and the point is…?

transition SOM

Today (Friday), I was going to publish this poem as an ode to someone, but yesterday, I deleted it before it published it.

And now, today is yesterday. And maybe I will publish that poem…someday.

I’m in a little tiny place of confusion and flux.

Yesterday (Thursday), I was faced with yet another disappointing relationship demise. It’s yet another link in this long chain of disappointments that made me ask the heavens:

what is this all for?

And it’s not just in love. It’s just with everything.

Today, I bounced back pretty quickly, much to my surprise. Apparently, when you just let yourself be in your feelings, then it’s easier to surf through them.

It could be because I had more of a paper cut than an actual deep wound on my heart. But it’s not like paper cuts don’t hurt.

It could also be that I’m almost resigned to things falling apart and people leaving.

Almost.

Yesterday wasn’t the end of the world. It was just the end of me thinking I’d be able to get out of this vortex of peculiarity and pain.

This whole blog is just a plea for this cycle of shittiness to stop. I realized that I had taken a vacation from this living nightmare cycle for about 3 weeks.

And it was so nice.

But now I’m back.

I don’t know if I just haven’t had the wherewithal, the gumption, the moxie to really start following my dreams post-grad-school. The only goal has been survival, but I can’t do that anymore.

I’m not completely blaming my own circumstances for what went down yesterday (which you can read about if you become a $10/month patron).

That was probably a long time coming. And that’s OK.

But at the same time, that this…thing…started at all was a sign that my shitty circumstances aren’t holding me back from bringing me to the right people.

Still, I feel stuck…not necessarily even in circumstances, but that I’m in some spiritual school that I didn’t sign up for. And I’m not even in the mood to learn anymore. It’s exhausting to seek or derive meaning from every event.

Sometimes things just suck.

I want my daily circumstances to not trip me up so much that I can’t focus on anything else. It makes for a dull and unattractive me.

But here I am again, being asked to trust that everything is working out as it should.

When bills are hard to pay and lapse…

When I’m (thankfully gladly) eating ramen…

When I have to sign up for writing tasks I don’t like doing because they pay poorly…

When I seem to keep attracting men who are also somehow sweet and kind, but also going through some sort of spiritual transformation that keeps them at arm’s length…

When I live in a house that seems to never be right for longer than a few days…

When my body seems to have a mind of its own…

When friends keep coming and going but never stay…

When I’m doing my best despite all of these failures and shortcomings…

There’s the holy and divine invitation to trust, right there, in every one of those circumstances.

Meanwhile, this is me:

temper tantrum

So I was in the middle of writing this last night, and then things changed again. And that’s…actually OK. It was good that things changed. And there’s probably going to be another somewhat vague blog post about that.

There’s a bit of an exhaustion that can come when you live in a transitional space.

I just want to get to somewhere better (don’t we all?).

Still, with all of these challenges and opportunities, I have to trust that not only does the Universe/God/Source knows what she’s doing, but that I know what I’m doing, too.

And I wish I were more elegant with this spiritual journey, but I’m just fumbling towards some truths, along some hazy, washed out plumb lines.

Even as my arms hold so much yearning and loss, there’s so much more space for wonder, miracles, and just good ole sustenance.

Things…the things that I want…they just aren’t coming as quickly as I want, but they are coming. And I have to keep rising up to meet them as they come.

I also have to hope that they do come. And the anticipation isn’t wasted. It’s used as fuel to bring those dreams home.

To keep myself open to all the good, even as I’ve endured a lot of bad…that’s where the rub is, the gold is, the real life is.

And maybe that’s the point.

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waiting for something decent and good

the waiting1

 

I applied for seven jobs today. It takes the edge off of the low-grade anxiety I’ve had for months. It almost crippled me yesterday–only to the point that I didn’t get to finish this article earlier to hopefully ensure I’d make it under the wire with getting paid today. I barely have any control over that, though. I was just too moody under this Cancer moon.

Last week, I got a letter where I was notified that I have to do some new hoop jumping to get SNAP. It’s like what I had to do for unemployment insurance–keep track of my job searches, do job-related things. Because being self-employed isn’t enough. This is new, as of last month. I guess Florida is employing people to do stupid admin work except for the people who actually need work. I need to talk to some case manager next Wednesday.

