visitors

the beautiful struggle SOM

I chose this particular picture because I’m pretty sure these are the actual butterflies that have been stalking me at my house.

I’ve been living in this house for over two years, and the butterfly run-ins I’ve had seem to be a sign.

The first time it happened, a few weeks ago, it was a sunny morning. Our house faces the east, so it can be pretty bright and warm on the porch. I was doing a rather quotidian task, taking some trash out.

In the front of the house, we have plants that do attract butterflies. I’m not sure about the name of the plant. But the butterflies do flitter about amongst these bright salmon pink blooms that are directly in front of the porch. There are flowers all over, including purslane in flower boxes right on the porch. But they tend to hang out there.

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Purslane – where the butterflies hang out is further out.

When I came out and started walking along the porch, two butterflies basically came at my head while I was walking. This has never happened–butterflies on the porch. I throw out the trash and come back and they are still on the porch, hanging out waiting for me, hovering.

I started to think about what this meant. I knew it had to be loved ones who have passed–specifically: my grandmother, my mother’s mother, and my friend Charles.

When I really started to think about it, it really touched me. I don’t really have many paranormal or supernatural things happen to me, but those butterflies coming at me, when there was nothing else on the porch that would be attractive to them? It seemed more than coincidental.

It’s hasn’t been as dramatic since then, but I have seen them come close to me a few times. There have been two recent times I have seen these exact butterflies, waiting for me or passing by. The first time, I was coming back from buying groceries, getting my bags out of the car. Those pink blooms are parallel the driveway, and the butterflies hovered in the blooms, waiting for me. It was really sweet, to have entities waiting for me.

The other time that I can remember is today. An orange butterfly’s wing knocked on my window. They never get that close to my window. All sorts of bugs do, even birds (one took a big dump on my window in a way that meant they had to have clung to the screen). I see butterflies in the backyard, not even orange ones. I saw a beautiful swallowtail near our palm tree the other day. I see monarchs and those basic looking yellow butterflies flit and glide about all over.

This window knocking, though–it was really strange: watching the butterfly come directly toward the window and then knocking on it and then flying away.

Previously, before I had these kamikaze butterflies in my life, I saw signs like repeated numbers and other sort of synchronicities. The past couple of days, I’ve talked about and seen unicorns: in a tarot pull and in a GIF one right after each other. A friend, whom I called a unicorn, woke up clutching her crocheted unicorn.

I’m not sure what the signs mean right now. The link above means that I’m to know that I’m not alone. Sometimes, I dread signs. It means that I need them. I sometimes take them as bad omens.  Like, here: here’s this talisman to carry because shit’s about to get bad again.

I’d really like to hope that it’s just more that I don’t have anyone around that I see consistently. Soon it’ll be my massage therapist. But for now, it’s no one that I like. I almost am seeing them like my pets.

There’s also been a hawk that has come by a couple of times.

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My neighbor the hawk

That was back in June. This picture is more recent:

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A neighborly visit in my neighbor’s backyard.

 

It seems it comes just so I can see it, and then it’ll swoop down, for food I imagine. It’s come before this summer, though. The last time I saw it was in October.

I’m not Snow White when it comes to animals, although for the most part, domestic animals like me. All these articles state that the hawk’s presence is about awareness, perspective, vision, discernment, and focus. According to Celtic mythology, the hawk is a messenger from “otherworlds” or the beyond. This could apply to so many things in my life, but it is a good and well-heeded sign.

But. To be honest, signs of any sort, even if I ask for them, kind of freak me out. I feel like I am not paying attention, that I’m doing something wrong, or that something will go wrong. Yet, at the same time, because my world is so small again sans car, I feel like these visitors are friends. While I fret that I’m in the wrong, I’m also comforted that these beautiful creatures take the time to come visit me, to be seen by me.

At the very least, I know that I am not physically alone. As I continue to find some financial stability so I can leave here and live in a more peaceable, comfortable place, it’s nice to know that while I am here, at least Mother Nature welcomes me and sends me these visitors as signs of encouragement and hope.

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.

 

a six of swords journey

This may actually be a short(er) post, for once. God, who am I kidding?

