welp, it’s a birthday listicle

life begins at 40 SOMI’m writing all this before I go away on vacation (today is 12/12). I’m excited that I can leave here and see people I love and care about, which is usually all I want for my unfortunate 40th birthday, which is, by the way, December 25th.

So here’s a listicle of 40 things I’m grateful for enduring and embracing this year.

  1. My room flooding
  2. Sir Coughs-a-Lot, the incessant coughing housemate
  3. energy vamp, the second incessant coughing housemate
  4. Developing better boundaries, especially energetically
  5. Helping a friend move from Miami to D.C.
  6. Staying at the Omni Hotel in D.C.
  7. Twitter
  8. Losing my car again
  9. Letting go of people who weren’t healthy for me
  10. Sour gummies (I should let these go in 2017)
  11. New noise-canceling headphones
  12. Spell work
  13. Scented candles from Bath and Body Works (as long as I’m not allergic)
  14. Those moments of heartfelt connection, kindness, and knowing
  15. Fall and winter sunsets in Florida
  16. The hawk who comes to visit
  17. Black Mirror’s “San Junipero” episode
  18. Getting unemployment
  19. Having a safe place to be during Hurricane Irma
  20. Annie
  21. Dayna
  22. Jamie
  23. Amaya
  24. Nancy
  25. Zikea
  26. Learning about narcissistic mothers
  27. Losing Tom Petty
  28. The solar eclipse
  29. Winning #NaNoWriMo
  30. Lost frogs
  31. One of my patrons who gave me a monetary gift, just when I needed it
  32. Singing loudly in the car with the windows rolled down and the sunroof open
  33. Full moon insomnia
  34. A deeper knowledge of astrology
  35. All the things that I wanted to work out but didn’t
  36. Being a full-time freelancer (whether I wanted to or not)
  37. The groups I floated in and out of
  38. Any time I spent on the beach
  39. Real, deep healing from past hurts and traumas
  40. Every day when I can wake up and try to do this life thing again.

Good Lordy, I’m 40, and I’m just getting started.

Psst… if you want to slip me a birthday gift, feel free:

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when there’s nothing else left to say

silence-1401486

Winter in Switzerland – tomtown

My birthday was yesterday. It was uneventful–fortunately, and a little unfortunately. I did want to go to the beach, but there was fog and rain in the forecast. The beach is about an hour away, which is wonderful, but it’s still a little out of reach. If I’m going to drive out an hour, I’d better stay more than two hours.

So,  I stayed home, watched movies (Frozen and the music doc oasis: supersonic), drank sparkling rose, ate chocolate cake, and then learned George Michael died in his sleep. A double Cancer with a Leo moon. I’m still gutted about his death about how much I took his immaculate talent for granted, how he was so easily vulnerable in his music.

I have a job interview tomorrow at the old gig, but with different people. I feel alright about it, not too nervous, but not too confident. It’s going on 3 months of unemployment (and hey, if you want to donate to my fundraiser, click here). It’s hard to feel anything besides that I just need to do the best I can and leave it up to the Universe to say yay or nay. A sigh of a resignation is all I can give as I try to surrender a little more, resist a little less.

Having some freelance work on the side has brought a little sense of normalcy, but then I hear that godawful cough of my old ass roomie, and then I know there can be more. There must be more.

Right now, spiritually, I’m beyond tapped out. Maybe it’s more like low tide. Not much new is being brought it. There’s plenty of shit to send out, shit I don’t need anymore, mostly emotional shit.

This lack of activity and aliveness reminds me of when I left church years ago. I had heard all I needed to hear. If I was ever to return, I would need to find people who were more open to acting upon what they had heard vs. just consuming yet another meal.

This time, I’ve heard all I’ve needed to hear. The oracle cards keep repeating themselves.

One card that I have been repeatedly, and hilariously, pulling has been about music. Three times recently, I pull the card, I promptly forget about it, and then listen to music for hours. Besides the fact that noise-canceling headphones prevent me from hearing the death rattling cough of the somewhat middle-aged, somewhat senior roomie, it’s been healing to get lost in music again. I don’t know anything beyond that, whether I should find some band or be my own band. I don’t feel that compulsion. It seems more linear–music plugging into sooth my ragged emotional state. Today, I got lost in a Twitter thread about JoJo. I listened to her and got teary. That Sag lady is gifted.

