically given up socializing with others in person. That’s where I don’t feel aligned with Florida anymore. I don’t miss seeing anyone in town.

I just don’t have enough imagination to think about who my people are in that regard. And that’s OK. If I’m a moving target of a person right now, even though I definitely deserve love and support, then there’s no reason to pull anyone new into this maelstrom.

It seems what matters more now is focusing on my desires, on what I want (besides, well, other people along for the ride).


So maybe there’s another reason for this terrible feeling of stuckness. And I know, I know…I keep coming back to this place as if I haven’t been here before.

So as I’ve said this before…maybe I’m not supposed to be moving–leaving Florida, traveling, getting on with my life.

Maybe I’m not stuck at all.

Like I’ve said numerous times, this year has been about alignment, and I’ve been so misaligned…and, well, I hate being “wrong.” I hate feeling like I’m deficient or less than–especially in comparison to my own standards.

But that whole idea of trying to be more for people who aren’t even trying…that’s one thing in my life that has been getting some serious realignment–especially as I’m struggling. I have a standing invitation to put myself first a whole lot more.

Another persistent thought I have is how if everything was “OK,” all these old wounds wouldn’t be addressed, that I’m even looking at having very little money in the wrong way.

Again, I don’t want to glorify my suffering or suffering in general. Poverty really shouldn’t be, period.

I just know myself. When everything is OK, I’m not really paying attention to much spiritually. Life is lived a little more on the surface.

We usually reach out for spirituality and greater meaning because everything is not OK.


I just erased a rather depressing section of this post, but it was good to write out how I truly felt.

But this still won’t be that cheery…

TL; DR–As adolescent as this sounds, I really hate why my life is right now. But it’s my life, and I will continue to keep trying to change it for the better.

This seems to be the hump that I can’t get over. This is my life. And, it’s the only one I have. I don’t have few spare ones queued up like I’m playing some video game.

The last time I felt like this–helpless and stuck–I was an adolescent. I was 18, stuck at home on a forced gap year because my father was (and still is) mentally ill.

And of course, I had a huge spiritual growth spurt, probably one of the largest I’ve ever had.

I never really thought I’d be able to leave home, but then spring came and my dad’s unquiet mind changed. And I was freed.

The hump I can’t get over is that although this is my life, there’s a lot out of my control– just like when I couldn’t go to college “on time.”

I keep wrestling with what’s out of my control and the ghost of what more could be (and should be) under my control.

And I’m tired. This isn’t a fight I can really win.

And oh! How I wish I could be zen and just accept everything as is. I’m trying to write and think and pray and crawl my way there. But I keep getting lost…

My unwillingness to accept things as they are has kept me alive. It’s also made me miserable.

It’s hard to accept that I’m doing the best that I can and that it’s enough–because that means the way things are…well, how can I examine all those things, truly? There are so many variables, known and unknown, influencing me and my life.

In that grey space, in the unknown…there’s grace waiting for me. And I keep dodging her. I feel there has to be another way except through.

So, as I take grace’s hand, I know that I can’t keep waiting or hoping for things to get better.

This is my lifewith all the uncontrollable, pathetic, and shameful parts that I wish didn’t exist. And I don’t have to be strong all the time. I can cry, even if it’s just on the inside, over dead hopes, dreams, and relationships.

Maybe I can bury them, like compost, in my garden…

I’m a little too American to end this post without some sort of hope. The hope is that as I feel disconnected from mostly everyone, needed healing is taking place; great self-understanding is growing. And I can’t really see any other way for these things to have taken place in my life.

By the way–I don’t the Universe is taking me offline because I’m so toxically codependent. But I do think that as I am more whole and healed, I can have more whole and healed relationships.

In the meantime, I have to try to keep sane, because I still want to not live here, to move, to be free and financially stable. But, I’m not used it being this alone. I’m scared I’ll get used to it. And maybe I should get used to it, so I can be choosier about who is in my life now.

I need to use this forced solitude to my advantage.

So if I shut out what I think should be happening and what is happening with everyone else and embrace what is happening with me–both the glorious and the unbearable–then I feel I’ll be able to do this life thing a little bit better.

Sounds so easy to do, but that’s where grief comes in. I’m grieving an old way of living.

