Q417

money SOMTomorrow starts the 4th quarter of 2017. I feel like this year has, for the most part, gotten progressively better. I don’t know if I’ve said it here, but I’ve said it to a few people—I am a problem that you can throw money at.

Now, after a year of struggle, I’ve had some money throw at my problematic self. It’s amazing how much poverty can make you cranky and unhappy.

As my country really starts to rot from the inside out (some more, really), I’m really not a fan of capitalism anymore. But for now, I just need to lifehack it ethically and make it work for me.

Right now, it’s about building up my business, creating partnerships. To throw in a little astrology…

Jupiter, the expansion planet (yeah, I guess it’s about luck and blessings, too, but I’m just going to call it an expander) is about leave my 10th house, which is ruled by Capricorn–the reputation and career house.

Jupiter is in Libra, the sign of partnership. And, we’re in Libra season now. There are other planets that are in Libra (Mercury, the communication planet) or will be (Venus, planet concerned with beauty, arts, love, values; Mars, planet concerned with power, energy, action, and (sexual) desire).  My 10th house is in Libra…

Jupiter will be cruising into the house of friendship and groups, ruled by your best friend, Aquarius. I have Scorpio in that house, so Jupiter will be in Scorpio then. I’m thinking I will find deeper, more meaningful friendships and partnerships. It’s an auspicious time and I’m trying not to think about it too much except to have the structures in place to welcome in this new, generous energy.

Back to Libra things, though. Yesterday, I did this homework for some business coaching/training I’m going to start as a part of this new business partnership I’m going to be a part of, and connection & collaboration kept coming up. I felt like an automaton that could only repeat a few words over and over. At least I know, in part, what I am about. Now as I write this, I realize—that’s who I am, when it comes to my reputation and career: one-on-one.

But back to money. The lack of it caused me so much misery, especially in the past few years. And the focus of money for me has ebbed and flowed. But I’ve had so many issues with it. I’ve written about Venusian problems before…it’s nothing new for me.

But in these last few weeks before I turn 40, I can see the confluence of good coming together, finally—but just as I have felt it would happen for years. I just didn’t think it’d be like this.

I feel like this time will be a busy time for me. I have a lot to learn. I’ll be learning how to be a legit copywriter and copyeditor, which I’m excited to do. I’ll also be learning about how I will operate in this new business partnership. But I have the space to do it, which is great.

It’s amazing when things start to line up like they do. I only have one real steady client of my own and I need the new work. I feel like October will be hectic and I have to just embrace it all. I don’t like being bored but I don’t like being super busy. It’s a tough balance that I will need to maintain for my sanity.

It’s weird when things suddenly get better—or it seems suddenly better. It’s been hard to write this post because it’s mostly good news. It’s been so nice to not worry about money as I have this year.

But one question that I keep thinking about: what’s a soldier, home after the war, supposed to do in peacetime? I’ve been made for, in, and through crisis. So how will I cope when there’s nothing major to stress over?

I guess I’m going to find out.

freedom! ’17

freedom 17_SOM.jpgToday is the 1st anniversary of the last day I worked for someone else. That was not the plan, though.

I was working a short contract position at a theme park as a technical writer. I thought that this was what I wanted to do professionally, even before I graduated from grad school (which I did three years ago last month).

The gig paid well. The people I worked with, for the most part, were great to work with. My team of writers, though, was not. It was icy, insular, and white, like an igloo with the door shut.

I was sad that my contract wasn’t renewed. I knew I had done an excellent job. But maybe politics got in the way. It was a long commute from my side of town, most of which I didn’t do with my own car yet.