It’s been a tumultuous week for the United States with our new president whom I call Tainted Tangelo. I’ve rage tweeted and ranted about the assault on the truth and immigrants. It’s been a blinding blitzkrieg of utter bullshit.

As the day has gone on, chaos has erupted at our airports, of refugees and green card holders being detained and sent back to their home countries. It’s just starting to abate because the ACLU came and saved the day with getting a U.S. District Court judge to grant a stay on this ridiculous “Muslim ban”–at least for those stranded. Some may have been deported anyway, despite the ruling.

Alas, I didn’t come to write about that, although my head is full of these horrific stories. There’s been so much news just today, I can’t keep up. My immigrant’s daughter’s heart is  wrenched with anguish. To think about my own mom’s green card waiting for her at the airport when she arrived here in 1970s, and how family friends of mine had green cards before even leaving home…and now how so much has changed since then, and before then. It deserves a whole blog post. Maybe some other time when my head isn’t  being gripped with a vice grip of a headache.

So. My struggle continues, and there may be an upturn.

It’s time for “Unemployed Capricorn seeks…duh, work.”

This past Monday, I had a phone interview that was an actual interview. That was a surprise, actually, since phone interviews are usually like screeners. It was with this small business that does a lot of high tech stuff. It was hostile–I believe it’s called “behavioral interviewing.” I felt micromanaged before I even started the job! I never have anyone asking me specifically how to do things that I’ve already proven to be able to do. Oh well. I need a security clearance and my credit is crap. So, I’m probably not going to move forward with them. And I’m relieved.

I had a little chat with another possible employer later that day. This was for a managing editor position where my cover letter I had a ton of typos (!!!!!), and it was the first serious job I applied for, back in October.

Yesterday, I just finished this extensive writing exercise that stressed me out a bit. I’ll be talking to the CEO and my possible future boss next week sometime about what I wrote, and then maybe I’ll go in for a face-to-face interview. The future boss seems really nice and was clear about what he wanted. I am probably older than him, but he seems competent–a rarity.

THEN, on Thursday, the old gig, like the gig with the engineer (whom I haven’t heard back from (weary face emoji)), called back for a longer contract and more pay. Same manager, too. Actually, at the same time my old agency emailed me, I got a random call from a recruiter. I applied with my same agency. I know the old manager loved me, so we’ll see what happens.

It’s honestly more of a back-up plan because the managing editor position is what I need to move forward. I’d have control of everything that goes out of this company–and they have 3 offices globally. Yes, power, authority, control: three favorite words of a Capricorn! It really feels like the adult job that I have worked hard to obtain. Even that failed job interview would be similar in terms of authority.

The only way I could see that working out better than the managing editor position is if I was able to find work for myself, sustainable work, during that time. That’s a toughie–at least right now. So, at least right now, I feel like I’m to explore all options and then see what develops.

And then, the downturn. Yesterday, I got a very nice and sadly somewhat expected rejection letter from this environmental group. THEIR LOSS. Seriously, it is. That’s my ego talking, my heart talking, my body talking, my everything talking. I’m passionate about nature. I’m an excellent writer. I have the experience they needed. THEIR. LOSS.

But, just as I said about the old gig calling back–which, by the way, felt like the last Mercury Retrograde shadow burp (Mercury got back to where it started prior to the retrograde motion yesterday)–this job would have been nice if I was able to move across the country. But I bet they were looking for someone younger (read: less expensive).

They also really tried to soften the blow of the rejection by putting in the last sentence of a very long paragraph. Gutless. Tell me upfront, then butter me up. So, not the place for me. I’m still waiting to hear back about another position at another old job. Maybe I’ll hear something next week.

But, back on the upswing (for not that much money, but hopefully it will improve), I have a tiny social media gig on the side. I just completed a little bit of it my tasks today. It’s nice to use a little of my creative side, to create “memes”–I’m just going to call them inspirational posters.

On a non-work note: I have gone to a Meetup two times in a row, meeting with local women, as I have wanted. It seems miraculous at times, when I found this group, and even the name of it.

