On money, success, and being fucking honest

Recently we hosted a couple through Couchsurfing. They were from Denver and on an epic road trip to celebrate their one year anniversary. They only stayed one night and when they left in the morning Kris and I remarked at how much better they made us feel about ourselves.

Everything about them was very cliche and practiced. They had decided who they wanted to be and they presented themselves as such, but upon some questions from us — you could see their facade start to crack. They finally looked like real humans who didn’t have all the answers. They looked tender, confused, and honest. Which is how we look all the fucking time.

We value honesty over literally anything else. Like you don’t have to be anything other than yourself when you walk through this door.
But with them we could smell bullshit like almost instantly. Not like they were bullshit, but just the feeling of — can you cut the act and can we just talk like real people?

They are in a new relationship and they are into natural organic everything. They have loads of lofty aspirations like we used to have years ago.
We used to talk about all the good we wanted to do, all the people we wanted to help.
We had rejected the mainstream ideas of success and felt pretty fucking clever for doing so. No marriage contracts, 9-5 jobs or processed food for us!
But the biggest mistake we made was thinking passion and money had to come from the same place.
So we put ourselves through the ringer for years trying to make the two come together.

Until we really stripped it down. What did we really want, at our heart of hearts. What was THE MOST IMPORTANT THING.

And for years I didn’t want to say it, I felt like it was bad or reflected poorly on me as a person.
I wanted to be something I wasn’t. I wanted to be better than my deepest desire.

And what is that, you ask? Money. Plain and simple.
That’s the motivation behind everything, for me anyway.
Did I want to wipe the sweaty brows of birthing women? Yeah. But I also wanted $800 bucks at the end.
Did I want to write and organize my thoughts and smartest travel tips so that other people could benefit and see the world? Yeah. But I also wanted them to pay me for it.
Did I want to make delicious bone broth and package it in non-toxic glass jars and sell it in my community so everyone had local, convenient access to densely nutritious food? Yes, but I also wanted $15 a quart.

Money is such a taboo subject and especially in the alternative/artistic/creative/woke/whatever-the-fuck circles, it’s even more frowned upon to say that you want it.
We’re supposed to crave a Utopian society where everyone has equal access to everything, you barter for goods and services and no one is poisoned by the evil green dirty money.

Okay, sure. But also. I want money because I live here, now in Phoenix in 2017.
Where you can Uber to Trader Joe’s and buy $7 pre-sliced mango. It’s fucking brilliant. The conveniences of our time blows my fucking mind.

I used to jump on the band wagon in my artistic/hippie friend circle of mocking rich people. We’d see some fit bitch in $100 yoga pants getting a $6 latte carrying a $400 purse and we’d make all sorts of judgments about her and say passive aggressive things like, “Must be nice!”

Do you know where all that aggression came from? Jealousy. All we wanted, if we’re being honest, is to be that bitch.
Those $100 yoga pants? They’re like fucking butter. That $6 latte? It’s like velvet. That $400 purse? It’s cute as hell and totally functional.
Because if we were satisfied in our own lives and truly happy — we wouldn’t have even noticed the fit bitch or at the very last — wouldn’t have had the time or instinct to pass judgement.

I noticed a few years ago that I stopped doing that. And it wasn’t even a practice or a retraining, I just stopped. I’d see a fit bitch and be like, “Fuck yeah, fit bitch!! You look awesome and if I had money I’d be strutting the same fucking way. I can’t wait!” Some of the nicest, kindest most wonderful people I’ve met in my life have lots of money.

My attitude towards money and the people who had it totally changed when I got real with what I actually wanted.

And now, at this moment in time, I’ve separated my passions from the way that I make money and boy has that opened up a whole new world. Because the thing is — they don’t have to come from the same place. If they do, that’s fine — but in the same vein: you need money to make your dreams a reality.

The truth about being an entrepreneur is that you’re doing the job of 12 people at once and you have no money to hire help or outsource.

So I’m looking at this baby faced couple from Denver (who were in their 30s, mind you) wanting to ask them how much they were willing to suffer? They owned a home with an HOA, they have two cars, they have a savings account and stocks and a comfortable lifestyle. They’re just at the beginning of quitting their day jobs and being an active part of this new life they say they want.

