mercurial swag

I have been gifted, or cursed, with the gift of gab.

But I don’t automatically start talking someone’s head off. That comes with a little more intimacy. The Effin Birds picture above does show how I feel others think of me when I’m talking to them.

Way harsh, Tai.

The point of this post is to put on some kid gloves and give this most loathed part of myself some love (yes, even on Valentine’s Day!)–to reclaim my mercurial swag, on Mercury’s day (aka Wednesday).

Star Lessons on the Trickster Messenger

Astrologically, this incessant chattering comes from the planet of communication and self-expression in my natal chart–Mercury.

Planets have places (or zodiac signs) that they prefer to be, or domiciled. With Mercury, it likes to be in Gemini and Virgo.

On the zodiac wheel, Gemini is opposite Sagittarius and Virgo is opposite Pisces. Sagittarius and Pisces are both ruled by Jupiter, a planet that tends to amplify and expand things.

These oppositions mean that Mercury in Sagittarius or Pisces means that it doesn’t really feel comfortable here, also known as detriment.

My Mercury is in Sagittarius. And you probably know some Sags who are chatty as hell and you wish they would shut up, right? I say that with all love and affection.

Mercury likes getting to the point and being exact, and Gemini and Virgo are much better at that than the Jupiterian planets who are about exploring. In my opinion, Sag would be about exploring knowledge and wisdom, and Pisces would be exploring spirituality and emotion.

The point of language, then, is not to get to the point. It’s a tool of exploration. This is an important point that I’ll get back to.

You can learn more about Mercury in Sagittarius here and here. (There’s actually good things about this placement!)

Mercury’s in the Lemonade or Gatorade?

So on top of Mercury being in its detriment in Sag, it’s also retrograde.

So you’ve probably hear of Mercury retrograde–and don’t worry, you won’t have to worry about this for at least another month–when communication runs amok.

Travel gets hampered. Emails get lost. Computers and cars break down. Exes pop out of nowhere. This happens for a few weeks every year.

And that’s what I have natally. Not necessarily all that phenomena, but more of the communication hiccups. And last Christmastime, Mercury retrograde happened in my sign, close to the degree, too.

It was really overwhelming. It was really great, because I could just see everything so clearly. But it also meant that I wanted to communicate it all.

Sag energy can get very didactic and sanctimonious, so I actually logged off from Twitter for about a month until the entire Mercury retrograde transit had been completed. I was so sick of hearing myself talk!

Mercury in the 12th House

So on top of that, my Mercury is in the 12th house.

In your natal chart, there are 12 houses where your planets reside, covering different areas of your life:

  1. Self-concept
  2. Money and possessions
  3. Communication
  4. Home and family
  5. Creativity
  6. Routines and health
  7. Partnerships
  8. Death,
  9. Higher ed and travel
  10. Career and fame
  11. Friendships and community
  12. The subconscious

As you can imagine, it’d be great if you had Mercury in Gemini in the 3rd house vs. Mercury retrograde in Sag in the 12th house.

Here’s what The Dark Pixie Astrology has to say about Mercury in the 12th house:

Mercury is the planet of communication and how you express yourself and learn, and so those of you born with Mercury retrograde tend to feel very misunderstood. The energy of Mercury retrograde in the natal chart is actually very similar to that of Mercury in the 12th house (and how misunderstood you must be if you have natal Mercury retrograde in your 12th house!). You have difficulty communicating clearly with others, with being heard, with understanding others as well, and with using your mental energy properly. You can be someone who has a ton of mental energy and is far more intelligent than people realize. You just don’t know the right way to show it.

Oof. Yes.

So how does this show up for me?

My mom said that as a child, my mind went faster than my mouth. I believe it!

More recently, I was writing some affirmations out and I kept making mistakes because my mind was two to three words ahead of my hand. I cannot tell you how much I was happy to have email take over handwritten letters when I was in college. No more writer’s bump on my finger! Even now, though, my hands cannot keep with my brain when I type.

I can see the big picture of everything all at once and I’m not good at self-editing, choosing the most important parts. I always joke that I wish I had a Mercury in Virgo editor, because Virgo is great at synthesis and putting things in the right order.

As Walt Whitman says, I contain multitudes. The problem is that I try to tell them all at once.

So why am I even talking about this at all?

Friendship as a Mirror, and the Fear of Seeing Yourself

If you’ve been reading this blog, you know that it’s been a really tough time living here in Florida. I don’t really have friends here, but thankfully, I have a lot of them online.

And even still, last year, I went through a lot of upheaval–I had to let go of a lot of people, and a couple of close friends left Twitter.

Even before I get into that, I want to say that I don’t want to be so self-identified with astrological placements and aspects. It’s just that, for my life right now, it’s really easy to explain who I am and what goes on in my life and in the world. And even me saying, “I have this really tough placement,” is just affirming the trouble I’ve had with communicating in my life.

Anyway, I’ve been really sensitive with the people coming and going in my life. I’m not really used to so much turnover. And yes, there’s some astrology that explains this, so the TL;DR version is that Saturn (your favorite tough love life coach) demolished my 11th house during grad school and now Jupiter is coming in and rebuilding, but there’s also some washing away.

A lot of my identity has always been tied up in my friendships, and that may be because I don’t necessarily identify with my family of origin (another blog post for another time.. My life history seems to be tied to what I was doing, and not doing with my friends.

Even when I first started journaling in 1st grade in class, the two entries that I remember (before my brother destroyed my journal in a blind rage), was having some conflict with my friends R.W. and Jerry–these were my two best friends, both boys. One entry was about how we weren’t talking or something. And then the next one was how we made up.

My journey down here was to find a community–not just to write a book or get a master’s degree.

And, that didn’t happen. The exact opposite happened, specifically betrayal and ostracization (which has happened before, in high school). And years later, that still kind of hurts and stings, even as I write this.

Mercury is also about how we learn, and I feel this retrograde part is about me re-learning a lot of things. This seems to be about re-learning how to connect with others.

So, as I anxiously sit on the wet rubble of my friendships, waiting for my new house to be finished, I’ve had some awesome come into my life and I want them to stay.

But this desire is reminiscent of how I felt in high school. I was very sensitive, overly eager to connect and to fit in, but ultimately getting ostracized even by the people who were on the fringes.

With that in mind, I definitely do not want to contort myself to have someone accept me. I’m freaking 40 now.

But.

I’m very sensitive again. Jupiter has blessed with me some cool people, and I have becoming more self-loathing about how I communicate with them, like not in a cute self-deprecating way, but in a very neurotic way.

I’ve been trying to contort myself to be likable in ways like I’m still in high school. And it’s really upsetting me.

Specifically, I’ve had this habit of thanking people for listening to me, like I wasn’t worthy of people listening. I think at first came from actual gratitude–finally, I feel heard and understand. But then it mutated into a desperate plea to stick around–don’t leave, don’t get tired of listening to the multitudes of thoughts that I can’t stop from pouring out of my mouth or fingers.

So the other day, I was having a conversation with someone about Sag things, and it was actually quite funny and fun.

I basically got encouraged to be myself, to let all that Sag stuff fly. But then I quickly demurred and listed how much my Mercury in Sagittarius placement annoyed me. And then I got even more encouragement anyway.

In response to that, I just unloaded all this encouraging stuff on this person, mostly out of gratitude. I felt like it was true and on point, but I still anxiously wonder, days later, if it was a nice rain shower of encouragement or a tsunami of feelings.

The response was succinct but positive.

I felt really…stupid.

Not again! I’ve been too much and have overwhelmed someone!

I felt stupid for a number of reasons that I can’t really talk about, but this sort of interaction happens more often than not–a bucket of words from me and terse responses, and I don’t know why I didn’t really notice it until now. I’m sure it’s happened for a long time and I just brushed it off.

Whenever I’m speaking, I’m slowly emerging out of the black fog of my subconscious and shadows. There are stairs and stairs I have to climb to talk to someone, and the stairs I’m climbing are my words.

So I talked about this possible gaffe with a friend, and ever so wise, she said, you have to trust that people will take care of themselves.

It had definitely crossed my mind to add even more words, I’m sorry, I wish I could stop talking, I hope I didn’t overwhelm you–but I know that would only make it worse. I was talking to an adult who can take care of themselves. I really do have to trust that.

And then another friend said, your people are out there and can handle you in your full glory.

Is that really true? Can I believe that there isn’t actually anything wrong with me?

What I See, What I (Long to) Accept

I never thought I was one to reject compliments and encouragement, but I’m quite chagrined and saddened that I’ve been doing it.

And this is why, again, I don’t want to be so identified with Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius that it starts to eclipse the totality of who I am. There are days when I don’t even speak to anyone.

This isn’t all of who I am.

For one thing, I do think it’s hilarious that I’m a writer with such a godawful placement for being good at it. And yet that’s the very thing–astrological placements like this can be areas for growth and even glory. I think my writing is pretty decent. I’m making a living from it somehow. It’s not some fluke. But I’ve had to work extra hard to get good at it.

Still, surprise! I’m really hard on myself. I’m not this exacting and cruel to other people. I’m trying not to cry as I write this.

I’ve been told that Mercury in Sagittarius is great for storytelling. The life I’ve lead, I’ve had some crazy stories to tell. But I’ve always envied people who are succinct, riveting storytellers. I’m always like–oops, I forgot this important detail.

It’s like knitting some scarf and finding that you left out a couple of stitches near the end. It’s really hard to go back in the middle of the story to fill things in.

But I’ve learned that with knitting, those errors or misses (as long as it’s not detrimental to its structure) are what make a piece unique and even beautiful.

I thought I had gotten over my perfectionism, aggressively so. In high school, I started to not care as much about grades (still graduated tied for 5th in a class of about 120 students). I learned someone would always be smarter, take harder classes, do more than me. So I had to just learn what my limits were and compete with myself.

But observing myself, being kinda naked and afraid, being seen for who I was and appreciated–instead of confident of who I was, beautiful errors and misses, I just felt like I was on the outside, looking in, imprisoned by my words.

But clearly, Sag vibes are not this dour and unfun. Sags are actually a lot of fun–as long as they don’t get too preachy! They totally know how to party (probably too hard sometimes). Sag energy is jocular and witty.

And even during that Mercury retrograde period, I definitely experienced a nice bump in humor with my jokes–which are still kinda weird and out there sometimes…I definitely have a niche audience.

I actually have Venus (the planet of love and values) and Neptune (the planet of dreams and illusions) in Sagittarius, too. So I have a stellium, a cluster of three or more planets in one zodiacal sign.

So, it’s not all that bad!

