community · debt · healing · vulnerability

A Kick Start.

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Well, folks. Tomorrow I will publish my indiegogo campaign
to help me pay the back-rent accrued when I was in chemo.
It’s been a short, strange, and amazing process.
About 2 weeks ago, I was sitting with a friend in a café, both of us
“applicationing,” online searching, looking for work, looking for authenticity.
I said to him, “You know my favorite thing I ever did? I
hosted this group art show in SF.”
I showed him the LocalArtists Productions page, practically
defunct and way out-dated. I told him how successful it was, people came,
people who didn’t know they could sell their art sold their art. I even sold some!
People laughed, ate, met, mingled. It was divine.
I then told my friend that I haven’t painted much since then. That I can’t really in my small apartment with a cat who likes to
walk over wet paint. I told him about this art studio I found while exploring
the 4th floor of my apartment building, and how I’d inquired to my landlord
about it, and how he’d said, yes, I can rent it for $25 a month(!!!), if I pay off my back rent.
Almost $4000 now. Out of work for 6 months, only working
part time after that. I racked up quite the debt. And have been slowly paying
it back. But…
Here’s where lightning struck. My friend said to me,
“You should do a Kickstarter. This is exactly the kind of thing people use
crowdfunding for.”
I looked at him, stunned, quizzical, a little vague. I tilted my head, trying to process what was just
said, offered, opened up before me.
I replied, incredulous, “I guess people would donate to a cancer survivor who wanted to make art
again, wouldn’t they?”
And so it was, 2 weeks ago we started something new.
Planning meetings, a few video shoots, a lot of “omigod, I’m
not even wearing any make-up, I wish I’d smile, I look awful” moments. And it’s
done. It’s being polished, and tomorrow morning, I will push this campaign out
into the world in the hopes that others will actually feel something from it.
In the hopes that I can stop writing “back-rent” in my
monthly budget. In the hopes that I can sever that weight of debt from that
time in my life.
As I sat with my friend going over the language in the
campaign, we have been talking a lot about “closing the cancer chapter.” And I
turned to him and said, “This isn’t closing it,
you know? This doesn’t make it ‘over.’
There is no “closed” when it comes to cancer. I’m in
remission. I’m 2 years into the 5 year “almost as healthy as normal people”
period. But it’s never closed. It can be moved on from in many ways, but the
simple existence of the campaign itself is proof that I’m willing to move into
the world in a way I wasn’t before
cancer.
Everything I do is in reaction to it.
I told my friend, tearfully, that this campaign is
important. It’s helpful. But it isn’t the end. The “closing the chapter” is a
great sound-byte, and I’m using it. But it was important for me to say to him,
“Not quite.”
For better or worse.
I am proud of the
strides I’ve made since being sick. I’m proud of the advancements and actions I’ve
taken – being in a band, singing, being in plays, a musical, going to Hawaii,
Boston, Seattle, trying dating again, flying a goddamned plane! – and I’m
overwhelmed by the support I have gotten.
But, it’s so hard to sit with the reality that I am who I am
because of what I went through.
I still get nervous when I get a sore throat, cuz that’s how
I was diagnosed. I still have to keep extra tabs on my health insurance. I still have
a butterfly-shaped scar on my chest where the chemo tube went.
And last week I put on a sweater I hadn’t worn in a while,
and pulled a strand of hair caught in it. The hair, my hair, was long, past
shoulder length. It was from before I was sick. Before my hair fell out.
It was like seeing a unicorn. Evidence of a mythical time. A
time called, “Before.”
It existed. I existed.
The cancer chapter isn’t closed. I don’t know if it ever
does.
That doesn’t mean that I don’t take action and strides and
make use of the persistent lesson to live.
I am proud of the
woman I have become and continue to evolve into. I know she exists now. And
maybe she always did. 

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action · debt · deprivation · health · perseverance · recovery · self-care · theater

Work It.

