(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

graham-hunt-564427-unsplash

Photo by Graham Hunt on Unsplash

After six weeks of hard hustling and work, I’m taking ten days off of work. That’s one way to start #CapricornSeason! 😉 But sometimes all that free time freaks me out, especially after working so much for so long.

It reminds me that I don’t really have anyone to spend that time with.

It’s two days before my birthday, what the rest of you call Christmas, and all I have planned is to read a romance novel and eating chocolate cake…and possibly listening to Christmas music.

This year, it hurts a lot to listen to Christmas music. I have a lot of it. But I don’t feel very merry, even though it’s finally gotten cold in the Sunshine State, and…I’m not broke, for once. I’m deeply grateful for both of those things.

But I will be here, in my room, alone. And, I feel like I’ve let myself down–and not just for Christmas. But with everything. And sure, I’m entirely too hard on myself, but maybe it’s a reckoning of how much I don’t have in my control while discovering what I actually do have in my control.

Things, things in my life, should look better and brighter than they do.

And, somehow, by committing to being a writer instead of…I don’t know what else, really besides being a doctor…I’ve dug myself into this hole that I can’t seem to get myself out of. It’s a bit of a miserable, dingy hole, but it is my hole. At least I can be honest with myself in this hole.

So this week, I won’t be painting on smiles and hanging out with people I can’t stand. And most of my adult life, I’ve spent Christmases with other people. As I get older, I’m spending more Christmases by myself. I was doing this before it was cool to do–and it’s still apparently not cool to do, as I read about people dealing with relatives they can’t stand.

All it took was one bad Christmas at home after I came back from my first quarter at college to make sure I wouldn’t come back often.

Even if I may sound tough and hardened, it still feels pathetic and awful, especially since it’s my birthday. Society compounds those feelings.

But this is my choice. I just haven’t found anything else worth choosing more than solitude.


And this spills out more from just the holidays, although the holidays make it more acute and painful (unless you decide that Tuesday is just another day that you get to be alive).

It’s time to crank out the old refrain again: this year has been one of grief and loss, one that I can scarcely believe that I lived. Some crazy ass highs and some fathomless lows.

At the beginning of the year, I said mainly to myself, but also to others, that I wanted to be more aligned this year. But I had no idea how misaligned I was when I said it. And how much it would take to become more aligned.

And aligned to what? Well, to what’s best for me.

My constant refrain has been about all the people I’ve lost, people I thought would be around for a long time…I’m frankly still in shock about it.

So when I think about trying to meet new people next year, I feel incredibly gunshy–for once. I’m scared there will be more leaving and abandonment, more rejection, more misunderstanding. And that’s really tiresome, even though that’s a big part of life. In this moment, I don’t feel up for the risk.

I recently joined another community of people who are more like me, and I just couldn’t bear to write some introductory post. 

I was catching up with the TV show “A Million Little Things” and I burst into sobs as one character, who is so beautifully open with his feelings, was celebrating his first year of remission from breast cancer. But his friend had committed suicide a few weeks before (kind of the premise of the whole show) and he was livid that he wasn’t alive. It was so raw and real, the anger and sorrow. I understood it so well. And it felt good to cry over similar losses.

My unending shock about people taking a hike from my life is not about this year alone–I think it’s about 40 years of living, loving, and losing. It’s all caught up with me, and it feels heavy and unbearable.

Last night, I had a dream about a former friend. We hugged so tightly, it hurt. I don’t think I’ve ever hugged someone that hard in my life.

And as I was letting go, they held onto me. So I hugged back longer. That’s never happened to me, either. I always hold on too long…

It felt so normal and then when I woke up, it took a while for me to realize that was a dream and not a memory…and that I had dreamed about that person, again.

Grief is weird.


I had written a friend this amazing email this month and it hasn’t been responded to. I seriously doubt it will be. I am so tempted to publish it because it was so good.

I did feel afraid, after the fact, that I was being so honest about how I felt about myself, about how I saw life, that I had said so much so passionately. Maybe it was a premonition. And then I felt so much shame, like I wasn’t taking care of myself, like I was open to someone who maybe hadn’t earned it. Maybe I misread…

But it felt so good to be really, unabashedly me, yet I was afraid I wouldn’t get a response–and then, my fears were realized.

And hey, I could be wrong. It’s the holidays now. But as soon as I sent it, it felt like too much–even if it was right for me. But I have no regrets in what I wrote.

What was unexpected was what happened next. This brought up old (self-inflicted) wounds from high school, where I wrote a lot of letters. Although I don’t think about this a lot, I’m still ashamed of this part of me, how epistolary I was.

There was one guy I had a crush on that I wrote and he never wrote back. I quite stupidly pestered him and he just kept blowing me off. Wow, this actually happened with two guys. I couldn’t even tell you what I felt so impo

I keep wondering…this part of me hasn’t changed in over 20 years. Is being this open and honest a good thing for me or not? Should I be choosier? Are these people all swine, and are my words pearls?

I keep hearing about how being yourself really pays off. But it feels like I haven’t hit paydirt yet.

Boy, this sounds snobby, but remember…or, um, let me let you in on a little secret: I’m the weirdo here–the levels of honesty and candor that I have are higher than most and most people are just not cut out for that level of transparency. For me, this came from living in a house where people weren’t honest or open with each other. My life has been an outright rebellion against silence and hiding.

And yet, I still have many levels of opacity, too. I’m not as clear as a newly-washed window. None of us are.

I admit that sometimes I’ve used the transparency as a way to blind people and push them away. But I don’t do that anymore.