It’s funny and strange: every time I write about the state of my life, I feel my higher self trying to gently shake some sense into me. I feel so stupid that I don’t get this; it’s as if I don’t want to get it.

My hopes are indefatigable.


But right–that American ending that I promised.

I have been learning to savor the good things, like any conversation I have, a cup of tea or hot cocoa, a smooth falsetto voice from Roosevelt, or any meal I have.

Just last week, for the first time in a while, I thought about how I had finished a couple of assignments and got paid instantly, and was able to buy food for myself within an hour or so. It was all instantaneous and miraculous and beautiful–eating the literal fruits of my labor.

I have been able to be grateful in true and meaningful ways that come shooting up from deep and real parts of me, like geysers.

What really gets obnoxious is how despair (and poverty) can shade and color even the good things in the darkest and bleakest of blacks.

And this isn’t even taking in what’s going on in my state, country, and the world. Things are bad, and I’m aware, as navelgazing as this blog post is (and has to be).

I have to have a monk’s type of concentration to see the good. I definitely don’t have it right now, but it is being worked in me.

Last week I was playing this game where this character who turns into a dragon was being controlled by this woman. This older woman who worked for the woman told the man that to overcome the mind control, he had to look at the good in every situation, no matter what.

The character had his pet killed and his best friend betray him, and he was able to turn those situations around. He remember the pet as it was when it was alive, and he understood that his friend thought that he was doing what was best for his sister.

Granted, I can’t be terminally Pollyanna about my life right now (or ever), that really stuck with me.

But I am trying to see more of the good that is being created in this little tiny room that has become my life. Practically speaking I can at least say that I’ve learned how to pare down my life what I need.

Every second that ticks by, every breath I inhale and exhale without thinking, every electrical pulse that shoots through my brain–those are the seemingly inconsequential but essential building blocks of my life.

I have to savor as much of the good as I can.


I may have mentioned that this latest song by Sia, “I’m Still Here” is my anthem for 2018. I need to mention it again because this is the frame that I need.

It’s a song that I can easily listen to on repeat. She’s so great with anthems about endurance and resilience (“Titanium” by David Guetta comes to mind).

There are so many of us who are silently and secretly fighting battles. I hope this song brings your some comfort and strength.

Here’s the chorus:

Oh, the past it haunted me
Oh, the past it wanted me dead
Oh, the past tormented me
Oh, the past it wanted me dead
Oh, the past it haunted me
Oh, the past it wanted me dead
Oh, the past tormented me
But the battle was lost
‘Cause I’m still here

Well, thank Goddess: I’m still here, and I’m lighting the long way home.


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the more found in less

After dealing with a rather emotionally raw summer, I decided to make last week a staycation of sorts–which is really just a break from the relentless grind of looking for new clients…and trying to figure out what’s wrong with me and my life.

I need a permanent staycation from that last part!

Specifically, my brain gets burned out by emotional upheaval–duh. And it’s been a cumulative effect. Losing two clients and a couple of love interests, all within the span of a couple of months–it all really took its toll on me.

really don’t like losing. 😏

So last week, I decided to catch up on some YouTube videos. Usually Sundays are my day to watch YouTube videos with tarot and oracle card readings for the week–which I never seem to remember but they bring comfort to me in the moment.

I decided to listen to someone I hadn’t listened to in a while.

Matt Kahn is a spiritual teacher up in Seattle, and I’ve listened to him for about three years. He says a lot of common sense things that are desperately needed to be said. And although I don’t always agree with him, his videos have been really helpful for my spiritual journey.

This video is about having less options and about having less in general. Coming across this video was a wonderful synchronicity because I had said the other night on Twitter how I wanted to be more spartan.

So earlier last week, while I was trying to deal with the anxiety of closing out a client, I went through clothes in my closet that didn’t fit right anymore and took them out. There’s probably more to give away in there. I plan on looking through my room tomorrow to start getting rid of more things.

Beyond just having that compulsion to declutter, I’ve been trying to really get a grip on how I feel about my current situation, the dissatisfaction and disappointment that has been increasing its grip around my throat.

Turning 40 last year has brought a lot of internal pressure to live a beautiful life. It’s about time! And now, time feels very short for me.

I don’t feel like I’m doing anything worthwhile, something that’s bigger than myself, something that will last longer than me.