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I’m up at what I would
call atrociously early, if I hadn’t just signed up to be the desk person at my
gym at 5:30 am on Mondays starting June.
That will be hellaciously early. This is only moderate.
I do a work-trade at my workout studio so I can get free
unlimited classes. Last time I was on the trade staff, I barely took advantage
of it; since I could go whenever I wanted for free, there didn’t feel like any
urgency. Now. … Well, I started back on staff just before my Boston trip, so I felt
a bit urgent in “lifting my seat”! And in hoping not to wheeze like a rhino during
any strenuous activity!
Now that the trip is well over, and schedules are back on
track, I’m trying to get back a few times a week again. It’s good for me. Mentally, mostly. Though, yes, when I go
regularly, I see and feel changes that I like. It’s
nice to feel strong, capable. It’s nice to push myself
because sometimes the class is peopled with 60 year olds (along with the 20, 30
and 40 somethings who are straight out of a Marina postcard) – and if they, a
sexagenarian, if you will, can do it, can hang for an hour, then so can I.
Moderately!
I also asked a friend to meet up and do our writing together
yesterday evening, since we’re both in the study group that’s doing all this together. It
was good to see her, and we got a lot accomplished. I can already see that this
work is a lot deeper and more meaningful than the last time I did this, so I
can hope for change because of it.
It has already shown, in just the 15 timered-minute increments,
that there are some messed up ideas
around self-worth, what I can expect in this world, and what I think I deserve.
So… it’ll be nice to get them out of my reflexes and onto the page.
Also, I did show up
to an audition for a staged reading this past weekend, and in fact, actually got the
part. Like, in writing. In an email saying, “I’d like to offer you the role
of…” and then the follow-up email entitled, “Welcome to the cast.”
So, I’m now Various Roles! Ha! Yay for me. Goes on my resume.
Speaking of, I did a little more work last night – or action,
rather, and sent something out. I still have loads to wade through following my
info interview with my former boss last week, which was awesome, but I can try to take a small action every day.
In fact, I took that action last night after all that writing during which my
fears and beliefs tell me that no matter what I do or accrue or amass, it’ll be
taken from me because I can’t handle it properly, because I don’t deserve it.
SO, I told that thought and belief to screw itself and got
online to follow-up on something I’d seen earlier last week.
I also replied to the Volunteer Usher group I belong to who’d put
out feelers to see who’d be interested in ushering the Sir Paul show at Candlestick in
August. UH. ME. We won’t find out if we’re “chosen” until August, but I’m throwing my hat in the ring.
I continue to throw my hat in the ring. It’s kinda one of
the things about me. I can have all these creeping, sodden beliefs and habits
and reflexes that undermine what I do and want to do in this life, and I seem to continue to do this stuff anyway. I don’t
know what or where that came from, that same impulse that told cancer to fuck
itself, that knows this work is worth it, that
isn’t satisfied accepting less than I deserve because of
reasons I learned long ago about only deserving a second rate life, job,
relationship, since it’ll be taken from me anyway or I’ll screw it up anyway.
I seem to have some bloody impulse that impels me to keep
trying. I squawk a lot about dilly-dallying at the cross-roads of my life, and
that’s true in many regards, and makes sense if I believe the above is true. But
despite my procrastination, my self-sabotage, and my self-judgment, I’m awake
at 5:30 this morning to do something that’s good for me. And my ass. 

allies · career · community · debt · fear · friendship · hope · Jewish · love · perseverance · scarcity · self-care · support

