45 days past

times som

So over six weeks ago, I took a long break from social media. I was really busy with work and needed to focus on it. But also, I wanted to avoid all the holiday hubbub that had absolutely nothing to do with me, even with a Christmas birthday.

Bah humbug, basically. It does make me wonder if Scrooge was a Capricorn.

Ultimately, this has been something I’ve been wrestling with for years–what is social media’s use to me, besides making me feel like I’m not enough and too much?

I’ve reckoned with the looming fact that as much as I have been online for my entire adult life, I don’t really understand social media anymore. And maybe I never did.

It makes me feel competitive and jealous over appeared differences, and that makes me feel ill–mainly the humblebrag that isn’t humble, just bragging. I imagine if I was in a face-to-face conversation with someone, telling me about great their life is…well, no one wants to hang with that person, and very rarely do people talk like that. But on social media, it’s totally OK!

Recently, I was reading posts like this on Instagram and Facebook and it made me punchy. It’s not that I begrudge anyone of their successes, nor their celebration of them–even if for me, 2018’s only true success was that I SURVIVED. It’s just…I don’t know how this discourse became so braggadocious.

And maybe posts like that inspires or heartens others. And sure, I’m definitely in a place in my life that could use some inspiration and uplift. But somehow, when it’s said on social media, it doesn’t feel inclusive. It feels very impersonal, and like we’re competing for some unattainable prize of most awesome.

If you have even one modicum of dissatisfaction in your life, social media will exploit it. 


Anyway, it’s nothing new, right? We’ve all felt less than after reading someone’s post about how fucking amazing their lives are. And then the winter holidays make those albeit natural but very weighty feelings even more heavy. I felt both like Scrooge and Tiny Tim at the same time, even before Thanksgiving.

So, I mercifully logged off, because no one needs to feel even more alone during the holidays while watching people celebrate with friends and family (as they edit out all the tough conversations and heartache and grief), and you are a party of one–which there should be no shame in. 

So while I was away, I finally decided not to be ashamed of my life, which goes beyond the holidays. It’s not easy to not compare your life to someone else’s when you’re online, even when you know that so much of this fake or at least not the whole story. So logging off solved that. It may be something I do every year, no matter how awesome or awful my life is, because it really fucks with your head and your sense of worth, even if everything is OK.

What if life could be better? Why aren’t you having people around that love you? Why aren’t you financially successful? Why are you hashtag blessed? 

Well, the messy and complicated answer to these almost ridiculous questions is–well, there are a lot of reasons–many of them you can’t control, and some of them you will never be able to ascertain or perceive. 

I believe, I hope, I filled all those heart-holes that social media is always trying to widen and fill with resentment. It’s probably going to be a process because part of me is like, whoa, how did I get here? I used to not give a flying fuck about this stuff. And in that way, social media isn’t necessary the root of that problem. That’s just my life sucking. 

But here’s the difference for me–I remember back in the 90s turning to social media when my life was sucking. I found a lot of amazing people to be friends with. There was no competition or bragging or curating or branding or selling. It was just people talking about each other’s lives.

So back then, social media was a savior and a beacon during a long bout of clinical depression. But now, social media has become completely the opposite. And I’m not even talking about harassment. That’s a whole separate topic, which thankfully, for now, I have rarely experienced. 

Whatever deeper connections I was looking for online, like I found in my youth, I don’t really believe they are there like that…anymore, like ripened fruit dropping from trees. Now, I tend to just luck upon them, and even then they don’t last very long.


So one of the biggest things I’ve had to come to peace with is the age that I live in now. It’s not the 90s or the 20th century anymore. We are well within this millennium and century and decade, and for me, it’s too impersonal and transactional for me.

Also, there’s a generational shift. I’m not millennial enough to get this social landscape anymore (although it’s arguable that some Gen Xers created this mess we’re). And although there are probably plenty of Gen Xers killing this game…well, that’s the thing. This has never been some game for me. If social media is just a popularity contest, then I will always lose. I’m fine with that since I understand that is a game. In 1997, it was just me talking to people about stuff. Now it’s commerce and buying fake followers and YouTube views. 

