some lessons learned

truth

Well, it’s been a minute since I was here.

I was really busy with work and now I’m back in an ebb state. Such is the name of the game of being my own business.

There are a few things that have come to mind in the past couple of days that I’ll just list out, because it’s hard to tie them all together (maybe I need more coffee–working on that!)

Poverty is isolating and terrorizing. And so much of this blog is just me reacting to poverty. And, I won’t be ashamed of that any longer. Meanwhile, white men can make oodles of money off of the poverty narrative. This thread is full of how poverty can really fuck with your head and your overall well-being. I couldn’t read too much of it because I related too much. But at the same time, I’m comforted that I’m not alone in these feelings. 

Companies really don’t care about you. I know that and that’s one of the reasons why I dug Fight Club so much (toxic masculinity aside). It really got to that Gen X core of life being more than things and possessions.

This week, there were massive layoffs at digital publishers BuzzFeed and Huffington Post, as well as at publishing conglomerate Gannett and whatever the fuck Verizon Media Group is (formerly Oath, including Yahoo and AOL).

About 1,000 media folks lost their jobs with more to come since BuzzFeed couldn’t get their shit together and stave off the rumors of layoffs. So now, there are people who are having some shitty weekends while waiting for news. BuzzFeed is probably preparing for a merger with another group call Group Nine, which specializes in…wait for it…video. 

I just had something similar happen to me last night, as if the Universe wanted me to embody this fact. I was expecting the cut, but couldn’t really put my finger on why. Thursday night, I could barely sleep because I felt I had already lost it.

Prophetic intuition can sometimes come as a form of fear.

The only other time I’ve felt like that about a job was almost 20 years ago. I was freaking out about getting laid off at a crooked personal injury law firm. My colleagues thought I was being paranoid, but I couldn’t shake the feeling. I learned later that the powers that be couldn’t find me on Friday to do let me go. So I was let go on Monday.

Sidenote: I really have to start honoring my intuition and not doubting myself.

So today, I feel…free and happy. I am repeatedly repelling any shame or resentment. I don’t have to do work I hate like that anymore!

I’m constantly shutting down the typical internal conversation of what went wrong, of what could have been done better, of why this is happening now, of the shitty email that was sent. All those thoughts are unhelpful when acceptance of this new reality makes it so much easier to move on.

I did the work because I needed the money–that’s all. In one Facebook group I’m in, a colleague had posted that they had also gotten this work but decided it was too much and wondered how to get it. And they were right, it was too much. But, it kept me afloat for three months, and I’m really grateful for that.

But this month was incredibly hard for some reason. Part of it was allergies (the pollen count is high right now down in Central Florida). Part of it was doing other work. But maybe my heart had finally checked out of the work I was doing. But I felt like such a snob.

I kept having this conversation with myself about how I needed to be grateful and honor this work. I know I can be elitist because of my background of being a doctor’s daughter, of going to an elite university, of having a master’s degree.

America can make you feel so entitled to things you should have, and I don’t mean basic needs (America does the opposite of that with the basics). I should be further along in my life. Why am I doing this terrible survival work?

But I needed to pay some bills and without a car, this was what was in front of me. So I did it.

Yet the nagging feeling, that I was just felt like some replaceable cog in a wheel, lining someone else’s pockets, only grew and made me feel terrible. I never felt any real connection to this group. It doesn’t seem like they can hold quality people, but they don’t really provide that much support. I only was spoken to when I was wrong.

And I wonder if all these veteran journalists, editors, producers, videographers, etc. now feel the same way, like a replaceable cog in a wheel. They were doing a lot more important work than creating content for who I imagine are bored retirees. But with all those layoffs, 1,000 people could form their own newsroom right now, and a really good one.

So, to sum it all up:

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. ― Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

Capitalism is a dehumanizing affair, and it doesn’t belong in journalism–or in most places. And if corporations are people, then they lack a lot of empathy (as do most people, sadly).

Despite life being full of suffering, we must find joy in life. So the season finale of The Good Place, the only American sitcom that I can stand, was on Thursday night. And the ending made me cry because of all of the shitty things that happened last year in particular. If you haven’t watched it and you’re a fan of the show, go watch it and then come back.

Eleanor asks Janet, the all-knowing android, what the meaning of life is, if it’s just full of pain. Janet responds that if she told her, then life would just be some stupid machine. Life would lose its mystery. Since life doesn’t really make much sense, when we find someone or something that does make sense, it’s miraculous. And it’s those glimmers of happiness that we should strive for as we embrace the suck of being human.

I remember saying this to a friend in an email a couple of months ago because I had heard this same message in a podcast about leaving evangelical Christianity. Life is suffering, so when there are moments when we’re not suffering, we should savor them.

Those insights made me cherish the people I had in my life. It made me feel lucky and fortunate, not abandoned and alone.

It’s funny, when I left social media for the holidays and Marie Kondo’s Netflix show came on, I came back to so much xenophobic snark about the concept of what sparks joy for someone.

