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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Thanks for your support! Happy Holidays! 💘

better for now…

but she had wings

Autumn has finally come to Central Florida. And frankly, it’s a little late. Usually by mid-October, the swamplands have finally cooled off to more spring-like temperatures without the oppressive humidity.

I woke up this morning to a low of 56F without the heater on (it’s not consistently cold enough to switch over yet).  The skies are brilliantly clear and the humidity that seems to visibly hang in the air has been swept away.

I haven’t stepped out to enjoy the weather yet. I will tomorrow when I mail my ballot in for the midterm elections.

Currently, I’m happily wearing a sweater.

And I feel…better…?

Just like the skies, whatever haze and doom that has clouded me has cleared up…for now.

And I’m really grateful for this change of seasons and weather…externally and internally.


There’s something about continually showing up, to your own life.

Even when you want to quit. Even if you have to drag yourself through your day. Even when there’s no one around to encourage you. And that’s what I did this month especially.

And then, a little relief started to trickle in. Relief like work and solid prospective clients. Relief came from within, too. I found some newfound solidity within myself that no one could give me.

It’s a new level of resiliency that I didn’t know I could kick up into.

And I really shouldn’t have to, in theory. And that’s something I’ve talked at length about here–the power and necessity of community and how isolated I feel.

It’s a little strange, to have gone through this phase of being needy and destitute, asking for help and sometimes receiving it, to go back to going it alone…to go back and to go deeper into the journey of solitude.

What I feel was a journey to learn more about interdependence was actually a revelation that the people I chose to depend on weren’t the right fit, to put it mildly. And it came in two different flavors.

There’s the flavor of seeing me as forever needy, which is actually new for me personally. But there’s a power dynamic that develops when you’re sharing your woes with friends, and your woes are really terrible and even terrifying.

I’m a comforting cautionary tale. At least I’m not like her.

But I have to stay in that place. God help me if I decide to become an equal again, whether through circumstances or spiritual growth or both.

Then the power dynamic, along with the relationship, is broken.

The second flavor is being the one who is always there. Here I am with my unflagging support and love and devotion and care.

The reciprocity, though, is never found. So, I leave.

Either way, for all my life, most of my relationships have flavored with one or both of those unpalatable flavors. Sometimes, the flavorings of imbalance are imperceptible. But over time, there’s a cumulative effect. Things go from oh-so-sweet to ruh-roh-sour.

Other times, it’s just obviously wrong, but I’m in a tough place. I just reach out, indiscriminately. And then the relationship is poorly structured from the beginning and it implodes at the first sign of stress.

As much as it’s hurt, taking a timeout from people seems to be necessary. I’m the lowest common denominator here.

I need to use better discernment in choosing my people. And I need to be more whole to do that.


So I’ve accepted that this is where I’m at–going solo. I’ve been relying on my spiritual teams (guides and angels). But business-wise, I can’t take such a hiatus. I must continue to reach out.

But even with business, these same dynamics are at play. So as I continue to heal, I can choose better clients and partners.

As I take a break from relationshipping, there’s some comfort and ease that comes along with it.

I don’t have to deal with anyone else’s emotional burdens or heartaches. As someone who is deeply empathic, I had no idea how much of a toll it was, to keep the tally of what’s going on with someone else as I know this isn’t being reciprocated neither in quantity nor in quality.

I didn’t realize how other-oriented I was until all the others left or I made them leave. There was a constant background noise of the fluttering of other people’s lives–whether I cared about them or not–that was part of the soundtrack of my life.

Why am I doing all the work here? So I can feel connected? So I can feel needed? What am I getting out of it besides tired?

I could tune out my own deep pains. I could narrowly escape the sneering shame and grief nipping at my heels when I focused on others.

And even if I was candid and long-winded about my own struggles, it took decades to realize that no one was taking up my burdens the way I took up theirs.

And I deeply resented that.

But here’s the thing I have to keep reminding myself of: everyone is not me. Most people are just not bent to be that empathetic.

And that’s OK. It’s just another invitation to create better boundaries for myself.

So now, with all this aloneness, I can fully focus on my own burdens and lightening my load.