Also, I keep repeating the parental dynamics I grew up with (spoiler alert–we all do). That dude from high school might as well be my mother.

My parents weren’t very cuddly or hands-on with me, and so I developed a talent of drawing in people who were on the outside. I thought it was because I felt on the outside, too. And I’m sure that was a part of it.

But it just seems to be me that I have been trying to connect with people who aren’t actually that interested in me (like my parents). Because it’s a challenge to convert the unconvertible. And then, when you do succeed, you get extra special gold stars. Or something like your parents’ love and affection. 

(Pssst. You don’t get anything close to that.)

And that’s just a part of it. The other part is my expansiveness. It’s like a flood of information and feelings, and it can come without warning. I’ve seen it perplex people into silence and laughter.

And that’s when I don’t really feel like I get how to be human, here and now. I know it can be a turn-off to most, because most people like hiding. That includes me sometimes. 

But I realize, as I sit in the alleged ash heap of my allegedly ruined life, I can’t stop being me. I refuse to retool this part of me any longer, especially since I’ve spent most of my life trying to bundle this up and keep it hidden. If (I think that) this is the worst thing about me, then I know that there are so many worse things to be.

This isn’t the worst thing to be.

It’s a bit of a vicious feedback loop, though–the buds of rejection from others can bloom into self-rejection.


Earlier this year, in one of the last times I talked to this rather dreamy person, I remember them encouraging me to keep talking and how I could barely handle that encouragement. And it was so genuine…*inwardly swoons*

I was so used to not hearing any encouragement like that, I just kept going with the same song and dance that I was terrible and annoying for being so talkative and opinionated. And interestingly, my encouragement of them was somewhat rebuffed in the same way (which is actually why I stopped talking to them–because there was way too much ghosting).

And this is just a sidenote, but one worth mentioning: handling each other’s wounds, even if you’re a gentle as a dove, it can still feel like a serpent’s bite. It helps to have some self-compassion and compassion for others if the grace you offer to extend doesn’t get received well. Most of the time, it’s not about the giver, but the receiver. The pain can be too overwhelming to see that relief is near and available.


Being myself is so costly. There are no parades or parties being thrown in my honor.

Congratulations, you’re a loquacious person with big, scary feelings that you express with aplomb and with extra vigor, and that overwhelms most people! You’re so open about how you feel, people are scared to fall into the abyss of you! You make space for other people’s feelings but it’s not being well reciprocated! Well done with this being a human thing! You are killing it.

So this is me, embracing the suck of being me.

But instead of being neurotic about how I am with other people, I can be more comfortable with my uncomfortableness, with my awkwardness, with my loneliness, with my big scary, feelings, with all the lack–and then find my inherent value in my essence, and not in any of these things that I or society deem to be terrible.

I can embrace that I try really hard to make people comfortable, that I’m super effusive over people I really like, that I overshare because I see my life and my feelings as gifts and lessons to share. And when people do the same, I feel like I’m being gifted with something really precious and wonderful.

I can maybe even start to laugh when people predictably react to who I am. Oh boy, we have another runner! Buh bye, buddy, buh bye!

And actually, I used to be a lot more laugh at my calamity type when I was in my 20s. But I think it was because 1) I was less serious and 2) I felt like eventually things would work out, that I had time for things to work out. But turning 40 was like an uh-oh moment…I haven’t gotten to “eventually.” I don’t like these “things” and I’m still not sure they will work out.

Of course, if I tell this to someone who was 70, they’d maybe say I have a lot more time than I think…

Look. I know that I’m not for everyone, and I’m ultimately glad that people who have left have left–but it’s hard not to have this erode one’s sense of self or self-esteem, because I don’t live in a vacuum (unfortunately). And then you read stuff like this and think…well, I could have written this.

If people keep leaving, there’s something wrong with me…right?

I have to stop seeing myself as some problem to solve. I have to stop seeing people as challenges to win (hello, I’m a double Capricorn). 

I must start appreciating my fearlessness about love, even if it has yet to be appreciated by anyone else for very long.


Something I said in that long and glorious unanswered email to my friend was how I couldn’t understand how two men in my life this year were so afraid of whatever we were creating (and me) that they both imploded in a fit of self-sabotage. And yes one of them was the dreamy person I was writing about earlier.

I don’t really understand how you can be afraid of love.

And maybe that’s because growing up without it for so long, when you really experience it, there’s no way you can take it for granted. There’s no way you’d be willing to settle for anything else.

So knowing what life and love that I could have, I’m deeply sad and disappointed that I don’t really have that love in my life right now. I feel like I’m at least a decade late in receiving it and being able to give it without thinking I’m the unlovable weirdo. It’s very bizarre to me, to be living this life, instead of the one I envisioned when I was 17.

So as the holidays are great at magnifying, I’m sad and actually disturbed that I don’t have a family of my own, that I can’t seem to find my step or stride here in Florida, that I had take some job I didn’t want to take to stop being poor, that I feel washed up and yet completely unused and unseen at almost 41 and I haven’t accomplished anything of worth to me except survival.

At the same time, I’m supremely proud of myself that I have survived, that I didn’t succumb to the darkness that was swirling around me, that I even banished darkness and evil from this house, that I do have money in the bank, that I have work to do, that I still have a chance to get all the things I still want.

I know this year was taking the harder road (which feels like it chose me more than I chose it) the more-worthwhile-in-the-end road, the one that’s beyond goals and even self-fulfillment.

I can see how I’ve reached to the core of me, to that part of me that is indestructible…


It’s interesting how when you lose so much, you start to realize what you really want. You don’t get the luxury of being cute or coy or arch about it. The desperation and the desolation are ungraceful but true.