I’ve come to realize that I really am an external processor with people I’m closer to — I really have to talk things through so that I can figure out what the truth is for me, and even for the person I’m talking to. It really helps me to unpack my brain and have someone observe it. I’ve had so many revelations that way

Usually, though, in conversation I’m observant and won’t say much, which annoyed my high school friends who thought I was being rude.

I really do like listening to others without saying much at all just as much as sharing everything that is in my head all at once. It’s pretty extreme, and I’m the fulcrum of this tension. I don’t handle it well (enough). I tend to seesaw, but that sounds like the natural rhythm of conversation, right?

So back to what my two wise girlfriends had to say. I have to trust that people will take care of themselves, that I don’t have to do the thinking and feeling for them. If I’m feeling uncomfortable with my loquaciousness, that’s my shit to figure out, on my own.

And if I’m loquacious because I’m nervous, then I’d better find some ways to freaking relax–or at least love myself more for feeling vulnerable and at risk for being rejected (even if those feelings aren’t necessarily based on the truth of the situation).

And then finding people who’ll accept me for who I am. We talk a lot about self-love, like you should just do it and that’s that. But I do feel like that sometimes, it can be tough going without some help.

Whether it’s from the Divine or from friends, family, lovers, children, pets–sometimes there are parts of ourselves that we just simply cannot love that well. It’s like an itchy spot on your back that you can’t reach but needs to be scratched. We need each other to see ourselves more clearly, holistically, and truthfully.

In that cringeworthy conversation I had, I automatically went back to how I saw myself vs. how the other person saw me. It was a reflex, and it was rude to me and the other person. What you see couldn’t be true because of this, this, and this. That’s essentially what I was saying when I listed how awful this placement was without even acknowledging the encouragement (I did later, but it was after the torrent of encouraging words–and, that response, surprise, could have absolutely nothing to do with me).

Gross. But also–important that I could see myself not as grotesquely through someone else’s eyes. It made me pause and think–this isn’t that bad, is it? Why am I so hard on myself?

I’ve been through enough humiliation and shame in my life where I do not need to heap more on while simultaneously rejecting encouragement and support when I need it (I mean, hey–we always need it, no matter how good things are).

So here’s what I can do instead.

I can be grateful to people who listen to me without being desperate and ingratiating.

I can observe when I’m being talkative and be especially appreciative of those who love it.

I can choose not to take terse replies personally and remember that my natal Mercury retrograde in Sag in the 12th house is a really challenging placement for communication–and then be extra compassionate to myself.

I can fucking relax and not use my words like water on a grease fire. I won’t get it right all the time, but I can, do, and will have people who see and accept me for me, all of me, without having to hide.

I can just…be. Sagittarius is also about freedom. I can be free to be myself, even as I squirm at my own foibles and faults. I can be loved, even while I squirm! It’s so humbling and ultimately empowering when that happens.

I have a friend with a similar Venus in Sagittarius placement and I call it Venus in Swag because it’s a fun placement for Venus, where love is about freedom and travel and new experiences. It’s probably my most favorite placement.

I can’t yet bring myself to call my Mercury placement Mercury in Swag. It feels more like Mercury in zig-zag.

But, I’m working on it. I’m working on accepting there’s nothing wrong with the way I communicate. It’s just different. And even though this placement makes me feel very isolated and misunderstood, it’s not my whole story for who I am and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

I’ll end with something that’s pretty simple, something that’s been on my mind since I feel like I haven’t been allowing myself to fully do this. And with this being Aquarius season, which is all about finding out who you individually are and how you fit into the collective, I think it’s a good reminder for all of us. 💘

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Thanks for your support!

back on the couch 🛋️

therapy SOM

The last time I was in therapy, it was the summer, 2016, nearing the end of my contract job where I was miserable.

Almost 18 months later, I’m back. Now I’m miserable because of this guy, the housemate.

I need to move.

I gave a long explanation of what happened at my Patreon for my subscribers, but TL;DR, my housemate has decompensated (clinical for lost his shit) twice since the full moon eclipse (once before and once after). He has untreated schizophrenia along with some Axis II/personality disorder stuff.

So all the bitching and accommodating and complaining I’ve done has because of that.

I should really refocus the misery towards the owners of this house. This housemate is only symptomatic of their neglect and passivity.

When I had made the appointment with my therapist who reminds me of a hippie, nicer version of Carrie Bradshaw, the psychotic breaks hadn’t occurred yet.

If you want to say that my higher self was prescient and knew I’d need therapy because serious shit was about the kick off, I wouldn’t bar you from saying it.

I arrived early after I returned a shitty memoir that’s getting some public acclaim. I scheduled the ride home that I’d miss because I was too afraid to be rude and look at the time on my phone, with its ringer set on silent.

My therapist was running late, which she explained later that since I was her last client and she had a yoga class later, and because hadn’t spoken in a while, she thought it’d be OK to run late.

Hey man, first white person I’ve heard say that to me. It did cost me $10 as a no-show. I have some weird hang ups with my Lyft score.

Meanwhile, as I waited, I was tweeting folks and feeling pretty whole and cohesive as a person. Last time, I was really worried about my social life. That hasn’t even changed–it’s probably gotten worse.

The circumstances I was currently in weren’t defining me.

For once! For once.

Anyway, her office, which is in this holistic multi-use office, had moved across the hall to a smaller space. I sat down on the smaller couch as I waited for her to bring a cup of water.

When she came back, I was ready to get into it, and she was too.

But I had to backtrack, amend what I was going to say. I couldn’t just say, ugh, this guy I live with is icky and I want to live by myself. Now it became, wow, I don’t feel safe in my own home because this guy completely lost his shit, twice, in less than a week.

And…those episodes wasn’t traumatizing, really. My clinical background somehow saved me and also helped me to connect the dots–>

forgetting my name multiple times–>poor dishwashing habits –>smoking inside many times –>ashing on our green porch –>yelling at himself or someone a few times–>having poor personal boundaries with my things–>wanting to talk to me all the time–>responding with verbal abuse–>schizophrenia.

That knowledge let 9 months of annoyance and energy drain collapse into relief and anger. Relief that this guy isn’t just evil and clueless. He’s unwell and unmedicated.

And enabled. By the other roommate and by the inactivity of the owners who are just fine with taking money from an SSDI recipient because they know the money will be stable.

They can assuage the pain beating in their pink liberal hearts and take pity on the man who lived in the woods for 12 years, but not pump any blood to actually help him.

And, well–armed with this clinical revelation, I tried to make a change. He was supposed to admit himself into the hospital by yesterday. This leathery bag of chronic coughs is still in this house.

When I came back from therapy and saw that I had gotten a package, he was outside, on the porch, smoking and ashing on it.

“You have a package,” he lowly bellowed. It was the first thing I saw, sitting on the marble pedestal by the door. If he was actually looking me, instead of looking for his next Axis II fix, he would have seen me look at that first as I silently walked to the mailbox to get the (mostly junk) mail.

“You-you have a package!” he said more loudly as I pursed my look in my mother’s look of part annoyance-part-I-guess-I-need-to-honor-your-presence-sack-of-carbon.

I took my package and walked inside.

This guy, who had called me a piece of shit and god knows what other epithets, had the everloving gall to speak to me.

He’s one sick motherfucker.

I’ll be honest, about therapy–because I have a BA in psychology, because I wanted to be a child psychiatrist, because I was social worker, because I researched kids in child welfare, because I’ve been doing therapy on and off since I was 21–I tend to love talking shop in a meta way. To talk about my own clinical make-up, about the clinical make-up of others, it’s almost like I’m doing the job of the therapist.

When I had come to my therapist the last time, I realized that I didn’t really need her for clinical insight. I already knew the answers. I just needed her support.

Today was similar. I had told her that moving was going to stepwise–first out of this house, and then out-of-state, most likely to that place which continues to call me, like incessant sirens, trying to guide me away from certain shipwreck.

Besides her support, I wanted her to give some practical insight about moving, and she did give a town that I could possibly move to. But she told me how my eyes lit up when I told her about the beach.

Either way, it’s probably best I get the fuck out of the Dodge.

I came away with a couple of practical things and a few insights.

  1. I need to go work elsewhere more often. I know this, but I don’t want to spend the money. But I need to do it.
  2. Something I need to do more of–look for housing every day, 30 to 60 minutes.
  3. An insight about the landlady–from my therapist’s experience, younger social workers, such as the landlady, seem to be more skittish around actual clinical work. So she is not surprised that she didn’t pick up on those manipulative Axis II vibes that this person is exuding out of his tan-skinned pores.
  4. It was interesting how I kept talking about poverty when I have some money–right now, anyway. A client later today asked me to invoice him for the writing I need to do while he’ll be on vacation. I know that my time in Florida has been marked with housing hardship, but it’s hard to see how things are getting better, better enough to start over, even with a shitty credit score.
  5. And then there’s the pattern of saving the day. When I realized last night that I was probably not going to get a follow-up from the landlady on the schizophrenic anymore, that there would only be more enabling and excusing, I gave up–and my therapist gave me permission to do just that, to hang up my cape, to be a fierce advocate for myself, like I was for my clients years ago.

So after, my therapist sat with me for a couple minutes as we waited for my ride to arrive, which was nice for her to do. And then my ride took me to Wawa–was this an accidental Eagles celebration? I just wanted carbs. I got some Valentine’s doughnuts and other things.

And then, I made it home.

The rest of the day isn’t that important to write about, but I’m just glad one person in this town gives a shit about what happens to me.

And, there’s really some solid hope here now. There’s the hope that I’ll leave here, sooner than later. But there’s the hope that I won’t be dealing with terrible roommates ever again. Even bigger than that, there’s the hope that my new normal will not have anymore crazy, tragic stories.

What’s been strange about this week, and last week too, is watching things start to blossom, things that were dormant for months. In the midst of barely contained chaos is some real beauty, some real connection, some real longevity.

And well, I thought for year that when I was 40, things would start come together. I never knew how or why, but only that they would.

And now, they are.

All the things. Coming together. For good.

If you liked what you’ve read, I’d love your support as a patron on Patreon. Tiers starts at just $1/month. I blog about things that I don’t post here and you can have access to those things for $10/month.

Thanks for your support! 💘

 

hell is living with other people

four male roommates SOM

I’ve been burning a candle all day.

I had a crazy incident that happened on Friday here at home that made me think about all the awful roommates I’ve had and how I hope this is the last awful roommate I have.

So let’s take a trip back to the last century to start our journey through bad roommates and living situations.

Get cozy and buckle up–this will be a long trip.

Condom in the Bowl

This was back in college in Chicago, my third year, 1999-2000, I believe. It’s a little hazy because I was under major financial stress and suffering from clinical depression–and yes, the two were related.

In my apartment/dorm, that year we got stuck with this random redhead girl who had her boyfriend, Orion, over a lot. She didn’t live in my bedroom.

