So this is the third part of me (Carolyn Elliott, bad witch, at your service) relating the opera of my back story – if you’re just tuning in, you may want to read The Back Story of Carolyn Elliott and How Carolyn Elliott went nuts and totally B-R-O-K-E so you get caught up on the action.
Okay, so there I was, homeless, penniless, and jobless, sleeping on my kind friend’s couch, and I realized that I needed to get serious about learning to do business if I was going to ever be able to fulfill my bodhisattva ambition of liberating myself and all beings from shame and suffering.
Of course, about the same time that I realized this need to humble myself and study the distasteful subject of making real money another deep dark Pittsburgh winter was creeping on and…. I fell back into a bleak (though less severe this time) depression.
So at the same time that I was finally starting to invest money I didn’t have on business and sales and marketing courses and mentoring…
…. (i.e., I used credit cards to pay for this education, which I was loathe to do because I hate usury and debt)
….. I was also struggling just to get out of bed in the morning. I love Pittsburgh but Pittsburgh winter does not love me.
The other week someone asked me how I got through these low periods – and my answer is: I didn’t. My friends and family got me through.
An example: that winter, my dear friend and one of the main organizers of Occupy Wall Street, Foo Conner (with whom I’m about to launch an amazing podcast called Superconnectors in mid-January, stay tuned!) would come pick me up….
[ and this is what Foo looks like by the way for your imaginative reference ]
[ and this is what I looked like around that time – when depressed I exclusively wear hoodies and headbands]
…… so Foo would come pick me up from the place I was crashing, drive me around town to look at Christmas lights, take me for coffee, and listen to me moan.
Our dialogue went something like this:
Me: I feel like such an absolute pathetic loser. I can’t even manage to be a cross-country homeless wanderer. I’m just a homeless wanderer on couches in Pittsburgh.
Foo: Well you can feel that way, but you’re lying to yourself because you are the beautiful, the legendary, the extraordinary Doctor Carolyn Grace Elliott and you are amazing and you are going to take over the world! Everyone better look out! BAM! POW!
Me: It really does not look like that, Foo. Honestly. It really looks like I’m a complete pathetic failure.
Foo: It never *looks* like the hero is going to win right before she starts to win! Duh! You should know this! Didn’t you write a book on the hero’s journey? It’s not supposed to *look* like you’re going to win! Then the story would be boring! And you hate boring things!
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Well, Foo Conner was right. He was right both about how the hero’s journey works and that I hate boring things.
And it still didn’t “look like” I was about to win for awhile yet. Things kept getting yuckier.By the Spring, I had worn out my crasher welcome on my friend’s couches, and I had a particularly horrifying experience when one desperate night I tried to sleep over at the house of the secretive guy I was dating……. and I discovered that he was a level-10 hoarder!
Like, I always wondered why dude was never willing to have us chill at his house and I found out: the Learning Channel could have done a special intervention documentary on his hoarding.
My hoarder boyfriend had pinball machines stacked on top of pinball machines stacked on top of couches stacked on top of computers from the 1990s and only a single tiny foot path to weave through his house.
The next day as I sat at a coffeeshop on my laptop desperately looking for a cheap roomshare on Craigslist, trying to keep myself from gazing longingly at a particularly gorgeous two-bedroom apartment that cost five times what I could afford, and with my choices of where to lay my head that night limited to the place of the one friend who I hadn’t already exasperated, I had one of my wild magical madness moments.
I realized that even though I had been studying a bunch of business and sales and marketing stuff I still hadn’t been willing to fully apply it.
I was still holding back, and – this is very embarrassing to admit – because even after the whole failed wedding fiasco I was still kind of subconsciously waiting for a Prince Charming type to rescue me.
I owe a lot to my secret hoarder ex-boyfriend, because seeing the the state of his house lit a giant epiphany fire under my ass: like wow, no. I can’t wait for a man to take care of me, ever.
I’m seriously the one I have to rely on. I’m the man I’ve been waiting for. I’m the one who has to give myself what I want.
So I made the mad magical decision to spend the money I had saved up to pay my self-employment tax on renting a particularly gorgeous two-bedroom apartment that cost about five times what I could afford.
And I made a commitment to myself: I would still get my taxes paid, I would pay off all my debt, and I would fucking afford that gorgeous apartment.
– to paraphrase the notorious Scarlett O’Hara. Except the “they” in my scenario are “the global forces that seek to suppress magic, perpetuate wealth inequality, and denigrate nature and the feminine” — instead of the Yankee army.So what happened next? Well, a whole lot, including my version of sauntering into Atlanta while wearing a dress made out of curtains.
I’ll tell you all about it in my next post.
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