I want to belong to someone who can match or exceed my fearlessness. I want to pass down that fearlessness to my children. I want to be a part of a loving community that works to create a better world for everyone. I want to work with people that value me, my work, and my time. I want to see more of the world, as much of it as I can. I want to create music that I’m proud of. I want to write for people who like what I write.

And I have to be OK with not getting any of this, because none of it is guaranteed. But I have to keep working towards it anyway, even if every day that passes and my arms remain empty, it seems to strongly suggest that I don’t deserve it.

Even if I choose to be alone during the holidays, I don’t deserve to be lonely. But I also don’t deserve to be with the wrong people for the sake of temporarily shoving aside my loneliness. That has been my Christmas credo since I was 19, and I’m glad I’ve stuck to it pretty mercilessly.


One last thing, because I plan on not talking about this year of disappointment and grief here anymore–not because I’m done grieving, but I’m just bored with the topic and have been for months…

When you’re just stuck with just yourself (as we always are), there’s an open invitation to learn how you treat yourself and how to treat yourself better. Long periods of solitude and aloneness make this invitation almost impossible to pass up.

There’s still so much more room for self-love here, which again…this is a little impossible without some help from others (I just downloaded a worksheet on this).

This year, I really have had to lean more on my spiritual side than I’m used to. And yet, there’s still so much more I could be doing that doesn’t involve nitpicking myself to death.

So yeah, I did fail my 17-year-old self, but she had no idea that she wasn’t going to be this evangelical, myopic, Bible thumper anymore, which usually means you’d partner with the same kind of person. She got something far better than the societal inevitability of domestic “bliss” and a secure job.

What she instead was a truer, more expansive version of herself–a lot more than what she bargained for. It’s not as glamorous or cuddly or polished as I’d like for me to be, but this version of me is real–wrapped up in big, scary feelings, loquaciousness, and unyielding intensity.

I am worth the continued search for people that can support me in reaching the things I want as I support them in doing the same. It’s exhausting, scary, and sometimes humiliating, but just like it is with love, it is always worth going full tilt, balls to the wall (which is a term from the United States Air Force about flying and nothing about testicles, I might add), unbridled.

So a lot of people bailed this year. OK. But that isn’t who I am. It’s just things that have happened to me. What’s more important is that I never bailed on me. And there are still people around, even if they aren’t close by or people I talk to often.

There are close to eight billion people, and I won’t even meet most of them. But I’ve met some wonderful people in the past and I can meet great ones again–especially now, since I’ve grown so much and I’m much more aligned than I was a year ago.

You and I, we live in this neverending tension, between being true to ourselves and doing what’s good for the group. It really comes up during the holidays, and it can be quite painful. But I hope that we both learn that by choosing ourselves first every time, we end up doing what’s best for the group, too.

I’ve been so afraid I have a terrible people picker–and that may be true. But I haven’t been choosing myself enough. My hope is that by choosing myself more, that I will choose better people to be in my life and not just reaching out to anyone because I’m blind with desperation.

So. This feels like the end, and that’s because it is.

It’s the end of feel ashamed of how my life is and isn’t. It’s the end of trying to contort myself into something that can be packaged. It’s the end of being self-identified by my unfulfilled desires and dreams.

It’s the beginning of embracing the suck as well as the the not-so-sucky. That includes my frustrations, my impatience, my envy, my disgust…as well as my gratitude, my resilience, my wisdom, my fortitude, my creativity, and my self-love.

There’s room for it all.


If you’re celebrating my birthday also known as Christmas this week, I hope that you’re with people you love–and that includes yourself if you’re not around loved ones.

The great thing about Capricorn season is that it marks the slow march back into the light. The Winter Solstice may be the shortest day of the year, but every day after that, we gain back a little more light.

This holiday season, I hope you’re able to gain some new light, whether it’s from within or without.


If you liked what you’ve read, I’d love your support as a patron on Patreon. Tiers starts at just $1/month. I blog about things that I don’t post here.

If you want to give a one-time gift or monthly gift, hit me up on Paypal. Also if you’re feeling generous this holiday season, here’s my Amazon Wishlist.

Thanks for your support! Happy Holidays! 💘

 

Advertisements

hell is living with other people

four male roommates SOM

I’ve been burning a candle all day.

I had a crazy incident that happened on Friday here at home that made me think about all the awful roommates I’ve had and how I hope this is the last awful roommate I have.

So let’s take a trip back to the last century to start our journey through bad roommates and living situations.

Get cozy and buckle up–this will be a long trip.

Edited to add (6/17/18): I actually had forgotten an incident that happen before this first incident, “Condom in the Bowl”–it was during the summer between my second and third years.

The Nightmare Subletting Roommate

I sublet a room from an acquaintance, an apartment close to the University of Chicago Hospitals. I’m sure that building is gone since the hospital has expanded.

The other roommate was a Ghanaian grad student. I don’t remember his name. I just remember that he had a 10-speed with these bright colored handles.

I’m going to keep this short because this is far in the recesses of my mind, and this was a really traumatizing experience, living with a psychopath.

Besides not having any a/c in my room, this guy was a nightmare. He wrote a letter to the Dean of Students about me, and she wrote me back chiding me. I wasn’t on university property at the time and she didn’t even ask for my side of the story.

He also extorted money from me, claiming that I didn’t clean up enough. So I remember walking to the gym on campus with a male friend to make sure I wasn’t hurt or shaken down for more money.

