7.5

7.5

This time last week, I had no idea where I would be living today. My sublet was ending on Friday and I had known that for over a month and had been searching for the next place for just as long but… nothing. Nothing had come together. So I had booked a mover with only half helpful information – a pick up address with the drop off location still TBD. Awkward. So awkward. And frustrating. And annoying.  AKA: So very New York. And I’m not gonna lie – it was hard. Emotionally more than anything else. Moves are usually stressful due to finances, but thanks to my job, my side hustles and tax season, money wasn’t even an issue. What was a very real issue was the feeling of not just being uprooted, but feeling completely un-rooted. And being stuck in this cycle of not really belonging anywhere. Or to anyone.

Moving in New York is nothing new to me. I just did the math and since arriving 90 months ago (in October of 2009), I have moved 12 times. That’s an average of once every 7.5 months. Can you imagine that? At some point every year (twice in the really good ones!) packing up everything you own and moving it someplace else. It is exactly as fun as it sounds. And absolutely exhausting. And I’ve gotten pretty good at it. I moved on Friday night and by Sunday evening, I had every box unpacked. “Seriously?!” One of my friends was shocked (and I imagine, mad impressed.) “It took me 6 months to get to the last box!” Which isn’t unusual at all, but the way my vagrancy is set up, I just can’t afford to wait 6 months to unpack a box I’ll be repacking in 7. So if there’s something I can leave boxed up for 6 months, it’s something that I can leave behind. And I do. Not just when I move, but in day-to-day life, I’ve gotten really good at realizing that things are just things. And letting go of them. Because it’s all just stuff. And whether it’s something I bought or something that was given to me – if I got it once, I can get it again. Bad days and general annoyances aside, my life is on an incline, it’s getting bigger, better, stronger all the time. I’m not where I want to be, but I’m not where I was and to be afraid to let go of something because it’s the best I’ve ever had and “what if I never get it again??” is to be afraid that this is as good as it gets and that God has done all He can. But I know that isn’t true.

And that’s what I had to remind myself of in the moments when I just wanted to walk away from everything. Those moments when everything about the situation was screaming how much I didn’t matter, didn’t belong and didn’t have anything to show for all the years here. And honestly… there were some moments when if a door had opened someplace far far away, I would have thrown my cat in his carrier and run through it. But NOTHING was opening up. Except in Brooklyn. And I never got that desperate.

Ask anyone who knows me how I feel about Brooklyn and they’ll probably tell you I hate it. In fact, you can ask around and even people who don’t really know me can probably tell you two things: I love cats and I hate Brooklyn.  They are well-worn facts from the folktales oft told about Jani The Cat. But are they true facts? Well… they are like Lifetime movies: based on real events, but exaggerated for entertainment value. I don’t have any real issue with Brooklyn. I just don’t have any use for it. I feel about Brooklyn exactly the same way I feel about the artwork on the wall across from my desk at work – it’s there but who cares? And what most people don’t know is that once upon a time, I almost moved to Brooklyn. I actually got selected in one of those housing lotteries and was thisclose to moving into a brand new building in the Crown Heights area when the subject of pets came up at the lease signing. And being the crazy cat lady that (anyone can tell you) I am, I had to turn down the keys to that brand-new-elevator-with-laundry-in-the-basement apartment.

But because we had already gone through all the paperwork the management office asked if we might be interested in living in another other building they had. In Washington Heights. And that was how I ended up living (and loving!) uptown. Which is where I ended up building a connect group. And building friendships. And a life. And I know it’s different for everyone, but for me… I just have a conviction that uptown is where I’m supposed to be. So even with the clock running out and the possibility of being homeless skyrocketing, I would see ad after ad featuring open spots in Brooklyn, and I never even considered it. And no one ever suggested it. Not seriously.

Which is crazy, right??

You’re literally days away from have NOWHERE  TO LIVE and you won’t even consider putting your crazy conviction aside.  Well… I’m also on the edge of NEVER MAKING IT, but still can’t quiet this conviction to keep writing. And I’m definitely within spitting distance of being SINGLE FOREVER but still can’t shake the conviction that there is someone great for me.

So this move, was a different test of faith from the million before it. It was a trial by fire of believing a particular area is where you’re supposed to be and waiting, against all reason, for a door to open. And you know what? A door did open. This time a week ago. I set up an appointment to go view a room that had just popped up on Gypsy housing. It was a little more than I wanted to pay for another roommate situation, but the pictures looked pretty nice and desperate times, right? So I went. And I met the new potential roommate. And I thought, “Yeah, okay. This could be good.” And I was pretty sure that it was going to work out, but I didn’t want to say anything until the sublease was signed and the deposit was in. And that didn’t happen until Thursday evening. So I didn’t know for sure for sure until the day before I was moving.

