New Year, No Gurus

I am finding that I am getting through the day because, well, it is a day that has 24 hours to it (on this planet) and I am alive in it. That’s it. There is no magic spell. There is no Dream It and Make It Happen Genie that grants you anything. I am doing my best. I am spending time alone, I am spending time with friends old and new; these are very genuine and loving relationships. I had a wonderful trip with my son to the beach over Christmas and it was rewarding and beautiful and relaxing and fun.  He is one of the best people I know. I almost didn’t go on the trip because of money and it was so wonderful, I am glad we did it. Good things are happening and I am being in ‘life’ like I am supposed to but I still want to give up every single day.

When Savannah died in April, I wanted to die. People told me not to die. I did not die. I searched for the meaning in life, in my life, in how one stays on the planet after tragedy. I listened to audio meditations, ‘healing’ meditations, I  held fundraisers, I promoted a non profit that fights addiction and raised over $4000, I scoured the internet for grief counseling, wrote in journals, read Savannah’s journals, did my tarot, painted, wrote, went to a bereaved parents group, reached out with all of the reach I had and spent hours and hours researching every single thing I could find on grief and death. I watched tragic, awful stories on Netflix about murder, torture, escape and death to see if there are worse things. (There are plenty.) I had my headphones on most of the time at work or during my time alone listening to self help gurus, meditation music, guided meditations; which for years has gotten me through stuff, until finally I had a breakdown. I ripped my apartment apart; ripped everything from the walls and smashed a lot of stuff. (It was very satisfying and Marie Kondo ain’t got nothing on me.) I scared my family. No one knew what to do with me. This is suicidal depression.

Positive affirmations are so evasive on social media; you can’t get away from memes telling you to BE HAPPY, or BE SAD. Or BE ANXIOUS. Apparently every single emotion and feeling is perfectly fine and absolutely normal and you need to just go about your day. Its mostly the being happy ones, the striving for success ones, the pick yourself up and dust yourself off Memes- I can’t take them anymore. The world in general, wants to swallow these sayings like some big pill, so that they can ‘be positive’ in hopes that some ‘positive magic’ will come in and take over for them. (Like God, but for ‘spiritual not religious’ people. Its a positive affirmation instead of a prayer.) And it does, ‘come in’ for a bit. Reading them and believing in them and using them to motivate me got me this far, but when something horrible actually happened in my life, I quit believing in this ‘positive’ over meme’d magic.

There is no magic. There is no pill. These are lies we tell ourselves so we will get out of bed and keep everything in a friendly, even keeled fog. Even if you get out of bed, there is still the floor you have to walk on. There are clothes you have to wear, bills you have to pay, food you have to ingest. This positive affirmation shit is no longer cutting it for me. I have to pay rent. I have to quit missing work. I could ‘dream big’ and ‘believe’ all I wanted; I was going to get evicted DREAMING about success and money and happiness.

I got to the point where I could no longer ignore the fact that all of these self help coaches and gurus I’ve been listening to, all happen to be multimillionaires. Do you really want to know a good way to be successful and rich? Sell your ‘happy’ ideas to a very vulnerable and semi bourgeois, very WHITE, audience who have a big disposable income and who are suffering from First World miseries who will buy your books and tapes and pay several hundreds of dollars to hear you tell them to ignore reality, get into the ‘vortex’, think and dream big and IT will happen. Meanwhile, doing these things does not pay your bills. If I had listened to this shit for reals, I wouldn’t be here. I couldn’t just dream of money, I had to go make some so I wouldn’t be homeless.

I moved up to Boulder and Savannah died the very next day. I moved here because I was going to do my Reiki and start my business as a healer again but when I got the news, it all seemed a sham. The great healer…couldn’t do a fucking thing about her own daughter. I didn’t get any ‘feelings’ from her the night she died, I had no ‘energy force’ reach me, I couldn’t zap into her body and prevent her from dying from a drug overdose with my Reiki vibes. It’s all part of that magic people want to believe in so desperately that they’ll give you money for it. I don’t believe anymore.

I was faced with making the decision of going back to my apartment in Denver to live with my boyfriend and his three small kids (every weekend) or go for it in the city I had wanted to live in for years and try and make it on my own with every dream dashed and start all over from below zero. I didn’t even have a job. The plan was to work with my friend in her biz and build mine and work somewhere and build build build this ‘healing’ practice. It all dissipated. The help, the friend, the healing idea overall. And I couldn’t go BACK. To anything. My life was forever changed.

