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*this post has not been edited for errors*
I wrote yesterday about possibilities.
I wrote that as a reminder to myself for those moments when I start believing in impossibilities. I have to create truth breadcrumbs along my path, because I forget.
When turmoil hits and the storms of life get me down, I forget.
(And I start blaming God for the bad stuff).
I could not have written about possibilities in 2011.
2011 was my year of losing, loss, failure.
Everything I touched turned to ashes.
Every step I took, I was kicked back on my ass. I ate dirt so much, that I just learned to lay there, face down and shut up.
Every time I wanted a yes, the universe told me No.
A no negotiation No.
And left it at that.
And quite a few of my life-long fears bubbled to the surface and came to pass.
Every job I applied for, I was rejected.
At last count, it was over 300.
I’ve worked off/on officially since I was 14. It never occurred to me that I couldn’t get a job when I wanted one. Whenever I’ve wanted to work, I’ve worked. That experience was demoralizing and humbling.
This was the impossible struggle number one.
I had to leave my apartment. It became too expensive.
This was the place I called home the entire time I lived in New York. To say i was devastated, angry, morose–those would be understatements. I felt hollow. And unsettled. And PISSED.
I packed my things up, put them in storage, and thought that it would only take a month or two before I got back on my feet again and got another place.
That didn’t happen.
None of the apartments I viewed or applied to worked out.
Graciously, during this shitty phase, my friends had an extra bedroom, and they allowed me to stay while things tried to come together. I lived out of my small suitcase, and slept on a pallet on the floor for 2 months.
This was the impossible number 2.
Financially speaking? I was tapped out. After 2 years of unsteady work, all savings were gone, my 401k was liquidated and I was broke.
This was the impossibly irritating struggle number 3.
The only yes, and space of movement I experienced during that time, was the journey back to school. More specifically, seminary school. I grumbled and groaned about going. You see, I had applied with a half-heart. I sent my (incomplete) application off the day it was due. I hoped to get a rejection letter. That way, I could finally let go of the niggling feeling that I was supposed to be walking down that path.
Unfortunately for me, that rejection never came. After some weird, and slow screw-ups on their part, I received my acceptance letter. Months later, I showed up at orientation. In some weird way, I wasn’t included in the communication’s list of the incoming class, so I missed the first day. As a result, some folks in the administration told me go home and think about sitting out another year, so I went home to think about it.
For that weekend, I centered myself and asked my soul if this was something I really wanted to do. My soul said umm, yes, maybe. So the next Monday, I went back to school and told then that I was enrolling.
This time, the admissions officer said that she ha decided to rescind my admission.
I said, what the f*ck? And chile, please. She obviously didn’t know how crazy I was.
What’d I do?
Sad ass job search log
The next day, I showed back up at the school with a 50 page packet that had all of the correspondence with the school and went talked to a Dean. They had screwed up in everything: my orientation, my late acceptance. Everything.
She reviewed my docs, admitted that the school screwed up, and allowed me to register.
This was the stupid struggle number 4. I was pissed the fkk off that I had to struggle into the one yes that my life had opened up.
In all of this crap, I wondered how in the hell I ended up in such a losing space. Every week I lamented to my therapist about how the universe was a bitch, and how it was holding me in place. She admitted that she had never seen such a space in all of the clients she’d worked with.
It appeared that my struggle life was some type of weird anomaly.
Everything about last year stole my confidence in my ability to take care of myself.
My mental and physical house was stripped down to its foundation.
This was not a part of my life plan.
I was reading a journal entry I wrote to myself during those months.
“God has forgotten me.
Disappointments mock me behind every door.
I always understood that if I worked hard, I could overcome any circumstance. This is a lie. Bootstrapping is a myth.
I guess I never understood that there is a grace component in all of this. (Efforts + grace actually create opportunities. I did not accomplish the things I accomplished though my hands alone.)
This is not how or where I imagined myself to be at this age.
My life, currently, is an impossibility.
(My life is showing me that) Every one is not allowed to dream.”
…indeed, everyone does not win.
Cause I shole was LOSING.
Everyone can’t win?
This is what my friend said this weekend.
And clearly, not too long ago, I believed it.
Odd things began to happen.
A friend was leaving town, and needed someone to sublease her space while she was away. This was at the same spot that I was rejected from just a few months earlier.
I now had my own space. I began to fill a bit settled.
From there, every thing started falling back in to place. Spiritually, financially, emotionally, mentally, romantically.
Next, the first job I applied for this year, I got.
Now, this was a ‘what the fck movement’ by the universe.
This may seem odd, but I admitted to my therapist that I was disgruntled and resented the fact that the universe seemed to be giving me ‘YES’ in just about everything this year. Considering how all I got were flat out NOs last year.
This made no sense.
Things just starting working again.
After that sad, sad, sad journal entry about my life being an impossibility, the next entry was interesting. It was written three weeks after the morbid entry.
“Was that previous entry true? I’m not sure. After reading Kester Brewin’s book ‘Other’ I have to pause.
