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

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really letting things hurt

pain will leave you SOM

Yesterday, I went into the kitchen to start my breakfast, and the shut-in roommate that I never see or talk to came out of his room. He’s got a big shaggy beard, thinning pale hair, and thin, pale skin.

“Hey there!” he said.

“Hi,” I said. I was washing my dishes.

“Haven’t seen ya in a while!” he said to my back.

I can’t remember if I answered, or if i said, “Yeah.”

“So do you know if we’re getting a new roommate?”

“I…I don’t know.” I was filling up water from the faucet for my oatmeal.

He was at the table in the dining room, looking at the mail. And then he left for his driving around.

I don’t think I had spoken to him since February, when I had told him about the piece of shit roommate who harassed me and had finally left in July–the one that the shut-in had enabled.

I knew eventually, one day, our paths would cross again, and that I would be mad and hurt about the betrayal.

It wasn’t true that he hadn’t seen me in a while. It was a couple of weeks or more that he was sitting in the living room, talking loudly about the medications he was taking for some clinical trial for something.

I didn’t talk to him, but he blared through the earplugs I still had from sleeping the night before.

That loud conversation was informative–although it wasn’t the first time he had been talking loudly on the phone about his medications and illnesses. Still, I was reminded me that although I saw him as a traitor, I don’t know if it really could have been helped. I’m not sure if that’s an ableist way to look at it, though.

Yet it didn’t really help, and it really hasn’t helped, the feelings I had and still have…the feelings I would rather forget, like a bad trip I had taken, like a disgusting meal I was forced to eat.

I lived in the same house for over a year with a man who didn’t do and still doesn’t do much with keeping this house clean. It’s been up to me. It’s been up to me to make sure that this place is habitable and hospitable. And I’ve really only done it for my safety and comfort, although he gets the benefits.

The shut-in never cleans. A former roommate complained about how it seemed like he had never cleaned up after himself before. And last month, he didn’t take out the trash for whatever lazy reason he came up with. That was actually a first.

I knew I would see him again and be forced to talk to him as if everything was OK. I have never really been one for pleasantries, although I used to have a rule about acknowledging the existence of everyone, friend or foe.

After many foes and not many friends, I had to change the rules, rules that seemed to be about being the bigger and better person.

Being the bigger and better person now is about making sure that I’m OK, that I’m taken care of, that I’m safe.

So by being cold and withdrawn, I was OK with showing, albeit passively, that our warm and amiable relationship had frozen over into cold, forced cordiality.

I wasn’t really ready to face that, that I had one less ally in this place. I wasn’t really ready to also look at my relationship to this place. It’s become more and more like a prison–albeit thankfully less and less like a psych ward…


There’s been a room in my heart that I can only peek into. I open it a crack and I’m blasted with warm, moist air and the taste of my own tears. It reminds me of that test that Paul Atreides from the sci-fi novel, Dune, had to undergo with his mother and another Bene Gesserit woman.

He had to put his hand inside of a box, a box that contained pain. If he withdrew it too early, he would die. So he put his hand inside, feeling like his flesh was being burned and flayed…and then when he was allowed to remove his hand, his hand was just fine.

That room in my heart is like that box of pain, and I need to go inside. And I’m afraid that I will be burned and flayed. I’m afraid that I won’t survive it.

It’s not even going to be as dramatic as Paul and his box of pain. I know what’s in my room that I continue to avoid.

There have been some miserable failures this summer. But I decided after this sad and bizarre separation I had with someone over a week ago, that it was time to at least tend to my wounds–not just this summer’s, but as many as I can.

I needed to deal with my whole self–nurture it as it hasn’t really been nurtured by me before; nurture it as my parents should have but didn’t; nurture it as if no one else ever will; nurture it as if my life depended on it, because it does.

Part of that nurturing has been taking this 10-day course about returning to myself. And that has been restorative and healing–but not dramatically. It’s been more of the intention I’ve set: to not put so many other people’s feelings and needs before mine.

Part of that nurturing has been letting things really hurt. And it hasn’t been me sobbing on the floor. It’s literally sitting with feelings, the feelings that aren’t so clear-cut or line-bright.

Most of those feelings are grief over things that never got to be or have yet to be–the me that doesn’t live in Florida anymore; the me that got to be with that person; the me who hasn’t had to grind and scrape just to make it month-to-month; the me who actually did have supportive parents.

That last one floats in and out, because I don’t know how to grieve something that I never had. I can only imagine how it could be, to have parents be there for me unselfishly, to not have narcissistic parents. I could base on other people’s experiences, or base on fictional portrayals. I have a feeling that may become more profound and real when I have my own family, or when my parents pass–or maybe both.

