I know it’s not your usual birthday Note to Self, but the world is a bit of a tipsy dervish, and you’ve managed to get yourself turned about. You’ve been shuffling around in your worst pajamas, the set you wouldn’t even let your sisters see you wearing. You’ve been going in circles. You hate circles.
Four weeks of trying to buck up, make the best of it, pull up your big girl panties has resulted in a puffy wine face and a salt hangover from snacking your way through the uncertainty. Woman, seriously, get ahold of yourself. You have work to do.
I’m going to get real with you, because I know you can take it. You smell funny. Like dankish fear and propped-up optimism, mixed with Pringles and a vodka chaser. You look like hell, and your house is a mess. Go brush your goddamn teeth. Then get back to your desk, you’ve got work to do.
If a planet hurtling through space at hundreds of thousands of miles per hour could hit a pothole and knock our global heads against the dashboard, Earth did just that about a month ago. Sure, there were signs posted and a flagger waving, “Slow Down!” but we won’t get into that just now. A bad case of collective whiplash and a devastatingly harsh body count later--we’re all feeling it. The galactic pothole, COVID19 was scheduled for maintenance decades ago, but due to budget constraints had been declassified to a low probability nuisance.
But that’s the way it is with the things we choose to believe will not catch up to us, right? Centuries of crimes against the environment and mistreatment of the very planet that sustains us. Hundreds of years of financial inequality, disparity, mis-distribution of resources, wealth, and opportunity. THOUSANDS of years of inhumanity against our fellow man.
Mankind has been scheduled for a renovation for millennia—and we are being asked to start paying up, or be prepared to forfeit our long-term plans. That includes you, Athena.
Understandably the sudden loss of routines, of “normal”, of security and what we thought we knew about our world has been shocking. People, like yourself, wandered around in their underpants for weeks. Not hours. Not days. Weeks. The scope of the shift was just too much to process any faster. Be kind to them, and to yourself. They’re working it out as fast as they can.
Healthcare workers are throwing themselves on the grenade of our collective willful ignorance, our refusal to face the possibility that our history would repeat itself while we were busily setting up a house of cards, and placating a mad emperor. Nurses and doctors are taking the full force of the impact so that we can plan our return to the way things were…any day now.
But Athena, you already know you can’t go back. Maybe that’s why you bumbled around in your super hero underroos for a few extra days. You can never go back. You already know it. But you don’t know exactly how or where to go from here.
You’re not alone. Millions of people on this planet have been jogged; tooth-rattling, brain-jiggling, make your eyes water, and your heart rhythm skip kind of trauma.
Lives have been lost. Money, jobs, careers, relationships, families, residences, present and future plans, and even dreams are lost in the shakeup that is forcing yourself, along with every living and aware human on this globe to ask—what do I actually value? What is worth saving?
In the last four weeks you’ve seen hundreds of stories of human brilliance, kindness and ingenuity. You’ve witnessed creative problem solving, epic spiritual and emotional transformations, borderless unification of peoples, sharing of content, supplies, funds, efforts, and a scale of community support that has, to date, only been imagined in the cinematic performances and portrayals of the human potential to rally against adversity at its very best.
It’s no longer the fictional stuff of movies—proof that humans are capable of coming together in a dazzling presentation of real-life collaboration has been staggering, beautiful, and inspiring.
A good three days were spent on your couch weeping, and marveling at how fucking amazing people can be. Gratitude for the kindness friends and family showed to you. Gratitude for the love and care others were showing for each other. Gratitude for all the things. Seriously. You wept over all the things because the gratitude truck ran you over, then backed up just to make sure it got you a few more times.
But now the shock is wearing off, and the gratitude has soaked into your bones, and you know you can’t go back to the way things were.
Prior to COVID19 you were just a waitress, a storyteller, and a homesteader. You were a hermit in the woods with a dream of one day being self-sustainable not because you thought you’d need to be, but because you wanted the challenge to see if you could do it. You thought homesteading and serving beer part time would give you the room you needed to finish your books.
But suddenly the way forward seems murky. What seemed terribly important two months ago seems so foolishly irrelevant now.
You’re not the only one going through an identity disruption. Millions of people are asking themselves why they were in jobs they hated, relationships that drained them, health patterns that were slowly killing them, and why, why, why did they give all their joy away to someone/something/a way of being that didn’t actually make them happy.