(Funny how I remember the boyfriend’s name (it’s my favorite constellation) and not this girl’s name.)

Anyway, I vaguely remember most of this time for a few reasons. 1)  I’ve probably blocked all this out. 2) Clinical depression can erase a lot of your long-term memory. 3) This was almost 20 years ago.

So yeah, she was just inconsiderate and we couldn’t take it. I don’t even know if someone was living in my room that year. Probably not.

Anyway, her roommate came into my room one day, and I played the music up real loud so we could talk about how awful she was. The redhead girl said something to us about it later, but the behavior didn’t really end.

Near the end of the school year, I remember there was a large mattress in our living room, and it was the redhead girl’s. Granted, I and the other suitemate were so busy, I rarely hung out in the living room, but it was, at least, a full-sized mattress, if not a queen-sized one.

The redhead girl didn’t ask if it was OK for her to have that there. The mattress just appeared one day.

What is probably the grossest thing that’s ever happened to me was when I was looking for a cereal bowl that I used (and owned).

I found it in her room, with a used condom in it.

I am pretty sure I tore her a new one. She fumbled with her apologies, but at the same time, she seemed to not fully understand how gross it was to have something that was on her boyfriend’s dick, and inside of her, in something that we ate from.

I didn’t throw the bowl out, though. I scrubbed it hard with hot water and maniacally washed it multiple times. Oddly, I was somehow still attached to the bowl–it was one I brought from home.

So yeah, I still have the bowl in storage, which I guess makes me gross. I think I wanted to keep the bowl because I didn’t want to let this person’s inconsideration win.

But now that I’ve told you this story, I will throw it out the next time I can get a hold of it (if I even still have it…).

Three Capricorns

I had to move out of the dorms and got kicked out of college because of family upheaval (my dad’s bipolar disorder was strangling my family) which left me with a $5000 unpaid tuition bill.

I moved from Hyde Park up north to Logan Square and lived with two older people who were in their early 30s, a man and a woman, both with early January birthdays. It was a nice, spacious apartment, on a tree-lined boulevard, with the landlord living upstairs.

The woman was a spoiled brat, a bully, and had a bit of a coke habit. I don’t think she had a job. She just went to this bar in Bucktown a lot. I almost thought she worked there. For income, I think she just lived off of a settlement of when she got doored while riding her bike.

Anyway, I learned of her coke habit the first time when we had our first joint Capricorn birthday party.

In my mind’s eye, she was dancing in the dining room, or was near the turntable, and she had such glassy eyes. She was really loud–a little too loud even for a party. Either she or the male roommate told me that she had done an 8-ball. It’s probably the first time I had seen someone high on cocaine.

I should mention that we all paid the same rent for rooms of differing sizes. The cokehead had the master bedroom which included its own bathroom. It was massive. It could have been its own little studio apartment.

The male roommate, an IT guy, and I were pretty decent friends. I can’t remember how we got fed up with the cokehead, but we decided to stage a coup when our lease was up for renewal.

We talked to our landlord and made sure that she was going to pay a larger amount of the rent. I think we made it go up 50 percent or something like that, but it was fair because her room was at least 50 percent larger than ours.

So we came back down with our new lease which stated the new terms. Right before we confronted the other roommate, the male roommate told me how, one time when I wasn’t home, she had been in the living room with her coke dealer, with coke all over the glass coffee table. It was right before his parents were coming over.

That sealed my fate in my absolute disgust of this person. I was still a Christian and although I knew she also smoked pot, which I was still a little wary of at the time, having hard drugs in my house was a no-no.

Soon after that revelation, we told her about it in the living room. She fucking lost her shit.

“Oh, look at you getting all emotional, huh? You’re so emotional!” she said, eyes wide with anger, standing over me. It’s the kind of things that bullies say to make you feel small, to rile you up.

And, although I was seething on the inside, I didn’t let it show that much. She was the only one getting emotional. We just stared back and said that she had to pay her share or she needed to move out.

So she did.

Then I moved into the master bedroom and the other roommate used my old bedroom as an office. It was just the two of us until I moved back down to Hyde Park to finish my BA. I would have actually kept commuting the hour it took but the male roommate started to get a little creepy when he was drunk.

Honorable mention: the female roommate had a cat which I called P. Kitty because she pissed, pooped, and puked everywhere. She was also blind and kept banging into walls and poles and things.

Pathetic kitty.

The Perfect Roommate Vanishes

When I returned back to college, I made friends with this woman in my acting class. She was a fun, preppy girl who probably liked cursing a lot like I did. I don’t really remember much about her.

We decided to room together in an apartment Hyde Park and we got to the point that we were going to sign the lease, and she just ghosted

I called and emailed, multiple times. I never heard from or saw her again. It left me in the lurch because I was definitely moving out and could not move back to Logan Square–I even asked. My room was gone.

I wonder now, just having thought about it, if her parents didn’t want her living with a black woman. I believe she also was from a very wealthy, famous Chicago family. Who knows?

A Child and an Adult

So, I was sent scrambling to find a new roommate. I found this 20-year-old woman in what I called–and I’m not proud of calling it this–the Ghetto Twin Towers. It was an old towering apartment complex on the northern side of Hyde Park, right next to an overpriced luxury apartment complex.

She was OK except when I was working the door at the school’s pub. She wanted me to let her in just because we were roommates. We were not friends. I refused. I was not going to get in trouble for some somewhat spoiled girl. And that she didn’t ask me at home made me livid that I, a 26-year-old woman, would risk her job and whatever else so she could go get drunk.

Unsurprisingly, she was upset although she understood. I was glad to move from there after I had graduated college in August 2004.

Tossed My Cookies

Fast forward three years to 2007. I had had a few good roommate years and then a chunk of time where I lived by myself in a 3-bedroom apartment before the new owner decided to tear down the 2-flat in order to build a McMansion in Lakeview.

After that, I had to move out and I went from zero roommates to three roommates in a four-bedroom apartment in Wicker Park. I lived with women from church, all women of color. Astrologically, we had two Capricorns, a Cancer, and an Aquarius. Pretty good for a while.

The Cancer is who I called Huggy Monster. Very loving and caring. The Capricorn was also a good friend. We had our battles over my dried-out oatmeal bowls and over her being a little too whiny and needy–but that was it.

For the most part, it was all pretty chill.

That summer, I had to get knee surgery to repair my torn meniscus and they were all very helpful. The Cancer took me to PT and my doctor’s appointments (she was the only one with a car).

My mom, with whom I have a touch-and-go relationship with, sent me two gallon-sized ziplock bags of cookies she had made me–ginger crinkles (think: ginger snaps but a little sweet and chewier).

I left them out for me and my roommates to share, because there were just so many. I was happy to share with people who had helped me recover from surgery and with people I cared about.

My Capricorn friend is a bit of an epicurean. She had a ritual of eating the cookies with her tea. She loved how flavorful they were. The Cancer friend didn’t eat that many. Out many, I don’t know, 50 cookies, I had maybe a few. My Capricorn friend had a few.

The Aquarian fitness freak had eaten the rest.

If you looked at her, you’d think, she wouldn’t even be interested in having cookies. She was probably the skinniest out of all of us. Fitness obsessed (she still is).

But she had bulimia.

I was crushed because my mom and I really weren’t on speaking terms, but I knew that this meant something–for her to take the time to make cookies for me and my friends. Even though I’m still sure she’s a narcissist, I felt at the time this was a good faith attempt to show love and care.

The Aquarius and Capricorn lived downstairs and shared a bathroom. The Capricorn was very particular of how clean she wanted her room and her bathroom. She complained to me and the Cancer about how the bathroom was not being kept well, for…reasons.

Later that year, I decided to have an intervention with the other roommates about her behavior, not only because she wasted my mom’s cookies on her illness and didn’t really apologize, but because it was infuriating the Capricorn.

And, truly–we were worried about her health.

Nothing changed.

So we lived together for only a year. And, for the most part, it was great, except for the tossed cookies.

The Nomadic Years

After the four of us parted ways–and I can’t even remember why, but I’m sure the constant vomiting didn’t help–I was lucky to find a one-bedroom apartment through my ex who had to leave for Italy to start his professorship after having graduated grad school. So for the next four years, I lived, for the most part blissfully, by myself in Rogers Park.

I moved to Florida for grad school and lived alone in a two-bedroom apartment for about 16 months until the unpaid summer months caught up with me, and I had to downsize and move in with a classmate, her friend, her friend’s daughter, their unemployed friend, and their unruly dog.

I ended up paying her part of the unemployed friend’s rent, which I tried to speak up about, but it was either this or homelessness. The classmate was cool, but the house was a mess. The house was pretty messy for having someone around who wasn’t working (and smoking pot, and yes I’m judgy af about this).

The HBIC (head bitch in charge), I’ll call her, with the daughter, was also in grad school. I’m pretty sure the HBIC’s daughter was gifted, but on the very forgetful/absent-minded side.

Even as I write this, I remember joking that I would write about this living experience with my classmate, which she said, “Oh, no no no! Don’t do that!”

Sorry, not sorry.

As I was leaving the house to get to my airport shuttle van, the unruly puppy who had no training ran out of the house and was almost hit by a car. The neighbor who almost hit him was frightened. I was frightened. It took a few minutes to get him back inside.

I was livid.

So besides paying for someone who was unemployed and then underemployed and not really contributing to the house, and the unruly dog–my classmate, who was mostly cool, was a bit of a bitch and I called her out on it during a trip to a writer’s conference (which is why I was getting an airport shuttle).

I don’t think she liked that I did it in front of her friend, but she was making fun of me taking apart my burger and comparing me to her friend’s daughter.

We were not close like that. To mock me a privilege, not a right.

I was not happy and I retorted back something, can’t remember.

Besides her being a little sullen at dinner, I remember her yelling at me later in the hotel room. I don’t remember what I said back.

I hate being yelled at, especially by bullies. I just inwardly shut down. So, I was pretty much done with her after that. I may not have shown it–she and another friend were the only two who came to my thesis defense–but she was dead to me, as was the rest of the household.

Meanwhile, HBIC was delusional about the state of our relationship. She thought taking me in and letting me in on some of kinda not well-cooked meals she made was enough to make up for me paying for her friend. I’m sure she saw me as a charity case instead of saving that whole household from getting kicked out because they couldn’t pay rent.

Near the end of my time in that house, she said that if I was ever in Chicago, that I should call her so she could ride up from wherever the bumblefuck she was going to be teaching in Illinois.

Smile and nod, smile and nod.

I deleted her phone number instead.

We parted ways sometime in the summer, and I had found a full-time job as a grant writer, but the pay was abysmal. The expectations for productivity were ridiculous and would have involved taking my work home without pay.