So here’s what’s happened to me since then, in somewhat chronological order:

  • I evacuated and went home due to Hurricane Matthew.
  • Went on unemployment
  • Signed up for “content mills”–website that people use to hire writers for cheap
  • Went on food stamps
  • Applied for full-time jobs
  • Had my room flood due to busted pipes
  • Found a steady client for social media work
  • Started to find new friends (online but still)
  • Saw one awful housemate move out and a worse one move in
  • Helped a friend move from Miami to D.C.
  • Lost my car, again
  • Focused on my blog again
  • Went to St. Pete for a women’s retreat
  • Got a new website for my writing business, then switched developers
  • Partnered with a friend to do copy editing and writing
  • Updated my writing rates
  • Evacuated to Chicago for 12 days because of Hurricane Irma
  • Finished two big copy editing and writing projects (just this month)

It’s been a lot, and to have the freedom to create my own schedule, to work from home—even if home is obnoxious a lot of the time—it’s a freedom I’ve experienced before, when I was working as a contracted grant writer. It was nice to get work done in Chicago without having to need anything except my computer. My business is me.

And to even say that I have a small business—that’s really wild. I wasn’t signing up to do the content mills because I wanted to. I didn’t even necessarily want to be on this path. But a solar return (astrological term for birthday) report that I received almost two years ago confirmed that I needed to work for myself.

I just didn’t think it’d be so soon.

It’s been a little harrowing, though—and that’s an understatement. But I didn’t expect to be a small business owner, I really didn’t. All I have wanted since I’ve been in Florida is to support myself, which had gotten increasingly harder to do. The opportunities are here, but they don’t seem to be for me.

But Twitter has especially helped me out–with job opportunities, with fundraising, with emotional support. It’s funny how I came down here thinking I’d get that from the people I knew down here. But Florida has been the land of surprising disappointments. And after this hurricane evacuation, and seeing how easy it was to be in Chicago, I plan on leaving here in 2018. I have long overstayed my welcome, but I’ll write more on that later.

I don’t have much to say except that I am grateful—and maybe a little exhausted. I waded through swamps of humiliation, doubt, and frustration and I feel like things are finally going to be even beyond where I wanted them to be, yet where I need them to be.

Here’s to Freedom! ’17. 🙌🏾🎉🍾🍻

what I don’t want to say

dawn

This is may be a meta blog post, or like a blog post about blog posts. Ars blog post?

There’s so much I don’t want to share right now, and maybe that’s also why I haven’t wanted to write here. I just go deep all the time, and finally, I’m tired. I just want to sit on the beach of life right now.

Or, I could be tweeting too much. I’ve gone on a lot of rights lately. But still, there’s something about coming here and spilling my guts that I feel like I don’t have to do as much anymore.

I still want to share my spiritual journey, though. Finding the right sweet spot for disclosure and privacy can be tough for a memoirist.

There’s one blog post just waiting to be written, and it’s about my mother. I got major clarity about our relationship last week, like decades worth in one sitting. But the truth was devastating–even though it was something I already knew. Maybe I will write this after this post.

Last week, I basically dragged my broken heart through my writing schedule and made it somehow. It was terrible, physically unbearable; but by Friday, the pain broke and I was fine again. But then again, I’m not fine.

I’ve had to take a real pause and a hard look at all of my relationships and see how my relationship, or lack thereof, with my mother has filtered through everything. It’s been enlightening but also slightly horrifying. Slightly only because deep down, I knew all this.

My tightening up here is probably a sign of improving health. Maybe I had to parade my pain and guts and essence to be seen, heard, accepted–isn’t that what babies do, pretty much? Look at me, I’m in pain. I need a hug. I need a bottle. I need to be burped. I need my diaper change. There’s a lot that I want to share, but it’s is just for me–or at least for close friends.

And that’s what having proper boundaries should feel like, like that I do have something special in me, about me, that I don’t have to share with anyone; that I don’t have to be a certain way for acceptance; that I don’t need external validation for my thoughts or experiences.

Right now, there’s so much I would like to share here, but as I started to learn in college, if you don’t have healthy boundaries, people will trample all over you and think that you welcomed them in to do it.

Even though in the previous post, it was a bit of a lament and slow acceptance to my situation, I’m slowly, ever so slowly, seeing its purpose. I keep trying to remind myself, or convince myself, there’s no way I would have been able to get the messages about my mother if everything was going well.

