I preface today’s musing with a small broadcast, which involves some practicing of what I preach, turning the tables, and asking for help with a sticky wicket. If you read my Vulnerability is Hard musing, all about Thelma, Louise and other deadly ways to never ask for help, well you will realize that I have had to work hard to stop trying to do it all from my one woman island. Even now a tab opens in my inner dialogue that says “Ummm, I am pretty sure we should be able to figure this out by ourselves, Erin. Let’s try swinging upside down from a Bonsai tree after ingesting some Ayahuasca plant and praying to the soul of a blade of grass before we take any hasty action, like asking around”. Witness, friends, as I now close this tab. It’s time for the magic of other minds and hearts banding together. Skip ahead if you need your dose of inspiration and guidance but don’t have the emotional bandwidth for me to bend your ear.
Here is the Coles Notes, too short, didn’t read version of the SITCH.
TESS, a featured celebrity in my weekly blog and also my youngest daughter, was accepted to NYU on a partial scholarship, which makes her one of a very tiny percentage of admitted applicants (14% of 85,000 are accepted, much fewer get scholarships, and fewer yet go to international students).
We didn’t think she could attend, because with the scholarship, the costs are still staggering, and we literally have a shortage of kidneys in the family, so there can be no organ selling.
BUT THEN, we got some pro counsel that she could! and should, and would be ever so foolish not to, on account of the rare opportunity it is.
Can she even get student loans for that we asked?
Yes, they answered.
So she accepted her place, and jumped through the next hundred hoops.
Then the government said, JK, are you stupid, we don’t cover American tuition. We can finance 1/8 of it though. You’ve been misinformed.
And the Canadian banks said, Hahaha. That’s cute. We max out what we will loan, based on Canadian tuition. You’ve been misinformed.
And then the American banks said, We got you. You need a co-signor we don’t care who. We said, Are you sure? They said, Yep.
Then the American banks said, OOPSA DAISY we meant an AMERICAN or PERMANENT RESIDENT of the US, must co-sign. Your co-signer is not American enough for us. We are sorry we misinformed you.
All of this tomfoolery, took a couple of months, and now PRESTO, we have a residence fees paid, and roommates lines up, and courses selected, AND we cannot get TESS her paperwork, without proof that we can sustain her financially through her first year of studies.
I am low on Americans right now, in my life, who might be in a position to co-sign my gal’s student line of credit.
NOW, it has been brought to my attention by some TESS fans in the midst of the panic and crying into a tray of brownies that has been happening all week (there are easier ways to make lava cake, friends), that there may be RABBITS IN HATS that I can’t pull out on my own OR don’t even know about (GASP!) INVISIBLE rabbits. And maybe you, friend, have access to some of these rabbits, or know someone who has access to one of these rabbits.
Other rabbit whisperers! By George, it sounds almost good enough to be true.
Have you heard of some of these? Do you know them by name?
Here are the RABBITS I have recently heard exist but don’t know where to find:
- Corporate Sponsorship: I have recently heard that this is a thing. I hear that there are corporations that will sponsor bright young students to do amazing things. I am self employed, as you know, and have zero knowledge of programs like this or how to access them.
- Mysterious Scholarships, Grants and the like: I have researched for many many hours and had help with such research and have not found anything more than a few hundies for grabs here and there with requirements that one be of a select group or that one have a mysterious heritage or membership in a disadvantaged group Tess is not part of. So far, no special awards for gingers, but I keep my fingers crossed (Wouldn’t it be cool if we could start a scholarship with that $500k of confiscated bribe money, lol, for kids who earn their place but are low on bucks?!!)
- Mysterious Foundations that support talented young women writers and artists: Is there a Unicorn Rainbow Rabbit such as this? Maybe one of you have seen one camping out with the Ogo Pogo and that new more trending albino Big Foot whose name I can never remember.
- Real live Americans sitting around with nothing better to do than co-sign for a cute red-headed kid they’ve never met who received 100 percent in journalism, 95 in science, has creative and academic talent that she wants to use to ACTUALLY help the underdog and the world.
- 600 Folks who feel inspired to donate $100 to the GOFUNDME we whipped up for Tess in order to try to crack this newly dished out nut in a mere few weeks.
- Social media gods and goddesses who know how to make viral or otherwise inspire 600 strangers to contribute $100 to Tess’s GOFUNDME
- Or OTHER RABBITS, that don’t live in my land or head, and have yet to appear to me as a HOLY VISION while I hang from my Bonsai tree, etc.
