To know what Steve Jobs talked about on his deathbed–nothing else matters but what we leave behind. How he lamented he did not see it sooner. Not material wealth, not accompishments, not experiences, not status. Only this matters, he said: The good we might have done for others with our time and money.
I am so fortunate to have been homeless, in the food stamp lines, in the courts unlawyered, villified, abandoned even by so-called local advocate for the abused women and children. What I learned: naming abuse, even 100th of it, in a call to police to protect one’s child, for example, can destroy your life if you let it.
If you let it.
Why am I fortunate? Well, I’m still here. Yes, every single artifact of dailiness, were recently taken by my storage facility, after I whinnied down a $35,000 lawsuit to $1,647, but could not come up with that so lost 80k of wht was left of my estate. Before that, every business identity and intellectual property were stolen by my ex-. My 300k retail income and 1.3 million net annual income in clothing designs distributed to 4,000 U.S. boutiques through 12 national showrooms, and “evergreen” products in catalogs such as Coldwater Creek, California Style, Orvis, Art&Artifact, Soft Surrounding for 15 seconds. . NOrdstrom. There, to build brand, we needed more real estate, better merchandising.
Mr. Wonderful stole my half of the retail business–taking in effect the 1.6 million businesses I built from 40k in a decade back down to 40k after hewrongfully terminated me from our 50/50 business, and wrongfully evictedme from our 50/50 office building, rented out my office to someone else, sold my furnishings, and stole my intellectual property with which I could have resumed manufacturing, even taught college classes in clothing design, branding, and international development.
He stole my good name in the courts, which left up his perjury online–so that I could not even get a job again as a substitute teacher in Baltimore or Baltimore County again–though I had done this when I met him, as well as tutor for a community college, and volunteer for two nonprofits, and work as a waiter for a friend. I was now at an age when I always planned to teach–like my Grandmother and Superhero, Rosena. But I couldn’t. When I would come for the rare interview, by thesecond one, they were open-mouthed, aghast, as if I were the Unibomber.
After reducing me, a true entrepreneur since age 9, a workaholic since age 14, to joblessness, poverty, shunning, isolation, and more–calling me “bipolar without her meds” locally, nationally, even internationally saying “she took all my money” to my shippers, manufacturers and producers –this after I built that on the site of where I was brutally head-beaten, raped, and treated not for the PTSD and TBI I had–but you know the story.
The Roaring 90s. Big Pharma. We, the guinea pigs. They, the docs: the receivers of vacations, payouts, etc. for prescribing nonsense. With PTSD, and the lifetime penchant for politeness, I am slow to respond to crazy behavior. I freeze, am numbed, go into great existential, internal forays about The Sorry State of The National Soul.
It’s not untrue entirely: frequently our leadership can parallel what is happening to the Everyman. Robert Bly, that originator of the Men’s Movement, that sometime poet, that sublime essayist, once said in effect: “It is no accident what our President looks like and behaves like, at any given time”. I might debate this given the fact the last two republicans stole their crowns through deceits– but to play devils’ advocate, even this fact states something about the peril of our national soul.
I don’t know about you, but, assaulted, thieved, misdiagnosed, libeled, slandered, perjured, bankrupted, mentally harmed, watching my daughte also mentally, physically, and emotionally abused–I wound up goingfrom my seven-bedroom home in Roland Park to living in a shelter in Oregon, where I had the vague idea of assisted suicide. Libeled even by a Baltimore Sun newspaper cutline while I helped get a Maryland law passed that 11 other states would follow with being front and center in an article that went viral–to protect the unemployed from unnecessary searches into their credit history–my Smaritan-ness ruins my good name even more. My condo association jumps in on the fray: one month calls me a newspaper thief, next month taps my phone for two years, next month breaks into my bank account to steal my food money, next month places a false lien on me, meanwhile preventing me from attending condo meetings or getting the minutes to clear things up. There, paying $750 a month condo fees, they shun me, terrorize me, assault me, insult me in front of my darling daughter, won’t clean up the asbestos of the flood damage for years near my washer/dryer, and won’t sweep the chimney of creosote. They do, however, sudedenly arrive to make an out-take vent at 7:30 next morning after i joke to a friend noticing my hoarse voice that it’s likely from the white mold under my apartment in a locked-down room. Obviously the lawyers on the Board ran into the ex’s perjury which is left on-line 10 years by the courts which obstructed justice by keeping me outside them. I was told by a horrified witness “They are saying you are out here having fits!” while I was sitting there lost in thought and had been presumed when I came in to be a Judge. . . .you get the point. A quadruple nightmare.
I am so grateful to become the wounded healer.
I couldn’t have asked for better in-the-trenches, in-the-line-of-fire training.
Thank you, Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer. Thank you for Steve Jobs’ deathbed philosophizing. Thank you that I can walk, dream, cook, write, read, pray, sleep–and not in a war zone or a prison. Thank you for Omar, Jan, Rick, Mr. Beans, and Celeste Angeldog: three people and two canines in the world who do not judge me for my disabilities nor my income level. Thank you for the experience of having been a mother. Please watch over her, because. . .I know. It was then you carried me. It is now you carry her.
Yes, Mr. Wonderful stole her too. But she was never his to control and own. She, like me, cannot be owned by men. She belongs to you.
And thanks for nephew, Andrew, that not-heard, not-seen, not-loved child who only ever wanted to be a landscaper, now growing medical cannabis and doing a great job of it. I still want to be of some use to his development and awakening. It’s never too late, right?
Thank you Jesus for the love-one-another idea, for the throw-the-first-stone profoundness and just now, for the statement “If you have the faith of a mustard seed, you can. . . move mountains”. Because, knowing this, I can get back up from half-poverty level, from underearning, from the slow death of resentment. My soul knows I gleaned way more than I learned in my international career as a jet-setter. I once prayed in my biblical Job-ness, (now you can call me crazy): “If I ever need humbling more, humble me more”. And you did. Now that I’m good with that piece, let’s move on, okay? I need your help. I need to peel myself back up off the ground, pick myself up by the brastraps. And bring some people with me. Into the light of possibility and overcoming again.
You were the First, you are the Always, the Only, the Ever, the Right Here, The Right Now, The Because of and Despite Everything, The Hope, The Truth, the Resurrection, and the Light. Amen.
“The love you take is equal to the love you make”. —the Beatles