I try to imagine myself, busy in a relationship, busy with friends, busy going out, busy busy busy, and trying to schedule time to meditate or seek spiritual guidance of some sort.

Do people really do that when they are happy? If you’re in the light, do you seek even more light?

Still, when all that busyness returns, and it will, the gratitude I will feel…I will look like a cloying, obsequious fool–and I won’t care. I won’t be the crying baby, forever longing to be held and soothed. I won’t have anything to prove about my own worth.

I won’t have to spill my guts so much to show that I’m a human being.

At the bottom of these 10 of Swords which impale me through and through, I can see a newer dawn start to creep above the horizon…

which way?

the right pathI’m going to try to be short since I’m hella behind here. I owe my readers three blog posts by tomorrow.

I haven’t been around because I’ve been busy–thank goodness. Although, I wish I was busy in a way where I could fully support myself. I’m slowly, very slowly, gaining new clients. And I’m grateful. But I’m not sure if I like this.

I think I do, though. I hate that my posture is being jacked up from sitting in my bed all the time, but I love not dealing with the disdain of working with white women in the workplace. I hate that I’m still behind on my car payments, but I love not commuting for hours a day to and from work. I hate that this has become such a journey of solitude, but I love having more control over my day.

Maybe the title of this blog post and the picture have had their own conversation: question and answer. But I’m not really happy with the answer. Today, I wrote about some scary steroids, and then I applied to a few jobs, including an administrative assistant job. Yet my freelance work is increasing.

I really don’t want to waste my time, period. If I knew which path to go down, I would just commit to it and go full speed ahead. But I don’t know. At least now, it’s not scary anymore. Now it’s just annoying as I see my credit score go down further the longer I’m on this path of being and becoming a writer. And yes, I am divorcing my self-worth from my credit score–out of sheer sanity’s sake.

I still wonder what I’m doing, what I’m doing here in Florida. Should be elsewhere? I don’t have the energy to explore every last option, even in writing. As I approach month #7 of underemployment, now I know that this is a little more permanent than I thought. And no one will save me from this.

So, this is the path, the “I don’t know what I’m doing but I am pleasing my clients” path, the “this is what my MFA is going towards? really?” path, the “I feel like I’m wasting my talents and am so unseen” path, the “I guess it’s just the Universe and me” path.

The path, the path, the path, the path, the path.

There are a few people that I met at a writers’ conference a few years ago. All of them are getting national press for their work. One won a national award. Another has a movie option. It’s wild what’s happened after four years, and how divergent my path is.

And in my throat right now is bubbling, choking emotion: the pain, the sadness, the jealousy, the WTFness of what my life has become.

But I know these two things 1) Those folks have oodles of support that I don’t have access to (sure I have angels, etc., but clearly the Universe has other things in mind. 2) Knowing that most people couldn’t walk my path helps me to hold my head up when there’s that shame of unrecognition and failure pressing down on me.

So, that’s all there is. The path. My path.

I had my phone cut off for about 10 days and I tried to fundraise for it. Nothing happened. So it was off. The thick silver lining was that the telemarketers stopped for a while. But I had to just be OK with my phone being off, with no help, even after asking for it over and over. I deserved the help but didn’t get it that time, or the time I wanted it in.

So that’s my path, and it’s not some lack of abundance consciousness–because really, who likes living hand to mouth? NO ONE. No one consciously chooses poverty–or even subconsciously.

Anyway, this dispatch from the path is that it’s almost kind of boring, but then I get little surprises, like when I got my first bonus for my writing, all $1.70 of it. It meant something. There’s a little glimmer of recognition.

I have to keep going, even when I missing a writing opportunity this morning, while I was still blurry on sleep; even when I got rejected quite quickly for another technical writing job from the worst recruiter I’ve ever spoken to; even when my sleep has been disrupted because my brain can’t turn off; even when anxiety tries to choke me out into the next life.

