Sunday, January 6, 2013

AFGEs (Another F**king Growth Experience) and Acceptance

Odds and ends in transition.

Upon returning to my apartment after recording the Christmas album, I was surprised to find a rent increase notice on the floor of my entryway. I knew it was coming, but I wasn't expecting it until after the new year as I was still in my lease, and I wasn't expecting the increase to be to the tune of $325 more a month. But there it was, in bold and staring at me from the freshly-folded-and-slid-under-my-door paper, signed cheerily by the new building owners.

The universe seemed against me for a moment. It was the holidays! I was just getting control of my finances! I had expressed gratitude about my apartment to my higher power on the daily—the location, the brick facade, the gardens in the back, my neighbors. I had been such a great tenant and person for recognizing my privilege, I deserved this apartment. And surely no anonymous property company would force people to move during the holidays, in a market as cutthroat as it is, in the winter?

The welling of frustration that pounded at my temples reminded me of when I was unemployed, shortly after graduating college. Hundreds of resumes and two unsuccessful interviews into my unemployment, I felt like I was being undeservedly punished. For four years during school, I thanked the universe for my life. I loved my school, I loved my city, I loved my friends, and I knew it wouldn't last forever. I thought expressing my gratitude would safeguard me against anything bad happening ever—a kind of insurance. There must had been a mix up in the universe's Punishment Rolodex. It meant to heave frustration and dead ends and self pity on Nicole Richie, it's just that our names were so similar.

My entire life in the back of a truck.

This feeling gave way when I heard myself think, and when I shifted my perspective. I have no children, no pets, very little furniture (although I had just acquired a bed frame off Craigslist that was being held together with zip ties, so that was going to pose a problem). I was in the best possible position to pick up my life and move it to another part of the city.

I also know now that expressing gratitude is not insurance against bad things or unhappiness. It is a lifestyle that brings you to the present moment and encourages revelry. What this was, right here, was an AFGE—another fucking growth experience. Yet another chance to learn some lessons, apply some tools, practice acceptance. I took what I learned from my unemployment—that gratitude insurance didn't exist and that everything that happens is supposed to happen—and dove headfirst into my apartment search.

After a few misses, I found a corner of the world I could call my own. And it, of course, is perfectly lovely.

Unpacked, unfurled, unwound.


  1. $325?? My god that is steep. I'm glad this ended well with you finding a new place in good time. It also appears you have a certain flair for interior design, that room does look lovely! Like a place you can call home :)

  2. Good on you for turning the situation around so well! The new place looks lovely and you're better off out of a building where they pull rent hikes like that. Have a beautiful 2013 :)

  3. Love it. Gratitude insurance, I hadn't considered that one before. It is hard to be watching over your shoulder when things are good....I should know because I do. I'll be ruminating about how happy i am, and then i remember "oh sh*t, life is too good, what is going to happen next". $325 a month is crazy, but your new room is sweet. and whaaaaa? what is a box from my country doing in your truck?

    1. I have no idea! I think that was a box my mover friend brought with him. Or maybe an omen that I should pack up and move to New Zealand?

  4. ouch. i take it rent control is not a thing in your city? ouch again. like teeny said, your point about gratitude insurance is such a great distillation of what happens in these moments. gratitude can just make the shitty times suck less, but it doesn't stop events from happening. perhaps it keeps us more open, as well, since you found another little spot for yourself? cozy haven.

    by the way, months ago i read your courageous post about coming to terms with unhealthy alcohol was such a brave post, and i have felt so warmly towards you since, but i realize i never did properly comment. so just to put out there, that i feel tremendous respect for you, and gratitude too, for the path you are lighting. xo

  5. Wow! You truly put into words how crisis feels. How life can feel crushing when the utterly, and completely unexpected happens. It's almost as though you can hear the blood cruising around in your veins in your brain (well, for me at least). I, too, often feel like thinking positively and living in the moment of gratefulness does protect me...and I guess I never realized this before. I am glad to hear that you found a new slice of home.

  6. Girl, I'm so sorry. What a suckfest. It makes me humble and happy though, to know that you're able to move through it with such grace. I often wish I could. In retrospect, yes, in the moment I kick, scream and act very ungrateful indeed.
    Happy New Year Friend.

  7. i know i am late to this psot, but your new space is BEAUTIFUL! very tranquil and comfy looking.
    and AFGE!? that's being added to my vocabulary right now <3