standing still in a widening circle

the path SOM

Last week, I didn’t write because I didn’t have much to say that isn’t more of the same.

I wish I had new adventures to write about, new people I’ve met…

So here’s 3000+ words…of probably more of the same!

I’m at a standstill in my life and it’s really beyond disappointing. I feel like I haven’t really done anything with my life worth mentioning. And sure, being middle-aged isn’t helped (these musings are par for the course).

But beyond getting through college and grad school–which were Herculean efforts because of issues and events outside of my control, I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished that much.

A medal for surviving doesn’t really seem like much to me. I have barely begun to do what I came on earth to do. And this blog has been an attempt to get to that place of true beginning.

But it looks like there’s a bit more work to do before I really begin.

Forty years of throat clearing and preambling…

And then, I keep looking back at this year alone and I’m still horrified. So many people have left, and mostly it’s been all for the best (especially this guy). It really has brought into relief how much relationships mean to me (a heckuva lot).

And although I’m tired of talking about it (my life), at the same time–I’m still stunned. Most of the people I know have become distant acquaintances…or are just gone.

Me in the middle as everyone takes steps back and back and back…an ever-widening circle that I can’t even see anymore…

Most of that widening is because of me, changing for the better, becoming more loyal and true to myself. So as horrified and shocked as I am, I’m also proud and amazed at my resilience, a resilience that today at least, I no longer resent.


Yet with all my emotional turmoil and existential loneliness, one big thing I keep forgetting is about being gifted affects me and who I connect with–and pardon me if I wrote about this two weeks ago. It’s something that keeps coming up like a persistent burp, and I don’t write about it enough or keep top of mind for my own sanity.

I just looked this up from Paula Prober, a psychotherapist who specializes in gifted adults and parenting gifted children. Here’s what she has to say about how you can identify a gifted adult:

Look for more depth.

Look for more sensitivity.

Look for more complexity.

More anxiety, more questioning, more researching, more existential depression, more ideas, more reading, more thinking, more compassion, more loneliness, more talking, more perfectionism, more idealism, more imagining, more laughing, more angst, more empathy, more creativity, more answers, more crying.

More more-ness.

More more-ness….something I’ve fought against as others have fought against me for having it.

I have had this persistent thought about how I do not fit into American society, or this world, really…

There was a flicker of despair that came across my heart, but then it transformed into a lukewarm comfort.

I don’t have to try so hard to keep people in my life. The good ones stay. I haven’t met enough of the good ones yet.

And this isn’t meant to be some slow burn into negative thinking or “limiting beliefs”–but really, it’s not meant to be easy for me to be me, in a world that craves conformity and limits.

At least on an emotional level, being gifted for me is like this: when things are hard, they are excruciating; when things are going well, it’s ecstasy. You could say that makes me moody or that I have a wider range of emotional expression and experience.

I’m going to go with the second option.

There’s a steep price for conformity for me. Trying to minimize my feelings may make others comfortable only makes me feel miserable.


For example, I decided to part ways with my business coach at the end of the month because I felt she used my emotional honesty against me.

A lot of my business issues are emotional ones, particularly having the right mindset especially in this midst of challenges. All entrepreneurs go through the ups and downs of owning a business, and a lot of them don’t last.

As I started to be more candid about my emotions, we got in a bit of a tug-of-war about how I should see myself.

I had brought up how I needed to fire this client who wanted a lot more work for the same pay, and how it frightened me to look at the client’s reply over the last bit of work I had to do–we had a billing discrepancy, basically. I spent hours avoiding my email mainly because I had already lost trust in them.

Based on their recent behavior of work scope creep, I didn’t think they would be reasonable in my final request. And I hated the idea of having to deal with yet another disappointment this year..

But they actually were reasonable. Thank goodness.

Why I brought this up was that I didn’t want to waste time being afraid of emails with potentially. And yes, I’ve heard a lot of bad news in my life.

But considering that I am in this wide open space in my business by myself, it’s a coping mechanism that isn’t too terrible, in retrospect.

It’s OK to not be outwardly brave 24/7/365. It’s OK to admit the fear.

Before this, I had mentioned that I tend to cut people out of my life when things become untenable, when I think there can’t be a way to resolve the conflict, or if the relationship we have isn’t working anymore.

And this cutting isn’t some dramatic declaration of the end of a relationship. It’s letting things die a natural death. We just fade out of each other’s lives.

And if I recall correctly, she had brought this up as a similar pattern, which, again–considering what I’ve been through, it’s a coping mechanism that has served me well. There have been a lot of people who needed to be out of my life sooner than later.

But I admittedly have been working to wean myself off of it. I don’t want to be a surgeon and just cut, cut, cut. I want to be more preventative and not have to cut in the first place. I want to be able to better find the right clients the first time around–and yes, this can apply to friendships and relationships, too (I will get back to this later).

So she said this back to me in a way as if I didn’t fully grasp the severity of these traits of avoidance and self-preservation. It felt as if she was trying to make me feel like I wasn’t an expert about my own life. And maybe this is some “So what I heard you say was…” kind of active listening communication technique that I may have misunderstood, but it didn’t seem helpful at the time (honestly, it still doesn’t)/

Or maybe she was trying to make a connection between that coping mechanism of cutting and running–something I’m not resistant in changing by the way–and the case with this now former client.

What I felt like was that she was using my own wounds and shortcomings to slap me in the face with them to change.

In the context of that moment where I was sharing my heart and she was trying to get me to find answers I didn’t have, I felt attacked and accused–which is actually not something I feel often.

My vulnerability was rewarded with blame.

So then, I took 10 minutes or more to defend myself. From how she talked to me, I could see that she sees me as an embittered, brittle, hard person (in another coaching session, she asked me if I forgave easily, and I said no). And even if that were true–there was no compassion for me.

