a seasoned sailor

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From the Art of Life tarot deck by Charlene Livingstone, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.

I used to use this tarot deck and give daily tarot twitter reads and then, probably because I was a bit disillusioned with the esoteric and how my life was sucking, I just wasn’t feeling it and stopped.

This deck allows you to display a card of the day in a picture frame, and the last card I pulled was the one you see above

I pass by the card every day on the way to and from the bathroom. It didn’t really mean that much to me when I pulled it, although this sentiment was nice enough.

Now it seems to make sense.

It’s interesting when you look at something often and you don’t understand it, and then all of a sudden…it just clicks.


So do I feel brave enough to go into storms on purpose now? No, not yet. But I do understand that I’ve learned a lot while I’ve been sailing on life’s stormy seas. And they are only lessons I could learn in the tempest, not during smooth sailing.

And that’s actually the point: I recognize that while I was sailing along, I was actually learning how to sail my ship.

Like right now…there’s still so much uncertainty with money. It’s frustrating and, until recently, utterly embarrassing.

I recently had a conversation with a friend about how poverty can warp your mind and your relationships. We also talked about the inflated expectations placed on us as smart kids at school. Being learned and clever should be enough.

But it isn’t. The world is unfair, at least within this worn out conventional wisdom of being smart enough and educated enough to make it to that (quickly fading) dry land of a comfortable, middle-class life.

If anything, this blog has documented the deconstruction and reconstruction of my life being centered around the idea of fairness and meritocracy. 

So many of us endure the withering, blistering storms of poverty. But since the end of January, I’ve somehow learned to stop stressing out or worrying about it.

It doesn’t mean that I don’t care, that I don’t have concerns about how I will be taken care of, of how I will take care of myself.

Of course I care. Of course I have concerns.

And this is the same old squall. But I am not the same old sailor.

Letting the acrid waves of anxiety wash over me and the whirlpool of worry pull me down didn’t help my money situation.

Listening to myself did. My intuition as my internal GPS.

Specifically to this situation, it was listening to myself about what I should be doing, not just doing a list of prescribed things that I should be doing. It even involved a tarot reading last month that warned me against hustling and grinding.

That’s counter-current of what’s going on in American culture: rise and grind. 

I had been grinding and I was so miserable.

So when I stopped grinding and hustling , last month was one of the happiest months I’ve had in years. And it had nothing to do with circumstances changing…except dropping the rise and grind drudgery.


To use another aquatic metaphor, struggling against a current will only cause you to sink. You need to move along with it. 

So maybe…actually…I’m not afraid of storms anymore, because if I can look back on my life, I can tell you, most assuredly, that the storms of life are certain. 

You will be betrayed. You will be disappointed. You will be abandoned. You will suffer. You will lose.

There’s no point in trying to resist the inevitable pain and heartache of being here on earth as a human being. So what’s the point in avoiding the inevitable?

As they say in the military: embrace the suck.

But one big point of being here on this spinning hot rock is that we do get to learn how to handle these certain storms.

And then we, as seasoned sailors, teach the novice sailors how to sail through, to keep afloat, and to even rebuild a ship after shipwreck.


Even there’s still a lot of growth and processing going on, it’s been calm for a little bit now. With this space of respite, I’ve been able to appreciate the storms I’ve endured, about how radically different my life is because I stop resenting the storms.

And I don’t mean to be one of those people who sound they’re on a nirvana cloud, floating above everyone. If I could transcend the suck of everyday life, I would have done it already. 

I have resented how hard my life is and has been, how it seems like the help I give far outweighs the help I’ve received. And I may sound ungrateful, but I’m not. Even if I grew up hating asking for help, over the years, I’ve learned to ask for it, and I’m grateful whenever I receive it.

But it can be excruciatingly frustrating and confusing to see lives around you flourish as your life continues to deteriorate and worsen over time.

Why am I encountering so many of the same kinds of storms so often?

Just a couple of days ago, I finally got an unexpected breakthrough with that question, which I will most likely blog about for my Patreon subscribers, since it’s very personal.