I wanted to look at them and say — you know you’re not just going to throw up a facebook page and suddenly have people knocking on your doors, right?
I want to tell her that yes, she’s right — having a trade is noble and smart, but that massage therapy isn’t a fucking smart trade. The top paid tradespeople have skills that humans can’t live without: auto mechanics, plumbers, brick masons, computer programmers. Not fucking massage therapy.

I want to ask them if they’re willing to short sell their home, sell most of their stuff, drain their savings, sell their stocks, and apply for food stamps.
Not because I want to project my own experience onto them, because for fuck’s sake — they could be the unicorns. But because nobody was real or honest with me.
All I ever heard about entrepreneurship was the success stories. The packaged happy stories that had great endings.
No one is sharing the missteps, the hardships, the day to day reality of it.

This couple is telling us about doing massage therapy, using essential oils (of course they’re fucking DoTerra reps, don’t get me started), opening a wellness center and all of this other shit. Instead of just smiling politely and telling them how great that all sounded, I said — “Hey, you know — you need money to do all that. And money and passion don’t have to come from the same place.” And in that moment you could see little cracks start to form. You could see the look of one being humbled. They asked a few questions and I said that it can be exhausting trying to sell yourself and your intensely personal offerings. It can be absolutely nutty to have your livelihood depend on showing up on Facebook, maintaining your website, emailing your subscribers, all in the name of what you’re selling. And that if I could go back, I would’ve tackled the money thing first and let the passion come later.

Because the interesting thing about money is that it changes everything. It challenges everything you say you’re about and shows you who you really are.
What do you want to offer for free? What do you want to offer truly from your heart? When your rent is paid and you’ve got money in the bank — how do you want to show up for the world? Do you even want to?

This is a theme for us lately, and a different CouchSurfing couple — one that was married and loved the Lord Jesus Christ — asked us what our vision of the future was. I didn’t miss a beat and said, “Piles of money”. A year ago I would’ve said something really inspiring and philosophical that totally highlighted was I was going to teach people and offer people, the space I was going to hold and the transformation I was going to facilitate. Because that sounds a whole lot better and more noble. But it wasn’t completely honest.

If we’re stripping away all the fluff, I just want to wipe my ass with $20 bills.

Your average person also wants that, but probably would never say it for fear of how it sounds, just like me.
But it’s great now to own it and say it and watch it give other people permission to really be honest.

Like.

We don’t have to sit around having poopy schmoopy new age conversations and singing kumbaya.
Everything is relevant. You can want to heal people and also want to live in a mansion.
One doesn’t have to be poor and suffer in the name of their cause to be a respectable person.

It’s funny, too — in the same breath that these people are saying they’re getting out of the corporate world, they’re thru making money for someone else — they’re also touting essential oils and other forms of affiliate marketing. Which is a different version of the same thing. Yes, you can sell essential oils in the comfort of your own home instead of an office, but your essentially just making someone else rich.

And of course it’s how smart he thinks he sounds saying, “We’re going to get into internet marketing when we get back home”. Okay, cool. Do you know it’s not that simple? Marketing, no matter what the fuck you’re selling or how the fuck you’re selling it, takes money and loads of time. You’re going to fail and be wrong and have to try all sorts of stuff and have loads of cash to throw at facebook ads and SEO words. You realize that’s what internet marketing means, right? It doesn’t mean you’re going to just sign up with a company, post a couple times on facebook and have off the fucking chain traffic to your shit.

The cherry on top though was when they said they were going to get their weddings rings tattooed on. Marriage and monogamy is totally fine if that’s your thing — I know loads of people that are happy as fucking clams doing life that way and it’s fucking beautiful to watch. But wedding ring tattoos? Are you 12? Are you that naive to think that you’ve known each other a year and can predict 80 years in the future and proclaim a huge part of your life is never going to change? It’s like, boy can you spot from a hundred yards away a person that has never been humbled by anything in their life.