As I write this, I’m about $75 short on my phone bill, and I got the dreaded call earlier today that means that it’ll probably be turned off soon. For once, I’m not stressed out about it anymore. If it’s cut off, it’s cut off. It’s a waste of energy, resisting. There’s nothing I can do about it except ask for help continuously and keep looking for work that I can do.

Last week after my group, I had a talk with a friend, an Aries who co-leads the group. She had given me some blogging work and I was inquiring about more. I also wanted another POV on my work situation. She gave me some social media work that was optional for me to do. But I want to do it, so I can build up my portfolio.

You think taking advice from a Capricorn is hard? Whew. She gave me some good ideas but also made me look at myself, to see if I was too prideful. I will explore those job leads tomorrow. It was helpful to get new ideas of where to look because I knew I needed some new ideas. I even applied to a place that’s close to my house, a place I was told by another writer years ago that it was abusive. My Aries friend had worked there and I took her fiery enthusiasm and reconsidered. I consulted oracle cards twice and got the green light both times to apply.

I can’t really tell if I’m not being humble or open enough, even though my time in Florida has been taking it on the chin over and over–at least in my mind. And I’m a Capricorn–I’m born proud of myself.

Still, is it OK to say no to anything where I am on my feet for hours because of my jacked up knees? When does being humble transform into humiliation? Have I had enough of both?

These are questions for the Universe, and I don’t really feel the push to break my body to work–but I feel like that’s part of the narrative of poverty, of working in America.

In order to get help, you have to grovel, or be amusing, or to have successfully shown that you deserve it somehow. We glorify the stories of extreme asceticism and sacrifice, things we’re not even willing to do ourselves. But at the same time, we judge those who have less than us. It’s the same sort of mentality that has people thinking that people who get SNAP aren’t smart enough to buy food for themselves, or that all of them are lazy and aren’t doing enough.

It couldn’t be that the system is broken.

We value “working really hard”–unless you’re rich. Then it’s OK not to. We collectively think it’s OK because we all want to be rich one day. We all want the perks, the tax havens, the getting off easy for our sins, the different set of rules. We buy into the idea that if we work hard enough, then we’ll get that.

But most of us will never be rich.

Right now, we’re trying to dissect #Wealthcare, the new healthcare bill which is even worse than the current legislation. And guess who it serves? The rich–specifically, the insurance companies. The current climate seems to be bucking up against this idea of “hard work is salvation” and making the poor pay more. And of course, I’m a part of this climate, and it’s affecting me. All of these narratives play out in my mind and I question all of them, because this is about my humanity, our humanity,  after all.

It’s infuriating and inhumane and completely American.

Tomorrow, I need to check in on jobs I’ve already applied for, including one that hasn’t gotten back to me in weeks. I’ve let that go, in my mind.  Part of me doesn’t want to know, that I had put in all this work and that they decided to go with someone else and not tell me. I’m tough, but holding onto hope can be a wearying experience.

And I still can’t tell if I need to be working for myself or not–like officially. I wouldn’t mind it if it wasn’t in my room. Maybe in a co-working space…

I’m just kinda waiting around–but not. It’s more like stumbling around and looking. I’m not even sure what I’m looking for anymore. I’m not good at being lost.

I work almost every day, even weekends. It’s just hard when I’m doing all I can, but nothing has really broken through yet. Sometimes I think I should move because Florida is a tough state, but I don’t think I’m done here. I even asked the Universe about moving to the Gulf side of the state, but I got a strong no on that through oracle cards.

The questions continue. Do I want to be a writer anymore? It’s exhausting, doing these articles. Last week, I applied for a job that was more akin to what I used to do back in Chicago–a research coordinator. Maybe my writing life will be done soon.

And what of the rest of my life, that seems to be atrophying? A family. Friends I can rely on. Traveling this big, blue, beautiful world (I’m listening to Florence + The Machine), and just not struggling like this?

I had a huge epiphany: I had this belief that coming to Florida, I could finally be a full adult (or, my definition of it): self-sufficient, with furniture that matched, on my own, with my own transportation. I got to live like that for about a year.

The Universe had other plans.

All the while, I kept trying to bring the story back to that–self-sufficiency. Doing what I wanted, when I wanted. And that’s not the story to be told right now.

What I have been focusing on is uninteresting to me and yet it is the world I live in. Resisting it is tiring.

