Five Ways to Get from Here to There

harmony and peace SOM

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

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

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

That wasn’t really the goal, though.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sometimes acceptance involves a lot of investigation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So I may as well make the best of it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And that takes time.

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

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

Change is always coming.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now I have to look forward.

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

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

Or it could a mix of both. Who knows?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No pressure. ALL PRESSURE.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My time has not yet come.

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

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

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

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

And the real answer is: no.

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

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

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

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

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no one/the drift

no one1

No one will take care of me but me…

It’s a steely truth that I have been in slow acceptance of throughout my 30s, and especially during and after grad school.

I keep writing about this time I’ve been in, going on seven months of job insecurity and underemployment. It’s become boring and painful at the same time. Boring because it’s repetitive–even though, I’m so grateful more work has shown up. Painful because I don’t feel any closer to stability than I did on October 1st.

But there has been one hallmark of stability. Two years ago today, I moved into this house. This is the longest I have lived at one spot in Florida. That is worth celebrating. When I first came here, I was hoping for a stable, chill, no drama dwelling. I moved here because I didn’t have a car at the time and I could walk to the job I had.

I didn’t really get any of that.

I have survived an overbearing elderly landlady, a long house sale, an infestation, two stoners, two major water leaks. Currently,  I’m surviving lackadaisical landlords and the roommate who has a disgusting, chronic cough. Noise-canceling headphones have been a saving grace for me and for that old man. Although it seems like this home seems like a step away from hospice or the old folks home, it’s still my home, and two years of residence is something I had to fight for, especially this year.

Back to the past: I had posted on my Patreon for my $10 and above readers an old post from 2012, right before I moved down here. Money concerns were pressing–I wasn’t even sure how I’d make it down here, if I could buy a car. I did and I did, and then I lost things on the way and lost the car. I’ve been bobbing up and down here, nearly drowning so many times…

The reason why I left Chicago, besides that I had been thoroughly chilled from 15 winters, was that my friendships had started to end, mainly though people moving on with their families. I had no real sense of my own family–soul family or otherwise. Chicago is a transient city and I had never planned on staying for so long. I wanted to live in New York City after college–and then 9/11 happened. Chicago wasn’t a bad city to overstay in. Dreams change, die, transform, and are reborn–sometimes.

I let go of all expectations…

I came down here to follow my dreams and was shocked to find that no one really gave shit, either way. There was no welcome party or parade for following my heart–just a lot of heartache. I was the only one who could propel myself towards my goal of becoming a writer. If only I had known it would be cost so much–physically, emotionally, financially–I would have saved up for a few years.

But this continental drift of people away from me is not geographically bound. Grad school was a shameful and excruciating experience–a reintroduction in white supremacy and the underside of humanity (a little dramatic there, but I lived with and still with some really awful people). The tribe I was supposed to find did not exist. I’ve been able to accept that the relational reasons of why I came down here are now not what keeps me here.

I keep me here. My love for the land: the lack of snow, the curious, unique creatures, my own curiosity of the beaches. I came for a cousin and a friend and neither are here now. My safety net was left in Chicago. I never really had one here and I can’t seem to weave one that lasts. I’ve resented it a lot, but resentment is melting into wisdom and a newfound appreciation of my grit.

For now, I keep me here, and that is more than enough.

So. It seems as if I’m in a season of deep solitude, which is hard when you need help to pay you bills. I’m very self-reliant, so the quote above is an internal mantra that I live by. But I’m also very resourceful. It’s strange for me not to find work easily. It’s strange for me to not find a new group of people to belong to–even if I battle waves of existential angst and dread. It’s strange that my elasticity and resiliency has some slack in it; I’m not bouncing back. I feel like a deflated foursquare ball and last week stomped me flat.

Two weeks ago, I had a great job interview that amounted to…nothing except a rather insulting rejection email. I’m only insulted because it came at 7pm last Friday, after I had a conversation with the interviewer who said that he wouldn’t leave me waiting for news.

I had a feeling on Thursday that this job wasn’t mine. I could go back over and over in my mind as to what I did wrong. I was utterly charming. I pwned that interview. I sent a handwritten thank you note, which usually clinches it. I did nothing wrong.

But because I wasn’t feeling it, I needed some spiritual confirmation. I did some divination (oracle cards) that showed me emphatically that it was a no, but I kept asking until I got a yes. Not very wise–it’s a waste of time to do that. I really needed to accept that this was not going to happen.

I was livid to be sitting around all day, like I was waiting for some guy to call, and then getting a “Good afternoon” email. Fuck you, dude. I really wanted to the opportunity to grow, to be stable, to have health insurance again. I hated that connected to this person that I will never see again. I hated wanting anything so much. I hated that this was so out of my control, that this invisible white hand may have, once again, smacked me down. And that “fuck you” maybe should be directed at the Universe?

Friday was the six month anniversary of this underemployment season. I was hoping to end 180 days with a fist pump of victory. I got a punch in the gut that sent me to the floor instead.

It doesn’t piss me off as much now. It’s been said that underneath anger is hurt. So the anger lid has been unscrewed, and now it’s just sad. Disappointment. Fear. Anxiety. Defeat. Dread. When will this end? If I can rely on life being ever-changing, why am I going in this straight line towards my *gulp* destruction? What is going to knock me off of this calamitous trajectory of where everything continues to go tragically wrong?

And usually, I’d turn to Twitter to share my woes, but after going on nine years of sharing, I feel the drift there, too. So I mentioned it in a couple of tweets. One person followed up with me, a tarot reading friend that I’ve known since 2015. It was nice to know that she was rooting for me. I shared in on FB and another friend said she was praying for me–one that has been admittedly too busy to keep in touch.