And it’s about time.

Oh, this time…this is a sacred time that I’ve resented. I’ve resented because I really didn’t understand what was going on.

But that’s how it usually goes. You figure out the path along the way. You acquire wisdom and hindsight along the way. You find peace within yourself…along the way.


As I have about two months left in this year of 40, I can see that this year was going to be big for me–just not in the ways that I thought.

I thought it was all going to come together in this beautiful, easy way, like waking up on Christmas morning and finding the big red bow on top of a new car.

Finally! Here’s my American happy ending to my French tragic movie. I worked so hard to get here–all this inner work, the therapy, the spiritual teachings, the prayers, the spells, the fixed candles, the sigils…

All that fucking work. It wasn’t not in vain, but there were things I explicitly worked on would spectacularly backfire.

Candles for more money? I got poorer. A fixed candle about restoring communication with someone? I’d break off contact never to speak to them again.

I thought I’d have the big love and the big business. Yeah, these are basic ass desires, I know.

Still, I have neither. I have the big clean-up instead.

It’s clean-up that has to happen, and it’s not only because there’s decades of stuff that I haven’t had time to really dig in and sort through. It’s not only making room for the big love and the big business. But it also about the big healing.

It’s like taking that storage room of stuff that you’ve reorganized, labeled and itemized, but you really need to empty the room, as much as you can.

Yet even knowing how important this still time is, it’s still a little hard to let go of the idea that I’m failing (myself).


There’s a big disappointment that my adulting looks like…not very much is going on except death, loss, and the subsequent grief that comes with it.

And yes, this is a refrain that I’m tired of, but I have some compassion for the woman with fierce ambitions and dreams…the woman with empty arms, standing still, who keeps singing this same sad song…

The constant drone of this refrain is a part of grieving itself. But it seems like every time I sing this dirge, I’m singing a different verse.

The verses are moving me through the changing landscape of my own heart.

Another thing: I’m still individuating myself from life’s current circumstances. It’s really messy, figuring out who is me and what is just stuff happening, but the dividing line is this:

I am doing the best that I can.


Maybe the past few years has been me doggedly and repeatedly trying to move on, but being dragged down by the specters of old hurts and shame.

And then when people stepped back…it wasn’t because I was damaged or unworthy. It was to give me the needed space to conquer the past’s demons, finally.

But it did look and feel like abandonment.

There’s really nothing else here to deal with except me. But that was really overwhelming, especially this month. It felt like I was surrounded by neverending silence and darkness.

I was really concerned that depression had come back. And who would blame me for being depressed if I was? I sure as hell wouldn’t.

Have I mentioned how much this year has sucked? 🙃

I still shake my head and marvel at how bad things have been relationally for me–and how I survived it. 

People let me down. I let people down. Such is life, but this year felt like a hot poker to my heart–so acutely personal and painful.

And one thing that has saved me from depression and despair has been  depersonalization: giving people back their actions and intentions, good or bad; letting them prove their loyalty to me instead of just blithely giving it to them in good faith.

Simply put: if you continue to not show up or to be a selfish asshole, you’re not my people. Expecting otherwise is where suffering comes in. And I’d rather not suffer.


Even in the cooling waters of depersonalization, I’m still left with the pain of realization.

You’ve left me. I need you to leave.

Compound that with the struggles of creating a sustainable business for myself, and I’ve got white-hot misery.

But here’s what I keep forgetting. I can choose to try to alleviate my misery, as healthily as I can.

When you’re going through it, then…you need even more support and care, even if you’re the only source of that respite.

I know this, so well. And I can preach this to anyone else, all day, every day.

And yet, I don’t really treat myself as kindly as I treat others–even others who hate and disrespect me.

I don’t think it’s some deep seated self-hatred. I think I’m pretty alright. But I do think it’s a couple of things that are intertwined.

It’s what I’ve said before–I’m not receiving what I’m giving. So that sends a subtle message to me that I don’t need it. I may not even deserve such compassion.

It’s great to talk about self-care and self-love…but the conversation in Western society seems to be in a vacuum.

Who teaches us how to take care of ourselves, to love ourselves? Parents and caregivers are the first teachers. You can’t just know how to love yourself on your own.