Unsurprisingly, I got fired a little after I had defended my thesis and moved into this room with a crazy Pisces lady and her itinerant bratty Capricorn daughter–an aspiring sort of, kind of actress who split her time in LA and here.

It was a nice home, I guess, like in an outdated, overly cushy, bland and beige way. But I never go to even go in the pool because this was going to be a very short stay at this place.

Along with living with an emotionally unstable woman who was still grieving her divorce from a narcissist, and her incessant need for emotional reassurance and comfort, there were two things that stuck out from that three-month experience.

1) A guy who used to live in one of the rooms left literal shit on the bathmat. So, I take that back–this may have been the most disgusting thing that I’ve experienced living with other people. I had to toss it in the toilet and wash the bathmat. The landlady was horrified.

2) Having to leave because I was unemployed and broke was terrible. I couldn’t find work quickly enough. So we came up with some notarized agreement at a bank, along with her now somehow-on-her-mom’s side daughter, for me to leave at a certain time. Before that, her ex-husband that she hates came by to talk to us–ironically, he seemed to be the rational one between them. It was pretty humiliating.

This started a couple of months of homelessness via crashing at a friend’s place whose cousin who didn’t want me sticking around too long (I’m going to assume racism again, because there was no reason otherwise. She said she didn’t feel safe.), and then driving around the metro area via Airbnb, getting money from my mom at Walmart.

Thankfully, I had picked up some work right before I left the Pisces hellscape, but it was part-time and not enough. I spent my days in coffee shops, working and looking for work and the next place to live.

The scariest time I had on the Airbnb circuit was living a few days in this place that was not too far from the place that had fired me a few months prior. It was a dump of a house, but it was a place to lay my head–hopefully safely.

I had decided to burn some sage for protection one evening. Little did I know that this would be a prescient move.

The next morning, around 7am or so, I wake up to yelling downstairs, a combination of Spanish and English.

It was the cops.

There was a guy who was staying in the room next to me–I don’t think I ever saw him, only heard him come in and out. The officer was banging on his door loudly, yelling for him to come out. The weekend before, cops had shot up a nightclub downtown, killing someone, so I was under the covers, shaking in terror as I hear the blood thumping in my ears.

Apparently, the guy owed back child support and his ex found out where he was living.  So he went with the officer without any fuss. The owner/Airbnb host, some Eastern European guy, was completely and repeatedly apologetic, but I just decided to not re-up my stay and try to find another place to stay.

At the time, I had been going to church and was involved in a book club of sorts. The two women who lead the group at their home took pity on me while I was trying to find the next place I was going to stay for the next few days, and let me stay for a month.

But between one of the women, who I think just wanted her house back, and the associate pastor with whom I was seeking counsel, they basically pushed me in the home of an abusive Capricorn woman.

So in November 2014, I moved to the west side of town and lived with an attorney that I met at church. We had a lot in common, since I had a background in child welfare and she was involved with helping kids (she may be a guardian ad litem?)

I lived upstairs and had two rooms and a bathroom to myself. She seemed nice, but within a week, she decided to raise the rent–I don’t think it was that much, but it was still an insane, unprovoked move. I can’t even remember the reason anymore. I think she just felt disrespected or something. It’s hard to keep track of people’s irrationalities.

I had decided to seek legal counsel to see if that was legal. It definitely wasn’t, but then it wasn’t worth the legal costs to try to take this up in court. She took offense to that, that I had decided to stick up for myself, and felt threatened.

I don’t think I was grateful enough to her or something, because paying rent wasn’t enough. But even at the time, I could see how she was a fearful woman and was easily threatened over nothing at all.

The associate pastor was the one who hooked us up and she never apologized for putting me in harm’s way. After I had to give up my car that February, I stopped going to church. I didn’t want to go to a church with someone who made my home life chaotic and didn’t care about my wellbeing.

I also didn’t want to go to a church where a pastor couldn’t show any empathy over the situation she had helped cause. I don’t think I’m that bitter about it now–it’s been almost three years. But it made church seem like a joke to go to–just a lot of lip service.

Sidenote: this has nothing to do with roommates, but being homeless. I had been going to a weekly prayer session at church, because I needed it. One of the church leaders and I were walking to our respective cars, and I had plastic bins of my clothes in the backseat.

“Oh my gosh, what do you have there? So many clothes! It’s like your homeless or something.”

“Well, I am,” I said.

“Oh god, I’m so sorry,” she said. “I was just joking around. I had no idea.”

But again–lip service. Besides shoving me into an abusive situation, people could only offer places for me to live by myself, not necessarily to live with them. And not that’s something I’m entitled to, but I do think white American empathy has its limits, especially when it comes to black people. It’s one of the hard lessons I learned while I was bopping around the city, trying to find some stability.

OG Landlady, Sir Coughs-a-Lot, and that person

Because the girlfriend of the attorney was moving in, she decided it was time to kick me out. So I left in April 2015 and moved to the east side of town. My stuff is still in storage on the other side of town.

This home is near where I had started to work part-time as a technical writer while teaching at a community college. I had to go on food stamps at this time, too. I don’t even think I could call this scraping by.

The original owner of this house was seemingly nice, has my mother’s name, which I saw as a sign. I should have seen it as a sign to look elsewhere.

Still, it was a good fit–at the time. It’s a cheery yellow home, surrounded with flowering trees and bushes. Right now, it’s kind of sad how ugly it is around here, but I’m getting ahead of myself. This is about roommates!

The roommates I had were an old man who was the father of the man who lives in the mother-in-law suite, who also was like the property manager of sorts.

The other roommate was a woman from Chicago. We had the same phone number except for the last four digits. Another sign. But she moved out soon afterward to live with relatives to save money.

The roommate who moved into her room and is still there is who I call the shut-in, a divorced retiree who drives for ride-sharing companies. I rarely see him. He doesn’t do anything around the house in terms of cleaning, so that’s my only complaint about him. I think it’s because he really hasn’t known life on his own. But hey, he’s taken me to and from the airport a few times. So that’s something.

The old man, with whom I got along well (I even helped him with his algebra homework once), moved into a retirement community a few months later and a young pothead dude with a hearing impairment moved in briefly. I almost forgot about him.

He actually moved into the office area before he moved into the old man’s room. He was fine besides the pot. And then he just disappeared. Left stuff and never came back. I know the man in the MIL suite had said something about contacting his employer, who was hoping this would be a stable place for him.

He threw out his stuff and soon, another old man, probably closer to middle aged, moved in. He was a car salesman, quite genial, shaped like Santa Claus. But he was one of those guys you can tell has a slight chip on his shoulder.

As if life should have been better than moving into some random house with some random black woman and another guy he never sees. As if life should have better than working at a job he hates, and when he leaves his job, he has to come back to no one. One of those guys who would vote for the current president out of desperation and spite.

(Someone must have because we used to get mail from the Tainted Tangelo during the 2016 election period.)

We used to chit-chat every once in a while, but nothing in-depth. One of the things that happens as a writer, though, is how people will tell you their aspirations about their own writing. And that happened with him–he wanted to write a screenplay with some sort of post-apocalyptic Christian rapture claptrap plot.

I just smiled and nodded as I thought, no one needs another Tim LaHaye. Left Behind was bad enough.

One time, he told me of this story of how he got catfished by some woman, complaining how she was basically old and fat, which is exactly what he was. I just stood at his door, bewildered and a little amused.

Soon, the landlady, whom I call OG Landlady (OG is for Ole Grandma), wanted to sell the home. I was relieved because she was a busybody. I found out later from our neighbors that no one really liked her. The family to our right said she’d get mad at them for having music playing in their yard. I’ve never heard music in the time I’ve lived here. The neighbor to the left said she was “nasty” and mean.

She had the house spruced up for sale and found buyers, the current owners. This young couple with two young kids embody all the things I hate about millennials, mainly needing to do everything via text and being altogether flaky and unreliable.

One of the stipulations for the sale of the house was that there needed to be a new roof. OG Landlady got some cheap roofing company. One of the workers stapled through the a/c cooling line, which plunged us into heat and humidity for over a day in the summer, while she was staying with us. She was cheap again and waited for some low-cost repair person.

She had been staying with us more and more as the house was being ready for sale, and she was using my things without permission. The man living in the MIL suite stuck up for me and told her that she was driving everyone crazy. She had some terribly poor boundaries.

So then after three tries, the house gets sold, and I discover we’re in the middle of an unspeakable pestilence that would take months to be rid of. And surprise, the owners were not on top of that at all. Took a lot of pestering to get them to move and call exterminators.

Somewhere in the middle of all this, the newest roommate had turned sullen and withdrawn. He stopped talking to us. Great, one less person to fake pleasantries with.

He had also developed a chronic cough that sounded like congestive heart failure or emphysema. The cough was so loud, I could feel the vibrations in my bed. So that’s when I called him Sir Coughs-A-Lot, because the coughing fits would last for minutes on end. At the very least, we got relief when he went to work.

His coughing got so bad, over Christmas 2016, he admitted himself in the hospital. He had started to wheeze where it sounded like the cough was collapsing in on itself. I saw the hospital bracelet on his arm after Christmas, but I didn’t say anything.

A couple of months after that, in the middle of the night, he moved out. He had already started packing, but I didn’t really put two and two together until I heard him leave. He didn’t say a word to either of us.

The millennial owners had been caught off guard. They got a phone call or text a couple of days later, saying he had moved out. They assured us they would bring someone nicer.

But they didn’t.

That brings me up to this past Friday.

I had to get a new phone when my phone crapped out on me while I was having my first call with my client. I was so mortified, even though I knew he was a good sport.

So no big deal, I have to get a new phone, a new case, a new screen protector. I’ve been through this before 4 times because of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 inferno. But unfortunately, I bought the wrong case. It was for the Samsung Galaxy S8+, not the Note 8.

So I repackage it and put it outside for UPS to pick up, taking off most of the label. They’d slap on a new one, but I didn’t want the driver to be confused.

I had a feeling that this was going to be a bad idea because that person would probably think it was a package and bring it back in. That was the worst of my worries.

That had happened, but it was worse.

I was in my room working and the shut-in knocks on my door, with his blindingly pale and hairy shirtless self.

“UPS is at the door for ya,” he said with his Bostonian accent, his wide blue eyes darting around.

“Oh, well I just left the package outside, that’s weird,” I said as I walked to the door with the shut-in. The UPS dude is standing there and is probably thinking I’m in some weird kinky set-up as a black woman living with two old white men.

I never think this when it’s a white guy. The UPS man was black.

The package was not on the marble plant holder by the door, where I had left it. It was on the dining room table, partially taped up with Scotch tape and some Sharpie scrawled message which I could only make out as sorry.

