The End

RWS_Tarot_21_World SOM

Today, my tarot card of the day was The World. For you tarot readers and aficionados, you know how fitting it is to have the last card in the Major Arcana at the end of the year. I believe it’s a great sign for me. If you’re not into tarot, it is a card that marks endings and completion.

There are a few ways of viewing this, so I’ll just make this post a reading of sorts.

A Welcomed End

The first thing I thought when I saw this card was that the troubles and challenges that I’ve faced this year are complete. This year was very chaotic for me, but I feel like I squeezed as much knowledge and wisdom and healing and growth as I could. 

As we look at the world, with all the upheaval, strife, the disasters both human-made and natural, there’s still a lot of hard and terrible things that we’re dealing with both individually and collectively.

New challenges are always arising, but I’ve found that being forever a student about life is one way to make sure that you can remain flexible. You can learn how to drop old coping mechanisms that you used in your youth and find better ways to cope and deal.

There are a lot of things I’m still seeking out in the world. But within myself, I am whole and complete–and so are you. That’s what The World card reminds us.

And although we’re all whole and complete by ourselves, we do need each other to unearth all the treasures that we have. We need others to support us on this journey of becoming (or rediscovering) who we are.

An Unwelcome End

It’s strange, too–I’m a little sad that this year is ending the way it is because I feel like I’m in the middle an ellipsis, or like I’m the bouncing ellipsis you see when someone is writing a Twitter DM or text back to you. My “moment of triumph” is still being written–and that’s a good thing. The World card also says to me that it’s not even necessary to put an exclamation point when only a period is necessary.

It’s done. Period. 

But back to The End…this year sucked a lot, and I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. Even though there are challenges we’ll carry into the New Year, it doesn’t mean that you have to continue to carry the emotional baggage that came with those struggles.

Granted, healing from trauma usually begins when the painful events ends.

For example, it took me many years to emotionally heal from having to take eight years to get through college and how that long circuitous journey of stops and start was one I couldn’t really control. That period of waiting and attending and betrayal and exile and return took up most of my 20s.

The bleeding may have ended when I graduated at age 26, but the pain was still there and I still have a scar. Now I could really deal with the trauma because I had stopped fighting. The war was over and won, but I was still wounded on the inside. 

I had to work through (and sometimes still work through) the shame and disappointment of not being able to graduate with my classmates. Besides the career detours and blocks (which apparently is why I’m a writer and not a doctor (and I don’t regret the path I am now now, by the way)), I lost practically all of those relationships, and part of me will still grieve not having close friends from college anymore.

The expectations of having college being life-changing were met in ways I didn’t really welcome.

Sometimes, things end prematurely–a marriage, a beloved job, a loved one dying. So sometimes, The World card isn’t a welcome sight.

Another Ending, Another Beginning

But things end and start again all the time. If I hadn’t gone through the premature ending of leaving college after my junior year, I would have never met the lovely soul that I was my first boyfriend.

When I was looking at the card, I thought it was an ouroboros, a snake eating its own tail. But whatever that is, there’s the representation of a circle, a cycle of life, beginning and ending and beginning again.

Life is always in flux and is cyclical (Sing it, Elton).

Things may be over and complete, but then there’s always a new journey to embark on–one of healing and personal restoration.

So if you’ve have experienced trauma and harm this year, I hope that these events have ended and the healing journey begins, even now. 

Goodbye to another shitastic year

I believe this is a custom to clean a house either on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day. It’s not one I grew up with. So symbolically, I cleaned the common areas of the house today.

I mainly focused on the refrigerator and freezer. I cleaned the dusty top, the oil-splattered side, and the filthy interior.

I took out all my food and all the shelves and drawers and cleaned. I am going to be right sore tomorrow–so help me (please), naproxen!