This tense dynamic had happened once or twice before. But in this moment, I really felt that I had been kicked while I was down. I felt really tight and hot in my chest in a way I usually don’t feel, even at my most anxious. She had been bringing up what I had mentioned as if I had no emotional awareness of what I was doing. Whether it was intentional or not, I felt insulted and not fully understood nor listened to.

Why? Because she already knew how I was feeling really beat up since four years ago around this time, I was semi-homeless. When I had first brought that up, she astutely saw that I may have some PTSD about that time.

Yet she’s a coach, not a therapist. She’s not trained to see me or my life history through a trauma lens. She basically was asking me to snap out of it. And it hurt.

So this is where my cut-and-run strategy will work again. I don’t want to invest time in training her how to talk to me. It’s not my job. I’ve learned what I needed–especially about myself and how I need to be treated.

And one thing about being gifted: being hypercritical of myself is something I need relief from, not a pile-on from someone who just met me in July.

This is where my “more more-ness” as a gifted adult definitely ends up being a wall instead of a bridge. I am emotionally expressive with my words and most people cannot handle it. And I’ve been upset and distraught over it long it.

I am not going to change who I am to accommodate people’s reticence to reach out to me. I deserve the same acceptance and love that I give to other people.

In the end, I need emotional support more than anything, and she’s not the right person to give it without it being some basic women’s empowerment stuff that isn’t really empowering.

I had started to dread our calls after that semi-confrontation, and I knew it was time to find better support.

After I decided to end this relationship (just three more sessions left), I didn’t want to have yet another person leave without at least a replacement. I reached out to another mentor in town who will give me advice on marketing next week. And, I’m already in a couple of Facebook groups about writing and owning a small business.


So back to choosing the right people the first time…

I don’t really feel rightly aligned to most people right now, and I feel that’s because I myself am being realigned.

I feel like I’ve been taken offline for upgrades and repairs and I’m just now realizing it.

The repairs and upgrades? I’m not really sure what’s happening there. I know there’s a greater process happening, of gaining deeper spiritual knowledge–but that’s about it. And I can only imagine that I’m being set up for something big because I’ve never had my life stall so badly before.

It’s taking a lot of time to realize that loss sometimes isn’t about me doing something wrong. As I’ve said here in the past, I’ve been tormenting myself about what’s wrong with me…and that isn’t really the issue.

The reframe of “loss as error” to “loss as realignment”–it doesn’t really make loss less painful. It’s just better understood.

Even when the losses are from my own hand…distancing myself from people who hurt me, firing clients, ending coaching relationships…it seems smacks of failure.

But that isn’t the complete truth. Failure sounds so final, but this isn’t about wins and losses. It’s about a process of maturation.

Sure, I’ve learned so much from the people who have entered and exited my life. And whether they have graced my life for brief or long moments–those instances have also been a necessary part of the realignment process.

Simply put–no one is sticking around right now because no one is supposed to (yet).

Temporarily, I know I’m in some crucible, the dross burning off with only pure metal left. But it’s a lonely process, and I’m done talking about those feelings.

But as a gifted person, knowing that as much as I want to connect with others but probably won’t–that’s a permanent feature that I have to continue to accept–and remember.

That’s really tough to swallow, because even though I have my own business, to be successful, it’s so important to have others supporting you. It’s hard to look at my income and think–my fates are tied to other people I haven’t met yet.

It’s frustrating to know that you deserve the support but yet haven’t received it in the way that you need and want it.

So, many times, I make do. But the “making do” looked a lot like accommodation and compromise so I could feel like I wasn’t alone.

I’ve waited around for too long. I’ve bent over backwards. I’ve continuously reached out.

But the reciprocity…

I’ve settled way too much for way too little. It’s a coping mechanism that has lost its efficacy.

But–good news! When coping mechanisms fail to work, that means you’ve grown and it’s time to choose healthier coping techniques.

This year brutally taught me that it’s better to be poor and alone than to be aligned with people who don’t have your best interest in mind.

I don’t have to settle. 

I feel like I’m starting completely over with this realignment.

Yet there are ghosts from the past coming to visit…


I’m currently trying to see if a long-time friendship can be salvaged. Years have passed and there is hurt on both sides, but I don’t know if true healing can take place.

I don’t know if trust can be restored between us.

I won’t go into too much detail about how things started to unravel, but three years ago, there was a miscommunication, and then subsequent assumptions made about me about being uncaring and imposing.

At least that miscommunication has been resolved. But how it was handled later, or just communication between us…it devolved into being scolded like a child like I didn’t know about adult priorities (marriage and work).

It was some smug married bullshit, something like my man and my job come first. But it seemed like something said desperation, in a feeble attempt to relieve to some work/life balance pressure.

I remember being the last person speaking maybe two years ago and just leaving it open-ended. Shockingly, even to me–I don’t dwell on most events. I only dwell on the outcomes.

(It’s driving me crazy that I don’t have evidence for this, because from our messages, it looks like I actually shouldn’t have any issues. It makes me feel like what happened didn’t happen, even though I know it did. I don’t know who deleted those messages, but I’ll say I seriously doubt that I did.)

Usually, people don’t even try to reconcile with me, or try to reach out. And on my end, it’s rare that I will go back through a closed door. I only tried to do that with my first boyfriend about three months after he broke up with me.

So this is a bit of an experiment for me, and an apt one for Libra season–to rehash, to retread, to possibly reconcile with someone who has hurt me.

Maybe I can turn over a new leaf? But more importantly–is this leaf worth turning over?

If there is hope, it is cautiously and warily held close to my chest. Even still, I know our friendship will never be the same, because even if that smug married stuff was said in anger and desperation…I feel like there’s still some truth behind those words that she needs to embrace and own.