Then there was more bullshit talk about abundance. They said, in what sounded like a rehearsed speech, that isn’t that the ultimate dream in life — to obtain abundance for yourself, to crack the code, and be making $20,000 a month and then be able to spread it around and teach other people how to do the same thing.

I thought — yeah, that’s great and all and totally do that if that’s your thing. But also. You can just make $20,000 a month and just fucking relax. You can just chill out and enjoy your life without living the rest of it like you’re in debt to society. Like you owe all of your suffering friends the way out. Like they’re too stupid to figure out their own way. You did, but they can’t? It’s sort of a condescending catch 22.

What if they just wore standard wedding rings? What if they just said they didn’t know if they’d be together because how possibly could they? What if they just committed to each other’s happens and vowed to choose each other every single day? What if they promised to do this thing together until the one day it didn’t serve them in the best way anymore? Or would that kind of honesty just reveal too many deep cracks?

Cracks that a wedding ring tattoo will sure strengthen. Bwahaha. I’m still very judgy in lots of ways, can you tell?

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Nearly everything else that’s been tested has shifted.

This prompt landed in my inbox 8 days ago, but the first time I read it was three minutes ago.
It’s funny because the last 8 days — all we’ve been talking about is the rainbows we’ve chased in the past and why we keep chasing them.

This year we have massively struggled in all of the major areas of life, except for our relationship.

Lots of major pieces of our identity have fallen away, prompting us to examine what survived.
We’ve tried so many things and massively failed.

But the one thing we’re both sort of surprised is still intact is our belief that we will be successful.
That has never wavered even a little bit.
It’s not anything we’ve consciously worked to maintain, but rather — something we noticed was still going strong with no effort on our part whatsoever.

Nearly everything else that’s been tested has shifted.
But not that.

A big piece of that, I think, is the belief that we are worthy.
And the ease with which we receive.

Have you ever noticed those being two common themes? People say they want things, but don’t believe they deserve them. And then they say they need help, but feel bad asking for it or taking it when it’s offered. We’re all just so busy feeling guilty and getting in our own way.

There’s been so many things over the years that we thought would be “it”.

And now, of course, there’s something else.
The new thing.
The latest thing.
Finally — something.

And we’ve been observing how enthusiastically we’re meeting it.
You’d think it wouldn’t be so.
That we’d both be soured and think — well, why would this work? Nothing’s worked for us before. Why would we get our hopes up again?
But that feeling hasn’t crept in even a little bit.

I was starting to think that we were going to close out this year without a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s November 1st tomorrow, for cryin out loud.

But maybe — most likely actually — we’re right on the verge of a major shift.

We’ve been consumed with learning about cryptocurrency. Bitcoin is the one everybody has heard of, but there’s actually 1100+ coins.
It’s absolutely fascinating.
Kris has watched hours and hours of video and read days worth of blog posts and forums.
It’s largely his I.T. background and knowledge that is making this all possible.

It’s another thing where anyone we share it with meets us with, “That sounds crazy, I could never do that”.

It’s another idea we have where everyone thinks we’re just naive idiots taking a very uncalculated leap into the unknown.
But we’re both big researchers and are very grounded in reality. So that’s never been the case with anything we’ve tried.
Just because it didn’t work out doesn’t mean it’s because we went into it blind and stupid.

This is another instance though where we don’t share with many because you just get an onslaught of their fearful projections that have nothing to do with us.

I always knew that whatever we did would be very outside the box. I also felt that whatever happened for us would be a giant explosion forward, versus a series of small victories that eventually led to something big. I had this inkling feeling throughout the shit show of this past year that whatever got us out of our hole would be mega. Where our lives would change nearly overnight. A blog post would go viral and suddenly we’d be on every talk show. Our course would sell ten thousand students overnight. We’d sell a thousand shirts an hour out of our online boutique. That’s just what I could conceive of in my teeny tiny brain.

But maybe this is it. A robot that day trades for me. A computer that mines currency for me. Buying cryptocurrency, for fuck’s sake. That’s some futuristic Jetson’s shit right there.
The realization that only 1% of the world is doing this. And it feels like we’ve been let into some secret club.
To test theories and see that they actually work.
That feels nice. I’m ready.

