Moving Into Total Autonomy: Personal Belonging

I wrote the first ramblings of this post in the middle of the night, in the blank pages of a 2009 appointment calendar I retrieved from the trash can of a former employer. I couldn’t just let an unused spiral-bound go to waste, not when I could scribble my cindery words upon its clean pages, as I burned the midnight oil.

I’ve got to start exercising that muscle again: forced wake-ups from somnambulistic states. So I can write stuff down when words momentarily waft through my brain—those incoherent thoughts I would rather dismiss than disturb my sleep over, thoughts that tempt me to rationalize as unintelligible, as if I were still smoking pot, like during the time when I was on the road and writing songs at four in the morning, songs that in the light-of-a-sobering-day seemed a little scattered. In my twenties, I had no other way to access my creative recesses, and I knew I wouldn’t survive without the access. But since it’s been over two decades since I‘ve tasted weed, with one exception I will fail to mention, I think permanent brain fog is not the issue here. And I need these transcendental interjections from the other side.

A lot has been going on. Following my three-month affair with Santa Barbara, trying to stay financially afloat in a sea of diamonds, I moved back to Thousand Oaks, back into the apartment I once shared with now my soon-to-be-ex-husband, Dale, to my considerable relief, and gratitude for my soul-level friend. Two weeks later I landed a part-time job as choir director/accompanist for a Unitarian church just four miles away. The apartment becomes mine in April when Dale leaves his day gig, moves out, and takes his true work to Mexico.

Even during the interviewing process, I could hardly believe what a good match this new job seemed to be: my strengths as a musician and their particular needs in a musical director. And, I had no idea how much fun “a job” could be.

All that’s happening seems to whisper that maybe I’m on the right track, and that the course correction via Santa Barbara was just another step in putting the pieces together of personal belonging—where I fit, inside of me. I initiated this spiritual work in Santa Barbara, where my survival was threatened for the first time in many years. It seemed I didn’t belong anywhere… except while hiking the secret Montecito trail, up to the bench that had been waiting for me that very first day. You need a place to journal, to process the fear? Here it is:

I took my last hike up the trail on January 14th, two days before I moved out of Santa Barbara. Despite not having any outward signs of a journey well-travelled in the confines of an old dream (See Dreams, Interrupted, Part I), something truly magical happened each time I hiked the secret trail. On this last day, a new hawk appeared on a bare branch atop an old oak tree. I tried to find her with my camera, but she was practically invisible. I thought maybe she was calling from the other realm. But I did catch a glimpse of her, a smaller-sized hawk. She was in the midst of disappearing the moment I clicked the shutter button.

Once I reached the top of the trail, I sat on the stone bench overlooking the Padaro Lane coastal waters. I realized I possessed a whole different perspective than all the other times I had sat here. In two days, the Santa Barbara adventure would be coming to an end, and my energy was already withdrawing. Except here in this place, where I needed to say goodbye. I felt so much at peace, even passive, and reflective. I lay on the bench and went to sleep, basking in the sun. And something happened in the midst of a dream.

There’s much more significance to the view from this SB hilltop that shall remain personal, and mysterious, but some of it is being incorporated into a superhero story I’ve been brewing over the past year. I’ve been recording my thoughts, jotting down plot ideas, story concepts, and biographical information about the main character, Bird Woman, and her arch enemy, Cro-man.

But Bird Woman has another enemy, the United States government. This 100-word sketch depicts a climactic scene in the story:

She stepped to the edge of the precipice, remembering the last words her mother had said to her before government scientists took her away: “Don’t ever show the humans your feathers.” But now they were coming after her. It was fly or die, and maybe she would die anyway. She needed to be brave. She heard the voices of the detachment. Her body responded. She leapt from the cliff and spread her arms. The wind pushed against her, embraced her, until her wings unfurled. She soared below the cliffs and moved into the protective shadows of the great stone monoliths.

Back to reality. I have two months to get myself “financially viable” (a term borrowed from the movie Falling Down starring Michael Douglas), meaning able to fully support myself. I’m in pursuit of a second part-time job, and it’s been a frickin’ education (to be included in the sequel). If it were up to the dreams I dream, I’d find a way to get paid for finishing my novel. But…

How do I round out this blog post?

To be continued as…

Moving Into Total Autonomy: Power & Responsibility

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2 Responses to “Moving Into Total Autonomy: Personal Belonging”

  1. wonderful post Tysa! good luck with finding a second job….but mostly with getting a ginormous book deal!!! i certainly can relate to your dreams!!

  2. I’m opting for the ginormous book deal… Thanks! This morning, I happened upon an article about grants for writers. Starting a proposal today.

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