I still hear my inner critic say: “You’re too much.” “You’re not listening enough.” “You’re trying to be the leader, aren’t you?” Despite the lies from this frightened part of myself, lies that are meant to keep me safe, I’m still glad that I have a space where I can be. Granted, it’s not diverse, so I can’t fully be, but it’s still pretty OK for now.

So, yes– my orange season may be ending soon! I am able to see glimmers of hope on the horizon, like I’m in the tarot card of 6 of Swords, rowing my boat to the other side of whatever this wide lake of an odyssey has been.

It’s been almost 160 days, one-third of a calendar year, of not working. It’s been…strange. Bewildering. Surprising. Devastating.

Really briefly: I do feel that I’ve strengthened (my soul, my spirit, my mind) through this long waiting period. Maybe because the waiting makes sense now. I say that partly because of how this managing editor process has gone. But, I also say it because I finally feel some relief–no, more relief. It’s not the financial relief I was hoping for–as in all bills paid on time. As of this writing, my fundraiser has stalled. It’s disappointing. But, even in and through those thick clouds of disappointment, I’ve received what I have needed, as it was the last time I was in such a dire situation, just a couple of years ago.

Maybe I’ve gotten accustomed to my circumstances. Maybe it is meeting with people weekly–like how I used to when I was a regular churchgoer. Maybe this brave new hope is actually solid, actually real–not like magical thinking or merely wishing for things to be better. Maybe I can feel OK knowing that this season is finally coming to an end.

I don’t want to be good at this, though–at just might can make it. Instead, I want to be good at being grateful for all the good, especially when life really gets good. But it seems I can only do that by going through weird, disorienting shit like what I’ve recently been through.

So yes. The only way to the good is through.

 

A glass of orange juice

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Photo credit: Razmi Hashisho

I went on a lyrical rampage yesterday, and I don’t write like that professionally. I’m a little more concise, but the lyrical fire hose is one that whips around and around–sometimes it’s not very direct (like right now). So, I wondered if in all that orange/cherry talk, if the main message got lost.

 

So, here’s a glass of orange juice, with no pulp, in the form of a listicle. I feel like I need to offer it especially after the Senate GOP decided to start gutting the Affordable Care Act as I slept earlier this morning, i.e., give a bigger context to my own journey.

  • There’s always the season for enough. Poverty is unacceptable at all times. So is the lack of affordable health care. I’m dancing on the edge of both. Although the worst thing happening to my health right now is that I look like the before picture of a Clearsil commercial, I’m OK. I hope I can find alternative ways to deal with my stuff. But the season of enough looks like this–enough to eat, enough to get around, enough to be clothed, enough to have fun, enough to pay your bills on time and without dread.We all deserve enough.
  • My season of oranges will look differently from yours. I’ve been here before, although I’ve arrived in different vehicles or at different times in my life. The waiting for things to get better as you do all you can while you work towards that place of “enough.” I know that I am in a clear, open space to receive good things–good things that we all deserve as human beings, no matter the race, gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs or lack thereof, ableness. I know that I’m doing my best and that the good is on the way–as rote and unconvincing as it sounds.This season is years and years long. It’s way bigger than just being unemployed for months. Your season may be shorter, longer, more or less intense, and with a different fruit altogether. But we all go through seasons where we’re doing the best we can and we still have things to learn, or we still have things to grow into, or we still have things that need to be revealed to us (like our own personal power) before we move onto the next season.
  • Human history has its seasons, too. That’s what’s cool about astrology. You can see the human drama play out in the transits of the planets through signs. I’m a part of that bigger human drama, too. I can point to transits that can say “That’s over. It’s canceled.” (a la Joanne the Scammer) for this period in my life. This season in American history is growing darker and darker still. We look to people of faith, to mystics, to spiritualists, to public intellectual, to activists to figure out what to do next, of how to band together and find the light (again? Was it ever really lit in America?).

That’s enough listicleness for now, but I wanted to emphasize both how esoteric and yet how universal my journey is. I didn’t want it to sound like I was spiritually bypassing the hard things in my life. I’ve just gotten to a place where I can float a bit. Maybe I can look up at the stars and dream and ponder for a momen. But this float is also from a place of sheer exhaustion, of possibly trying too hard. This is all 100% mystery to me. I know what I’m doing, and I know the results I want. But I have no idea how they will show up in my life, nor when. For now–that’s scary, that’s tiring, and that’s life.