I don’t like obsessing over unpaid bills and the bales of ramen I will be eating until the 16th and whether I can afford some respite. I don’t like the sickening smells of food wafting in from the other side of the house. I don’t like listening to the incessant throat clearing and coughing from someone who doesn’t seem to give a shit about himself or others in this house. I don’t like having to remind the landlady to bring me a bathroom mirror and lights for outside of the house.

I have to separate myself from the stench, from the sounds, from the diet, from the bare wall in my bathroom that is missing a mirror.

Who the fuck am I outside of all these annoyances and failures?

And that’s why I have to go back to relying on a higher power–Someone who can who can unlock the cage from the outside, Someone who knows my whole story. Even if I’m not a Christian anymore, there’s still the part of me that needs to connect to something bigger, and better, than myself–especially in times like these.

I’ve been benevolently bailed out so many times. I can rely on that grace, even if it doesn’t show up when or how I want it to. So yeah, maybe tomorrow, the phone will truly turn off and it’ll take time to turn it back on.

Maybe things will just continue to worsen before they improve. But what will that do to me?

Whether it’s just my preoccupation with survival, or the feeling of doom that tries to snuff me out daily–I have to run on something else. I have to listen to something else. I have to focus on something else. Otherwise, it’s so easy to think something is wrong with me, that I’m not worthy of support or a good job or love or rest or anything else that is good. When things go wrong for a long time, it’s hard to believe that things will improve. It’s hard to wait, so very hard. It’s also difficult to keep pushing back at the narrative that because I’m in this frozen state, that means that I’m doing something wrong, that I’m wrong.

But if I don’t push back, I will get rolled over with doom, and I won’t survive it.

I think of all the things I’ve survived up to this point: a mentally ill father, my own mental illness in college, graduating college, dysfunctional friendships with white women (so, so many of these), peaks and troughs in my finances, unfair firings and layoffs, losing my car, grad school and all the disappointment, eviction (kinda twice), homelessness,  abusive landladies and roommates, infestations.

That’s the short list. I’m sure I’m forgetting a lot of things.

Each painful incident, I’ve layered on rock-hard strength. I’m striated in multi-colored imperviousness. And as I get toughened, again, by the waiting and confusion and rejection and neglect, and by each article and job application and conversation and prayer and tarot card reading, I have to believe that it’s not just because the world is awful, and my strength is just a side effect of it.

One day soon, though, I will learn that the Universe holds all that I need–and that I can really trust. It seems to be the ultimate lesson here: how I’m never ever alone; how the spirit world is much more real and powerful that anyone I know.

Related to that: in tarot, I’ve been encountering the Magician card. Its basic meaning is that I have everything I need to create the life that I want. It seems like an enigma. What do I have? I do try to be grateful, but there’s something else impervious in me that is tired of painting on a faux face of gratitude–even though I believe in faking it to make it.

Still, I look at the card as it comes up each time. What do I have? I have myself–is that all I need? There’s a tension here, because I’ve been quite self-reliant and have been able to advocate for myself really well for my whole life. I’m torn between the steely nerve of self-reliance and the kinda scary, but soft and warm interdependence. It’ll always be like this, though, the seesaw between me and others.

But, I feel close in figuring out the balance, in figuring out this part of the journey. Like my last post, I don’t think there’s any new wisdom here to be found, or anything else to say, as I approach 2100 words. It’s more getting comfortable with uncertainty while I continue to learn to love myself–especially when life is hard. And that’s the essence of living a life, a spiritual life at that.

So what do I do while I wait, while I search, while I heal?

I went to the Dali Museum in St. Pete last weekend, and there was a Frida Kahlo exhibit. I had seen another exhibit at the SFMOMA in 2008. I’ve seen and loved the movie Frida. But in this exhibit, I really began to understand the amount of physical  and emotional pain she endured for all of her life. Because of the bus accident she survived, she turned to painting as solace. Her pain was beautiful, but it was definitely hers. As I read her quotes and looked at her self-portraits, I felt like I had found a comrade in suffering.

It made me think about all the pain that I’ve endured. What am I doing with it? The poverty, the abandonment, the frustration, the confusion, the rejection, the silence–they are all different colored paints that I can use to create something beautiful.

I can only hope that as I keep writing about this really tough time, something good, maybe even lasting, is being created.

