08.12.12

some mysterious fractal

August 12, 2012 is when I finally made it to Florida to start grad school. It was on a Sunday. I was supposed to leave the day before, but the movers I hired were terrible and took too long. I guess I missed my flight? I couldn’t get a hold of any friends to crash with so I had to stay at this noisy airport hotel.

I had to stay with my cousin here for a couple of weeks because my stuff was being bounced around all over the east coast. Such a disreputable moving company.

I don’t even want to rehash all of that because it was horrible and I am tired of complaining about how horrible life has been down here. I think the horror magnifies with how hopeful I was to finally find my tribe, to make a real connection with a blood family member, to escape the cold and growing disappointments of Chicago.

Well, life had other plans for me.

It’s been very transformative spiritually. Going into year six of my life down here, I feel like I’ve unloaded a lot of emotional and spiritual baggage. I feel cleansed and unencumbered. But the journey to get to this very precious place has been very expensive: on my bank account, on my credit, on my body, on whatever I would call my social life.

Has it been worth it? I’m not entirely sure yet. This is a rather 7 of Pentacles moment right now. I’m looking at what I’ve grown so far and knowing there is more work to do.

Instead of regaling you with how shitty and disappointing and heartbreaking and humiliating and scary (and I’m pretty sure this blog has detailed a lot of that, so just peruse the archives for a good gasp, cry, or sigh), I’d rather just pivot from here and say that I’m done with this period of my life–or maybe my (very warranted) emotional response to it.

I’m not like Katrina and the Waves walking on sunshine yet, but I am tired of feeling like my life is one long, painful climb, even if that is the Capricorn way. Eventually, I want to be able to rest and enjoy the views up here…

 

The prolonged money and housing instability has been interesting to navigate as someone who is a Capricorn sun and rising with a Cancer moon. My sojourn in Florida has hit me where it hurts, over and over. That’s probably due to Pluto and his heavy demolition crew obliterating my 1st house of self, where my Capricorn sun and rising reside.

Who am I without a stellar reputation? Without stable housing? Without friends to lean on? Without a reliable stream of money?

What is my home? Who is my family?

I don’t really know what the answers to those rhetorical questions are. I believe I’m making it up as I go along–as we all do. I thought I knew those answers.

I didn’t realize how much I had relied on my plucky nature to get me out of jams, and how I have always had a strong community there for me to lift me up. Even with social media, I had both strong online and offline communities, where even both worlds would begin to meld. I met my last boyfriend in an MSN chat room and then we met in IRL–he lived in the same city and went to college with people I knew from my church.

It’s hard to have these stalwarts stripped away–sometimes very violently, and sometimes very slowly. But all the same, it’s left me very vulnerable and open–well, it’s easier to hear from Spirit in this way.

Looking back over these five years, I don’t have much gratitude for this stripping process yet. Still, because I want to change my attitude towards whatever has been unfolding in my life, I took myself out to dinner downtown.

As a sidenote, I do think it’s funny how some Americans will roll up into a nice restaurant and wear soccer jerseys or whatever else seems like casual attire.

My Cancer moon needed to be fed and nurtured. It felt so good to eat the (sometimes literal) fruits of my labor (I had a peach salad and a peach cobbler). As my current housing situation is driving me a lot batty,  it was also nice to not physically be here for three hours, to breathe healthier air in a different space, to not have the draining energy of this newest, inconsiderate boarder. I could at least afford to do this for myself, to celebrate my survival in a tough, unsympathetic state. That’s an accomplishment in it of itself.

But that’s the reframe right there: survival of losses, not just the losses. It’s what I’m good at. I do like to to triumph over circumstances. It may not be that I got to keep my car or my housing or my bank account at a consistent level. I have survived those losses. It seems right now the triumph is over death, over giving up, over having my spirit decimated.

I’m in a real spiritually desperate place right now. I am desperate for real, meaningful change; desperate to have Spirit move me–both literally and figuratively–to a place where I am nurtured and can be nurtured; to a place of deep fulfillment and appreciation; to a place where I can be fully myself again. I am desperate enough to not solely look to other people to help me. I am desperate enough to shut out the world and to look within for all the treasures that were hidden underneath all of the things I’ve lost. I am desperate enough to not look to myself first and then come to the end of myself–I want to look to Spirit first where there is no beginning and no end.

I’ll be going on a retreat this weekend and I hope that my desperation will be met with opportunities and answers and practical solutions, and maybe a little more patience and strength as I keep journeying from the “here” of discontent to the “there” of “finally!”

By the way, that’s a perpetual round trip we all make, from discontent to contentment.

As the solar eclipse comes closer, I know there’s more coming my way—actually good things, things I’ve been wanting for so long, like stability, like expansion, like love in all forms. Lately, it’s been wonderful to have things to look forward to, not just things to dread.