Millions of people are suddenly asking themselves what they truly want.
You knew you were lucky before, and more so now. You also know with that kind of luck comes the responsibility to reach out, give back, do what you can.
Writing and storytelling will never stop being part of your life. You’ll still be working your books and land because you love it so damn much. But HOW you do it has to change.
Athena, you and everyone else on this spinning rock are going to have to elevate. You’re going to have to innovate. You’re going to have to find better ways to do things, safer, more ethical, more conscious, more humane, more aware ways of participating in this community that is now, inarguably, one people.
You can’t pretend it doesn’t matter anymore. You can’t pretend you don’t have time, or energy, or will. You can’t use the excuse that you don’t know better—because now you do.
Athena, this Emergency Note to Self is to tell you that you must evolve. (And for the love of God, go take a shower.)
Evolve and elevate. You can no longer push along, get around to it, wait for the opportune moment, plan for it after a vacation window, or do it when there’s a good alignment in the sky.
Your alignment is now. It is right this very NOW.
You might not have a clear plan yet, but one is forming. It’s okay to not know exactly what to do. It’s okay if you’re not precisely on the mark the first few tries. What’s important is that you start trying, start doing things a little different. Try a new method, sort out the values.
Throw those ratty old pajamas in the burn bin and don’t look back. Get up. Go to your laptop and write. You’re a storyteller, it’s what you do. It’s what you LOVE to do. Do it because it’s the thing in your life that’s worth saving—the only thing you’ve really got of value to give to whomever needs it.
There is always room around your campfire, always enough room for one more. Put another log on the embers, and pass out the drinks. Then do what you do best.
Just put your hands on the keyboard and love.
I don’t usually get political on my blog for a number of reasons. First being that since I live out of internet and cell range, it can be days before I’m able to get into town to stop what may be a runaway train in my comment section.
Due to COVID19, I have been furloughed from my part time gig as a waitress. Yup. I wait tables to pay my mortgage while I try to build my success as a writer, and a small farm cannabis producer. So before any concerns about me sitting pretty in the woods—let me assure you, until I have new employment, my mortgage is on the line like everyone else’s, AND I do not have health insurance.
So you may be wondering what the hell I was thinking to post this statement on my Facebook page AND potentially vote against my own best interests.
Dear Elizabeth Warren,
I am updating my voter registration to reflect my new status as “independent”. Will you please update your campaign registry to run on the Independent platform? I will write your name in if I must, but I’d prefer to tick a box so you are correctly counted.
-Done voting for the lesser of evils, and am choosing innovation and quality of leadership.
So. If all goes well my voter registration will update in the next week or two reflecting my shift from the democratic party to the independent. To further explain the statement, I added to the comment section below it:
I refuse for my life and vote to be held hostage to the “lesser evil strategy”. I realize this is a dangerous trend that may lead to dems losing majority which will result in four more years of incompetence. However, I am totally prepared to let the system completely burn down under another botched Trump term so that the whole model can be rebuilt from scratch, OR risk the middle road of recovering democracy’s dignity. We will innovate as a nation, or face the Darwinism of weak government.
If my choices are between two men, each with sexual assault allegations and each with watery plans or no plans at all…I will choose the woman who can inspire a revolution in the way we support and govern from the middle road, with ethics, compassion and strength.
Whether the ship goes down or not, I will know I didn’t vote for either of the captains who have proven they would fight over the life vests meant for passengers.
There’s a reason so many writers and thinkers don’t politicize on social media. The dividing lines are so ridiculously black or white. Most people are afraid of losing respect or followers, advocates or friends.
The thing about creatives, change agents, and anyone who wanders into the fields of tracking innovation, revolutions and ideas that are often criticized as too visionary is that we know…sometimes you can’t fix the broken…you can only demolish the old model and start over with something better.
Are we there yet? Possibly. But there is one thing we haven’t yet tried as a nation.
I know right? Pretty obvious. Why haven’t we tried to evolve our flagging, over-inflated, outdated, relic of a bipartisan model yet?
Because as a nation we are socially conditioned to think on terms of “only this” and “only that”. We are programmed into an early idea that there is only one real answer. I have two words for that: Standardized Education.