One big thing I’ve been working on is my own sense of worthiness when it comes to the good things in life. I was thinking today that I need to read more about deservedness, and then I found this Ask Polly column that posted last night. Someone heard my little cry, eh?

As a Capricorn, wealth and money are things I feel like I definitely deserve. I deserve the corner office. I deserve the closest parking space. I deserve, I deserve, I deserve–because I busted my ass for it. I try to translate that work ethic to relationships and it gets murky. My track record is awful since I got here, and it’s upsetting–I don’t like failing at anything. I have less control over people and how they show up in my life.

So, let’s see. I deserve less shitty people in my life? Um, sure, yes. I agree. And, I deserve dudes who won’t ghost on me or freeze me out? Yes? Yes. Of course I do. I think.

One thing I absolutely believe is that I definitely deserve respect. I can start here, live here, breathe here. I can breathe that in and feel good, and feel all of that spill into all areas of my life–if I let it. I can ask myself these questions more and more:

How am I respecting myself? Is this action self-honoring? Does it honor others? Is this relationship full of mutual respect? How do I show up in other people’s lives, even when my own life seems to be slowly collapsing on myself?

(that’s also about integrity, too, but that’s a whole other post)

Self-worth, in long seasons of waiting, can get weeded and choked out. You start to connect the time you’ve waited and worked on things to your personal value as a human being. If  you lack the results, then surely you’re not deserving. You’re doing it wrong. And that’s not life–at least not a good life.

Look: I’m really writing to myself because desperately need to hear this.

Sure, I could be blocking myself with limiting beliefs–blah blah blah personal development words that end up victim blaming instead of addressing the society that fixed it that some would go without no matter what they did cough cough cough–but that’s all a part of the journey, a part of living in life’s waiting room–you figure all of that stuff out. You love yourself more, and hopefully in turn, you love others more.

That’s what we’re here to do. That’s life.

Under this full moon in “feel all the feels” Cancer, I really want to release the inner pressure to force anything to happen that isn’t ready to happen. It borders on self-hatred, and in tight times like these, I need a lot more love and compassion–not less.

I also want to release the ingratitude that sometimes encases and hardens my heart when I’ve been rejected over and over. I’ve had people help me with job leads and money (shout out to my one patron on Patreon) during this season of constraint and I would have gone hungry or lost my car or lost my belongings if it were for those people (shameless plug, if you want to help me out financially, click here!). I’ll be forever grateful to them, to the people who showed up when everyone else left.

Even as I wait and seek and search and become dismayed, I can feel the positive shift in my life happening. I do feel supported–even if it’s in new and unexpected ways–like angels and guides and a dead friend who was an atheist. I’m on my way to feeling like I deserve the love and support that I give to others.

Sidenote: It makes me wonder how I can find those sorts of treasures and gifts if everything is going well. Is it possible to be grateful when it’s Christmas morning and the room is brimming with gifts and it’s always that way? Is that a story that I made up, that gratitude can only walk hand in hand with humility? Is this my story?

Between the oranges and cherries, the tangelos and berries, I may not know all the reasons why it’s taking so long to find work, to find my own family and community, to find true stability–but all of that is on the way. That hope, that annoyingly persistent hope that hops around my heart like a cute, fluffy bunny, is all I have for now. And all I’m really wanting, and needing, is to get to the season of enough.

Shadowboxing with my fears

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Back in the same ring again, battling the same opponent: fear.

Specifically, I could say it’s financial upheaval, the foe. I look at my bank account and wince. $86. Rent is half paid. I pushed off paying for my car and my phone. Unemployment payments haven’t been doled out yet. If I were a tarot card, I’d be a 2 of Pentacles juggling act of worry and dread.

To even put all this stress in the context of the recent Presidential election–I don’t even have the headspace or heartspace to process how that can adversely affect me. I know it’s not helping.