And it feels almost nostalgic, even though nothing has happened yet.
This is likely our last bit of time in this house, maybe this city.

And that if it isn’t this, it will be something.

What mothers are capable of

What mothers are capable of astounds me.

I am not a mother, so perhaps what mothers do seems more outrageous to me.

But then I think no: if I were a mother, I’m sure I’d still think it was pretty fucking mind blowing.

ANYWAY.

A friend of mine shared with me that her baby boy was teething, hardcore. He is breastfed and has been biting her a ton. The only thing that soothes him is her breast, so she was unable to get away without him and go to yoga.

She just said that like it was nothing. Like she was saying she couldn’t go because she had a headache. Or needed a nap or something.

But because a human baby is not only attached to her breast 24/7 — he’s BITING IT AT ANY GIVEN MOMENT IN REGULAR INTERVALS?!

Why isn’t this more of a thing?

If dudes had to feed babies from their ballsacks, and it was a regular thing for the babies to chomp on the dudes ballsacks, I can guaran-fucking-tee you we’d hear about it all day long and we’d all be bottle fed.

Why aren’t there parades for mothers every weekend? Why aren’t we supporting them more from a societal stand point?
Is it just because it’s so common place to be a mother?
Why does that make it any less shocking?

Just because collectively shit loads of women are currently mothering doesn’t mean that each individual mother isn’t feeling the weight of the world every single day all day long.

She’s letting the next generation soothe itself on her nipple. In the name of nurturing an emotional stable and capable human — she’s soothing him with her actual body. Not just her body — her fucking nipples. She gets bitten and just continues on — that baby’s comfort overrides everything.

I know this happens to my friend every single day and it’s her normal, but to me — I heard that and wanted to send her a dozen roses, a gallon of chocolate milk and a lifetime supply of pizza. Metaphorically, but you know what I mean.

Women are capable of such sacrifice, and it’s these extreme sacrifices that literally keep the human race from going extinct.
Men are integral, too — obviously. But I’m talking about the sacrificing of one’s body here. And that is all fucking women.

I don’t understand how these every day sacrifices go so unnoticed.

I know many aspects of mothering are intangible and not quantifiable – the emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects vary widely. I think because of that — most of the world just chalks up motherhood to some big, fat, don’t ask don’t tell mystery situation that somehow everyone seems to make it out reasonably intact from, so what’s the big deal? Even the obvious physical elements of mothering are often swept under the rug because we don’t want to talk about it. Keep your blood and poop and amniotic fluid to yourself.

But that’s fucking bullshit, because:

Women have their organs displaced for 10 months to incubate a human
They grow a disposable organ, for fucks’s sake. And it acts like a computer that jacks nutrients from her body to give to said growing human.
Then they have amniotic fluid leak out of their vaginas without warning, along with blood and tons of goop while their uterine muscles are simultaneously surging in opposite directions
They’re pooping at random, usually in front of a room full of strangers
They’re getting poked and prodded and measured and evaluated
They have their pussies ripped apart
Or their stomachs sliced open
They have their nipples chomped on
Their actual bodies are the reason for every single human alive on this planet right now

Can you even wrap your head around that?

Talk about being fucking capable.

The last bookstore

There was the Barnes and Noble in New York City where I used to meet people off Craig’s List. I’d pass them a paper bag containing a pair of my underwear in exchange for $100 bill. I remember feeling like such a badass just rolling in cash like a 19 year old gangster. The types of people I would meet were not the types that you might think — I say that only because they weren’t the types I pictured. They were everyone from a sharply dressed business man to a pot bellied middle aged man to a tiny old man in suspenders. They were all polite, punctual, never haggled me and I never felt uncomfortable in the slightest. I was in the position of power 100% of the time and the men were all timid, almost vulnerable — admitting their “fetish” and quietly seeking out their satisfaction.