Bossypants

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“You look like you’re leading something,” she said.
We met for an info interview. My former boss and I. I wanted
to run past her my career ideas, my flailing, my desires, my questions. And what can
happen in an hour (I should know by now), is phenomenal.
We caught up briefly, I heard about the cross-Bay move, the
house hunt that fell magically into place after a year of city-looking, about
the semi-adult kids, and about the current work.
I met her in 2008. I had a fever of 103 that weekend and
had to cancel our initial interview, so we had to meet on a Sunday, fever or no
fever — I had a drastically depleting bank account, no safety net, and did what
it took. What it took was meeting her in a Starbucks, rabid coffee addiction
being the first thing we aligned on. We sat talking for over an hour, about the
job, sure, but about lots of other things, too.
I didn’t even apply for that job. I’d applied for a
different position in the organization, and having been passed up for that one,
they handed my soon-to-be new boss my resume, and said, Here, she might work
well for you.
I was blonde at the moment. I’d quit my job at the property
management company with no net and no prospects. No plan and no direction. I’d
simply had enough of crying in my car at lunch because I felt so stuck and lost
over my “career.” I’d been there almost 2 years. They were great. But it wasn’t
“me,” and I didn’t know what “me” was anyway, so I stayed.
Until I didn’t. Until my coworker there went out to lunch
with me, and I can’t even remember exactly what she must have asked me, or
exactly what I must have said. But it triggered action, for better or worse.
I called a friend of mine after that lunch, and he asked me two important questions: Why would you stay? “Financial security.” Why would you
leave? “Love. Self-love.”
I’d never said those words before. I never knew I’d had such
an impulse or a drive such as that. “love” or “self-love.”
What I didn’t have was a plan, a back-up, a safety net. And
for all that people say about “leap and the net will appear”… well, I should do a leeetle bit of my part in assuring a safe landing, too.
So, that weekend, I gave my notice, hosted a my now-annual “Pre-Val Hearts & Stars” party, dyed my hair blonde. And then scoured the
interwebs for hope. Which, FYI, is not where hope lives.
With a fever, a toilet paper shortage, and lots of “I
want to do something ‘creative,’ but I don’t know what that is” spinning, one
morning I woke up, and asked myself, What do I like to do?
Strangely, the answer was, “Well, I like being Jewish.” Ha.
So, onto the interwebs I went, and typed into google: Jewish, San Francisco.
I applied to everything there was. And I got called in for
the first job at that organization. And then I got called in by my soon-to-be
boss.
I was tired, desperate, and blond. I was feverish, scared,
and brain-addled.
I got the job.
(Here, I could insert the same style story that got me the
job at the property management company, under very similar circumstances including toilet-paper and food
shortage, but I’ll leave that for now – except to say, perhaps you now can
understand why it is that “Stability First” is my current motto and touchstone.
– No, It’s not “fun,” it’s not zany, or “creative,” but – guess what, to paraphrase
a friend I heard last week, It gives me the table upon which to build the
puzzle of my life. Stability first gives me the freedom and the ease and the
breathing room to … buy toilet paper.)
And here my now-former boss and I sat yesterday, at another
coffee shop, so full circle it makes me smile, and here were are again, talking
of Jewish, talking of organizations, of helping, of building, of changing. It’s
6 years later, now, almost to the date, that she and I have sat
across tables sipping our addictions and exchanging our personal and professional lives.
She showed up for me during cancer. She brought me gift
cards to Trader Joe’s so I wouldn’t go hungry or worry about doing so. She
brought me a travel Shabbat kit with candles and a prayer that my mom and I
would use once when she was here. She brought with her to Israel a prayer, a plea, I’d written during cancer that I’d asked her to take with her there, and she did, under a lemon tree in her parents’ backyard, dug, burned and buried my prayer with her small niece and nephew. She told me how incredible I was and how inspiring
I am.
And yesterday, she told me the same. She gave me hard
answers, great ideas, helped me think through my own. This woman is a mentor
and a friend, and lost or not lost, I have allies like her, unique as she is,
all over this planet. 

abundance · aspiration · change · clarity · community · debt · despair · finances · loneliness · love · recovery · stability