The personal losses this summer…the confusing grief has batted me around, flipped me back and forth like I was some rag doll.

How could this be? Is this really happening?

This is happening. This is really happening.

Usually with loss, I never feel so ambivalent. I am quite resolute. With cold, surgical precision, I can amputate people, places, and things from my life and never look back.

It doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt when I do it. It just means that I don’t attempt to reattach. I’ve only done in twice in my life.

The first was with my first love–but he dumped me. The second was a few years ago with a woman I had known since we were teenagers. We just drifted apart and I noticed she had unfriended me from Facebook. She responded that basically she was too busy but that she had thought about me often.

This time, I can finally understand why it takes people so long to get over people, at the very least. It took me years to get over how long it took me to get through college–years longer than most people wanted to know or hear about.

But I knew I deserved the time to grieve a formative time in my life, especially since the people who had wanted me to move on had never gone through what I had gone through.

I needed the time.

But that’s the thing with grief. Grief takes as long as it takes. Grief, especially when it comes to death, is an ever-morphing companion that you will never shake. Some days, it’s a whisper of a ghost. Other times, it’s a monster that will violently shake you over something you don’t even think is a big deal.

Even with this one-month odyssey that I was on…there are times that I question whether it’s really over. And then there are other times that I’m glad it’s over. And then, there are other times that I want to go back, even if there are only ashes and embers left.

It’s weird to go through things that you feel like you should have gone through half a lifetime ago. But now, having gone through these things…I feel a lot more human now. The empathy that’s grown inside of me has stretched me open. I can almost say I’m grateful for the experience, because there’s this whole other part of life that I can’t process through my brain.

I can see how irrational love and grief is now.

love is pi


Yesterday, I knew the shut-in was probably waiting to talk to me. When I left my room, his door, which is right across from mine in a tiny hallway, was cracked with a seam of light shining through–and this usually meant that he was going to leave soon.

I dreaded seeing him, but our meeting was better than I thought it would be…initially. I thought I had held up pretty well, considering.

Seeing him and talking to him reminded me of what I went through, by myself.  And I was tired of going back in the past. And his cheery little performative bullshit was an insult.

Could someone be that far removed from reality, really?

I knew that was true because of how my mom handled my father when he was mentally ill. I didn’t really get as much protection as I deserved. She was lost in her religion and her god to pay attention to how living under someone who was abusive and neglectful was doing to her and to her children.

So yeah, I’ve been here before. And I thought because it was over, I was over it all.

But then afterward, I felt like someone shoved me in this dark, small room of despair. I felt like I was physically starting to slow down. I just wanted to sleep.

I had some existential fears leap out:

Would I ever get out of this gotdamn house? Would I be stuck here forever? Do I really have people on my side? Will I ever be successful again? Am I always going to have an almost life?

I was really concerned that I was becoming depressed. I was sleeping more during the day, but it was also because I had some major insomnia (thanks, full moon). I still have a bit of a sleep deficit.

I did a lot of talking and praying with my guides and angels…

And even typing this, about guides and angels…somehow it’s a little embarrassing, like I’m one of those, one of those weirdo woo-woo women…

Then today, I was back to my normal self.

So maybe yesterday, I had a brief moment in that room of grief that I keep avoiding. It was a little scary, but I made it through.


And before this, last week I was really angry, angry that life had been so disappointing for so long. I was and am so fed up. And that anger can be a catalyst for change.

I still believe that this is my time.

What’s really interesting about all this is how these feelings of sadness and grief are on the heels of things getting better for my business now.

Shameless plug for another business – I do tarot and astrological consultations!

It’s like when you’re about to hit the finish line, after having run a long race, and you have the freedom to slow down.

I don’t have to be tough anymore. I don’t have to gut it through. I don’t have to have it all together. I don’t have to be “right.”

I can be hurt, disappointed, and angry that a fellow human being whom I live with didn’t stick up for me while I was being abused.

I can want to have someone back in my life that I’m not entirely sure is good for me.

I can mourn all the fabulous selves I didn’t get to be because I have narcissistic parents.

I can let all of it really hurt as it should, and then move on.

But it doesn’t have to be all sad.

I can choose to nurture myself instead of waiting for someone else to do it.

I can get lost in novels like I used to do when I was younger.

I can continue to explore what brings me pleasure even if I feel like that’s a short list right now.

I can check in on myself much more than I check in on others…because people will be just fine without my care.

I can continue on the journey of not letting my circumstances define me.

I can also be thankful for what I have.


My ungratefulness is what prevents me from opening the door to my grief.

Somehow, embracing amor fati has felt like a death.