That person. The boarder that had been replaced by Sir Coughs-A-Lot, which neither I nor the shut-in was able to meet because he was picking me up from the airport after having helped a friend move from Miami to D.C.

I walked to the door again and apologized that I needed to retape this package because it had been torn up. I see that person in the driveway on his bike, looking at the scene that he had caused.

I open the padded mailer which had the phone case also taped up because the person tried to shove it back in.

There’s a slight chance that the grandmother who now lives in the mother-in-law suite did this, but she has a separate door and doesn’t speak English well.

So while I felt a little shaky with rage, I repackaged the damaged phone case package in an empty box I had laying around, taped it up, walked back to the UPS dude and apologized, saying this was out of my control.

I don’t think he gave a fuck either way. He gave me my tracking number and walked to his truck.

I closed the door and walked back to my room as that person said nothing while making coffee in the kitchen.

Later that day, I had the right case and other things delivered and he brought them to my door.

A pitiful penance.

Now What? (ramblings of the present and future)

Well, clearly, the Universe is trying to push me out the door. This incident happened when I requested some spiritual help about him last week. The service had ended the same day this had happened. So I’ve enlisted more of this help so I can keep him from me and leave.

So. Where to?

For now, I envision two moves–a local one and then a cross-country one. I’m trying not to stress out, but astrologically, the planet Uranus (a disruptive jack-in-the-box full of surprises), is still in my 4th house (which is about home and family).

Uranus has been in my 4th house since March 2011, so the whole time I’ve been in Florida has been one of housing upheaval and instability–including my bedroom flooding around this time one year ago.

Uranus will go into my 5th house (creativity, fun, romance, and children) in May of this year. It’ll dip back into my 4th house for a little while, in retrograde motion, and then stay in the 5th house for another seven years.

The cross-country move is one I don’t want to do, and having a moon and Jupiter in Cancer, I really like staying at home, being grounded.

This Uranian transit has been godawful. It definitely pushed me to find new spiritual depths. I wouldn’t be here even talking about astrology if I hadn’t gone through all the hell I’ve gone through. I learned about crystals, saging, and a whole lot more because I had to protect myself in my home.

I’ll uh…be grateful for this season sometime?…one day?

But the new and maybe (hopefully) final place–I wish I could talk about it. It’s been madness seeing all these signs pointing to one place since at least November, if not earlier.

These are daily signs–and most of the time, multiple times a day.

The Universe has never been this persistent with me about one place or one thing in my life.

The struggle is that since I hate moving, I don’t want to move twice. My practicality is crying out for some relief.

Yet I don’t know where the Universe is calling me next.

And besides leaving this hellhole, I don’t have any compulsion to leave this town, this state–even if other people see that happening for me.

Seeing signs isn’t enough for me. I’m not created to just take leaps of faith or to just go on a hunch.

And the Universe knows this. My only prayer is that where I am right now, with where my level of faith currently is, that it’s enough.

Lurking in the back of my mind, the only thing I’m scared of now is the thing I’m usually scared of, anyway: I’m not doing the right things, I’m not seeking the right answers, I’m doing anything at all.

But I have someone helping to be safe spiritually and to get an extra financial boost to leave.

So, that’s something.

The housing market here is terrible, which is why I am where I am now. I still have this Capricorn fear/burden that I have to figure this out on my own. Sifting through craigslist like I did last time seems like looking for a needle in the haystack.

Besides this home being another spiritual bootcamp for me, the only good thing that living here has helped me do is establish a stable rental history. In April 2018, it will have been 3 years, and I think that’s good enough.

What I really want is that this last story, of the freak opening of a package by a freak, is that I have told you the last story of bad roommates. Even writing this all out is a bit of a Hail Mary prayer of desperation for the insanity to end and for real healing and peace to begin.

The moon right now is currently in Cancer, which is where my moon is. It’s the sign where the moon is home in. If you know any Cancers, they are homebodies. They are nurturing (sometimes smothering!), emotional, intuitive, great cooks, rulers of their roosts. So it’s probably no coincidence that I wanted to write about home with this going on.

And, as I was talking to a Cancer friend, it takes a lot for Cancers and Taurus folks to leave home. I really would rather stay here until I am ready.

But the circumstances are showing that I am ready–or need to get ready, at the very least. I have more financial stability now–and I’m so grateful.

Moving is really going to be less about the hassle and more finding the right place for me at the right time.

And frankly, like all the other times I’ve been tossed and turned around this town, it will take some Divine intervention. I feel a little helpless, not that hopeless, but a lot more motivated to close this long, awful chapter of my life.

And maybe I won’t have to move twice. But what’s looming larger is that just as the Uranus transit is coming to a close this spring, my time in Florida is also coming to an end.

I don’t know how to get from here to there. And I don’t want to repeat being unsupported and alone in another town and state, to repeat having to endure things because I didn’t have enough money to be in a saner, safer place.

I’m a double Capricorn. I need reassurances. I need proof. I need a plan. I need something more than multiple coincidences.

I need an invitation. I need safe passage.

I told these stories somewhat as a way to heal (through laughter, I hope you laughed a little bit), too.

My life is absurd.

And yes, there’s an astrological transit that coincides with this hope for healing–Mercury, the planet of communication is in a somewhat harmonious aspect the asteroid Chiron, the wounded healer.

Healing words. Writing as a way of healing.

So through writing this really long essay, I hope it does a few things–brings some lightness, heals some old hurts, and lays it out to the Universe a very simple demand:

I do not want to live in a chaotic home ever again.

I grew up in a home of chaos, with a father slowly slipping into mental illness. So, unless I was living by myself, for the most part, it’s been a life of instability.

I’ve had enough, and I want to go home.

 

 

fear as a gift

I can't watch this

Pretty sure this happened when one of the ladies was going to try to kiss the bachelor. It was totally cringeworthy.

A couple of weeks ago, I was watching The Bachelor. I watch the whole cursed franchise because it’s a way to have a virtual weekly date with my friend.

She loves the show, and I love her. But, I think it’s pretty stupid. I just use it as a hangout time.

At least these contestants get to go to some really cool places across the world. And, there’s the catty, nighttime soap drummed-up by the producers drama that’s kind of fun to watch.

I admit, too: I thought I liked this season’s bachelor. I mean, he’s a looker.  But, he’s also a cheeseball. So, I regained my senses during this episode. He’s probably a bit sleazy which I took as attentive and kind at first.

really need to get out more often.

Anyway, I saw two contestants practically lose their shit on their dates with the bachelor, and both got eliminated on the spot instead of at the rose ceremony.

This happens on occasion, but how they did themselves in reminded me of how my intuition went crazy years ago right before I was fired.

A Runaway Motormouth

One contestant was on a date in Napa Valley. Lovely scenery, plus swilling wine should help with romantic vibes. But one of the many blonde Laurens on this show just kept freaking out.

She was so nervous and really had reason to be–she kept telling the viewers that in her little interviews. She felt like she couldn’t control herself. I agreed, no reason to be nervous.

She kept nervously talking and talking about everything and nothing. She just could not shut up. The bachelor let her go for the silliest reason–apparently, she loves her family too much to be here. He may have been trying to let her down easy because I don’t even think he let her go because of her incessant babbling.

“The Human Anxiety Attack”

The other woman who got let go, Vulture calls her “the human anxiety attack,” and for a good reason. This show gets a little silly, because it takes mundane instances in our lives and blows them up on TV.

So let me preface this to say that yes, it’s important to get some physical chemistry with your love interest, but usually these are internal or private conversations. It is so weird to have them outside of yourself and to tell millions of strangers these sorts of machinations.

This lady, who I was rooting for and find to be probably too sensitive for a TV game show where the prize is an engagement, was freaking out about not having yet kissed the bachelor.

So she tried to get some one-on-one time with him before the rose ceremony to make it happen, and he says, nah.

I hate to be reductive here, but from my experience any time a straight guy turns down a kiss or sex, something is gravely wrong.

She tries again, and he sends her home.

Smoke Breaks Saved Me a Day of Dignity

These freakouts reminded me about when I was working as a legal assistant at a law firm and one Friday, I couldn’t stop freaking out about getting fired. I just knew.

I didn’t think I wasn’t doing my job well, but the two law firm partners reminded me of my parents. One was aloof and the other was certifiable and had been banned from certain court rooms.

The irrational one thought I was lazy. In retrospect, it was probably racism and sexism involved, since my two other colleagues were white males doing the same amount and kind of work.

Everyone thought I was freaking out for nothing.

The next Monday morning, I was laid off. Apparently, it would have been Friday, but they couldn’t find me to fire me. I was a smoker at the time, so I think I was nervously taking a lot of smoke breaks outside.

So what do these three incidents have in common? A woman’s intuition.

Fear and Intuition

As I was watching The Bachelor, I told my friend that those two women knew this wasn’t going to work out with the bachelor, but at the same time, their minds didn’t really know. Instead started to bargain or cling onto this guy through their meltdowns.

With blonde Lauren, the incessant babbling to me was a sign that they were not connecting. She was trying to fill in the silences and make up for what the bachelor was not giving. As Vulture pointed out, the guy was so checked out, he started eating during dinner.

I have been there, many times, and it is a horrible feeling–to not feel connected to someone when you are so trying to make it happen.

With the anxious lady, there’s of course the time pressure–there’s the rose ceremony where you get chosen, or not chosen–but there’s also the knowing she clearly had. When would you otherwise try to force a kiss to happen with a man? Never.

And as sleazy and cheesy as this guy is, she knew it should have happened already. She was trying to force things to happen. But, and maybe graciously, she hastened her elimination and went home before the rose ceremony.

I’m not exactly sure why these two incidents stood out to me, but I have been fed up with how people in the spiritual community talk about fear. Fear is bad–and that’s it. It’s very dualistic thinking, and the the older I get, I see more of life as a gradient than two black and white choices for everything.

The Gift of Fear

As research for this blog post, I just started reading The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker. His book is more about preventing violence. So, for these three examples, it’s outside of the scope of this post.

I’m still going to read the book because even though it was written in 1997, with mass shootings happening so often (just today, there was a shooting at a Kentucky school where one person was kill and multiple people were wounded), it’s important to know how to use fear as a gift, as a tool to protect you.

You have more brain cells than there are grains of sand on your favorite beach, and you have cleverness, dexterity, and creativity–all of which powerfully combine when you are at risk–if you listen to your intuition.

Still, what if those women had listened to themselves, to their bodies? If they knew why they were freaking out, maybe they could have saved a little face and left the show without having the bachelor eliminate them. Both women were disappointed and sad, but at least they would have had more control of what happened to them.

For my situation, which happened 17 years ago, I really didn’t want to be unemployed, so I don’t think it could have been avoided. I don’t think it would have made sense to go up to my boss and say, fire me because I have uneasy vibes.