Risky Business

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There’s a funny little book I picked up a few years ago
entitled, Steal Like An Artist. One of
the tips in the book is, If you find yourself to be the smartest person in the
room, go to another room.
I’ve been considering this sentiment as applied to
satisfaction, success, self-love, financial security. At the risk of sounding
like a self-aggrandizing schmuck, I think I’ve been heading to another room for
a good little while.
But, I’m hesitant. I’m hesitant to leave those who I’ve met
in this room, and all the rooms before it. I’m hesitant to let those friendships go, when I notice that how I’ve been ordering and focusing my life is not
really aligned with how they are anymore. I don’t want to leave, but I kinda
already have, simply by the efforts I’ve been making in the past few years.
It sounds like an asshole thing to say. It “sounds” judgey
and materialistic and conceited. But, I don’t think it is. I think it’s one of the
most honest things I’ve said about where and who I am in my
life now.
To find a parallel that is perhaps less alienating, let’s
look at alcohol. In two weeks, it’ll be 8 years since my last drink. Since that
time, the folks who are in my life tend to also be people who don’t drink, or simply people who don’t drink alcoholically. I began to hang out with
people who behaved in ways I did or I wanted to, and in the process, those who I
used to spend time with began to fade. This wasn’t a judgment on them; it was
simply an acknowledgment of what we now had or didn’t have in common. I’d
simply moved to another room.
If you can hang with the non-judgment of that move, nearly 3
years ago, I began to spend time with people who didn’t accrue unsecured debt,
who tracked their income and expenses, who were attempting to live a full life
without bouncing along the disheartening bottom of “paycheck to paycheck,” “I can’t hang out
because I’m broke,” “I eat popcorn for dinner,” and “I have holes in my socks.” (Each something I’d said…repeatedly, for years.)
As with alcohol, I had simply come to the end
of my rope by how small and anxious and exhausting my life was. And, since
then, I’ve been endeavoring to live differently.
In that difference, I’ve begun to notice that many of the
folks whose room I’ve shared are still, in some manner, living a pinching,
struggling life. And I’ve begun to notice that we don’t talk as much, that I
have less to share about, that I don’t really relate or want to relate anymore.
Just like I don’t really have much to say if you share about your drunken
escapades, I don’t really have much to say about how you don’t know how you’ll
pay rent next month.
All I really do have to say about that is, I GET IT. I have completely been there. I have, many times in
my “adulthood,” had less than $3 in my bank account, and NO JOB. I KNOW what it
feels like to have a life so small because you can’t afford the bus to see friends, or the $8 for the movie they’re seeing, or just the $2 coffee chat. I
know what it’s like to despair that you’ll never get out of the hole. What
it’s like to assume that you’ll eek out a living … and then die. I know what
it’s like to think about killing yourself because you can’t see any other end
to the horrible cycle of constriction.
I know what it’s like to live small and afraid. And I know, now, what
it’s like to find a way out.
I can talk to you about that. I can tell you I’ve found a
way that works for me, and I can help or hope you find it, too. But,
ultimately, that’s all that I can do.
And in that knowledge and acceptance of where and who I’ve
become, a non-drinker who is attempting to live a larger life, it should only
make sense that I would want to be among others who are living the same. Simply
so I can learn. So I can hear, model, get hope, get help for myself. Because I am that person who was begging for help before, and now
I want to be around those who can help me. Who have moved into a different room
and found help themselves.
It feels so fucking lonely, right now. It feels judgmental
and abandoning and selfish and crass. It feels like I’m waving a hand over a
community that has loved me, and I’m declaring that world, “Not enough.”
But, in truth, it isn’t. For me.
I want to live larger, freer, more boldly. In the end, it’s not actually about money at all. I simply want financial stability because it allows me to dream bigger, or dream at all, since I’m not agonizing over how I’ll feed my cat this month. Stability leads me to ease, and ease leads me to dream.
Today’s sentiments may sour in the mouths of someone reading
this. I may have backs turned to me. There is a loneliness that happens when
you’re transitioning to a new phase of yourself. But, perhaps in my
acknowledgment that I want to be in that next room, I can help myself to get
there. Perhaps in simply stating I love you and I have to leave you, I am
offering more love than I had. I don’t want to be lonely; it’s part of why I do
all this work, man. I don’t want to leave you, but our conversation has flagged. And it is/I am worth the risk of saying, Thank you, and maybe I’ll see you over there.

abundance · community · debt · deprivation · finances · growth · integrity · recovery · self-care · self-support

No Soup For You.