I was thinking earlier today how I ended up here, again. While I was washing dishes this morning, I went all the way back to 20 years ago, about where I chose to go college. Maybe I should have gone to University of Alabama (Roll Tide!). But then I wouldn’t haven’t been the me that I am now, for sure. And I love and adore her. So, no regrets. I needed to leave my family’s upheaval, which was financial and legal, that only worsened when I lived in Chicago. What my family went through has been nipping at my heels. As immigrants, we burned the maps, burned the ships, and we don’t really have a safety net. I’ve tried to weave one, and the knots keeps slipping.

Still, even with those challenges, I don’t have to go back too far to figure out how I ended up here. Coming to Florida, to become a writer, has been a sacrifice, especially of pride. Pretty much everything that could go wrong, went wrong. But it was the pursuit of a dream, a dream I had as a kid and temporarily discarded because it was impractical. So no regrets about that either.

But the hits keep coming. Last month, I had a hotel fleece me about $160 when I was fleeing Hurricane Matthew (long story, but do not stay at a Days Inn unless you want to lose extra money and deal with evil people). I’ve had little blips like that while walking on this tightrope above certain doom. They shake the rope, causing me to wobble and fall. I hang on by fingertips and fingernails. I get back on and start to walk again, to the other side, towards stability. It seems so far away, but then I know that this is temporary. I will get through this, like I always do–even if I’m tired of my own resiliency.

I have not had a permanent job in the four years and counting I’ve been here. It’s all been contract-based. Today, I just got turn down for a job where I had the most hostile interview. I am pissed that I went through that experience and I am pissed that I wasn’t chosen for a wage that I haven’t made in over a decade. It was going to be, hopefully, a side job. Looks like the Universe has other plans. I’m kinda grateful for that, but only kinda, because my pride is a little wounded.

As I watch the story of my life unfold, I still hold my breath. I’m still not sure if this protagonist is actually going to make it. I’m rooting like hell for that person, for me. Over the years, I’ve learned to be my loudest, craziest cheerleader.

And it’s not like the Universe isn’t cheering for me, either. In my own personal tarot and oracle readings, I keep receiving such encouraging messages, about releasing worry, that this season of my life is over (The World in tarot), that love is coming soon. I need to hear this, because my circumstances look like it’s a repeat performance of this time in 2013 (eviction), and 2014 (kinda eviction). This Cancer moon does not want to move unless it’s to a better place!

Well, maybe this is a repeat performance. My landlady is a social worker. So last Friday, I spoke to her as a former social worker, and as someone who has faced hard times before. She’s giving me a break–

but then I’m in the ring, hyperventilating and sweating, boxing against the fears of financial ruin, of homelessness, of existential stress: why the fuck am I here? Why is this happening again? Why am I doing this alone, again?

Almost. Recruiters are calling me almost daily. That’s never happened to me in my life. There’s a job that I really want that I saw and will apply for soon. Through a friend, I talked to one of the employees there. That’s never happened to me, either. I have a phone screen interview next Tuesday for another job.

There. Is. Movement. And. Momentum.

Not quite. I have this tiny little job where I write content for clients. It pays shit, but at least my writing chops are being kept sharp. I’m planting seeds for repeat clients.

 

Things aren’t going the way I want to, in the timing that I want (yesterday), or how the way I want (super duper easy). But for now, I’m still housed, I still have my car, with gas in it, with insurance. My phone is still on. And I’m grateful that this time, someone gave me a break and things are breaking open for me this month.  I know it’s because through these repeated fights in the ring with fear, I’m different, and I’ve learned a little bit about how fear operates. Now I can land a couple of good punches on fear, even when it tag teams with despair. Writing this blog post is a punch landed on my fears.

And while I fight these decades-long fears of poverty and instability, I have to focus on gratitude, so I can stay upright, so I can dodge those punches. I have to tell my double Capricorn self that I am doing enough, that I can rest once in a while. I must have the courage to not worry, the bravery to ask for help– even if resounding silence is the response, and the guts to tell despair to fuck off.