I’ve heard all I’ve needed to hear, and, I’ve done all I can do. The only thing to do is patiently wait for the relief that I’ve worked hard to obtain.

This year, I’ve been lead to keep taking leaps of faith, where ultimately, I land on face–hard. And that’s life. Even for a very cautious double Capricorn that needs to calculate risk like the best actuary. This is life. The road burn on my face, on my heart, is my life, are signs of life. It doesn’t soothe me, hearing that just now, but it justifies the injuries. These are the occupational hazards of a human, living.

Even though my Cancer moon may work overtime to connect the dots of everything, this time, felt like the outcome I wanted would be immediate and apparent. It’s been neither of those things. It’s been exhausting and humiliating. Yet I got to a point yesterday that I didn’t care what happened anymore. Caring is heavy. Caring is tiring. Caring can be so Sisyphean. I was going to be fine. I’ve always been fine.

I just glossed over this feat, this accomplishment. It’s a big deal to say that I’ll be fine no matter what. It’s true. And that’s why apathy can creep in and protect me. Is this zen or a collapse? Or both? Or both.

All I know is that I did my part. That’s what comforts me, like a cozy blanket to fall asleep under.

I did my part. I did what I was told. I followed the guidance. I took the whistling kettle off the stove. I did my part. I heard you. Clearly.

Maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised, but either way, I wish I were brave or wise enough to say that it was worth it. I can’t say that now–it’s too soon to tell. Even though that this is life, that this is my life, that the hurt is a vigorous shoot pushing through the soil  of life, I still feel like I’ve been reckless, with myself. But I haven’t had any choice in it.

Even still, I’m already putting on my warm coat of disinterest and heading out the door.

I’ve got to get out of here.

As a Capricorn, I crave material security. I seemed to have only experienced it in fleeting moments this year. I haven’t been able to pin it down and really own it. It’s been crazy making the past three months. The uncertainty and the vulnerability tag team me and try to choke me out. But as I am slowly provided for, I don’t want to get all crazy with things like hope and faith, but maybe things are turning around. I’ll break out a noisemaker of cautious optimism, and then I’ll put it back under lock and key.

I can maybe trust in the pattern of change. Maybe.

As 2016 is hobbling towards its final exit on Saturday night, I feel that I’m being shrouded in a resolute, defiant silence.

I know what I want. I know what I need. They are all one in the same this time. And I know I deserve all this and more.

What else is left to say?

The ache of waiting…

light-in-the-dark-1425968It’s Advent season.

Even though I was in the Presbyterian church for a little bit as a kid, I didn’t really grow up with the Church calendar. It was only when I moved to Chicago for college, and even after college, that I learned people who were not Catholic observed Lent and Advent. It’s still strange to think about, even as I’ve watched, and also lit, Advent candles.

A vigil for light’s return.

As I’ve probably said, Christmas is my very unfortunate birthday. So in terms of counting down to the big day, the big day is about my birth, which was harrowing (long story short: shady anesthesiologist, epidural going up too far the spine, my mom is knocked out, somehow I arrive, and my mom hates thinking about my birth).

I don’t even have that much time and emotional space to even reflect on the past year, which has been tumultuous, as the past few years have been here in the Sunshine State. With as much sun, there’s been a whole lot of rain. But I have been in a space of waiting for light to return–and it’s not my birthday twin’s either.

It’s the light that turns off the darkness of survival mode.

Just this morning, I got a donation from a friend that will ensure that my phone will stay on for the phone interview I have next Tuesday.

I live a moment-by-moment life, moments that are life-changing and moments where I have to chase away dread like the loathsome cockroach it is.

Oh great, the car loan folks are calling about payment, again. I really hope I can keep THIS car.

I actually don’t miss ramen. Or Pop-Tarts. Thank goodness. I am sick of eating oatmeal, though.

Rent is being split again. I wonder what other bills I can pay this month.

The Universe, in all its abundance is there, in the midst of these little heart palpitations and resignations and helpless feelings and stark aloneness. And that’s more of a statement of faith than of fact. To know that I’m supported when it feels like I’m only a sack of swirling atoms, ready to make an escape.

I want to be comforted by the everything that the Universe is. It takes some getting used to. This is the time for acclimation.

My phone was kept on a couple of Fridays ago when I got an unexpected settlement check that helped me pay half of what I own. I celebrated, sort of. But moments after, I wondered how I would pay the rest of it.