There’s so much focus in the personal development world on positive thinking, which I a lot of it has to do with positive psychology.  Positive psychology isn’t bad. But I do think it can mislead people to not listen to themselves when fear arises.

Mind you, I do not include chronic anxiety in this. That could be due to trauma or brain chemistry or both. If you listened to that all day, you’d be exhausted, especially since most of it is misinformation.

What I’m talking about are those uneasy vibes that won’t go away.

Fear as a Messenger

So what do you do when fear arises? Do you dismiss it as negative thinking? Or do you pay attention to it?

Beyond that the fact that fear can save your life from violence, it could also prevent some embarrassment. It can end a relationship that has long since grown stale. It can give you some insight on how to handle the future when you feel an ending coming (like losing a job).

Fear is not bad. Rage is not bad. Anger is not bad. Sadness is not bad. Even pain is not bad.

Emotions are really neutral messengers that we must heed–whether we’re on some stupid game show, or at our places of work, or at home, or out and about.

Emotions aren’t optional.

Of course, any emotion in excess can be bad. But, to me, fear gets such a bad rep, and needlessly so. It’s almost like Westerners have a meta-fear–a fear about fear.

Maybe for those two eliminated game contestants, it’s just that their nerves got the best of them. But I still think it was really because they both had a foretelling, a foreboding, of an end coming. And neither of them wanted that end to occur.

So, if you have really acute, exaggerated reactions to people, places, or things–pay attention to them. Don’t dismiss them.

Your intuition knows.

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the cardinal 🐦

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Two of many cardinals in my backyard.

After having such a tough year, when January 1st came, I was desperate for some sort of good omen—maybe not necessarily openly desperate, but deeply and truly desperate.

Can I trust that 2018 will be as good as I believe it could be and should be?

Lucky me, on New Year’s Day, I read this horoscope from The Numinous for Capricorns/Capricorn risings. I latched onto it. Every sentence I wanted to tear apart and consume. Two weeks later, I still feel like that.

The image was for the horoscope: “A cardinal dips and dives to the next tree branch.

birds, birds, birds

Ever since I’ve moved to Florida, I’ve become an amateur birdwatcher. With so many birds, both of the everyday and the exotic variety, it’s so easy to see birds that I had never seen when I used to live in Chicago.

In my backyard, there are a bevy of birds that come by: hawks, blue jays, sparrows, mourning doves, and cardinals. Along the wooden fence, I’m sure to see both male and female cardinals, flirting or avoiding each other, flitting about in the air or to the ground. They all hang out in the tangled, sprawling overgrowth of a sweet almond bush.

On New Year’s Day, it was exceptionally overcast, with unrelentingly leadened skies loomed overhead. It was not the cheery scene I wanted to wake up to after having a bit of pink bubbly the night before, drinking away the misery and disappointment of 2017.

I can’t remember if I read the horoscope first, and saw the cardinal or the other way around, but I saw a plump, bright red cardinal on the fence. Its plumage seemed exceptionally bright in contrast to the almost white skies of late morning. It was either a harbinger or confirmation of that astrological weekly message.

The horoscope explains the etymology of the word cardinal. It comes from Latin root word for hinge.

What doors are being open for me right now? Are they doors that I have been waiting to open for months and years? Or are they new doors that I don’t even know exist? What is being initiated in my life right now?

Right now, the moon has moved into Capricorn. So currently, the sun, moon, Mercury, Venus, Saturn, and Pluto are all in this cardinal astrological sign. So although I had planned write about this two weeks ago, maybe I needed to write about the cardinal now.

🔎 A little astro-primer: Cardinal signs ♈♋♎♑ in the zodiac kick off seasons of the year.

🌷 The vernal equinox begins spring and Aries season. 🐏

☀️ The summer solstice begins summer and Cancer season. 🦀

🍂 The autumnal equinox begins fall and Libra season. ⚖️

❄️ The winter solstice begins winter and Capricorn season. 🐐

Typically, cardinal sun sign folks are natural leaders. They want to initiate things–projects, relationships, fights, action, something.

It’s hard for them to sit idly by and wait for things to happen. They make things happen.

messengers from the spirit world

The horoscope stated that the red cardinals, messengers from the spirit world, symbolize “renewal and happy relationships.”

During the holiday break, I definitely felt a sense of return and renewal of my life, of who I’ve always been–without struggle, without burden, without worry. It’s been blissful.

Happy relationships, though? Well.

I admittedly don’t have any real ones in town, which has been the case for at least two years. This has been a constant lament, a droning dirge I’ve been tired of singing–here and elsewhere.

Thankfully, though, I’m finally at peace with that–because I’ve tried my darnedest, to reach out, to connect.

As far as I can tell, it’s just not meant to happen here. I’ve acquiesced this bitter truth because if better were here for me, better would have come.

Finding contentment in where I am right now has been a long, wearying struggle. But I’m getting close.

Yet, as I continue to journey…to remain sane, to remain peaceful, I have to trust that within the bigger picture of my life, and where it fits in the larger story of humanity–those happy relationships are out there, somewhere

And that was the main idea of the horoscope: the cardinal for the first week of January was here to help me “renew my faith in love.”

So at the time when I read this, seeing that bird, I felt a lot of hope for the year. Like maybe, just maybe, things are going to go better this year. I’m a year wiser, at the very least.

But did I have faith in love? Is love going to arrive?

Isn’t love already here?

When I ask that, I do mean that in a general sense, but the horoscope has a reason for its wording.

So what is the message that the cardinals have for me?

I am made for relationships.

This was going to be in another blog post, but since this horoscope truly is about relationships, I might as well share now.

I have seen in my natal chart how relationships are so important to me.

Juno conjunct Sun

If you know your Greek mythology, Juno is Jupiter’s (aka Zeus’s) long-suffering wife. So this asteroid is about committed relationships. She touches a few of my planets. She’s conjoined to my sun, Mercury, and Venus, opposes my Jupiter (how fitting), and trine my Saturn.

A while ago, I had ordered an Astrological Goddess Powers Report from Tarot.com, and from it, I got this bit about Juno conjoined my sun:

“Juno, archetype of the wife and partner, unites with the symbol of your basic identity and conscious purpose [the sun]. An important part of your life revolves around developing meaningful, committed long-term partnerships.”

All to say, too–that Juno touches so many of my planets really screams at me that committed relationships are things I shouldn’t be ashamed of.

North node in Libra

Last year, I read Astrology for the Soul by astrologer Jan Spiller. It slayed me. I didn’t really want to hear this about myself, how I was destined to be in partnership.

But first, another little astrological primer…

The lunar nodes

The moon’s nodes, North and South, are places on the moon which show where the moon has crossed the ecliptic–the sun’s perceived circular path (it’s a star, so it doesn’t move).

When you are born, the moon’s nodes will be in two opposite signs. Right now, they are in Leo (north node) and Aquarius (south node), which are also the signs we had the recent lunar (in Aquarius) solar eclipse (in Leo) in August 2017. Soon, they will be in Cancer and Capricorn (the nodes are always going backwards).

Clear as mud? Don’t worry about it. What’s more important is what the lunar nodes symbolize.

The south node symbolizes the lessons you’ve learned in previous lifetimes. The north node is your destiny, the lessons you’re supposed to learn in this lifetime.

For me, my south node is in Aries, and my north node is in Libra. And yes, that’s more cardinal energy in my chart.

Aries is the warrior, Libra is the diplomat. So my north node’s mission is to go from wartime to peacetime.

One thing I used to think before reading Astrology for the Soul was that I had already arrived at my north node. I didn’t know that the north node symbolized a journey of soul evolution. So you can call me a recovering Aries.

Here’s what Spiller has to say about NN in Libra folks, which is what I believe sums us up perfectly: “Consistently, the solution for these people is partnership.”

My life’s journey is to go from me me me to we we we. And it’s scarier than I thought.

There’s a bit of shame that comes with this placement, of needing anyone, of being vulnerable. Warriors don’t need, they lead. They’re totally fine helping others, but receiving that help seems like a failure, a display of weakness. It’s also a paradoxical losing game for everyone.

Even as I’m typing about partnerships and relationships right now…even though I need them as a human being in order to thrive, still feels…strange. But other parts of my chart still say, even if I feel weird and conspicuous–this is what I was made for.

Scorpio Midheaven

I did a long Twitter thread in October on the Scorpio midheaven, so I won’t go over all that material again.

The main point about this deep, watery placement (which is somewhat similar to the lunar nodes, as it is another journey from the past to a future destiny) is about Scorpio’s longing for intimacy.

The midheaven is about your life dreams and how you want to live your life. Scorpio wants to seek the truth (although they don’t necessarily want this reciprocated in their lives! They are secretive mofos.) and wants to fully know another person.

Scorpio MC’s can set their sights on another person and just relentlessly (with consent, of course), dive deep into them. That other person will just feel instantly and fully known. It’s quite uncanny.

Even if I fear getting lost in someone else, I do enjoy getting to know people on a deeper level. I prefer it.

Full moon in Cancer, in the 7th house

As you probably know, I am a full moon baby. Astrologer Kelly Surtee explained full moon babies in this way:

Full Moon individuals are here primarily to explore the dynamics of relationship and constantly seek/ attract key partners. It is through the learning and awareness that arises out of being in relationships that Full Moon individuals find meaning and satisfaction in their lives.

She goes onto say how full moon folks are constantly working through the “tension of opposites” and will seek people different from them. “It’s a lifetime of illumination,” she writes.

Cancer as a zodiac sign is ruled by the moon, so the moon is at home in Cancer. Cancer folks are highly intuitive and emotional–and, like the glyph shows, that can make them a little crabby and overly sensitive at times.

Cancer is the momma of the zodiac (which, yes, makes Capricorn the daddy). They are hella nurturing, which shows up in their cozy homes and comfort food. They love to take care of their loved ones.

The unglamourous flipside is that Cancer peeps can use those crabby claws and hold onto people and things a little too long.

The 7th house, also known as the descendant (conversely, your ascendant or rising sign is the 1st house), in a natal chart is the house of partnerships and one-on-one relationships.

Dark Pixie Astrology describes this house as a place that shows you what kind of people you’re attracted to, your ideals and expectations about marriage and business partnerships, and your feelings about commitment. This house also holds your open enemies–eep!

The 7th house is where my Jupiter in Cancer also resides and is conjoined with my moon–so imagine expanded intuitive abilities and emotions, for better and for worse.

There’s probably more in my chart that says that my destiny is to be in an intimate relationship (this is becoming a theme in my writing, I guess).

But this past full moon has made it clear:

I’m not crazy or weak for wanting all of this.

I was made for all of this.