Condom in the Bowl

This was back in college in Chicago, my third year, 1999-2000, I believe. It’s a little hazy because I was under major financial stress and suffering from clinical depression–and yes, the two were related.

In my apartment/dorm, that year we got stuck with this random redhead girl who had her boyfriend, Orion, over a lot. She didn’t live in my bedroom.

(Funny how I remember the boyfriend’s name (it’s my favorite constellation) and not this girl’s name.)

Anyway, I vaguely remember most of this time for a few reasons. 1)  I’ve probably blocked all this out. 2) Clinical depression can erase a lot of your long-term memory. 3) This was almost 20 years ago.

So yeah, she was just inconsiderate and we couldn’t take it. I don’t even know if someone was living in my room that year. Probably not.

Anyway, her roommate came into my room one day, and I played the music up real loud so we could talk about how awful she was. The redhead girl said something to us about it later, but the behavior didn’t really end.

Near the end of the school year, I remember there was a large mattress in our living room, and it was the redhead girl’s. Granted, I and the other suitemate were so busy, I rarely hung out in the living room, but it was, at least, a full-sized mattress, if not a queen-sized one.

The redhead girl didn’t ask if it was OK for her to have that there. The mattress just appeared one day.

What is probably the grossest thing that’s ever happened to me was when I was looking for a cereal bowl that I used (and owned).

I found it in her room, with a used condom in it.

I am pretty sure I tore her a new one. She fumbled with her apologies, but at the same time, she seemed to not fully understand how gross it was to have something that was on her boyfriend’s dick, and inside of her, in something that we ate from.

I didn’t throw the bowl out, though. I scrubbed it hard with hot water and maniacally washed it multiple times. Oddly, I was somehow still attached to the bowl–it was one I brought from home.

So yeah, I still have the bowl in storage, which I guess makes me gross. I think I wanted to keep the bowl because I didn’t want to let this person’s inconsideration win.

But now that I’ve told you this story, I will throw it out the next time I can get a hold of it (if I even still have it…).

Three Capricorns

I had to move out of the dorms and got kicked out of college because of family upheaval (my dad’s bipolar disorder was strangling my family) which left me with a $5000 unpaid tuition bill.

I moved from Hyde Park up north to Logan Square and lived with two older people who were in their early 30s, a man and a woman, both with early January birthdays. It was a nice, spacious apartment, on a tree-lined boulevard, with the landlord living upstairs.

The woman was a spoiled brat, a bully, and had a bit of a coke habit. I don’t think she had a job. She just went to this bar in Bucktown a lot. I almost thought she worked there. For income, I think she just lived off of a settlement of when she got doored while riding her bike.

Anyway, I learned of her coke habit the first time when we had our first joint Capricorn birthday party.

In my mind’s eye, she was dancing in the dining room, or was near the turntable, and she had such glassy eyes. She was really loud–a little too loud even for a party. Either she or the male roommate told me that she had done an 8-ball. It’s probably the first time I had seen someone high on cocaine.

I should mention that we all paid the same rent for rooms of differing sizes. The cokehead had the master bedroom which included its own bathroom. It was massive. It could have been its own little studio apartment.

The male roommate, an IT guy, and I were pretty decent friends. I can’t remember how we got fed up with the cokehead, but we decided to stage a coup when our lease was up for renewal.

We talked to our landlord and made sure that she was going to pay a larger amount of the rent. I think we made it go up 50 percent or something like that, but it was fair because her room was at least 50 percent larger than ours.

So we came back down with our new lease which stated the new terms. Right before we confronted the other roommate, the male roommate told me how, one time when I wasn’t home, she had been in the living room with her coke dealer, with coke all over the glass coffee table. It was right before his parents were coming over.

That sealed my fate in my absolute disgust of this person. I was still a Christian and although I knew she also smoked pot, which I was still a little wary of at the time, having hard drugs in my house was a no-no.

Soon after that revelation, we told her about it in the living room. She fucking lost her shit.

“Oh, look at you getting all emotional, huh? You’re so emotional!” she said, eyes wide with anger, standing over me. It’s the kind of things that bullies say to make you feel small, to rile you up.

And, although I was seething on the inside, I didn’t let it show that much. She was the only one getting emotional. We just stared back and said that she had to pay her share or she needed to move out.

So she did.

Then I moved into the master bedroom and the other roommate used my old bedroom as an office. It was just the two of us until I moved back down to Hyde Park to finish my BA. I would have actually kept commuting the hour it took but the male roommate started to get a little creepy when he was drunk.

Honorable mention: the female roommate had a cat which I called P. Kitty because she pissed, pooped, and puked everywhere. She was also blind and kept banging into walls and poles and things.

Pathetic kitty.

The Perfect Roommate Vanishes

When I returned back to college, I made friends with this woman in my acting class. She was a fun, preppy girl who probably liked cursing a lot like I did. I don’t really remember much about her.

We decided to room together in an apartment Hyde Park and we got to the point that we were going to sign the lease, and she just ghosted

I called and emailed, multiple times. I never heard from or saw her again. It left me in the lurch because I was definitely moving out and could not move back to Logan Square–I even asked. My room was gone.

I wonder now, just having thought about it, if her parents didn’t want her living with a black woman. I believe she also was from a very wealthy, famous Chicago family. Who knows?

A Child and an Adult

So, I was sent scrambling to find a new roommate. I found this 20-year-old woman in what I called–and I’m not proud of calling it this–the Ghetto Twin Towers. It was an old towering apartment complex on the northern side of Hyde Park, right next to an overpriced luxury apartment complex.