There was Lawn Gnome — the used bookstore in downtown Phoenix sitting on an epic side street jam packed with independent businesses. It was a hub for creativity (before it got bought up be developers) and all the cool people hung out down there, including a young hipster couple that interviewed me to be their potential birth doula. He owned the bookstore and she baked at the coffee shop. Freshly married and newly pregnant they were a sweet, naive couple. Based on their wishes and preferences, I encouraged them to consider home birth, but then didn’t hear from them for months and assumed I had pushed too hard. But then, a voicemail. Her voice saying they are having a home birth and want to hire me and sorry for the delay — her mother had died a few weeks ago. It was the most emotion I had felt in the shortest amount of time. Deep satisfaction for them having chosen a home birth and chosen me, and epic fucking sadness for a first time mom losing her mother in the middle of her pregnancy. I sobbed my fucking eyes out for her, for myself not having a mom, and for all of the women since the beginning of fucking time who’ve had to survive that unique type of loss.

There was that dumbass new age psychic bookstore where I spent fifty bucks on a reading from a guy with a lazy eye and a british accent that ended up being complete bullshit. Crystals for this, angel cards for that, all of the sparkly answers to all of your bullshit problems here on these dusty, aged, particle board shelves. Come in and find yourself, they say.

There was the Borders bookstore where I used to be allowed to go by myself as a tween. I’d wander around for an hour, spend six bucks on a sugary non-coffee drink at the coffee shop, and feel like I was an “adult”. This must be what it’s like, I’d think. Freedom, autonomy, interesting people, sugar, choices, information, and an endless soundtrack of muzak.

There was the bookstore in the non-denominational church where I was waiting for my counseling appointment. Most churches offer sliding scale counseling services and I figured one that claimed non denomination might be open minded enough for me. They weren’t, and I wished I could’ve gotten my $35 back out of the “offering envelope”.

There is the tattered copy of Under the Tuscan Sun that I got used at Goodwill. The one that inspired my solo trip to Italy that I dropped in the bathtub right before leaving. I put it out in the sun to dry, and it did, but its pages are forever inflated and it doesn’t lay flat. I have another copy, but I never read that one.

There are the books that are easy to get rid of. And the ones that you never will. The ones you’ll read again and again that feel like they were written just for you, or like you’re the only one in the world who really “gets” them.

I could see the big box bookstores disappearing entirely, but something about used bookstores seem timeless. Find the used bookstore in town and that’s where the cool people are. That’s where the good coffee is. It’s the best free activity in town and the best way to get to know a new city.

P.S. — did you know bookstore was one word? I honestly didn’t until reading this prompt. I also thought bull shit and mother fucker were also two words. But let’s just say that’s endearing, eh?

On seedy motels and bubbles bursting

Seedy motels.
You know the kind — rented out by the hour mostly.
Today a friend and I were talking about them.
We know what they are and how to spot them. If you’re looking at New York City hotels and find one for $60 a night — it’s probably “one of those”.

She said she had stayed in once once with her grandmother and it was super awkward. They both felt like they left with lice and some sort of STI.

I said I’d had sex in on once, “back when I was making poor choices”, I told her.

She asked how that came about and I said, “I was living in New York City with two guys — one my current boyfriend and one my ex-boyfriend…..wait a minute — did I never tell you this story??”

As long as we’d been friends, this had never come up and like any woman would, she had to “know everything”.

I gave her the back story, which led to me living in New York City with the two guys, and cheating on the one with the other.
I reminisced how it really was sad. I was having a great time working in Manhattan whereas my boyfriend could only find a minimum wage job at a shitty bodega in the boroughs that was three trains away. His life was shit, my life was awesome and I’d frequently get off work on the upper east side and meet my ex-boyfriend downtown.

We’d already had great sex when we were actually together, so it was no wonder that we just sort of picked up right where we left off.
Except this time it was layered with the richness of it being an affair.
Since we all lived together, that meant we could only have sex in public, which is still something that totally turns me on.

Not “public” public, but you know what I mean — underneath the table at the restaurant….in the dark movie theater….on the park bench….in a library bathroom…..where only the two of you would know and you’d feel so hot and dirty having a secret.

One night all of our spots in the city were taken. We couldn’t find a park or a bench so we decided to get a hotel for a couple of hours.