Maybe the drift is mutual.

The lack of caring doubly hurts, especially since I know that I’ve sown seeds of love in caring in others. Where is my harvest? Where is my return of investment? So many unanswered rhetorical questions…

After consulting at least five different tarot readers about my job outlook, there has been no inclination that I’m doing anything wrong. Things will improve. One day? Will it be in this lifetime?

I believe there’s a couple of things going on.

1) Aging. People my age (I’ll be 40 this year) tend to focus on their families. It makes sense since kids these days have schedules that rival their parents. If adults my age don’t have families of their own, making new friends, let alone sustaining the old ones, becomes harder and harder to do. Competing schedules and priorities are the main culprit. I can’t really throw a tantrum over this anymore. I acquiesce to it, even though I feel so unprepared on how to handle it.

2) We’re not all the same. I think about my brother. He’s gone through emotional hell, but even with his behavioral issues, I still find him to be the most caring person I’ve met. He cares, period. There’s no sense of needing reciprocity or balance. He just cares because that’s who he is. He knows when people needs hugs and gives them away freely. He has an innocence that is worth protecting and fostering.

Because growing up, my intellect was what was praised and even taken for granted, I never thought that my brother and I were cut from the same caring cloth. I thought of myself as hard, cold, steely–very Capricorn traits. My brother is a Cancer with a Capricorn moon, and I have a Cancer moon.

I’ve been accused of being selfish and not a good friend–ironically from people who were selfish and not good friends. So as a Capricorn sun and rising, I work hard to not need anything from anyone. When I do, it feels like there’s a power imbalance. Being vulnerable is awkward, even for a compulsive oversharer like me. If the roles were reversed, where I give care, then I don’t feel the power imbalance. It feels like being a human being, having a human experience.

As weird as it seems to declare it: I care, a lot, and reciprocity of said caring is not necessarily why I was created. We’re not all the same. Most of us really don’t know how to hold space for people who are going through tough times. It’s something has to be learned over time. And one day, I’ll be more than OK with that. But for now, I’m not really OK with it.

And maybe that’s why I’ve been in positions of asking for help so many gotdamn times in my 30s, to the point I’m trying not to associate myself with being extremely needy. Per usual, Capricorns are extremely hard on themselves and self-compassion is very hard to cultivate until you’re forced to.

Well, I’m being forced to.

At the same time, asking for help so often has almost hardened me from the resounding rejection that comes through silence and unmet needs.

Very almost.

After Friday, feeling so angry and upset, and then feeling angry and upset for not having any real resource for help or comfort, I had no choice but to look within.

Although I’m in a severe friends and family drought, I have Spirit and guides and angels. and ancestors, all here, all ready and willing to help me. Even writing this makes me feel really destitute, but I know that the circumstances, whether created by the Universe or by an apathetic world, guided me to stop looking outside of myself for support.

It feels, very pathetically,  like having imaginary friends and it feels like a human failing. All these acquaintances, none of the real intimacy that I’ve had in the past. But if reaching out only leaves my hand empty, then there’s a reason for it.

I love and accept myself.

It’s not because I’m a horrible person, because even horrible people have friends and family. It’s not because I’m not deserving. It’s not because I’m not worthy. It just is–but it is for a reason, a really good reason: that I’m enough. I’ve got enough; I’ve got to love myself through this season in a way that I’ve never had to before.

I realized last week that although I have been through hell and back many times, the difference was having a community who rallied around me. I don’t have one, really, at present. It feels like I have individuals, but not a group.

I know that my perspective can be warped, too. Years ago, before I moved down here, a former friend and I were chatting and he was offering love and support, but it felt like whatever he and his family was offering wasn’t enough. Maybe that’s the biggest reason why we’re now former friends.

Maybe I was a walking black hole of love then, a lot more busted up and raw than I am now. We all have our limits of love, but I know that whatever this is now is not that.

It’s a bit of a mindfuck for me, the drifting away from groups. I’ve had to re-define my self-worth and what I base it on. It’s been rattling me to re-establish who I am without the influence of others. As someone who has been proudly independent, I’ve been slowly realizing how much my identity was formed by the people around me. We all are formed that way, so there’s nothing wrong with it. But I must be somehow imbalanced.

When things go chronically wrong, it’s very easy to keep fighting against the current that is guiding you along in another direction. I’m not sure why my finances are taking so long to become stable, or why this part of the journey is like The Hermit tarot card. I didn’t sign up for the solitary sojourn through loneliness and despair, but here I am, sojourning. I’m still alive, which always feels miraculous because there hasn’t been much to grateful for or to look forward to. It’s been sheer will to stay here on this plane.

And since this has been such a horrendous, disappointing time, I need shelter and protection. Whatever I’m feeling doesn’t need to be broadcast into the void. My feelings are precious. They really do matter, even if no one ever affirms them or sees them or cares for me. Because I’ve been speaking into the wind for so long, at least for now, I’m taking this concrete self-care step of sharing here only.

I hope soon, as I continue to commune in the spiritual world, I don’t consider it to be the consolation prize of isolation. I want to view this as a foundation-building time. Right now, I really resent it, but I’m tired. I want to go with the flow and find the new inner resources that I’ve had at my fingertips all along. I want to be able say that “I’m never alone” and really mean it.

As I make my way through Aries season, I’m learning how to really be self-reliant and self-sufficient.

I may not be able to do anything about this social drift, but I can make sure that I access the Source to everything I need, and just keep going–even if I’m in that space beyond hopeless, beyond exhaustion,  beyond the end of myself…

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