She was OK except when I was working the door at the school’s pub. She wanted me to let her in just because we were roommates. We were not friends. I refused. I was not going to get in trouble for some somewhat spoiled girl. And that she didn’t ask me at home made me livid that I, a 26-year-old woman, would risk her job and whatever else so she could go get drunk.

Unsurprisingly, she was upset although she understood. I was glad to move from there after I had graduated college in August 2004.

Tossed My Cookies

Fast forward three years to 2007. I had had a few good roommate years and then a chunk of time where I lived by myself in a 3-bedroom apartment before the new owner decided to tear down the 2-flat in order to build a McMansion in Lakeview.

After that, I had to move out and I went from zero roommates to three roommates in a four-bedroom apartment in Wicker Park. I lived with women from church, all women of color. Astrologically, we had two Capricorns, a Cancer, and an Aquarius. Pretty good for a while.

The Cancer is who I called Huggy Monster. Very loving and caring. The Capricorn was also a good friend. We had our battles over my dried-out oatmeal bowls and over her being a little too whiny and needy–but that was it.

For the most part, it was all pretty chill.

That summer, I had to get knee surgery to repair my torn meniscus and they were all very helpful. The Cancer took me to PT and my doctor’s appointments (she was the only one with a car).

My mom, with whom I have a touch-and-go relationship with, sent me two gallon-sized ziplock bags of cookies she had made me–ginger crinkles (think: ginger snaps but a little sweet and chewier).

I left them out for me and my roommates to share, because there were just so many. I was happy to share with people who had helped me recover from surgery and with people I cared about.

My Capricorn friend is a bit of an epicurean. She had a ritual of eating the cookies with her tea. She loved how flavorful they were. The Cancer friend didn’t eat that many. Out many, I don’t know, 50 cookies, I had maybe a few. My Capricorn friend had a few.

The Aquarian fitness freak had eaten the rest.

If you looked at her, you’d think, she wouldn’t even be interested in having cookies. She was probably the skinniest out of all of us. Fitness obsessed (she still is).

But she had bulimia.

I was crushed because my mom and I really weren’t on speaking terms, but I knew that this meant something–for her to take the time to make cookies for me and my friends. Even though I’m still sure she’s a narcissist, I felt at the time this was a good faith attempt to show love and care.

The Aquarius and Capricorn lived downstairs and shared a bathroom. The Capricorn was very particular of how clean she wanted her room and her bathroom. She complained to me and the Cancer about how the bathroom was not being kept well, for…reasons.

Later that year, I decided to have an intervention with the other roommates about her behavior, not only because she wasted my mom’s cookies on her illness and didn’t really apologize, but because it was infuriating the Capricorn.

And, truly–we were worried about her health.

Nothing changed.

So we lived together for only a year. And, for the most part, it was great, except for the tossed cookies.

The Nomadic Years

After the four of us parted ways–and I can’t even remember why, but I’m sure the constant vomiting didn’t help–I was lucky to find a one-bedroom apartment through my ex who had to leave for Italy to start his professorship after having graduated grad school. So for the next four years, I lived, for the most part blissfully, by myself in Rogers Park.

I moved to Florida for grad school and lived alone in a two-bedroom apartment for about 16 months until the unpaid summer months caught up with me, and I had to downsize and move in with a classmate, her friend, her friend’s daughter, their unemployed friend, and their unruly dog.

I ended up paying her part of the unemployed friend’s rent, which I tried to speak up about, but it was either this or homelessness. The classmate was cool, but the house was a mess. The house was pretty messy for having someone around who wasn’t working (and smoking pot, and yes I’m judgy af about this).

The HBIC (head bitch in charge), I’ll call her, with the daughter, was also in grad school. I’m pretty sure the HBIC’s daughter was gifted, but on the very forgetful/absent-minded side.

Even as I write this, I remember joking that I would write about this living experience with my classmate, which she said, “Oh, no no no! Don’t do that!”

Sorry, not sorry.

As I was leaving the house to get to my airport shuttle van, the unruly puppy who had no training ran out of the house and was almost hit by a car. The neighbor who almost hit him was frightened. I was frightened. It took a few minutes to get him back inside.

I was livid.

So besides paying for someone who was unemployed and then underemployed and not really contributing to the house, and the unruly dog–my classmate, who was mostly cool, was a bit of a bitch and I called her out on it during a trip to a writer’s conference (which is why I was getting an airport shuttle).

I don’t think she liked that I did it in front of her friend, but she was making fun of me taking apart my burger and comparing me to her friend’s daughter.

We were not close like that. To mock me a privilege, not a right.

I was not happy and I retorted back something, can’t remember.

Besides her being a little sullen at dinner, I remember her yelling at me later in the hotel room. I don’t remember what I said back.

I hate being yelled at, especially by bullies. I just inwardly shut down. So, I was pretty much done with her after that. I may not have shown it–she and another friend were the only two who came to my thesis defense–but she was dead to me, as was the rest of the household.

Meanwhile, HBIC was delusional about the state of our relationship. She thought taking me in and letting me in on some of kinda not well-cooked meals she made was enough to make up for me paying for her friend. I’m sure she saw me as a charity case instead of saving that whole household from getting kicked out because they couldn’t pay rent.

Near the end of my time in that house, she said that if I was ever in Chicago, that I should call her so she could ride up from wherever the bumblefuck she was going to be teaching in Illinois.

Smile and nod, smile and nod.

I deleted her phone number instead.

We parted ways sometime in the summer, and I had found a full-time job as a grant writer, but the pay was abysmal. The expectations for productivity were ridiculous and would have involved taking my work home without pay.