To be brief, though – I’ve had to learn a new way to sail through life so I’m not tiring myself out while I seem to spin around in circles.


So for the uninitiated in tarot, here’s what the Ace of Swords means: cutting through the bullshit. Obliterating obstacles. It signifies a new chance to begin again. New thoughts, new words, new truths, new clarity – especially mental clarity. The swords suit usually have to do with words and thoughts.

Cutting through the mental storms of life has been one thing I’ve learned to do, and I guess this post is just one of gratitude, that I’ve been able to apply what I’ve learned to get through these tough times.

Another certainty in life? Storms eventually end. The sun returns. The skies clear up. 

That can be nearly impossible to believe if you’re being tossed about on the uncaring seas of life. And heck, this metaphor is becoming belabored after a thousand words or so.

I’m just giving you a dispatch from my ship, which I’ve been learning to sail for the past four decades, and finally, I can see a break in the clouds…⚓


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, here’s my Amazon Wishlist.

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some lessons learned

truth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prophetic intuition can sometimes come as a form of fear.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, to sum it all up:

You are not your job, you’re not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You are not your fucking khakis. ― Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And the time is now. It is always now.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Godspeed.


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, here’s my Amazon Wishlist.

Thanks for your support! 💘

standing still in a widening circle

the path SOM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Forty years of throat clearing and preambling…

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

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

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

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


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

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

Look for more depth.

Look for more sensitivity.

Look for more complexity.

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

More more-ness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m going to go with the second option.

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


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

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

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

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

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

But they actually were reasonable. Thank goodness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My vulnerability was rewarded with blame.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


So back to choosing the right people the first time…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But the reciprocity…

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

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

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

I don’t have to settle. 

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

Yet there are ghosts from the past coming to visit…


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I can be curious. And I am safe.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But it is happening. So what do you do?

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

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

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


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true success

miguel-bruna-704166-unsplash

Photo by Miguel Bruna on Unsplash

I had my weekly coaching session with my business coach yesterday, and it was a humbling experience because I felt like I had run out of runway to take my life in the direction that I have wanted to for so long.

My writing business has taken a while to recover from losing an anchor client back in April. So for going on five months now, I’ve been trying my best to get a new one. Technically, this anchor client would be my coach: we barter writing services for coaching services.

But I have tunnel vision–no, myopia, about this goal.

And that’s a typical Capricorn–get that money!

But I am miserable.

And it’s not just because of limited funds. It’s that life has become about this one thing, and the rest of me is resisting–and rightfully so.

my precious

Last week, my coach and I talked about scheduling my time better (something that came up around this time last year). And I didn’t do anything about it last week because somehow time got away from me. 🙄

I dealt with the pressure of time pretty well last year. I was having these low-key panic attacks over writing, waiting until the last minute to get things done. I sought out an astrologer, we worked on those issues, and then I had more structure.

But then I slowly got out of the habit of having structured time to do the things I want and need to do.

Being so driven for one thing has made me dull. What am I outside of this one goal, outside of what is, or isn’t in my bank account?

I’ve quoted Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club before, but this quote really reminds me of what I am.

You are not your job, you’re not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You are not your fucking khakis. You are all singing, all dancing crap of the world.

This individuation from old coping mechanisms–chiefly delaying gratification to the point that I never get any when tasks are done–it’s painful, but it’s also one that makes me laugh because this is when I feel like the all singing, all dancing crap of the world.

Coping mechanisms work until they don’t. I’m not sure how long I’ve been running on fumes, but I’ve reached the point that effort alone isn’t enough. Working hard isn’t getting me anywhere because I feel terrible and self-defeated about it. It’s an inescapable ouroboros of misery, a leminscate of terror.

When I reach out to people about business opportunities, it almost feels like I am tossing coins in a fountain, just wishing for something to come back. But I’m putting in much more effort and intention in every email and contact request I make.

Why can’t I give myself any credit for that skillful effort?