As I grow older and closer to the midpoint of my life, I feel the pressure of limited time and there’s so much I want to do with my life than just survive. I have to trust that all that I’ve gone through here was not in vain–that there’s a purpose that’s greater than my own soul growth and spiritual development, that the ripple effect will be wider than I will ever know.

It’s really easy to forget, that even within the chaos, there’s some order—even if we don’t understand it yet, like some mysterious fractal that begins to unfold.

I have to trust that this unfolding, albeit painful, is truly both beautiful and beneficial. Otherwise, my life has been utter madness without any method or reason. I’m not talented enough to invent reasons or methodology on my own.

So here I go, with another long trust fall with the Universe. Even as I squirm and question and fret, there’s still a knowing that I am following, that nothing is ever wasted, that at least some of this wild and wacky ride will make sense, soon.

we are in it

we are in it.

I created this image when I was feeling a little more hopeful about my life. But now, I feel just exhausted. I just wrote this post which details some of that exhaustion, and it kind of left off at some thoughts about faith.

First of all, Richard Rohr, OFM is my favorite living Christian. Maybe he’s my favorite Christian of all time. If more Christians were like him, we’d live in a much better world. I feel like the contemplative realm of Christianity is probably the best part of it. Anyway, Rohr’s writings really helped to shape my faith as a Christian, especially in his book, Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer. The book beautifully details about how joy and suffering both belong in our lives.

But let me focus on this quote and be a little astrological about it. As you probably know I am a Capricorn sun and rising/ascendant. That means upon first meeting me, you’re like. “Yep, total Capricorn.” And then, as you get to know me, you’d also realize that yes, she is a Capricorn: workhorse, kinda bossy, weird sense of humor, loyal, stubborn.

Although the rest of my chart has a lot of fire and some water, with a little bit of air, I’m pretty earthy. I need to see things. I want contracts signed. I want instant communication. I want to see it, right now.

It’s a human trait, and we all share it, but faith isn’t really like that.

Also being a Capricorn, I want to just do it myself. I’ll start the conversation. I’ll shoot my shot. I’ll convince you to do x. I’ll “push the river” as it were. And all of that is about control–I’ll control my outcomes. I want to be safe. I want to feel secure. I’ll make it happen. And so much of life contains people and circumstances that we cannot control.

This isn’t to say that faith is about passivity. This river has kinetic energy. It is moving. It’s just that I am not the one moving the river. It just goes. And there is support as I am going along with the river. I am in it. I don’t have to make sure the river was turned on before I get in my canoe.

But hey, faith ain’t easy, right? No, it’s not. It’s not meant to be easy. It’s work.  It’s dedication. Sometimes, there’s the gift of faith, where we just know things will work out. It’s usually something we can hold for other people.

But most of the time, it’s a moment-by-moment experience. Sometimes, you’re just in your canoe, paddling, enjoying the scenery. Other times, you’re just trying to hold on for dear life. Right now, I have to believe that I’m even in a canoe and not just being thrown around in the rapids.

And, this has been my life, in very dramatic ways. My life story has been conquering the impossible over and over. There has been so much triumph and success–most of it hard fought. But, as I said, I’m just exhausted. And I wish I had written this post when I was traversing calmer waters, buoyed by more hope.

But the river is flowing. I am in it. We are in it. I have to trust in new ways, for bigger things, for scarier things. I have to trust in this very extensive life transformation that’s happening. I have to believe that the healing is coming, that the healing is already here and is already happening. I have to really embrace with gratitude the small, everyday joys that come my way so that I don’t become frozen in jaded ingratitude.

I have to. I have to.

I’m going to end with this song that is going to be obscure to even most white evangelical Christians, but it sums up how I feel.  I may be a tough warrior, seemingly implacable and unflappable. But deep inside this armor…

“The Warrior Is a Child” is a song I grew up with (it’s from 1984), written and sung by a woman who has created a lot of Christian worship songs that people still sing today.  This is a more modern version of the song and aptly has images depicting Joan of Arc.

May you remember that you are in the river. We are in it.

break

breaking

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My cries for help went unheard and unheeded.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What gives?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

how to be your own mother

be on your own side1

I have been avoiding writing this for weeks. But maybe now, that’s because I didn’t have the end of the story.

I had a draft ready about self-parenting, and how important it is after having the latest phone call with my mom. I called to ask for money–this was back in March. She didn’t have any. I called also to check in, since she really hadn’t been checking to see how I was doing. After all, I’ve been in a financial bind for a few months.

I had come to accept that part, sort of–the parentification. Maybe not all the way, yet. But I’m approaching 40 and there isn’t much room for pitching a fit about how un-maternal my mother is.

Or so I thought.