I feel like I’m endlessly spinning my wheels, that I’m wasting my potential.

I feel underutilized and unseen.

Even writing this post today is irritating me! It stirs up all these tough feelings.

But this–the sore disappointments, the anguish, the shame–this is what has been brought to me. I’ve struggled to cope with this reality. And I’m exhausted from the struggle.

I don’t want to emotionally struggle like this anymore.

Matt’s teaching basically invited me to see this lessening in my life as a part of my soul’s growth. And although I’ve whined here enough about how it’s so tiring to hear that, Matt was able to calm those irritated nerves.

Honestly, what other choice do I have besides continued misery?

I hate to spoil the video’s message here, but since it’s almost 2 hours long, I’ll do a TL; DR version: as a spiritual sensitive being (which isn’t everyone), your journey isn’t to amass more. It is to be satisfied with what you have, even as all kind of marketing tells you that you need to have some just in case.

And yes, this is where gratitude comes in, something that comes to me in waves…

Florida has been a place of less–less money, less people, less opportunities. The longer I stay here, the smaller it becomes. There’s been very little gratitude. I’ve hated mostly every minute of this continual compression.

Even after six years of this roller coaster, I’m still amazed that this is what continues to happen. I’m not in a place of acceptance. Yet.

And sometimes–and I’ve said this before–I don’t want to see things spiritually. I don’t want it to be about me seeing the big picture. I just want my creature comforts: to have a peaceful home life, to have a prosperous business, and to feel free to do what I want so I can enjoy life.

And well, that’s not really happening yet. So the question is, how do I make do without feeling like these circumstances are permanent? I’m still squirming to find these answers.

One funny thing Matt brought up was how the ego always wants more–including trying to get the lesson out of experiences. It’s like we want to just skip the experiential part to get the lesson.

And yes, I’m like, I get it, I get it–gratitude, acceptance, surrender. Blah, blah, blah.

Can we get to the good part yet?

I’ve said over and over here that one of my big life lessons is to learn how to trust in the Universe, and yet my life’s journey has made it really hard to trust anyone (although I still do, like an idiot).

But it always comes back to trust and surrender, to the bigger picture being painted.

It doesn’t mean that by knowing what’s going on, that the losses don’t hurt less. It does mean that resisting loss can make things more difficult, can make one more tired.

I’m at this weird juncture where normally, I should feel driven by something, by some goal. My goals are so small now, which makes me feel small.

But that feeling isn’t necessarily the truth of who I am.

The alchemical thing about restriction and limitations–it can force someone to be more creative.

So what am I doing with what I have right now? Beyond being grateful in word, am I grateful in deed as well?

This year, I’ve experienced people, places, and things that I’ve wanted and then had them disappear.

So it makes me wonder…should I want different things?

The answer is…yeah!

I may have mentioned this before, but in a book I was reading about abundance (yes, I know, I’m rolling my eyes, too), it said that we should be focused on how we want to feel more than preferred outcomes (and that’s a paraphrase).

So take, for example, my desire to live in a peaceful home. That could still be in this house, although I seriously doubt it.

As of last Sunday, the house is full again and already, I have issues with the new tenant using my stuff, which I realize is an inherited trigger from my father. 🤣 And I laugh because he really didn’t like me using his stuff. *shudders*

I had to put up a passive aggressive sign, which I hope he can read (English is his second language) and remove some of my things.

But hey–I’m used to this.

Men just like to take, take, take… 🙄

I cleared it up, though, and he understands now. Phew.

Yet ideally, I feel like living alone would be the best outcome. But what if I’m guided to move out to live in some communal space where people respect other people’s property and give me the support I’m looking for? Maybe living alone wouldn’t be for my greatest and highest good.

So to live a guided life, step by step… it comes back to the place of trust and surrender.

And well…it’s something I don’t really want to do. I want to do what I want.

Yet there are bigger things being worked in me that aren’t just for some elusive, intangible soul growth–but that are just better for me, better in a way that I would enjoy and benefit from.

I have to trust that I’m truly in the right place, at the right time–even if it looks like failure.