Proud and petty sidenote: I left the shut-in’s door section unclean because that lazy ass fucker doesn’t do anything except take the trash to the roadside when it’s his month. 😏😒 Also, there’s this cream cheese that has been on his shelf that’s been expired for months. 🤢

Anyway, I wanted to be rid of that racist shithole’s energy, Sir Coughs-A-Lot (the renter before the racist lunatic) energy, and even the Russian kid’s energy. Be gone, be gone, be gone!

I also wanted to literally wash away this year. I don’t really have enough cleaning agents for that, but it felt good to take out my frustration, sorrow, disappointment, and shame on a fridge and a house and have it turn into something orderly, clean, and beautiful. The house now has the light scent of lavender–which I hope will usher in even more peace and calm to this place.

The Peace Within and Without

But lavender aside–it’s a peace and calm that started from within–a very hard fought peace in a time of conflict. I mean, sure there was some meditation involved, but a lot of it was making sure that insane in the membrane shitbag hit the bricks and left this house.

The cool thing to me is that preserving the peace within usually will spill without, into other areas of your life, into other people’s lives. It’s difficult and almost impossible to do in our times, but it’s difficult and almost impossible to not pursue inner peace–however you can healthily achieve it… 

 

So. I don’t know what you need 2019 to be for you or what 2018 has been like for you. 

Maybe you don’t feel whole and complete. Maybe you feel like this whole year has been The Tower. Maybe you’ve had a string of years that look like The Tower or Five of Cups. I know what it’s like. I know what it feels like to be proverbially falling out of a burning building, or to have some cups of precious things spilled–and to mourn all of it.

Whatever you’re hoping the New Year brings, even if it’s just relief that it’s not 2018 anymore, I hope that you can find and usher in peace within–the kind of peace that brings personal and collective clarity in an ever-changing and increasingly hostile world.

And, I hope that we will be that kind of peace for each other.

HNY.🥂


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cold mercury nights

Mercury_in_color_-_Prockter07-edit1

Enhanced-color image of Mercury from first MESSENGER flyby

Just spent the past two days learning about the solar system and then writing about it.

One interesting thing I learned about the planet Mercury is that it has no atmosphere. So the temperature fluctuations range 1100 degrees, from 800F during the day to -280F at night. That makes Venus the hottest planet in the solar system.

And maybe this is a metaphor for 2018, that I’ve had a cold Mercury night when I thought day was approaching. Of course, I don’t want a hot Mercury day, either. 

I don’t want extremes. I need atmosphere.

When I lived in Chicago, I remembered learning that the bright sunny days of winter would actually be colder than the more frequent cloudy days.

The clouds kept the heat in.

Having an atmosphere not only keeps temperatures more even, it protects you from cosmic radiation and solar winds. A lot more protects us from that, too–like the magnetosphere, Van Allen radiation belts, and the Sun’s heliosphere.

(Don’t worry, I’m not extending this metaphor any further from the atmosphere.)

This year especially, it seems that I had no atmosphere. It was so extreme. And it’s only been about a month of having life the cover of an atmosphere.

And quicksilver astrological Mercury, with their quick turns of fate…still under that foolywang shadow until Christmas Eve…

A bit of a sidenote, really, but it still relates to not having an atmosphere…just the other day while writing (not here), I really was feeling myself. I felt the muses were having a party and just releasing all these great things for me to say.

And I thought my audience was feeling me, too. This is the good shit.

I’m still not sure if I’m what crickets I’m hearing–of busyness, of embarrassment, or of revulsion.

But boy, are the crickets so fucking loud.

I thought the sun was rising on Mercury, but it was a false alarm. I’m still choking in the airless cold.

And today I had a reading with my favorite intuitive, just to see where I’ve ended up on this craptastic voyage. And it’s as I thought–still a little banged up, still looking back at the past as if those catastrophic fires could bring any warmth to me now.

But, whatever internal shrieks and shouts that were a constant din in the back of my mind have now been quieted. For now, building a new atmosphere has been about creating a place of stability and shutting everything and everyone else out that didn’t contribute to that.

(I had always been focused on the former, but never got to the latter.)

So this is even beyond just creating an atmosphere where I can breathe, where it’s not a hostile or harsh environment for me to live.

