I’ve heard many times throughout my life that looking for employment will be one of the hardest jobs you’ll ever have. I also once had the luxury of being dismissive towards that notion because the experience of it would NEVER apply to me. I was wrong.
The truth is, nothing and I mean absolutely nothing, will prepare you for job loss. It is a painful, life altering, pulverizing punch in the gut. An emotionally debilitating experience complete with various stages of grief. Just as you would mourn a loved one who unexpectedly passes away, you must face that reality, embrace it, and know that the inconvenient discomfort you’re living is still your life! It still has to be lived, and the ugliness of it all can mirror back a reflection that will hopefully warrant change.
I’ve spoken about it to some degree on my website, but only how it produced some of the darkest, and most shocking moments of despair. I don’t even know why I wrote about it. Maybe I thought it was somewhat cathartic to express the unrelenting determination of my demons, and how they nearly destroyed me. Maybe if the truth of my circumstances were right in front me, in bold words, and published on my platform, I would be forced to acknowledge what was happening, how deep I was in it, and that it could somehow be my salvation. Once again, I was wrong.
I AM however, one of those third eye people who feels that everything happens for a reason. I contemplated whether or not if there were signs from a divine source, or through guidance via the pain and struggle of my ancestors that were meant to clear a path to enlightenment. So what does that mean exactly? Well, I didn’t know myself until I fell deeper into the rabbit hole- crashing at the bottom and breaking into a million little pieces. I had nothing, felt nothing, and dangerously approaching giving up- again.
That wasn’t the narrative I wanted to see play out. It wasn’t my nature to be defeated, and when those closest to me were also experiencing a personal hell of their own, somehow in my own struggle it was revealed to me that I was needed, a part of their salvation, and although reluctantly, still very much a leader! All I had left in this world was FAMILY and TRUST. I was now going to reshuffle my deck of life’s shitty hand, and play another one. One that I would deal only to myself, and this time around, I’d choose my team of players wisely.
I’ve learned a lot in the last two years. Nothing was more of a harsh lesson than defining what was not friendship. Particularly in the same gender loving community. It wasn’t until I connected with and old acquaintance, someone who knew me when I had only a mattress and folding chair as furniture in my twenties, did I feel a sense of clarity. We laughed via Facebook messenger and traded very similar stories of life challenges that left us forever changed. One of the most blatant examples of our apparent parallel existence, was how your social circle drastically changes when you go through something traumatic. To put it in simpler terms, you will lose friends. Don’t worry though, it’s not as bad as it sounds.
Loss, has a way of revealing what, and whom is absolutely necessary. Those who fall by the wayside, are merely making room for the surprise supporters who appear to come out of thin air. In the SGL “community”(I used this word lightly), I’ve found that most of us who identify with being a card carrying member whether openly, or secretly, probably have one or two real friends. The rest are good acquaintances, and another harsh truth – others just want to sleep with you or jump into an instant relationship. You can’t be a burden to others however, and if you are, well that’s where their support of you will fade faster than a fan booing their fave retiring quarterback who chose his health and family over delusional, and conditional fandom.
Going through a myriad of misfortune such as unemployment, death, sickness, is a recipe for social disaster. You may also notice the invitations to gatherings become non-existent. Life will go on for others despite what you’re going through-as it should. It doesn’t make those who chose to stay away bad people. To be fair, the pitfalls of life will often have you isolating yourself. I for one was guilty of doing just that. My response to those who felt slighted during my healing process, was the old cliche of it’s not about you, it was about me. I didn’t owe anyone an apology, nor explanation for dropping off the grid. I needed to heal and the brunch invites, and circuit party updates were no longer of interest to me. I needed to vibrate higher, and I needed to be met where I am now. I was no longer the man folks once knew, and thank the universe for that!
I had to learn how to trust again and regain my faith in humanity. My family showed me the way by supporting me at my lowest. They allowed me the agency to discover that influence, is not something predicated to joyfulness, six figure incomes, and Caribbean vacations. It can however, be defined by what you overcome, and what you didn’t allow to break you. Most importantly I realized that at my core, I’m still the same warrior even if my battle cannot be seen by others, or if my weapons of choice are not quite advanced enough to destroy my enemies.
It takes time to move forward. I’ve gotten used to the idea that my triumph over the valleys of my current experience is rooted in artillery still being cultivated. I’ll get what I need to handle each obstacle as it arises.
There is one thing that I’m committed to working on and that is building a better support network of people. A new tribe if you will that are born out my becoming, rather than those who left during my undoing. I believe I’m off to a great start as people are being placed in my life that are in alignment with who I am now. They are attracted to the parts of me that is still questionable rather than desperately hoping I’d just be the same old me, a version former associates have yet to let go of.
As I dialed back my social media presence significantly, it was revealed to me that the joy I once experienced with it was gone. I felt the need to be even more authentic than I previously believed I was being. In order for me to do so, I had to redefine just who the hell I am- NOW. I’m still trying to get comfortable in these new shoes, and I no longer feel the need to walk among the herd with how others are digitally making their imprint. I want to be intentional with how I’m being in the real world, and find a way to integrate that via my various platforms without all the silly pomp and circumstance.
It all comes back to me giving trust a try. Trusting that not having all the answers is a good thing. Trusting that my support is not always visible, but felt via the unconditional love of family, fair and bad weather friends, and the butterflies of anticipation swirling around within. Trusting that falling down, and sometimes being wrong, could be the pathway to discovering what could be so right.