some lessons learned

truth

Well, it’s been a minute since I was here.

I was really busy with work and now I’m back in an ebb state. Such is the name of the game of being my own business.

There are a few things that have come to mind in the past couple of days that I’ll just list out, because it’s hard to tie them all together (maybe I need more coffee–working on that!)

Poverty is isolating and terrorizing. And so much of this blog is just me reacting to poverty. And, I won’t be ashamed of that any longer. Meanwhile, white men can make oodles of money off of the poverty narrative. This thread is full of how poverty can really fuck with your head and your overall well-being. I couldn’t read too much of it because I related too much. But at the same time, I’m comforted that I’m not alone in these feelings. 

Companies really don’t care about you. I know that and that’s one of the reasons why I dug Fight Club so much (toxic masculinity aside). It really got to that Gen X core of life being more than things and possessions.

This week, there were massive layoffs at digital publishers BuzzFeed and Huffington Post, as well as at publishing conglomerate Gannett and whatever the fuck Verizon Media Group is (formerly Oath, including Yahoo and AOL).

About 1,000 media folks lost their jobs with more to come since BuzzFeed couldn’t get their shit together and stave off the rumors of layoffs. So now, there are people who are having some shitty weekends while waiting for news. BuzzFeed is probably preparing for a merger with another group call Group Nine, which specializes in…wait for it…video. 

I just had something similar happen to me last night, as if the Universe wanted me to embody this fact. I was expecting the cut, but couldn’t really put my finger on why. Thursday night, I could barely sleep because I felt I had already lost it.

Prophetic intuition can sometimes come as a form of fear.

The only other time I’ve felt like that about a job was almost 20 years ago. I was freaking out about getting laid off at a crooked personal injury law firm. My colleagues thought I was being paranoid, but I couldn’t shake the feeling. I learned later that the powers that be couldn’t find me on Friday to do let me go. So I was let go on Monday.

Sidenote: I really have to start honoring my intuition and not doubting myself.

So today, I feel…free and happy. I am repeatedly repelling any shame or resentment. I don’t have to do work I hate like that anymore!

I’m constantly shutting down the typical internal conversation of what went wrong, of what could have been done better, of why this is happening now, of the shitty email that was sent. All those thoughts are unhelpful when acceptance of this new reality makes it so much easier to move on.

I did the work because I needed the money–that’s all. In one Facebook group I’m in, a colleague had posted that they had also gotten this work but decided it was too much and wondered how to get it. And they were right, it was too much. But, it kept me afloat for three months, and I’m really grateful for that.

But this month was incredibly hard for some reason. Part of it was allergies (the pollen count is high right now down in Central Florida). Part of it was doing other work. But maybe my heart had finally checked out of the work I was doing. But I felt like such a snob.

I kept having this conversation with myself about how I needed to be grateful and honor this work. I know I can be elitist because of my background of being a doctor’s daughter, of going to an elite university, of having a master’s degree.

America can make you feel so entitled to things you should have, and I don’t mean basic needs (America does the opposite of that with the basics). I should be further along in my life. Why am I doing this terrible survival work?

But I needed to pay some bills and without a car, this was what was in front of me. So I did it.

Yet the nagging feeling, that I was just felt like some replaceable cog in a wheel, lining someone else’s pockets, only grew and made me feel terrible. I never felt any real connection to this group. It doesn’t seem like they can hold quality people, but they don’t really provide that much support. I only was spoken to when I was wrong.

And I wonder if all these veteran journalists, editors, producers, videographers, etc. now feel the same way, like a replaceable cog in a wheel. They were doing a lot more important work than creating content for who I imagine are bored retirees. But with all those layoffs, 1,000 people could form their own newsroom right now, and a really good one.

So, to sum it all up:

You are not your job, you’re not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You are not your fucking khakis. ― Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

Capitalism is a dehumanizing affair, and it doesn’t belong in journalism–or in most places. And if corporations are people, then they lack a lot of empathy (as do most people, sadly).

Despite life being full of suffering, we must find joy in life. So the season finale of The Good Place, the only American sitcom that I can stand, was on Thursday night. And the ending made me cry because of all of the shitty things that happened last year in particular. If you haven’t watched it and you’re a fan of the show, go watch it and then come back.