I did not have the mental capacity to deal with small kids or present any kind of ‘normal’ to anyone so I could not go back to living with boyfriend.  I did not want to take care of any living souls at all whatsoever in any kind of way, nor was I capable. I don’t have to raise three very young kids who are not mine and I have the piece of mind to know this despite society/ego/self cramming it down women’s throats that we are nurturers. Motherhood is a load of shit and the hardest work you will ever do that there are no rewards for no matter what everyone tells you or what you tell yourself. Children aren’t like puppies, they are human beings that you had sex with someone to make. They come out of you and you raise them and feed them and have fun, memory lasting, good times with them. They become themselves and their own beings and sometimes even after all of that; they die. I simply can’t take on three kids who have a mother and a father already. It’s their job.

Ask any woman in her 50’s (and over), if in her next life, she would have kids. Go ahead. Ask one. A very close friend will tell you NO. No WAY. Your life is on hold as soon as that baby pops out. No matter how cool you think you are; running 5k’s, being in cross fit or starting businesses…oh yes, We may strive, as mothers, we may thrive, but mostly we survive it. We make due. We wait. Look at any famous successful women, I mean REALLY SUCCESSFUL. They either don’t have kids or had the kids and still chose the career and had someone raise the kids and they are forever judged for it. There is no way out of this thing unscathed. Or maybe she chose a job that ‘works around the kids’. Doesn’t count. She had to put off what she wanted. The man just continues on with his day, his job, his life. #metoo will never happen to moms. It will never be EQUAL. Stay at home dads are treated like Gods. Even if a woman has a 6 figure income and she’s an amazing, amazon woman…SHE LEFT HER CHILDREN to be successful. Yeah, next life…no way. This life however, I will continue to fight having to scrape the bottom of the barrel just to pay rent.

Children have minds of their own and you as a parent are not the light of their life past the age of 11. I am lucky enough to have had the pleasure to actually like and enjoy my children immensely. They were and are some of the best, most interesting, and loving, kindest people in the world. My parents did not like me, (you do not HAVE TO like your kids.) I just happen to think very highly of mine and was/still am very proud of them. Savannah put me through the ringer, but she was one of the coolest people I will ever know. I will never be as talented, as good of a writer, as raw and real as her, nor have any minuscule of the fashion sense she had or be as good of a friend as she was. My son is an adult and living his life and we are very close and comfortable together and have fun and laugh and laugh together and we are honest with each other and I couldn’t ask for a more loving soul to call my son.

I am justifying here that I can have these unconventional thoughts on motherhood in general AND still be an empathetic, lighthearted, adventurous, soul who is also a mother, but who can no longer listen to the bullshit of the push for mandatory happiness. Good attitude? I got it. Sure! Laugh more? I definitely work on that by trying to watch less tragedies. I’m too much of a realist to get over this immense pain of losing a daughter by way of meme’s and the law of attraction.

Every time I listened to Abraham Hicks (whom I have been listening to for at least six years now…) I began to wonder if any of the advice she gives would help, say…a mother who’s child has been taken by ICE. If this mother could afford a $250 ticket to a Phoenix speaking engagement perhaps or a possible $14,000 ticket in a high end room on a cruise ship seminar, would this woman, who’s child was locked in a cage in America, who is sad and grieving and worried; would these seminars and Laws of Attraction help her? If she could just ‘imagine’ her child not locked up, not in danger, maybe she could get through this.

Nope. I’m not buying it.

Abraham/Esther speaks about all of her homes and cars and trips non stop. I get it. We shouldn’t be ashamed of our cool stuff and her talking about it helped everyone accept wealth into their ‘vortex’.  A real, ‘If she can do it, gosh darn it, so can I!’ attitude. And more power to her entrepreneurial self for working hard and making all of her money. She had her husband pass away so I was very interested in her teachings getting me through my grief. All I heard now in my new life, that I am forced to lead, was people whining about money and that death wasn’t real because we are all eternal souls. Which is great for the dead person. The living mother that I am now, left behind in this non blissful, painful realm of the human life we lead here on earth, was not BUYING IT. None of this was hitting home anywhere for me and my grief let alone in my job search.

Being in the midst of a real life altering, tragic death, lifted the veil for me. Are people who are starving in the world going to get anything out of these seminars? No. Trump probably listens to them too. He sure believes in himself and thinks everything he wants is possible. He dreams big doesn’t he? He has lots of money. He thinks he’s right about his thoughts and feelings and that he’s just misunderstood. Read ANY MEME now and imagine Trump reading it. It will kill it for you.