I was 19 at the time, and in telling my friend this story today, at 32, I said — “Isn’t that funny? Like I can’t imagine wanting to have sex THAT BAD right now.”
Bad enough to where I’d take all the money out of my wallet and he’d take all the money out of his wallet and we’d count it and hope we had enough to get a room.
We did and we had dirty rotten hotel sex and it was hot.

As I was reminiscing about that today I laughed at how epic level naive it was to think I could live with my boyfriend and me ex-boyfriend and everything would be cool.
But what I hadn’t thought about it in awhile was the fact that I had actually cheated with that same ex-boyfriend on an entirely different boyfriend.
And then I went to live with him? What did I THINK was going to happen?

I remember having those hot affairs though and I appreciate that experience because I really have incredible empathy for people who get to the point of having an affair.
Yes — some people who cheat are just slimy sex crazed losers with no souls.
But I think more often — cheating is a merely a symptom of a much deeper problem.

When I cheated I was hungry for attention and for validation as a human. As a woman — I got this from men finding me sexually attractive. I learned that game from my mom. She divorced my dad when I was a baby and went on to be a classic serial monogamist. Going from one serious relationship to another, always proclaiming that they were the one. The one that would complete her life, the one that would make her whole, the one that would make her eye never wander again.

She thought, as most do, that when Mr or Mrs “right” came along and it was real and true — you’d automatically never have eyes for anyone else.

This is a terribly unhealthy and laughably unrealistic idea that a lot of people still cling to as they spend their lives perpetually miserable and in a state of longing. We’re all just animals who would sniff each other’s butts upon meeting if it wasn’t socialized out of us and we’re all just sizing each other up as sexual mates subconsciously anyway. It’s human nature.

Anyway — I was slipping right into that state of longing. Seeking out love and sex wherever I could find it. Always thinking the next guy was the next best thing.

Add that to my increasingly boring and unfulfilling life in general. Spending days behind a desk, making an insulting hourly wage, trading my precious time in exchange for making someone else rich. Getting home at the end of the day exhausted with no energy to put towards creative projects or hobbies or anything else positive. I went from work to home to enter “work recovery mode”, which meant microwaving some lame dinner and watching a few hours of T.V. in an attempt to zone out and reset only to get up the next day and start it all over again.

Pair that with a darling, loving man who was a good idea on paper, but didn’t make me feel much of anything beyond your basic, warm affection and you’ve got a recipe for infidelity.

And when that sexy ex with his giant foreskin-laden penis and deep throaty New York accent wanted to get it on? That was the most alive I’d felt all year. That universal feeling of being desired is where I can say, “I understand why people cheat”.

Being polyamorous now, and looking back on myself way back then I wonder — had I been polyamorous then, would it still have been as hot? If it was allowed, encouraged and transparent would it have been as sexy? Probably not. If I’d had healthy self esteem and self worth, would I have been as interested in the attention? Probably not.

Polyamory is funny that way. It’s that psychology of wanting what you can’t have. But when you can have it, you don’t want it so much anymore. The “can have” deflates the whole thing. It makes it impossible to float up into the clouds of your made up fantasies. Poly makes for grounded, honest human relationships.

Right now if Kris and I were monogamous and really tightly closed in our monogamy to the point where we couldn’t even discuss urges and feelings and primal instincts, then I’d probably want to fuck everyone as a subconscious move of rebellion against the unnatural (for me) state of monogamy that I was chaining myself to.

I’d probably salivate over my bank teller and fantasize about ripping his clothes off.

But now? Eh, not so much.

The bank teller is hot, sure. But what it would logistically take to get him from behind his desk to actually have sex with me? That just sounds like a lot of work. And in the end, it would all be just to have some sex with a stranger that’s probably not going to be that great anyway.

We didn’t know at the time that it was the last time, but our hot affair ended when we finally got caught. We’d never been caught before so that was a new thing. I was blowing him on a park bench and my actual boyfriend walked by and we made eye contact, dick in mouth. There was no denying that.