How can I be grateful for all of this, every last thing?

By being grateful, I feel like I have to give up my fight for justice for myself, for making things right. It’s like letting everyone off the hook–even myself.

But to really be grateful, I really do have to reckon with my losses, all of them. Yet I’m not sure what that looks like practically, besides being more intentional about caring for myself.

How can gratitude and the comfort of justice intersect? Or will they always run parallel?

I know that to live the full, joyous life that I want–beyond what circumstances come my way–I have to accept this invitation to gratitude.

I feel impermeable to this kind of all-encompassing gratitude. All I want to do is to have yet another internal temper tantrum. I don’t feel holy or wise enough to do this. I feel petty, bitter, and small.

But that’s at least a place to start–with some honesty about where I am and where I want to be.

When I took a little vacation from my normal life by meeting new people who didn’t know me or my life story, including the one that I can’t easily forget, it was great to be seen for who I was, outside of all I had been through. So I can live that life where I’m not all the things I didn’t get to be, but all the things I already am and will be.

So this isn’t some fantasy. This can be my new reality.

I just have to stop acting like some indestructible robot and let it hurt so I can feel better. Let myself be confused so I can find better answers. Let myself really rage with anger so I can find the peace and calm within.

Let myself be so I can emerge into a more authentic self.

I can’t really solve the puzzle of being grateful for all the bad things I’ve gone through just this summer: of being called racial slurs in my own home, of having a terrible landlady, of not being able to move yet, of losing a biz opportunity because of things outside of my control, of getting so close to finding my person and seeing that chance being thrown into an abyss…

I’m just too human and short-sighted to see the good in any of this right now.

It’s so tough to override my humanness right now. When things are bad, we focus on them so we can fix them. But when we can’t fix them, we suffer. If we decide not to focus on them, then it seems like we’re abdicating our duties of being good people.

And I’ve said all this before. But the struggle remains to create meaning and good from seemingly meaningless, terrible things.

All I can do right now is to be at least grateful for the good, in a way that isn’t performative or hollow. Maybe that can create space for the impossible–being grateful for all of it.

At least I can say that I am grateful that I am still here, that I have survived the unbearable, the unfair, the bizarre, the disgusting, the absurd. And that as long as I’m still breathing, the life that I want and deserve is still within reach.

ETA: this song has been haunting me.

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“Accidental” Alignment with the Full Moon

letting go SOM

I’ve loved this song since it came out over a decade ago. I thought it was appropriate for this full moon in Scorpio that’s happening tonight at 8:58pm EDT.

There’s already been a lot of letting go.

The Full Moon in My 11th House

I kind of accidentally wrote about what the full moon was already doing to me yesterday on Twitter here. I won’t rehash all that except to say that even last week’s blog post seems to be about this full moon for me, too. I didn’t think it was really affecting me, but here I am, dressed in black (as Scorpios love to do).

I’ve also already written a lot about my 11th house in my astrological natal chart, so I’m not going to rehash that again either.

I haven’t really been focused on this full moon at all. It could be because Jupiter, the planet of expansion and moremoremore has been retrograde for a while. It could also be that I’ve gone through hell with my 11th house since 2012, so I feel like that house has been made low. Now, I’m rebuilding.

The 11th house is of friendship and community, and as I have grown spiritually, this house has been continuously transformed. The people who are in my life now seem to be keepers. Even though my community isn’t local, it is real and solid and sustaining.

My natal Uranus, the planet of innovation, disruption and surprise, is in Scorpio, so one of my life lessons is learning that people will pop in and out of my life deeply but rapidly.

Within the last two months, I’ve had at least two people do that in my life–and it’s been for the best. I can see that, even if I don’t even like losing people.

I have been more excited for Uranus in Aries leaving my 4th house of family and home in a couple of weeks (16 days, but who’s counting? ME!).

I can already feel the peace in this house and in myself–and it’s peace that I’ve actively worked toward–through meditation, prayer, candle and root work, and self-advocacy.

A Uranus in Aries Win (Finally!)

For example, a couple of weeks ago, I had a breakthrough with the landlady and the creep with his smoking in the house. I wrote her an angry email after she took a week to get back to me about smelling smoke in the house again. She texted me to say she was sorry that I was in this situation (a situation that she caused) but that I had to pay to keep myself comfortable in this house (something I had already done.

So, I fired off an angry email, basically saying:

  • I was deeply insulted that she expected me to pay more to stay comfortable in this house.
  • That the creep must own the house, not her.
  • That keeping this house safe was her responsibility.
  • That I was going to hold her to it to do her job.
  • Sorry wasn’t good enough.