If you want to help me out this month, here are a few ways:

  1. cash.me/$beelicious
  2. paypal.me/deb88
  3. Patreon–I will have that up in a few days. I’ll let you know soon!
  4. I am a writer and I can write all sorts of things. Let me know how I can help you.
  5. If you like my writing, pass my blog along!
  6. Send good vibes and pray.

woo (hoo) woo

This draft is from two years ago, an earlier version of my first post here, Woo fucking woo. I really like it. My writing was better back when I was closer to grad school. I didn’t edit it that much. This is really an introduction to my spiritual journey. At the time I wrote this, I wanted to talk about being in church again, but ironically, I left after joining it, just a few months later, so all my elation as well as the novelty, has worn off.

Please, blog gods and goddesses, forgive me. It’s been 18 months since my last blog post. The drama that I most feared found me. But at the very least, I learned that I was a writer, which was the point of the last blog.

So now, I’m back, to talk about spiritual stuff. Spiritual stuff is probably what I am made of most, and the last blog was veering into almost mysticism anyway. So I might as well pick up where I left off.

But first, a primer.

Before I decided that I wanted to get an MFA in Creative Writing, I was torn about going to seminary. I read a book by theologian Marcus Borg, called Reading the Bible Again for the First Time. I believe I was 30 and it just threw me for a loop. What seminarians learned in seminary and what I heard every Sunday seemed like they were located on different continents and hemispheres. So when I thought about going to seminary, I wanted to go to get that truth that had been hidden from me. I felt like I had been lied to my whole life. One thing that I learned from that book that still bothers me–maybe Jesus didn’t know he was the Son of God while he was on earth? What kind of faith did I have? What was it based on?

I read another book, Divided by Faith, written by two sociologists who surveyed many people regarding white evangelical Christianity. Those responses and their analysis of them reminded me that I was a black woman in a very white, white, white middle-class world. I had been trying to fit in my whole life and I was never met to. What kind of faith community did I have? Who was it comprised of?

Those two books, along with convos I had with a friend who studied theology, were my benediction out of the evangelical jungle and into the deserts of agnosticism. It was lonely out there without a church community, a community of any sort. I had grown up in Presbyterian churches, and then non-denominational/charismatic/evangelical churches. My closest friends were always friends from church, and because of the churches I attended, almost always white.

And I was burned out from church anyway. I served on the worship team. I sang and hit the tambourine on the 2 and 4. I was in a small group/home group/cell group. I went to church whenever it was open. When I was a teenager, my youth group was a sanctuary from the dysfunction brewed by my father’s growing mental health issues. But 12 years later, it had become a chore. Being with people who didn’t really see me, or who chose to see me with their colorblind eyes…trying to “do” community seemed to be my burden alone. And that sounds whiny, which was another reason to leave. Who wants to be a martyr? But truly, race kept creeping up in my relationships–e.g. got kicked out of a wedding party because I didn’t want to chemically alter my hair. And this white woman was marrying a black man. She now has a daughter and I wonder about the hair politics there…

But that’s evangelical Christianity. Very narrow, and not in the “narrow is the way to the Kingdom of Heaven” way. Narrow in its expression of humanity, of God Him/Herself. It’s what my parents found in Ghana while their country was hemorrhaging from coup and coup. And it’s what they taught me. It’s what we all knew and relied on.

I never thought that I would leave church and be dabbling into the things I’m into now. Astrology. Tarot. Crystals. Angels. Woo woo stuff. Or what haters of Harry Potter would call witchcraft.

And yet, Spirit. The Universe. God. Speaks.

I moved down to Florida to get this Mother Fucking Asshole degree and a writer’s community. Well, the drama from my classmates and my blog made that permanently unavailable. So much for dreams and being painfully honest.

I’ve floundered here. Emotionally. Physically. Financially. Never felt like I had a solid foundation here. Geographically speaking, it’s swampland that Mickey Mouse built. It’s meant for transience.

My mom, who believes the church solves all problems, insisted that I found a church community here. And the churches here, in the South–well, I’m from the South. This ain’t Chicago. I didn’t want to live Divided by Faith. I would rather be alone.

Through my floundering, spirituality washed ashore. I got into personal growth stuff pretty deeply in the summer and fall of 2013. And it just increased (I’m skimming over this because I hope to write about it in more detail later) as my problems (read: poverty and unpopularity) increased.