With self-love and self-care, I’ve treated myself a little too coolly, like a detached nurse who knows how to do their tasks technically, but without any milk of human kindness flowing through them.

But my parents treated me just as coolly. I’m just doing what I know. And even knowing better…there’s a bridge to cross from knowing better to doing better. And I’m still making my way on the bridge.

Still, I ask myself: don’t I deserve a little loving kindness, some tenderness, some inner respite?

But this never actively comes to mind. It’s a subtle but lethal form of self-abandonment.

I’m withholding the good stuff–the self-nurturing, the self-compassion, the kindness, the respite from shame and sorrow– from my life for a better time.

But the better time is now; it’s always now.


I meander and wander in the lonely land of shoulds. The shoulds are so heavy to walk with.

You should be reaching out to more prospective clients.

You should be doing more spiritual work.

You should be reading more.

But none of that was fun.

I wondered: could I find a little space for fun without feeling guilty?

Another thing that has saved me from this terrible month was bringing in a little more fun through something not very complicated.

It wasn’t more outwardly spiritual.

It was pretty simple. I played more.

The last couple of weeks, I played more games–specifically story-based games (and, well, the Candy Crush realm).

Focusing on something else than how miserable I was feeling helped me feel better, even if nothing had changed.

But as I thought, while I kept showing up–doing marketing blitzes, learning more about business, doing the work I was assigned to do, kept waking up every day…

And yeah, that sounds small–waking up…but when despair tries to choke you out every day, waking up is one surefire way to keep despair at bay. Waking up means I’m curious about how this whole life thing will work out for me today.

Maybe today will be different.

And this week especially is different. This week is actually full of tangible promise. Three meetings with people about potential business. That’s unprecedented, and I hope it continues. I’m so grateful.


And this was what I was hoping for…could I find some way to find some inner joy and peace that wasn’t centered on making everyone happy or being “perfect” or even “good”?

I’ve talked about this holy grail, of finding internal contentment which isn’t based on external circumstances. And I keep getting closer to finding it. I get glimpses of it…

The reason why I search for this inner stability isn’t just because I don’t want to suffer. The power of that impenetrable internal state is that it starts to change things around you. And yeah, it’s a little about a perspective shift, but it’s also a little alchemical.

I don’t fully understand the relationship I have with my environment, how much I have control over it. Right now, it seems like my magical hands are tied…or they are bringing me things that I need but I definitely don’t want.

And I’m torn here. I am not a cheery person. I don’t think preternaturally happy people should have it all. There’s an obsession with happiness that seems like emotional manipulative and controlling, even if hedonic psychology came from a good place–to counterpoint the obsession with psychopathology.

But I do know that stress makes you stupid. You make poor decisions that don’t really help you out in the long run. So, at the very least, besides not having my physical health tank, I want to be able to look at life with clarity and sobriety, without the stress beer goggles which distort.

And I don’t mean to blame people who are buffeted by their circumstances. Being broke and alone, such as yours truly, is almost impossible to overcome in your feeling state.

Almost impossible.

And of course, I’d want everyone to have enough, to have access to great healthcare, for no one to be marginalized in the world. And that’s something to work towards.

But until that reality comes into being, we have to figure out how to cope.


You never really know what you identify with until it’s taken away. And my sense of self-reliance was something I really prided myself. My relationships with others was another thing.

And both have been thwarted or taken away or transformed.

So that means I’m being transformed. Duh.

*sigh*

If I could end this with any hope at all is that I know and can feel that I am stronger through all these terrible times. I don’t feel as fragile and broken. I don’t think it can get any worse. I certainly hope it doesn’t.

I do feel wiser in choosing who can share life with me. I don’t feel beholden to just pick anyone who is just around me, assuming that just because they’re around, that means they’re for me.

Even in a restricted, smaller life, I still have agency and choice. It may not be the amount of agency or wealth of choice I desire or am used to, but I still have it.

So I’ll end here with a prayer. That’s as hopeful as I can get.

My prayer for myself is that I treat myself with more grace, more care, more patience, more compassion, and more love, that I remember to treat myself well period.