I tried to drown my sorrows, but the bastards learned how to swim, and now I am overwhelmed by this decent and good feeling.
– Frida Kahlo

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A glass of orange juice

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Photo credit: Razmi Hashisho

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Dancing on the edge of doom

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If you haven’t watched the movie Friends with Money, it’s a movie about a circle of friends where one has been struggling financially, and in love. This character, Olivia, is a maid, and is played by Jennifer Aniston.

I don’t remember the movie much (it came out 2006), but I remember the tension, between Olivia and the rest of her friends. I don’t remember if the movie equivocated her financial struggles to the rest of the group’s struggles–I hope not.

I’ve been wanting to write about how people see money and poverty in this country, but I feel like that may have to be a book, or a blog series. There are too many emotions, too. I want to be clear-headed, and that means maybe I have to be rid of my own financial struggles before I can write about it. But I doubt this will ever be not a loaded topic.

So instead, I’ll write about this morning. I woke up early because I needed to pay a bill before late charges were due. This is also the first month in a couple of months that I didn’t split up my rent. I’m still behind on other bills, so many bills, but it felt good to be able to pay rent on time and the storage payment on time. I wanted to make sure I had enough, that the money that I spent at Target had been deducted. I had planned as well as I could, and I didn’t forget anything, didn’t forget any purchases or automatic deduction. Good, good, good.

I then requested my unemployment insurance, as I do every other Wednesday. I look at the balance and realize that I’m a couple of payments away from being done with it, like this month. I had finally gotten to this place of quasi-stability and now I feel the earth just move under me, moving by my own fears–along with some circumstances.

And then I feel my age. I still feel like I’m 10 years behind where I should be. It’s not the Capricorn demandingness. It’s society’s judgy fingers pointing at me, and it’s just me. It’s not even the (seemingly) lofty dreams traveling abroad or publishing a memoirs. I’m fine, for now, that those dreams seem out of reach. So it’s not that.

What I felt this morning was doom, look at that balance, looking at time having slipped by as I’ve struggled, as I’ve felt like Olivia–like, I have friends, but this is my solo journey out of whatever morass has been.

My last year of my 30s and I’m going into my fourth of unemployment, my fifth of year of living Florida.

What is going on?  

That questions has many answers, and none of them really have comfort for me. So, I won’t go through the litany of that. The answers do not matter and they don’t solve anything. And that it’s doom talking. That’s just reality talking.

I went back to bed, having these conversations with Spirit and the angels–at the very least, I’ve gotten so much better and reaching out to sources that can help, and reaching out to them instantly. Somehow, through a little bit of pragmatism and comfort, I was able to walk back away from the edge of doom.

There are no spiritual blocks. If anything, my heart is painfully, woefully open.

There’s nothing wrong with me. I’ve been busting my ass probably more being sort of underemployed than unemployed. And even if I wasn’t busting my ass, there would still be nothing wrong with me.

Those are the uneasy answers that don’t solve anything. There are others that I can’t control–race, gender, the state I live in currently–and I can talk about them, but again, no comfort, no solutions.

Looking into the chasm of doom, I asked, “Is this all there is?” If it is, life cannot go on at this angle, at this velocity, at this trajectory. Something will need to drastically shift.

And Spirit answered back, “Of course not.”

That’s the condensed version of that conversation. But I believe, even through tears–of course not.

Of course not.

To bring in some numerology–and I apologize that I don’t explain enough here. I’ll do better, starting now–my life path is a 7. Besides that my life is really about the inner journey (perfect for a writer, right?), I had read somewhere that this life path has a lot of struggle. That actually gives me comfort, that I’ve been going through things as part of the 7 life path package.

What’s a 39 year old writer with an MFA doing in pajama pants, in bed, doing, living with two old white male roommates who produce a lot of hair and phlegm and probably poor political decisions? I really don’t know. I’m clearly here to figure that out. Or not. Maybe it’s not meant to be figured out. And maybe this has nothing to do with my value as a person. It probably doesn’t, even as it feels so wrong, and I feel caged up with a lot of wasted, unused potential. Sometimes, I shake the cage.

I admit, living here, being here in this moments, as I hear in between songs the disgusting punctuation of coughs from one of those old roomies–this feels like one of my worst failures, and it’s off the heels of following the biggest dream I’ve ever had: to tell my story. Even if I re-frame living here as a triumph, that this is the longest I’ve lived anywhere in Florida, that this is the picture of stability even as this house as gone under infestations and two owners, that I found this place after living with a very threatened, fearful, abusive woman–it’s still really shitty. It’s still not what I want, barely what I need. It feels like things will never change, or if they change, it won’t be for the better. Somehow, I’ve danced near the edge of doom again.

