I used to believe I was born with running shoes for feet, hands permanently waving goodbye. I thought I was a short term, flaky, incapable person. Everything fleeting, nothing sure. I simply didn’t believe I had the ability to sustain or maintain anything, and certainly not anything resembling a normal life.
Four years ago I decided to make that my ultimate truth. I had already effectively burned my life in Minnesota to the ground, so it was easy deciding to pack up my kids and my life to run off with a person who was more red flags than flesh.
A whirlwind year saw us cross the country three times, always chasing his next plan, never breathing. Then, with a slap across my child’s sweet cheek, it ended. I packed us into a rented car and set out to cross the country again, to start over in an unfamiliar tiny town, homeless and broke. But free and hopeful.
We were in the cheapest motel in town for a few weeks before I realized I was pregnant. I can’t even express the level of shame, self-loathing, and hopelessness that followed this realization. Beneath all that was a sense of the magic my daughter would bring, but it was hard not to feel like a huge fuckup.
After nearly two months in the motel, a tax refund came in and it was just enough to get us into a house, with an incredible landlord who had faith in me in a way nobody ever really has. I hit the ground running, alternating being sick, passing out, and offering 15 minute mini portrait sessions in my front yard to families in town. Slowly things started feeling a kind of normal. We were broke and isolated, but things were moving.
On Christmas in 2015, I watched my kids opening dollar store presents from my mom, in our sparsely furnished living room, and something in me broke. I knew I couldn’t do portraits much longer, I could barely move. I started sifting through all of the things I knew how to do, anything that might help us stay afloat through the rest of my pregnancy. Any hope that I could do better for my kids. I settled on doing graphic design. I had done it for years for my own businesses, and as a hobby. I figured I could scrape together enough work to get by from home. It was never meant to change my life.
I had no idea what I was doing, but I kept moving forward and learning. Slowly I started finding myself through the work, learning that in this work I had a strong voice and could help people. Soon I was finding spiritual connections in my clients, and learning more about parts of myself that had been long abandoned.
I can say with absolute confidence that in the second half of 2016 I was the picture of spiritual bypassing. I had all of the words, I preached the concepts, but I hadn’t deeply applied them in a meaningful way to myself, I hadn’t done the ugly work. In November of that year I announced I wanted to be done with poverty, and a crazy ass coach poofed into my life with a magic process to help me make miracle money. I followed the steps….and sure as fuck they worked. In a year and a half I went from homeless to making 12k in a month. Unfortunately, I hadn’t done any of the internal work to prepare for upleveling my life and the sudden shift proved to be traumatic. I sabotaged myself left and right, getting more overwhelmed and more sure of my incompetence, month after month.
By July 2017, we were utterly broke again, living with family after I tried to leave the tiny town and failed. Shit started to hit the fan, predictably if you consider my energy at the time. I sank into a deep depression and stopped caring. The end of 2017 barely exists in my memory, mostly me staring into space, deeply terrified to the point of being numb.
All this time I was trying to claw my way back to the feeling of creating a 12k month out of nowhere, trying to create some sense of spiritual connection and always through the scope of money. I obsessed over the idea that it was a fluke, a once in a lifetime moment. I was doomed to live in poverty and failure forever. What can I say, I am dramatic. However, at some point I gave up. It wasn’t a peaceful surrender, I just got so tired of fighting that I gave in to my fate.
I spent a few months doing nothing but driving my friends nuts with my sadness. We moved to the middle of nowhere with my mom and I started walking the desert, collecting pretty rocks. I started waking up, marveling at the energy of these tiny bits of earth and history. I started breathing for the first time in years. I started quietly speaking with the universe (God, source, Tawanda) again and confronting my own wounds. I wasn’t just healing, I was evolving and I was receiving. I had been fighting so hard to receive money that I had failed to notice all of the other things that were available. Of course, as happens, when I started focusing on healing, money started arriving.
In all of the wisdom and healing that has come this year, I have found something grounded. I have found a peace that I never believed I could have. Like I said in the beginning of this novel of a post, I believed I was born for running away. I loved this story about myself, the vagabond, the mystery that flits out of your life almost as quickly as I appeared. Now to find that I am ready to make something deeper in my life, to stop running, is equal parts scary and magical.
I continue to learn about what it means to be me, proudly, unapologetically, in each moment. There is a lot of experimentation, testing experiences and ideas to see how they might feel. There is even more listening, though I am also learning that my voice is just as important as the listening parts.
I am also learning how to help others. I see my clients struggling to force answers to the wrong questions, and I know I am just a few steps ahead and maybe I am supposed to be the one to help them forward. That scares me, and so I am still learning to wear that part of my identity – co-creator, guide, soulmate? I am patient with her, myself, my fear. I will keep speaking the truth that trickles in and trust the rest to fall into place.
I have been spinning my wheels for a couple of weeks, things have not been filled with the ease I demanded and boy that irks me, makes me want to give up. I have to keep dragging myself back to faith, I have to keep reminding myself not to get so carried away by fear that I lose sight of what I am building. What I am building is huge, and beautiful, so of course it will take time and energy.
So with another deep breath…onward, always.