Clearly, Americans don’t even understand this concept, and a few people have said as much–specifically that we’ve been trained to believe that things bring us joy. So when our houses are full of shit we don’t even use, Kondo’s gentle suggestions about how to store and sort through what you need and don’t need felt like indictments.

So joy…is not happiness or exuberance or giddiness. It’s deeper than that. For me, it has to do with connecting to your life purpose and your essence, the things that make you really you. Deep satisfaction with who you are and the life you have.

And yeah, sometimes it’s hard to find that when your basic needs aren’t being met and you’re treated like some object that has lost its use. But after last night, I felt a new sense of determination to find real joy, even in the midst of loss. I can’t wait for the perfect client, place, friends, relationships or time.

And the time is now. It is always now.

So what’s deeply resonating for me and who I am is working with people who honor my time, talents, and efforts. I want to be with people who are thoughtful and kind. I want to live in a place where my life matters and where I can be useful. 

None of that is happening right now, and honestly, I know that’s a lot to ask for from humanity. But I must commit that I will die trying to find it. There’s no other option besides just giving up completely and dying. My life has to align to these values or I will wither inside.

And, that’s a process. I sometimes think at the end of writing something, whatever lessons I’ve learned from the process of writing will somehow just be permanently imprinted. 

But then life happens, loss happens. Something doesn’t go my way. I screw something up. Taking it so personally is suffering. And I don’t need to suffer any more than I already do.

Anyway, this blog is, in essence, me trying to remember what life for me really is about. And it takes a lot of keystrokes and conversations to remember and to keep remembering that I am not even the poverty I live in nor the people I don’t have in my life.

I am so much more, and I find it hard to find the right words to say what that exactly is besides the word “me.”

Not knowing isn’t a bug—it’s a feature. So now that I don’t have this soul-crushing client anymore, I feel more space opening up. All the people, places, and things that left, that didn’t work out, that I messed up–now there’s space to explore what I do want. 

Until maybe this morning, I really was exhausted by the question, “So now what?” I don’t know, and that’s not a problem. It’s how life is.

I know there are a lot of obstacles in my way towards being what I deem to be a financially stable, well-loved person, and they’re ones I don’t really think about.

But then I think about how so many people have stable lives because of their race or gender or good looks or wealth–very arbitrary, meaningless things. Despite the meaningless, immoral riches of billionaires who decide the fate of people they don’t even care about, despite all the noxious -isms that are on my back and blocking my path, I still have to try to figure this life stuff out for me.

It’s tough because it’s been a very lonely road and the further along I walk, the less people walk with me. That’s also by design, it seems, and something I’ll get into in another post. 

But I don’t necessarily know where I’m headed. For example, right now, it’s a brisk 57 degrees outside, and where I was thinking I’d be living now has wind chills in the negative 50s.

I was telling my writing accountability partner this week that I hate fumbling around to figure things out (she hates it, too). That’s what I’ve been doing since I left grad school. Going on five years of fumbling.

Doors open and close without warning. People appear and disappear. We grow older and hopefully wiser. And that’s (part of) life.

And I know that wherever I’m trying to get to, as soon as I “arrive”, another journey of fumbling will begin. My hope is that it won’t be as hard as living with an inconsistent income and that better people stick around for that journey.

So in between here and there, it’s just more reminders to myself to hang in there, to see the good, to find the silver linings when I can, and to be kind to myself when it’s too painful to smile or see anything redemptive of a FUBAR situation.

I can finally see how my resilience is a blessing. I can see how I’m rebounding more quickly from failures and setbacks. I’m already starting to forget what happened last night and soon, I’ll even start seeking failure and rejection out as learning experiences and ways to move forward. That takes some inner strength and wholeness that I haven’t really had before, but it’s being developed.

My hope for you is that you journey well and have the best traveling companions, that you don’t grow weary when you journey alone or come upon obstacles, and that you become stronger and more whole with each step you take.

Godspeed.


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go me?

2018-04-01 09.06.03

Five of Swords, from Galaxy Tarot

Happy Easter to all who celebrate! 💐🐣🐰🌄

I’m a bit tired today. It could be the incessant cigarette smoke or the full moon in Libra yesterday, or both.

I have spent a lot of my day writing already. I wrote a long email to a friend. I wrote a very long Patreon post for my $10+/month subscribers.

But before those two things, I wrote a letter to the owner of this house. I had planned on holding my rent in exchange for some needed changes around here. But instead, I decided to be a little more Libra-like and just write out my concerns in a letter than I printed and sign.

Here are the tweets I wrote today about the experience:

Kinda didn’t want to see this card today [Five of Swords, above]. I wanted to handle a situation with fiery guns blazing, which means it’s long overdue for that. Instead, I will write a dispassionate letter. Fiery guns may happen next month, though.

This is such a Libra letter of disgust. I’m just disappointed. Our relationship is a disappointment.