Sure, I can rewind back to how my parents were hypercritical of me, how they rarely gave me praise for any good I did. Their brittle view of their little girl and firstborn was one that already interfaced with my unyielding, intense, and, at times, cruel way I looked at myself.

Yet my “inner mean girl” never seems to be hurling insults and epithets at me–well, not that often. It’s more that she withholds any credit, any praise, any celebration of success. If I do celebrate, it seems stupid because it’s not the big win. That’s all that matters to me.

And what an empty life that is. It’s not self-discipline. It’s self-deprivation.

No carrots, just sticks.

Business is actually picking up, but I am acting like I’m going to go through my own personal recession again. The fear keeps me on this treadmill of terror. I keep running, running, running…and getting nowhere. I’m lost in a labyrinth of longing and loss.

I’m just tired, sweaty, and sore–and for all the wrong reasons.

And to my credit–having a successful business isn’t for some deep personal reason. I’m still doing this because there aren’t any other options right now. This is it. This is about survival. I am committed, whether I want to be or not–but I want to be.

What’s interesting about all this, too–this is all happening in the background. It’s subliminal messaging I’ve given myself probably for my whole life. It worked for a while, being this driven and merciless to myself.

But not anymore.

My coach asked me what success looks like–without this big win that I’m obsessed with.

It was laughable but ultimately sad because I didn’t think I was that successful.

My coach pressed back with questions: well, what about finishing your client work on time? What about following up on emails from prospective clients? How many people did you reach out to last week?

The problem is a lot of what I do just ends up disappearing into the ether of time. I don’t keep track. They are just tasks or events that occur, and I move onto the next.

I can only seem to congratulate myself for tough wins, like when I finished this project over the weekend that seemed to be mired in doubt and confusion from the client. So I just decided to finish it and hope for the best.

The client accepted the work and gave me a 5-star review. And here’s the GIF I used to celebrate:

YES

I celebrated that win on Twitter today, but according to my coach, I should be celebrating much more often.

And back to how I grew up–we didn’t really celebrate much of anything, not even my birthday after a while.

But I am tired of feeling like life is a slog when it comes to my everyday life. If life is about the journey, not the destination, then it’s time to start acting like that. It’s time to start embracing the bulk of my life.

So my homework for this week is to schedule my time so I can start doing more of the other things I love–like tarot and astrology professional development, writing professional development, and journal about my work day.

Astrologically, I realized today that there’s a lot of restructuring (Saturn) and healing (Chiron) that has been going on in my life for the past few months. It’s uncomfortable, painful, and even embarrassing sometimes.

A lot of old hurts and wounds are being drawn to the surface for healing. But the timing isn’t quite right yet. But that’s OK. Healing is still in progress.

What’s funny is that so many times as I’ve been working to get to a place of OK to better, I always think–now the real healing is going to begin. I’ve finally arrived! But there are always layers, layers which have served as protection for a battered and weary heart.

The healing journey is never-ending, but it does get easier, because eventually there are less layers, even if we accumulate new hurts and wounds along the way. And also–we accumulate wisdom and other therapeutic tools to keep us safe and to help us heal more quickly.

This time, I’ll say again that this seems like I’m in the inner chambers of all that I’ve endured and what’s befallen me…and letting the weight of all the years just all fall off of me. I wish it was some dramatic reveal, like a slinky evening gown that I could shrug off.

And that’s because I’m impatient. And rightfully so. It’s been a constricting time–not only by circumstances, but my own almost grandiose ambitions and expectations I have for myself.

I hate to glorify suffering, but I can at least see some semblance of sanity woven through the last six years of my life. It’s like what I said last time, how my heart has expanded with empathy. I feel so much more connected to my fellow human beings because I’ve been so much closer to my dusty existence than the loftier life of the mind.

I didn’t have to choose that empathy, though. And I didn’t all the time. Sometimes I chose bitterness and entitlement–and sometimes I felt those choices were unavoidable and inevitable. Even still–choice or no choice–I want to choose differently now.

And failing over and over, but still rebounding and trying again after each failure–sure, that’s part of my journey as a double Capricorn, trudging up and sometimes falling down the mountain. But so is triumph, the mountaintop view.