And it wasn’t until the day after I moved that it hit me what an amazing door I had walked through. In the borough/area I love. In the best building/apartment I have lived in so far. Cat-friendly. With an elevator. Laundry in the basement. In a spacious bedroom. With two windows. And two amazing views of the Hudson River, GWB and New Jersey.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…

It is an Ephesians 3:20 kind of situation through and through. And it’s a new touchstone to remind me (and hopefully a testimony to encourage you) that you’re right where you’re supposed to be AND right about where you’re supposed to be. And what is for you, is for you and the clock may be ticking, but it’s actually on your side because it’s counting down to the open door that is just for you.

(And yes: 7.5 months from now, this sublet will be over and I’ll be moving on again, but I’ve already decided that I’ll be buying. And I’m already looking forward to seeing what “better than I can ask or imagine” is going to look like in that situation/process.)

Sick and Sorry

Sick and Sorry

“Is it too late now to say sorry?”
Abraham Lincoln
(or Justin Bieber. I always get those two confused.)

I felt sick for all of February. Every single day. And I’m pretty sure it actually started sometime in January, possibly even December, but February was when I actually noticed that I consistently didn’t feel good and hadn’t for a while. And it was nothing major or unbearable – no pain, just a constant feeling of being slightly nauseous. All. the. time. Hungry, full – didn’t matter. In fact, the only time I didn’t feel sick was when I was literally in the act of eating. It was like my body would think “Ooh! Maybe this will help!” but it wouldn’t. And within 5 to 10 minutes, I’d be back to feeling BLAH. And so, naturally, like any reasonable adult with health insurance and a will to live, I thought about going to the doctor. I thought about it a lot. I even looked up my insurance card and spent a fair amount of minutes on the interwebs trying to find an “in network” provider, but the doctors with the best reviews and most human-like photos were booked solid until April, May, 2019 and the other ones were a little too available (why is your next available opening at 11am when it’s 10:45 right now??) So I did eventually book an appointment (for April 14th, I do believe. hashtag: adulting) but in the meantime, I figured I’d keep soldiering on, bravely, nobly. Handling all the stresses and responsibilities of life in New York, all the while suffering. Silently. Bravely. Nobly.

And then I figured out what was wrong. And I’m sitting here today feeling absolutely fine. As fate (and probably genetics and age) would have it, I do believe I have become lactose intolerant. So now that I’m not having milk in my tea, eating ice cream like it’s my job or downing Chai lattes, I’m feeling a-ok. Which is great. But in looking back, this whole experience has been fascinating because it made me realize how easy it is to get used to functioning at a sub-prime standard. To be feeling sick while carrying on as if its normal. Because as far as anyone else knows – everything is normal. You’re normal. And doing just fine.

But I wasn’t. And I’m still not. Because it wasn’t just my stomach that was bothering me. My soul has been sick for all of 2017 thus far. The poor thing feels like she’s wasting away. Actually… no. Wasting away sounds like a problem of lack, so I guess my soul is actually on the verge of imploding from the weight of everything that I’m not doing.

I came into 2017 with solid ideas of things that I wanted to do, goals to accomplish, endeavors to… endeavor. And here we are with the first quarter of the year very nearly over and what have I done? Basically, nothing. I hosted one disaster/reading in January and have been fixated on everything I don’t have and can’t do ever since. And it’s ruining everything. I can’t enjoy anything because I feel convicted all the time. I went to see a friend in a show last week, a terrible TERRIBLE show (my friend was amazing) and I was so mad. Not at the show or the writers, but at myself. Because what the hell am I doing? The team of people behind that terrible (TERRIBLE) show actually sat down, made a plan, found supporters, held auditions and produced something. Middling talent and absolute terribleness, be damned – they did something. And people came and saw it. I know because I was one of those people. Because my friend, my insanely wonderfully talented friend, was in it. Because my friend just wants to work. And those terrible (TERRIBLE) writers produced work. And meanwhile… I’m sitting over here fixated on what I don’t have and can’t do.

And my friends deserve better than that.

So I probably owe you an apology. And please believe, if you have talked about/asked for prayer re:/mentioned in passing any of your audition stories/struggles, you wouldn’t have known it, but I have felt convicted. And if you have joked/not been joking about auditioning for me someday (which an annoying number of you have recently, #jesusbecreeping) please know that I probably went home and cried about it. Which is exactly what I deserve.

Earlier today, I saw that quote about strength being for service and not status and it just hit me how that covers all the different kinds of strengths it takes to step out and do something – not just the talents and skills, but the strength of will it takes to face possible ridicule, failure and falling short – because somebody has to do it. Whatever talents we have, aren’t just for us and us alone, they’re supposed to find their place and fulfill their purpose in conjunction with others. For others.

So I have to stop living with this sick feeling of holding back. And I don’t know… but maybe you do to.  We all want to whatever we do to be the best thing ever and the easiest way to stop ourselves from moving forward is to imagine all the worst case scenarios but we’ve gotta push past all that. Done is better than perfect. Something is better than nothing. And honestly, this moment – knowing that I’m not really doing all I can to push forward the people and the causes that I care about — this is the worst case scenario. Well… the second to the worst. The very worst case scenario would be to live quietly with this sick feeling for the rest of my life. But ain’t nobody got time for that. Not me. Not you. And not the people waiting on us to move forward.