What’s cool, though? I don’t have to figure this out today. Or even this month. I can observe and not see this as some threat to my wellbeing.

I can be curious. And I am safe.

Maybe she’ll stick around. Maybe she won’t. But there’s a greater trust and truth holding me together as everything around me falls apart…


I think because my life has become so unsatisfactory, I have to see it running on parallel tracks.

There’s the life I wanted on one track and there’s the life I have on the other.

Ultimately, all I have wanted is security and freedom. And that’s the opposite of what I have had living here in this house, especially this year.

And I’ve been resentful and despairing and fed the fuck up. But those emotions have been draining and demoralizing.

So I’ve decided to stop looking at that track for now.

What I have is a deeper sense of self and a slowly growing trust that the Universe really does have my back, that none of these losses I grieve over and come to accept will be wasted.

It doesn’t mean I’m doing high kicks of joy yet. But it does mean I’m almost done with the internal temper tantrum.

And here’s the kicker–a lot of suffering comes from that ever-persistent question of why. And yet I know there’s a big fat why that’s holding me–even though I don’t know its name or what it looks like.

None of what I’ve experienced is for nothing–and that’s not the Universe deciding that. I’m deciding that.

But the why…why is this happening? Why is this happening to me? Well usually, we don’t ever fully figure that out.

But it is happening. So what do you do?

You learn to deal and cope while you protect your dreams and goals, letting them evolve as you do.

As I am realigned, I know that I will make better choices with the people I allow into my life. I’ll be better about remembering that my “more-ness” is nothing to be ashamed of. I’ll continue to make sure that my circumstances don’t define who I am.

I will continue to focus on myself and what I need, trusting that somehow, I’ll be provided for.


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a softening

soft stuff som

Lately, there isn’t much to talk about except my business. So my apologies for going full-on Capricorn here.

Last week, what looked like more work coming my way was the complete opposite. What was great about this was that last week, I found this group of writers and found a lot of support and advice for my client quandary.

The advice went along with my gut feelings: it’s time to move on.

Including with that situation, I’ve taken two other leaps of faith–joining another writing platform and a mastermind group.

Investing in my business while it seems everything else is going to shit–it’s scary, but it’s necessary.

One message that has been showing up over and over, in my own daily tarot readings that I post on twitter and just in things I’ve read–it’s being true to myself.

Currently, that message seems to be about knowing my worth–and not compromising to get it.

And that can be extremely hard to form when circumstances are trying to shape your own self-concept. And the past few months have been an invitation to push back on those circumstantial messages.


I said this in my monthly post for my $10+/month patrons on Patreon, and elsewhere here on this blog–that if circumstances aren’t shifting, there’s something greater being worked.

The past couple of weeks have been particularly rough, mainly because other work that I thought was coming through this month didn’t come. A client decided that the work available was below my rate and not worth my time or money. Then I did a maybe unnecessary backbend to do the work. But I wanted to make sure that it wouldn’t be a precedent for my rates.

Summertime is slow, and I wanted to help us both out.

But the work had already been assigned. Oof. I could have used that work! And I was using that promise of work as a way to stop myself from freaking out. Now it seemed like my freakout was warranted.

I have been spending my time prospecting, but that process probably needs refinement–just because the results suck. Maybe my expectations are way too high.

It’s also a process that requires, upfront, a lot of time and effort. It also takes time for my efforts to show any fruition.

And I don’t feel like I have any time left. And trying to effectively communicate that frustration with time, and the lack of it, was really hard to do last week.


Last week, I had a conversation with my biz coach which made me feel misunderstood.

If you haven’t gotten a sense of who I am already, I’ll just tell you that I am an emotionally intense person. I’ve come into acceptance that this is who I am, for better and for worse.

I’ve known this coach for a few weeks, but I’m starting to get the sense that because they are from the coaching realm, they are also in the realm of performative positivity. I can’t really express the darker sides of owning a business without popping back up and being positive about it.

I felt judged. And I felt like I needed to hide this large part of myself in the future.

Yet there’s no time to hide who I am, either. It’s a conundrum. I do think intimacy requires trust, and there are levels. From that conversation, I learned that she wasn’t properly prepared to deal with my emotions–which aren’t freak or strange. It is par for the course to be emotional about your work as a business owner.

I’m grateful for their presence in their life, but that convo requires a boundary and opacity adjustment.

And thankfully, I’ve found others who can take on those weary woes and provide support and tips on changing my mindset without excusing the rather stark circumstances I’m in.


And those circumstances…last week, with all the disappointment and with feeling unseen, but also finding great support at the same time…I’ve had to accept that even though I’m doing the best I can, things still aren’t going my way, like psychology Rick Hanson talks about accepting difficulty.

But these undone things are not who I am.

I didn’t know that I took a certain deep pride in being able to take care of myself. And, I still am taking care. It just involves me putting out more fires, quelling the insistent voices that want things from me.

I’ve talked about how humbling it’s been for the past six years to live here in Florida. But last week, I really felt like I had been made low.

I’ve never been this pathetic in my life.

I asked for a lot of help in grad school, with many mostly unsuccessful fundraisers–and I got over my pride with that. Grad school was and has been impoverishing–although I have no regrets.

It’s more that I have always felt above all of this happening to me.

Being this helpless happens to other people, but not to me.

But no–this has happened to me, over and over. Four years ago this month was when I became homeless and was wandering around the city for a month, and finally the trauma of that manifested into high anxiety, sadness, and shame last week.

I don’t know if you could call it PTSD, but I could call it a very painful reminder of how precariously placed I feel.

I have never really had time to process that. For a while, my mom was wiring me money so I could be in Airbnb every few days until a couple I went to church with decided to let me stay with them for a month.

That charity came at a cost, though–they basically pushed me into an abusive situation with a fellow church member.