Unsurprisingly, I got fired a little after I had defended my thesis and moved into this room with a crazy Pisces lady and her itinerant bratty Capricorn daughter–an aspiring sort of, kind of actress who split her time in LA and here.

It was a nice home, I guess, like in an outdated, overly cushy, bland and beige way. But I never go to even go in the pool because this was going to be a very short stay at this place.

Along with living with an emotionally unstable woman who was still grieving her divorce from a narcissist, and her incessant need for emotional reassurance and comfort, there were two things that stuck out from that three-month experience.

1) A guy who used to live in one of the rooms left literal shit on the bathmat. So, I take that back–this may have been the most disgusting thing that I’ve experienced living with other people. I had to toss it in the toilet and wash the bathmat. The landlady was horrified.

2) Having to leave because I was unemployed and broke was terrible. I couldn’t find work quickly enough. So we came up with some notarized agreement at a bank, along with her now somehow-on-her-mom’s side daughter, for me to leave at a certain time. Before that, her ex-husband that she hates came by to talk to us–ironically, he seemed to be the rational one between them. It was pretty humiliating.

This started a couple of months of homelessness via crashing at a friend’s place whose cousin who didn’t want me sticking around too long (I’m going to assume racism again, because there was no reason otherwise. She said she didn’t feel safe.), and then driving around the metro area via Airbnb, getting money from my mom at Walmart.

Thankfully, I had picked up some work right before I left the Pisces hellscape, but it was part-time and not enough. I spent my days in coffee shops, working and looking for work and the next place to live.

The scariest time I had on the Airbnb circuit was living a few days in this place that was not too far from the place that had fired me a few months prior. It was a dump of a house, but it was a place to lay my head–hopefully safely.

I had decided to burn some sage for protection one evening. Little did I know that this would be a prescient move.

The next morning, around 7am or so, I wake up to yelling downstairs, a combination of Spanish and English.

It was the cops.

There was a guy who was staying in the room next to me–I don’t think I ever saw him, only heard him come in and out. The officer was banging on his door loudly, yelling for him to come out. The weekend before, cops had shot up a nightclub downtown, killing someone, so I was under the covers, shaking in terror as I hear the blood thumping in my ears.

Apparently, the guy owed back child support and his ex found out where he was living.  So he went with the officer without any fuss. The owner/Airbnb host, some Eastern European guy, was completely and repeatedly apologetic, but I just decided to not re-up my stay and try to find another place to stay.

At the time, I had been going to church and was involved in a book club of sorts. The two women who lead the group at their home took pity on me while I was trying to find the next place I was going to stay for the next few days, and let me stay for a month.

But between one of the women, who I think just wanted her house back, and the associate pastor with whom I was seeking counsel, they basically pushed me in the home of an abusive Capricorn woman.

So in November 2014, I moved to the west side of town and lived with an attorney that I met at church. We had a lot in common, since I had a background in child welfare and she was involved with helping kids (she may be a guardian ad litem?)

I lived upstairs and had two rooms and a bathroom to myself. She seemed nice, but within a week, she decided to raise the rent–I don’t think it was that much, but it was still an insane, unprovoked move. I can’t even remember the reason anymore. I think she just felt disrespected or something. It’s hard to keep track of people’s irrationalities.

I had decided to seek legal counsel to see if that was legal. It definitely wasn’t, but then it wasn’t worth the legal costs to try to take this up in court. She took offense to that, that I had decided to stick up for myself, and felt threatened.

I don’t think I was grateful enough to her or something, because paying rent wasn’t enough. But even at the time, I could see how she was a fearful woman and was easily threatened over nothing at all.

The associate pastor was the one who hooked us up and she never apologized for putting me in harm’s way. After I had to give up my car that February, I stopped going to church. I didn’t want to go to a church with someone who made my home life chaotic and didn’t care about my wellbeing.

I also didn’t want to go to a church where a pastor couldn’t show any empathy over the situation she had helped cause. I don’t think I’m that bitter about it now–it’s been almost three years. But it made church seem like a joke to go to–just a lot of lip service.

Sidenote: this has nothing to do with roommates, but being homeless. I had been going to a weekly prayer session at church, because I needed it. One of the church leaders and I were walking to our respective cars, and I had plastic bins of my clothes in the backseat.

“Oh my gosh, what do you have there? So many clothes! It’s like your homeless or something.”

“Well, I am,” I said.

“Oh god, I’m so sorry,” she said. “I was just joking around. I had no idea.”

But again–lip service. Besides shoving me into an abusive situation, people could only offer places for me to live by myself, not necessarily to live with them. And not that’s something I’m entitled to, but I do think white American empathy has its limits, especially when it comes to black people. It’s one of the hard lessons I learned while I was bopping around the city, trying to find some stability.

OG Landlady, Sir Coughs-a-Lot, and that person

Because the girlfriend of the attorney was moving in, she decided it was time to kick me out. So I left in April 2015 and moved to the east side of town. My stuff is still in storage on the other side of town.

This home is near where I had started to work part-time as a technical writer while teaching at a community college. I had to go on food stamps at this time, too. I don’t even think I could call this scraping by.

The original owner of this house was seemingly nice, has my mother’s name, which I saw as a sign. I should have seen it as a sign to look elsewhere.

Still, it was a good fit–at the time. It’s a cheery yellow home, surrounded with flowering trees and bushes. Right now, it’s kind of sad how ugly it is around here, but I’m getting ahead of myself. This is about roommates!

The roommates I had were an old man who was the father of the man who lives in the mother-in-law suite, who also was like the property manager of sorts.

