break

breaking

When everything falls apart, it is a good sign that everything is about to come together.

from Write It Down, Make It Happen by Henriette Anne Klauser

It’s been said that you should write from your scars, not from your wounds. Welp, this is a wound with a scab forming, and I don’t have time to wait for this to scar over.

Earlier this morning, after tossing some trash in the outside garbage bin, I walked down my now bare driveway and went to the mailbox–something I used to do every day before my car was taken back by the car lender. It was a daily way for me to stretch my legs which doesn’t happen enough for me as a writer.

It’s been raining almost daily. It’s rainy season in Florida and we desperately need the rain since we’ve had a severe drought and subsequent brush fires for months. Usually, the weather wouldn’t deter me from my daily little walk. But I haven’t been interested in getting the mail. Maybe it’s because I’m still little heartbroken.

Although the mailbox was closed, the mail was damp from all the humidity, which can reach full saturation (100%) especially in the mornings. One of the letters I received was from my now former awful car lender, telling me how much I still owe after the car was auctioned off. The amount is basically the interest of a high-interest loan, which would have been OK 9 months ago when I was working a full-time job with an employer. But that four-figure now just another drop in the ocean of debt that doesn’t even reach my shore much anymore. I live in the small lagoon of survival now.

This car situation has been a tough one to overcome, and it’s not because I no longer have reliable transportation. Sure, part of it is the pride of being a self-sustaining adult and not being able to hold onto what seems to be a basic necessity in a city that has some godawful public transportation.

Admittedly, though, when this first happened, I felt some instant relief. I no longer have to deal with this money drain for a vehicle I used like maybe 5 times a month? Based on what I make now, I can be just fine as I build my freelance writing and editing business, even with the occasional Lyft ride.

Through another bill that I’m actually fighting since I was not driving the car, my toll transponder told me when my car was taken: early in the morning, in the 1 o’clock hour. That night, I actually slept so well–how ironic.

Also, I’ve been here before, 2 years ago when I was teaching and making even less than what I make now. I could take as a moral issue in one of two ways. The first is a (self-)judgmental, (self-)blaming route–how can you have this happen to you again? You’re irresponsible with your money. The other route is just seeing the larger landscape of where I live right now. I’ve done the best I can in a shitty job market and lower income people are routinely taken advantage of. I’ll take route #2, because route #1 is a well-worn path that doesn’t head anywhere except to more heartache.

The heartbreak isn’t over the car, per se, but what my cries for help represent to me–only three people helped me: a total stranger and two friends.

My cries for help went unheard and unheeded.

There are so many reasons why: race, gender, the lack of a cult of personality online, the bootstrap mentality that isn’t applied equally. Not really here to dive into all of that, into the politics of what gets funded and why.

I’m also not here to make this about abundance, prosperity, believing enough (or not), manifestation, or any other things that many times just seem like American capitalism dressed up in spiritual garb, but has no semblance of compassion or empathy.

Over a month later, there’s quite a lot of resentment that I have to burn off or hand off to the Universe. As I try to gain a better perspective, I am accepting what is.

Simply put: no one likes being inconvenienced. That’s the ethos of America. It’s the heart of innovation, but it’s also the heart of our mores and social structure. It’s the mentality that tells you that asking for help is some sort of entitlement. Even the way Social Security is framed is as an entitlement vs. an investment that people make so that they had some income for their twilight years. How dare you ask for help for your basic needs! You should just get a job (or else you’re clearly just lazy and want a handout). There’s someone in the current administration who said just that about Medicaid recipients, millions of those being children. It’s a pervasive mindset, no matter your political leanings or religious beliefs.

What has been really hard but necessary to do is to not make this seeming failure be about me or my worth as a human being. Even knowing that culturally, there’s still a lot of shame in asking for help, this still stings, a lot. I’ve been helped in the past, so why am I feeling abandoned now?

How this all happened still marvels me, which makes me believe that something bigger is going on.

At the time I started to think about writing this particular post, I felt very broken. There are still parts of me that feel very shattered and irreplaceable. I was concerned that I was depressed–and if I was/am depressed, then of course, it makes sense after such a loss like losing reliable transportation.

Nothing seems to be going right and things seem to get worse as I spiritually grow leaps and bounds. There are synchronicities all over the place. I know that Spirit is moving in my life–and maybe it’s because of the destruction left in its wake.