And then I ended up here–in stable housing on going on four years. I never thought this would be an accomplishment, but it is.

And not to be super dramatic, but I’m trapped here without a car (but thank goodness for Lyft). So that means no real social interaction offline, or even a chance to say–screw freelancing, I’m going back to work.

I really am doing the best I can, even if I don’t like the results. And that’s especially tough to swallow during Virgo season, that wants to find the best or most efficient way to do things.

But then those expectations, for the best, start to be almost unattainable…


As someone who is entirely too hard on herself, I have to remind myself that I don’t live in a vacuum, that even if my mindset is jacked up on doom, the environment I live in–my house, my city, my state, and my country–all play a key role in how I can see opportunities from the challenges I face.

In particular, how we see individuals with money vs. how we see corporations with money are entirely different. Corporations are officially seen as people thanks to our kinda screwy SCOTUS, but they aren’t seen as morally corruptible like people are.

If you’re broke in America, then it’s your fault. You’re lazy, unproductive, and spend your money on the wrong things. It doesn’t matter if you’re paying taxes into a system that isn’t completely serving you (and a lot of this depends on the state you reside in). You’re just not working hard enough.

But if you’re a corporation who gets a myriad of tax breaks from the state and federal government, hide money in offshore bank accounts, pay workers poorly while give C-Suite executives golden parachutes, then you’re serving your stakeholders. Good job!

In America, poverty and debt are moral failings, even if the game has been rigged in your favor or against you.

So with that in mind, how can I keep beating myself up for doing my darnedest to support myself?

Something has to give here. And something has.


There’s a softening that’s happening inside of me and towards myself.

It’s not even that I have high expectations of myself (I still do). It’s that I can’t even clear a bar of self-sufficiency right now.

And in Capricorn terms, that makes me feel pretty useless especially to myself. And that’s even without capitalism incessantly whispering lies in my ear that I’m not productive, or valuable, enough.

So who is this person emerging…the one who can’t pay all her bills, the one who struggles and sees lights of hope flicker on and off on the horizon?

Going even deeper–I thought I had overcome my perfectionism, a perfectionism so deep and layered, it was a part of my everyday life.

So OK: I wasn’t publicly crying over test grades in junior high (this only happened once but you know how bad it must be for a double Capricorn to cry in public).

In high school, I gave up trying to be perfect scholastically in general because I knew others would excel despite my best efforts.

In college, I learned to compete with myself because again–someone would always be smarter

I’m doing good enough and it’s still great! Hallelujah!

I really thought that my adult life didn’t involve the crippling perfectionism. But here it was, still wrapped around me like a kudzu vine.

But I still was used to having all the right answers for everything. And that goes back to wanting to feel useful.

Even still–that’s a lot of pressure to put on someone, to put on myself, even if money is tight and I’ve been used to being great at everything.

Don’t I deserve some grace? Some understanding? Some love? A break? Wouldn’t I offer the same to someone who is in my shoes?

Even within my work this summer, I’ve noticed places where I was missing the mark. It felt foreign–to miss things, to be wrong. And of course, stress is probably adding to it, but I’m so used to not missing the mark.

I’ve performed under immense pressure for most of my life and it not affect my work. And this year, that era is ending. I can feel how fragile and susceptible I am.

Whether it’s a cumulative effect of being in survival mode, or just a place in my life that is calling me to identify with inner riches…I can’t keep doing things the way I’ve done for the past 40 years.

Maybe my whole life is a coping mechanism…


There’s so many trite things I can say about learning from mistakes, but one thing I’ve missed from being “so above it all,” was the freedom to be a fully human being.

Again, it’s hard for me to separate myself from the world I live in. If you’re not a rich, straight cis white man, the freedom to be fully human becomes limited. And maybe this is something I picked up on as a kid and internalized.

But even within restrictive cultures, within restricted finances, within restricted spaces…there’s still space to free myself from the expectations that I have to have it all together.

I’m trying to use (maybe too many) words to talk about how this softening is happening. I started to notice it in the past couple of days. I don’t know how to explain it, but I do feel like a different person.

I’m not as interested in surface-level hierarchies of how we view people, of who’s better, smarter, more affluent, more connected. And a lot of times, these are Capricorn concerns…as we climb the mountains of life.

It’s not just that we want praise or recognition. Capricorns want security.

But as my rubric for success continues to change, my rubric for security has to change, too.

There’s a lot falling into arrears, falling away, and I don’t have enough emotional bandwidth to hold it all.

I am not my past due bills. I am not my lack of transportation. I am not my dreams deferred or dashed. I am not the countless rejections and heartaches I’ve received and endured. I am not even the loneliness that I’ve become used to.

I am not all the things I lack.

And I try to think about the other freelancers and solopreneurs that are struggling just like I am right now, on the brink of a new life.

I’m not alone in this.

I’m not alone not only in this business struggle, but just in life in general. When I write these words, I wonder if someone has ever felt these things before, before I was born, before this century or millennium, even before we had words…

I may have a unique life, but I know this isn’t a novel feeling–of inadequacy and soul exhaustion, but continuing on anyway, knowing that circumstances are temporary.

Can I tap into the history of humanity, or even to the consciousness right now, and feel that this isn’t new? That there are others right now, just as human as me, trying their best, failing, and continuing to try, and trying not to take this on as a moral failing…but as a sign that they’re trying?


In the ashes of my hopes and expectations, I stand…looking for places to be grateful.

I work towards being more grateful, because I don’t want to be covered in bitter ashes forever

Gratitude is not a feeling, but a daily practice.

I am grateful right now that I’m not homeless. I am grateful that 22 years ago this month, when I was supposed to go to college and my father’s paranoia prevented me–that I was able to go to the following year and finally finish.

I am grateful that for now, my phone is still on. I am grateful that if and when it turns off, I’ll be eventually to turn it back on.