The reason I was going to blog was about a bout of shame I had from my mom asking me about some creditor calling her house. I just told her to ignore it. She kept insisting. She asked if I had given her information to them–they had called her home phone and cell phone. I was so annoyed. Why would I do that? Why would you think I’d do that? And then I basically spat out, like I was shaking off a viper into the fire: hey, if you want them to stop calling, pray I get a better job. And then I hung up.

Self-Parenting: Being On Your Own Side

It took me a bit to recover from the accusation, or really–how she thought I couldn’t be trusted. In that moment, it felt like a deep betrayal. She couldn’t think that this awful car loan folks, so awful that the Better Business Bureau hasn’t given them the thumbs up, would be the enemy. No, I was. The truth of what she implied really gutted me, unexpectedly. It felt like everything was in stark relief.

My mother is not on my side.

Self-parenting is something I’ve had to do for a while, although maybe not as effectively as I want. I talked about parentification in the previous post, and that’s essentially when you parent your parents as a child. But self-parenting, being the parent that you needed and deserved but didn’t get, for whatever reason: alcoholism, mental illness, death–it’s kind of a burden, but who else is going to do it?

After that phone call, I realized that I really needed to effectively self-parent. I had also listened to a personal development podcast or two that had touched on this topic somewhat–parenting styles, attachment styles, being the dad who can cheer you on, stuff like that.

I looked up this blog post from Huffington Post on self-parenting and I wrote down these ten steps:

No, I will not…

Automatically take the other person’s side.
Assume the worst about me.
Hold myself as responsible and to blame for the way I feel and whatever has gone wrong.
Discredit my own feelings.
Talk to myself as if I do not matter.
Shame myself for what I am feeling.
Reject or ignore myself when I am upset.
Put myself last.
Terrorize myself with potential disasters.
Be mean to or bully myself.

And finally: No, I will not accept being treated this way — by me.

My mom had committed the first and second no-no’s. She automatically took the side of my creditors and she assumed the worst about me. She didn’t ask me what was going on, or if I was in trouble. She asked if I had given them her information. I don’t know why I was so surprised. Maybe my journey in reluctant self-employment has caused me to go soft. I’ve known this woman for almost 40 years, but that night, I really saw her. So I decided that no, I will not accept being treated this way, by me or anyone else.

The Great Awakening

On Easter Sunday, I was listening to yet another personal development podcast. When I listen to these podcasts, usually it’s like poco a poco, bit by bit, little nuggets and nibbles for the long journey head. Maybe it’s like grabbing a water while running a marathon–refreshing, keeps you going, but it’s just water. This podcast was about narcissistic mothers.

I was thinking, well, this isn’t going to be about my mother. I’m actually in the shower, washing my hair listening to this, and then there’s something about how narcissistic mothers will blame you for how their lives turned out. “I gave up my career for you…”

My mother had told me something like this years ago, and then when I called her out on it, she said she didn’t remember saying it. I had never been able to put a label towards my mother’s coldness towards me.

The podcast went on to say that narcissists may seem great to everyone else. They overcompensate. Finally, someone was able to explain, ever so deftly, how my mom was so well liked and loved by everyone else, but how when it came to me and my brother, we were burdens.

I remember one time calling her out on how unenthusiastic she would answer the phone when I called vs. when she answered the phone for anyone else. It was always like, “Oh, it’s just you.” How does a child, young or old, not internalize that?

Oh. It’s just you.

By the time the podcast was over, I was crying and raining on the inside, hailstorms of truth was ricocheting off the tin roof of my heart. I can’t remember if I actually cried. I felt relieved, but I also knew that I was entering a new stage of grief.

I had to grieve the life I could have had if my mom wasn’t narcissistic. All the healthy relationships I missed. All the jobs I could have gone for if I believed in myself more–if she believed in me more. And it’s funny–I knew my dad was one a long time ago. Somehow it’s so much more easier to forgive, or at least accept. But if your mother can’t look out for you, who can?

So last week was one of the toughest I have ever had. I’m sure I was depressed–although it’d be hard to tell on the outside, except that I had to push my work and deadlines as much as I could, to have space for the grief. A few days after I listened to that podcast tweeted more of my thoughts here.

Like I said two posts ago, I have had to put a pause on all of my relationships. I feel hyperaware of how I act and react. Am I trying too hard? Am I trying to make up for the middle ground of the other side, too?

I think what hurts worst right now is knowing that I will never know how much damage this relationship did to my future–especially with having a family of my own. I feel like I’ve been spared, and that I spared any kids I would have had. To have a family be the collateral damage of my own family of origin drama–the Universe knows that I want to minimize that as much as possible. So maybe, I’ll accept being…unseen…for now.