And for the misguided soul who suggested we try out “seeking arrangements” we thank you for your input, but we decline to sell Tess’s “companionship”. Period. Let’s try to save women from devaluing and objectifying themselves for the sake of education and equal opportunity if we can. Fingers crossed.
So there you have it folks. I want to help my child. If you have knowledge or connections or social media savvy and feel good about sharing it, well bless you. Message me here.
But bless you anyhow. Because I care about you just the same, whether you chime in on this or not.
I return us now to the topic of the week:
Twenty percent more
Maybe you worry a lot as a way of getting through life. Maybe you’re not a chronic worrier, but situations come up which provoke, in you, a tendency to worry, overthink, over focus, obsess, or even stew.
And inevitably, some well-meaning friend or family member gets wind of your misery and chimes in “You have to learn to trust”, or “It’s going to be okay”, or a super fave of mine, “Everything happens for a reason.”
And maybe you kinda wanna trust them, and ease up on the worry vigilance long enough to say, eat a piece of toast, or smile, or walk on the green grass for five minutes, but then you take stock of their offering, and as tempting as it is to hide your head in their well meaning sand, you are confronted with the following cold hard facts:
It’s not necessarily going to be okay. In fact, THE FACT, that it’s gone as wrong as it has so far, is probably a solid indication that things have a tendency to steer out of the okay lane, onto disaster highway. Shouldn’t you be prepared for that? When your problem du jour starts climbing into Hell’s handbasket, do you want to be the idiot in the cafeteria nom nomming a donut? The innocent but clearly stupid extra in the movie that is first to be eaten by the monster or swallowed into the earthquake. Hell no, you want to be the action hero, hands on the wheel, in hopes that you can steer out of the skid or into the skid, or steer at all. You’ve solved a few problems in your day, so what good does it actually do to leave mayhem to fend for itself, like a baby duck on a freeway?
Also, let’s talk about ‘the reason’ everything happens for a reason, for a brief minute. Because the saying doesn’t go “everything happens for a GOOD reason”, although it implies that in the shittiest of shitty reasons for a shitty thing happening, there is a GOODNESS agenda. That somehow, divinity is behind it all, growing roses with death and destruction as fertilizer. Well that is COLD COMFORT my friends. When I am in complete despair and distress, I don’t want to hear that Holiness had a hand in my suffering “for my own good”. That treachery is not going to make it on my “Top Ten Reasons to Blindly Trust” go-to-in times-of-trouble handbook.
Also, what about preparing for disappointment. It hurts a hundred times as much when you hope again, only to have your hopes dashed. Surely it’s easier on a folk to stay at an even, manageable level of constant despair and get truly accomplished at enduring it, than it is to rise up, only to face the imminent crash, once again of joy and all its bird tweeting, star sprinkling endorphins. That kind of JK-take-back surprise attack can really drag a person down.
All of this seems like a pretty good case for trust no one and nothing, me thinks.
EXCEPT that sometimes you hear of those one-off miracles.
And then there is that part where all of the stress sometimes makes it worse. We can’t think clearly. We get sick. Our ability to be there for ourselves and our loved ones deteriorates.
There are always things to worry about, so we never feel any joy, the two states being mutually exclusive and all. Blah, blah, blah. Well now you’re just getting depressing, Erin.
It’s scary to think that we have to solve all of the effing problems. And overwhelming. It makes us want to take a nap, right over there, on that grassy knoll. Forever.
Some part of us, deep deep down, buried under 6,753 what if’s, NEEDS there to be more than just our little drop of an ocean self to do the job of the whole ocean, because that job is truly too much for one drop to take on, even if we are fierce, formidable, talented, savvy, brave, unstoppable drop.
So which is it? Do we handle shit, or do we just “drop out” on account of some character weakness we like to call TRUST.
Well friends, I have, myself, become something of an expert on trusting foolishly. Which has allowed me to get up and do it again, and again, and AGAIN, until I finally got it right. Go hyper-vigilant personality!
Now, like some who have gone before me, and like some who will follow me down the golden path, I am practicing the fearsome health benefits (like JOY and way less pain and suffering) of trusting the right source, teacher, and brand of detergent, JK about the detergent I’m still struggling with that one #hives.