I am grateful that I will be paid for work later on this month. I am grateful that I’m creating space for better clients to come along.

I am grateful for the little personal pizza that I’ll be heating up in a few minutes for lunch and that I don’t have to eat ramen again (as much as I love it).

I am grateful for all these lessons that have introduced me to someone who could be more unfettered…someone who isn’t all exact angles…someone who can carry greater compassion for herself, and in turn greater compassion for others.

I am grateful that I can keep writing about the same thing over and over and glean more wisdom and grace for myself…and that people like you continue to keep reading.

I am grateful that I’m learning that I am not the things that happen to me. I’m something far more weighty and valuable.

I am a fallible human being, worthy of love, grace, and compassion.

I am person who keeps trying.

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back on the couch 🛋️

therapy SOM

The last time I was in therapy, it was the summer, 2016, nearing the end of my contract job where I was miserable.

Almost 18 months later, I’m back. Now I’m miserable because of this guy, the housemate.

I need to move.

I gave a long explanation of what happened at my Patreon for my subscribers, but TL;DR, my housemate has decompensated (clinical for lost his shit) twice since the full moon eclipse (once before and once after). He has untreated schizophrenia along with some Axis II/personality disorder stuff.

So all the bitching and accommodating and complaining I’ve done has because of that.

I should really refocus the misery towards the owners of this house. This housemate is only symptomatic of their neglect and passivity.

When I had made the appointment with my therapist who reminds me of a hippie, nicer version of Carrie Bradshaw, the psychotic breaks hadn’t occurred yet.

If you want to say that my higher self was prescient and knew I’d need therapy because serious shit was about the kick off, I wouldn’t bar you from saying it.

I arrived early after I returned a shitty memoir that’s getting some public acclaim. I scheduled the ride home that I’d miss because I was too afraid to be rude and look at the time on my phone, with its ringer set on silent.

My therapist was running late, which she explained later that since I was her last client and she had a yoga class later, and because hadn’t spoken in a while, she thought it’d be OK to run late.

Hey man, first white person I’ve heard say that to me. It did cost me $10 as a no-show. I have some weird hang ups with my Lyft score.

Meanwhile, as I waited, I was tweeting folks and feeling pretty whole and cohesive as a person. Last time, I was really worried about my social life. That hasn’t even changed–it’s probably gotten worse.

The circumstances I was currently in weren’t defining me.

For once! For once.

Anyway, her office, which is in this holistic multi-use office, had moved across the hall to a smaller space. I sat down on the smaller couch as I waited for her to bring a cup of water.

When she came back, I was ready to get into it, and she was too.

But I had to backtrack, amend what I was going to say. I couldn’t just say, ugh, this guy I live with is icky and I want to live by myself. Now it became, wow, I don’t feel safe in my own home because this guy completely lost his shit, twice, in less than a week.

And…those episodes wasn’t traumatizing, really. My clinical background somehow saved me and also helped me to connect the dots–>

forgetting my name multiple times–>poor dishwashing habits –>smoking inside many times –>ashing on our green porch –>yelling at himself or someone a few times–>having poor personal boundaries with my things–>wanting to talk to me all the time–>responding with verbal abuse–>schizophrenia.

That knowledge let 9 months of annoyance and energy drain collapse into relief and anger. Relief that this guy isn’t just evil and clueless. He’s unwell and unmedicated.

And enabled. By the other roommate and by the inactivity of the owners who are just fine with taking money from an SSDI recipient because they know the money will be stable.

They can assuage the pain beating in their pink liberal hearts and take pity on the man who lived in the woods for 12 years, but not pump any blood to actually help him.

And, well–armed with this clinical revelation, I tried to make a change. He was supposed to admit himself into the hospital by yesterday. This leathery bag of chronic coughs is still in this house.

When I came back from therapy and saw that I had gotten a package, he was outside, on the porch, smoking and ashing on it.

“You have a package,” he lowly bellowed. It was the first thing I saw, sitting on the marble pedestal by the door. If he was actually looking me, instead of looking for his next Axis II fix, he would have seen me look at that first as I silently walked to the mailbox to get the (mostly junk) mail.

“You-you have a package!” he said more loudly as I pursed my look in my mother’s look of part annoyance-part-I-guess-I-need-to-honor-your-presence-sack-of-carbon.

I took my package and walked inside.

This guy, who had called me a piece of shit and god knows what other epithets, had the everloving gall to speak to me.

He’s one sick motherfucker.

I’ll be honest, about therapy–because I have a BA in psychology, because I wanted to be a child psychiatrist, because I was social worker, because I researched kids in child welfare, because I’ve been doing therapy on and off since I was 21–I tend to love talking shop in a meta way. To talk about my own clinical make-up, about the clinical make-up of others, it’s almost like I’m doing the job of the therapist.

When I had come to my therapist the last time, I realized that I didn’t really need her for clinical insight. I already knew the answers. I just needed her support.

Today was similar. I had told her that moving was going to stepwise–first out of this house, and then out-of-state, most likely to that place which continues to call me, like incessant sirens, trying to guide me away from certain shipwreck.

Besides her support, I wanted her to give some practical insight about moving, and she did give a town that I could possibly move to. But she told me how my eyes lit up when I told her about the beach.

Either way, it’s probably best I get the fuck out of the Dodge.

I came away with a couple of practical things and a few insights.