I hope I can get curious about what’s actually happening in my life instead of focusing on what’s not happening…

bitch less SOM

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

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really letting things hurt

pain will leave you SOM

Yesterday, I went into the kitchen to start my breakfast, and the shut-in roommate that I never see or talk to came out of his room. He’s got a big shaggy beard, thinning pale hair, and thin, pale skin.

“Hey there!” he said.

“Hi,” I said. I was washing my dishes.

“Haven’t seen ya in a while!” he said to my back.

I can’t remember if I answered, or if i said, “Yeah.”

“So do you know if we’re getting a new roommate?”

“I…I don’t know.” I was filling up water from the faucet for my oatmeal.

He was at the table in the dining room, looking at the mail. And then he left for his driving around.

I don’t think I had spoken to him since February, when I had told him about the piece of shit roommate who harassed me and had finally left in July–the one that the shut-in had enabled.

I knew eventually, one day, our paths would cross again, and that I would be mad and hurt about the betrayal.

It wasn’t true that he hadn’t seen me in a while. It was a couple of weeks or more that he was sitting in the living room, talking loudly about the medications he was taking for some clinical trial for something.

I didn’t talk to him, but he blared through the earplugs I still had from sleeping the night before.

That loud conversation was informative–although it wasn’t the first time he had been talking loudly on the phone about his medications and illnesses. Still, I was reminded me that although I saw him as a traitor, I don’t know if it really could have been helped. I’m not sure if that’s an ableist way to look at it, though.

Yet it didn’t really help, and it really hasn’t helped, the feelings I had and still have…the feelings I would rather forget, like a bad trip I had taken, like a disgusting meal I was forced to eat.

I lived in the same house for over a year with a man who didn’t do and still doesn’t do much with keeping this house clean. It’s been up to me. It’s been up to me to make sure that this place is habitable and hospitable. And I’ve really only done it for my safety and comfort, although he gets the benefits.

The shut-in never cleans. A former roommate complained about how it seemed like he had never cleaned up after himself before. And last month, he didn’t take out the trash for whatever lazy reason he came up with. That was actually a first.

I knew I would see him again and be forced to talk to him as if everything was OK. I have never really been one for pleasantries, although I used to have a rule about acknowledging the existence of everyone, friend or foe.

After many foes and not many friends, I had to change the rules, rules that seemed to be about being the bigger and better person.

Being the bigger and better person now is about making sure that I’m OK, that I’m taken care of, that I’m safe.

So by being cold and withdrawn, I was OK with showing, albeit passively, that our warm and amiable relationship had frozen over into cold, forced cordiality.

I wasn’t really ready to face that, that I had one less ally in this place. I wasn’t really ready to also look at my relationship to this place. It’s become more and more like a prison–albeit thankfully less and less like a psych ward…


There’s been a room in my heart that I can only peek into. I open it a crack and I’m blasted with warm, moist air and the taste of my own tears. It reminds me of that test that Paul Atreides from the sci-fi novel, Dune, had to undergo with his mother and another Bene Gesserit woman.

He had to put his hand inside of a box, a box that contained pain. If he withdrew it too early, he would die. So he put his hand inside, feeling like his flesh was being burned and flayed…and then when he was allowed to remove his hand, his hand was just fine.

That room in my heart is like that box of pain, and I need to go inside. And I’m afraid that I will be burned and flayed. I’m afraid that I won’t survive it.

It’s not even going to be as dramatic as Paul and his box of pain. I know what’s in my room that I continue to avoid.

There have been some miserable failures this summer. But I decided after this sad and bizarre separation I had with someone over a week ago, that it was time to at least tend to my wounds–not just this summer’s, but as many as I can.

I needed to deal with my whole self–nurture it as it hasn’t really been nurtured by me before; nurture it as my parents should have but didn’t; nurture it as if no one else ever will; nurture it as if my life depended on it, because it does.

Part of that nurturing has been taking this 10-day course about returning to myself. And that has been restorative and healing–but not dramatically. It’s been more of the intention I’ve set: to not put so many other people’s feelings and needs before mine.

Part of that nurturing has been letting things really hurt. And it hasn’t been me sobbing on the floor. It’s literally sitting with feelings, the feelings that aren’t so clear-cut or line-bright.

Most of those feelings are grief over things that never got to be or have yet to be–the me that doesn’t live in Florida anymore; the me that got to be with that person; the me who hasn’t had to grind and scrape just to make it month-to-month; the me who actually did have supportive parents.