Knowing that I have to be my own mother, be the nurturing, compassionate woman who will never leave my side, who will always believe the best about me…it’s so much better going into any relationship now knowing how I’m emotionally gimpy, and how, albeit painful and heartbreaking, I can finally start to heal from all of this properly.

Sunday morning in the shower, I wasn’t really bargaining for a full-on awakening. All roads lead back to this initial wound, from my mother who didn’t even want to remember when I was born–even if it was because it was a scary birth. There was no, “Even though the childbirth was scary, you are my favorite and most precious Christmas gift.”

Even though she has never said that to me, and never while, even writing that, and reading that–that does something to me. It touches me. Like it makes me feel a little more human, a little more connected to others. Oh, it would have been nice to have a sentimental, caring, compassionate mom, not a narcissist who sucked the life and love out of me on demand. But having me be my own mom is definitely the next best thing.

By Friday, the pain–it was actually physical pain. I know what heartbreak feels like now–was gone. I’m not sure if I was spiritual about it. I hope I was. I hope the angels and archangels were close by.

Tonight, I sit in deep gratitude. Do you know what it’s like to have the biggest life question rattling around inside of you, guiding you into the most desolate and desperate places, making you do the most foolish and unseemly things? And then, all at once, on a sleepy Sunday morning, someone strings all the right words together, words you’ve heard before, but just not in that order…

Question answered. I’m not crazy. I’m not unlovable. I just had the bad luck of having two narcissists as my parents.

Even though I had been in therapy for most of my adulthood, my therapists and I were just walking around these caverns of loss, never really arriving anywhere–or so it seems. Maybe it was just the scavenger hunt to the real bounty that I found almost two week ago now.

Right now, though, it’s been hard to think that I’m not permanently damaged, that I won’t find the love that I really want and need in my life. Having a mom-sized hole in your heart is not easily filled. It feels abysmal, like a black hole sucking the life out of everything and everyone. But starting with self-parenting is at least a cement mixer of love that’s on the way.

And even though I may not need to, I’d like to say I’m sorry to everyone I’ve hurt while I was whirling around this gaping hole of sorrow that I couldn’t heal just yet. I was blind in pain, so blind that I’m not even sure how many people I’ve hurt, annoyed, pushed away, sucked dry…I’m just sorry.

And like I said before, I don’t know if I would have had the time to get this message if life hadn’t knocked me on my ass again with underemployment. This gift of freedom, of true self-love and self-acceptance…it’s really invaluable to me now. I feel like I have the key that can unlock all the doors to what I want.

All of this is still unraveling, and I want to keep myself safe, keep my feelings, dreams, and desires, all safe, all with me, like they matter. Like I matter. Whatever happens now, I know that I am on my own side, that I can be my own mother, and that is far better than how I was living before.

 

which way?

the right pathI’m going to try to be short since I’m hella behind here. I owe my readers three blog posts by tomorrow.

I haven’t been around because I’ve been busy–thank goodness. Although, I wish I was busy in a way where I could fully support myself. I’m slowly, very slowly, gaining new clients. And I’m grateful. But I’m not sure if I like this.

I think I do, though. I hate that my posture is being jacked up from sitting in my bed all the time, but I love not dealing with the disdain of working with white women in the workplace. I hate that I’m still behind on my car payments, but I love not commuting for hours a day to and from work. I hate that this has become such a journey of solitude, but I love having more control over my day.

Maybe the title of this blog post and the picture have had their own conversation: question and answer. But I’m not really happy with the answer. Today, I wrote about some scary steroids, and then I applied to a few jobs, including an administrative assistant job. Yet my freelance work is increasing.

I really don’t want to waste my time, period. If I knew which path to go down, I would just commit to it and go full speed ahead. But I don’t know. At least now, it’s not scary anymore. Now it’s just annoying as I see my credit score go down further the longer I’m on this path of being and becoming a writer. And yes, I am divorcing my self-worth from my credit score–out of sheer sanity’s sake.

I still wonder what I’m doing, what I’m doing here in Florida. Should be elsewhere? I don’t have the energy to explore every last option, even in writing. As I approach month #7 of underemployment, now I know that this is a little more permanent than I thought. And no one will save me from this.

So, this is the path, the “I don’t know what I’m doing but I am pleasing my clients” path, the “this is what my MFA is going towards? really?” path, the “I feel like I’m wasting my talents and am so unseen” path, the “I guess it’s just the Universe and me” path.

The path, the path, the path, the path, the path.

There are a few people that I met at a writers’ conference a few years ago. All of them are getting national press for their work. One won a national award. Another has a movie option. It’s wild what’s happened after four years, and how divergent my path is.

And in my throat right now is bubbling, choking emotion: the pain, the sadness, the jealousy, the WTFness of what my life has become.