  1. I need to go work elsewhere more often. I know this, but I don’t want to spend the money. But I need to do it.
  2. Something I need to do more of–look for housing every day, 30 to 60 minutes.
  3. An insight about the landlady–from my therapist’s experience, younger social workers, such as the landlady, seem to be more skittish around actual clinical work. So she is not surprised that she didn’t pick up on those manipulative Axis II vibes that this person is exuding out of his tan-skinned pores.
  4. It was interesting how I kept talking about poverty when I have some money–right now, anyway. A client later today asked me to invoice him for the writing I need to do while he’ll be on vacation. I know that my time in Florida has been marked with housing hardship, but it’s hard to see how things are getting better, better enough to start over, even with a shitty credit score.
  5. And then there’s the pattern of saving the day. When I realized last night that I was probably not going to get a follow-up from the landlady on the schizophrenic anymore, that there would only be more enabling and excusing, I gave up–and my therapist gave me permission to do just that, to hang up my cape, to be a fierce advocate for myself, like I was for my clients years ago.

So after, my therapist sat with me for a couple minutes as we waited for my ride to arrive, which was nice for her to do. And then my ride took me to Wawa–was this an accidental Eagles celebration? I just wanted carbs. I got some Valentine’s doughnuts and other things.

And then, I made it home.

The rest of the day isn’t that important to write about, but I’m just glad one person in this town gives a shit about what happens to me.

And, there’s really some solid hope here now. There’s the hope that I’ll leave here, sooner than later. But there’s the hope that I won’t be dealing with terrible roommates ever again. Even bigger than that, there’s the hope that my new normal will not have anymore crazy, tragic stories.

What’s been strange about this week, and last week too, is watching things start to blossom, things that were dormant for months. In the midst of barely contained chaos is some real beauty, some real connection, some real longevity.

And well, I thought for year that when I was 40, things would start come together. I never knew how or why, but only that they would.

And now, they are.

All the things. Coming together. For good.

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aimless in archer season ♐

she was waiting SOMIt’s been a strange season as the sun rolls this party college town Sagittarius. Besides that my birthday is coming up in 22 days, I haven’t been feeling that festive.

There’s a danger in this lull–or usually, there would be. The danger is to reach out for new experiences, at almost any cost. Especially in Sag season. Sag things are about accumulating experiences.

And besides that I have just been trying to survive for the past few years, I haven’t felt much drive to accumulate experiences.

Yet, despite my lack of luck in most areas of my life, I’ve been lucky with travel. This year, I visited Tampa for a short day trip in April. I’ve driven over 1000 miles from Miami to D.C. in May. In August, I went to St. Pete right before the solar eclipse. In September, I visited Chicago for almost two weeks to avoid Hurricane Irma. And, I will hopefully will travel again for my birthday.

Beyond that, though, with the upheaval at home that has been here since May, I don’t really have much drive to try to accomplish something big.

After grad school, I felt like I had come on earth to do what I had to do–write my memoir. It’s not published yet, and it probably won’t be until my parents are dead (don’t want to deal with the immigrant parent blowback).

It’s weird to feel done at age 36.

And then there’s been more life lived, a lot of it humiliating and harrowing. Just this summer, though, my life as a freelancing writer and editor has started to show some sort of stability. I really wasn’t planning to start my own business–even if astrologically and otherwise, it makes more sense to do that.

But here I am, with clients that are starting to look like permanent ones. I am grateful, so grateful. Twitter was a big part of finding that stability, through people and friends I’ve met just this year.

I’m now in expansive Sag season and I feel contracted. I feel stalled. I’m used to having visions and missions bigger than me, consuming me.

The one thing that’s left in my life that I want to do or experience, no one wants to engage me on, which I am taking as a sign to not talk about anymore. So, I’ll spare you, too–and spare myself the embarrassment of glazed-over eyes and silence.

Maybe because I have experienced so many things already–and a lot of them haven’t really been uplifting–I have a small fear of planning anything.

What would be the point of planning if the Universe is just going to do this?

https://giphy.com/embed/gqItoeqRWSBnavia GIPHY

My time here was supposed to be missional. I thought I was signing up for finding my people, my tribe. I got the “Everybody Hates Me” sign-up sheet by mistake.

Besides that Florida is just a tough state to live in, and that I was really awakened to my own proximity to white supremacy (you can never be that close to it before it tries to bleach you)–I still had some hope, some stupid, unflagging hope that this was my home.

Thankfully, and most mercifully, that hope is dead now.

But to be in the holiday season and not really feel anything, not the sense of wonder or the beginning bubbles of joy percolating–I don’t even feel any hatred toward it…it’s a little scary.

I’m used to feeling inspired and awakened to big things. But my life has gotten so small, I could fit it in a pocket.

I wasn’t created for a small life–only an ever-expanding one.

I’ve gone ’round and ’round with trying to create a community for myself here, but nothing takes. There are loved ones across the country and around the globe, but nothing for me here.

Maybe this is what “chop wood, carry water” looks like. It’s not scaling a mountain or fording a stream. It’s very unglamorous, building my business and rebuilding my life. But it’s worth it.

There are times that I see people doing fun, exciting things, and I think, I should be out there doing those kinds of things. But then I think, with whom?

When I was doing NaNoWriMo this year, I got jealous of my main characters. They were doing exactly what I want to do now, exactly what no one wants to hear about. They were having a lot of fun, a lot of fun that I was used to having.

Being stuck in a cycle of poverty, I just haven’t had the space for fun, for mirth, for frivolity, for silliness. But both cycles–of poverty and over mirthlessness, are coming to an end–thankfully and most mercifully.

Even now with this one thing that no one wants to hear about, I remember having people in my life who wanted to hear about that stuff. I remember having people wanting to fully engage with my life. I remember being so irreverent, laughing at my calamity and pain because I knew I would eventually conquer them.

Now I feel like a spinning top that has been at rest for a while. There’s a deep level of inertia that I can’t Capricorn my way out of. I can’t act upon myself. It’s almost comforting, because I don’t really know what I’m missing.