I guess I’m saying I’m more comfortable here now, the quotidian plodding along. It may be like this for a few months longer, and I think I’ll be OK with it.

If there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s survival. I just hope that someday soon, I can try out thriving.

no one/the drift

no one1

No one will take care of me but me…

It’s a steely truth that I have been in slow acceptance of throughout my 30s, and especially during and after grad school.

I keep writing about this time I’ve been in, going on seven months of job insecurity and underemployment. It’s become boring and painful at the same time. Boring because it’s repetitive–even though, I’m so grateful more work has shown up. Painful because I don’t feel any closer to stability than I did on October 1st.

But there has been one hallmark of stability. Two years ago today, I moved into this house. This is the longest I have lived at one spot in Florida. That is worth celebrating. When I first came here, I was hoping for a stable, chill, no drama dwelling. I moved here because I didn’t have a car at the time and I could walk to the job I had.

I didn’t really get any of that.

I have survived an overbearing elderly landlady, a long house sale, an infestation, two stoners, two major water leaks. Currently,  I’m surviving lackadaisical landlords and the roommate who has a disgusting, chronic cough. Noise-canceling headphones have been a saving grace for me and for that old man. Although it seems like this home seems like a step away from hospice or the old folks home, it’s still my home, and two years of residence is something I had to fight for, especially this year.

Back to the past: I had posted on my Patreon for my $10 and above readers an old post from 2012, right before I moved down here. Money concerns were pressing–I wasn’t even sure how I’d make it down here, if I could buy a car. I did and I did, and then I lost things on the way and lost the car. I’ve been bobbing up and down here, nearly drowning so many times…

The reason why I left Chicago, besides that I had been thoroughly chilled from 15 winters, was that my friendships had started to end, mainly though people moving on with their families. I had no real sense of my own family–soul family or otherwise. Chicago is a transient city and I had never planned on staying for so long. I wanted to live in New York City after college–and then 9/11 happened. Chicago wasn’t a bad city to overstay in. Dreams change, die, transform, and are reborn–sometimes.

I let go of all expectations…

I came down here to follow my dreams and was shocked to find that no one really gave shit, either way. There was no welcome party or parade for following my heart–just a lot of heartache. I was the only one who could propel myself towards my goal of becoming a writer. If only I had known it would be cost so much–physically, emotionally, financially–I would have saved up for a few years.

But this continental drift of people away from me is not geographically bound. Grad school was a shameful and excruciating experience–a reintroduction in white supremacy and the underside of humanity (a little dramatic there, but I lived with and still with some really awful people). The tribe I was supposed to find did not exist. I’ve been able to accept that the relational reasons of why I came down here are now not what keeps me here.

I keep me here. My love for the land: the lack of snow, the curious, unique creatures, my own curiosity of the beaches. I came for a cousin and a friend and neither are here now. My safety net was left in Chicago. I never really had one here and I can’t seem to weave one that lasts. I’ve resented it a lot, but resentment is melting into wisdom and a newfound appreciation of my grit.

For now, I keep me here, and that is more than enough.

So. It seems as if I’m in a season of deep solitude, which is hard when you need help to pay you bills. I’m very self-reliant, so the quote above is an internal mantra that I live by. But I’m also very resourceful. It’s strange for me not to find work easily. It’s strange for me to not find a new group of people to belong to–even if I battle waves of existential angst and dread. It’s strange that my elasticity and resiliency has some slack in it; I’m not bouncing back. I feel like a deflated foursquare ball and last week stomped me flat.

Two weeks ago, I had a great job interview that amounted to…nothing except a rather insulting rejection email. I’m only insulted because it came at 7pm last Friday, after I had a conversation with the interviewer who said that he wouldn’t leave me waiting for news.

I had a feeling on Thursday that this job wasn’t mine. I could go back over and over in my mind as to what I did wrong. I was utterly charming. I pwned that interview. I sent a handwritten thank you note, which usually clinches it. I did nothing wrong.

