I’d been feeling very nervous lately.
The prospect of uprooting an entire life and moving it nearly across-country and starting over again is a big one. My husband J and I have already made a couple of tentative steps toward getting our ducks in a row. I had the “we’re going to try to move away” chat with my boss just before the holidays. He was not happy, but happy FOR us, and grateful for the information so that we can work together to prepare for my someday-departure. J and I also talked to our landlady, and effective in February we’ll be on a month-to-month lease so that we can pick up and go at the drop of a hat. Meanwhile, we’ve been purging belongings that we have no desire to carry all the way to New Orleans. These little steps have suddenly made this whole moving thing quite real.
Emotional attachments aside, it’s the logistics that embed themselves in my brain when I wake up at 3:00 a.m. and can’t go back to sleep. Training someone to take my place at work, getting rid of stuff and packing the rest, driving it all down south, staying in hotels, searching for a place to live, doing all of those things one does in a new town when they move like registering vehicles and getting new IDs and brake tags and insurance and learning where to go and not to go and how to get there and and and and and….
…and the largest worry by far, because it’s at the very top of the Necessary list, is finding new jobs. We are slated to officially begin our job search once our taxes are filed this year (SOON!) because our return is the last chunk of fundage that we need in our Moving Fund in order to feel that we have a go-ahead to truly begin this whole process. I have worked at my place of employment for 11 years. I’ve had a lot of experience, and I’m Good At Stuff. My 3:00 a.m. worries about job-hunting are, though, multiple. I have not job-hunted in a decade and some change. This, by itself, would be alright, except that not only will I be job-hunting, I’ll be job-hunting long distance. I’ve never done a telephone interview before, it’s always been done in face-time. The prospect squicks me out because how can I tell what someone is thinking about what I’m saying to them, if I cannot see their face? And vice versa? And will anyone even look twice at my resume if they see I’m from out of state? The sooner we land employment, the sooner we can GO GO GO. And this, and that, and and and and! I’ve been full of worry worry worry at 3:00 a.m. for some time now.
And then the other night, I was in the kitchen listening to WWOZ on my phone and washing dishes (slingin’ suds, as my coworker says), when J randomly wandered into the room sing-chanting “Papa Legba! PAAPAAA LEEEGBAAA!” like there was no tomorrow. It turned out to be not-so-random when he pointed out the Legba candle still sitting on the kitchen table – I had it out for an offering when I found out that Coco Robicheaux passed away, in November, and it was still sitting there.
Nevertheless, random or not, 10 minutes later I was drying my hands and checking my phone when I discovered I had a text message. It was from a close friend of mine, whose wee daughter is nearly pushin’ 3 years old and is goddaughter of sorts to me and who calls me Auntie Voodoo (well, Doodoo, we haven’t conqured Vs yet), and said:
“Holy crap. I put on Papa Legba track. S knocked on wall, said “Come in. Hi, my name is S.”
Well. Throw me ’round and knock me sideways! She had apparently been playing the Priestess Miriam Voodoo recordings, and the track that honors/calls Papa Legba was on. And S, being young and open of spirit, seemed to be greeting him. All at the same time that J was wandering into my kitchen singin’ about him too. I believe in voodoo. I practice it. I honor it. And I pay attention. Papa Legba is a gatekeeper. He opens them, he closes them. He provides openings to new paths, too, if you ask and give something back and do some work for yourself.
The fact that all of this was happening at the same time that night meant, surely, that Ol’ Papa was out and about. Right at the peak of my job/moving anxiety. I left offerings for him on my altar before I went to bed. And I don’t feel so anxious anymore.
Every time I do start to feel panicky, I think about that and feel better. Once the time is right to start this hunt, I will go for it and work hard, and the path will be open to get me home to New Orleans.
Thank you J, thank you M, thank you, you astute and welcoming little S.