It’s astonishing, the lengths I’ll go to deprive myself.
The thick pattern of deprivation, living small, quietly,
unobtrusively, knocks on the door of all my actions and insists on being
allowed in.
Luckily, my latest personal recipe is: Me + G-d + Friends +
Action.
I was on the phone with a friend the other day discussing
the fact that I needed a spending plan for my upcoming trip to Seattle and
Boston this Saturday. I told her that I’d already “found” $235 in my usual
monthly spending plan, which means whittling funds from other line items, like
entertainment, personal care, household purchases–line items that
fluctuate anyway, so I consider them “fundgable” when they’re really not. (I’ve
learned.)
This isn’t to say that my spending plan is a monthly set of
10 Commandments, chiseled in stone and fatal when not adhered to. It’s an
ideal, a goal, a guideline, and the actuals that I tally at the end of each
month tell me the story as it happened, instead of how I thought it would.
Usually they’re pretty close these days.
However, when my friend and I were speaking about my trip,
and we calculated aloud bus fare, BART fare, coffee&food at 4 airports in
10 days, groceries, eating out, incidentals, tchotckes, gas money… well, we
figured it out to about $400, a number I’m supposed to double check before I
leave.
Immediately, I begin mentally looking at those fundgable
categories, which I’ve already cut thick slices from this month to support the
trip. And I start to get panicked and fearful about the trip and how much I can
spend, and try to pre-manipulate how I can spend less than I actually know
I’ll need.
This, friends, is the compulsion. How can I whittle down my
needs, how can I deny what is actually true about my needs, hide them, dismiss
them, and discard them, so that I can live in a way that I misguidedly think
will support me?
Luckily, I was on the phone with my friend as we spoke all
this out, and I admitted to her that I have nearly a grand in my vacation
savings account… but, I told her like a child revealing they’ve stolen a
Snickers, I’m “supposed to” be saving it for my hypothetical trip to Paris with
my mom next Summer.
I don’t want to give up my Snickers. I don’t want to break
part of it off to eat now, because I believe I just need to save it for later,
or there will never be enough.
This is preposterous. And where voices that don’t live
inside my own head are so valuable.
She didn’t even have to say anything, as I admitted my
vacation savings money could easily provide the additional $200 that I’ll actually need for this trip. I just talked myself through it,
admitting it, accepting it, saying that I see the fallacy and the deprivation
in that kind of
save it ALL for some unknown date and live in fear
right now
thinking. And I told her I would
move that money over this week, so that I could use it in today, for the
intended purpose: vacation.
It’s not actually called “Paris Vacation with Mom” savings
account: It’s just called Vacation. And if this isn’t the time to use those
funds, when I need them, when I’m plotting to slice myself and my funds even
thinner than they already are this month, then I haven’t learned a thing.
Yesterday, I did move that money. It felt illicit, illegal almost. I felt
nervous and anxious and excited and proud to know that I was supporting a
vision for myself without putting myself in deprivation.
The ridiculous part is that I will easily replenish that money in the vacation account over the next few months. “Vacation savings” is a
line item in my spending plan every single month. It’s not like I’ll never get to go
on a vacation again because I’m using this money now.
But my addiction to deprivation and fear continues to knock
on my door and insist entry into my life and my decisions. So, luckily, today I have
an antidote: Me + G-d + Friends + Action. 

abundance · addiction · balance · clarity · commitment · community · debt · deprivation · spirituality

For you, not me.