But I know these two things 1) Those folks have oodles of support that I don’t have access to (sure I have angels, etc., but clearly the Universe has other things in mind. 2) Knowing that most people couldn’t walk my path helps me to hold my head up when there’s that shame of unrecognition and failure pressing down on me.

So, that’s all there is. The path. My path.

I had my phone cut off for about 10 days and I tried to fundraise for it. Nothing happened. So it was off. The thick silver lining was that the telemarketers stopped for a while. But I had to just be OK with my phone being off, with no help, even after asking for it over and over. I deserved the help but didn’t get it that time, or the time I wanted it in.

So that’s my path, and it’s not some lack of abundance consciousness–because really, who likes living hand to mouth? NO ONE. No one consciously chooses poverty–or even subconsciously.

Anyway, this dispatch from the path is that it’s almost kind of boring, but then I get little surprises, like when I got my first bonus for my writing, all $1.70 of it. It meant something. There’s a little glimmer of recognition.

I have to keep going, even when I missing a writing opportunity this morning, while I was still blurry on sleep; even when I got rejected quite quickly for another technical writing job from the worst recruiter I’ve ever spoken to; even when my sleep has been disrupted because my brain can’t turn off; even when anxiety tries to choke me out into the next life.

I guess I’m saying I’m more comfortable here now, the quotidian plodding along. It may be like this for a few months longer, and I think I’ll be OK with it.

If there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s survival. I just hope that someday soon, I can try out thriving.

flooding, grounding

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Treeze Moynham: flood in a desert

 

Right now, I’m writing under overhead, incandescent light and I’m going a little bonkers because of it. My day of trying to get some work done went down with the sun. It’s amazing how such a bright light always makes me go to bed early. Tomorrow, I will be heading to a coffee shop with my iPad to do work because my 4+ year old laptop has keys that don’t work + an overheating issue.

I’m not even at home. My room flooded on Monday, January 30th, and then I came to this other rental property in the neighborhood on Thursday morning, February 2nd. In between that time, the leak became like a swamp.

To see standing water in your room, and it’s not due to strong rains or a hurricane, is strange, very strange.

That was only because the carpet where the leak seemed to originate had been taken out. It was now just wood.

The water leaked out of my bedroom, into the tiled bathroom, into the roomies’ bathroom (neither of them reported the flooding at that point), and into the kitchen.

The house was re-piped and given a new hot water heater on Friday, February 3rd.

I came and took out the rest of my things on Saturday, February 4th, hoping that they would take out the carpet, too. I also vacuumed up gallons of water because the house was stinking like cat piss.

Apparently, just keeping the windows open and the fan on high would be enough. In Florida.

Granted it is the winter. Humidity is low, praise swamp Jesus. But still.

But the carpet stayed on the floor–now damp, but probably still waterlogged.

The county came and inspected the job on Monday, February 6th. The plumbers, who were so kind and friendly, came and patched up all the holes on Tuesday, February 7th.

That house has gone through plagues, and awful ownership. Today, on Saturday, February the 11th, the landlord and landlady finally took up the damp carpet. They were actually going to put new flooring in but, surprise: the tacks behind the carpet were waterlogged. They also got the wrong type of flooring.

So now my room is empty, save my closet which is tiled and never got wet–and the bathroom, which is also tiled. The room is drying some more. They will reassess tomorrow about what to do. I may get carpet again, vs. laminate.

*deep breaths*

In my heart, my mind, my soul–I know I’ll be back in my room next week. That is without a question. I will ask that the room be checked for mold because mold is nothing to fuck with.

Even if these young property owners have no real sense of urgency or true empathy to my situation, to the household’s situation, to the idea that property management is not passive income…I will be fine. I will leave as soon as possible.

But tonight, I can’t do what I fucking want to do, which is to write a bunch of articles and make money, dammit.

The moon is in Virgo right now. Virgo, a much maligned sign, is industrious, like Capricorn, but more into the details. I like doing work under Virgo moons, especially writing. Virgo is ruled by the planet Mercury, and one of Mercury’s specialties is communication–and this is why #MercuryRetrograde can suck because the proverbial socks get lost in the dryer–or, um, emails get lost in the interwebs.

The moon in Virgo, to me as a Capricorn, is like a sunny day in Chicago, or a low humidity day in Florida–you do not waste those. You find some reason to go outside, even for a few minutes to enjoy your good fortune.

But alas, I’m just uncharacteristically scatterbrained (unlike writing this blog post under the overly bright light in this temporary housing situation–I’m oddly focused).

I think what’s going on here is that my Cancer moon has just decided that I need to stop being so resilient and be not OK with it.

There was a moment today that I almost cried–but I learned from a writing assignment I did a couple of days ago that at least according to science, crying isn’t really that helpful in making you feel better. Sometimes it can make you feel worse.