But because I wasn’t feeling it, I needed some spiritual confirmation. I did some divination (oracle cards) that showed me emphatically that it was a no, but I kept asking until I got a yes. Not very wise–it’s a waste of time to do that. I really needed to accept that this was not going to happen.

I was livid to be sitting around all day, like I was waiting for some guy to call, and then getting a “Good afternoon” email. Fuck you, dude. I really wanted to the opportunity to grow, to be stable, to have health insurance again. I hated that connected to this person that I will never see again. I hated wanting anything so much. I hated that this was so out of my control, that this invisible white hand may have, once again, smacked me down. And that “fuck you” maybe should be directed at the Universe?

Friday was the six month anniversary of this underemployment season. I was hoping to end 180 days with a fist pump of victory. I got a punch in the gut that sent me to the floor instead.

It doesn’t piss me off as much now. It’s been said that underneath anger is hurt. So the anger lid has been unscrewed, and now it’s just sad. Disappointment. Fear. Anxiety. Defeat. Dread. When will this end? If I can rely on life being ever-changing, why am I going in this straight line towards my *gulp* destruction? What is going to knock me off of this calamitous trajectory of where everything continues to go tragically wrong?

And usually, I’d turn to Twitter to share my woes, but after going on nine years of sharing, I feel the drift there, too. So I mentioned it in a couple of tweets. One person followed up with me, a tarot reading friend that I’ve known since 2015. It was nice to know that she was rooting for me. I shared in on FB and another friend said she was praying for me–one that has been admittedly too busy to keep in touch.

Maybe the drift is mutual.

The lack of caring doubly hurts, especially since I know that I’ve sown seeds of love in caring in others. Where is my harvest? Where is my return of investment? So many unanswered rhetorical questions…

After consulting at least five different tarot readers about my job outlook, there has been no inclination that I’m doing anything wrong. Things will improve. One day? Will it be in this lifetime?

I believe there’s a couple of things going on.

1) Aging. People my age (I’ll be 40 this year) tend to focus on their families. It makes sense since kids these days have schedules that rival their parents. If adults my age don’t have families of their own, making new friends, let alone sustaining the old ones, becomes harder and harder to do. Competing schedules and priorities are the main culprit. I can’t really throw a tantrum over this anymore. I acquiesce to it, even though I feel so unprepared on how to handle it.

2) We’re not all the same. I think about my brother. He’s gone through emotional hell, but even with his behavioral issues, I still find him to be the most caring person I’ve met. He cares, period. There’s no sense of needing reciprocity or balance. He just cares because that’s who he is. He knows when people needs hugs and gives them away freely. He has an innocence that is worth protecting and fostering.

Because growing up, my intellect was what was praised and even taken for granted, I never thought that my brother and I were cut from the same caring cloth. I thought of myself as hard, cold, steely–very Capricorn traits. My brother is a Cancer with a Capricorn moon, and I have a Cancer moon.

I’ve been accused of being selfish and not a good friend–ironically from people who were selfish and not good friends. So as a Capricorn sun and rising, I work hard to not need anything from anyone. When I do, it feels like there’s a power imbalance. Being vulnerable is awkward, even for a compulsive oversharer like me. If the roles were reversed, where I give care, then I don’t feel the power imbalance. It feels like being a human being, having a human experience.

As weird as it seems to declare it: I care, a lot, and reciprocity of said caring is not necessarily why I was created. We’re not all the same. Most of us really don’t know how to hold space for people who are going through tough times. It’s something has to be learned over time. And one day, I’ll be more than OK with that. But for now, I’m not really OK with it.

And maybe that’s why I’ve been in positions of asking for help so many gotdamn times in my 30s, to the point I’m trying not to associate myself with being extremely needy. Per usual, Capricorns are extremely hard on themselves and self-compassion is very hard to cultivate until you’re forced to.

Well, I’m being forced to.

At the same time, asking for help so often has almost hardened me from the resounding rejection that comes through silence and unmet needs.

Very almost.