A mere few hours later, she came to the house to talk to the creep. I didn’t really smell smoke after that, so I thought, hey–that email finally worked, after months of complaining.

Then something random happened here–an electrician came to our house, but had the wrong address (he needed to be across the street). I had called her to see if there was an actual issue that she called the electrician for–it actually wasn’t odd for her to call people over and not tell us.

She texted back saying that she could hear my voicemail, asking me what was up. So I told her. Then she said that the creep could not smoke on the property at all, not in the backyard or the porch or the driveway. He had to go to the stop sign at the end of our street–the house is a house away, so about a minute or two to walk.

I’ll write about this more for my patrons on Patreon soon, but this was a major and needed win. Unlike the past 7 years that started with a terrible move down to Florida and a lot of housing upheaval (6 addresses in 6 years), I could see the tide finally turning from the tsunami of bullshit that I had been withstanding.

Uranus really is wrapping up his tour of terribleness. It’s sometimes hard to believe, that I can be heard and responded to in the right way…when so many times, I felt like my voice was lost in the wind…

Springing Forth While Waiting in the Dark

Still, it’s been a tough month. Aries season was a bit draining. I felt like I was spinning my wheels and getting nowhere. Now that we’re in Taurus season, I feel calmer, rooted in place–within myself.

The spark of springtime lies deep within me, ready for new life to spring forth. I’m waiting for my new life to begin.

There’s been a lot of waiting.

This full moon in Scorpio, even though I wasn’t paying attention to it–there’s the themes of deep transformation and healing, of clearing out dead things, of death itself.

For the past few years, whether it was through writing my thesis, or just in reflective moments, I’ve spent a lot of time lately looking backwards, trying to make sense of my relationships with people. And through that sankofa journey, I believe I’ve been able to arrive at a new and peaceful place of reckoning.

I can separate the Chicago chapter of my life from this liminal chapter of living in Florida. Chicago sometimes feels like my glory days, while Florida feels like a litany of shame and failure.

Yet both chapters, although integral to my growth, are possibly, hopefully, the prologue to a bigger story, waiting to be written.

So much of my life has felt like I was spinning my wheels, getting nowhere, like one draining Aries season. And yet today, although the full moon isn’t exact yet, I felt really clear and happy and light.

The morning skies were clear and sunny and blue. The trees vary in color, from the lighter new leaves to the dark more mature leaves. Butterflies floated along in the light breeze.

There’s still so much undone and unanswered for. But, for once, I feel like I’m not dreading the answers, whatever they may be. There’s enough momentum that I can feel coursing through my soul, pushing me forward, towards goodness and light.

Yet under the cover of dark soil, there are things germinating inside of me, things I can’t speak of publicly or otherwise. They’re being fed and nourished by all the dead things that I’ve been faithfully letting go.

Letting Go of a Couple of Things

One thing that I let go of was that I would find my local community here. I had become so obsessed with finding my tribe or my peeps. Nothing seemed to work.

So I just stopped trying to fix my 11th house, and it wasn’t in some cosmic surrender. It was out of frustration and hopelessness. I just assumed my natal Uranus would just continue its process of rapid giving and taking.

At the very least, I’ve learned better how to be detached, to be a good steward of the people who come through my life.

Still, needless to say, I was surprised to be so aligned with what the full moon in Scorpio plans to do. I’ve been so focused on getting my business in shape so I can leave this house–it’s basically one obsession replacing another.

Yet, my 11th house, slowly but surely has been rebuilt.

For example, a couple of days ago, I told a friend that “I know I’m ready to have my heart broken, which means, I’m ready to fully love.” That’s been a huge shift for me. And it’s because I know that I have a great group of girlfriends, albeit scattered across the country and globe, that would help me pick myself back up.

So that’s another thing I’ve had to die to–a sense of safety, and Uranus in Aries has taught me that, over and over. I can only be truly safe within myself. And as someone with a Capricorn sun, and Cancer moon, that’s the axis I spin on, security.

But to have the new life that I want and deserve, to be the person I want and need to be, I can’t be safe. And I’ve been brave in so many ways my whole life, so honestly, it gets a little tiring to put on my cape, once again. But instead of for survival’s sake, it’ll be for love’s sake.

So really, that’s what this full moon in Scorpio will be about for me, to let go some more…to let the moon’s illumination show me where I need to stand up and where I need to surrender, and to show me how things in my life have already healed.

To be grateful that, at least for today, as I hold all these disparate feelings–longing, sorrow, anticipation, fear, happiness, and hope, I’m not overwhelmed. Instead, I’m left with a sense of wonder of all the unknown but glorious things to come.

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