If I cry about this, it’d be about the sheer absurdity of my life right now.  My life has been farcical for quite some time. But how is being underemployed for months not a common American experience? Even me having such a rough time in Florida isn’t uncommon. So many Uber drivers told me how tough it was to make it down here, and how some folks would go back to where they came from.

It’s been a bit of a slow death spiral. But I think I’m tired of feeling like I’m going to die if things don’t work out soon, even though there’s no more unemployment insurance until later October of this year. Until like a few minutes ago, my fundraiser had stalled. I had a string of job rejections last week. My car is 2 months behind and counting in payment, but by now I always seem to catch up to just be a few days behind.

Here comes the fear again, threatening to take me into the next life.

This managing editor position wants ANOTHER writing exercise, due Tuesday. I now have nine writing assignments due pretty soon, which hey–those actually pay, so I’m grateful.

So there goes the doom, rolling away. I’m still in this.

Yesterday, I received a great tarot reading with Jessi Huntenburg , which you should do RIGHT NOW since these specific Leo Full Moon tarot readings end today.

I asked about work. Work will be fine. I will probably look at the reading again after I am done writing this post, since there are some things I can still do.

In my scattered state, I started to go through emails about jobs, to really tune into what I could be doing. Or, more like to shut up the ever-loud voices of fear and doubt. Am I off track? I really am feeling this managing editor position, but I feel so many things that never become the full, ripened fruit.

The freelance stuff is slowly starting to come together, but it’s not like pay all my bills come together.

I’m not frightened. I’m not tired. I just can’t think my way out of this, as much. Stress literally stupefies. My thoughts are short-circuiting–and not in a depression way. That I know. I’m lucid, but this problem is just not being solved tonight.

I think the room flooding just broke me. Not in a soul-crushing way–my soul is flat as a crepe. More like it broke my brain.

Shit is not working–my brain, and my life.

 

So, I’m considering and reconsidering options, but mostly, I feel like I need to get back in balance. There’s been a lot of doing, calling, applying…not a lot of seeking Spirit.

For example, after I messaged Jessi that I wanted a reading from her, an old client popped back up that day. I’ve seen that if I reach out for answers, many times things will start to shift before I get the reading. So this was one of those times. It was confirmation that I was to ask for insight, even though I know deep down things will work out. The details? The ETA? The messenger? I’ve no clue about all that.

Even more so seeking without, it’s seeking within–my spiritual posse. Specifically, Archangel Ariel is my girl right now. One of her specialties, besides being an earth mama of sorts, is provision–especially when you’re in a jam. Every time I ask, work shows up. Today, I asked for more, and then an assignment came for more money that I’m used to.

I do not have to do this alone.

And then there are my guides. I have four. I feel weird talking about guides because I’ve been really resistant on this topic. It still seems made up and fictional.

But still: one is a friend who passed years ago (I’m spoken about him before), and the other three are just people–two men, two women in total. They have been hanging back. They used to be more in my face. I will seek them out, tonight.

So yeah, it’s angels and guides and Spirit…and Capricorns are spiritual. We’re sea goats after all–climbing the highest of heights, but having reached the deepest of depths with our little fish tails. Sometimes, we forget our sea origins. So sometimes, we get sent floods (I guess).

And yes, I’ve hit a new bottom–I’m living with strangers, albeit nice ones. I don’t know what’s going to happen to me financially–and after months of swimming in the unknown, I’m tired of feeling disoriented. And today had me shook up a bit.

But.

At least now, I have this meetup group of people I meet with every week. I’m starting to actually be seen and heard and missed and thought about, in my town, as I have desired and wanted and needed. I think it’s given me a bit of a psychic grounding.

I need to take the rest of the night to get it together–or get closer to some semblance of “together.”

It’s OK that my head is a fucking mess. It’s OK that things aren’t computing anymore. It’s OK that I hit a wall not only emotionally, but also just with my levels of life comprehension.

Shit is just not making sense. So, bring on the divine intervention! Turn on the light bulbs (unlike the awful one I’m sitting under right now).

It’s all relative, but it’s been hell for me.Yet even still, I’m fed, clothed, and housed. I have transportation. I have people who love and care about me in my life. It could be a lot worse. I have experienced a lot worse. So it’s not about the circumstances.

This journey isn’t about whether I get that managing editor position or not. It’s about figuring out how to get through life in general, identifying who my people are right now and sticking by them as they stick by me. Whether that’s in the spiritual realm or the earthly realm–doesn’t matter.

There are people who exist who are on my side and who want to help me.

And sometimes, as cliche as this sounds, you have to get jostled around to figure out what really matters. And this lesson didn’t come riding on a big horse, announcing its triumphant entry into my life. It came out in a sort of mumbling to myself, as I was sitting here writing, as I had become tired of my ingratitude, tired of my tiredness.