May I remember that I am being supported and helped, even when I feel like life is too excruciating for words or too painful to bear.

May I be truly grateful for every good thing that comes my way.

May I see this time as sacred and special and continually unburden myself from the shackles of resentment. 

May I take ownership of my life while discerning what I can and cannot control.

May I no longer suffer.


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break

breaking

When everything falls apart, it is a good sign that everything is about to come together.

from Write It Down, Make It Happen by Henriette Anne Klauser

It’s been said that you should write from your scars, not from your wounds. Welp, this is a wound with a scab forming, and I don’t have time to wait for this to scar over.

Earlier this morning, after tossing some trash in the outside garbage bin, I walked down my now bare driveway and went to the mailbox–something I used to do every day before my car was taken back by the car lender. It was a daily way for me to stretch my legs which doesn’t happen enough for me as a writer.

It’s been raining almost daily. It’s rainy season in Florida and we desperately need the rain since we’ve had a severe drought and subsequent brush fires for months. Usually, the weather wouldn’t deter me from my daily little walk. But I haven’t been interested in getting the mail. Maybe it’s because I’m still little heartbroken.

Although the mailbox was closed, the mail was damp from all the humidity, which can reach full saturation (100%) especially in the mornings. One of the letters I received was from my now former awful car lender, telling me how much I still owe after the car was auctioned off. The amount is basically the interest of a high-interest loan, which would have been OK 9 months ago when I was working a full-time job with an employer. But that four-figure now just another drop in the ocean of debt that doesn’t even reach my shore much anymore. I live in the small lagoon of survival now.

This car situation has been a tough one to overcome, and it’s not because I no longer have reliable transportation. Sure, part of it is the pride of being a self-sustaining adult and not being able to hold onto what seems to be a basic necessity in a city that has some godawful public transportation.

Admittedly, though, when this first happened, I felt some instant relief. I no longer have to deal with this money drain for a vehicle I used like maybe 5 times a month? Based on what I make now, I can be just fine as I build my freelance writing and editing business, even with the occasional Lyft ride.

Through another bill that I’m actually fighting since I was not driving the car, my toll transponder told me when my car was taken: early in the morning, in the 1 o’clock hour. That night, I actually slept so well–how ironic.

Also, I’ve been here before, 2 years ago when I was teaching and making even less than what I make now. I could take as a moral issue in one of two ways. The first is a (self-)judgmental, (self-)blaming route–how can you have this happen to you again? You’re irresponsible with your money. The other route is just seeing the larger landscape of where I live right now. I’ve done the best I can in a shitty job market and lower income people are routinely taken advantage of. I’ll take route #2, because route #1 is a well-worn path that doesn’t head anywhere except to more heartache.

The heartbreak isn’t over the car, per se, but what my cries for help represent to me–only three people helped me: a total stranger and two friends.

My cries for help went unheard and unheeded.

There are so many reasons why: race, gender, the lack of a cult of personality online, the bootstrap mentality that isn’t applied equally. Not really here to dive into all of that, into the politics of what gets funded and why.

I’m also not here to make this about abundance, prosperity, believing enough (or not), manifestation, or any other things that many times just seem like American capitalism dressed up in spiritual garb, but has no semblance of compassion or empathy.

Over a month later, there’s quite a lot of resentment that I have to burn off or hand off to the Universe. As I try to gain a better perspective, I am accepting what is.

Simply put: no one likes being inconvenienced. That’s the ethos of America. It’s the heart of innovation, but it’s also the heart of our mores and social structure. It’s the mentality that tells you that asking for help is some sort of entitlement. Even the way Social Security is framed is as an entitlement vs. an investment that people make so that they had some income for their twilight years. How dare you ask for help for your basic needs! You should just get a job (or else you’re clearly just lazy and want a handout). There’s someone in the current administration who said just that about Medicaid recipients, millions of those being children. It’s a pervasive mindset, no matter your political leanings or religious beliefs.

What has been really hard but necessary to do is to not make this seeming failure be about me or my worth as a human being. Even knowing that culturally, there’s still a lot of shame in asking for help, this still stings, a lot. I’ve been helped in the past, so why am I feeling abandoned now?