I have to acknowledge that my life is pointing me to a path that is counter cultural.
I bought into the system and its myths, and once it stopped working for me, I cursed God.
How awful. God did not make the system. (I worked in the financial services sector for all of those years, and I believed in it while it worked. When it didn’t work for me anymore, I started blaming God).
(I understand) that if I participate in the system, I have to be a part of the boom and the bust. This human financial and cultural system, the highs and the lows, God didn’t create it. We did. It would be best if we left the divine out of it.
Secondly, I’m hopeful about this space. I can get very down at the thought of not having a place of my own. It hurts. But I understand (that I’ve bought a myth–the American Dream. And I can just as easily return the gift of that myth).
My problem is that I bought into the overconsumption mindframe. What will this look like if I began to craft Kingdom dreams, because whatever system that America bull shit has going on on is broken.
So now what? I can bemoan it all, or go another way. (it is my choice)”
What I hope to never forget (i.e. what I learned)
What did I learn in all of this? In living in this mind space of impossibility?
Well I’m happy that you asked.
(pre #1) Life doesn’t work like the Job story.
God does not dole out double for your trouble (I really hate that stupid saying).
1) When life isn’t working, just sit in it. (cry in it, moan in it, complain, whatever).
I had so many blind spots in the ‘losing’ space. I could not see that all of that rejection wasn’t, necessarily, a bad thing. The truth is, it did my soul good to live under my friends’ roof, surrounded by their support, love and acceptance. My self and my soul needed to be around them.
2) Bad spaces are only temporary
Oh. Seems so trite. But it is true. Womp.
3) Life’s big No(s) are often a re-routing.
**this is especially for the hard-headed folks**
I don’t like No(s). And I don’t like NOT being able to do what I want to do.
I don’t know who came up with the crappy idea that just because there’s a no, that the prize for waiting for the No to turn to a Yes will be what we want.
This is a LIE and the truth will not be in you if you believe it. Believing it is a set-up for perpetual disappointment.
Life’s No(s) are sometimes our lives telling us that we are going wrong.
If I would’ve gotten a job I would not be on my purposeful path right now. I would’ve said “screw seminary, it can wait for another decade.”
I had put off this part of my life’s journey for far too long.
All of those No(s) was just the universe calling me higher and calling me into myself.
I hated every moment of it though.
4) Some friends and family members will slyly celebrate your failures. Don’t allow their poison to ruin you.
I had one family member remark that I should have never gone to college and that whole phase of my life was just a waste of time.
She reasoned that I was having such a hard time getting a job, while all of the people she knew that didn’t go to college HAD jobs.
I was stunned and hurt and had no rebuttal.
Another friend always had a sly way of putting down unemployed people. I thought I was being paranoid, or ultra-sensitive, until another friend (who was in the same space) remarked how she had started distancing herself from our mutual friend because of her sly put downs.
I learned that many friends are in your corner. I had far more support, encouragement, and truth to power spoken to me than I did the sly friend-haters.
I wasn’t immune to the common ailment of allowing one person’s negativity to overshadow all of the Love and Support I had.
Allowing this poison to sit on me meant that I became very closed and stopped talking about the movements in my life.
My supportive friends admonished me for being secretive and encouraged me to open up.
But, I had been poisoned.
A healthy, adult option would be to call out the friend or family member who’s throwing shade. I could’ve said, “the comments you make about unemployed people are demeaning and sadistic and quite mean.”
Surely my friend and I could’ve called out our mutual friend who was throwing shade–but I think the most life preserving thing to do was to make sure I was distanced from her until I was in a healthy space. Besides, she has the tendency to think everyone is a jealous person (more poison). She was showing us who she was, what more was there to say?
5) Every strength is a weakness
Every strength you have becomes a weakness when you lean in to it too much.
My independence is a strength and something I was quite proud of prior to my year of Losing.
This independence did not nothing but hinder me, however. My refusal to ask for help kept me in the Lost space longer than I had to be.
I learned we do nothing alone.
6) Everything you have is a Grace Gift
No matter how hard you work and what you accomplish–you didn’t do it alone. Grace allowed your efforts to be met with success. Remember that. Believe that.
7) Failure is the greatest teacher
8) There was never, not ONE moment that God did not take care of me.
Not one. My needs were met. They just didn’t look like how I wanted it to look. And maybe, that’s really the only lesson that I needed to learn.
9) Get some people around you who understand your struggle & No One Wins all the Damn time
If only for the healing effect of a pity party, get this.
10) Get some awareness on how you played a role in your losing space
In every struggle situation I named above, I had a hand in each one. I was no victim in any of this.
So, what to do if you’re an impossible phase?
Get love, get support, talk to someone (therapist, counselor, pastor, life coach), have an outlet, ease up on being angry at God, find something joyful to do, get some rest and just be.
Losing is a slippery slow. Many times you will need clarity of thought and healthy outside sources, prayer, meditation, the divine, and healthy people can give that to you. Don’t stumble down that hill alone.
Impossibilities don’t last forever.