Anyway, I’ll leave that soapbox for another day. Back to Darwin and the overcorrected fish tail.
If anyone has ever hit a patch of ice, snow, or oil on the highway, and the car suddenly loses control—they will know exactly what it means to over-correct.
Drivers are taught that to control a vehicle in a skid you turn into the skid. When you turn into the skid, the car will correct the opposite direction—you turn into that skid too. This fishtailing occurs because the wheel base corrections are balancing the momentum of the vehicle which cannot stop, and can only barely be controlled. If you lessen the turn each time, the tires adjust, the moment slows and eventually equilibrium and the correct direction are restored. If you jerk the wheel—you overcorrect and run the risk of flipping your car, or flying into the ditch. Gentle, even, confident corrections will keep you on the asphalt.
If you jerk the wheel, overcorrect and hit the curb---you’ll likely snap your axel. Then your steering will not respond correctly to the left or the right. Savvy?
As a bipartisan government we have been in a state of barely controlled fishtailing since the Cold War, at least…probably longer.
The wild oscillating between Democratic and Republican majority holdings has resulted in a teetertotter which has stalled ANY TRUE PROGRESS. Americans are behind on all the key metrics of humanitarian progress, human rights, economic progress, scientific innovation, education, and so on and so forth. We have a first world budget and a third world track record for how we treat our human populations and environment.
Disagree? How many people in the United States lost healthcare in the middle of a global health crisis? Like four million? In a “first world” country?
I don’t know how you voted, but all your previous arguments against a Universal Healthcare system are hereby rendered irrelevant.
I won’t go on about the broken. People already know it’s broken. Everyone agrees it is broken.
The way we will KEEP IT BROKEN is to continue to over-correct into the skid. Each time one side wins over the other: they backwash the progress from before. Each time the Republicans take the seats, they undo anything the Democrats did, and vice versa. It’s like a not-funny version of Groundhogs Day. We vote the same damned ways every time and complain each time that the system is still broken. There's a word for that.
Meanwhile, other countries are laying down revolutionary groundwork to support students, build health systems, and improve quality of living…while the Democrats and Republicans are playing slappy cake on the teetertotter and everyone in the middle is getting seasick.
Evolve or die.
Innovate or perish. Whether that’s in government, business, or general life. Evolve or die. It’s basic Darwinism. Our bipartisan government has not evolved. It’s too cumbersome to maneuver in crisis efficiently.
Let me repeat that:
Our government is too cumbersome to maneuver in a crisis efficiently.
And it’s too burdened by in-fighting to be sustainable any longer. We will not be able to return to the way things were before COVID19…and we already know that. The problem is that we’ve cornered ourselves into a one-or-the-other way of thinking. Win at all costs means someone loses. Maybe you…maybe your neighbor.
Now we can see that mentality is not going to save us. We are more aware than ever of how interdependent we all actually are. And yet…we still insist on voting “sides”.
REVOLUTIONS happen when the system completely breaks down. Ass over tea kettle. Guillotine-style remodel.
Wait for it to burn…or I dunno…fucking try something different. Evolve.
I’m staying home to keep my community safe for everyone. I intend to vote that way too. Whether that vote counts by volume or not.
I hate for it to come to “evolve or perish”…but I think as a nation, we’re already there.
Of course, the people who are “fear voters” vote to hold the line no matter what will be disappointed with my move to become an independent. Why not vote for Biden? Voting third party is the same as voting for Trump.
By the number, yes, it’s essentially the same as voting for Trump, but in the principle…IT’S A UNIVERSAL DIFFERENCE IN personal nobility and what I'm willing to sell of myself.
I will not vote out of fear. I will vote, with my measly little one vote for the change I believe we are capable of having as a nation. I vote with hope, not cowardice.
Trump’s incompetence, ego, and alleged crimes make him an unfit leader. Biden’s watery, weak plans, and unanswered sexual allegations also make him an unfit leader.
No one will ever be my perfect candidate, but strength, courage, leadership, and ethics should not be the things we sacrifice in order to cling to a broken system. Sacrificing the self-respect of your vote out of fear isn’t really democracy, is it? That’s when the axel snaps, and the whole rig goes careening down the embankment. Sure as shit, if that happens, each side will be blaming the other, rather than those people who are truly responsible.