It’s about world-building.

So what do I want?

For now, I just want to not feel so deflated. It’s not even about healing up anymore. During that reading today, I released a lot of old shit from this year. I had already energetically released a lot in some other ritual earlier last week.

One thing the reader kept saying, it’s done, it’s over.

Well, that’s the thing about trauma, isn’t it? The events may be over, but now is the time actually start the reckoning, within your body.

I’ve been lucky and fortunate to have that happen already. Now it’s about getting up off the floor, fixing my face, and heading in some sort of direction.

And guess who’s leading the brigade into someplace new? My heart.

Oh, how precious.

I don’t know what’s going to happen next–vocationally, relationally, or in any way. Well, except that I have a lot of work to do this week, of which I am grateful to have.

Beyond that, I’ve figured out what I want generally already. I just haven’t been able to get it yet.

But since my mind can’t be the one leading the Pleasure Parade here, then it’s good that I have a few things in mind that I want to accomplish–just no new plan on how to get them.

Capricorn season starts when the work week ends, on Friday evening, and it’s funny to go into that season sans a plan.

I don’t have a feeling of adventure. But I don’t have a feeling of dread.

I can’t think ahead to anything pleasurable, not even my birthday. Turning 41 feels like another step towards death (because it is, because every waking moment is), but this blog post is not (solely?) about that part of my mid-life angst.

Today I was told that I needed to have more fun and not be so hard on myself–ageless advice for me. And to connect with others–that part I’m working in new ways…but I still feel like the long, cold night is one I should get used to instead of preparing to leave for a more habitable planet.

It’s hard for me not to think–oooh girl, if you try to do anything new, then you’ll get the same disappointing results. 

And it’s not true.

I’m listening to this Elton John vs. Pnau song called “Phoenix” (I can’t believe I didn’t know this album existed until about maybe a couple of weeks ago, and it’s been out for six years).

I’ve definitely died and have been reborn. I have to trust in this regenerative process. I have to trust in the results–the results of me, being a different, wiser person.

It takes bravery to seek a better world, to get up and try again and again and again, to keep seeking, knocking, finding.

And, I know I’ve lost my nerve (which is a new thing for me)…or I’ve had it stripped from me. Hearing how flat my affect was on the phone today, feeling waves of enthusiasm and passion wash over me like lukewarm oatmeal…

*sigh*

But as I told the intuitive, I can only take things day by day.

But sadly, like a true, tortured Capricorn, I’ve felt guilty about any breaks or fun I’ve had. I can’t allow myself to have fun along the way.

So I keep putting it off until I’m done with work…or, I end up revolting and playing around for hours.

It’s like how you can’t really hold your own breath to die because usually your body will just kick in and allow you to breath.

Maybe I should stop holding my breath, though…

And yet somehow, I’m still not as productive as I could be–and that isn’t the workaholic talking, just the realist. All that avoidance and sacrifice, and there’s only misery.

As I preached to the cricket choir a couple of weeks ago–it’s not about ending the misery, per se. It’s about enjoying the good times when they come.

Admittedly (and thankfully), I’ve gotten better at that. But now I have to start being more proactive about creating those times, when possible–and not be afraid to make that an aim.

It makes me meta-sad that having fun frightens me. And it’s not even the “there’s no one to have fun with here” problem–that’s a whole other existential hell. 

Part of it is…wait, how do I do that again? And another part is, well, I want to do something musical…how do I do that? By myself? With whom?

Some of it is the scarier thought that I’ve lost pleasure in most things, which I don’t think is entirely true–I hope not. But that’s one sign of depression, which I wouldn’t blame me for being. 

But it’s more like–everything has changed, including me. So what I found pleasure in has changed. I have to figure some of that out, along with getting reconnected with what still works.

And, now that I’m older, I hear that ticking clock of death more loudly. 

What are you doing with your time? What are you doing that’s worthwhile?

