How you been, Planet FOMO-ians? And how can I describe to you the whirlwind that is my world since last you heard from me?
Oh, that’s right, in pictures.
In my last post, I prattled on about pumpkin spice lattes and spring cleaning well into the autumnal realm. I also extolled the virtues of Aztec goddess Tlazateótl, the Filth Eater.
I did a lot of soul searching, FOMO-teers. The art I produced since is very telling of where I was in the push-and-pull that is my professional-personal life. If you recall, I had a side hustle as a law clerk at a firm that mostly served to keep the lights on, my cats fed, and my partner and I with a healthy supply of ice cream in the ice box.
But I was not happy, my dear FOMO-teers. Not inside, where it mattered and eventually not on the outside either.
I thought about life, transitions, and change. I thought about the different choices I made to get me to this point. I thought about how painful it is trying to become your future. I thought about how we go through many births and deaths and how tired I am of dying all these little deaths of the soul. I thought about being birthed and cleansed in water. I thought about our oceans and the shape they are in because of pollution and over-fishing.
I thought mostly about the red tide in Florida because my dear London sister lives in the state and talked about how terrible it has been on them these past couple of months.
And I thought about how if my soul was the ocean, what would it look like? What tides, red, green, blue, toxic, de-toxing, etc. would be ebbing and flowing through my seas?
I imagined the ocean as my placenta surrounding me. Only much bigger, of course. Into the vastness of creation and being, I put one foot in front of the other. The little pink current is me, in case you couldn’t tell. And from the opposite side of the ocean, heading straight toward me was a tide of darkness and stickiness. Something so toxic and overwhelming it threatened to blot out my existence.
It is a happy coincidence that the dark tide eventually ended up resembling a witch on her broomstick (although I don’t abide by those conventional images of witchcraft as being ugly or negative). I thought about the story of Dorothy being swept up by a tornado and dropped into a different land where she had to make her way with only the protection of a good witch and a killer pair of shoes.
Surely this tide would either overtake me and everything that I am–or else it would spirit me away to my own personal Oz, where I would have to walk down a strange path wearing six-inch stilettos because when’s the last time you came across a pair of glittery red shoes in sensible flats?
This metaphor seemed especially profound when I painted the above image. However, since I am stubborn and often afraid of change, I did not heed the cries of my soul. I thought that I just had to slow down, take my time with changes–not make any abrupt movements or else the monster that is life would gobble me up.
It was not until I came home completely depleted due to my soul-draining job at a law firm run by a narcissist and painted the picture below that I realized I had gone far too long not listening to the signs my body, my mind, and the Universe was throwing at me.
Let me tell you something, Planet FOMO-ians: if you ever need to paint what you feel inside and that is the result–it is time to make a change.
I don’t care what you have to do. When it gets that bad, you gotta make like Chris Washington and GET OUT. Whatever your situation, if it is unhealthy and toxic and making you feel even a slither of what I painted up there, please do something to get yourself to a better place.
Because that painting up there, that was where I was this past month. I felt worse than crap. I felt hopeless. I felt lost and alone and rudderless because I was doing things that were not true to me. I was over-worked and over-stressed with a boss that was demanding more and more. I was allowing my labor to be exploited and my time to be swallowed up by a vortex that had more power over me than I wanted it to have.
I felt like I was in the middle of a storm that contained all the different pieces of myself I attained thus far. All the knowledge and experiences I gained that made me who I was, was now up in the air and swirling about me.
These past few months, we have seen a lot of storms. As I write this, Super Typhoon Yutu passed the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and my home, the island of Guahan. The most recent news is that Guahan is safe but getting a lot of wind and rain. Worse, the islands of Saipain and Tinian are expected to sustain a lot of damage.
Last night I cried as I read report after report about the storm heading toward my home and family. There are winds of up to 190 miles per hour and people said it is the worst storm since Super Typhoon Pongsonga–and I remembered that storm and cried harder.
I remembered the way the power went out and the wind whipped around the four corners of our home. Though my house was made of concrete and we had boarded up our windows, I was terrified. It was dark and cold and loud and it seemed to me that the world as I knew it was about to end.
During Pongsonga, my mother and grandmother led a rosary and I recall a large object crashing into one of our shuttered windows and I prayed harder. I prayed that the Virgin Mary of the prayer would remember the islands that were named for her; I prayed that the storm would pass; I prayed that we would be spared. My prayers were from a place of fear and, admittedly very selfish. I wasn’t thinking of anyone else in my prayers. Just me and the people I cared about. But my selfishness is a story for another day and another time.
Based on context clues, you may have guessed that I did, indeed, survive that storm. I survived others as well. It looks like Guahan and her sister islands will also survive Yutu, although some islands may be worse for wear than others.
News of Super Typhoon Yutu comes on the heels of a great upheaval in my life.
I notified my job that I was quitting at the end of October. Then I ended up leaving last week because the environment got worse once they knew I was leaving. My breaking point came last week and I just could not take it any longer (I will spare you the gory details but let’s just say people, in general, like to get paid for the hours they work–and I am one of those people).
I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to transition safely. How to be responsible and take my next steps cautiously and with intent. I realized that despite our best intentions, sometimes the Universe wants something else for you–and faster than you were willing to go.
So now here I am. I am not working at the moment, at least not in the capitalistic sense. I am, however, hunkering down during this stormy season and re-evaluating my priorities and my goals. My next job will be sought with intention. When I applied for jobs back in January, I did so without much thought except, just pay me money, I don’t care what I’m doing. Now I’m fortunate enough to not be in that desperate situation anymore. But the work to become my future is still to be done.
And for the record, when you invite The Filth Eater into your life to rid the excess and unnecessary, She will for sure cleanse you of the junk you no longer need–with quickness that could make your head spin.
Tlazateótl is no joke.
Hang tight, my Planet FOMO-ians. Brighter days are yet to come. Even when we have to make our own sun.