Anyway, starving people can’t afford to attend these seminars and doing so won’t feed their families. Why don’t they give this advice for free if they believe in it so much? Why not go to the poorest of poor villages on earth and give free self help seminars? Or just HELP.

Abraham/Esther promotes ignoring reality. Which in theory is beautiful! Don’t get me wrong, I am so annoyed by reality and its relentless ability to set fire to all of my grandiose dreams and desires, believe me, I have created my own little world here in my apartment nest. Especially after I ripped it apart and nailed blackout curtains to the wall. I found this ‘wishful thinking’ and ‘build it and they will come’ type of advice and belief system to be total bullshit. They’ve got this covered too though, by leading you to believe its not working because you don’t believe in it enough. So the six year old with leukemia just doesn’t trust the future enough? Or believe it to be true enough, so they die?

Positive Thinking gives us all a false sense of REWARD. As if we are all entitled to feel better than others because of our amazing attitude that the Debbie Downers just can’t achieve. And along the same lines of this, people who are ‘negative’, are also justly punished under the same veil of falsely accusing themselves of not being ‘strong willed’ enough. So I guess all those sick and dying babies in the world are just not good enough to stay on the planet because they don’t believe.

Again…I am all for having a good attitude. I am a friendly, congenial, compassionate person. I’m just not swallowing the pill of HAPPINESS OR DIE.

So I tried to find gurus who maybe do speak to the poorest of poor. Sadhguru. Again with all the wealth and fame and cars and houses. Dandapani…nope. Took the name of an ancient king, but has a degree in electrical engineering, became a monk, got married, and has cashed IN!! (I’m sure their love is real. Who am I?) Eckhart Tolle! Who wouldn’t love that guy? He has the more nihilistic approach by far, which I like in a guru, but I cannot afford to ever go see him. Even if I could, is he going to make sure I don’t miss any more work because I can’t function or will he pitch in when rent is due? Or do I just close my eyes and stay present? No. No one is going to do that but me. Plenty of people are helping me, have helped me and continue to help me but I have to do the work. It is sucky, awful work and the worst reason imaginable to do the work; my daughter died and I have to carry on because I have a son and CONFESSION: because I kinda want to see what happens.

One day when I was driving I had a ‘Final Destination’ moment. The one where I’m on the highway and a giant truck appears in front of me that is carrying very dangerous metal things on the back of it. I went into my typical fantasy mode which I usually do when I am behind a truck with very dangerous metal things on the back of it; imagining being killed. The best part about this fantasy is that I die but not by way of suicide; something just kills me. I have concluded that it would be so much easier this way and also not my fault. Then I had a revelation.

I had spent so many years doing this, this not wanting to not be alive anymore, that this game was natural and a natural fantasy for me to really ‘feel’ what it would be like to not be here anymore. I could imagine all the ‘feelings’ of disappearing. Imagine people finding me, coming to the hospital, or apartment, or highway roadside. The fantasy usually ended up with imagining my kids getting the news of my death and then being devastated and making those feelings real would usually pull me out of it. Now, I was the devastated one, so there was no stopping me. I imagined being killed in my car by these giant steel tubes and then I imagined seeing Savannah and running up to her and it ‘felt’ great. Then she turned around was was all: ‘What are YOU doing here?’ She was pissed! ‘I missed you!’ I said. ‘I wanted to be with you! I hate this!’ I said. ‘No! No, you can’t be here!’ She told me. I thought she was sad I was dead but it was something totally different. She conveyed to me that she had immense things to learn and that she was busy and didn’t have time to help me with this whole death thing. She was very annoyed. She was in her own experience and it had nothing to do with me. That was a game changer. My death fantasy even got fucked. Nothing works anymore.

A few weeks later I tried the fantasy again and imagined a speeding car hitting me and killing me instantly, this time when I ‘died’ my first ‘feeling’ was ‘NO! WAIT! I HAVE STUFF TO DO!’ This shocked me. The fantasy no longer worked. I wanted to hang out here a bit longer and I was hesitant in the fantasy to ‘die’. I do want to see what’s going to happen. Everything changed.

I was struggling with money and working and not making enough to pay rent and this was only three months after Savannah died. I cried all the time and found it very difficult to work. I went to quit my job, was ready to pack and had two helpers who would move me back to Denver/Boyfriend’s apartment that afternoon. My aunt encouraged me to go into my job and quit in person and not do my regular disappearing act and to just tell them what was going on. She runs a restaurant and she is always willing to help people with work struggles. I took her advice and went in person to quit and got offered my current position and a pay raise. That boggled my mind. I told them everything that was happening. They helped me. So I called off the moving crew. All my typical rugs had been pulled out from under me.