Now I know. And yet I’m still numb and cold, like a machine just churning, gear by gear.

If I was more intrepid and daring and adventurous, I’d embrace this as another adventure. I have enough Sagittarius in me for that. But the creaky old man Capricorn sun and ascendant just want to be in its easy chair, being easy. I’m pretty feeble, pretty fed up, and altogether exasperated at how all my efforts to save myself seem to fail me. The Mentos commercial ingenuity is not here.

Instead, I’m in a three-legged race with the Universe, who is dragging my ungrateful ass along.

I am waiting for the light to return.

I’m fed and I am clothed. I have shelter. I have transportation. I even have some friends. In this moment, all is well. Some day, like even today, I’m grateful for all of these things and more. But many times, the clouds of fear and dread come over me like the daily summer storms that happen down here. At times, I just have to wait it out, sit in the sullen cloudiness. Other times, I can clear the clouds with hopeful anticipation and fortitude.

As a Capricorn, one of the worst things that I could emotionally experience is helplessness. To know you’re doing all that you can, and the needle from instability to stability barely moves? And now, I don’t even care about asking for help anymore. My pride has been stripped away from this process. But then, many times, those cries for help are met with silence. Maybe it’s better than the “curse God and die” friends of Job. Not sure.

I can’t even ask what’s wrong with me anymore. These circumstances seem a little too orchestrated that I’m the “problem.” It’s the three-legged race. It’s me co-creating with the Universe to have the life that I want and deserve. I must trust, I must trust, I must trust. So, it’s just us–just me and everything that I need.

The expectations of the how and the when and who and the where–they have to be surrendered. I just have to keep hobbling along until we start to get a rhythm that actually looks like walking by faith. Just like the last time I was here, a little afraid and a lot struggling, I’ve been getting just enough to make it to the next obstacle. The problem is never solved all at once. It’s a piecemeal process. As a big picture person, I’ve no patience for this, for anything. The tyranny of urgent is my ruler.

On top of my money life looking like a forest fire, Love, in all its absurd timing, is coming soon–not when I want it. I’m not at all together. I really wanted the money shit to have coalesced, but that’s going to be a longer Capricornian journey up a mountain. So, like many things in life, this will be a both/and situation, not a first, then second situation.

Right now, I look like a dusty firebird that has been flopping around in an ash heap–not that attractive! That confirmation of the big L coming is something I can feel, and it seems rather ridiculous. Just last night, an intuitive told me that, and all my readings have said this for months. The same questions do not apply: how? what? who? where? why now? why not before? This year especially, I keep thinking it had come. I’m waiting for the delivery. But it’s for another house, or I’m just hearing things.

I should be elated. It’s been way too long–like embarrassingly too long. No regrets about it, but it’s one of the things that makes my birthday more and more bitter and unpleasant. Society pressures to be with someone (and I mean like any person), but you get to that age that you can’t be the nth wheel anymore. But do you want to be The Hermit tarot card on your birthday? Maybe some people do–I realize I don’t.

Instead of elation, I feel exhaustion, and a bit of doneness. Done with the searching and the trying and the heart being open. I am rolling my eyes as I type, that’s how done I am. You go so long hoping that your hope loses air. It wears out like an old tire. It’s not worth inflating again. You just lay it down and focus on things you can control–like nothing. OK, like my attitude.

Frankly, I’m too distracted from being broke, so whomever is going to show up like some magical genie in my life, it’ll have to be pretty freaking phenomenal because I really care about my financial stability above all else. Really, really, really.

I find my faithlessness to be sad because I did the National Novel Writing Month–and this should be a whole different post, but I’m going to shoehorn this in here to prove a point about my exhaustion.

Speaking of exhaustion, I did that in 8 days, not 30. Being distracted by my own poverty, and the election, I couldn’t bear to write about any sort of romance, any sort of anything. November was unpleasant.

Something unexpected happened when I was writing my final scene as the 30th day of NaNoWriMo was heading into midday. It was probably the most intense thing I’ve ever written. The couple I had been writing about had just gotten married and the woman’s insecurity was harpooning her doting husband, repeatedly. I got them through that morass of sorrow, although they were facing yet another obstacle–a racist mom that the husband seems to be tied to. Anyway, beautiful scenes, I was impressed by myself, I cried when I was done writing–and that never happens (I’m sure it was because I was physically exhausted, too).