The other roommate was a woman from Chicago. We had the same phone number except for the last four digits. Another sign. But she moved out soon afterward to live with relatives to save money.

The roommate who moved into her room and is still there is who I call the shut-in, a divorced retiree who drives for ride-sharing companies. I rarely see him. He doesn’t do anything around the house in terms of cleaning, so that’s my only complaint about him. I think it’s because he really hasn’t known life on his own. But hey, he’s taken me to and from the airport a few times. So that’s something.

The old man, with whom I got along well (I even helped him with his algebra homework once), moved into a retirement community a few months later and a young pothead dude with a hearing impairment moved in briefly. I almost forgot about him.

He actually moved into the office area before he moved into the old man’s room. He was fine besides the pot. And then he just disappeared. Left stuff and never came back. I know the man in the MIL suite had said something about contacting his employer, who was hoping this would be a stable place for him.

He threw out his stuff and soon, another old man, probably closer to middle aged, moved in. He was a car salesman, quite genial, shaped like Santa Claus. But he was one of those guys you can tell has a slight chip on his shoulder.

As if life should have been better than moving into some random house with some random black woman and another guy he never sees. As if life should have better than working at a job he hates, and when he leaves his job, he has to come back to no one. One of those guys who would vote for the current president out of desperation and spite.

(Someone must have because we used to get mail from the Tainted Tangelo during the 2016 election period.)

We used to chit-chat every once in a while, but nothing in-depth. One of the things that happens as a writer, though, is how people will tell you their aspirations about their own writing. And that happened with him–he wanted to write a screenplay with some sort of post-apocalyptic Christian rapture claptrap plot.

I just smiled and nodded as I thought, no one needs another Tim LaHaye. Left Behind was bad enough.

One time, he told me of this story of how he got catfished by some woman, complaining how she was basically old and fat, which is exactly what he was. I just stood at his door, bewildered and a little amused.

Soon, the landlady, whom I call OG Landlady (OG is for Ole Grandma), wanted to sell the home. I was relieved because she was a busybody. I found out later from our neighbors that no one really liked her. The family to our right said she’d get mad at them for having music playing in their yard. I’ve never heard music in the time I’ve lived here. The neighbor to the left said she was “nasty” and mean.

She had the house spruced up for sale and found buyers, the current owners. This young couple with two young kids embody all the things I hate about millennials, mainly needing to do everything via text and being altogether flaky and unreliable.

One of the stipulations for the sale of the house was that there needed to be a new roof. OG Landlady got some cheap roofing company. One of the workers stapled through the a/c cooling line, which plunged us into heat and humidity for over a day in the summer, while she was staying with us. She was cheap again and waited for some low-cost repair person.

She had been staying with us more and more as the house was being ready for sale, and she was using my things without permission. The man living in the MIL suite stuck up for me and told her that she was driving everyone crazy. She had some terribly poor boundaries.

So then after three tries, the house gets sold, and I discover we’re in the middle of an unspeakable pestilence that would take months to be rid of. And surprise, the owners were not on top of that at all. Took a lot of pestering to get them to move and call exterminators.

Somewhere in the middle of all this, the newest roommate had turned sullen and withdrawn. He stopped talking to us. Great, one less person to fake pleasantries with.

He had also developed a chronic cough that sounded like congestive heart failure or emphysema. The cough was so loud, I could feel the vibrations in my bed. So that’s when I called him Sir Coughs-A-Lot, because the coughing fits would last for minutes on end. At the very least, we got relief when he went to work.

His coughing got so bad, over Christmas 2016, he admitted himself in the hospital. He had started to wheeze where it sounded like the cough was collapsing in on itself. I saw the hospital bracelet on his arm after Christmas, but I didn’t say anything.

A couple of months after that, in the middle of the night, he moved out. He had already started packing, but I didn’t really put two and two together until I heard him leave. He didn’t say a word to either of us.

The millennial owners had been caught off guard. They got a phone call or text a couple of days later, saying he had moved out. They assured us they would bring someone nicer.

But they didn’t.

That brings me up to this past Friday.

I had to get a new phone when my phone crapped out on me while I was having my first call with my client. I was so mortified, even though I knew he was a good sport.

So no big deal, I have to get a new phone, a new case, a new screen protector. I’ve been through this before 4 times because of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 inferno. But unfortunately, I bought the wrong case. It was for the Samsung Galaxy S8+, not the Note 8.

So I repackage it and put it outside for UPS to pick up, taking off most of the label. They’d slap on a new one, but I didn’t want the driver to be confused.

I had a feeling that this was going to be a bad idea because that person would probably think it was a package and bring it back in. That was the worst of my worries.

That had happened, but it was worse.

I was in my room working and the shut-in knocks on my door, with his blindingly pale and hairy shirtless self.

“UPS is at the door for ya,” he said with his Bostonian accent, his wide blue eyes darting around.

“Oh, well I just left the package outside, that’s weird,” I said as I walked to the door with the shut-in. The UPS dude is standing there and is probably thinking I’m in some weird kinky set-up as a black woman living with two old white men.

I never think this when it’s a white guy. The UPS man was black.

The package was not on the marble plant holder by the door, where I had left it. It was on the dining room table, partially taped up with Scotch tape and some Sharpie scrawled message which I could only make out as sorry.

That person. The boarder that had been replaced by Sir Coughs-A-Lot, which neither I nor the shut-in was able to meet because he was picking me up from the airport after having helped a friend move from Miami to D.C.

I walked to the door again and apologized that I needed to retape this package because it had been torn up. I see that person in the driveway on his bike, looking at the scene that he had caused.