Saturn’s calling…

Even still, I didn’t know I was going to write about this today. Lately, I had been thinking about the state of all of my relationships, about how Saturn was opposing my moon and Jupiter.

It’s feeling like with these oppositions, Saturn is asking me to examine how good–or not–do I really have it with people who are close to me.

What patterns of “putting up with other people’s bullshit” am I still unconsciously holding onto? How can I restructure my own self-worth (in the 1st house of self) and have that be reflected in my close relationships (7th house)?

I realized today that I’m still not where I want to be with the people who are around me right now.

There’s been chasing, waiting, flailing, abandoning, worrying, pining and other kinds of gerunding that I don’t have to settle for any longer.

There’s also the actions of others that just don’t feel they come from a place of mutual respect.

A little inconsideration. A little arrogance. A little short-sightedness.

A little, a little, a little–a whole lot of a little.

So I still could use some renewal–like right now.

A very moony supermoon

I also brought all those other astrological aspects up because this horoscope was most likely was talking about the full supermoon in Cancer that happened on New Year’s Day.

And, now you know that the moon was in the 7th house for Capricorns and those with a Capricorn ascendant. 🌝

Full moons are seen as a time of releasing and renewal. They shine a light on the people, places, things, and ideas that no longer serve us.

To have a full moon in Cancer, my natal placement, at the very beginning of the year, with a very moony moon way to let go of the painful junk of 2017–it definitely made me take notice, and it’s still making me take stock.

And maybe because Saturn is around and at home in Capricorn, I don’t feel as doomed to be the lonely warrior. I can have faith that the journeys I’ve been taking, within and without, have brought me here, in this expanding sense and feeling of stability.

But with that bright red faith, there’s always reason to shroud myself in doubt.

My perceived pride, my actual shame

I remember telling this former friend how I had prided myself on my friendships, and this was during basically a friendship break-up that she had initiated.

She shook her head no.

Granted, it really was for the best, our parting. Where I was in my life, I really needed the support of friends that wasn’t about keeping a scorecard of how much one person was doing for another–something NNs in Libra are prone to doing themselves.

It was a stinging bit of a humiliation, those words contrasting to what was happening.

But years later, the drive to truly connect with another person, even as I sit on a newer heap of current humiliations and losses, hasn’t really waned.

I just have to continue to work on that shame part.

A family of cardinals

As I was writing this earlier today, I decided to try to take a picture of the cardinals that hang out in the backyard. In that crazy sweet almond bush, there were way more cardinals than I realized–maybe six, three males and three females.

 

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Someone on twitter told me that cardinals also represented prosperity. A while ago, I had a cardinal land on my window, vertically, grabbing onto the window screen. It was there for maybe a couple of seconds. I think it took a huge dump on my window, too.  It was an insane moment, like that bird was coming for me.

Cardinals are known to attack reflective surfaces, such as side view mirrors (I know this from experience!) because they are trying to protect their nests and view their reflections as competing males.

Still, I never thought of cardinals beyond a prosperous sign and a protective papa until January 1st.

As I write this, it really hasn’t fully sunk in how I have a large family of spirit messengers living in my backyard. But what it reminds me of is a recent tarot 12-month reading I did for a friend on Thursday.

The card 5 of Pentacles came up. It’s not the cheeriest card. In the traditional imagery, there are two people in tattered clothing, out in the snow, looking worse for wear. One is barefoot and the other has bandaged feet and is on crutches.

The five pentacles are gleaming in the stained-glass windows of the church that these two people are passing. I first felt to tell my friend that he should stop hanging outside the church, go in, and get what he needs. But I didn’t. It felt a little too forward. I did emphasize that he didn’t have to suffer alone, that he should ask for help.

He then described that his friend said over Christmas this card meant that everything that you need is right there, but you’re choosing not to go inside. That was confirmation, so then I told him what I should have said earlier.

Like the church in the 5 of Pentacles card, this flock of cardinals has always been here. I just never noticed, or knew to notice. I would watch them on occasion with amusement, as they hop and fly around on the fence, flitting and flirting.

Until today, I never knew they were really all just hanging out in that messy bush. And until today, I didn’t realize that I was outside a church that had all I needed, while I was hobbling by, cursing the snow and cold.

So the question bears repeating:

Isn’t love already here?

Yes, yes it is–and in abundance.

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dream true

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An old silver necklace of mine.

Write it down, make it happen?

I’m going to spoil the end of the work-in-progress I started in grad school and worked on during #NaNoWriMo for the past two years.

The last word is dream.

Dreaming hasn’t come very easily for me for the past few years. It’s been a “just the facts, ma’am” Saturnian life. Chop wood, carry water, try to make it through the day.

Try to remember to be grateful.

Try not to drown in the bitterness of life.

Try to keep your head up.

Try.

Writing this novel started off as an assignment for my fiction workshop and as a way to understand a ghosting that happened with some guy from Twitter. It ended up being a needed escape, a needed healing, and possibly a conjuring of the life that I want–beautiful transformative relationships with others.

That last part still freaks me out, especially since a lot of it was written before things started happening in my life, but that’s part of the beauty and magic of fiction, even more so than creative nonfiction, my speciality.

I’m not sure when or where I realized how dreamless my life has been, but I’m sure when I finished the first complete draft of my novel, I realized that I don’t have many dreams of my own anymore.

I may have said this before here, but it’s a realization I keep coming back to: after grad school and writing my thesis/memoir, I felt like I had come to do what I was born to do. It was the toughest mountain to climb, a mostly solo journey, and I reached the summit.

I was done with my life’s work at age 36. And I haven’t even worked on it or published it yet.

So ever since then, I have been coming down, or I’ve been rolling down the mountain like a nonstop avalanche of loss, a loss I keep talking about even though most of it is over. That’s how trauma works. It’s also because it’s been unfathomable, even when I list everything I lost…

What matters now: I survived it all.

It was the a hefty price I paid to write my life story and to follow my dreams to become a writer and editor without much support.

So now what?

I feel like I have written this post before, because my life seems to be revolving around what seems to be a swirling empty space, the seemingly elusive domestic life that I thought would be pretty easy to obtain.

Surprise, a double Capricorn overcomes overwhelming odds in her professional life while her personal life looks like a life after a major storm.

It’s a pretty boring story that needs a re-write.

It’s all in the gotdamn timing.

Last Monday, I was talking to my long-time friend who has been my partner in spinsterdom. She and I met in church in Chicago. We used to sing together on the worship team, and we got back in touch a few years ago.

A full moon in Cancer, talking to my Cancer friend while watching The Bachelor with salt-and-pepper dreamboat, Arie. The way that dude kisses alone–it should be patented and taught…

Anyway, I knew the holidays were going to bittersweet for both of us, and in some ways, even more so for my friend. So I wanted to check in her dating adventures and just her in general (she had back surgery late last year, right before a couple of big runs for charity).

She has a big family with all her younger siblings being married, two of them with kids. I’m pretty sure all of her other close friends are married or will soon be married (she told me about three engagements over the holidays (cliche, cliche, cliche)).

It really stinks if you want to be “there” and you’re “here,” alone. 

She and I are at that point where we’re pretty fulfilled people. I’ve lived a pretty full life already and I’m grateful for all the adventures Chicago gave me. I only wish I traveled more, but my life isn’t over yet.

My friend is in management in a therapist group. She has a great church, great friends, loves to run for charity–you can see all that and more in her annual holiday card.

And I don’t really mean to exalt marriage and family as “the” thing. My thing was and is writing. I believe her thing is being in service to children. I really believe you need to have a thing that has nothing to do with any life partner or spouse.

But if I have to be Jupiterian/Sagittarius about it, marriage and family is the next thing I want to experience. There are things I want to do, and maybe even need to do, in that social construct that I can’t do myself.

Can I get even more esoteric and spiritual and weird about this? I feel like I’ve met two of my kids already, in spirit.

To sidetrack myself even more, I have realized during my sojourn in Florida how little I could do without help, and how easy it was to be forgotten. There’s always an assumption that your family of origin will be there for you, especially during the holidays. It’s like an umbilical cord that is never quite fully cut.

Mind you, I’m not really comparing being single to being completely forgotten, though. I’m just layering on the lack of community part that I’ve experienced that my friend has not.

But at the same time, let me be super blunt here: loneliness kills. Even still, as a single person, you can totally have your peeps, your tribe, and not need the life-draining addition of a marriage (I’m saying that for women, since for men, it adds life expectancy).

So let me get back on track as to why I’m bringing all this marriage and family stuff up in the first place.

I got caught up on my friend’s dating life–it was more of the same. Close, but no cigar in terms of spiritual connection. She really wants an “on fire for God” Christian, and I want that for her, too. If it’s that important to her, then it’s that important to God (until she says it’s not) and she should not settle.

But the woman she met back in the early aughts is not the woman I am now. If my relatively short track record of dating is any clue, both serious relationships I had were with men who were in the fringes of Christianity–pondering, questioning, unsure. I don’t think either of them are in church anymore either.

In talking to her about where I was at, all the unrelentingly cruel shit I went through since 2012, even being in this crazy house, has brought me to a spiritual plane where I need to be.

(I knew one day I’d see that, but not while I’m still in it. So I am super hella grateful for this early hindsight.)

It’s hard to learn about boundaries when everyone is respectful of yours.

It’s hard to learn about relying on the Universe when everyone has your back and all your needs are met.

It’s hard to learn about kindness when you’re in no place to really receive it or need it.

It’s hard to learn about humility if you haven’t been humbled over and over.

It’s hard to see through evangelicalism if you’re not on the outside of the church, looking in.

All the spiritual practices I have learned have been out of desperate necessity. I bought my first crystals while living with a crazy Pisces. I burned sage for the first time when I was in a shady Airbnb placement and a cop came banging on the door of a man wanted for child support. I continually reached out to tarot readers and astrologers when my life yielded more questions and confusion than answers and clarity.

So, if I had gotten married to some “on fire for God” Christian man when I thought I would (around 30), I wouldn’t be here–which, well, living here sucks. But I wouldn’t be me. I don’t think a marriage could have survived the hell I went through, that I seemingly needed to go through.

That’s really sobering, because I didn’t sign up to give up my Christian faith (or, more likely, greatly expand it). To put this in astrological terms, not only did my Saturn return revamp what I was to do vocationally, it also radically revamped where I was headed philosophically and spiritually.

And this isn’t to say I went through all this so I can finally get a man. I don’t think this was about me becoming a better life partner, but becoming a better person. My 30s were a decade of deep reinvention, and most of my relationships did not survive the changes. And, they weren’t built for that, especially in the evangelical realm with its brittle dualism.

But what I thought was an easy dream, heck, even an inevitability, has started to become multivariate and more intricate (and that’s usually the case anyway, since all dreams involve more than one person).