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As is custom, yesterday I got the chance to sit with two
other folks who work on their relationship to money. We met in the monthly
group of three to hear and discuss and provide suggestions and feedback to one
of the group. It was this woman’s first group like this, she being new to
addressing her vagueness and impulsiveness around money.
And I got the melodious chance to see how far I’ve come
since I sat with a similar group of two strangers almost 3 years ago.
As I watched her discomfort, shame, panic, and hopelessness,
it reminded me of how I was when I sat in that first group. I hated that I had
to seek help around money; I already spent plenty of time in groups about
alcoholism, now I have to do it about debt, scarcity, and … (dread) abundance?
I came to that first small monthly group with my numbers
tallied from the month before, my income and expenses. I came with my mounting
student debt, my checking account bouncing along the bottom, my credit cards
bouncing along the top. I came with starvation in so many areas, and I was
so sure they were going to tell me to cut more, since my income was not meeting
my expenses.
Instead, what they told me was that I was living in
deprivation, and needed to increase the
amounts I was spending in certain categories of self-care (clothing,
entertainment, food). They told me that my needs weren’t too great to be met; that I needn’t be ashamed of actually needing more.
It was horrifying! It was so uncomfortable to be validated
that I wasn’t living too big for my britches, but have no idea how to change
the income side. At the time, I was barely making ends meet with temp jobs, and
felt I was doing all I could to get out of the hand-to-mouth hole. But I was
powerless, I was desperate, and I listened to these two who said, We believe it
will get better for you; it has for us.
Things didn’t really begin to change for me until last
Spring when I began working one-on-one with a new woman I’d admired from those
groups. For whatever reason, things didn’t really change when I’d worked
diligently with the first woman I’d worked with.
When I started again with J., at one point, she told me that
I needed a car, and I would get one. SCOFF!! What?? How? What money? Me? No….
I didn’t believe her in the slightest. At all. But, I did
believe that she believed, and that was
enough. She said, I needed a car to get to band practice, to get to auditions,
to get to work, and it would happen for me.
And, as you now know, last October, maybe 6 months after her proclamation, it did. It’s not a
beater car, an “underearner’s” car, it’s not a jalopy. In fact, it is the exact
make, model, color, mileage and price I’d hoped to get. Seriously!
I didn’t “come into money.” I didn’t stop buying clothing,
or going to the movies. I just kept showing up to groups and meetings and
writings like the folks I saw get better do. And things changed.
I know the woman yesterday thinks we’re full of shit, just
like I did. I know that she thinks to herself, “Yeah, maybe for you, but not for
me,” just like I did.
But, with my life as evidence, with one credit card paid
off, my $90,000 student loans in repayment
(slowly), with food I want to eat in my fridge, and most importantly, with the specter of “I’ll never get out of this; I’ll just kill myself” long faded – if it can happen for me, it
can happen for her.
And if the course of one year of real change can produce
what it has, maybe I no longer feel the same militant resistance to where else
abundance wants to enter my life. (Maybe.)