It’s a lot of pressure to live up to, especially with Capricorn fantasies of legacy and longevity. I’m lucky to get out of bed in the morning with such mounting pressures to live up to.

I’ve been grinding at work for a few weeks. It has helped me to eat and keep a roof over my head. It’s helped to quell the pangs of feeling unsafe and uncared for.

But I’ve hit an emotional wall with the “all work, no play”–and thankfully, it’s during a week that should be a lot easier than previous weeks.

Ah, so much babbling, but it all boils down to this–I’ve known what I’ve wanted for years, but I’m not sure if I should keep wanting it or if I need to do something entirely different.

Do all these roadblocks me keep going or find a new path? I sincerely don’t know.

But, I will–I can trust in this eventuality, wholeheartedly.

I just can’t use the ole tinker to do it–have to use the ole ticker instead. 

What’s scary, and at the same time liberating, is that there’s possibly no right answer except for what I prefer.

I’ve known so many lonely, cold Mercury nights and blistering hot Mercury days.

But it’s time for a change.

I need real atmosphere…


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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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summer’s done, fall’s begun, what’s next?

end of summer SOM

Well, I had yet another crappy summer. Even as I type, I feel very weary of writing about this topic of loss again…but I always feel like I gain new insights.

Ever since I was about 16 or so, I haven’t really had the best summers. That first bad summer, my mom went to Ghana for the first time since she had immigrated to the States. But that meant my summer trip with my youth group was scuttled–even though I had planned that way before she thought of her trip.

Her trip was about six weeks long. Mine would have been two. I didn’t think my dad and brother would have been helpless without either of us. But I remember the one time I went to the grocery store by myself–that was the only real thing I did to keep the family going, something my father could have easily done.

I basically had fallen into the role of eldest daughter in an African family. I was the de facto matriarch of the family without any of the benefits. I wouldn’t learn of these expectations until last Mother’s Day when someone tweeted Happy Mother’s Day to women like me.

And almost 25 years later, that still stings mainly because I didn’t know of the cultural expectations that had been placed on me. And, well, as much therapy and time have done to heal a lot of the wounds that come with having two narcissistic parents, there are moments when you can see how your trajectory was thwarted–even if it was for some trip so you could spend time with your beloved youth pastor before he moved away to Virginia.

As I grew up, there seemed to be less and less time and space for fun, for just taking an unrestricted breath.

This summer, even though my life has been circumscribed by not having enough to even go to the movies or strike out to meet new friends, I really wanted to have a great summer.

I burned candles during the Summer Solstice and the full moon in Capricorn.

The evil roommate finally left.

I had found a pretty good business coach to barter my writing services for her coaching services.

I had picked up extra work from a client.

A marketing agency found me to do some work at a price that I set.

I met some new interesting people online, including some foreign guy that I had a crackling month with.

I ghostwrote an op-ed and got paid really well for it.

I had started to consistently reach out to businesses and organizations for my work.

And then things started to unravel.

I lost that client I had extra work from.

I had to fire another client because they didn’t respect the value of my work.

That guy and I parted way in a really ugly, dramatic fashion.

Prospecting clients hasn’t netted anything yet.

The marketing agency respected my rate so much, they decided not to give me work this month based on a lower rate. But that also meant no work this month.

Summer is my favorite season, yet it often seems to be tinged with disappointment and loss, to the point I’m just glad it’s all over.

I live in a state where even being out in summer is just too hot. I didn’t really go out and do anything fun–nor did I have the money to do so.

At this point, I’m just fortunate to have a roof over my head, and I am grateful for that.

I am grateful that for most of the summer, it was peaceful living here.

So now, it is autumn, which doesn’t mean much right now in Florida except right now, there are a lot of lovebugs, which means if you have a car, your paint job is being pummeled by this acidic, horny bastards.

They’re all on my window, mostly in their butt-to-butt mating pairs. Or, they’re flying the air in hordes.

I didn’t think asking for a good summer was such a big ask, but apparently it was. The real good that came out of it wasn’t what I asked for–per usual.