That last one floats in and out, because I don’t know how to grieve something that I never had. I can only imagine how it could be, to have parents be there for me unselfishly, to not have narcissistic parents. I could base on other people’s experiences, or base on fictional portrayals. I have a feeling that may become more profound and real when I have my own family, or when my parents pass–or maybe both.

The personal losses this summer…the confusing grief has batted me around, flipped me back and forth like I was some rag doll.

How could this be? Is this really happening?

This is happening. This is really happening.

Usually with loss, I never feel so ambivalent. I am quite resolute. With cold, surgical precision, I can amputate people, places, and things from my life and never look back.

It doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt when I do it. It just means that I don’t attempt to reattach. I’ve only done in twice in my life.

The first was with my first love–but he dumped me. The second was a few years ago with a woman I had known since we were teenagers. We just drifted apart and I noticed she had unfriended me from Facebook. She responded that basically she was too busy but that she had thought about me often.

This time, I can finally understand why it takes people so long to get over people, at the very least. It took me years to get over how long it took me to get through college–years longer than most people wanted to know or hear about.

But I knew I deserved the time to grieve a formative time in my life, especially since the people who had wanted me to move on had never gone through what I had gone through.

I needed the time.

But that’s the thing with grief. Grief takes as long as it takes. Grief, especially when it comes to death, is an ever-morphing companion that you will never shake. Some days, it’s a whisper of a ghost. Other times, it’s a monster that will violently shake you over something you don’t even think is a big deal.

Even with this one-month odyssey that I was on…there are times that I question whether it’s really over. And then there are other times that I’m glad it’s over. And then, there are other times that I want to go back, even if there are only ashes and embers left.

It’s weird to go through things that you feel like you should have gone through half a lifetime ago. But now, having gone through these things…I feel a lot more human now. The empathy that’s grown inside of me has stretched me open. I can almost say I’m grateful for the experience, because there’s this whole other part of life that I can’t process through my brain.

I can see how irrational love and grief is now.

love is pi


Yesterday, I knew the shut-in was probably waiting to talk to me. When I left my room, his door, which is right across from mine in a tiny hallway, was cracked with a seam of light shining through–and this usually meant that he was going to leave soon.

I dreaded seeing him, but our meeting was better than I thought it would be…initially. I thought I had held up pretty well, considering.

Seeing him and talking to him reminded me of what I went through, by myself.  And I was tired of going back in the past. And his cheery little performative bullshit was an insult.

Could someone be that far removed from reality, really?

I knew that was true because of how my mom handled my father when he was mentally ill. I didn’t really get as much protection as I deserved. She was lost in her religion and her god to pay attention to how living under someone who was abusive and neglectful was doing to her and to her children.

So yeah, I’ve been here before. And I thought because it was over, I was over it all.

But then afterward, I felt like someone shoved me in this dark, small room of despair. I felt like I was physically starting to slow down. I just wanted to sleep.

I had some existential fears leap out:

Would I ever get out of this gotdamn house? Would I be stuck here forever? Do I really have people on my side? Will I ever be successful again? Am I always going to have an almost life?

I was really concerned that I was becoming depressed. I was sleeping more during the day, but it was also because I had some major insomnia (thanks, full moon). I still have a bit of a sleep deficit.

I did a lot of talking and praying with my guides and angels…

And even typing this, about guides and angels…somehow it’s a little embarrassing, like I’m one of those, one of those weirdo woo-woo women…

Then today, I was back to my normal self.

So maybe yesterday, I had a brief moment in that room of grief that I keep avoiding. It was a little scary, but I made it through.


And before this, last week I was really angry, angry that life had been so disappointing for so long. I was and am so fed up. And that anger can be a catalyst for change.

I still believe that this is my time.

What’s really interesting about all this is how these feelings of sadness and grief are on the heels of things getting better for my business now.

Shameless plug for another business – I do tarot and astrological consultations!

It’s like when you’re about to hit the finish line, after having run a long race, and you have the freedom to slow down.

I don’t have to be tough anymore. I don’t have to gut it through. I don’t have to have it all together. I don’t have to be “right.”

I can be hurt, disappointed, and angry that a fellow human being whom I live with didn’t stick up for me while I was being abused.

