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Friday, February 26, 2016

where i'm at right now ...

Wood Fire at Boxwood Cottage

aren’t we all

i start my evening fire
with the flames of old poems
shades of what i used to be
discarded words, lost in attics

i'm cataloging
isn't that what you do at mid-century?
analyze how you end up alone with cats
and an empty pantry,

warmth from burning
of course - i'm a poet
i chose public service to excise pain
there are more than one way to serve

true i'm not a superhero in hell's kitchen
it doesn't mean i'm not a hero
this life of quiet desperation
aren't we all?

heroes choosing to make it through another day
doing what little kindness we can effect
connecting how we can
even if it's just with cats and dogs

aren't we all?


I know it has been a few months since I last updated this … part of the reason is I wanted to post at least something – one thing – positive. But the bottom of my life kept ripping out. In waiting for things to get better,  they got worse. And then some.

Beginning of October, I had a State job I loved, nine years tenure, co-workers I enjoyed, some money (‘tho not enough) , Son with an income that could supplement,  Health insurance  and two very effective doctors who kept me functioning. My home was unheated – but we had a little firewood, two cats and a big dog that liked to cuddle.  With Son’s income we were able to afford two meals a day. No car, no license – but enough money for a monthly bus pass. And with the savings from no car or insurance payments, I felt I could start “living” again. Go out. Send off poetry submissions. Use lights in the evenings instead of candles.  True – I was still getting sick monthly.  And I was still under HR investigation for having my driving license suspended, but –slowly – I was sure things would get better.  The Aspiring Leader’s Program I graduated from in October gave me useful tools, especially NLP, to work on my mindset. Surely my finances – and my health – would get better.
It is four months later.  Roof leaks. Bathroom sink is broken. Son lost his job. I lost my nine-year job die to my only mistake in nine-years. Our dog died, couldn’t afford a vet. There is little of no food. My utilities are sparten and are paid by charities. I have more health issues but no health insurance. NO car & no driver’s license. No life or house insurance.  My efforts to get a job have resulted in only one interview and that was last week. Efforts to make money by other means have been sparse with results. We are living on $124 monthly pension right now. Gas in son’s care must be rationed out – saved for appointments, food box runs, interviews & emergencies. I heat our house with wood & paper. My cats are now sick. We cut out all non-essentials – and almost everything is non-essential.
But – in Aspiring Leaders’ I learned Neural-Linguistic Programming (NLLP) stresses staying out of Victim Mindset by consciously staying in an Intentional Mindset. It’s how you talk to yourself that determines the routes your brain takes. I’m so tired of being a victim! So everyday I think of what I can do that day to improve my situation … or at least just survive to the end of the day. (I have a friend/ex-coworker that has been supporting me with this.) I am a highly skilled worker – both in the office and out. I poured myself into job hunting. I kept appealing to Unemployment Insurance. I worked with my Union to attempt to get my job back. MY brother-in-law once trained me how to sell jeans on eBay (I had an inventory up on eBay 3 days after the dismissal, beginning of this month I actually upgraded to an eBay store.  I joined a Debtors Anonymous group to pick up skills to better live with little money. I attend workshops.
I hustle from morning until late evenings everyday now – with little or no results.

While I did complete my November writing challenges  during November’s onslaughts – December 1st proved too much; the breaking point. My creative side went numb and quiet. This perhaps was most devastating; I process things through poetry & art.  My mind for the most part is silent now.  My manager – when HR let me go, was very angry about losing me. She fought HR the whole way. But she said, if there was anything she knew about me during adversity, it’s that I dig in and I am a “Survivor”.  I just don’t know how to survive without “Ariel” and “CC Willow”, tho’. 
These and countless daily stumbling blocks have had me. Can you blame me for going quiet? Not sharing? For soldiering on alone?
Life was desperate before Nov 1st; I have no word for it now.
In fact, the hardest situation – the coup de grace - is I have not had the words literally. Any words, most of the time, now.

I had even, looking for hope & a silver lining, thought “THIS is my chance to be a writer. Make a living writing!” … Ever try to do that with NO words?????
Couldn’t even manage a blog post.  I used to write 3-4 poems a day – The past three months I have written only 9.  The places I have gone to looking for free-lance writing jobs – all want a subscription fee. I don’ have it. I don’t even have my renewal fees for my poetry/artist memberships.  Can’t do theater because I can’t waste son’s gas on rehearsal; it must be rationed out for appointments, interviews & emergencies.

So  here’s my action plan –
Keep going.
Push myself to write again – blog, journals, Twitter’s #1linewed, anything. Doesn’t matter if it’s good, just do.
Start reading poetry again. Look at art. They still exist – even if my mid has trouble processing them right now.
Paint. Draw. Scribble – or just think about it at least.
Take baths. Wash my hair at least twice a week. Promise yourself a pajama day AFTER an liable wage is obtained.
Pray for guidance, for prosperity. Have faith. Pray again. Believe that I must have some worth to God.
Know my friends love me, even when I can’t afford to visit with them.
Expand my support groups.
Use any assistance as wisely as I can.
Keep searching out ways to work from home. Remind myself I’m intelligent enough to do this.
Realize If I don’t get something done today – there is tomorrow.
Remind myself, if life cock-blocks me on a time opportunity, the end-result is the same as if I did not know of the opportunity. Life still continues. Differently - but continues.
Remind myself this is a bad time – not a bad life. There’s still actions I can take.
Volunteer at the food bank – they need the help. So do others.
Do something. Anything. As long as it’s positive. Preferably hug those around me.

I just had my birthday Monday. Surprisingly it was nice, relaxing. I let myself have a rare sleep-in. Cuddle with my kitties. Mailed an order of pants. Washed dishes. Indulged in long text messages & phone calls with friends. Son brought me home ice cream & a Boston Cream Pie for celebration, was thoughtful enough to leave off the many candles. One of my best friends made a birthday dinner for her & her mom (another b-day girl). There are still nice moments – I have to learn to allow myself time to enjoy them again.