I’m waiting on the Universe for clarity, for these synchronicities that fly around my head like annoying gnats to come into form. I’m waiting for the neon “open for business” sign to click on. I see it flickering…

Maybe it’s not that I am not wanting anything. Maybe it’s that I want more, so much more than I have ever had. I want to be engulfed by something bigger than writing my memoir, than getting through grad school, than pure survival mode for years.

I want to drown in something new.

I know what that new thing is, but I don’t know how to get from here to there–safely. I don’t feel compelled to start shaking every tree and trying to figure out what I should be doing. That’s how I usually would do it.

If I have to use a big term like paradigm shift, then that’s what this ole sea goat will have to use.

It’s about receptivity. It’s about active waiting. These are cringey, uncomfortable things, because it looks like learned helplessness. It looks like depression. It looks like like I’ve given up.

But, I haven’t. I’ve probably doubled down more than anything.

It’s also about just connecting with the Universe and saying, “I’m tired. I don’t know what the fuck is going on or where I’m headed. I want this thing and I don’t know how to get it. Please help me get it.”

So maybe I’m not aimless in archer season. Maybe I’m just motionless. I’m at rest.

With astrology, planets travel through signs and the 12 houses that are in your natal chart. Right now, the sun is in Sagittarius, which is going through my 12th house of healing, intuition, secrets, dreams, and the subconscious mind. It’s like the basement of the soul, in my opinion.

It’s also a place of rest. If you’re into tarot, it’s like the 4 of Swords card to me. For Capricorns and Cap rising people, this is like the disco nap before the big birthday party. It’s very weird to be chill during Sag season when everyone else is getting their holiday party on.

There are twinges of sadness that come up when I feel waves of FOMO wash over me. But they never last. I finally have embraced that this, for now, is where I’m supposed to be. Trying to force things hasn’t worked (believe me, I tried, just last month–spectacular failure).

Even for what I want, I have an idea of what it’d be like. But who knows if I’m ready for it, or if what’s waiting for me is ready for me? There’s a lot I can’t see or know.

I don’t know how this will all turn out. A new faith is being forged and I’m flailing around with impatience.

Even though I know what I want, I am like this Camus quote above: she was waiting but she didn’t know for what.

At least I do know I want this, for me and for you:

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waiting for something decent and good

the waiting1

 

I applied for seven jobs today. It takes the edge off of the low-grade anxiety I’ve had for months. It almost crippled me yesterday–only to the point that I didn’t get to finish this article earlier to hopefully ensure I’d make it under the wire with getting paid today. I barely have any control over that, though. I was just too moody under this Cancer moon.

Last week, I got a letter where I was notified that I have to do some new hoop jumping to get SNAP. It’s like what I had to do for unemployment insurance–keep track of my job searches, do job-related things. Because being self-employed isn’t enough. This is new, as of last month. I guess Florida is employing people to do stupid admin work except for the people who actually need work. I need to talk to some case manager next Wednesday.

As I write this, I’m about $75 short on my phone bill, and I got the dreaded call earlier today that means that it’ll probably be turned off soon. For once, I’m not stressed out about it anymore. If it’s cut off, it’s cut off. It’s a waste of energy, resisting. There’s nothing I can do about it except ask for help continuously and keep looking for work that I can do.

Last week after my group, I had a talk with a friend, an Aries who co-leads the group. She had given me some blogging work and I was inquiring about more. I also wanted another POV on my work situation. She gave me some social media work that was optional for me to do. But I want to do it, so I can build up my portfolio.

You think taking advice from a Capricorn is hard? Whew. She gave me some good ideas but also made me look at myself, to see if I was too prideful. I will explore those job leads tomorrow. It was helpful to get new ideas of where to look because I knew I needed some new ideas. I even applied to a place that’s close to my house, a place I was told by another writer years ago that it was abusive. My Aries friend had worked there and I took her fiery enthusiasm and reconsidered. I consulted oracle cards twice and got the green light both times to apply.

I can’t really tell if I’m not being humble or open enough, even though my time in Florida has been taking it on the chin over and over–at least in my mind. And I’m a Capricorn–I’m born proud of myself.

Still, is it OK to say no to anything where I am on my feet for hours because of my jacked up knees? When does being humble transform into humiliation? Have I had enough of both?

These are questions for the Universe, and I don’t really feel the push to break my body to work–but I feel like that’s part of the narrative of poverty, of working in America.

In order to get help, you have to grovel, or be amusing, or to have successfully shown that you deserve it somehow. We glorify the stories of extreme asceticism and sacrifice, things we’re not even willing to do ourselves. But at the same time, we judge those who have less than us. It’s the same sort of mentality that has people thinking that people who get SNAP aren’t smart enough to buy food for themselves, or that all of them are lazy and aren’t doing enough.

It couldn’t be that the system is broken.

We value “working really hard”–unless you’re rich. Then it’s OK not to. We collectively think it’s OK because we all want to be rich one day. We all want the perks, the tax havens, the getting off easy for our sins, the different set of rules. We buy into the idea that if we work hard enough, then we’ll get that.

But most of us will never be rich.

Right now, we’re trying to dissect #Wealthcare, the new healthcare bill which is even worse than the current legislation. And guess who it serves? The rich–specifically, the insurance companies. The current climate seems to be bucking up against this idea of “hard work is salvation” and making the poor pay more. And of course, I’m a part of this climate, and it’s affecting me. All of these narratives play out in my mind and I question all of them, because this is about my humanity, our humanity,  after all.

It’s infuriating and inhumane and completely American.

Tomorrow, I need to check in on jobs I’ve already applied for, including one that hasn’t gotten back to me in weeks. I’ve let that go, in my mind.  Part of me doesn’t want to know, that I had put in all this work and that they decided to go with someone else and not tell me. I’m tough, but holding onto hope can be a wearying experience.