I can now recognize and appreciate the level of strength and resilience I have in myself. I can also recognize that my Superwoman years are coming to a close…

Calling on the right ones

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Photo credit: Tim Van Damme

This is a long one, so just sit back and get cozy.

I wrote this two months ago, and I didn’t publish it because I felt super whiny, albeit rightly so. It’s a little scattered, like the energy that swirls around in the U.S. So I apologize in advance for the motifs and metaphors that come and go.

Two months later, not much has changed in my life, and this topic of asking, and not receiving, is still very relevant right now. Today is Day 120 of unemployment and under this moon in Pisces, I feel very done.

Pisces is the last sign in the zodiac, so that’s also why I feel done. Pisces is a water sign and it’s very intuitive, but also very emotional. So I also feel like a catharsis from the past 4 months.

 

The pain I’m enduring is not being wasted. The isolation I’m experiencing is not being wasted. The incessant asking that isn’t being answered is not being wasted. I have to believe in the law of conservation of energy: 

Energy can neither be created nor destroyed; instead, it transforms from one form to another.

I’m still scared, but not as much. And I’m still sad, but not as much. When I woke up after I thought about all this, the black weighty gloom lifted, just a little.

I cannot tell  you how many times I’ve repeated this process, of pushing the tag team twins of doom and gloom off of me, like I’m under too hot of blankets. It’s becoming an almost everyday process, of choosing to be here, of choosing not to look at my circumstances and letting that be the only story told about who I am and my purpose here on Earth.

This morning, before I was officially awake, I was blogging in my head. Maybe the correct term is ruminating. Either way, my adventure with NaNoWriMo must have kicked on my loquacious Mercury in Sagitarrius writer’s button, because now, I can’t stop writing.

I know that keep writing about the same topic, over and over. I also feel like I’ve been running in place for over four years–that Sisyphean energy.

What’s this all worth, really?

Fixed candles are burning, pink and green, pulling down love and money respectively. I’m waiting to be called for my phone interview with a former employer [That went well, but there may not be a decision until, at the latest, March?]. ETA: I heard back yesterday when I checked in, and there will be no face-to-face interview. Today [January 31st] I also got another rejection from the worst phone interview I’ve ever had. Friday, I got a rejection from what I thought was my dream job. 

Clouds are starting to gather as I see our resident vultures gliding high in the air. I’ve been listening to Coldplay’s Ghost Stories, over and over. It’s been reported to be a breakup album, from when Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow. It sounds more like their old stuff. I actually need to stop before I start hating it. But hey, you can use this as the soundtrack for this post.

What I was blogging in my head has escaped me a bit, mainly because I resolved that angsty puzzle. But I remember now.

Today, in two different tarot/oracle card decks, I pulled the equivalent of Three of Swords: heartache, sadness, loss. It was definitely a reading of my energy–maybe it’s just the residue, or it’s just always there.

I’m already loathe to talk about this, because I can hear my own inner critic join the chorus of my fellow Americans who have bought into the bootstrapping myth, as if any of us can make it without any help. There are so many conversations I’ve had with friends about the value in asking for help and the importance of community, and they are all running in my head right now.

Under this full moon in Gemini, which is not helping with keeping my head clear due to the streaming of information, I’m thinking about the losses of this year. Besides struggling with a job loss, I did lose a few friends. I’ve gotten wise about how life works, though. So many lessons in the losses… mainly I was trying way too hard with those friendships. It’s a bad habit that has cost me time and money. I’m finally sensitive to not trying to make anything happen.

But with those losses, I’m doing a lot of grinding by myself.

I’ve had to really upgrade my definition of “friend.” Right now, I have a lot of really good acquaintances and not a lot of friends. And as an immigrant’s daughter, there really isn’t family to fall back on during hard times. I fall back on myself.

I’m resilient, very resilient. And I tire of it. I remember telling my therapist in grad school of my exhaustion with my own indefatigable spirit.

I look at my unemployment, which is the longest stretch I’ve ever had, and wonder when it will end. It keeps unfurling, like a long, blank scroll, emphasis on blank.

And I know why I resent my resilience. There’s some inner child wounding being healed as I go through this valley, places inside of me that need parenting and re-parenting. have to do it, no one else. I have to release the need, the compulsion, of my parents to come in and take care of me.

It’s not a bad one, this need. It’s 100% natural. It’s how the parent/child relationship is set up. But when the parents are unable or unwilling, you have to take up the slack. And I don’t like it. Thankfully, even the acknowledgement of not liking it is a step towards healing.

Yes, I deserved better support and guidance, and yet, I didn’t receive it. And yes, in order to move forward, I have to just (suck it up) take care of myself.