Is this all there is? Of course not.

This life is not the one I would choose, the extra hard lonely everything life. I’m not really into fate that much, nor do I think we’re all just floating around on free will (and we thank goodness for that). Clearly, it’s some amalgam of the two. But I do feel like this life chose me a bit more than I chose it. I try to lean into that a little bit, the absurdity, the crazy literary part of it (these two dudes were not here when I moved in), the hand-on-my-forehead tragedy of it. It’s my gig. I’m really good at it.

This morning I woke up and it was dark, cloudy. I wasn’t really sure if the sun was going to come out today. It had been forecasted for rain. I had to keep turning the lights on and off as the clouds past. It’s not afternoon, and I can see thin cirrus clouds, and the sky, and the sun, some leaves waving in branches as they are about to let go in a last gasp of death.

I didn’t know the sun would come out today, but it did. So, as I lean into this fated part of my life, just for a little bit, I’m not sure if I have enough of a fight to wait for the sun. But today, I won’t let doom or existential loneliness win. This is the daily battle, and it’s also a daily decision to even put up the fight. That’s what I have control over, no matter who or what is in my life.

What’s funny is that as I pull tarot and oracle cards, the sun is always out, things are always improving. That money is on the way, that lover is tapping me on the shoulder, the celebrations are in tow, a new home has been found, that local community has its arms wide open for me. But as spiritual as my life path is, I’m still earthbound. I still want the physical evidence. But for now,  I only see the empty space that awaits all those things that materialized spiritually. And, as much as I run away from it and hate it, that’s the definition of faith–the waiting around in that narrow liminal space, that in-between time, the dark, grey morning skies before the afternoon sun appears.

I can write it a 100 different ways, but that’s all I have: the same, laborious story of waiting, and the things you do as you wait. And I can only hope that as I continue to re-write it, that someone feels a little less crazy or wrong or forgotten or alone.

Keep waiting. You’ve got to keep waiting.

This is life. This is how it goes. When we get those long hoped-for things, they will replaced with new long hoped-for things, and we can only hope that we’ll be grateful, that we won’t forget how it was like being in this particular, cramped narrow hallway; that when we get to that new expansive room, we can breathe in that new air deeply, with deep and solemn gratitude.

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The ache of waiting…

light-in-the-dark-1425968It’s Advent season.

Even though I was in the Presbyterian church for a little bit as a kid, I didn’t really grow up with the Church calendar. It was only when I moved to Chicago for college, and even after college, that I learned people who were not Catholic observed Lent and Advent. It’s still strange to think about, even as I’ve watched, and also lit, Advent candles.

A vigil for light’s return.

As I’ve probably said, Christmas is my very unfortunate birthday. So in terms of counting down to the big day, the big day is about my birth, which was harrowing (long story short: shady anesthesiologist, epidural going up too far the spine, my mom is knocked out, somehow I arrive, and my mom hates thinking about my birth).

I don’t even have that much time and emotional space to even reflect on the past year, which has been tumultuous, as the past few years have been here in the Sunshine State. With as much sun, there’s been a whole lot of rain. But I have been in a space of waiting for light to return–and it’s not my birthday twin’s either.

It’s the light that turns off the darkness of survival mode.

Just this morning, I got a donation from a friend that will ensure that my phone will stay on for the phone interview I have next Tuesday.

I live a moment-by-moment life, moments that are life-changing and moments where I have to chase away dread like the loathsome cockroach it is.

Oh great, the car loan folks are calling about payment, again. I really hope I can keep THIS car.

I actually don’t miss ramen. Or Pop-Tarts. Thank goodness. I am sick of eating oatmeal, though.

Rent is being split again. I wonder what other bills I can pay this month.

The Universe, in all its abundance is there, in the midst of these little heart palpitations and resignations and helpless feelings and stark aloneness. And that’s more of a statement of faith than of fact. To know that I’m supported when it feels like I’m only a sack of swirling atoms, ready to make an escape.

I want to be comforted by the everything that the Universe is. It takes some getting used to. This is the time for acclimation.