Eleanor asks Janet, the all-knowing android, what the meaning of life is, if it’s just full of pain. Janet responds that if she told her, then life would just be some stupid machine. Life would lose its mystery. Since life doesn’t really make much sense, when we find someone or something that does make sense, it’s miraculous. And it’s those glimmers of happiness that we should strive for as we embrace the suck of being human.

I remember saying this to a friend in an email a couple of months ago because I had heard this same message in a podcast about leaving evangelical Christianity. Life is suffering, so when there are moments when we’re not suffering, we should savor them.

Those insights made me cherish the people I had in my life. It made me feel lucky and fortunate, not abandoned and alone.

It’s funny, when I left social media for the holidays and Marie Kondo’s Netflix show came on, I came back to so much xenophobic snark about the concept of what sparks joy for someone.

Clearly, Americans don’t even understand this concept, and a few people have said as much–specifically that we’ve been trained to believe that things bring us joy. So when our houses are full of shit we don’t even use, Kondo’s gentle suggestions about how to store and sort through what you need and don’t need felt like indictments.

So joy…is not happiness or exuberance or giddiness. It’s deeper than that. For me, it has to do with connecting to your life purpose and your essence, the things that make you really you. Deep satisfaction with who you are and the life you have.

And yeah, sometimes it’s hard to find that when your basic needs aren’t being met and you’re treated like some object that has lost its use. But after last night, I felt a new sense of determination to find real joy, even in the midst of loss. I can’t wait for the perfect client, place, friends, relationships or time.

And the time is now. It is always now.

So what’s deeply resonating for me and who I am is working with people who honor my time, talents, and efforts. I want to be with people who are thoughtful and kind. I want to live in a place where my life matters and where I can be useful. 

None of that is happening right now, and honestly, I know that’s a lot to ask for from humanity. But I must commit that I will die trying to find it. There’s no other option besides just giving up completely and dying. My life has to align to these values or I will wither inside.

And, that’s a process. I sometimes think at the end of writing something, whatever lessons I’ve learned from the process of writing will somehow just be permanently imprinted. 

But then life happens, loss happens. Something doesn’t go my way. I screw something up. Taking it so personally is suffering. And I don’t need to suffer any more than I already do.

Anyway, this blog is, in essence, me trying to remember what life for me really is about. And it takes a lot of keystrokes and conversations to remember and to keep remembering that I am not even the poverty I live in nor the people I don’t have in my life.

I am so much more, and I find it hard to find the right words to say what that exactly is besides the word “me.”

Not knowing isn’t a bug—it’s a feature. So now that I don’t have this soul-crushing client anymore, I feel more space opening up. All the people, places, and things that left, that didn’t work out, that I messed up–now there’s space to explore what I do want. 

Until maybe this morning, I really was exhausted by the question, “So now what?” I don’t know, and that’s not a problem. It’s how life is.

I know there are a lot of obstacles in my way towards being what I deem to be a financially stable, well-loved person, and they’re ones I don’t really think about.

But then I think about how so many people have stable lives because of their race or gender or good looks or wealth–very arbitrary, meaningless things. Despite the meaningless, immoral riches of billionaires who decide the fate of people they don’t even care about, despite all the noxious -isms that are on my back and blocking my path, I still have to try to figure this life stuff out for me.

It’s tough because it’s been a very lonely road and the further along I walk, the less people walk with me. That’s also by design, it seems, and something I’ll get into in another post. 

But I don’t necessarily know where I’m headed. For example, right now, it’s a brisk 57 degrees outside, and where I was thinking I’d be living now has wind chills in the negative 50s.

I was telling my writing accountability partner this week that I hate fumbling around to figure things out (she hates it, too). That’s what I’ve been doing since I left grad school. Going on five years of fumbling.

Doors open and close without warning. People appear and disappear. We grow older and hopefully wiser. And that’s (part of) life.

And I know that wherever I’m trying to get to, as soon as I “arrive”, another journey of fumbling will begin. My hope is that it won’t be as hard as living with an inconsistent income and that better people stick around for that journey.

So in between here and there, it’s just more reminders to myself to hang in there, to see the good, to find the silver linings when I can, and to be kind to myself when it’s too painful to smile or see anything redemptive of a FUBAR situation.

