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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what to say?

stencil-blog-post-image-1

I really hope this is short. I’m sorry if it’s really disjointed.

Um, it has been a time. On Wednesday, it’ll be 5 months of underemployment. I can’t keep asking why anymore. It just is.

My body is becoming an exquisite corpse for this chapter of my life. It’s not at its prettiest. My hair is greyer and thinner. There’s weight gain and skin eruptions and tight joints.

I definitely didn’t think that I wouldn’t be working full-time at this point. I’m getting calls for two jobs back at the last gig (same manager, too), two jobs that I’ve already applied for. I’m still waiting to hear back about the second writing exercise I am sure I over did–for the managing editor position.

I keep having to solely pull myself and out of the pits of doom together every day. I’ve gotten really good at it. And, for once, I’m not really resentful of it. My self-reliance is why  I am still alive.

I want to say this as dispassionately as possible: I feel like how my parents raised me, with very little affection and encouragement, is helping me now. There is no one saying on a daily basis–hang in there, keep going. The only voice I hear consistently is my own.

There must be a reason, though, why real help hasn’t arrived. The answers are all awful, so let’s skip that.

I have to keep hope at bay. I’ve ridden the waves of hope from shore to shore. From a couple of readings saying I’d get job offers this month, well…I did get new clients.

It’s scary to push hope back, because then–what is there to look forward to?

The general message I’m getting from the Universe is to hang in there, to keep going. No savior, no deliverance, no big red bow on an expensive car, no unbelievable happy ending. It’s keep crawling, keep scraping, keep it moving.

Keep. Going.

Things are bad, but I’ve been through worse. I wish I had new insights about this time, besides that I am grateful that I am resilient since the relief I need hasn’t shown up. I’m just getting battered and there’s no energy to resist it.

I’m sorry that I have to keep writing this boring ass story over, and over, and over: of underemployment, of fear, of anxiety, of poverty, and how it’s all messing with my head and my soul like I’m on the frappe speed of a mixer.

How many cliches for my resiliency can I come up with?

I’m putting one foot in front of the other.

I’m riding the wave.

I’m hanging in there.

I’m staying strong.

I’m waiting for the light at the end of the tunnel.

I know that it’s darkest before the dawn.

I know that something is waiting for me around the corner.

I’m treading water.

My mind is tired, so that’s all I have for the list of cliches. Right now, I don’t care about potential or hope or predictions or even faith. I only care about relief. Real relief. The Universe only seems to be sending big raindrops, like the ones that happen right before a big downpour–but no downpour.

I’m impatient and unhappy about it. I’m parched. This is an ugly, disillusioning journey. And as many people I’ve walked with through tough times–there’s just me on this trip (that’s a whole other post that I will never write).

This agitation is somehow tempered by gratitude–of still having my car, of having gas in my car, of paying my car insurance, of having enough to eat, of having dessert, of having any work at all.

But underneath is unending exhaustion–a different type of soul exhaustion than I’ve experienced, but that even with getting a new full-time job, it won’t easily disperse. It’s like a middling kind. Not the “where I am sleeping tonight?” kind. Nor is it the eviction kind. It’s not even the being unfairly shamed by others kind. It’s the “I’m not quite at a place of stability and I’m really tired of trying to make it happen” kind. It’s the “I have no choice to keep going” kind. I have the strength but it seems so, well, stupid to spend so much effort on this type of writing and merely on survival, especially when the stakes are high, but the cost to keep me going is so low.

But there’s nothing else. This is the muddy, weedy, lonely path. One foot in front of the other. A faceplant. Mud on hands. Grass stains. Pain. Get up. Keep going. So complaining about it is fruitless. It just makes me more tired.

And that’s also why I haven’t made time to write here. What is there to write about? Not much, nothing of pleasure or of insight.

And that’s that. On Monday, I keep going, keep hanging in there. I will try to renew my SNAP. I will write two articles. I will hope that the hundreds of dollars of work that I did last week will finally be paid out. I will keep going and compartmentalize the exhaustion until I can safely unload and unpack the burden.

I will not wait for relief to come. I will somehow be an alchemist and create it myself, for myself, by myself.

I will persist, and I will win–because I have no choice.

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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.

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