Renewed faith in a higher power is nothing new for me. I had to (had to?) rely on God when I unceremoniously took a year off between high school and college because of my father’s paranoia. Lots of prayer, books, TBN (yes, that’s Trinity Broadcasting Network), and well, eight years later, I graduated from college.

Wow, that was a long preamble to what happened today–I went back to church, after years of now being there. And today made me tired. I want to talk about it in earnest, with a less foggy head. This blog post is the first pancake and I’m sorry.

Back at it and back off it

2016-07-06-16-46-20

A little bit of clearing

I’ve been hiding in plain sight.

And when you encounter love, the type of love you can’t modify with words like platonic, romantic, or familial, then it makes you peek out and see what’s on the other side of the wall. And then that’s all you want to receive. And that’s all you want to give. 

Well, that’s how I felt yesterday, Sunday. Lovely, isn’t it? I’m really good at writing endings, and this was at the end of yesterday’s post. But it didn’t seem to fit. It’s typical to find the crux of an essay at the end of it. Writing is like flying a kite, and sometimes the winds of inspiration carry you somewhere else.

And even this beautiful sentiment, I’m not really attached to it. Today (Monday) was my first day, really and truly, reaching out for new employment and opportunities. It was…OK. I will start tutoring soon. I think. I sent a job inquiry email to an essay editing company that my therapist suggested. Not sure if they are hiring, but it’d be nice to have a flexible schedule. There are jobs, like 9-5, out there. But I’ve been pondering if that’s really for me, the daily grind.

But first, an astro-break

I had a solar return reading  last December. If you get one of those, it’s always good to refer to because shit happens and then you wonder if that was related to planetary transits–and it usually is. One of the many things I learned was that Pisces is in my intercepted 2nd house (the house of my stuff, my money). It means that if I really want to be well off (I am a Capricorn, so of course I do) I should be an entrepreneur. This may happen through some side gig that is completely different from the type of work I have been doing (hey, maybe it’s this blog). That has been in my head since I heard it, and now that I’m not currently working anywhere, I want to be more imaginative with my life. What could it look like outside of what I’ve done? What have I liked? What did I loathe?

I was also looking at my natal chart today and I wondered where Uranus was for me. It is in Scorpio, in my 10th house, the house of fame, public life, and career. Here is what Cafe Astrology said about these two placements/aspects:

Uranus in Scorpio
Intelligent and subtle. Adores research, inquiry, investigation. Very sensual.

Uranus in X
She must have an independent career, with no routine, which satisfies her need to move around, travel and which must in particular have an element of risk attached. She is eccentric.

And then this about an aspect to my ascendent (also Capricorn):

Sextile Uranus Ascendant
She is always changing, is unstable. She is ready to innovate, to change everything. She is inventive.

Back to the money/stuff house, the 2nd house, which is in Aquarius, more insight:

House II in Aquarius
Success in professional life won’t take place without the help of friends and protectors.

While she might earn enormous amounts, she can lose as much if not even more. Best
financial success through networking with others. Might succeed in business on the
internet. Most profitable businesses may be unusual or innovative ones. Efforts should be made to better organize finances.

FYI, Uranus rules Aquarius (thought more old school folks say it’s Saturn), so all that business about being innovative and inventive, ta da!

So, in my wildest dreams, I want a job that travels with me and pays for my travels. That’s probably the Neptune in Sagittarius in my 11th house talking.

I personally don’t think astrology = fate. I = fate. Astrology is a great guide, possibly an outline for your life. The natal chart lets you know what you’re good at and what you need to work on, e.g. how you’re a great cook but have a messy house. You’re a great sprinter, but can’t throw a baseball for shit. You could eventually get better at maintaining your home and work on your fastball. It would just take a little longer, but you may not be a master. And that’s OK. We can’t master everything. There are some things you may never get good at. You are not beholden to your natal chart. But, I like looking at it in times like these, when I’m trying to figure out and feel out what’s next. Astrology is one tool to aid in that discovery.

Over it?

I said as much to a friend today, about astrology not being fate. They’re going through some love troubles. In talking with my friend about their issues, I seemed to somehow get over mine. It was like I was listening to my own advice. A BOGO! And, I’m sure this happens so much in all sort of helping professions, helping yourself while helping others.