After Friday, feeling so angry and upset, and then feeling angry and upset for not having any real resource for help or comfort, I had no choice but to look within.

Although I’m in a severe friends and family drought, I have Spirit and guides and angels. and ancestors, all here, all ready and willing to help me. Even writing this makes me feel really destitute, but I know that the circumstances, whether created by the Universe or by an apathetic world, guided me to stop looking outside of myself for support.

It feels, very pathetically,  like having imaginary friends and it feels like a human failing. All these acquaintances, none of the real intimacy that I’ve had in the past. But if reaching out only leaves my hand empty, then there’s a reason for it.

I love and accept myself.

It’s not because I’m a horrible person, because even horrible people have friends and family. It’s not because I’m not deserving. It’s not because I’m not worthy. It just is–but it is for a reason, a really good reason: that I’m enough. I’ve got enough; I’ve got to love myself through this season in a way that I’ve never had to before.

I realized last week that although I have been through hell and back many times, the difference was having a community who rallied around me. I don’t have one, really, at present. It feels like I have individuals, but not a group.

I know that my perspective can be warped, too. Years ago, before I moved down here, a former friend and I were chatting and he was offering love and support, but it felt like whatever he and his family was offering wasn’t enough. Maybe that’s the biggest reason why we’re now former friends.

Maybe I was a walking black hole of love then, a lot more busted up and raw than I am now. We all have our limits of love, but I know that whatever this is now is not that.

It’s a bit of a mindfuck for me, the drifting away from groups. I’ve had to re-define my self-worth and what I base it on. It’s been rattling me to re-establish who I am without the influence of others. As someone who has been proudly independent, I’ve been slowly realizing how much my identity was formed by the people around me. We all are formed that way, so there’s nothing wrong with it. But I must be somehow imbalanced.

When things go chronically wrong, it’s very easy to keep fighting against the current that is guiding you along in another direction. I’m not sure why my finances are taking so long to become stable, or why this part of the journey is like The Hermit tarot card. I didn’t sign up for the solitary sojourn through loneliness and despair, but here I am, sojourning. I’m still alive, which always feels miraculous because there hasn’t been much to grateful for or to look forward to. It’s been sheer will to stay here on this plane.

And since this has been such a horrendous, disappointing time, I need shelter and protection. Whatever I’m feeling doesn’t need to be broadcast into the void. My feelings are precious. They really do matter, even if no one ever affirms them or sees them or cares for me. Because I’ve been speaking into the wind for so long, at least for now, I’m taking this concrete self-care step of sharing here only.

I hope soon, as I continue to commune in the spiritual world, I don’t consider it to be the consolation prize of isolation. I want to view this as a foundation-building time. Right now, I really resent it, but I’m tired. I want to go with the flow and find the new inner resources that I’ve had at my fingertips all along. I want to be able say that “I’m never alone” and really mean it.

As I make my way through Aries season, I’m learning how to really be self-reliant and self-sufficient. I may not be able to do anything about this social drift, but I can make sure that I access the Source to everything I need, and just keep going–even if I’m in that space beyond hopeless, beyond exhaustion,  beyond the end of myself…

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

 

Support this blog!

stencil-blog-post-image

Welcome to paradise!

Hello, readers!

I’ve been super busy writing for pay, which is great–but it’s tiring. I have 5 articles I need to write  It’d be great if the rate was higher, then I wouldn’t even be writing this post.

But, alas, I am. So. There are three way you can support me until I find more clients or more stable work.  Also, there are things I want to do for this blog that I don’t have funds to do yet.

  1. Become a patron on Patreon. The tiers are from $1 all the way to $100 for a custom poem from me. The more you give, the more you get from me.
  2. Donate directly via PayPal or Cash.me.  No fees involved!
  3. Donate to my ongoing fundraiser. This does have fees, on my end. But you can learn more about my almost five-month plight.

There is a donate button on the lefthand side or under the menu, depending on if you’re viewing my blog from a desktop computer or a mobile device.

That’s it! Give and share, share and give, and thanks in advance!