How this all happened still marvels me, which makes me believe that something bigger is going on.

At the time I started to think about writing this particular post, I felt very broken. There are still parts of me that feel very shattered and irreplaceable. I was concerned that I was depressed–and if I was/am depressed, then of course, it makes sense after such a loss like losing reliable transportation.

Nothing seems to be going right and things seem to get worse as I spiritually grow leaps and bounds. There are synchronicities all over the place. I know that Spirit is moving in my life–and maybe it’s because of the destruction left in its wake.

Then I remembered a book that I read, Write It Down, Make It Happen by Henriette Anne Klauser (yes, it’s basically a book about manifestation–but there’s nothing wrong with writing down what you want and need and leaving it up to the Universe how it provides those things to do).

Klauser has a chapter aptly called, “Handling Breakdown.” It basically talks about how things may have manifested in a way you weren’t expecting; or, if your desires haven’t come to fruition yet, that you shouldn’t give up.

Two key quotes: “There is no failure, only a delay in results.” and  “There is no failure, only feedback.”

Why I remembered the book wasn’t for those quotes. It was because she talked about how when everything isn’t working out, that you are close to a breakthrough. She compared this to the process of childbirth, ten minutes before delivery which is called the “transition.” It’s the toughest part of labor.

I saw this happen recently with this reality TV star who filmed a special about her pregnancy. She wanted to have her baby at home, and while she was in labor, she hit a wall of exhaustion. She was just done, just through, no more. She got up to go to the bathroom, but before she and her midwives could leave to go to the hospital, she had the baby on the toilet!

So maybe I’m proverbially on the toilet right now, wanting to go to the hospital and have this baby of a profitable writer’s life. I know I need to keep pushing, even though I am exhausted.

So who is holding me up as I push? I do have a few good online friends that have been of great emotional support. But I have no one local like that in my life right now. Astrologically, I can easily blame this Pluto in Capricorn transit that is transforming me from the inside out, as it has run roughshod over my very essence and ethos.

This struggle is beyond the car now. Yet the car was a breaking point for me. Like what gives? I know I’m supposed to be a writer, to be a writer here. But I can’t connect to anyone permanently here. I lost my car twice. Grad school was a nightmare, so was life afterward. I’ve survived horrible living conditions–and I’m enduring one now. How many L’s can I take, and then take them like a champ?

What gives?

I’m not used to things being bad for this long, especially not with work. Eventually, I find the community, I find the better job, it all comes together. To have the reverse Midas touch is not my style. I always find help. I always Mentos commercial or MacGyver my way out of shit.

I’m super can-do-without-you, and that’s by necessity. For better and for worse, I grew up highly resilient, priding myself in not needing others. I’ve been humbled since I moved down here in 2012, realizing how I can’t be who I need to be without some help. And, for the most part, I’m actually quite OK with asking for help now, even as I face the fear of rejection.

So rejection has come and I am starting to be able to accept what is–I don’t really have the supportive community I need, not yet. I can also see the thin yet gleaming silver lining of this tough circumstance–I’m saving hundreds of dollars.

That brings me back to the spiritual support that I need to access. Yes, the loss of my car brought me to my knees. It was sad to repeat a loss like this, thinking that I would be better off this time around. Can I rejoice and be happy like Klauser says? Can I “count it all joy” like the writer James of the New Testament? Can I be grateful for my faith being tested and producing patience?

It’s really like holding onto a seedling, knowing one day it will be a tall tree. Depending on the day, the hour, the minute, I can hold onto this tiny hope or I can drop it and drown in despair.

At least in the spirit realm, I’m not alone.

My cries for help were heard. I matter. To be able to really believe all of that, in the face of disappointment, of loneliness, of heartbreak–emotions I’ve felt often in my life–it takes some faith, faith at times I don’t have or want to conjure up, faith that something new is breaking through, something better that I could ever imagine.

So I have two choices. I either keep playing this shitty game of Tetris where I feel like none of the blocks are clearing, or I quit the game altogether.

The latter doesn’t even feel like a choice, so game on.

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