What I have wanted more than financial support was consistent emotional support. So when I don’t get that, it makes me wonder, even just for a second, is something wrong with me? Why can’t I have good friends like I’ve had before? Why is addressing my pain seemingly like a bother to other people when I show up and check in on them?

It’s just like that unknown yet demanded expectation of being an eldest daughter in an African family. People rely on you to be there for them–because you’re so good at truly caring for them. But they don’t necessarily care about how you’re doing, or at least in the same capacity and intensity.

It’s a way that The Golden Rule seems to backfire. It’s not done out of anger or malice. It’s an oversight, a backhanded compliment to your resilience.

But there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be recognized and appreciated for you who are.

And what looms larger is that was my desire when I came to grad school, a desire unfulfilled and smeared with betrayal. I had wanted to find my people, but I found a long, mostly solitary, spiritual journey of transformation instead.

I keep looking back at my journey, just in Florida, and cringing. Even though I know so much has changed in my character for the better, it’s like being a piece of marble, chipped and chiseled away. I can’t see what’s going on, just pieces of marble flying off and away.

The thing is, I’m not festering in pain right now. I feel rather solid, which is in deep contrast to how I felt just two weeks ago–alone, frightened, and frustrated.

I felt great firing that client, even though it took a big leap of faith to say yes to my work’s value–and my value.

The ache that is here and now is how do I make sense of the past six years? What are the other stories, the redemptive threads, I’m not seeing?

And then even going further back to my 1995–how can I redeem that time, too? What is the bigger story that isn’t marred with hurt, anguish, looming depression, and disappointment?

Sure, there’s some societal pressure to put some big red bow on this harrowing story of mine. But as I’ve been kind of moaning about for the past few weeks and months, I want the story to change, too.

I wish there was comfort knowing that, as much shame and anguish that I feel, I should also be feeling proud of my countless feats of survival. And I do.

Part of that change in my story is continuing to let things hurt so I can heal. I can’t speed past this part–where I have to, primarily alone, deal with and accept all that has happened.

Grief takes as long as it takes.

But just when I think I’m OK, I get pulled back into the past.

Last week, I was talking to an old online friend from my college days about how I was depressed back then, and I thought I was OK about how college turned out. But that still stings, too. It took eight years to finish.

I could focus on the ending, that I finished–as so many people want me to when I tell this story. The story is definitely one of ultimate triumph. But again, like grad school, I was looking for my people–and I had actually found them this time.

But due to nonpayment of my tuition (because my family’s financial and legal upheaval), I wasn’t allowed to return for my senior year and lost pretty much all of my friends. And that’s the part that still hurts–not even the time that it took to finish.

The theme of connection and disconnection is a big one in my life, and I’m just exhausted. It really shouldn’t be this hard to connect to like-minded people, right?

So what’s next? Well, it’s not all doom and gloom. There’s a business opportunity that seems promising, but I don’t want to deal with the roller coaster of my hopes being raised and dashed.

Still, things are turning around? I guess?

Whatever happens, the burdens of misery and dread are now going to be laid down, that I can find some sort of empowerment in how I feel about my life, even if it feels like circumstances have continually clipped my wings.

So ultimately–this isn’t about money, and it never really has been. It’s been about people.

As we’re in Libra season now (Happy Fall or Spring!), I feel that pull to keep calling in my peeps. I have to remind myself that I haven’t changed so much that I don’t deserve real, tangible support.

It’s almost like being gaslit by life’s circumstances–if you don’t receive the things you need for an extended amount of time, you start to think you don’t deserve them.

When I was talking to that old friend about college, I was reminded of how supported I was, even in the darkest moments of my life as I suffered from clinical depression.

I’m sad I don’t have that sort of support now. It was support I took for granted.

Doing life by yourself isn’t how life is supposed to be lived, and yet that’s what’s happened for me for a good while now. And whether that’s made me a stronger person or not, I’ve lived off of veritable scraps and crumbs of human connection.

And that’s not a healthy diet.