I open the padded mailer which had the phone case also taped up because the person tried to shove it back in.

There’s a slight chance that the grandmother who now lives in the mother-in-law suite did this, but she has a separate door and doesn’t speak English well.

So while I felt a little shaky with rage, I repackaged the damaged phone case package in an empty box I had laying around, taped it up, walked back to the UPS dude and apologized, saying this was out of my control.

I don’t think he gave a fuck either way. He gave me my tracking number and walked to his truck.

I closed the door and walked back to my room as that person said nothing while making coffee in the kitchen.

Later that day, I had the right case and other things delivered and he brought them to my door.

A pitiful penance.

Now What? (ramblings of the present and future)

Well, clearly, the Universe is trying to push me out the door. This incident happened when I requested some spiritual help about him last week. The service had ended the same day this had happened. So I’ve enlisted more of this help so I can keep him from me and leave.

So. Where to?

For now, I envision two moves–a local one and then a cross-country one. I’m trying not to stress out, but astrologically, the planet Uranus (a disruptive jack-in-the-box full of surprises), is still in my 4th house (which is about home and family).

Uranus has been in my 4th house since March 2011, so the whole time I’ve been in Florida has been one of housing upheaval and instability–including my bedroom flooding around this time one year ago.

Uranus will go into my 5th house (creativity, fun, romance, and children) in May of this year. It’ll dip back into my 4th house for a little while, in retrograde motion, and then stay in the 5th house for another seven years.

The cross-country move is one I don’t want to do, and having a moon and Jupiter in Cancer, I really like staying at home, being grounded.

This Uranian transit has been godawful. It definitely pushed me to find new spiritual depths. I wouldn’t be here even talking about astrology if I hadn’t gone through all the hell I’ve gone through. I learned about crystals, saging, and a whole lot more because I had to protect myself in my home.

I’ll uh…be grateful for this season sometime?…one day?

But the new and maybe (hopefully) final place–I wish I could talk about it. It’s been madness seeing all these signs pointing to one place since at least November, if not earlier.

These are daily signs–and most of the time, multiple times a day.

The Universe has never been this persistent with me about one place or one thing in my life.

The struggle is that since I hate moving, I don’t want to move twice. My practicality is crying out for some relief.

Yet I don’t know where the Universe is calling me next.

And besides leaving this hellhole, I don’t have any compulsion to leave this town, this state–even if other people see that happening for me.

Seeing signs isn’t enough for me. I’m not created to just take leaps of faith or to just go on a hunch.

And the Universe knows this. My only prayer is that where I am right now, with where my level of faith currently is, that it’s enough.

Lurking in the back of my mind, the only thing I’m scared of now is the thing I’m usually scared of, anyway: I’m not doing the right things, I’m not seeking the right answers, I’m doing anything at all.

But I have someone helping to be safe spiritually and to get an extra financial boost to leave.

So, that’s something.

The housing market here is terrible, which is why I am where I am now. I still have this Capricorn fear/burden that I have to figure this out on my own. Sifting through craigslist like I did last time seems like looking for a needle in the haystack.

Besides this home being another spiritual bootcamp for me, the only good thing that living here has helped me do is establish a stable rental history. In April 2018, it will have been 3 years, and I think that’s good enough.

What I really want is that this last story, of the freak opening of a package by a freak, is that I have told you the last story of bad roommates. Even writing this all out is a bit of a Hail Mary prayer of desperation for the insanity to end and for real healing and peace to begin.

The moon right now is currently in Cancer, which is where my moon is. It’s the sign where the moon is home in. If you know any Cancers, they are homebodies. They are nurturing (sometimes smothering!), emotional, intuitive, great cooks, rulers of their roosts. So it’s probably no coincidence that I wanted to write about home with this going on.

And, as I was talking to a Cancer friend, it takes a lot for Cancers and Taurus folks to leave home. I really would rather stay here until I am ready.

But the circumstances are showing that I am ready–or need to get ready, at the very least. I have more financial stability now–and I’m so grateful.

Moving is really going to be less about the hassle and more finding the right place for me at the right time.

And frankly, like all the other times I’ve been tossed and turned around this town, it will take some Divine intervention. I feel a little helpless, not that hopeless, but a lot more motivated to close this long, awful chapter of my life.

And maybe I won’t have to move twice. But what’s looming larger is that just as the Uranus transit is coming to a close this spring, my time in Florida is also coming to an end.

I don’t know how to get from here to there. And I don’t want to repeat being unsupported and alone in another town and state, to repeat having to endure things because I didn’t have enough money to be in a saner, safer place.

I’m a double Capricorn. I need reassurances. I need proof. I need a plan. I need something more than multiple coincidences.

I need an invitation. I need safe passage.

I told these stories somewhat as a way to heal (through laughter, I hope you laughed a little bit), too.

My life is absurd.

And yes, there’s an astrological transit that coincides with this hope for healing–Mercury, the planet of communication is in a somewhat harmonious aspect the asteroid Chiron, the wounded healer.

Healing words. Writing as a way of healing.

So through writing this really long essay, I hope it does a few things–brings some lightness, heals some old hurts, and lays it out to the Universe a very simple demand:

I do not want to live in a chaotic home ever again.

I grew up in a home of chaos, with a father slowly slipping into mental illness. So, unless I was living by myself, for the most part, it’s been a life of instability.

I’ve had enough, and I want to go home.

If you liked what you’ve read, I’d love your support as a patron on Patreon. Tiers starts at just $1/month. 

If you want to give a one-time gift or monthly gift, hit me up on Paypal.

Thanks for your support! 💘