I can want to have someone back in my life that I’m not entirely sure is good for me.

I can mourn all the fabulous selves I didn’t get to be because I have narcissistic parents.

I can let all of it really hurt as it should, and then move on.

But it doesn’t have to be all sad.

I can choose to nurture myself instead of waiting for someone else to do it.

I can get lost in novels like I used to do when I was younger.

I can continue to explore what brings me pleasure even if I feel like that’s a short list right now.

I can check in on myself much more than I check in on others…because people will be just fine without my care.

I can continue on the journey of not letting my circumstances define me.

I can also be thankful for what I have.


My ungratefulness is what prevents me from opening the door to my grief.

Somehow, embracing amor fati has felt like a death.

How can I be grateful for all of this, every last thing?

By being grateful, I feel like I have to give up my fight for justice for myself, for making things right. It’s like letting everyone off the hook–even myself.

But to really be grateful, I really do have to reckon with my losses, all of them. Yet I’m not sure what that looks like practically, besides being more intentional about caring for myself.

How can gratitude and the comfort of justice intersect? Or will they always run parallel?

I know that to live the full, joyous life that I want–beyond what circumstances come my way–I have to accept this invitation to gratitude.

I feel impermeable to this kind of all-encompassing gratitude. All I want to do is to have yet another internal temper tantrum. I don’t feel holy or wise enough to do this. I feel petty, bitter, and small.

But that’s at least a place to start–with some honesty about where I am and where I want to be.

When I took a little vacation from my normal life by meeting new people who didn’t know me or my life story, including the one that I can’t easily forget, it was great to be seen for who I was, outside of all I had been through. So I can live that life where I’m not all the things I didn’t get to be, but all the things I already am and will be.

So this isn’t some fantasy. This can be my new reality.

I just have to stop acting like some indestructible robot and let it hurt so I can feel better. Let myself be confused so I can find better answers. Let myself really rage with anger so I can find the peace and calm within.

Let myself be so I can emerge into a more authentic self.

I can’t really solve the puzzle of being grateful for all the bad things I’ve gone through just this summer: of being called racial slurs in my own home, of having a terrible landlady, of not being able to move yet, of losing a biz opportunity because of things outside of my control, of getting so close to finding my person and seeing that chance being thrown into an abyss…

I’m just too human and short-sighted to see the good in any of this right now.

It’s so tough to override my humanness right now. When things are bad, we focus on them so we can fix them. But when we can’t fix them, we suffer. If we decide not to focus on them, then it seems like we’re abdicating our duties of being good people.

And I’ve said all this before. But the struggle remains to create meaning and good from seemingly meaningless, terrible things.

All I can do right now is to be at least grateful for the good, in a way that isn’t performative or hollow. Maybe that can create space for the impossible–being grateful for all of it.

At least I can say that I am grateful that I am still here, that I have survived the unbearable, the unfair, the bizarre, the disgusting, the absurd. And that as long as I’m still breathing, the life that I want and deserve is still within reach.

ETA: this song has been haunting me.

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Five Ways to Get from Here to There

harmony and peace SOM

I’ve written a lot in the past week, and if you’re a patron of my blog, then you read about the adventure I took last week. That’s all to say, I’m a little written out (and yet, I’m sure I’ll find the words for this week’s blog post!).

The original goal of this blog was to chronicle all the supernatural and spiritual phenomena that happens to me. That would have been a daily blog, honestly–it’s been too much to keep up with. And I feel very fortunate to say that. I was telling a friend the other day that I’ve gotten used to daily signs, so I’d be afraid if I suddenly wasn’t getting any signs.

One thing I’ve been learning while I’ve been seemingly stuck in a house with two older white men who are not in the best health, mentally or otherwise, is how to healthily detach from unhealthy situations.

That wasn’t really the goal, though.

Usually, my goal in a tough circumstance, is to get out of it ASAP. I think that’s how most people are. But a lot of times, we can’t, for whatever reasons.

A lot of times, we’re in transition from an undesirable place to a more desirable place.

So what should you do while you make this journey from here to there?

The very first thing to do is to accept where you’re at. And maybe this is where the somewhat annoying and inaccurate adage, “Suffering is optional” actually makes sense.