My phone was kept on a couple of Fridays ago when I got an unexpected settlement check that helped me pay half of what I own. I celebrated, sort of. But moments after, I wondered how I would pay the rest of it.

Now I know. And yet I’m still numb and cold, like a machine just churning, gear by gear.

If I was more intrepid and daring and adventurous, I’d embrace this as another adventure. I have enough Sagittarius in me for that. But the creaky old man Capricorn sun and ascendant just want to be in its easy chair, being easy. I’m pretty feeble, pretty fed up, and altogether exasperated at how all my efforts to save myself seem to fail me. The Mentos commercial ingenuity is not here.

Instead, I’m in a three-legged race with the Universe, who is dragging my ungrateful ass along.

I am waiting for the light to return.

I’m fed and I am clothed. I have shelter. I have transportation. I even have some friends. In this moment, all is well. Some day, like even today, I’m grateful for all of these things and more. But many times, the clouds of fear and dread come over me like the daily summer storms that happen down here. At times, I just have to wait it out, sit in the sullen cloudiness. Other times, I can clear the clouds with hopeful anticipation and fortitude.

As a Capricorn, one of the worst things that I could emotionally experience is helplessness. To know you’re doing all that you can, and the needle from instability to stability barely moves? And now, I don’t even care about asking for help anymore. My pride has been stripped away from this process. But then, many times, those cries for help are met with silence. Maybe it’s better than the “curse God and die” friends of Job. Not sure.

I can’t even ask what’s wrong with me anymore. These circumstances seem a little too orchestrated that I’m the “problem.” It’s the three-legged race. It’s me co-creating with the Universe to have the life that I want and deserve. I must trust, I must trust, I must trust. So, it’s just us–just me and everything that I need.

The expectations of the how and the when and who and the where–they have to be surrendered. I just have to keep hobbling along until we start to get a rhythm that actually looks like walking by faith. Just like the last time I was here, a little afraid and a lot struggling, I’ve been getting just enough to make it to the next obstacle. The problem is never solved all at once. It’s a piecemeal process. As a big picture person, I’ve no patience for this, for anything. The tyranny of urgent is my ruler.

On top of my money life looking like a forest fire, Love, in all its absurd timing, is coming soon–not when I want it. I’m not at all together. I really wanted the money shit to have coalesced, but that’s going to be a longer Capricornian journey up a mountain. So, like many things in life, this will be a both/and situation, not a first, then second situation.

Right now, I look like a dusty firebird that has been flopping around in an ash heap–not that attractive! That confirmation of the big L coming is something I can feel, and it seems rather ridiculous. Just last night, an intuitive told me that, and all my readings have said this for months. The same questions do not apply: how? what? who? where? why now? why not before? This year especially, I keep thinking it had come. I’m waiting for the delivery. But it’s for another house, or I’m just hearing things.

I should be elated. It’s been way too long–like embarrassingly too long. No regrets about it, but it’s one of the things that makes my birthday more and more bitter and unpleasant. Society pressures to be with someone (and I mean like any person), but you get to that age that you can’t be the nth wheel anymore. But do you want to be The Hermit tarot card on your birthday? Maybe some people do–I realize I don’t.

Instead of elation, I feel exhaustion, and a bit of doneness. Done with the searching and the trying and the heart being open. I am rolling my eyes as I type, that’s how done I am. You go so long hoping that your hope loses air. It wears out like an old tire. It’s not worth inflating again. You just lay it down and focus on things you can control–like nothing. OK, like my attitude.

Frankly, I’m too distracted from being broke, so whomever is going to show up like some magical genie in my life, it’ll have to be pretty freaking phenomenal because I really care about my financial stability above all else. Really, really, really.

I find my faithlessness to be sad because I did the National Novel Writing Month–and this should be a whole different post, but I’m going to shoehorn this in here to prove a point about my exhaustion.

Speaking of exhaustion, I did that in 8 days, not 30. Being distracted by my own poverty, and the election, I couldn’t bear to write about any sort of romance, any sort of anything. November was unpleasant.

Something unexpected happened when I was writing my final scene as the 30th day of NaNoWriMo was heading into midday. It was probably the most intense thing I’ve ever written. The couple I had been writing about had just gotten married and the woman’s insecurity was harpooning her doting husband, repeatedly. I got them through that morass of sorrow, although they were facing yet another obstacle–a racist mom that the husband seems to be tied to. Anyway, beautiful scenes, I was impressed by myself, I cried when I was done writing–and that never happens (I’m sure it was because I was physically exhausted, too).

