I spent some quality time with my EstroFest ladies this weekend, something that seems gets harder to do the more I need it.
There was wine and food (and food, and food) and laughter and even a little homegrown Ouija-board action*. Mainly, though, the central theme of this particular EstroFest was growth as a result of being pushed into it.
Our hostess, you see, was hosting her first Estro in her new home, which is a house, which is quite a bit larger and nicer than her old home. It is also almost twice as costly, since it is a house, and the old place was a rent-controlled apartment in a sketchy part of town, and as such, is a place she literally could not imagine living in a year ago. This new place has beautiful hardwood floors and major appliances and crown molding. It has two bedrooms and a separate dining room off the kitchen. It has a substantial backyard with both tomato plants and a grapefruit tree. (And her landlord, who lives in the guest house out back, but still: tomatoes and grapefruit!)
It is, for her (and to me), a palace.
More importantly, though, it is safe. And peaceful. A place where she feels safe and peaceful for the first time in more than a year, when a neighbor situation went from tolerably icky to borderline dangerous. The details are hers to relate, and she’s pretty much put them behind her; the salient point here is that for over a year, as things got worse and worse for her in that old place, she was unable to pull the trigger on moving to a new one. Because of the rent control, housing in L.A. is expensive even with the high vacancy rate, but mostly, because of a story she told herself. After all, she is earning the same amount of money that she was 12 months ago, and, because she’s cut back on her hours, less than she was 18 months ago. The difference is her perspective, which shifted at some point, and which, because of it, has now shifted forever. Literally, she can’t go back (well, not for the same price, they’ve jacked up the rent) but metaphorically, she cannot be the same person she was who could not make the decision to leave an untenable situation. Bell’s been rung, and there’s no unringing it.
And yet she’d be the first person to tell you that she’s just a regular Joe (so to speak). She boldly went where she had never gone before not because she’s an adventuress, but because things had Gotten to a Point, and then, as she put it, a triggering event did the rest. Of course, she’s too modest to talk about all the work she did while the external forces were doing their hoodoo on her: I was there; her other ladies were there. She’s done the work. A lot of it, and specifically, and not without the pain that attends growth and change.
Now, though, she is in a palace with an actual washer and dryer and an actual washing machine and, best of all, actual peace and quiet. Safety. A sweet, sweet plateau where she can rest and relish and redecorate. (Why do plateaus get such a bad rap, anyway? Resting, relishing and redecorating are all great things we don’t get to do nearly enough of, I say, and they’re all but impossible to accomplish while you’re pushing c*cksucking boulders up motherf*cking hills.) Where we can visit her, and there is enough room (and tomatoes!) for sleepovers if we get a little too jiggy with the old Ouija board. So what if a push got her there? So what if a thousand pushes did?
Well, okay. It is nice to move along on your own steam. But it doesn’t always work that way, and when it doesn’t, it shouldn’t take away from your accomplishment. You did the work. You made the move. The rest was assistance you asked for that maybe showed up in a form you weren’t expecting. (What? You thought that all help was sunshine, roses and a well-muscled friend with a pickup truck?)
Make no mistake: a huge part of what motivates me to make changes now is the hope of making more leaps with less “help” from the universe. No more severe onsets of chronic illnesses, please, or illnesses of any kind. I’m sure there are enough in my basket awaiting future unearthing anyway.
However you get there, though, on your own steam or via a big, fat push off the side of the cliff, take time on the other side to sit in the change. Download, unpack, debrief: what have you. But also yes, have your ladies over. Yes, bust out a nice bottle of vino and toss a few steaks on the grill. Hang your pictures on the wall and admire for a moment how lovely they look up there. Relish the small but significant pleasures your vast quantity of work and your gargantuan leap have won you.
In the words of my dear friend, newly established on the other side of a gaping void, now fully cognizant that there will, soon enough, be other c*cksucking boulders on different motherf*cking hills, “Emptied my dishwasher this morning and just did a load of laundry, it doesn’t get any better than this!”
*This is another, way more woo-woo post for another day, but if my ladies are to believed (and they’ve never given me reason to not believe them, but still, this shit is weird, baby), nobody but my dear old Gram spelled out “No” and then “N-O” for me in answer to my query. Also, even if you lean toward the skeptical side, promise me that if you pull out the board just for yuks, you’ll do a little invocation first inviting only the nice ghosts to drop by and deliver their two cents. Just in case. For me, okay? Also, I had no idea you could roll your own Ouija board, but I’m here to tell you, you need nothing more than an unfolded Trader Joe’s bag and a Sharpie. Plus an upturned rocks glass or somesuch. So you know.