I can finally say, with at least partial recognition and growing gratitude: the Universe cockblocked me for a reason–for a lot of good reasons.

I shared all that–well, not all, but the gist of it–to my friend while we’re growing bored and restless and frankly, a little sad and forlorn, in the waiting room of life, waiting for the next phase to begin. It may not even be about us being ready for what we want and need, but that our wants and needs to be readied for us.

This is so easy to forget while we all have our own separate and yet collective journeys, as we drown in self-help and personal development and gurudom and advertising that’s saying that you lack this one key thing.

Most of the time, it’s really just patience and compassion for yourself, because the waiting and wanting and desiring is neverending. It’s always something….

As the dust settles on this life renovation, I can start to see who is going to to stick around (well at least who I want stick around) in this newer, truer version of my life. For now, I’m almost done battling the hierarchy of needs war and am walking into the cozy, comforting warmth of peacetime, finally.

The luxurious energy and the utmost necessity of dreams – a paradox

Dreaming seems like a luxury when you’re worried about your car being repossessed or where you’re going to sleep the next night. But dreaming is essential, because it can’t be chop wood, carry water endlessly.

Being a writer was a dream. Going to the University of Chicago was a dream. My first boyfriend was a dream that I didn’t even know could exist.

There’s got to be something else that gets you up in the morning besides that there’s this golden ball in the sky peering into your room with light which is getting into your eyes.

Last week, I went to Tarot.com and bought a past life astrology report based on the teachings of Edgar Cayce, a 20th-century American Christian mystic.

One natal aspect jumped out at me–how Mars, the planet of energy, power, action, and desire, is in a harmonious relationship (or trine) with Neptune, the planet of illusion, dreams, psychic abilities, and spirituality.

 

With the spiritual protection which surrounds you, together with your integrity and strong compassion, you are a practical idealist who can “dream true.”

That is, rather than being deceived or deluded by your dreams and visions, you can be guided by and act decisively upon your dream, meditation and prayer experiences. This unique quality gives you great potential for much-needed spiritual leadership in the present.

I remember my first Aquarius best friend/emotional boyfriend telling me how he was a reluctant idealist. Or did I tell him that’s what I was? However that came about, 20 years later that has stuck with me.

Dreaming can be a little dangerous and wild, and those two dear children of Saturn were a little wary of letting our guards down and letting hopes and dreams for ourselves, and the world, run amok.

And maybe we should have. We may have learned that our dreams are truly trustworthy.

In dreams begin responsibilities (a dance between Saturn and Jupiter)

It’s Capricorn season, and good ole Father Time/Saturn has returned to his kingdom, getting the lay of the land, surveying what needs to stay and what needs to be rebuilt in our individual and corporate lives.

And Saturn pulls no punches. There is no sugarcoating in what Saturn finds, whether it’s wrong–or right. Though I was glad that Saturn left the loosey-goosey confines of Sagittarius, it has not been a happy Capricorn season for me.

But Saturn isn’t really here to make me happy, but to make me better.

Now that I’m 40 (and I have to write about the mindfuck this number is next week), I don’t want to dream to simply escape the drudgery of my life. I want to dream to build real and true things because life is short.

Dreaming takes energy, and a little bit of faith and hope. I’ve had to focus on other things for so long, it feels weird to return to the waking land of dreams (Astrological sidenote: my solar return moon is a Pisces moon, so this year is a dreamy time for me indeed).

Part of me is still exhausted from grad school and the years after it–exhausted and a little afraid.

What if I dream and receive another dream deferment? Can I dare to dream again?

I had no idea what my life would be like post-grad school. Writing that thesis was the thing for me. I gave birth to the biggest dream that I have ever dreamed in my life. It’s really hard to pivot from that to think about another dream, big or small.

I knew that didn’t really want to stay in academia and that with whatever work I found, I wanted to be able to support myself. But that was it. I didn’t have a plan for it.

I had a very ambitious plan for being a child psychiatrist and my life after that. It’s a dream, although deferred and now dead, I haven’t forgotten. It was structured and safe.

But the Universe wants much more for me.

So since 2014, I’ve been a bit of a lost seagoat, wandering around in the IKEA of life choices. Capricorns and other Saturn-influenced people do not like wandering nor wondering nor being lost nor any sort of confusion.

But not all who wander are lost–at least according to J.R.R. Tolkien.

Still, even in my wondering and wandering, the things I want and desire really haven’t changed much since I wrote them down when I was 12–and ultimately, it’s having good people in my life. Besides having a connection with God, that was the basis of why I loved Christianity so much, the insta-community that seemed to occur with shared faith and values.

Jupiter, the planet of expansion and more more more, is transiting in deep-feeling and probing Scorpio. That planet has been in my 11th house of community and friendships. With this transit, it feels easier to think about the community I want to be a part of, that I am already a part of.

 

I want to build real and true relationships with people meant for me, even as, and definitely because, the world is seemingly imploding in rage, war, abuse, narcissism, cruelty, and neglect (or, it’s always been this bad, but we are just more aware now).

Beyond that, and those kids that keep popping up in my consciousness, and other places and people that the Universe seems to keep pointing me towards, that’s all I’ve got. That’s all I have energy to hold space for right now.

And honestly, it’s enough…for now. I’m saying that mostly for my benefit, since at times, I’m sad and bewildered that I’m not feeling that ambitious anymore.

Yet if I look back with a more discerning, compassionate eye, all that I have seen, done, and endured–it may not have equaled to fame, fortune, and fun. What it did was create a solid foundation for the good life to come–even if it scares me to say that life will be good soon.

Go beyond…

Beyond my life with friends and loved ones–to dream, to wonder about life…there has been so little space for that. Being in nature has helped, but to just go beyond my little neighborhood, my yard, my room…

As much as I welcome Saturn’s restructuring of my life, I also welcome Jupiter’s expansion.

As constricted and bound up as I feel right now, I know I’m going to be repotted somewhere soon and it’s a little scary to think about. Where (OK, I probably know where, but still!), when, how?

And, most importantly (in true Capricorn fashion): how much control will I have over these needed changes?

Even in the face of uncertainty, my tenuous but solemn hope is that in 2018 and beyond, I can and will start to embrace a new sense of adventure and awe, grounded in experience and wisdom.

2016-09-03 13.46.07

Another old silver necklace with a bit of an out-of-focus but familiar message.

2017: a return to myself

real generosity SOM

So this year was…a lot of things.

Trying to wrap my head around all the things I learned and did and endured and gained and lost. So many things.

So, I’ll just focus on the one thing I’m really glad is happening: being me again.

I’ve tweeted about this, so if you follow me on twitter, this will be a little repetitive.

It’s been a stressful year to say the least, mainly financial. And I’m exhausted from talking about it, let alone living it.

 

Being so poor and so obsessed with income really made me miserable and fucking humorless. I remember being in college and being so hilarious even as my family was falling apart and I was drowning in the darkness of clinical depression.

It was almost to mock the horrors going on in my life.

Fast forward 19 years and this year was so serious and so unfunny. It’s been a blur of activity and loss.

The one event that I really remember starting the shift that was someone tweeting an encouraging to me when I desperately needed it.

I was annoyed and tired over having my room flood. I was displaced to this other house they owned for two weeks. The owners promised me having rent be reduced for my trouble. I unfortunately didn’t have renters’ insurance (like I do now).

Here was the annoying rub: the conversation at the first of the month had a different message than I had had the previous month.

I needed to pay full rent. The reason was I didn’t live elsewhere and I had prevented them from renting the room–a room they offered to give me.

I had gotten about $60 bucks off or something like that. I was so pissed.

So I had tweeted out this grown over an astrological transit (“Ugh” was all I said), and they tweeted as if they exactly knew how the old me would want to hear it: pro-me and definitely, and defiantly, anti-stupid idiots.

That moment was a little bit like looking in the mirror of the plucky girl I used to be back in college. I needed that grit, with that steely edge of sardonic humor, which had all served me so well during my 20s.

For that moment, I’ll forever be grateful because it felt like a little bit of light was shoved into this box of darkness I was sitting in.

It was so great to have someone be on my side, and I didn’t have to explain anything.

Also this year, I also started being around friends with Aquarians, or people had strong Aquarian energy–like the two best friends I had in college.

I started laughing my ass off. I started laughing over stupid shit, like I used to.

And then, just this past month, I saw this woman, laughing crying over her life:

This would be me and my Aquarian best friend in college. I started laughing crying, too. We would call it “The Place” where we would just be kind of crazy and silly–basically in hysterics.

Watching that video, I knew that I was mostly back.

In between the time I had my room flood on January 30th and now, I’ve been able to have a sort of OK business for myself, and I have friends that I regularly talk to now. They may be geographically far away, but they exist, and we support each other–Aquarians and Pisceans, just like college.

The children of winter have kept me warm with heavy blankets of kindness and laughter.

But here’s where all the joy went–into chronic stress. Specifically, it’s the stress of not knowing how you’re going to pay for bills. It can erode any joy that you can have.

You get so laser-focused on applying for jobs, fundraising, dealing with the fallout of losing things and housing instability, there’s little room for fun, for laughs, for levity, for a breath. Even when you’re on vacation or away, it’s still in the back of your mind.

I have ping-ponged back and forth over the abyss of despair for years, and this summer, when I got my first two major clients, I was able to get some stability. And that was all due to a friend who was able to connect me to clients, along with other resources that I have barely tapped into.

Anytime I thank them, which is often, they reply, “No problem!”

I’m often blown away by the generosity of relative strangers. I’ve received crazy blessings that have left me speechless, amazing readings, wonderful advice, understanding, and support.

So although I was steering the ship back to the familiar shores of my laughter and mirth, I got a push back in March and then things just kept going in the right direction.

I’m almost ready to throw down my anchor and welcome myself back home.

So what’s ahead? Work-wise, the grind of marketing and prospecting. I feel like 2018 will bring some more stability to my financial life–and it will be because I worked hard for it (sounds like Capricorn season is in full swing!).

Today (December 22nd), I decided to take a long Twitter break because I feel like things are shifting energetically and I need to pay attention to the shift. I’ve seen three close friends leave that space in a matter of months. It’s given me a huge pause. I need to seek my life outside of that box–and let life seek me.

Everything else? The Universe has been incessantly bothering me about one thing for months, but there’s nothing I can do about it except to continue to seek guidance, to be grateful for the signs, and to be patient.

I hope you all say goodbye to 2017 in style, because it’s been one dumpster fire of a year. I hope that something went right this year, something that you’re proud of, something that gave you some hope, something that was good and nourishing to your soul.

It’s been so tough, but I’m so glad I’m still here.

Happy New Year! Thank you for reading!

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