Most recently, I realized I was not getting the hours I needed to make enough to pay my bills. I thought I was doing so good just keeping the job. Still crying…A LOT but I was showing up. So my first thought of a solution was to ‘Dream Big’ and ‘Believe’ that I would have all the money I needed. I love to travel and I thought I’d rent a room, pay less rent this way, live smaller, work my job and try and save money so I could travel more. New idea: DONE. (Still on the Believe It And It Will Come track.)

Then I had my third revelation: The easiest straight line to my money solution would just be: work more. I could simply ask for more hours, put my time in and make it a point to keep my apartment and build my own financial stability from the ground up. Wow. Just work more. Odd concept. No dreamers need apply.

That sounded realistically easier than what I was preparing to do in my new scheme which would have involved ten times more suffering regarding: A) trying to get out of my lease contract B) owing money for breaking my lease C) moving in with people I don’t know D) borrowing money to move in with people I don’t know E) giving up my privacy and alone time F) not having an independent lifestyle and living under someone’s house rules G) never digging in and making my life mine by always relying on someone else to provide the place/roof under which I live. It was so simple when I took dreaming out of the equation. If I just asked for more hours, I could keep my independence which means more to me than almost anything I suppose. Again my boyfriend offered to let me move in with him and not work til I figured this out; DREAM COME TRUE!!!! NOT WORK???? HELL YEAH!!! Honestly. I would be almost 90 steps back if I did that and I don’t want to handle his kids and when would I ever just settle into a life I wanted? Always running, always chasing the Law of Attraction DREAMSCAPE. If you want it it will come to you…

NO. I can’t live like this.

This is the essence of what living big means to me. LIVING. Listening to people. Communicating. Being with real people. Not memes. Hugging strangers and being kind and opening up and making someone else’s world better. Not selling people bullshit. Stepping IN to your LIFE. Saying hi. Shutting off that needy brain. There is no vortex. There’s just YOU.

I asked for more hours.

I got them.

I went on a beach Christmas vacation.

I put my apartment back together.

I have to leave now to go clock in.

I let my landlord know I am catching up and rent will be late. She was wonderful.

I am cutting hair on The Hill for all the college kids I know.

I am planning more trips.

My boyfriend and family and I had the best New Year’s Eve party ever.

I didn’t give anyone any money to figure this out.

fishing

Lost in Crazy

What if I just wrote and wrote and wrote and didn’t care what ‘happened’ or did not ‘happen’? If I just came in here and spilled out my guts? I dream of speaking to crowds like Brene Brown. Then my awful brain tells me YOU ARE NOBODY NO ONE WOULD LISTEN TO YOU YOU AREN’T A DOCTOR OR ANYONE. Then my other brain speaks up…

people just want to hear regular people tell them they are ok.

How can I do this?

I don’t know.

So I will write.

This particular week I have been overwhelmed with grief. This wave is like a Tsunami. Everyday the town is completely destroyed and rebuilt. Like a horrible Groundhog Day of destruction. I am just realizing I am going to miss Savannah for the rest of my life. That I will be an 85 year old woman who misses her daughter with this same hole in my heart that I have now. How can one bear this? I do not know. I have a clock saved in my tabs (I always have about 19 open tabs on my laptop as I fear I will never find that information again as I go down so many rabbit holes. And if I ‘save’ it or ‘favorite’ it, I won’t ever find it again. It’s like keeping post-it notes up.) its more like a countdown clock. Its the day of Savannah’s death so I can remember how much time has passed. It puts things into perspective down to the very second.

I do it because my brain is very scattered and unfocused. I sometimes feel like its been years, sometimes I feel like its been a week, sometimes it feels like I just found out. This countdown clock also helps me to realize just how little time there has been and that I can cut myself some slack. No one is waiting for me to ‘accomplish’ anything. I need to back off of my perfectionist stance and give myself the break to stay in bed all fucking day long if I want to. I am working almost 24/7 on ‘staying positive’. It’s like a nagging voice in my head all the time to ‘do this good positive thing so you will be okay.’ and sometimes I just want that to shut up so I can eat a peanut butter chocolate brownie in bed at midnight. Leave me alone! I did a positive thing! I got up and went to work and did a good job there and I was friendly and open and had fun so leave me alone!