Then I remembered a book that I read, Write It Down, Make It Happen by Henriette Anne Klauser (yes, it’s basically a book about manifestation–but there’s nothing wrong with writing down what you want and need and leaving it up to the Universe how it provides those things to do).

Klauser has a chapter aptly called, “Handling Breakdown.” It basically talks about how things may have manifested in a way you weren’t expecting; or, if your desires haven’t come to fruition yet, that you shouldn’t give up.

Two key quotes: “There is no failure, only a delay in results.” and  “There is no failure, only feedback.”

Why I remembered the book wasn’t for those quotes. It was because she talked about how when everything isn’t working out, that you are close to a breakthrough. She compared this to the process of childbirth, ten minutes before delivery which is called the “transition.” It’s the toughest part of labor.

I saw this happen recently with this reality TV star who filmed a special about her pregnancy. She wanted to have her baby at home, and while she was in labor, she hit a wall of exhaustion. She was just done, just through, no more. She got up to go to the bathroom, but before she and her midwives could leave to go to the hospital, she had the baby on the toilet!

So maybe I’m proverbially on the toilet right now, wanting to go to the hospital and have this baby of a profitable writer’s life. I know I need to keep pushing, even though I am exhausted.

So who is holding me up as I push? I do have a few good online friends that have been of great emotional support. But I have no one local like that in my life right now. Astrologically, I can easily blame this Pluto in Capricorn transit that is transforming me from the inside out, as it has run roughshod over my very essence and ethos.

This struggle is beyond the car now. Yet the car was a breaking point for me. Like what gives? I know I’m supposed to be a writer, to be a writer here. But I can’t connect to anyone permanently here. I lost my car twice. Grad school was a nightmare, so was life afterward. I’ve survived horrible living conditions–and I’m enduring one now. How many L’s can I take, and then take them like a champ?

What gives?

I’m not used to things being bad for this long, especially not with work. Eventually, I find the community, I find the better job, it all comes together. To have the reverse Midas touch is not my style. I always find help. I always Mentos commercial or MacGyver my way out of shit.

I’m super can-do-without-you, and that’s by necessity. For better and for worse, I grew up highly resilient, priding myself in not needing others. I’ve been humbled since I moved down here in 2012, realizing how I can’t be who I need to be without some help. And, for the most part, I’m actually quite OK with asking for help now, even as I face the fear of rejection.

So rejection has come and I am starting to be able to accept what is–I don’t really have the supportive community I need, not yet. I can also see the thin yet gleaming silver lining of this tough circumstance–I’m saving hundreds of dollars.

That brings me back to the spiritual support that I need to access. Yes, the loss of my car brought me to my knees. It was sad to repeat a loss like this, thinking that I would be better off this time around. Can I rejoice and be happy like Klauser says? Can I “count it all joy” like the writer James of the New Testament? Can I be grateful for my faith being tested and producing patience?

It’s really like holding onto a seedling, knowing one day it will be a tall tree. Depending on the day, the hour, the minute, I can hold onto this tiny hope or I can drop it and drown in despair.

At least in the spirit realm, I’m not alone. My cries for help were heard. I matter. To be able to really believe all of that, in the face of disappointment, of loneliness, of heartbreak–emotions I’ve felt often in my life–it takes some faith, faith at times I don’t have or want to conjure up, faith that something new is breaking through, something better that I could ever imagine.

So I have two choices. I either keep playing this shitty game of Tetris where I feel like none of the blocks are clearing, or I quit the game altogether.

The latter doesn’t even feel like a choice, so game on.

a mind slip into a spiritual awakening

alain de botton SOM

For now, I don’t have to pay attention to these sounds.

The sounds from the street outside. The squealing of brake dust. The release of air brakes. Engines revving and zooming away. Cars, SUVs, school buses, vans, delivery trucks, tow trucks–all a part of the noise that can inhabit my street.

It was all in fear of having my car taken back by the lender. Months of straining my ears to hear what was going on, along with sometimes obsessively looking in the driveway to see if my car was still there. I had started to not do this so much anymore.

But then when it happened last Thursday morning, I was dead asleep for once. It was the best sleep I had had in weeks, especially since one chronically coughing old man had moved out and another chronically coughing old man moved in earlier this month.

I thought I was on top of things, but it feels like my car, again, slipped through my fingers. I thought I had paid this month and I hadn’t. I never forget paying bills, so why, on such a precarious precipice, would I forget this month?