This is my favorite line [from the letter]:

I can’t care more about this house than you do, and I can’t care more about [the creep’s] health than he does.

Seriously, pissing a writer off is just a bad idea. And wearing a Capricorn’s patience down to the bone means I have to eviscerate you. Somehow I only left it to “laissez-faire property management style” and not “as you know from your clinical training…”

It takes probably too much to get this self-advocated (if that’s even a word. It’s a full moon baby problem, specifically being one with a Cancer full moon. It’s one of the first things I learned about from astrology.

The hellfire and brimstone that I do not unleash is a public service. But it’s also draining. I don’t like having to do this, be the adult all the damn time.

That’s definitely a Capricorn problem, too. But this is what the full moon in Libra required of me. I kept seeing messages about this and I’m like FINE. It feels very Sisyphean and as a double Cap, energy conservation/ROI is KEY for me

Next month, though–I will talk with money.

This trips up so much parental stuff. I know that’s why I’ve been here for so long. I really have to work through it, but it’s like on an infant level, like non-verbal screaming. It’s very painful, but it needs to be healed through self-advocacy.

And yeah, all this fun 4th house stuff is addressing family root stuff. I HATE IT! 🤣 Uranus has been unrelenting. I’m ALMOST grateful for the transit.

But it’s kinda like resetting bones that healed improperly. That’s going to hurt, but it needs to be done.

And I’m not really one to spiritualize suffering or someone being a millennial avoidant greedy bitch. Like that’s more of like–yep, poverty. Nothing to spiritualize there–just to fix and be rid of.

That I get any sort of lessons from this is 1) my choice and also 2) a bonus.

It’s OK to just be like–this is awful and I’d like to stop. That’s more than enough. Not everything has to be a teacher or a lesson. We don’t live in sitcoms.

And I get it–those sort of teachings are meant to empower people who have been victimized, but it does nothing for or to the oppressors. This is a two-way street.

But really the lesson is–a lot of people are awful a lot of the time, and you didn’t deserve to be treated that way. It’s OK to stick up for yourself when no one else will. There’s nothing really mystical about that. That’s just the human condition. We hurt. We hurt others.

We all have our own agendas. I have no idea what the landlady’s is besides greed and avoidance. I honestly don’t care. But my adaptive nature and patience isn’t going to be taken advantage of any longer. That’s all I know.

I’m just venting, but I do hope that helps someone. We can get caught in these survival loops because we had to and then it’s like–wait a minute!

I can hold people accountable! I can ask for what I want! I can prioritize myself! I can call people out on their bs!

Empaths and sensitive people just get shit on and used up by narcissists and manipulators, and honestly–just emotionally lazy people…and that has to END.

There is always a fear of reprisal when I stand up for myself. I’ve had rent raised on me before as retaliation. I don’t think that will happen.

I think actually nothing will happen. And I’m not sure which is worse, to be honest.

It’s been almost a sort of gaslighting experience, the lack of responsiveness. It’s like–do my feelings and comfort and safety not matter? Am I being unreasonable to ask for a clean place to cook and live and breathe?

And I don’t come here to bitch today, actually. I want to keep this shorter than usual.

If you’re in some shit situation outside of your control, you really have to pick and choose your battles in your long war. Sometimes, you need to rest. Sometimes, you need to fight.

And that’s what the 5 of Swords is about in tarot. There are winners and losers, and sometimes it’s not worth the battle to win.

But this time, for me, it is.

I have to let go of all the conditioning I’ve had as a child and even as a grown-up that put me and my needs last, and really be OK with sticking up for myself.

And that’s where resetting the bones comes in. It’s not going to feel great for me, as someone who is empathic, to put someone in their proper place. It’s also not going to feel great for me to do this at all–because it feels like I’m not in my proper place.

How dare I ask for what I want!

I’m used to not getting my way. I’m used to advocating for others. I’m used to not making waves, even though a lot of times waves will follow me anyway.

 

So honestly, this is just me, giving myself an enthusiastic and weary high-five:

go me

He looks way more enthusiastic than me.

But go me, as I keep asking and requesting help and assistance and not getting it.

Go me for pursuing my dreams in this dump of a house.

Go me for figuring out how to find a more diplomatic middle way that may get the results I need without tiring myself out further.

Go me for facing my fears of reprisal and rejection.

Go me for knowing that I’m worth fighting for.

I’m really sorry I had to phone it in this week, but I had a lot going on, but just three more things:

1. My biz website relaunched! So if you’re looking for writing or editing services, check that out.

2. Also, I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching about religion and spirituality. Next week, I should have more energy to write about it. It’s been months in the making, and I think I’m finally ready to write about it.

3. Finally, if you liked what you’ve read, I’d love your support as a patron on Patreon. Tiers starts at just $1/month. I blog about things that I don’t post here and you can have access to those things for $10/month.

Thanks for your support!