I never look out of my blackout curtains once I get home. I check the weather app before I peek through those. I’m waiting for it to quit being so fucking sunny and beautiful all the time. Why can’t it rain for a week straight? Everyone wants the moisture for Christ’s sake, that’s all people say all the time already…so GIVE IT TO US! Rain for a month!

thumbnail (7)

See? Nails it right?

It may seem morbid or negative. It’s just a reality. It puts me back into the here and now which is where all growth begins. Sometimes the number of months astounds me. Its barely been any time at all. Zero years. I’m a newbie. How amazing it is that I am still alive. That I moved to a new city, pieced together a life with furniture and dishes so much so that I had a very successful AirBnB, I brush my teeth, I smile at people, I got a job, my shit together (light at the end of the tunnel of getting my shit together) all in four months after my 23 year old daughter died. I’m not repressing anything either. I am deeply, deeply, traumatically sad inside and out. I cry everywhere I go. I don’t want to be on this planet anymore at all, its very awful. I would never do that to my son, I do want to be here, I do want to show him…something…I don’t know what.

I’m saying, I’m stubborn. I do believe we all have to power to live a positive -TO US- life. To make our lives our own and to share love. At the same time I am being faced with opposition of a terrible, shockingly (but not) un-supportive family during this time of horrible loss for me, a past full of abuse and neglect and demeaning criticism, AND STILL I RISE! I’m stubborn.

I am for the underdog. I am for all the people out there who feel shame and distance and think they are not worthy. They are. I will not put up with people who think I AM NOT WORTHY THO. Nope. I’m done doing that. I will be 52 years old in a few weeks and it has taken me this long to realize this awful feeling of self worth IS NOT MY FAULT. That I was abused. That this was taught to me.

I will un teach it.

Savannah felt shame. It’s killing me that as her mother, I have to say my daughter felt shame. It was my job to protect her. I don’t know why or how this crept in. She does. She did. She worked on this so hard her whole life. To get out from under it. I am going to work on it too so no more amazing, young, ambitious women die. Do I have some idea of where it came from? YES. YES I DO. She did not feel shame about her body until she was about 13. Wherein family members criticized her and what she wore and what she ate and belittled her on this one particular vacation. I have been CSI’ing her life. I have all of her journals, and I have all of her words that she told me in conversations. I have her in my heart, every single day, talking to me and telling me more and more and more.

She was a happy go lucky kid until she was about 11 or 12. I can pinpoint the time frame down to the week. I have the page. It’s like two different people from one moment to the next journal entry. It just happens. I don’t know if SOMETHING happened, but it happened. She never got away from it. The eating disorders began, the drugs soon after. I know this is an age for young girls where this depression, anxiety and mental disorders come in to play. It might not be an EVENT that happens. Society makes us feel unworthy, social media, peer pressure under those two things, hell I talked bad about my body and myself all the time even though I built her up all the time. You just can’t escape this sometimes. And some people are just hardwired for pain and mental illness.I will fight it til the day I die.

Most of us live like its normal to feel this way. Its a fucking shame. We just let these girls float along and buck up like the rest of us. I was maybe too hard on her to be strong. To work through it, to find a WAY, to go find her life how she wanted it. To live big. She was so strong and amazing and beautiful and life ate her up. I hate this so much.

I carry on with my life, not in a fake way, for I am repressing NOTHING. I started to cry at work while I was setting up coffee and beverages, crying, which I have not done at this new job yet, and my boss was there and his face fell apart, ARE YOU OK? He said. I said, ‘I am having a difficult morning (mourning) I am crying but then I will not be. I am ok. I will be ok.’ He said ok. And we went on with our day. I was being honest, and he trusted me. I was ok and we kicked ass and made brunch for over 45 frat boys and it was fun. I came home and cried for hours and went to bed at 8:30. I am just living my life WITH this grief. I am not ignoring it. I am having it. I am a different person. I am learning this.

This is how grief is, its up and down and heavy and light and invisible. It’s relentless and never ending and sometimes the world hates you and sometimes you hate the world and sometimes there is just love there all around you and you still hurt. It’s like being crazy. Or pregnant.

We are just expected to walk through this CRAZY. Just keep going. The bereaved. Like zombies. We wear clothes and carry on like our lives before we were dead.

Grief is traumatic. But get off yer butt!!!! GET A JOB!!! DON’T CURL UP IN A BALL!!!

fuck.

I want to be the light in this tunnel of crazy for other people.

I’m stubborn.

I’m stubborn and sad. The name of my new one woman show.

thumbnail (8)
A very sad woman decorated this apartment. Then she hung blackout curtains.