abundance · change · debt · family · self-support

Wanted: Nice Things

There is a Tarot card, a Pentacle, can’t remember which one,
that depicts a gentleman standing with two figures crouched on either side of
him. To one of these figures, he’s handing gold coins, to the other, nothing.
One interpretation in my book on the cards is to see which one of these two
crouching figures we identify with: do we think we’re the one who gets or the
one who gets passed over? But lately, I’ve been looking at the third figure in
the card: the one who has enough, that he gets to choose where he gives it.
A woman once told me that I needed to start “identifying
with the ‘haves’ instead of with the ‘have-nots.’” I didn’t understand what she
was saying, and our relationship as mentor and mentee didn’t last very long.
But over the past year, several months, I’ve been beginning to absorb and even
adopt that idea.
I earn what I earned last year; in fact, it’s the same as I was
paid 6 years ago and far less than I was paid 4 years ago. But I said it to some friends yesterday, “My income has not
changed, but I feel more abundant.” You can stop reading if that makes you mad,
or vomit in your mouth, or roll your eyes – but if you’ve read me before, you
know I say plenty of sweeping statements you may not roll with!
But, the statement feels true, today. Yesterday, I went to a
stand-up comedy show at Cobb’s Comedy in S.F. I’d never been to see live comedy
before, and I loved the comics who were performing. My coworker mentioned that
the event was happening, and within minutes, I had a ticket. I bought myself a
ticket.
I bought a car I actually can afford payments on; I’m
planning a trip to the North Carolina shore with my mom and our two cousins
this summer; I’m saving for the trip my mom and I are taking to Paris next
summer.
That I can even conceive of these things, these trips, these
“haves” is astonishing to me.
When my current mentor told me in the early months of last
year that she saw me having my own car, that I would need one, that I had to
get to band practice, I thought she was bananas – wishful thinking; for you not
for me; there’s no way I can have…”nice things,” is the end of that sentence.
“There is no way I can have nice things.” Sound familiar? To
me it does.
But she said it was true, and though I didn’t believe it AT
ALL, I trusted her.
To drive my car now isn’t a sign to me of affluence or
status, it’s a symbol of doing what I’ve imagined impossible for me – of
attaining things that I had previously imagined, no, believed myself incapable of having, doing, being.
But, my income did not change. I have 80 thousand dollars in
student loan debt, 4 grand in back rent from when I was sick and not working,
and a few outstanding others. And yet….. here’s the joy part – I’m still having
fun. I’m still enjoying my life.
I didn’t think that was allowed, or possible. If you have debt,
you aren’t allowed to enjoy life. If you have debt, you can’t afford to buy
comedy tickets, or the pedicure I shared with my friend this week, or acting
classes at an actual acting school. If you have debt, you should sit in the
dark under a blanket and wait for your soul to eat itself.
😛
Right?
But it sounds true,
doesn’t it? It did to me.
I have payment plans for all of the above debts, and I have
no idea how I’ll pay it all off. But I am no longer willing to deny myself nice
things under a lash of shame and punishment and longing.
To watch this shift within me, the shift from No f*cking
way
to maybe, even just maybe, has been radical. I really didn’t
believe my friend when she said about the car, and now it exists, in my hands,
I drive it, it works, it’s not a jalopy, it runs, it’s safe.
If this can happen around that, surely the same shift can
apply elsewhere. Hence the cousin reunion; hence the Paris trip (though really,
it’s just my way to get to Barcelona, where I really want to go!). Actually,
the Paris trip is way more than that, to me. It’s to be with my mom, assuming
“all works out,” and I have to tell you how very much more aware, and…
frightened… sort of, I am of the limited time she and I have left together.
She’s not old, she’s 65, but there are only a few more years
of her and I being able to run around and do things together.
And part of my “Yes”ness shift is trying to believe that I
can spend time with her without actually moving back there. That I was able to fly home to New York over Christmas, that I’ll be able to do it again this summer.
Because here’s my other landing realization: I want to stay
in California.
The agony this decision has caused me has been massive.
Particularly because I want to be with my mom, and my brother, and his
girlfriend, and their probably-to-be-had kids, and my best friend and her new
baby and watch all of them, all of us, grow up. I want to be there and witness
it. I don’t want to parachute in every year and see that things are so
different, and only have limited time to run around, and inject all the joy and
events and activity we can into a few days. It’s horrible living so far from
people who feed your soul.
And yet.
Coming home, coming back to the Bay, after that trip, taking
the train out of SFO, and seeing the green green landscape—who could leave this
either?
Compost versus Styrofoam. Mild weather versus Polar
vortices.
California versus New York is Me versus My family and
friends.
So, what about the abundant thinking, what about the shift
in doing and being able to do that which I’d previously thought impossible?
Well, my “you will have a car” mentor asks me if it wouldn’t be possible that I
would earn enough to be able to get home twice a year. Radical thinking, I
know.
And although it is viciously hard for me to stand in my
decision to stay in California, and I may waffle and weave and dodge and balk over it, what I can do
in the meantime, until I actually allow myself permission to be where I love,
is to make those occasional plans to visit–because I can afford to identify with
the haves. And haves go on vacation.