I can finally see how my resilience is a blessing. I can see how I’m rebounding more quickly from failures and setbacks. I’m already starting to forget what happened last night and soon, I’ll even start seeking failure and rejection out as learning experiences and ways to move forward. That takes some inner strength and wholeness that I haven’t really had before, but it’s being developed.

My hope for you is that you journey well and have the best traveling companions, that you don’t grow weary when you journey alone or come upon obstacles, and that you become stronger and more whole with each step you take.

Godspeed.


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It’s all in the timing

2016-06-16-17-06-11

 

Waiting to for the clouds to clear…

I started this blog with the purpose of keeping track of my spiritual happenings, but they came rather fast and furiously–hard to keep up! So, under this chill Taurus moon, I hope I can reflect on what I’ve seen in the past day.

A couple of synchronicities occurred with oracle cards with a couple of people I follow on Twitter. The cards dealt with forgiveness, desire, and timing.

The Mystery of Forgiveness

Forgiveness is a tough one because I don’t see it as an option at times. For example, I have some old white men as roomies and they sound like they are one step away from hospice with their coughing. It churns my stomach. I don’t feel respected or honored here–I never was, but it was better than the hell I was living in with a scaredy cat Capricorn lawyer. Oh, the housing stories I could tell!

Still, I enjoy being mad at them, at them being emblems of white patriarchy in my own fucking house (actually–it rarely gets that deep, because I really don’t think about them until they disrupt my peace). The benefit of anger is wearing off because my thoughts about this are on a catch-a-case level. And frankly, that is a waste of time.

Even as I write this, I don’t think for asking for divine help to forgive. As Alexander Pope said, “To err is human; to forgive, divine.” Every housing situation I’ve had in Florida requires some level of forgiveness, which I have yet to grant, and that forgiveness message has come up so often, but I think of my life before Florida, like the former “friends” back in Chicago that I don’t even think or care about anymore. I’ve (mostly) unloaded those resentments. Even my stay in a hotel during Hurricane Michael, where I was double-charged and treated horribly, forgiveness doesn’t seem available to me. Between justice and mercy, I always am on the side of justice. Make it right, and make it right, right now.

Forgiveness is a weird concept to me, and I believe it’s because it truly is divine. I don’t think I can wield it as well as justice or even mercy. It has to flow through me, from on high. Because my perspective is this: karma is a bitch you don’t want to deal with, and I hope she is very fair with you. And that’s a good perspective, which actually links to the freedom of forgiveness, but somehow I have a biter slant to it. “I hope she gets you and gets you good.”

I know forgiveness is not the same as letting justice not do her thing. It is exactly about justice and karma doing their things. And that’s it. I have been trying to embrace, too, to take nothing personally (from Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements. That would be agreement #2). Even when people say it’s personal, call you out by your name–it’s not personal. I know it’s a projection of their own internal life. This has been freeing for me. My Mars in Leo plus my Cancer moon takes a lot of shit personally.

Somewhere, in between those truths lies forgiveness for me. I have to trust that things will be handled, divinely, for my greatest and highest good, and that beyond sticking up for myself within reason, leaving harmful situations, like this home, I can toss it up to the Universe who has it handled already.

Plus, it’s all baggage, baggage tripping me up on my way to better things.

I already spoke about desire in my last post, so no need to rehash that.

 

*Judge Judy Impatient GIF*

impatient judge judy

Timing, though, is connected to desire. The messages I’ve been receiving have been about perfect timing, waiting for the right timing, divine timing. Two posts ago, I discussed being impatient, and the Universe roared back, through oracle card readings and the tweets of people I follow, about being patient. That message has been orbiting around me for a while. I can apply that point of view to my career, but not love.

 

psst.
Sidenote: I just felt a little guilty for being so, um, me oriented. It was the Aries full moon, I swear. I did catch myself thinking today, “I’m just ready to share.

 

Ahem. Back to it…

I’m not completely resolute on anything. I feel ready for anything, for answers, for clarity. But just in writing this, two folks I follow wrote about being patient.

I’m not getting it, am I?

Universe, help me quickly, and with grace and ease, to be patient!