That brings me back to what I believe success is. It’s not the just the glittery, glorious triumphs, the accolades, the praise and the parades.

It’s the gritty rebound.

It’s picking yourself up out of the mud and trying again. It’s letting people help you get up again. It’s helping others get up and keep going.

So it brings tears to my eyes to admit this to myself for the first time: my time in Florida has been extremely successful, that my life is a glittering, glorious success.

It’s time to feel good, and proud, about that.

feel good SOM

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.

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really letting things hurt

pain will leave you SOM

Yesterday, I went into the kitchen to start my breakfast, and the shut-in roommate that I never see or talk to came out of his room. He’s got a big shaggy beard, thinning pale hair, and thin, pale skin.

“Hey there!” he said.

“Hi,” I said. I was washing my dishes.

“Haven’t seen ya in a while!” he said to my back.

I can’t remember if I answered, or if i said, “Yeah.”

“So do you know if we’re getting a new roommate?”

“I…I don’t know.” I was filling up water from the faucet for my oatmeal.

He was at the table in the dining room, looking at the mail. And then he left for his driving around.

I don’t think I had spoken to him since February, when I had told him about the piece of shit roommate who harassed me and had finally left in July–the one that the shut-in had enabled.

I knew eventually, one day, our paths would cross again, and that I would be mad and hurt about the betrayal.

It wasn’t true that he hadn’t seen me in a while. It was a couple of weeks or more that he was sitting in the living room, talking loudly about the medications he was taking for some clinical trial for something.

I didn’t talk to him, but he blared through the earplugs I still had from sleeping the night before.

That loud conversation was informative–although it wasn’t the first time he had been talking loudly on the phone about his medications and illnesses. Still, I was reminded me that although I saw him as a traitor, I don’t know if it really could have been helped. I’m not sure if that’s an ableist way to look at it, though.

Yet it didn’t really help, and it really hasn’t helped, the feelings I had and still have…the feelings I would rather forget, like a bad trip I had taken, like a disgusting meal I was forced to eat.

I lived in the same house for over a year with a man who didn’t do and still doesn’t do much with keeping this house clean. It’s been up to me. It’s been up to me to make sure that this place is habitable and hospitable. And I’ve really only done it for my safety and comfort, although he gets the benefits.

The shut-in never cleans. A former roommate complained about how it seemed like he had never cleaned up after himself before. And last month, he didn’t take out the trash for whatever lazy reason he came up with. That was actually a first.

I knew I would see him again and be forced to talk to him as if everything was OK. I have never really been one for pleasantries, although I used to have a rule about acknowledging the existence of everyone, friend or foe.

After many foes and not many friends, I had to change the rules, rules that seemed to be about being the bigger and better person.

Being the bigger and better person now is about making sure that I’m OK, that I’m taken care of, that I’m safe.

So by being cold and withdrawn, I was OK with showing, albeit passively, that our warm and amiable relationship had frozen over into cold, forced cordiality.

I wasn’t really ready to face that, that I had one less ally in this place. I wasn’t really ready to also look at my relationship to this place. It’s become more and more like a prison–albeit thankfully less and less like a psych ward…


There’s been a room in my heart that I can only peek into. I open it a crack and I’m blasted with warm, moist air and the taste of my own tears. It reminds me of that test that Paul Atreides from the sci-fi novel, Dune, had to undergo with his mother and another Bene Gesserit woman.

He had to put his hand inside of a box, a box that contained pain. If he withdrew it too early, he would die. So he put his hand inside, feeling like his flesh was being burned and flayed…and then when he was allowed to remove his hand, his hand was just fine.

That room in my heart is like that box of pain, and I need to go inside. And I’m afraid that I will be burned and flayed. I’m afraid that I won’t survive it.

It’s not even going to be as dramatic as Paul and his box of pain. I know what’s in my room that I continue to avoid.

There have been some miserable failures this summer. But I decided after this sad and bizarre separation I had with someone over a week ago, that it was time to at least tend to my wounds–not just this summer’s, but as many as I can.