I swear this ties into the love coming attractions stuff–bear with me! So, I’m not a novelist, I’m a memoirist and personal essayist. But there was something about writing about these two people, and reading about them, and getting emotionally invested in their happiness and wellbeing, that moved some emotional blocks out of the way for me–mainly blocks of disbelief. Not that I was writing my own life, but I was able to create a realm of possibility for me that I don’t know if I’ve ever had. The love they shared rubbed off on me. I wanted the intimacy they had, and just by experiencing through them, I felt whole. I felt like I walked around in loving warmth that whole week.

The whole process was really transformative. I fell in love with creative writing again, which I didn’t think was possible. Especially just accomplishing basically the impossible–it gave me some hope, even for my financial situation. If I can write over 50,000 words in 8 days, then what else can I do?

I’m over that high now, but at least I can reference that big personal win as a turning point in this stint of unemployment. It was when I desperately needed to believe in something bigger than myself–and it was my novel; and, in the idea that other possibilities, other worlds, other people, other experiences are available to me, right now.

By the way, this novel has a lot of emotional importance for me. It got shitcanned in grad school. This Taurus classmate basically was the catalyst for my current metaphysical journey. He was so concerned that I had a bad workshop (and I did. He also may have been just concerned about not looking like a dick). And then I somehow started to connect to him psychically, which kinda drove me into anxious fits because  I could hear and feel that he really loved me, or so I intuited, and he wasn’t conscious of what he was emitting to me.That story is a whole other blog post, for sure. I still can barely understand it, but if it wasn’t for that guy, I would not be here, chronicling my wild and wacky life.

So. I’m 100% sure love–real, curl my toes love–will come before money. And that’s fucking wild to me. Not my idea, not my plan. Clearly, I need it. Clearly, or it would come in my more “logical” order.

Adding those two Venusian elements together, money and love, and I have never been more bewildered and confused about what’s going on in my life. Capricorns don’t live in confusion. They create plans in order to prevent confusion, or they plan their ways out of confusion. I can’t plan my way out of this, or work my way out of this. I can’t even beg my way out of this.

So yeah, man–I’m in the fucking three-legged race, bound up with the Universe. All I can do is keep asking is for divine help. I throw shit up to angels all the time now. There’s not much else to do besides that and apply for jobs and watch my applications go into black holes and keep fucking trying even when I’m wondering how Sisyphean my life has become. Is this just the life of the brainstem now? Just…existing?

Who am I outside of a job and all the trappings of adulthood? Who am I becoming as I am being stripped again?

I am not going through this for nothing. I am not going through this for nothing. I am not going through this for nothing. I am not going through this for nothing. I am not going through this for nothing.

So, the ache of waiting–it’s destroying me to the point that I can’t even pay attention to it anymore. I try to lean into the pain, if it doesn’t lay me out first. Sometimes it does. I go about my day. I try not to let me think that I’m existentially doomed, that nothing will change, that I will die in this rented room. I have to believe in the constancy of change, like I believe in gravity. I have to tell despair to fuck off so many times. It’s like a barracuda that keeps coming at me and I beat it off of me as if my life depended on it–and it does.

I have to keep redefining myself by not the things or people I’m scared to lose. I am something else outside of these people, places, and things that I am discovering, that I am re-discovering, like how NaNoWriMo helped me to see.

I’m waiting to be normal again, to be self-sufficient again, to be in a community of 2 or 12 or 20 or 200 again, to be more than a brainstem that’s just existing again.

I’m waiting for restoration.

I don’t know when my proverbial Winter Solstice or Christmas will come, when I’m eased back into the light, seconds at a time. My own soul’s Advent calendar looks like I’ve had it for years. It’s so beat up and falling apart. It’s being propped up by books and CDs and my own sheer will. I have no idea how many doors left until it’s done. I just open a new door every day and find the treat inside.

And sure, I’ll probably lose my shit when Gabriel comes down in some glittery glory and announces some good news. I will be caught off guard, just minding my own business, falling asleep as I’m tending to the herd of my own dreams.

Still. As I wait for light’s return, it all comes down to the surrendering of what is–past due bills, isolation, ramen for lunch, another job application, the rolling of eyes, the sighing, the crying, the not crying…

And more waiting.

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