I swear this ties into the love coming attractions stuff–bear with me! So, I’m not a novelist, I’m a memoirist and personal essayist. But there was something about writing about these two people, and reading about them, and getting emotionally invested in their happiness and wellbeing, that moved some emotional blocks out of the way for me–mainly blocks of disbelief. Not that I was writing my own life, but I was able to create a realm of possibility for me that I don’t know if I’ve ever had. The love they shared rubbed off on me. I wanted the intimacy they had, and just by experiencing through them, I felt whole. I felt like I walked around in loving warmth that whole week.

The whole process was really transformative. I fell in love with creative writing again, which I didn’t think was possible. Especially just accomplishing basically the impossible–it gave me some hope, even for my financial situation. If I can write over 50,000 words in 8 days, then what else can I do?

I’m over that high now, but at least I can reference that big personal win as a turning point in this stint of unemployment. It was when I desperately needed to believe in something bigger than myself–and it was my novel; and, in the idea that other possibilities, other worlds, other people, other experiences are available to me, right now.

By the way, this novel has a lot of emotional importance for me. It got shitcanned in grad school. This Taurus classmate basically was the catalyst for my current metaphysical journey. He was so concerned that I had a bad workshop (and I did. He also may have been just concerned about not looking like a dick). And then I somehow started to connect to him psychically, which kinda drove me into anxious fits because  I could hear and feel that he really loved me, or so I intuited, and he wasn’t conscious of what he was emitting to me.That story is a whole other blog post, for sure. I still can barely understand it, but if it wasn’t for that guy, I would not be here, chronicling my wild and wacky life.

So. I’m 100% sure love–real, curl my toes love–will come before money. And that’s fucking wild to me. Not my idea, not my plan. Clearly, I need it. Clearly, or it would come in my more “logical” order.

Adding those two Venusian elements together, money and love, and I have never been more bewildered and confused about what’s going on in my life. Capricorns don’t live in confusion. They create plans in order to prevent confusion, or they plan their ways out of confusion. I can’t plan my way out of this, or work my way out of this. I can’t even beg my way out of this.

So yeah, man–I’m in the fucking three-legged race, bound up with the Universe. All I can do is keep asking is for divine help. I throw shit up to angels all the time now. There’s not much else to do besides that and apply for jobs and watch my applications go into black holes and keep fucking trying even when I’m wondering how Sisyphean my life has become. Is this just the life of the brainstem now? Just…existing?

Who am I outside of a job and all the trappings of adulthood? Who am I becoming as I am being stripped again?

I am not going through this for nothing. I am not going through this for nothing. I am not going through this for nothing. I am not going through this for nothing. I am not going through this for nothing.

So, the ache of waiting–it’s destroying me to the point that I can’t even pay attention to it anymore. I try to lean into the pain, if it doesn’t lay me out first. Sometimes it does. I go about my day. I try not to let me think that I’m existentially doomed, that nothing will change, that I will die in this rented room. I have to believe in the constancy of change, like I believe in gravity. I have to tell despair to fuck off so many times. It’s like a barracuda that keeps coming at me and I beat it off of me as if my life depended on it–and it does.

I have to keep redefining myself by not the things or people I’m scared to lose. I am something else outside of these people, places, and things that I am discovering, that I am re-discovering, like how NaNoWriMo helped me to see.

I’m waiting to be normal again, to be self-sufficient again, to be in a community of 2 or 12 or 20 or 200 again, to be more than a brainstem that’s just existing again.

I’m waiting for restoration.

I don’t know when my proverbial Winter Solstice or Christmas will come, when I’m eased back into the light, seconds at a time. My own soul’s Advent calendar looks like I’ve had it for years. It’s so beat up and falling apart. It’s being propped up by books and CDs and my own sheer will. I have no idea how many doors left until it’s done. I just open a new door every day and find the treat inside.

And sure, I’ll probably lose my shit when Gabriel comes down in some glittery glory and announces some good news. I will be caught off guard, just minding my own business, falling asleep as I’m tending to the herd of my own dreams.

Still. As I wait for light’s return, it all comes down to the surrendering of what is–past due bills, isolation, ramen for lunch, another job application, the rolling of eyes, the sighing, the crying, the not crying…

And more waiting.

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