step four — july to november 2010, the nose of the ship begins to go under

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my post step four introduction is the context for this series of posts.

the form of the space and how all my things went with his furniture seemed so perfect. my heart sang to have a home space with my things in it. it seemed like the final landing place for the next era of being a student on a national leadership award. we called it the Zen Palace. I could finally grieve and recover from all of the upheaval in my life because I thought it was over.

On the plane to the leadership conference I attended in November as part of the award, what was on my brain to write about was my new roommate. we’d been roommates since July, and had entered an agreement to have a “jock & ben” (from the Haven) kind of friendship, where we practice radical honesty with each other in order to work through some of our issues around connection. I had come from the previous winter in a trailer park, then a basement suite sleeping on a massage table and living out of President’s Choice reusable shopping bags, then finally a local B&B in exchange for caretaking, to this beautiful appartment, shared with my Haven friend.

From my notes during the conference of speakers and workshops and such:

Meaningful service:
  • positive contribution
  • solves a problem, fills a need
  • meaningful to you, your passion, your goals
  • spark / inspire action in others
  • far-reaching, long lasting.

Depth & Breadth — breadth is the degree that it pushes yourself, and to which you engage others.

These notes were followed by pages of brainstorming on how I could make change in my community.

Looking at these notes of busy-ness, what they make tangible is the degree to which I pushed myself. How hard I tried, and how much I was trying to do, all at the same time, as an intensely sincere, thorough, thoughtful and hard-working person.

Upon my return from the conference, and only four months after I’d moved in, my new Haven roommate became emotionally cold, and informed me he didn’t want to have a roommate in his space any more and that I had to move out. This was the point at which the boat really started to go down. The feelings of being isolated, forgotten and ashamed were so intense that I found myself sobbing at the bottom of our empty bathtub after a bath. My chest throbbed with the kind of pain that is emotional and physical all at once — the kind that radiates down my arms right out to my finger tips.

I had exhausted all my friends couches, massage tables, trailers, basements and b&b’s; and I felt I had exhausted my friends themselves. The world was a cold hard, empty bathtub; I was naked inside, and clinging desperately to a  disintigrating mask of a national leader.

I declined to attend an awards ceremony because I couldn’t stand the thought of standing alone, not having anyone there with me, being an outsider. I just said I couldn’t go.

I had begun seeing the school’s free psychologist, but even she did not see the drasticness of the actions that were required. I did not sleep or eat properly again until arriving in the hospital 6 months later. By then, my stint of homelessness had seen me on a basement mattress for December, and into the school’s mature residence in January.

a handwritten note on a recipe card I found on the windshield of my car after work one day over the summer. Though I’d been reluctant to admit it, the car had become a real beater, with rust and a faulty muffler. It was the car of my marriage that I was still driving, while negotiating the sale of our house and working as a cashier; which, in a small town where I was previously famous, was the most humiliating thing I have ever done. At the time, I endured, thinking all would be well once school began in the fall. You know it’s time to get a new car if complete and total strangers begin leaving messages like this one on your windshield.


Author: innerlight

A capricorn horse. Creative dreamer, over thinker. bpd, insecure attachment and any other labels for deep and chronic wounds and other gifts of brilliance that propel intense and eclectic lives and make for good art. We are high needs and high return, all the way, all the way. Surrender, integration, repair, rebuild, connect, create, evolve. Deeply.

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