I found out about the repo because I was going to go get some breakfast and was bounding outside the door to see my worst fear had happened. It was startling. I’m glad I didn’t see it because it may have broken me. It’s like my car vanished into thin air.

I instantly slammed the door (nosy neighbor across the street) and took off my sunglasses and started walking back to my room. I knew what to do, since my life has seemingly bounced from one crisis to the next. Get in touch with the harassing lender and find out what I needed to do.

Unlike last time, they are not asking for the whole loan. They just want the past due payments plus what I think it some towing and storage fees. It’s about $1600. If I can’t get it by this Saturday, then it’s $2000 until the 10th. I have time, but time is slippery.

Whether I get to keep my car (fundraiser here) or not doesn’t even seem to be the point. It’s been an odd spiritual awakening–but then aren’t they all odd? Even if you go seeking out a spiritual awakening, how it’s triggered is never in the way you’d expect or arrange for yourself. So here are a few things that I’ve learned in the past few days.

My online community may not be as strong as I thought it was. I was just telling a friend online today that Twitter isn’t the same anymore. I’ve tweeted out this fundraiser hundreds of times since November and it just hasn’t gotten far. There could be a number of reasons why, but I realize that these connections, although some of them are great, are a bit tenuous. It’s the largest one I have, but it’s not the same as an offline community. I’ve come to peace that my financial instability makes it hard to have an offline community, but the online one not being so hot either? It’s sobering, and slowly devastating. But online life is changing, so it’s hard to

I am really not my circumstances, and I really believe it now. For some reason, having and owning a car seemed to be some point of pride for me, but connected to #1, no one really cares either way, so why should I? I had been listening to Paula Cole last week and I love her song, “Me,” and here is the first verse:

I am not the person who is singing,
I am the silent one inside.
I am not the one who laughs at people’s jokes,
I just pacify their egos.
I am not my house, my car or my songs,
They are only stops along my way.
I am like the winter, I’m a dark cold female,
With a golden ring of wisdom in my cave.

I’m not any of my possessions or my bank account–I can get Fight Club about it, too, but really–I’m none of these things. I’m not even any community. I’m me. So it’s not about the car, especially since this happened in a sort of surprising, out-of-character way. I’m not seeking a lesson to soothe myself. I’m seeking the lesson to evolve–or the lesson is seeking me. Or both.

Another great quote on this topic, by poet Nayyirah Waheed: “Where you are is not who you are.”

I am not alone. And this has to do with the spiritual realm. There are angels, spirit guides, and ancestors all with me, cheering me on, providing comfort and guidance. Maybe starting last Friday or Saturday, it really became apparent that this car that I had been so tightly holding onto–and for good reason because there is no real reliable public transit–is gone for now, but it’s not the end of the world. I have faced the end of the world before and overcame it.

I have many people praying for me, people I don’t even know (I asked a lot of contemplative nuns to pray for me–it’s their job!). The mystery of prayer is one I want to delve back into. It helps me not to sit in a stressed out state, thinking that worry is some sort of work (it is and it isn’t). I gave this up to the Universe to handle and then it made me realize…

Although I ask for help often now, I don’t ask for spiritual assistance enough. And I really should. Sure, I consult my astrological transits and tarot cards, but I don’t do enough of, “Universe, I’m struggling with this. Can you help me?” I kind of threw the prayer bathwater out with the evangelical baby, but I have since reclaimed it

Even though I’m not sure how this will turn out, I keep getting messages about not losing faith, not giving up, about believing, about asking for what I want. I’m swimming in some deep, spiritually synchronistic waters, and I have been changed. Last time when I lost my car, it was just anguish. This time, I can see how much I’ve spiritually grown to where I know that although my social life is non-existent, I still have everything I need to get out of this jam.

Maybe it’ll look like a different car, or no car for some time, or I’ll get the money in time. I know what I’ve asked for and I believe the best will happen for me. Even when I waver with doubts, I can ask, “Universe, help me with the doubt!” And it works!

As I have gone after my dream of becoming a writer, I have it not “together” for years. But, I’m so grateful that I’m finally able to draw the line between me and my circumstances. I’m even loved and supported through my circumstances, loved and supported through the shame of my circumstances, and loved and supported despite my circumstances.

I am not my smoker’s cough roommate or my small bedroom or the increasingly dirty kitchen stained with coffee or my empty driveway or the rebel flag I have to drive past every time I leave this neighborhood.

I am not the paranoid listener of the streets outside.

I’m me, and I deserve love, compassion, and help.