So, as heavy as this hope is to find my people, I have to keep carrying it.

I must remind myself that although I’m highly resilient and adaptable, it’s OK to want to be around others even if I’m unable to be right now.

It’s OK to give voice to that grief, even if the grief is persistent, even if the grief rankles myself and anyone who reads this post.

It’s OK to keep trying to bravely and openly make sense of my life.

I have to remain positive that things will eventually work out, especially because the human brain attenuates to things that are bad because that’s a survival mechanism.

So if I have to fight my own biology and societal mores, just so I can find true joy and be at peace, then I will fight on.

I’ll end with this tweet from Dr. Elliot Adam, a tarot reader. It’s his tarot card of the day reading, about the Wheel of Fortune. He talks about how you should be in the inner hub of the wheel, where you are not as affected by the outer rim of life’s circumstances.

My hope is that in every blog post I’ve written here, in every conversation I’ve had, in every prayer I’m whispered or thought, in every meditation I’ve had, this has been a steady progression to the inner hub of life.

And as tired as I am of tending to my wounds, of even discussing my wounds, I am not my wounds. I am the person being healed.

So I had another shitty summer, but I am ready for the harvest and abundance of fall.

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true success

miguel-bruna-704166-unsplash

Photo by Miguel Bruna on Unsplash

I had my weekly coaching session with my business coach yesterday, and it was a humbling experience because I felt like I had run out of runway to take my life in the direction that I have wanted to for so long.

My writing business has taken a while to recover from losing an anchor client back in April. So for going on five months now, I’ve been trying my best to get a new one. Technically, this anchor client would be my coach: we barter writing services for coaching services.

But I have tunnel vision–no, myopia, about this goal.

And that’s a typical Capricorn–get that money!

But I am miserable.

And it’s not just because of limited funds. It’s that life has become about this one thing, and the rest of me is resisting–and rightfully so.

my precious

Last week, my coach and I talked about scheduling my time better (something that came up around this time last year). And I didn’t do anything about it last week because somehow time got away from me. 🙄

I dealt with the pressure of time pretty well last year. I was having these low-key panic attacks over writing, waiting until the last minute to get things done. I sought out an astrologer, we worked on those issues, and then I had more structure.

But then I slowly got out of the habit of having structured time to do the things I want and need to do.

Being so driven for one thing has made me dull. What am I outside of this one goal, outside of what is, or isn’t in my bank account?

I’ve quoted Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club before, but this quote really reminds me of what I am.

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. You are all singing, all dancing crap of the world.

This individuation from old coping mechanisms–chiefly delaying gratification to the point that I never get any when tasks are done–it’s painful, but it’s also one that makes me laugh because this is when I feel like the all singing, all dancing crap of the world.

Coping mechanisms work until they don’t. I’m not sure how long I’ve been running on fumes, but I’ve reached the point that effort alone isn’t enough. Working hard isn’t getting me anywhere because I feel terrible and self-defeated about it. It’s an inescapable ouroboros of misery, a leminscate of terror.

When I reach out to people about business opportunities, it almost feels like I am tossing coins in a fountain, just wishing for something to come back. But I’m putting in much more effort and intention in every email and contact request I make.

Why can’t I give myself any credit for that skillful effort?

Sure, I can rewind back to how my parents were hypercritical of me, how they rarely gave me praise for any good I did. Their brittle view of their little girl and firstborn was one that already interfaced with my unyielding, intense, and, at times, cruel way I looked at myself.

Yet my “inner mean girl” never seems to be hurling insults and epithets at me–well, not that often. It’s more that she withholds any credit, any praise, any celebration of success. If I do celebrate, it seems stupid because it’s not the big win. That’s all that matters to me.

And what an empty life that is. It’s not self-discipline. It’s self-deprivation.

No carrots, just sticks.

Business is actually picking up, but I am acting like I’m going to go through my own personal recession again. The fear keeps me on this treadmill of terror. I keep running, running, running…and getting nowhere. I’m lost in a labyrinth of longing and loss.