OH MY GAWD, doesn’t this beg the question, Erin? How will one ever learn to trust, if in order to learn trust you must have your trust crushed like an innocent bug —so sorry to bug phobes, I know they are actually evil and deserve their flattened fate – I meant hamster, obviously, although I’m feeling kind of sad now thinking about flattened hamsters and that time when Smoky got loose at the Christmas party, and need to get back to my point stat. Why try again when we have been hurt before? What kind of idiot does that?
May I now teach you how to unlock the Rubik’s cube?
There are always two choices when it comes to trust.
We trust in fear, or we trust in love.
There are only two. Choices.
And, like it or not, we are always choosing.
Now I am not talking rom com love, although who doesn’t enjoy watching that funny blond from Pitch Perfect tripping all over herself as she realizes she has landed a starring role in her own personal rom com for one.
I am talking about LOVE as the benevolent force of all the things.
Higher Love, Higher Mind Love, if you’re atheist and the concept of love for you needs a little reigning in.
That part of you that knows there must be a better way than siding with the suffering and the destruction and the hate and dissolution and despair. The part that starts to panic when it sees the camping chairs come out and the tent go up at “Wit’s End”. When you post that little sign on the lawn that says “Haters Hating in session”.
The pull in you, that wants a break, that wants “dad” or “mom” in the sky to scoop you up like a little chicky and take over—well it is not wrong!
Those angel and devil cartoons aren’t really about moral choice making. They are about the voice we are tuned into, every time we navigate a decision. The creepy little guy in Lord of the Rings that is constantly being told he is bad by the force of darkness manifest from hanging too long with a bad ring? That is Ego! My kids are hard eye rolling right now, because they LOVE it when I point out spiritual and emotional metaphors in their favourite movies. Ha.
We don’t want to ask the maker of our misfortune for help. Don’t ask Gollum for a pep talk, get me?
I tried a “bring it on” back in my early twenties. It went something like this: Problems have been piling up, I must be under a dark cloud for one, I am angry at the world and at the powers that be, probably at God-ish, and at a boy who was a super mean jerk to me, I am giving up now, and gonna storm around in hostility and despair, eff you source of suffering, bring it on.
It was a short experiment. I don’t recommend it. I expected that somehow, the destruction would hit a level where the world itself would step in and say “that’s enough -give this girl a break”. I would be heralded as a victim of misfortune. Kindly strangers would take pity on me and want to help. I would be exonerated, of SOMETHING, some responsibility for my own personal shit-storm. This did not happen. I became more miserable. I felt more alone. I felt invisible. It sucked. I didn’t have the constitution for sustained hate and bitterness. I scared one or two people, with my new mean attitude. It wasn’t pretty. There were zero ribbons at the finish line, no plastic rings at the dentist. I gained five pounds.
We have all been on our knees. Because we need help out of our own personal pain and suffering feedback loop.
Love does not laugh and say, Gotcha!!! Now, get thee to church!
Love doesn’t say, Mwahaha, so sorry I had to strike down your loved one, give you cancer, and foreclose on your home, but one day you’ll understand.
Love scoops us up, and says Hey, you are this amazing worthy beautiful innocent force that needs to stay aware of its worth, not wash off to shore alone and try from fear and perceived abandonment to make the whole thing work in separate parts.
Love is Adam Sandler in 50 First Dates, playing us the tape every day, until we remember that we are good and we are loved.
Keep choosing the tape, when the world is chaotic and hell’s hand-basket is offering you a ride, keep choosing the tape.
Love is like, I see how you got all the wires crossed. Let me help. Let me turn this shit into fertilizer, and then help you skip the shit part of gardening next time.
You don’t want to trust the maker of misfortune to help you.
You don’t want to trust the laws of the world to work in your favour, suddenly, when they have so clearly been not. The corruption to turn itself over to the authorities. The wars to stop fighting themselves. The assholes to practice kindness. Your mother in law to quit meddling.
And you don’t want to trust yourself, from this confused and suffering place, to somehow harness the laws of the world in your favour, when so far it’s not been coming up holy roses.
But you can trust love to answer a cry for help. And to find the cry for help in all suffering.
You can trust love to walk you along the best path for you, the lightest, the most peaceful, the soundest, safest, bravest.
There’s a better way.
Ask yourself “what would Adam say”.
Love is the loophole in the sad movie of your life.
It’s okay to loosen your grip on all of the despair, all of the problems, all that is not working the way you wish it would, so you can grab a hold of something else.
I dare you to trust. Twenty percent more.
Twenty two if you’re feeling brave.
And see what happens.
— Love, Erin
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