Lucky for this Capricorn, this season of rest will be over starting tomorrow (wow, that’s such a messed up thing, but classic Capricorn, thing to say). I feel like I’m heading back to work. Job searching can be really draining and demoralizing., but I’ve been trying to flip my dread around into hope. Maybe this time in between jobs will be different. It already feels different.

My thoughts are drifting, but everything that I read and hear has similar messages for me. Stay positive. Transformation. Wheel of Fortune. Listen to your inner intuition. Repeating numbers: (it’s 10:10 right now) 11:11, 12:12, 1:11, 2:22, 3:33, 4:44, and of course, 5:55.

Deep down, I wish I was more confident about these unknown times. As I said in a previous post, signs are for those who do not believe. If the confluence of people, places, and things doesn’t give me any peace, even a skywriter at this point won’t help me to believe. Faith is not easy, and it’s only cultivated and nurtured in uncertain times.

I have to forgive myself for being so weak-hearted. Life hasn’t been easy. I don’t blame myself for feeling like I’m being set up for another big fall labeled as a “life lesson.” I don’t trust easily, or sometimes I trust too easily because I don’t trust easily and I’m tired of waiting for trustworthy folks to show up. Impatience! Again!

The Universe knows I’m exhausted. I’m tired of the terrain, the repeated, bland scenery, the same scenarios playing out their dismal demises.

The Universe also knows that I’m stubborn. If I made my  way through all this muck, I’m not going to give up now. I will be gotdamn cranky as I trudge through this morass–I think of the Swamps of Sadness in the movie, The Neverending Story–but I will not give up.

So maybe I can see all these signs (including someone talking about a topic I just blogged about earlier today) as good signs? I can accept that I am on the right path–which is another recurring message I’ve heard and seen. These are like the posters and banners that people hold at a race, shouting out encouragement in big block letters. They aren’t teases or lies or empty promises. It’s the Truth, with a capital T.

So, as I wait for and work towards the perfect timing for all those good things to coalesce, I can celebrate these Truths: I’m no longer oppressed. I’m no longer powerless. I don’t have to just take shit from people just to survive.

Halle-fucking-lujah.

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Gimme 5/Winds of Change

On fire

In the mountains of New Hampshire

I haven’t been here since May. Five months ago. Lots of stuff has changed…

  1. I’m not teaching anymore. At $1755 for one class/semester, those were poverty wages. I did this online gig for a while which was a good bridge to my full-time job as a technical writer. Very grateful about that.
  2. I’m kinda done with church (again). Living with yet another crazy, abusive person + being without a car = kinda done. I could write a whole blog post on that. I’d like to write about it dispassionately, but church was my life for so long. It’d be hard to be solely rational about a major chunk of my spiritual journey.
  3. Speaking of, I was concerned, but not too worried I wasn’t going to be spiritual much anymore. I went through a lull of sorts. But since we’re all spiritual, even the atheists (ooooh, controversial statement), there really is no not being spiritual. So the lull was in manifestations, I guess. I don’t mean that in the woo woo manifest The Secret Abraham Hicks way. Just more like phenomena, like the angel numbers that followed me all the time. Also, I was so disinterested.
  4. But then the phenomena, and that old feeling, returned. And like most things in my life, Twitter was a big influence on me. I had a tarot reading from a friend, and after she read me, a lot of the job stuff started to actually move that week. You could see that she blew my shit up. My friend had RTed her into my timeline on a Saturday night, and now I consider her and others of my woo woo tribe on Twitter.

So, at least, that’s the explanation of the spiritual hiatus from here. Other things have changed, like the ownership of this house that I live in. No more OG Landlady, and her constant, long visits. I won’t miss her that much. The lesson I learned from her was that I needed to carry peace within myself…and to wait for storms to pass. Patience.

Work was a little rocky, heading into the office every day vs. heading in for just an hour weekly meeting. The politics. The pressure. The energies flying about. I saged my office once (with a spray, but still). But after I came back from my writing conference last week, work really seemed to gel for me. The past week, I’ve gone out to lunch with three colleagues, something I have been longing to do. Then I had a good convo with an assistant director. It’s like I changed when I went away, like I opened up. I was forced to, networking all the time. Grad school was so traumatic–and I still want to go back to therapy for that, plus for editing my thesis–but by meeting new peers, I was able to be myself again (seeing friends, new and old, didn’t hurt either).

