Monday, September 5, 2011

what I make of it

Several years ago a friend presented me with the book "Heal Your Body" in which the author states physical ailments are the result of our subconscious thought pattern.  The premise made sense at the time and it still makes sense.  I agree that most my problems, psychological and physical stem from fear, or in the author's terms, from my deep-rooted insecurities.  To break the pattern the author suggests beginning with the mantra: I am protected by Devine Love.  I am always safe and secure.

While I can readily admit the mantra has been useful in seeing me through situations that felt overwhelming, I'm not sure how much progress I'm making towards truly addressing my subconscious issues.  Perhaps it's because I've yet to feel secure.  Those rare instances in my life in which security was on the horizon?  Well, let's just say it turned into a pipe dream like winning the lottery.

My life experience says people have ulterior motives therefore anything they say or do is to benefit them.  The problem is I want to believe there are those who honestly give a damn about someone else, about me.  I tend to look at relationships be they with friends or family as mutually equal.  I care about you; you care about me.  We help and support each other.  Over the course of my life I've met four people who share this same belief and put it into practice. 

The word envious doesn't really apply. I am bewildered by those who have people who love and care about them.  My experience, particularly with family members, says if they aren't profiting somehow, they aren't doing it.  Love come with a price tag.  Mom spoke the truth when she said the only reason she wanted a daughter was so said daughter, me, could take care of her.  I was a latchkey kid.  I had chores before school and a list waiting when I got home.  Saturday mornings I'd wake to an empty house - and a list.  If I failed to complete the chores or the quality of work didn't pass muster there would be punishment, a spanking and more chores.  By the time I was ten I could cook and iron.  Both tasks required me standing on an orange crate.  Mom did her own thing.  She was a budding artist.  Lord help me if she had to lay down her paintbrush or the book she was reading to come see what I was doing.  Heaven forbid she lend a hand, after all, what are daughters for?

At age 15 the State of Oregon granted emancipation and I found out what it was like to be homeless.  Incredibly I managed attending school everyday and maintained good grades.  Most nights I slept in my car.  Early in the morning a janitor would let me into the girl's locker room to shower.  Occasionally I stayed the night or a weekend at a friend's place though not often because their mothers were leery of my independence.  I strove to be very polite, to be a well-mannered guest.  Believe me, it was wonderful to just for a few brief hours feel like I belonged.  But it never lasted.  They were the family.  They had their priorities and I wasn't one of them.

The following year my parents moved back into the state and regained custody of me.  In hindsight, I should have ran away.  Which is worse: knowing you're homeless or being in a home in which you're not really a part of?  I was there for Mom's convenience.  Clearly she wished I came with an on / off switch like a vacuum cleaner.  Then she could keep me in the closet when not in use.  Nothing I did was good enough and she let me know it daily, repeatedly and if possible, publicly.  Right or wrong I took care of her until her death.

I have come to terms with my childhood and choices made as an adult.  I think my biggest fault is expecting people to treat me in the manner in which I treat them.  The day is what I make it.  I can indulge in selfishness, take my frustrations out on others or wallow in self-pity.  Personally I choose to be polite, to be helpful and to avoid confrontations, especially those that serve no purpose. 

While it's true I currently have a roof over my head I am and have been for two years technically homeless.  Being forced to rely on charity does not sit well with me.  But the day is what I make it.  I am doing my best to change the situation but there are things I have no control over.  Do I feel secure?  No.  Am I frustrated?  Yes.  Being homeless, accepting charity, means so much more than swallowing one's pride.  It means knowing at any given time circumstances can change depending upon someone else's whim.  It means remaining at a heightened level of vigilance for what was fine yesterday is unacceptable today and there will be no verbal notification of the change in rules.  Most of all it means knowing I don't belong, that I'm equal to a stray dog or cat.

Still, the day is what I make of it.  I could let the situation overwhelm me, which at times it has threatened to do, or I can keep striving to move forward.   I'm already homeless.  I've already lost most everything.  Daily I tell myself as long as I've got my dog, life is good.  What gets me down are the setbacks, the clients who don't pay on time or in full, or having to replace spendy items due to another's carelessness.  I'm working to improve my life.  Is it too much to wish that those who could make an impact to meet me part way?  Seems like any more all I get is told to wait and then put on ignore. 

I am a person with hopes and dreams and goals.  I wish my circumstance was different but it is what it is.  How does this make me of lesser value?  I work.  I put a lot of effort into building my company back from the ashes.  I take pride in the job I do, and I enjoy doing it.  I am not receiving any government handouts.  When I'm not focused on my business I write novels.  Frustratingly all I'm hearing from agents is "we like the book; please wait, we'll get back to you" or they love the book but it doesn't fit with the trend they're currently peddling so please try again later.  I guess being homeless also means I have all the time in the world to patiently wait for other people to remember they've left me hanging.  If I ran my business like that I wouldn't have one. 

There are days I want to scream "I am here.  Would someone please pay attention to me?"  What I'd give to ask a question and not be met with a blank stare, or "huh?" or "wait".  Being homeless has caused me reevaluate worth, self-worth and the worth of others.  Perhaps I've given up on the notion of security hence my new mantra:

"I am worthy of all that is good.  I willingly and graciously accept good things to come to me."  The day is what I make of it - and my day is going to be good.

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