I fully expect that my write-in vote, and anyone else who does the same will be faced with the realization come November that Trump’s re-election could have been prevented. There will be some frustration, a lot actually.
But I also suspect that four more years of his mismanagement will effectively set ablaze the remaining vestiges of any sense of democracy we thought we had. If I’m handing him a match and saying BURN IT DOWN…essentially what I’m agreeing to is this: tough love to help re-build a flawed paradigm. It will hurt. Yep.
FORCED EVOLUTION. People will not revolt until they have no other option. They will not complain or take to the streets until they are at full risk of losing liberties they cherish. They will not fight for their reproductive rights, or their educations, for their health or their livelihoods UNTIL they are backed into a corner. I have complete faith that he’ll bungle it all and do exactly that. Character arcs are all laid out in the open in the first chapter, after all. Characters can only be what they are.
The alternative is this:
Innovate the system. Gentle, steady, small corrections slow the momentum, and realign the vehicle, right? Where is a middle ground? Where can we agree to start? Where is the most neutral territory from which to support the largest population AND begin to unify under new ideas and strategy?
Too much risk?
I dunno…two months ago I would have said it would be naïve to think the world would get hit by a pandemic. I would have said it was unrealistic to move the bulk of jobs to work from home and keep people employed while staying home and staying safe. I would have claimed it too optimistic to think the skies would clear and the oceans and forests begin to heal after just three weeks of lower pollution. I would have said it was ignorant to think we could flatten a curve on a virulent and deadly new virus. I would have said it would be unachievable to create respirators from car parts, and 3-d printers, or turn an army of quilters into mask makers.
Too much risk? More risk than the millions of healthcare professionals in our country dying on the front lines to save our silly stubborn lives while they themselves are undersupplied, under-served and most are drowning in student loan debt?
You tell me. Is it time to evolve the system?
Too much time alone in my head is drumming up old, long-buried memories and daydreams. The world is struggling to breathe, literally. I’ve been looping in my mind, as I’m sure many folks have. Looping, puttering. going in circles, grieving, ranting, drifting helplessly, firing off ideas, trying to reach out, then crawling back under the covers to stare at the ceiling.
Old daydreams. The fantasies that sustained me when I was a girl are bubbling up. It could be the shift in planets, or the restless mental wanderings—but much of what I thought I’d forgotten keeps blindsiding me at the most random times.
My plan in the early years (at age 15) was to travel the world and write. At the time I was a teenager in love with my high school sweetheart, and I assumed that future would include him somehow. I told him wild yarns of how we’d buy an old castle in Scotland, and raise a bunch of orphans. He was in, too. Like, he totally went along with my ramblings and ideas of setting up an orphanage in the Highlands where I could write my books and he could work on his music. We’d travel and explore (probably finding kids all over the world to bring home), then return to the castle part of the year and tend to our creations.
Ah, the idle daydreams of youth. We didn’t know it at the time, but at roughly that same moment in history, J.K Rowling was being inspired on a train to tell a story about a young magical orphan named Harry, and a wondrous wizarding school in a Scottish Castle. Go figure.
The more I began to realize my high school sweetheart never planned on leaving Alaska, the more I began to realize the castle orphanage was a silly idea. I couldn’t do it alone. Time and heartbreak do funny things. Desperation and survival make tough decisions. Life at that time was unsteady and we lived in a kind of poverty that gives middle-class folk the hives. So as reality began to set in and my relationship with him ended, the plan morphed.
I would travel the world, write, and have affairs with interesting rich men so I could keep on moving. Keep moving, keep outrunning the losses. Of course, all that planning went to shit as well with a very young marriage to my older fencing instructor and a decade of lost time.
Is it lost though? I ask myself as I find these memories tumbling me over and over like a laundry puff cycle. Where did this reminiscing even come from?
When I only have a few minutes of internet access, and I find myself looking for castles for sale in Scotland…well, it seems like a strangely lopsided full circle.
I gave up the idea of kids. I gave up the idea of having a family. I’m more of a protector than a nurturer, after all. I gave up the idea of being able to look out for anyone, because I could barely take care of myself and didn’t want to put anyone else through the grief and misery of the struggle if I couldn’t provide adequately for their safety and needs. I couldn’t do that to another human being. Right? Who does that?