Not sure if I wrote about how the number 5 was following me, and it still does, and it denotes major changes, that are to be in my favor, will be coming. But they are major changes. I had a friendship come into focus (more of a downgrade on my part, more of a reckoning with reality on my part, more of trying salvage decades of friendship on my part (which, yes, is a big part of the problem)) and two that I knew were pretty much dead fall away (note: if you come to my town and don’t say anything, consider yourself out of my life, especially when we were neighbors, fellow churchgoers, sang together, did life together…). Lots of unfriending on Facebook happened in the past couple of months.

Yesterday, as if the Universe knew I was hurting as I put myself first, I came across this great article in The Atlantic about how friendships change as we get older. Even though I’m post-op–I did the necessary amputations–I still feel the blood ooze out. There’s not enough pain meds yet to get rid of the sting, to fill the emptiness. As that article stated, I was one of those who invests a lot in a few friendships, so when they end, it’s pretty devastating. But these have all been slow deaths, and they will all hurt me more. Hell, even soulmates have their season, and I’m so grateful to this family that I’ve said goodbye to, in my heart. Thanks for everything, and I bless you guys as you leave my life.

With that one friendship shifting into proper focus, where I had learned that this person was properly adulting, putting their spouse (and their family) and their career first, today I gave up a dream of moving out to Cali. It seems so far from here–geographically, emotionally, spiritually. Going out there for grad school may be was my last shot. I wanted to leave because I didn’t really have any friendships here, and then I came back and it seems like everything is opening up. (OK, I should blame @mzamywhite, with whom I started working this week, and even before we started working together, I felt a shift, like light was shining through. Anytime I did tarot with her online, just like Atomic Queen, it was on point.)

  • A friend here that disappeared may be hanging out with me this weekend.
  • Another friend from Chicago has wanted me to come visit her and her family, and I haven’t seen them in many years. I may go see them for Thanksgiving.
  • The lunches with colleagues that I mentioned earlier.
  • All the meaningful conversations with people at work.
  • And then there was this guy…

I had just returned to office from my trip. I was nuking my lunch and I was still in ambivert/extrovert roll. He was standing behind me, patiently waiting to get to the hot water spout for whatever was in his mug (it smelled like instant coffee, like the Starbucks kind?). I spin around and introduce myself to this man with the kind eyes and the soft hands (like soft in a caring way, too?). Ugh, he’s my type. Softness with a bit of edge, like that makes me wonder why are either of us in this stuffy office. I don’t know if I caught his name, though. I had a cold from my trip that I had been desperately pushing through. It was a pleasant enough chat, talking about what we do. He knew which office I worked in, but not where I sat. I still don’t know if I heard him right when he said, “I hope to see you more often,” but I did gleefully reply “yeah, that would be awesome.” I watched him walk away. Honestly, I was just so happy to have some human interaction. I could feel my bent over soul stand up straight back in Florida, for the first time.

It didn’t really hit me that something really was said. Thank you, friends, for confirming that it, indeed, was on. The dude is fucking hot, OK? Like, back in the day, I had a variety of men, but this guy would not even be one I’d talk to. Out of my league. If I say he’s hot, then it is so because I’m also fucking picky, so picky that I am sure I founded the #foreveralone in another life.

So that was last Thursday. I saw him the following day, leaving the kitchen area after having washed my barely unwashable coffee tumbler. I am briskly walking back to my desk, and it’s about 4pm in the afternoon. I hear this BOING! I stop walking because this is one of the many blind corners in our office. It was him. He had dropped his coffee tumbler. We exchanged hi’s and I studied his face in that really obnoxious intense way that I study people’s faces: his left eyebrow was raised in that wry Kevin Arnold from The Wonder Years way, but he was smiling big. Embarrassment. I watched him leave the floor.

My arrogant self wants me to think that I caused that tumbler to drop, that my very presence caused it. Ha.

Then I saw him, I believe, yesterday, and he had a beard. Besides that, unfortunately, he bore too much of a resemblance to my best friend in college (which, when I look again, it’s not that true), that beard basically put him out of my field of vision. Easy fix.