So much of life is really undefined, and lived on the way to somewhere. We get a glimpse ahead, and that’s about it. Only a step or two is illuminated ahead.

As you journey through life, trying to get to a more palatable place, there’s a point that complaining about where you’re currently at only drains and further depresses you. It only makes you feel more stuck.

Wishing you were somewhere else doesn’t get you to somewhere else any quicker.

Accepting where you’re at is also a way to assess things more rationally.

Sometimes acceptance involves a lot of investigation.

Have I done all I can within these circumstances? Are these barriers systemic? Is it worth the energy to pursue this path?

While I was away, I had a convo with my friend about my housing situation, and it just dawned on me how white culture of keeping up appearances is why things haven’t changed around here, after months of complaints.

The landlady and the other guy I call the shut-in–they both have told me that they want the creep gone. But if you saw their interactions with him, you’d never know it. They are chipper and cheerful, accommodating and welcoming.

Ultimately, they enable someone who is a narcissist, with poor boundaries and entitlement issues, actively psychotic, and, ultimately–just an unkind and selfish person.

So really, that’s really something I can’t fight against–at least by myself. Really, the only remedy is to leave–which is exactly what I was working on last week, and for the past few months.

Once you accept where you’re at, then you can make plans for change.

Now that you have a better sense of where you’re at, what you’re capable of, what your resources are, then planning for change is a lot easier. But even then, there could be bigger things going on than you can see or perceive.

Like, you know…your spiritual growth. No, really.

Financially, I always have just enough to stay here and pay my bills. It’s madness, because my expenses are very low. Like I know how to make money…or so I thought.

I don’t want to get into the woo-woo/metaphysics about why I’m a bit stuck, because that involves, in my opinion, a lot of self-blame. And I think a lot of it just doesn’t take into consideration societal influences. It assumes a lot of white privilege.

Some of the stuckness has happened because that freelancing is hard, period. I keep kind of saying this plaintively (it’s pretty whiny), that I didn’t sign up for the freelance life. But I’ve realized that whether I signed up for it or not, I need to start treating it as something that isn’t going to go away for a while.

So I may as well make the best of it.

Making the best of it involves ridding myself of ignorance. Freelancing is a business. I have my own business now. So I’ve been learning the business side more in the past few weeks. I’ve had to be patient with myself because I want to rush ahead and get to the better place–not only because I learn quickly, but because–well, poverty sucks.

And some of it is just bad luck–I lost a major client a few weeks ago, and things haven’t improved since then, which brings me back to the first point: freelancing is hard.

And there’s just the obvious barriers that I don’t even think about–race and gender. I don’t think about them much at all since they aren’t things I can change. But I know they play into this mess a lot.

Because of the stuckness and a real lack of momentum, I’ve had to dig deep spiritually. I hate to use the cliché, “grow where you’re planted,” but…ta da, that’s me.

I still don’t feel like I’ve gotten where I need to be spiritually. I’m closer, though…

When you accept where you’re at, you’re better able to see what you can push back against and what you need to work around.

When I came back from my adventure last week, I had already discovered that all my clothes reeked of cigarette smoke, so I wasn’t surprised that my room smelled terribly of cigarette smoke. It’s something I will eventually mention to this lazy landlady.

I was so disgusted that I also decided to investigate and see if legal action was an option. And as I had suspected, really, it’d be so much cheaper and easier to move.

Through all of that, I didn’t feel as anxious as I usually would. Even though absolutely nothing has changed circumstantially, I have some deep, (hopefully) lasting peace.

So when things don’t change circumstantially, after taking more traditional courses of actions, usually that means there’s something bigger here to learn or grow in/through/beyond. 

I’m not happy to be here, nor am I happy to learn these lessons in this way. But at the very least, knowing that there’s something bigger and better happening here, it makes it easier to not GAF about whatever the creep is doing or not doing.

It’s easier to not take this personally. It’s easier to focus on what makes me happy, right now.

And then it’s easier to use the energy I’d use fretting and internally raging to focus on where I want to go next.

As I make that shift in my perspective, I’m really tired emotionally. And I have to figure out what will fill me back up. I caught up TV shows like The Good Fight and The Americans. I haven’t had much space for emotionally intense dramas. TV really isn’t an escape when it only reminds you how hard your own life is.