I wonder, too how much the “getting caught” really killed it. There was another person involved who was hurt deeply by what we were doing. It’s really hard for it to be fun after that. Because before that happens you can convince yourself that you’re not hurting anyone. That nobody knows anyway so what’s the difference. You stay in your bubble of sexy texts and PDA and secret meetings.

Until your bubble bursts.

Her response? Some fucking Taoist bullshit.

This is one of those prompts where I literally have no idea where the fuck it’s going. I know I am going to start by telling you some anecdote about my driving superstitions, but I know that won’t take up all the space. So let’s just fucking see.

Whenever I’m stuck in traffic. Or I forget something and have to drive around the block back to my house. Or I make a “wrong” turn. Or whatever the fuck else — I always think, Oh. That’s okay. I was probably just saved from something. Like I made a wrong turn because otherwise I would’ve been in an accident. I had to drive around the block back to my house, which saved me from being rear ended.

Sort of like it’s just life, recalibrating itself. Oooops, oooo we’re a little off – let’s have that bitch forget her wallet and that will get all the timing back on track for the day.

What the fuck is that though? Isn’t that funny? It’s literally coming from nowhere. I don’t believe there’s some orchestra leader in the sky, or some mystical destiny that’s always got us in the right place at the right time.

I used to be more into that shit, but it turns out it was just a phase. In the end, I was much more burned by spirituality and spiritual people than I was helped or better off for it. Everything from spiritual bitches two-timing me to some douche bag kundalini yoga guru trying to put it in my butt in the name of transcendence.

A few weeks ago a friend of mine shared some really terrible shit with me about her childhood. Just pretty horrific childhood abuse. After she left, I messaged a new friend of mine because we’ve recently bonded over our childhood’s being similarly shitty and our mom’s being similar shit shows. And I was like, “Dude — our mom’s were fucking princesses compared to this!!” and I shared with her what my other friend had just unloaded on me. It was pretty heavy and I needed to tell someone and just sort of decompress. Her response? Some fucking Taoist bullshit. Literally some dog shit quote about all suffering putting you that much closer to enlightenment.

I about threw up in my fucking mouth.

I told her I didn’t that my friend gave a shit about enlightenment and I certainly did not and that I could say with complete confidence that she’d trade all of her horrific trauma to not be enlightened even a little bit. She continued spouting spiritual nonsense and I said again, I didn’t think Taoists would take “Sexual abuse of a child” and file it under “suffering in the name of enlightenment”.

That, to me, was spiritual bypassing at it’s fucking finest. That’s my beef with the spiritual community. No one can be sad. Everything has to have meaning. Just be grateful! Fuck all of that shit. Things can just suck. And not have any meaning. And sadness is good. Anger is valid. All human emotion is important. Being present does not equal being happy all the time. Or thinking positive all the time. It’s okay to just be wherever you’re at.

Spirituality or Taoism or positive thinking or any of that shit is no different than organized religion. It’s all the same shit if you are to the point where you have tunnel vision and think that you’ve achieved the ultimate state of being evolved and that anyone who hasn’t found christ or buddha or inner peace is somehow missing the point and off track.

That line of thinking is so toxic and scary.

It’s one thing to offer gentle advice and encouragement. It’s entirely another to not be grounded in this reality, present, and able to have an intense conversation about real things that are happening to real people.

It’s like the whole “sending our thoughts and prayers” bullshit. Oh really? You sent some prayers? I could really give a shit about that. It applies whether they’re sending prayers to disaster victims or just to me personally when I’m going through a hard time.

I can’t tell you how many people have said, “Sending you love!”…..”Sending you good vibes!” …… “Praying for you!!”

Oh, really?

Stop sending me love and send me a fucking Trader Joe’s gift card so I can buy some toilet paper. Stop sending me “good vibes” and instead get off your fucking ass and actually help me. Shove your prayers up your ass if that’s all you’re going to do. Stop praying for me and at least say something real like, “That fucking sucks. I’m sorry. Let me know if I can help.”

I’m not bitter though. Oh, no.

Sending love and vibes and prayers is the ultimate escape, too. It’s just like people who think “liking” a photo on facebook every week or so is all they need to do to maintain a friendship.

It’s not.

