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

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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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newton’s cradle of grief

newton's cradle.gif

This month has been a lot for a heart to take and to process.

A massacre. A rock legend’s death. Potentially hundreds of people dying in on an island with barely any power or not enough clean running water. The exposure of sexual harassment and assault at the hands of one movie mogul. The cascade of stories of survival and the exposure of other perpetrators. Wildfires destroying more acreage than the size of New York City.

Another rock legend dies from brain cancer last night.

I took yet another break from Twitter because I was starting to sound shrill and sucked into this vortex of pain and anger. For me to leave because of an emotional contagion is saying a lot, because that’s not usually my bag. The people I am friends with on Twitter are my main community, which I am chagrined, but they are real people, real people who really matter. So it’s kind of a big deal to me when I’m not there.

And I’m not the only one who has left for Twitter for a spell. It’s more than OK to take a break from things when they aren’t serving you.

I also left because astrologically, Mercury is conjunct Jupiter in Scorpio and I wanted to focus more on improving my writing and editing business, to dip my silver tongue in the stars and say all the right things to all the right people. But emotionally, I’ve been a lot distracted, even with my sabbatical from Twitter.

And actually, Mercury conjunct Jupiter, in Scorpio, has probably created the climate of this fixation on sharing pain and anger.

And my heart just pours over…

Gord Downie’s death last night was one that Canada has been bracing for since he announced his battle with brain cancer and the subsequent final tour with his band, The Tragically Hip. It was a band I knew about back in 1996. I loved the song, “Ahead by a Century,” but I had no clue how big the band was in Canada and how much Downie meant to his nation. I learned a lot about that last year.

It’s weird how his death allowed me to shed at least one tear for Tom Petty. I’m listening to him right now (Highway Companion, for the record) and I can finally do that a little more, listen to his music. It’s like all the pain and trauma from this month is in a Newton’s cradle. This new loss of Gord Downie, and the grief of a whole nation, knocks through all the grief from before and starts at the grief at the beginning of the month.

I can’t even comprehend what happened in Las Vegas, though. It’s unfathomable, even though people die of violence here, and elsewhere, every day. What’s going on in Puerto Rico is closing in on genocide due to chosen negligence.

My conscience is seared all the way around, but maybe it’s the only way to get through the day so I don’t collapse under the weight of the all the pain and sorrow that’s been very heavy lately. It’s fixed, like Scorpio energy can be.

And then there’s my own stuff.

Not to roll out the scroll of my own suffering, but living here has been triggering memories of living with my family of origin, of how unpredictable it was due to living with someone who has untreated mental health issues. That came to a(nother) head today when I once again woke at 5:30am in the morning to the smell of brewing coffee, which derailed my whole day. It took forever to go back to bed, and then I woke up too late.

If something gets tripped up like that, over and over, to mean it means it’s time for healing. So today, I was planning on doing some work-related things, but today was a day to work some of those old emotions out: forgiveness and self-compassion and grief and anger.

New things knocking around old things.

And I imagine that’s what it’s like to hear these survivor stories–being triggered as others tell their stories. I only hope that healing can occur as Newton’s cradle of grief goes back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.

This may sound really rah-rah and strident, but in this increasingly fixed and stubborn energy, I want to think about solutions. Especially if you’re any kind of marginalized person, you already know the world is a fucked up place. You’ve tried, in your own way, to heal yourself, to bring healing to your corner of the planet. Yet sometimes Twitter can just become an echo chamber and all you can hear are endless screams and cries and groans and yells. It could be an empath’s burden, feeling everyone else’s feels so easily. But one can only feel so much…

As I was telling a friend today, I’m so tired of hearing people glibly say that we’re all gonna die. I’ve gone through hell and back too many times for that sort of existential resignation.

I don’t have any overarching solutions right now that don’t involve a lot of money–as my friend today has surmised. So right now, the best thing I can do is to make sure I can make some so I can donate to causes that support marginalized people, i.e., take care of myself so I can take care of others.

What else can I do?

I love the people who love me back hard.

I continue to find compassion for myself as I look at my old stories with fresh and kind eyes.

I try to push back the dark, rolling clouds of doom that tried, and failed to overwhelm me today.

I keep hope close to me, but not too close so it smothers me with exaggerated optimism.

I cry if I need to.

I attempt to be more grateful and rejoice if and when I’m successful.

I look for the threads that hold things the good things together. Tie those thread tighter.

I do the best I can and know that it’s enough.

I can even look forward to things, like having my own family and not living here and/or in Florida anymore.

For now, I have to focus on the work that’s in front of me, which includes fighting to be here and not drowning in doom. If I’m sleep deprived like I am today, it can be really hard. But the fight is worth it.

To find joy and hope in the midst of immense suffering can seem impossible. But in order to survive and really live, it’s necessary.