All of this–colleagues and I warming up to each other, some random work crush–could be a fluke. It’s hard to tell someone who has been through it for years that things would be changing, for the better. A year ago, I was flopping around town in Airbnb rentals. And it’s been a while since a guy’s shown interest in me, but it did seem more than friendly…

But at least with that, as I am almost 38, he really rattled me. I used to give two shits about weight until now. I’m at my heaviest yet. And then there’s not going to the doctor and the (lack of) clarity of my complexion. I never cared about my physical stuff. I always cared about what was falling out of my mouth. But that part was fine. I have been running the gauntlet of self-doubt since I formally met him, which, by the way, was my idea.

I needed the rattling. I was drawing tarot and oracle cards like nuts and they were all so pleasant sounding. My mind is coming up with ludicrous reasons why this isn’t true. I’m sure I misheard. I’m sure he’s only doing this to get something out of me. It couldn’t be the opposite–why couldn’t it be someone had a crush on me for months? Why would I be the only torchbearer on Earth? It’s totally possible and plausible.

Hey, I don’t actually want to be #foreveralone. Even if we never spoke again, I needed to wake up to how I have been seeing myself. Did I know that I didn’t think I was worth some hot guy saying that he’d hope to see me more often? When did I get to that desperate, simpering point? How can I see me the way that this perfect stranger does?

And back to the weightier matters…so Adele’s song and video, “Hello” is all the rage today, as it will be until her album drops in a month. I was looking at her and I’m like, um, even if she gives a fuck about her weight, she sure as hell as embraced her body and looks damn good. And then I saw some inspirational poster:

all you have to offer

There was another thought running through my mind today as I walked to work, and I forgot the exact wording, but essentially: this guy “talked” to you as you were, not at your alleged best. Are you not enough as you are?

Do I have a bigger and bigger sense of all I have to offer? I thought all this therapy and hard work on myself since I fell down the black hole of clinical depression was to get a sense of that (I’ve been healthy for years, probably for over a decade). Would it be fun to watch it grow in someone else as I see it grow in myself–all I have to offer?

I will say that right now, I’m hella awake; and it’s the first true time I’ve thought that I could stay in my job for a while and make it into something bigger than I could ever imagine. And there’s other work stuff that I can’t talk about right now, but as I left work this week, the warm yet not too warm winds swirled around, picking up the sycamore leaves strewn along the parking lot. All this week, I feel those winds of change blowing through me, and scaring me. My Cancer Moon likes things to stay pretty chill. I mean, my Capricorn Sun and Capricorn Ascendant isn’t really about the drama either. Like I said–a year ago I was moving every few days. I long for stability.

To bring it back to the woo woo some more: this guy was an answer to mumbled prayers and burned candles and a myriad of readings and unuttered hopes and buried dreams. So maybe things are finally coming to fruition (and why not?). At the same time, he feels like a test that I am unprepared to take, but I feel like winging it, or Ray Bradbury said, building wings on the way down. Even though I’m scared, I’m in that kitchen area a lot more often. I’m out of my office a lot more often. I’m trying to be available, instead of running…

Astrologically, we just entered Scorpio season, leaving Libra season, with its focus on balance and relationships. It was a tough one, but it’s over. I’ll be frank: I want all the good stuff that Scorpio is known for. *wink wink*

I do know that I’ve changed, and somehow, going away on a business trip brought me back, period. I was really scared that I’d be stooped over in humiliation and pain and poverty as long as I stayed in Florida.

Sometimes, it may seem like things changed overnight, but really, I must remind myself that this has been a slow, incremental change. My life has been slowly coming together. Coalescing. Crystallizing.

And, even still, there’s still more (people) to let go and say goodbye to, from my past. It’s all a part of life’s cycle, of holding on and letting go. I’m hoping to get better at knowing when I hold on for longer and when to let go sooner.

Overall, though, I want to end this with immense gratitude. I’m grateful for all of those friends who have now left my life, for those who stuck around, for those who came back around, and for those who are new. I’m grateful that this hard proving ground is softening up, so that I can maybe put roots down and stop hovering in the trees. Nowhere else is calling me right now. So maybe I belong in this strange paradise after all…

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