I’m just tired, sweaty, and sore–and for all the wrong reasons.

And to my credit–having a successful business isn’t for some deep personal reason. I’m still doing this because there aren’t any other options right now. This is it. This is about survival. I am committed, whether I want to be or not–but I want to be.

What’s interesting about all this, too–this is all happening in the background. It’s subliminal messaging I’ve given myself probably for my whole life. It worked for a while, being this driven and merciless to myself.

But not anymore.

My coach asked me what success looks like–without this big win that I’m obsessed with.

It was laughable but ultimately sad because I didn’t think I was that successful.

My coach pressed back with questions: well, what about finishing your client work on time? What about following up on emails from prospective clients? How many people did you reach out to last week?

The problem is a lot of what I do just ends up disappearing into the ether of time. I don’t keep track. They are just tasks or events that occur, and I move onto the next.

I can only seem to congratulate myself for tough wins, like when I finished this project over the weekend that seemed to be mired in doubt and confusion from the client. So I just decided to finish it and hope for the best.

The client accepted the work and gave me a 5-star review. And here’s the GIF I used to celebrate:

YES

I celebrated that win on Twitter today, but according to my coach, I should be celebrating much more often.

And back to how I grew up–we didn’t really celebrate much of anything, not even my birthday after a while.

But I am tired of feeling like life is a slog when it comes to my everyday life. If life is about the journey, not the destination, then it’s time to start acting like that. It’s time to start embracing the bulk of my life.

So my homework for this week is to schedule my time so I can start doing more of the other things I love–like tarot and astrology professional development, writing professional development, and journal about my work day.

Astrologically, I realized today that there’s a lot of restructuring (Saturn) and healing (Chiron) that has been going on in my life for the past few months. It’s uncomfortable, painful, and even embarrassing sometimes.

A lot of old hurts and wounds are being drawn to the surface for healing. But the timing isn’t quite right yet. But that’s OK. Healing is still in progress.

What’s funny is that so many times as I’ve been working to get to a place of OK to better, I always think–now the real healing is going to begin. I’ve finally arrived! But there are always layers, layers which have served as protection for a battered and weary heart.

The healing journey is never-ending, but it does get easier, because eventually there are less layers, even if we accumulate new hurts and wounds along the way. And also–we accumulate wisdom and other therapeutic tools to keep us safe and to help us heal more quickly.

This time, I’ll say again that this seems like I’m in the inner chambers of all that I’ve endured and what’s befallen me…and letting the weight of all the years just all fall off of me. I wish it was some dramatic reveal, like a slinky evening gown that I could shrug off.

And that’s because I’m impatient. And rightfully so. It’s been a constricting time–not only by circumstances, but my own almost grandiose ambitions and expectations I have for myself.

I hate to glorify suffering, but I can at least see some semblance of sanity woven through the last six years of my life. It’s like what I said last time, how my heart has expanded with empathy. I feel so much more connected to my fellow human beings because I’ve been so much closer to my dusty existence than the loftier life of the mind.

I didn’t have to choose that empathy, though. And I didn’t all the time. Sometimes I chose bitterness and entitlement–and sometimes I felt those choices were unavoidable and inevitable. Even still–choice or no choice–I want to choose differently now.

And failing over and over, but still rebounding and trying again after each failure–sure, that’s part of my journey as a double Capricorn, trudging up and sometimes falling down the mountain. But so is triumph, the mountaintop view.

That brings me back to what I believe success is. It’s not the just the glittery, glorious triumphs, the accolades, the praise and the parades.

It’s the gritty rebound.

It’s picking yourself up out of the mud and trying again. It’s letting people help you get up again. It’s helping others get up and keep going.

So it brings tears to my eyes to admit this to myself for the first time: my time in Florida has been extremely successful, that my life is a glittering, glorious success.

It’s time to feel good, and proud, about that.

feel good SOM

If you liked what you’ve read, I’d love your support as a patron on Patreon. Tiers starts at just $1/month. I blog about things that I don’t post here.

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