I needed to deal with my whole self–nurture it as it hasn’t really been nurtured by me before; nurture it as my parents should have but didn’t; nurture it as if no one else ever will; nurture it as if my life depended on it, because it does.

Part of that nurturing has been taking this 10-day course about returning to myself. And that has been restorative and healing–but not dramatically. It’s been more of the intention I’ve set: to not put so many other people’s feelings and needs before mine.

Part of that nurturing has been letting things really hurt. And it hasn’t been me sobbing on the floor. It’s literally sitting with feelings, the feelings that aren’t so clear-cut or line-bright.

Most of those feelings are grief over things that never got to be or have yet to be–the me that doesn’t live in Florida anymore; the me that got to be with that person; the me who hasn’t had to grind and scrape just to make it month-to-month; the me who actually did have supportive parents.

That last one floats in and out, because I don’t know how to grieve something that I never had. I can only imagine how it could be, to have parents be there for me unselfishly, to not have narcissistic parents. I could base on other people’s experiences, or base on fictional portrayals. I have a feeling that may become more profound and real when I have my own family, or when my parents pass–or maybe both.

The personal losses this summer…the confusing grief has batted me around, flipped me back and forth like I was some rag doll.

How could this be? Is this really happening?

This is happening. This is really happening.

Usually with loss, I never feel so ambivalent. I am quite resolute. With cold, surgical precision, I can amputate people, places, and things from my life and never look back.

It doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt when I do it. It just means that I don’t attempt to reattach. I’ve only done in twice in my life.

The first was with my first love–but he dumped me. The second was a few years ago with a woman I had known since we were teenagers. We just drifted apart and I noticed she had unfriended me from Facebook. She responded that basically she was too busy but that she had thought about me often.

This time, I can finally understand why it takes people so long to get over people, at the very least. It took me years to get over how long it took me to get through college–years longer than most people wanted to know or hear about.

But I knew I deserved the time to grieve a formative time in my life, especially since the people who had wanted me to move on had never gone through what I had gone through.

I needed the time.

But that’s the thing with grief. Grief takes as long as it takes. Grief, especially when it comes to death, is an ever-morphing companion that you will never shake. Some days, it’s a whisper of a ghost. Other times, it’s a monster that will violently shake you over something you don’t even think is a big deal.

Even with this one-month odyssey that I was on…there are times that I question whether it’s really over. And then there are other times that I’m glad it’s over. And then, there are other times that I want to go back, even if there are only ashes and embers left.

It’s weird to go through things that you feel like you should have gone through half a lifetime ago. But now, having gone through these things…I feel a lot more human now. The empathy that’s grown inside of me has stretched me open. I can almost say I’m grateful for the experience, because there’s this whole other part of life that I can’t process through my brain.

I can see how irrational love and grief is now.

love is pi


Yesterday, I knew the shut-in was probably waiting to talk to me. When I left my room, his door, which is right across from mine in a tiny hallway, was cracked with a seam of light shining through–and this usually meant that he was going to leave soon.

I dreaded seeing him, but our meeting was better than I thought it would be…initially. I thought I had held up pretty well, considering.

Seeing him and talking to him reminded me of what I went through, by myself.  And I was tired of going back in the past. And his cheery little performative bullshit was an insult.

Could someone be that far removed from reality, really?

I knew that was true because of how my mom handled my father when he was mentally ill. I didn’t really get as much protection as I deserved. She was lost in her religion and her god to pay attention to how living under someone who was abusive and neglectful was doing to her and to her children.

So yeah, I’ve been here before. And I thought because it was over, I was over it all.

But then afterward, I felt like someone shoved me in this dark, small room of despair. I felt like I was physically starting to slow down. I just wanted to sleep.

I had some existential fears leap out:

Would I ever get out of this gotdamn house? Would I be stuck here forever? Do I really have people on my side? Will I ever be successful again? Am I always going to have an almost life?

I was really concerned that I was becoming depressed. I was sleeping more during the day, but it was also because I had some major insomnia (thanks, full moon). I still have a bit of a sleep deficit.