And I still can’t tell if I need to be working for myself or not–like officially. I wouldn’t mind it if it wasn’t in my room. Maybe in a co-working space…

I’m just kinda waiting around–but not. It’s more like stumbling around and looking. I’m not even sure what I’m looking for anymore. I’m not good at being lost.

I work almost every day, even weekends. It’s just hard when I’m doing all I can, but nothing has really broken through yet. Sometimes I think I should move because Florida is a tough state, but I don’t think I’m done here. I even asked the Universe about moving to the Gulf side of the state, but I got a strong no on that through oracle cards.

The questions continue. Do I want to be a writer anymore? It’s exhausting, doing these articles. Last week, I applied for a job that was more akin to what I used to do back in Chicago–a research coordinator. Maybe my writing life will be done soon.

And what of the rest of my life, that seems to be atrophying? A family. Friends I can rely on. Traveling this big, blue, beautiful world (I’m listening to Florence + The Machine), and just not struggling like this?

I had a huge epiphany: I had this belief that coming to Florida, I could finally be a full adult (or, my definition of it): self-sufficient, with furniture that matched, on my own, with my own transportation. I got to live like that for about a year.

The Universe had other plans.

All the while, I kept trying to bring the story back to that–self-sufficiency. Doing what I wanted, when I wanted. And that’s not the story to be told right now.

What I have been focusing on is uninteresting to me and yet it is the world I live in. Resisting it is tiring.

I don’t like obsessing over unpaid bills and the bales of ramen I will be eating until the 16th and whether I can afford some respite. I don’t like the sickening smells of food wafting in from the other side of the house. I don’t like listening to the incessant throat clearing and coughing from someone who doesn’t seem to give a shit about himself or others in this house. I don’t like having to remind the landlady to bring me a bathroom mirror and lights for outside of the house.

I have to separate myself from the stench, from the sounds, from the diet, from the bare wall in my bathroom that is missing a mirror.

Who the fuck am I outside of all these annoyances and failures?

And that’s why I have to go back to relying on a higher power–Someone who can who can unlock the cage from the outside, Someone who knows my whole story. Even if I’m not a Christian anymore, there’s still the part of me that needs to connect to something bigger, and better, than myself–especially in times like these.

I’ve been benevolently bailed out so many times. I can rely on that grace, even if it doesn’t show up when or how I want it to. So yeah, maybe tomorrow, the phone will truly turn off and it’ll take time to turn it back on.

Maybe things will just continue to worsen before they improve. But what will that do to me?

Whether it’s just my preoccupation with survival, or the feeling of doom that tries to snuff me out daily–I have to run on something else. I have to listen to something else. I have to focus on something else. Otherwise, it’s so easy to think something is wrong with me, that I’m not worthy of support or a good job or love or rest or anything else that is good. When things go wrong for a long time, it’s hard to believe that things will improve. It’s hard to wait, so very hard. It’s also difficult to keep pushing back at the narrative that because I’m in this frozen state, that means that I’m doing something wrong, that I’m wrong.

But if I don’t push back, I will get rolled over with doom, and I won’t survive it.

I think of all the things I’ve survived up to this point: a mentally ill father, my own mental illness in college, graduating college, dysfunctional friendships with white women (so, so many of these), peaks and troughs in my finances, unfair firings and layoffs, losing my car, grad school and all the disappointment, eviction (kinda twice), homelessness,  abusive landladies and roommates, infestations.

That’s the short list. I’m sure I’m forgetting a lot of things.

Each painful incident, I’ve layered on rock-hard strength. I’m striated in multi-colored imperviousness. And as I get toughened, again, by the waiting and confusion and rejection and neglect, and by each article and job application and conversation and prayer and tarot card reading, I have to believe that it’s not just because the world is awful, and my strength is just a side effect of it.

One day soon, though, I will learn that the Universe holds all that I need–and that I can really trust. It seems to be the ultimate lesson here: how I’m never ever alone; how the spirit world is much more real and powerful that anyone I know.

Related to that: in tarot, I’ve been encountering the Magician card. Its basic meaning is that I have everything I need to create the life that I want. It seems like an enigma. What do I have? I do try to be grateful, but there’s something else impervious in me that is tired of painting on a faux face of gratitude–even though I believe in faking it to make it.

Still, I look at the card as it comes up each time. What do I have? I have myself–is that all I need? There’s a tension here, because I’ve been quite self-reliant and have been able to advocate for myself really well for my whole life. I’m torn between the steely nerve of self-reliance and the kinda scary, but soft and warm interdependence. It’ll always be like this, though, the seesaw between me and others.

But, I feel close in figuring out the balance, in figuring out this part of the journey. Like my last post, I don’t think there’s any new wisdom here to be found, or anything else to say, as I approach 2100 words. It’s more getting comfortable with uncertainty while I continue to learn to love myself–especially when life is hard. And that’s the essence of living a life, a spiritual life at that.

So what do I do while I wait, while I search, while I heal?

I went to the Dali Museum in St. Pete last weekend, and there was a Frida Kahlo exhibit. I had seen another exhibit at the SFMOMA in 2008. I’ve seen and loved the movie Frida. But in this exhibit, I really began to understand the amount of physical  and emotional pain she endured for all of her life. Because of the bus accident she survived, she turned to painting as solace. Her pain was beautiful, but it was definitely hers. As I read her quotes and looked at her self-portraits, I felt like I had found a comrade in suffering.

It made me think about all the pain that I’ve endured. What am I doing with it? The poverty, the abandonment, the frustration, the confusion, the rejection, the silence–they are all different colored paints that I can use to create something beautiful.

I can only hope that as I keep writing about this really tough time, something good, maybe even lasting, is being created.

I tried to drown my sorrows, but the bastards learned how to swim, and now I am overwhelmed by this decent and good feeling.
– Frida Kahlo

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