It’s also shifting focus, from survival mode to…”You know what? I am capable of leaving here, with my sanity and dignity in tact.”

And that takes time.

Even what I’m listing out here, I wouldn’t call it a linear process. Acceptance is not a one-shot deal. It’s a daily practice. Assessing your situation happens on a continual basis.

Even if you’re in some unbearable holding pattern, you have to have faith that things will change. Whether it’s by your own hand, or divine intervention (it’s usually a combination of the two), change is coming.

Change is always coming.

It’s hard to keep the faith when you feel emotionally tapped, but you have to start to look at what’s going on around you. There are signs.

For example, the more spiritual practices that I do, it seemed like things actually got worse here. The worsening wasn’t some sign to stop doing what I was doing. To me, it was a sign to keep going.

It’s like in a video game, when you’re trying to beat the boss, and right before he dies, he gets really desperate and will try everything to stop you from beating him. It can be almost wildly dangerous right before they are beaten.

Things got worse here when I asserted boundaries. They continued to worsen as I kept asserting my boundaries.

But I’m not going to stop. Having healthy boundaries is great and necessary.

And that part, to me, is done. There’s not much else that is going to change unless the creep decides to leave out of his own free will.

There’s no more reason to push, to be attached to these people.

Now I have to look forward.

Maybe the deliverance will be conventional–I’ll find a client that pays more than the former one. Or I’ll find a new full-time job.

Or maybe it’ll be unconventional. I’ll get an invitation to do something or to go somewhere.

Or it could a mix of both. Who knows?

What helps here is to get curious about what happens next.

Doom and despair can leave you feeling like the road stretched out before you never ends, never changes. It’s the seemingly never-ending hellscape scenery.

But, it’s not really true. And this isn’t even me talking about having some gratitude exercise or appreciate every good thing in life.

Sometimes, we just don’t have the space for that. So, maybe, you can just think: I wonder how tomorrow will be different. Who will I talk to? What will I learn? What will I experience?

This practice of curiosity has kept me alive. As a writer, I see myself in this story, as the main character, and I want to know what happens next to me.

When will she finally get out of this house? What job lead is going to pan out? Will she ever get her HEA? Who is she going to meet this year?

How will she be different a month from now? Six months? A year? Five years?

I keep picturing myself like some spiritual Houdini, like I’ve put myself in a straitjacket, hung myself upside down, in a water tank. The water is rising and I’m just wriggling, wriggling, wriggling, trying to free myself.

No pressure. ALL PRESSURE.

So. I’m here, with three people, including the grandmother who lives in the mother-in-law suite next door.

They are all living the twilight of their lives. Probably the next place they will live is in a nursing home…or hospice.

And that’s when I feel the doom and the hopelessness starting to rise. It’s scary to think that nothing will change, that I will be stuck here in this de facto old folks’ home, barely scraping by. They are so much closer to the end of it all. And I feel like I just started, at age 40.

Spiritually, I feel like I have endured and fought so much fucking nonsense to get to this space of…I get it. I finally get it.

I know what matters to me. I know what I’m about. I know what kind of people I want around me. I know what I’d want my family to look like. I know where I want to live and grow and thrive.  I know how to keep better boundaries.

I know. I know. I know. And life is so short. I feel like I’ve wasted so much time…waiting, fighting, longing…

And I’m ready to apply this knowledge, to leave what so many call “God’s Waiting Room.”

My time has not yet come.

So sometimes, the suffering comes from feeling like there is so much more out there for me, and that these old folks are somehow in the way of my happiness.

It’s so easy to be angry, hurt, and sad–for very practical reasons. This housing situation is frighteningly and unreasonably absurd.

But then again, it’s also just the way it is. I can accept and even embrace the absurdity of living with someone who looks like the grim reaper.

Ultimately, the real question is this: do I want to give these people any power over me?

And the real answer is: no.

Eventually, I just have to say, and repeatedly say to myself, these people don’t matter, at all. What matters is me and my happiness.

The only harmony and peace found here will be within my own heart.

And that journey, even before I leave here, is the most important one I need to take right now.

So acceptance, assessment, allowing growth, planning, and curiosity…those are the things that are finally sustaining me as I journey to a better place. And I hope they will sustain you, as you travel from here to there.

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“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.

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