I did a lot of talking and praying with my guides and angels…

And even typing this, about guides and angels…somehow it’s a little embarrassing, like I’m one of those, one of those weirdo woo-woo women…

Then today, I was back to my normal self.

So maybe yesterday, I had a brief moment in that room of grief that I keep avoiding. It was a little scary, but I made it through.


And before this, last week I was really angry, angry that life had been so disappointing for so long. I was and am so fed up. And that anger can be a catalyst for change.

I still believe that this is my time.

What’s really interesting about all this is how these feelings of sadness and grief are on the heels of things getting better for my business now.

Shameless plug for another business – I do tarot and astrological consultations!

It’s like when you’re about to hit the finish line, after having run a long race, and you have the freedom to slow down.

I don’t have to be tough anymore. I don’t have to gut it through. I don’t have to have it all together. I don’t have to be “right.”

I can be hurt, disappointed, and angry that a fellow human being whom I live with didn’t stick up for me while I was being abused.

I can want to have someone back in my life that I’m not entirely sure is good for me.

I can mourn all the fabulous selves I didn’t get to be because I have narcissistic parents.

I can let all of it really hurt as it should, and then move on.

But it doesn’t have to be all sad.

I can choose to nurture myself instead of waiting for someone else to do it.

I can get lost in novels like I used to do when I was younger.

I can continue to explore what brings me pleasure even if I feel like that’s a short list right now.

I can check in on myself much more than I check in on others…because people will be just fine without my care.

I can continue on the journey of not letting my circumstances define me.

I can also be thankful for what I have.


My ungratefulness is what prevents me from opening the door to my grief.

Somehow, embracing amor fati has felt like a death.

How can I be grateful for all of this, every last thing?

By being grateful, I feel like I have to give up my fight for justice for myself, for making things right. It’s like letting everyone off the hook–even myself.

But to really be grateful, I really do have to reckon with my losses, all of them. Yet I’m not sure what that looks like practically, besides being more intentional about caring for myself.

How can gratitude and the comfort of justice intersect? Or will they always run parallel?

I know that to live the full, joyous life that I want–beyond what circumstances come my way–I have to accept this invitation to gratitude.

I feel impermeable to this kind of all-encompassing gratitude. All I want to do is to have yet another internal temper tantrum. I don’t feel holy or wise enough to do this. I feel petty, bitter, and small.

But that’s at least a place to start–with some honesty about where I am and where I want to be.

When I took a little vacation from my normal life by meeting new people who didn’t know me or my life story, including the one that I can’t easily forget, it was great to be seen for who I was, outside of all I had been through. So I can live that life where I’m not all the things I didn’t get to be, but all the things I already am and will be.

So this isn’t some fantasy. This can be my new reality.

I just have to stop acting like some indestructible robot and let it hurt so I can feel better. Let myself be confused so I can find better answers. Let myself really rage with anger so I can find the peace and calm within.

Let myself be so I can emerge into a more authentic self.

I can’t really solve the puzzle of being grateful for all the bad things I’ve gone through just this summer: of being called racial slurs in my own home, of having a terrible landlady, of not being able to move yet, of losing a biz opportunity because of things outside of my control, of getting so close to finding my person and seeing that chance being thrown into an abyss…

I’m just too human and short-sighted to see the good in any of this right now.

It’s so tough to override my humanness right now. When things are bad, we focus on them so we can fix them. But when we can’t fix them, we suffer. If we decide not to focus on them, then it seems like we’re abdicating our duties of being good people.

And I’ve said all this before. But the struggle remains to create meaning and good from seemingly meaningless, terrible things.

All I can do right now is to be at least grateful for the good, in a way that isn’t performative or hollow. Maybe that can create space for the impossible–being grateful for all of it.

At least I can say that I am grateful that I am still here, that I have survived the unbearable, the unfair, the bizarre, the disgusting, the absurd. And that as long as I’m still breathing, the life that I want and deserve is still within reach.

ETA: this song has been haunting me.

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