A phrase popular in the 80s (and which may still be in use today—sure, my clothes date to that period, so my vocabulary probably does, too) was “As if!” This response popped up whenever the questioner posed a ridiculous question or situation to her listener. The As if!” response varied in intensity proportionate to the situation’s ludicrosity, if I may coin a new word. For example:
Questioner: Your dad’ll give you ten bucks so we can hang out at the mall, won’t he?
Responder: As if…he’s as broke as I am.
Valley Girl I: I totally heard that Stinky thinks you like him, and that he’s going to, like, ask you to the prom!
Valley Girl II: AS IF!!!!!! I like would never go with him in a million years. No, more like a billion years. [And for further emphasis, a further] AS IF!!!!!! [Shock, shock; horror, horror.]
Remember, this is the 80s—pre-cell phone, pre-massive use of the internet, no Facebook. The Valley Girl-and-Stinky prom scenario has no chance of success. Why? Valley Girl and Stinky travel in different spheres, spheres of influence/effluence that rarely, if ever, mingle. Simply put, it won’t happen because Valley Girl (especially after hearing about Stinky’s plans) will avoid Stinky-infested spaces. Obvious, right?
Let’s apply this to the present. Acting “as if” means putting ourselves in places and with people that send a certain signal to the universe’s energy, a signal that says, “Give me more of this, please.” Energy is like water: rivulets flow toward streams, and those streams find their way to rivers, unless they are dammed (damned) in the process; energy, too, flows toward energy. Ever see a magnet draw together all those little shavings of metal? Oh, they move toward that energy whether they want to or not. It’s the law.
It follows, then, that if we want more of what we have, then we stay where we are; if not, we must put ourselves in a different place.
This fundamental truth, only absorbed by me in the last few years, explains why I have been so reluctant to seek outside help, especially from the White Coats. In my view, if I approach the Department of Health Services, whether to get food stamps or medical care, I’m acting “as if” I’m sick. I’m sending vibes that I concur with cancer-as-illness, instead of cancer-as-chance-to-live-more-honestly. My fears have revolved around visions of sitting with other sick people, comparing scars and medications’ side effects, to having one of those plastic containers (you know what I’m talking about—they have pill spaces for the days of the week, and morning, afternoon, and bedtime), instead of dancing my brains out to great music or climbing Wicklow Mountain. (Okay, I have given up on climbing Kilimanjaro. But only recently!) I deemed it an act of defeat on my part if I darkened the door of the DHS.
But the universe picked up on my vibes (need help, don’t want to put my kids out, don’t want to ask for help), and sent me a message via my gut. I tend to follow my gut a lot these days, and my gut told me, on Tuesday, to visit—of all places!!—the DHS. Yes, I applied for benefits; no, it was not demoralizing. I did not feel less-than; quite the opposite. The first woman I spoke with reached over and squeezed my hand, reassuring me that I had, indeed, come to the right place. A warmer person I could not have asked for, and her desk was as far away from the madding crowd as it was possible to be, so I felt I could speak freely. She asked me when I would like to come in for an appointment with a counselor. My old habits kicked in—earlier is probably better! They won’t take you seriously unless you’re in here at 8:00 a.m.!—and she saw that. She said, “Are you sure you want to come in that early? Is that the time you’re usually up?” I said, frankly, “No.” The number one thing that lets me know I’ve got any illness at all (besides the pain) is how tired I am, and how much I sleep. So we made it for one p.m. the next day. This angel said, before I left, “You did the right thing by coming in. We can’t help if you don’t ask us.” Wow.
Then, at my appointment on Wednesday, I met possibly the one person—out of the thirty who might have heard my case—who knew EXACTLY where I was coming from, both health-wise, and asking-for-help-wise. It was an uplifting, brilliant experience. Affirming, not demoralizing. The young man who helped me touched my life, changed me, in a way he’ll never know. His compassion will not only benefit me, but also those I love—my children, my friends. I’m on the list now to get health benefits, but not because I’m looked upon as hopeless. He said two things that really struck me. First, he can only help those who ask (echoing the gal from the day before); and second, that I was showing strength by asking (whether my children, friends, or the State of Oregon) for it. He wasn’t just saying that—he could tell by my demeanor how difficult it had been for me to come in at all. I left that office feeling “on toppa da woild,” I can tell you. (Further amazing things happened on the way home, but I’ll leave the telling of them for another day.)
People say to me, “Gosh, you are so lucky! Things like this are always happening to you, but they never happen to me.” (I especially love hearing this when they don’t know I’ve got cancer.) The point of all this is, I am not special; I am not unique; I am not doing anything you cannot—indeed, are not—doing. We’re all attracting what we need to accomplish what it is we’re thinking about (consciously or unconsciously, actually—energy can’t tell the difference).
It’s all about the “as if.” When we act “as if,” whether it’s “as if” we were rich, or “as if” we had more romance in our lives, or “as if” we were happy, we put ourselves in the path of those possibilities. Maybe we won’t get exactly what we want (i.e., perfect health, Brad Pitt, a million dollars), but we’ll attract more of it than we would if we act “as if” we’re sick or poor. And we’ll meet those who use our “idiom” (as put by brave Concord in Holy Grail).
That’s why I’ve registered for classes this summer and fall. I’m acting “as if” I’m going to graduate—at long last!—with an M.A. I’ve renewed my Irish passport; it was FedExed to me the other day. Cool! I’m putting together a scholarly journal. I’m composting for future gardens. Why not? “What harm?” as the Irish say. I’m acting “as if” I have a life. And indeed, I do. Have a life, that is. I wouldn’t trade it, and that’s the truth.
Do you? Do you have the life you want? Are you willing to put yourself in the path of more happiness, wealth, love? Let’s pretend you’re Valley Girl II. Basically, if you don’t want to go to the prom with Stinky, then you’ll have to stay out of his way. Do your best to remove yourself from his sphere. Hang with the other Valley Girls until the danger has passed.
Then again, you’d better practice your refusal to the prom invitation. Better think about how you’re going to let him down. Because if Stinky wants to ask you to the prom, his vibes to the universe will ensure your separate worlds collide.
It’s the law.