We have to be there for each other. And make time to see each other. Or talk on the phone. Or otherwise be there for each other in real fucking life.

SO yeah, superstition. Where were we?

 

And still, our friendship remains unchanged.

Long story short: Kris and I met when our families became friends when I was 13 and he was 22. I don’t know if it was because I was home schooled and wasn’t saturated with mainstream teenage behavior, or had to grow up fast because of my mom, or was just a general bad ass from day one, but we were legit friends even with our age difference. Our families lost touch a few years later when my mentally ill mother took a turn for the worse and I moved out of the house at 16 years old. A few years after that I found myself married and living a somewhat stable life for the first time. I decided to Facebook stalk those that I had lost touch with, Kris included.

Turned out he was still in Phoenix and was also married. We met for lunch and found our friendship still easy and familiar, even though it had been some years. We went on a few double dates with our spouses and continued having lunch — sometimes every few weeks, sometimes with months in between. His wife was struggling with mental illness and he was starting a business with his best friend — all of that consumed most of his life. But for lunch we’d meet — often when he was having a bad day and needed cheering up.

We never flirted or had any sort of energy like that. If anything he always sort of made me nervous. I was the goofy, younger girl and he was the sophisticated older guy. I do remember having fleeting thoughts of: does he know his life could be like this all the time? I’m fun all the time….and he only gets it for an hour at a time on his lunch break.

I had already “broken out” of the mainstream having quit my corporate desk job and started my own business working as a birth doula. I remember wishing his life wasn’t so hard and wondered if he made it harder than it needed to be simply because he didn’t know any other way.

Our friendship continued through both of our divorces. I found myself single and curious — going on dates and to parties and even meeting a couple that wanted to have a threesome. For some reason butt stuff was on the table for this threesome and I of course consulted Kris. There was no subject that was taboo, nothing that was too personal to discuss. The next day he used his lunch break to accompany me to the sex shop to buy an ass blaster because I didn’t want to go alone. A few months after that we were having lunch discussing my newly discovered pregnancy and upcoming abortion. We were never anything but 100% supportive of and transparent with each other.

He was going on dates too — finding matches through dating sites and calling me with stories afterwards: what car they drove, where they went for bad food, what jokes of his they didn’t get.

Eventually I decided to spend the summer in Europe. I still felt like someone’s wife and needed something dramatic to mark the shift and shake the feeling. I had a going away party and Kris was there. We remained in loose touch over the summer and as soon as I arrived in New York City (where I was spending three weeks before returning home to Phoenix) I sent him a message to say my cell phone was back on and I had service again. He called me two minutes later and we spoke every day, which was a new thing for us. Through this conversations we continued to bare all. He had spent a bachelor summer and had gone through a shift of his own, too. And for the first time — we spoke about the potential of attraction and sexual compatibility between us. It was decided that good sex was entirely possible, but that together in a relationship we would be terrible. So we just sort of left it at that.

Upon my return I had a “welcome back party” and again Kris was there. What I didn’t know was hat he had brought an overnight bag and had every intention of sleeping over. We had funny drunk sex and I don’t think either one of us had an orgasm. He slept over and the next morning we walked down the street to have breakfast, nothing having changed between us.

A few nights later I went over to his house to hang out and we ended up having sex again and this time it was spectacular. However, our friendship remained unchanged. Both of us were still dating and still sharing those stories with each other. Over the coming weeks we spent more and more time together and found ourselves doing less dating because we knew if we hung out together it was a guaranteed good time.

And slowly, it became a thing. A couple months later we said I love you. He gave me a key and his alarm code. We moved in together. He walked away from the business he had started and severed ties with his ex-wife. We started eating healthy and cooking together. He got off all of his daily medications — allergies, antacids, thyroid, etc. We both short sold our houses and downsized our lives in an effort to start living the lives we wanted. We both started writing. We created the relationship we wanted – focusing on communication and expression, a real commitment to understanding each other deeply. We started taking our tiny budgets and traveling through Europe for the summer. We taught ourselves web design and graphic design. We have big ideas. We try things. We fail. We try again.

And still, our friendship remains unchanged.