My Year of Movement, So Far
Every year I pick a word or idea to focus on to keep me going. This year I picked "movement" because man, I have some big goals and dreams and they are not gonna make themselves come true. It just really feels like it's time to be pushing myself towards the things I want, and up until the past couple of weeks that really felt like it was swimming along just fine. January was so much prep and planning and getting ready for all that a year of movement entailed that I really didn't have a lot of emotional investment in it. I had no clue how it would all shake out in real time, but I knew what my goals were and what I wanted to move towards and what the tangible steps involved were. I took a very even-keeled approach to the whole thing. I packed all my stuff in boxes and got ready for a February physical move. I threw out a bunch of old to make way for a bunch of new. I read up on graphic design for dummies (still so lost. Please point me to resources if you have them!), mediumship, and how to land a book deal. I saved a ton of money. I prayed a lot. I made lists and plans and wrote down my most ridiculous dreams, just in case.
Then February came. Time to physically, literally move and that went okay. It was exhausting but it got done. Also as a side note, I turned 31. Nothing keeps you marching in forward movement like time refusing to stand still for you. I don't know that I've written about the specifics of my move before, but essentially I (and my queerplatonic partner of course) were offered free housing in the house we dog-sit at sometimes for four months. Pretty decent amenities were involved too--a Jacuzzi every night is a pretty effective pain management technique, and I'm not gonna argue with free cable. I was immediately so relieved by this offer. Yes I'm dog and house sitting in exchange, but my life has been so hard financially since I was a kid, and it seems like every time I take a step forward I am forced two steps back. I took this offer as a sign that I was to spend this time to really grow my businesses and make them sustainable financially. With Gadfly my goal has always been to have a space where queer artists can thrive, make enough to keep it going and pay artists decently, and to make radical art in traditional mediums that elevate queer voices. I've been doing the latter for six years, but it's definitely time to hone in and focus on the first two, and I know not having to worry about making rent or bills for essentially five months (since you don't pay for your last month in a space usually) meant time to focus that energy in other areas. Additionally, my tarot, miscellaneous art, and writing pay my bills now, but that's about all they do. I work so incredibly hard, and I am so blessed to actually make my living doing only things I love and think are important while also making a flexible enough schedule to manage my chronic pain. But no life is perfect and truth be told there are months on end where I am scraping by with an occasional "good" month where I can do things like buy new bras and save for a vacation. This is the reality of solo entrepreneurship that a lot of people won't tell you, and I live in a mid-sized city with a huge artistic community and it's still really hard. It's worth it. Do not misunderstand. I am not cut out for early mornings and hours of busy work, and manage to have both avoidant personality and oppositional defiance disorders. I am not cut out to do only one thing with my life, or to only see my friends for one or two happy hours a week. Some people live so fully and happily in that life and that's great. Some people need the structure, the order, the safety and some people legitimately love crunching numbers and are willing to do it during regular business hours to do it and that's amazing because nothing I do is possible without those people. I am definitively not one of those people though, and I love my life. I love sitting on a friend's porch while they chain smoke and talking late into the night knowing I don't have to be up the next morning. I love not having to "put in" for time off hoping it comes through. I love working in coffee shops, or on my couch, or in my temporary home's king-sized bed. More importantly though, I am head over heels in love with the written word, with tarot cards, with theatre and all of it's beautiful messy amazing relatives, and I also love realizing I'm behind on deadlines and owe people readings and holing up for three days and talking to no one and emerging a productive, recharged butterfly with an empty to-do list. It's also a fact that my typing hours are limited sometimes because of joint pain, that sometimes I can go on five hours of sleep for three weeks and feel great but other times I need my eight hours and possibly a nap because I ruptured a cyst two nights ago and have been totally exhausted ever since, and that I can't be on my feet for a six hour retail shift without it knocking me out for the next four days. I am so, so lucky that I found passions and vocations that make this workable. I would never talk shit about my life. But it's really hard sometimes.
And with that, I digress: for four months I have a chance to do nothing but fundraise and create for Gadfly, to write and write and write, and to grow my business skill set and work to build my client roster so that those aspects of my life are not merely paying my bills but are allowing me to flourish, and in that flourishing help others find their voice and do the same. So this physical move that embodied so much symbolism for the full year ahead had a lot of emotion riding on it and put into it, and it went fine. I was a little disappointed by how chill it all felt. I've been to this house so many times, so leaving the crappy basement apartment Manny and I occupied longer than I've lived anywhere since early childhood was bittersweet, but the full impact of that hasn't hit me because the joy of friends like the ones who's house I'm staying in is that it just felt like going home. It's a good thing, but my emotions about it all are really complicated but also way more muted than I expected. I suspect this is frequently true for people in housing transition like this, but the complete quiet of it still took me by surprise.
Then March happened in earnest, and my fucking Goddess did it happen in earnest. One goal for this year was to travel more and figure out how to make that a part of my life while still sustaining otherwise. I took a road trip to LA which you can read more about here, and I feel really good about how that fit into this year's goals and movement. I also got to catch up with some old friends, and that was significant to a year of movement for me. In the past I have had primarily unhealthy relationships where I just picked up and fled the friendship (or even the state in a few memorable instances) when it was time to "move on". This was usually the right call, but one thing catching up with great people reminded me is that when you're nurturing the right relationships in your life they get to move forward WITH you. You don't shed quality people, even if takes you awhile to realize your impact on each other and that's something I'm still learning and working on.
Then I came back from L.A. full of emotions, excitement, and exhaustion and everything else in my life hit the fan. In every aspect of my life. So while in January I prepped and planned for a year of movement, in February I physically moved, and for half of March I checked off a major goal, the latter half of March has left me with this huge question:
How do you keep moving forward when everything is falling apart?
And I don't know the answer yet, but I know I'm gonna figure it out. With Gadfly we've taken the tack of "okay, let's break down what's not working and rebuild." We're gonna pull our own Tower down and start over where some things are concerned while keeping the good stuff. That's not gonna work in my personal or emotional life though. In so many ways I don't want to get into I feel like a failure for the first time. I failed at some things this month, and that doesn't happen to me a lot. It brought every fear and insecurity boiling to the surface and I straight up shut down for a couple of days. In the grand scheme of things, two bad weeks mean nothing, but where I go from now is hugely important and I haven't made any decisions or taken any steps fully forward because I am scared of failing again. This is again totally new territory for me. It's always been my fear of success or of the unknown that have held me back, but this feeling of failure is brand new territory and I'm really baffled and upset by it.
And maybe that's the point. Maybe we can't move forward truly without some failures along the way. Maybe I'm supposed to be learning how to fail gracefully. Maybe I'm supposed to be learning to fail, period. I don't know. What I do know is I owe it to myself and the plethora of people who inexplicably believe in me to keep marching forward. So I will, somehow. I just don't really know what that looks like right now.
Until next time, Blessed be.
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