So, those pesky feelings back at the top. Today, I am not feeling attached to them–blissfully so because 1) feelings are impractical things to Capricorns, 2) unrequited intense interest is even worse on the scale of impracticality, and 3) they were unyielding in their intensity and persistence. This crazy penchant/soul connection occurred during my love months, August and September (solar return reading information), with a guy I met at work (you can read more about that in all its vagueness here).

In my romantic love life, I’m in a holding pattern (um, I’ve been in one for years so kinda getting old!), as I continue to pull oracle cards about love and marriage. Who is this motherfucker, seriously, Universe?

In the lovelorn, haunted world of ghosting, there’s a big lesson to learn, that silence is an action. Inaction, itself, is an action. That Aries from three years ago ghosted, out of guilt and shame (which completely he deserved and yet I also hope that he grew from and through it).

This guy from my last gig is not officially ghosting (cuz we’re not anything), but he is silent. And, despite my own intuition and feelings about him, like the other men before him, I only am moved by action (so I say). I respect the silence. I don’t understand it. I can’t take it personally. There are a million gazillion possibilities for it, and none of them can have anything to do with me. So, I’m not going to barge in and break it, like some scary stalker love song, demanding answers, demanding fealty.

Right now, I can’t tell if the cards are saying being patient about him or be patient about “the dude.” If they are one in the same, I don’t know that either. It still is a little heartbreaking and demoralizing, the not knowing.

But through that (crowbar) opening of my (rusted over) heart…expansion…

Currently, I have three planets–Sun, Mercury, and Jupiter, all in Libra–floating through my 9th house of travel and education. This is also the house of expansion. The ninth house is ruled by Sag, which is ruled by Jupiter. Jupiter has a multiplier effect–good or bad.

I’m expanding the idea of pinning this feeling down to one person, that they are the sole harbinger of love in my life. I know that, of course, but not sure my heart knows it yet. The last three years have taught me that I’m probably going to be surprised, again. As I wait for clarity, I’m guided by the prayer, “This, or someone better.”

As I climb down the walls of desperation and despair today (and who knows? I may scale back up them tomorrow, or even later tonight), I can continue to be grateful that I have been on that mountaintop of love, of safety, of peace, of complete acceptance. I have seen those beautiful vistas. I have felt that warm, comforting, sultry air. It’s like looking through a prism of rose quartz–no, it’s like living in a prism of rose quartz. I know what to look for now, as Spirit continues to whisper in my ear that love is around the corner. I can continue to learn how be addicted to that feeling (desire/intention), and not make it about the specific person (outcomes).

If I stay in this space, I’m really happy, I’m excited, and I’m anticipatory all the right ways. Capricorns can be lonely people, trudging up those steep, craggy mountains, focused on whatever goal they set that day. I’m no different. It’s been a very insular, inward life journey, even when I can’t shut up talking about it; or, that’s the very reason I can’t stop talking about it. A hidden cistern of thoughts and ideas just flows up and out, but usually never out into the real world. When it is, it comes out in one big gush.

And even as I imagine stepping out of that happy, bubblegum pink sphere, I’m glad to finally be back in Capricornland, wheeling and dealing, looking for the next big gig, where I’m in control, where I don’t have to be as patient. I don’t have as much emotional space to think about him as I search for a new living.

His face starts to morph into someone else’s. His loud Southern-lilted voice starts to fade into soft nothingness, into the recesses of memory, where it starts to get swallowed up completely. I start to wonder again why I dug someone so “on” on the time (my Capricorn sun is in the 12th house of dreams and the subconscious, so that’s about as “off” as you can get). I laugh at his earnestness because so much of mine is still hidden behind a wall, so I can be safe. I laugh out of bewilderment and awe and deep uncomfortability.

But I know why I dug him. He tipped over my brick wall made of cardboard. Maybe unwittingly. Maybe on purpose. And while I was peering out, I fell out into the arms of compassion.

But lightning has struck more than once in my life. It may not strike in the same way, in the same place, but it will strike again. And I’ll be ready.