May we all keep fighting to be here and to be happy, loved, and safe.

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The Dissolving “I”

embrace the new you SOM

It’s amazing the revelations that one can get in the bathroom.

I wanted to jot this down before I get bogged down in work for the evening. Today, I forced myself to rest, which amounted to trying to treat this crick in my neck, writing an email to a friend, and gorging on Bravo TV shows.

In woo woo land, most recently I’ve been reading/listening to spiritual teacher Matt Kahn, and he recently posted something on his Facebook page that had me thinking. It’s nothing new to me, although a lot of this stuff in this post has some spiritual jargon that even I’m not used to yet. Here are the two things from this post that stuck out to me:

During this crucial stage of awakening, the competing, defending, argumentative, manipulative, seeking, and struggling “I” dissolves out of experience.

and

As the need or tendency to compete, complain, worry, argue, negotiate, seek, judge, deny, and defend are unraveled out of your energy field, a new sense of self emerges; one that is rooted in cooperation, unity, peace, love, gratitude, abundance, radiance, health, joy, and inspiration, which are the natural characteristics of a soul in form.

Matt goes on and on (and on) about other things, but this dissolving is un-Western–and I love it! Well, I love the idea of it. It’s excruciating. As I face yet another move, having two jobs that I’m not immediately acing and doing well, and feeling trapped by my poverty, lately I haven’t had time to even think about what this is all for–cosmically, universally, spiritually, The Big Picture. It’s probably a good thing because we humans always have to come up with some fucking reason why things are happening. Sometimes, things happen because we made bad choices. Sometimes, things happen because other people made bad choices. And sometimes, things just happen.

So while I was taking a piss, it occurred to me that maybe, the big picture right now is about love. How vague can I be? Let’s drill down deeper with that.

I was telling a friend that I haven’t felt like such a failure in my entire life.  I can barely support myself financially. My composition class students are doing terribly–I’m barely doing that great as a teacher myself. My other job as a part-time tech writer has a very steep learning curve. I have to move again. I lost my car.

There’s another one of those woo woo sayings that really gets on my nerves: things are happening to you, they are happening  for you. I still think that’s some white privileged bullshit, but, at the same time, like many things in life, it’s both/and.

Things are happening to me

It’s almost like I can observe people, places, and things just imploding and exploding all around me. It’s surreal and hyperreal. Unbelievable. What really scares me is if all of those circumstantial things continues. As I’ve probably said before, I’ve never been more spiritual than right now, and my life circumstances have never been harder.

Things are happening for me

So much of my identity has been wrapped up in being good: avoiding getting yelled at by my parents, which, in turn, is about not getting yelled at by my bosses, my landlords, my anyone in some sort of authority over me. There’s been a lot of yelling in my life, but also just a lot of failure. I’m not great at teaching, I’m not great at writing, I’m not great at relationships. My life is just smoldering ash being carried by the wind *places back of hand on my forehead wearily*

Despite my utter lack of adultiness, I deserve love, compassion, and support anyway.

Despite. Because. Especially.

Even though my career life has been lacking–yes, even in light of a hard-fought MFA degree–I felt like I was doing alright until I actually started grad school. My “I” has been bludgeoned by hatred, jealousy, racism, sexism, poverty, loneliness, betrayal, fear, homelessness…so many things. I’m not really sure what’s left, or if, as Matt says, a new self is emerging.

What did emerge in my bathroom was that whomever is emerging, all these horrible circumstances have stripped me of my need to be good and great. I suck at pretty much everything right now, but even still–I deserve compassion. Even when the landlady that I live with is duplicitous–in my mind, I don’t think she deserves love i.e. the reason why I have to move in the first place: her girlfriend is moving in officially a week after I leave. But *gulp* even she–even she–deserves love and compassion, even though, in my eyes, she sucks as a human being.

Maybe even saying that is a bridge too far, but if I feel that way about her, then I will feel that way about myself–love gained by performance. As a gifted child, academic things came easily to me, and my identity was built around the praise of my teachers. Now that I’m a professor and not really that great at it, it’s tough to keep going knowing that I suck. Even more so, sometimes it’s hard to keep going at life knowing that I suck at it, that I’m not hitting the standards of success that I have for myself.

For some reason, even as I dissolve in my suckitude, it helps to know that the pain that I feel, besides the harsh discomfort of being alone and being poor, is that old me dissolving. The pain is a sign that I’m getting closer to the me that deserves love. Even further, Matt would say that I can love the one who is in pain, love the one who is sucking so hard at being the me that I want and need to be.

So maybe, I can thank all the people who were complete asshats to me, especially in Florida–who *gulp* also deserve love and compassion–because they all are bringing me closer to the person who does not have to be good and great to receive and deserve love.

Maybe.

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