But this idle time, this puttering and wandering in circles punctuated by moments of active gratitude and thankfulness has made me realize—I’m okay. I’m actually okay. More importantly, I have a lot to give back, a lot to offer. And that maybe, just maybe, it’s time to re-evaluate what I can provide.
A slow, like uber slow, realization has been surfacing about my life choices and where I’m at currently.
Sure, I traveled, and had affairs with rich men. Some of it was even fun. Unfortunately, a lot of it was, well, tedious. Sure, I was able to keep moving for a while, and I outran the losses like the best of them… but eventually I needed an anchorage, a harbor, and so I bought a cottage in the woods and rooted.
Only just now have I realized: I’ve been playing out the fantasy of my childhood on a very economic and achievable scale. For my budget, I’ve been doing precisely what I dreamt of when I was fifteen.
Instead of a castle in Scotland, I opted for the second, more affordable choice of a cottage in the wilderness. Instead of a pack of orphans that I may or may not be able to provide for, I’ve collected instead, orphaned animals. All my animals are castaways, rescues, or giveaways. (Pandora was the only surviving kitten in a bag thrown onto the highway, and so on.)
I live in my makeshift castle and write my books and build my creations, and take care of my orphans. I did precisely, just smaller scale, what I said I would do 25 years ago.
Now, I realize from the outside it doesn’t look like the same thing AT ALL. And I will say, it’s true, it’s not the same exact thing. It’s the closest to it that I could muster on my own with the options that were available at the time. It has provided the feeling of being able to nurture, provide, and be creative.
For purposes of knowing how manifestation and energy resonance works, it’s important to recognize the FEELING of completions, and the realizations of manifestation coming into reality in a way that fulfills the intent of the daydream, or the intent of the feeling. There is so much powerful gratitude in knowing, feeling, and being in a place that I had wanted—or close to it. In fact, when I began to believe early on that a castle in Scotland was just not a reasonable request—I began to imagine instead a cottage in the woods. I altered the desire to something more obtainable, or at least, what I believed was obtainable. I visualized this property so clearly that when I stumbled upon it five years later, I made an offer the same day.
The point of all this is to affirm to myself as the world seems to be going wonky and I am thankfully well situated, that this was not an accident. I set this up years ago. I was more or less compelled to reach this point. Moreover, the awareness that my life and my heart still have room to give and offer, it’s time to evaluate what exactly I want to daydream next.
The feeling of being able to take care of and support my tiny little menagerie, and my little square of land as given me the courage to realize I may be able to provide for more. That as the world rebalances itself, I need to be thinking of what I can give and to whom I can give it when the time comes. There will be many in need. What will I be abundantly able to offer?
Dad, don’t get excited, but there may be an orphan or two involved. I dunno, maybe I’ll start out small and try a goat or a miniature pony first to make sure I don’t mess anything up.
I don’t think I’m the only one going through the spin cycle and ruminations. I think millions of people derailed from their daily routines, habits, and even their work scenarios are suddenly caught in these loopy old re-runs.
They are re-examining their choices. Are they happy with where they ended up?
Did they give up love for careers and vice versa? Family for money, or travel for stable homes? Did they give up passionate dreams for success, or freedom for security? Where did they deviate from the plan? Did it work out for better or worse?
When life returns to normal…do they/we want to go back to the way things were?
I’m just one of millions re-thinking, re-evaluating, weighing out the tallies. It’s fair to say when I’m evaluating my current situation, all worldly grief and loss aside, I’m happy with my life choices and where I tumbled out of the rollercoaster. I hope most people can say the same.
These last three years have been the happiest years of my life, and up until now I couldn’t figure out why. I’m fulfilled, and ready for more. While there’s guilt in feeling okay when there are so many who are not, there’s gratitude in knowing I will have extra to offer. I’m challenged and still learning. I’m creative and have a constant outlet. I have my freedom, my community, and my dreams have all been scaled to fit this nifty little plot of land and nurture this tiny bubble of bliss, with extra left to share.
I’ve come full circle…so what’s next?
Seems like a margarita, a hammock, and some new daydreams are in order.