This has been the longest time I haven’t been on social media, and I finally feel like I fell out of step with the emotional tone of this…place. For example, I was lurking a couple of days ago, seeing people I know and love rage-tweet about something that just didn’t seem to be worth the energy. If I had been on there all the time, I may have been more into this, but it just seemed almost like a privilege to sit around and bitch. I could be wrong about the topic, which I will not mention, but it was something that wouldn’t really directly affect me. 

And maybe that’s something I should digger deeper in, too. Maybe I get caught up in rage storms just because I’m there, like I’m a piece of driftwood. It’s not like what matters to me is rage tweeted by others, either.

That speaks to the cult of personality that I have never been into or never will be. My personality doesn’t really invoke a following, but that’s how you make it in the world today–which, whatever, I’m opting out.

So I suck at this, hardcore. And yet, I didn’t used to. The landscape has changed. And I’m tired of being frustrated about it because that’s what social media now is designed to do. It’s like one long commercial provoking you to hate yourself and other people. It feels dirty and gross.

I mean, clearly–it’s not the only way social media works. At least one of you reading this right now found me through social media. So I’m not completely terrible at it. But in a numbers game? After 10 years, there should be more to show for it. Allegedly. And I don’t even need to invoke quantity vs. quality here. Twitter, for example, is a very transient place. Lots of people I knew who were on more regularly have gone.

Still, being myself, being “authentic” doesn’t work in the way I’ve “marketed” myself as a brand. What “value” am I adding? Who the fuck knows?

All those truisms work for some people, but not everyone. Yet everyone gets on this mindless treadmill to get to this unreachable place of popularity because that’s what all those stupid likes and retweets force us to do to be allegedly relevant.

To that end, if you haven’t watched the holiday special Aggretsuko: We Wish You a Metal Christmas on Netflix, you should (here’s a review from io9). 


My “game” has always been to connect and I saw the internet as a way to connect to people I otherwise wouldn’t AND as a way to keep in touch with people I rarely saw. But, at least on a metric level, I just can’t do this here. I can barely stand that it’s OK to tweet to someone and not reply–and this person can be your friend. I still find that to be rude because there’s no way that would fly offline (although it’s happened to me offline, too). Yet somehow, if we’re online, it’s OK to (pretend to) be distracted.

It makes me just ask: so…why are you actually here? 

It’s not to say that I still don’t have some good people in my life from the internet. And the internet IS IRL. More and more, our lives are being reliant to being online. I couldn’t work without the internet. But it’s more that my offline life isn’t being augmented by my online life–like it used to be.

So maybe if I made connecting offline more of a priority in all ways, I can find what I used to find back in the happy, shiny 90s. Even connecting with myself more these past six weeks has been great, dare I say a necessity. I loved this story from over the holidays where this woman logged off for a week and tried to read 30 books in this time. She read 12, but good for her.

And, while I was away, I’d be remiss to not mention all the ridiculous news re: Facebook and how it handed our data on a silver platter to companies. Social media is a gotdamn shitshow.

Oh, one last rant about online life and then I’ll update you on my offline activities–people suck at email. For example, I’ve been trying to write a few stories and talk to my sources. I know it’s still kind of the holidays but seriously?! Maybe I should have taken off some more time.

I really don’t feel like I was made for these times. Maybe I was born too late, but that would make me an insufferable Baby Boomer. Ugh.


Anyway, so I’m back online now. And I feel like I’ve changed a lot, which I will write about later. It could be coincidental to having lived a life where I wasn’t curating my thoughts online, but I doubt it.

Here’s the running list of things I had to say while I was away:

