Life sucks, and that’s okay
So much of spiritual writing is focused on gratitude. Being grateful for what you have. Being grateful for who is in your life. Being grateful for things and people you don’t yet have. And mostly, it’s bullshit. Oh, sure, gratitude is good, but too much emphasis on gratitude means you’re not actually going to do anything about the bits that suck. And what about when you really don’t have all that much to be grateful about? What about when you don’t even know how to want because of all the suck?
Right now, my life sucks. I say this without emotion. I’m not upset by this; I’m not sad, nor am I angry. It’s a statement of fact. My life sucks by most measures of life. Oh, sure, there are people that have it far worse off than I do, but there are a lot of people that have it far, far better.
I rent a room from my brother-in-law, and have off and on since 2010. All of my worldly belongings fit in this 10x10 room that I spend upwards of 90% of my time in. I venture out for food, laundry, showers, bathroom breaks, and caffeine runs. Occasionally, I go work downtown when the weather is nice, but since we just got pounded by a ton of snow, it’ll be awhile before I do that again.
I don’t have a car, and haven’t had a car since 2007. If I need to go somewhere, I have two roommates that have vehicles and we just have to coordinate schedules, but I rarely go anywhere, so it’s never a problem.
This isn’t the part of my life that sucks, though. I like my room, and I doubt I’ll find another place where I can have my own room for $400 a month with all bills paid, including groceries. It means that I can do what I want, when I want, and I don’t have to work endlessly to pay my bills. A few sessions a month or a few freelance projects a month, and I’m set, giving me all the time I want to do what I want.
No, my simple living is not why my life sucks. In fact, it’s one of the things I cherish about my life, and honestly, it’s the biggest reason I’ve stayed in Flint in spite of the water crisis.
My life sucks, because I’m not doing what I want to do with my life.
I want to travel. I took a short trip to Chicago in February. I was there for just a couple of days before I came home. I’d planned on taking a train trip to Seattle, but money ran out before I was able to. That fucking sucked.
My life sucks, because my ex lives across the hall.
I actually moved in here before we got married. I met him here, whirlwind romance, we rushed into marriage, bad idea, and then we called it quits after a few years of torturing each other, him because he’s a narcissistic ass who wants to control everything, and me because I’m a snarky bitch who refuses to be controlled. Also, he was abusive. That fucking sucked.
He moved across the hall because of money. His job didn’t pay enough for him to be able to afford to live on his own, and I’m a stubborn bitch who wasn’t giving up my cheap life. We’re learning not to hate each other. Most days, we coexist peacefully. It’s even friendly. Then there are the days when he turns into a clingy, needy toddler, and the days he tries to be a control freak again, and I have to tell him to shut the fuck up and lock my door. It fucking sucks.
I want a peaceful life. A life that’s quiet, with no interruptions. I get interrupted living here a lot, because with three adult roommates, including one ex, and two toddlers living her, it gets crazy sometimes. And I’m the resident tech expert, so any time some has a problem with anything that has buttons, I’m the one they call down to fix it. It fucking sucks.
But here’s something you need to know before you feel sorry for me:
I have deliberately chosen the sucky parts of my life, because they are balanced by the freedom they give me.
$400 a month rent. All bills paid. Minimal obligations of any kind. I can sit on Facebook for hours on end if I want to. Or get lost in a Google rabbit trail for days. And as long as I pay my $400 a month rent every month, I have a roof over my head, heat, food, and water (though the water’s bottled, because the stuff from the tap’ll make you sick #flintwater). If an appliance breaks, my brother-in-law takes care of it. If I need a ride, I have it.
Yes, I want more in life, but I don’t need it right now, and the suckage let’s me take my time getting what I want.
I have a hummingbird mind, but I’m a bit of a sloth hermit, really, and prefer slowness and solitude. If I could be a nun, I would, except for the whole giving up sex and being Catholic thing. Horny witches don’t make good nuns. I’ve contemplated starting a Hummingbird Hermitage for Creative Loners. It’d be a techonological homestead with wifi and gardens, among other wonderful delights, with the only major rule being, “Don’t talk to anyone who doesn’t want to be talked to.” I’d open it for solo retreats and even residencies for other. (If you happen to know someone who wants to give me some land with an inn on it, that would fit the bill nicely.)
And the slow life I have right now let’s me figure out how to make the life I want to have a reality, without being constantly stressed about how to pay an outrageous amount of bills.
It also lets me work on myself. Because of this slow and simple life I have, I can take a 10-day silent meditation retreat without having to worry if I’m going to make enough money for the month. Because I just have to make $400 and I can do that in just three sessions, with money to spare. Oh, I have a few other bills. My phone, my internet hosting, Netflix and Amazon Prime. But even an “expensive” month for me is less than $1000, and that includes using that Amazon Prime shipping a LOT. Amazon Prime is a major factor in why I’m constantly fighting clutter.
Because of this slow sucky life that I have, I can take the time to figure out what works for me when it comes to creating the life I want. I have the freedom to experiment, and fail miserably, because even if I’m late on rent, my brother-in-law won’t kick me out. 2015 sucked so bad, I got six months behind. Then 2016 came in rocking and I got it caught up, and have mostly stayed caught up since. Mostly. 2016 has sucked, too, in different ways. I did better financially, but Trump got elected, so mostly, it sucks.
Some of the things that suck about my life are in my control. Right now, my room is a disaster, and that sucks, but apparently, not so much for me to get off my ass and clean it.
Some of the things that suck about my life are not in my control. Trump got elected president. Believe me, if I were in charge of reality, that would not have happened.
Some of the things that suck about my life I want to change. At some point, either my ex is going to have to move, or I will. We can’t keep living together forever; it’s already awkward enough.
Some of the things that suck about my life will change when I’m able to change other things about the suckage. Getting my own car means I’ll be able to go when and where I want, so it’s one of my 2017 priorities.
Gratitude didn’t work for me, because that’s not how my mind and emotions work.
When I focused on gratitude, thinking of all the things I have to be grateful for, I fell short. I don’t have a lot of people in my life, on purpose. I’m really not a people person. I don’t have a lot of stuff, in spite of my room feeling way too full at times. Everything I own can be moved in the back of an S10. And I actually want to get rid of most of it.
I’m grateful that I woke up this morning.
I’m grateful I have roommates that mostly leave me alone, except when the kids are being demons or technology is freaking out, because for some reason, I have a magic touch with both.
I’m grateful for the time and space to figure myself out.
Focusing on gratitude also meant that I settled. I settled, because after all, I was supposed to be grateful for what I had. Gratitude and wanting don’t coexist very well.
So I shifted my focus to the suckage. What sucks about my life? I’ve shared some; there’s plenty more.
I made a This Fucking Sucks list of things that fucking suck about my life. It’s in my notebook, a Berry Leuchtturm1917 A5 dot grid. And my goal is to figure out how to make every bit of that list go away.
When life really sucks, it’s hard to know what you want, but it’s easy to know what you don’t want.
I know what I don’t want. And so I can go after something different, and in so doing, I learn if that, too, is something I don’t want, or if it’s something I do want.
My life hasn’t always sucked, but I’ve learned more about myself from the suckage than I did when life was going smooth.
If your life doesn’t suck, you’re probably not growing. Maybe you’re settling, maybe you’re comfortable, but those won’t help you grow.
How does your life suck and what are you going to do to grow out of it?
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