I don’t necessarily believe in shitty circumstances being orchestrated  in your life, just so you can learn things. That’s a bit self-absorbed, in my opinion. I am 100% sure that the Universe would rather draw us through kindness.

The way I see life is that shitty things will happen, regardless of whether I’m at the “proper vibration” or whether I had enough “faith.” The question isn’t if those things will happen–it’s when. And then what are you being invited to do? How will your RSVP, oui ou non?

Not finding work as quickly as I need isn’t some grand universe conspiracy. But I have been invited to slow down, reassess my life, and continue to bring healing to that deserving inner child that seems to have been left by herself. I’ve also been invited to trust the Universe in ways that are frightening–at least for a Capricorn sun and a Cancer moon. Job and housing insecurity would probably frighten most people, though.

Until I came down here to Florida for grad school, I never really realized how much I relied on myself and on my friends. I don’t know if I took my friends for granted, or even myself. I hope I’ve always come from a place of gratitude.

The longer I’ve been here, the more I’ve become active on social media–and thank goodness because otherwise, I’d be worse off in all ways–and not connected to people locally. That’s mainly because of money: it costs to hang out with people, even if you’re just driving to meet up to do something free. I’ve been able to give myself a lot of patience and grace with this, and I need to give myself even more.

I did realize, though, that culturally, the way I was raised as a Ghanaian does not mesh well with the “rugged individualism” of America. Looking back, I can see how my family’s relationships with other Ghanaian families weren’t a luxury, they were a necessity. We went out of our way to go on road trips to visit people in Michigan, Georgia, Louisiana.

Even though I’m not close with most of those families anymore, I still consider them as family–somewhat. Even with this current lack of closeness, you could say that American culture has started to erode our bonds. Not to be too simplistic, though–because I know there are a myriad of reasons why people grow apart over time. Still, we’ve gotten absorbed in our own lives.

But I’m still wired to go out of my way. Yet, there are fewer and fewer people to go out of my way for. And vice versa.

And that was a big lesson this year. I was going out of my way for people who would never make that effort back. And now, they are gone. Effort can’t solve everything.

It’s been a funny journey for me with my willingness to asking for help. I have loathed hating asking for help, and it’s possible I’m living a self-fulfilling prophetic nightmare. Before I even made it to Florida, I had to ask for help to get down here. Since I’ve been here, I’ve asked and asked and asked–and I’m still asking. To hear the silence roaring back in response to my request, and not have it be about me, to not have it be that I’m not deserving or that I’m unworthy or whatever other ugly self-judgments that I have to fight off…I know I’m learning a few things from that.

  1. I’m not the only one whose voice isn’t being heard or heeded to. There are people all over the world who ask help for help and are ignored.
  2. Asking for help doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll be helped by the ones I ask.
  3. Related to #2, this message came across Twitter earlier today: I’m not asking for too much, but I’m asking the wrong people.

This last message, about who to ask, has been a mindbender for me. I’ve looked back at how I’ve been provided for in ways that were unexpected. As a Capricorn, I really like efficiency. I just want the big ole windfall, the amount of money that will take care of everything all at once. But that’s not what I’ve been invited to receive.

My ultimate invitation, every day, is to trust the Universe, for everything. When it gets to brass tacks stuff: my bills, food, shelter, transportation–it’s scary. My hierarchy of needs pyramid is on fire, starting from the bottom. It’s admittedly crazy-making. Not having enough money is stressful and can cause you to not think clearly.

Through that fog of confusion, I can clearly see that the right one to ask for help from is the Universe. I’ve been incredibly stubborn and resistant about this change because it’s not how I usually have gotten things done. Being resilient and rallying for help when I needed–it hasn’t been as difficult as it has been for the past few years.

And again, the struggle is not to make this about my self-worth, i.e. it’s not raining money on you, so that means you don’t matter.

This has been a baby stepwise process. (Aren’t all life journeys?) I’ve talked about this before. There have been a few times that I talk to Archangel Ariel,  who is known to help with  earthly needs, and audibly ask, “What else can I do? I’ve got nothing.” Something seems to always happen: I get more time to pay something, or money shows up. I’m in a similar place this month, and I don’t know how things will be taken care of.

I’ve gone through this so many times, though. I should be a pro. But every time, I feel like this is some major test of my existence.

Somehow, faith is being grown, in this rocky, dusty soil of my life. I’m not sitting here panicking, like I usually would. I’ve had to find my worth outside of the number of friends I have, whether I feel overlooked and misunderstood or not, whether I have a job or not, whether I’ve had a car or not, whether I had a BA or not, whether I’ve been in a relationship or not.

That’s what’s being transformed in me, right now, in this cauldron of waiting and wondering and worry: these precious, priceless gems of my true worth.