  1. The Pet Shop Boys are perfection. I believe I started listening to them in earnest because I was listening to a lot of Robbie Williams, whom I also love and adore. He did a cover of their cover of “We’re the Pet Shop Boys” so I was intrigued. I listened to their whole discography and pretty much liked everything. It was great to listen to while I worked, but then I would get distracted. I really want this book by Neil Tennant One Hundred Lyrics and a Poem which is on my Christmas Birthday Wishlist if you want to get it for me. *wink wink*
  2. Australians have given us a lot of slang. The word “selfie” is an Aussie word. I learned that from this side work I did which took up a lot of the time while I was away from social media.
  3. Motown really is amazing. Another thing I learned from my sidework. I watched In the Shadow of Motown later and learned about the greatest bassist who ever lived, James Jamerson. I wrote about that for my patrons on Patreon if you want to read it. 
  4. I’m from Alabama and had no idea that Muscle Shoals was a thing at all. I watched the music doc Muscle Shoals and had no idea that Helen Keller, Sam Phillips, and W.C. Handy were from there. I also had no idea about the music studios and producers that helped to create iconic albums from the 60s and 70s. I honestly thought it was in southern Alabama, too, not northern Alabama. I once had a friend who lived in Florence, which is a part of that area. So basically, I had no idea where she lived.
  5. I listened to the top 2018 songs on Spotify and it all sounds the same. I decided on New Year’s Eve to listen to Spotify’s playlist and it was just variations of The Hamsterdance Song. I really wasn’t missing out on much except maybe the Black Panther soundtrack. My ears bled otherwise.
  6. OMG, the Chicago Bears are doing well! WTF? I really missed Twitter when the Bears were playing. They freaking beat the Green Bay Packers. And then I watched them play the Minnesota Vikings and win. I cannot believe we’re headed to the playoffs!
  7. The is macabre, but the Catherine wheel should have been one of those times God flood the earth again. I was listening to a Crowded House album, one of the deluxe versions with outtakes and demos, and they had some lovely song about the Catherine wheel, which I never knew what it was. I knew it was some 90s band that I never listened. It was a medieval torture and killing device which I still don’t even understand because it was so ghastly. I’m not even going to write about it, but man–Europeans have some fucking issues, and that is putting it mildly. That would have been an epic tweetstorm, but alas, I was offline. 

Anyway, that’s just a few of the things I almost wish I was online to talk about.


I tend to want to come to complete answers and solutions quickly, but my relationship with social media is more of an ongoing conversation. The conversation has changed over the past decade. So while I was offline, I mourned that this virtual place has become a place of longing and not lasting connection. It’s an early adopter issue, for sure.

So basically, I don’t know how to be a healthy, connected human on here like I’m used to. I can only do that by being on here less. I put way too much of my heart and emotions into something that has given my diminishing returns. That insanity ended last year. 

I just can’t take this place as seriously anymore, even though there are clearly serious ramifications from being online.

So when it comes to disseminating my own thoughts and feelings about anything online, I realized I was mainly speaking in a cold, dark room with very little light. Or, like a few years ago in grad school through a Facebook and blogging mishap, I was speaking to people who were insecure (just like I was). So at the very least, I’ll speak to people who want to listen.

If social media had helped me with my immediate needs, with poverty and loneliness, I’d be a lot more grateful. But really, a big lesson from this sabbatical was that I had to learn to deal with this stuff myself–at least this time, that’s what was required. And I’m really proud that I dug myself out of this hole. I feel less anxious, abandoned, and ashamed. I feel more like myself, more expansive, more like a real person with real emotional needs.

Social media isn’t really about my relationship to the rest of the world or American society, though–it just pretends to be that conduit. Yet it can be a very powerful distortion that unfortunately starts to affect society and the people in it. The past few weeks, I had to remind myself I had more control of how I feel and how I communicate with others–if at all.

This isn’t a zero-sum game. And it’s not even a game I have to play at all.

So my hope is that my life will look a lot more like it was in the early aughts than it does now–more balanced, more with people I love and who love me, and less concerned about people I may never meet offline.

This may be real life, being online, but it doesn’t have to be my whole life any longer.


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it’s just a wave 🌊

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…

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It’s just a wave; it’s just a wave.

 

 

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.

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

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

Thanks for your support! 💘

Shadowboxing with my fears

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Back in the same ring again, battling the same opponent: fear.

Specifically, I could say it’s financial upheaval, the foe. I look at my bank account and wince. $86. Rent is half paid. I pushed off paying for my car and my phone. Unemployment payments haven’t been doled out yet. If I were a tarot card, I’d be a 2 of Pentacles juggling act of worry and dread.

To even put all this stress in the context of the recent Presidential election–I don’t even have the headspace or heartspace to process how that can adversely affect me. I know it’s not helping.

