action · adulthood · faith · joy · letting go


A friend once told me that the Universe gives us
compensations. This was after I’d just spent an emotionally, mentally,
physically, and spiritually bankrupting week at my family home in NJ last month – I was
there to clean out my childhood room as my dad and his fiancé have purchased a
new construction home in Florida and plan to move there in April, so he is
clearing out the house to get it ready for sale.
He was going to yoke my brother into the task of clearing
out my room – and somehow, not really being sure if I’d cleared out all the sex
toys, drugs, or writings about such things – and in addition wanting the
experience and process of the ritual of “leaving my childhood home” – I made a
snap decision to buy a flight home in October. My dad’s not really a
sentimental kind of guy, and wasn’t really getting that it was an emotional
thing that the house I grew up in – that we shared a family life & history
in – was about to be sold.
That same friend also told me that her parents had sold her
childhood home without her packing up her things, and that if my dad wanted to
clear it out, then whatever he found was his own fault/problem, and that
although it sort of sucked that she didn’t get to do it herself, it happened,
and it was what it was. But, luckily, I knew I had the money, and there was a
cheap deal on a flight, and off I went… to a whirlwind of entirely fucked up.
In describing the state of the house to friends once I
returned to SF, two people asked word for word “Was anyone living there??” And
my answer was yes – yes, two adult men, my dad and my brother, were there,
living in a home that had dead flies on all the window sills, dead bugs caught
in the scum of the oven hood, beyond the forever unmowed, uninviting lawn. You
remember when I said we never had people over growing up? Yeah, my house was
not the entertainment house. It has gotten significantly worse since my mom
moved out ten years ago after my parents’ divorce, and to be fair, my dad has
been splitting his time between his own home (he kept the house – my mom is a
city dweller by very nature) and his fiance’s home, and keeping up the
maintenance of a barely used home is a trial. Plus, my brother had been away at
graduate school until last year, so … The house reflects the loneliness and neglect.
I did a lot of work before I went home on untying my
identification with the house – if it only had more attention, love,
consideration of its assets, it could be beautiful, exciting, a success. I was
livid that the 200-year-old oak tree in the front lawn was now rotting, and
will have to come down before the house is sold – its roots had died; I felt
personally affronted by this.
So, I went home – to pack, but also to make peace with all of that. With the deep depression, the anger, the
resentment, the despair that house witnessed. To make peace with the shattered
door frame to my bedroom as it was once attempted to be kicked down. And also,
to thank it. To honor what was, what it sheltered, what it witnessed, and then
to let it go.
I did sort of well – no, I did as absolutely as massively
well as I possibly could in the situation. When on a streaming tears emergency
phone call to an SF friend, she asked me what more I could be doing at that
moment (We’d just come back from visiting my dad’s parents in Queens – and
their home is, without any exaggeration, a fertile candidate for an episode of
“Hoarders”, … and some very strong meds). I thought about what more I could be
doing at that moment, and the answer was nothing; I was doing absolutely everything
I knew to do in moments of distress – Once we’d gotten home from Queens, I went
out for a long walk, I called my spiritual teacher lady (who said we all have a
Grey Gardens branch of the family tree)
😉 and I made plans to go to dinner with a girl friend who knew my situation.
So, I told my friend on the phone, I was literally doing all that I could be
doing – and I knew then, that that had to be enough. I was
– I was sad, anguished at the
state of my family’s homes, of their comfort with or ambivalence toward or
simply paralyzing despair in the face of such obvious … sickness. Yes, I was
uncomfortable, but I also was doing the very best I could – that had to be
So, I went to dinner with a girl friend; I cleared out my
childhood room (there was only one book of porn and no drugs!); and I saged the
damn place – because I don’t want no bad jujus hangin’ out there in NJ while
I’m all the way back here in CA.
And I came home.
In the tiny window of my layover in Detroit, I get a phone call
from the temp agency in SF asking me if I want to work at the interior design
firm again – I could start the very next day. … Having cleared out the old, I made way for the new.
And so my wise, wonderful, now-Brooklynite friend told me
upon hearing this story: “The Universe gives us compensations.”
The reason I wrote today’s blog on this? This afternoon I
found the most perfectly ‘couldn’t be more perfect’ purple wool coat that I’ve
been actively envisioning, believing in, and hunting down for the last month –
on sale. And after the blind date disappointment, I remember her words, and
smile joyfully at my plum compensation. 😉

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