So let’s not let this month end and this quarter close without offering some sincere apologies by making some moves.  And cutting back on the fears and excuses that have been keeping us sick. And, hopefully, we’ll all feel better in the next quarter.

Hashtag Goals

Hashtag Goals

So here’s what happened. I was at connect group and we were talking about taking steps. Moving towards the big hopes/goals/dreams step by step. And as a practical challenge, we each wrote down three things that we want to accomplish or at least make significant movement towards accomplishing in 2017. And then for each person, someone would call out a number from one to three, the chosen person would read whichever goal that was and we, as a group, would help decide the next practical steps to take towards that goal and ways that we, as a group, could help and/or provide encouragement. Make sense? No. Okay, well maybe this will help. My list of three things was something like:
1. Run for a political office
2. Buy a house
3. Date
I say “something like” because I kept scratching 1 and 2 out and replacing them with things like: Go back to Australia… Visit Barbados… Lead a political rebellion… You know – things I really want to do. And number three was the throwaway. Because honestly… who cares? I don’t. I mean, I didn’t. I really didn’t. I only wrote it because I’m dumb. And as I wrote it, I was thinking, this “This is dumb. You don’t even care about this.” But then (as I so often do) I started to Jedi mind trick myself — “Maybe you do care. Or should care. And that’s why you’re writing it. Maybe you really do want to be challenged in this. Or maybe God wants you to.” So having sufficiently overthought it, I decided that in the 33% chance that it was chosen, I would take it as a sign that it was something I should be thinking about. And you know what they say:

Ask a stupid question, get a stupid answer.
Ask for a stupid sign, get a stupid sign.

Because when it was my turn, the number chosen for me was three.

Great.

So now I’m supposed to be dating. And it’s just really lucky that it’s so easy for me. #AlternativeFacts

UGHHHH. It is the worst. Because nobody likes me. And I say that with my self-esteem fully intact and a pretty healthy sense of self. It’s not even hurtful anymore, it just is what it is. And I don’t mean “like” in general, I do have friends. Obviously. (I do, you can ask anyone.) I mean “like like“.  For whatever reason, I am just not the girl who guys see from across the room and/or dating app and think “Wow! Let me find out more about that.” Nah. They see me and think… I don’t know “I wonder what the temperature is in Central Park right now.” And that’s totally fine. (Literally, it is currently 51 degrees.) I just didn’t need the daily reminder.

So what’s a girl to do? Well… I tried fulfilling my contractual obligation, I was on a dating app for almost over two weeks. I went to a party with a friend on a Saturday night and danced. And let some guys dance up on me.  We out here. And we still out here alone with no signs of that changing. And that’s actually okay.  Thanks to Jon Hamm.

I don’t remember exactly how or why, but a few months ago, I just decided that I’m going to marry Jon Hamm. And I know that’s crazy  (so I know I’m not crazy because I fully understand and acknowledge that that is crazy) but for whatever reason, I haven’t had a true what-if-I’m-single-forever-?! panic attack since. I think it’s the unknown that freaks us out so much, so I just subbed in a known placeholder and it’s working for me.  Because the fact is that life and time are going to keep marching on and my life is going to keep unfolding and I have to trust that things are happening and are going to happen right on time. And I have to stop treating dating and marriage like some mystical category of life where God is completely capricious except for when He’s being punitive.  He’s not leaving that answer blank to torment me or because He’s still deciding whether or not there is an answer. He’s just doing what He always does and taking His freaking time.

So while 98% of me wishes I had chosen a different #3, there is 2% of me that is glad that exercise went the way it did because it has just reinforced for me how unbothered I am right now. And it’s kinda nice. I was talking with a friend last Sunday and he asked me if I had someone for Tuesday (aka Valentine’s Day) and i said nope, but then I changed my mind and said “Actually, it’s only Sunday – I don’t know.” Because I don’t know when things are going to change for me but I do believe that they will. Because I’ve seen it happen in other areas of my life. I’ve been surprised by things in my work life, in my creative life, in my church, in my friendships, in my finances… I have seen God open doors, make crazy connections, do the impossible… and I don’t see why this area should be any different.

So I deleted that app and I’m back to minding my own business and not bothering with things that aren’t bothering me. Because Lord knows I have enough other things to think about, worry about and work on. And I’ll bet that you do to. So what is on your list of things you’d like to accomplish this year? Because finding love might be the number one thing, but it had better not be the one and only thing. It can’t be. Because, believe me, you don’t want to be with the person who wants to be with the version of you that is doing nothing but pouting and waiting around. When you find/are found by your Jon Hamm and he asks “Where have you been all my life?” I hope you have such a full list of people, places and things to tell him about, that he quickly realizes how much fuller his life would be with you in it. But first, I hope you realize how full your life already is. And keep doing whatever you can to keep it that way.