I was thinking earlier today how I ended up here, again. While I was washing dishes this morning, I went all the way back to 20 years ago, about where I chose to go college. Maybe I should have gone to University of Alabama (Roll Tide!). But then I wouldn’t haven’t been the me that I am now, for sure. And I love and adore her. So, no regrets. I needed to leave my family’s upheaval, which was financial and legal, that only worsened when I lived in Chicago. What my family went through has been nipping at my heels. As immigrants, we burned the maps, burned the ships, and we don’t really have a safety net. I’ve tried to weave one, and the knots keeps slipping.

Still, even with those challenges, I don’t have to go back too far to figure out how I ended up here. Coming to Florida, to become a writer, has been a sacrifice, especially of pride. Pretty much everything that could go wrong, went wrong. But it was the pursuit of a dream, a dream I had as a kid and temporarily discarded because it was impractical. So no regrets about that either.

But the hits keep coming. Last month, I had a hotel fleece me about $160 when I was fleeing Hurricane Matthew (long story, but do not stay at a Days Inn unless you want to lose extra money and deal with evil people). I’ve had little blips like that while walking on this tightrope above certain doom. They shake the rope, causing me to wobble and fall. I hang on by fingertips and fingernails. I get back on and start to walk again, to the other side, towards stability. It seems so far away, but then I know that this is temporary. I will get through this, like I always do–even if I’m tired of my own resiliency.

I have not had a permanent job in the four years and counting I’ve been here. It’s all been contract-based. Today, I just got turn down for a job where I had the most hostile interview. I am pissed that I went through that experience and I am pissed that I wasn’t chosen for a wage that I haven’t made in over a decade. It was going to be, hopefully, a side job. Looks like the Universe has other plans. I’m kinda grateful for that, but only kinda, because my pride is a little wounded.

As I watch the story of my life unfold, I still hold my breath. I’m still not sure if this protagonist is actually going to make it. I’m rooting like hell for that person, for me. Over the years, I’ve learned to be my loudest, craziest cheerleader.

And it’s not like the Universe isn’t cheering for me, either. In my own personal tarot and oracle readings, I keep receiving such encouraging messages, about releasing worry, that this season of my life is over (The World in tarot), that love is coming soon. I need to hear this, because my circumstances look like it’s a repeat performance of this time in 2013 (eviction), and 2014 (kinda eviction). This Cancer moon does not want to move unless it’s to a better place!

Well, maybe this is a repeat performance. My landlady is a social worker. So last Friday, I spoke to her as a former social worker, and as someone who has faced hard times before. She’s giving me a break–

but then I’m in the ring, hyperventilating and sweating, boxing against the fears of financial ruin, of homelessness, of existential stress: why the fuck am I here? Why is this happening again? Why am I doing this alone, again?

Almost. Recruiters are calling me almost daily. That’s never happened to me in my life. There’s a job that I really want that I saw and will apply for soon. Through a friend, I talked to one of the employees there. That’s never happened to me, either. I have a phone screen interview next Tuesday for another job.

There. Is. Movement. And. Momentum.

Not quite. I have this tiny little job where I write content for clients. It pays shit, but at least my writing chops are being kept sharp. I’m planting seeds for repeat clients.

 

Things aren’t going the way I want to, in the timing that I want (yesterday), or how the way I want (super duper easy). But for now, I’m still housed, I still have my car, with gas in it, with insurance. My phone is still on. And I’m grateful that this time, someone gave me a break and things are breaking open for me this month.  I know it’s because through these repeated fights in the ring with fear, I’m different, and I’ve learned a little bit about how fear operates. Now I can land a couple of good punches on fear, even when it tag teams with despair. Writing this blog post is a punch landed on my fears.

And while I fight these decades-long fears of poverty and instability, I have to focus on gratitude, so I can stay upright, so I can dodge those punches. I have to tell my double Capricorn self that I am doing enough, that I can rest once in a while. I must have the courage to not worry, the bravery to ask for help– even if resounding silence is the response, and the guts to tell despair to fuck off.

If you want to help me out this month, here are a few ways:

  1. cash.me/$beelicious
  2. paypal.me/deb88
  3. Patreon–I will have that up in a few days. I’ll let you know soon!
  4. I am a writer and I can write all sorts of things. Let me know how I can help you.
  5. If you like my writing, pass my blog along!
  6. Send good vibes and pray.

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

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

Thanks for your support! 💘