Ankle-Grabbed

mom pulling me back

A GIF of my adolescence

Usually I’m not this late with my blog post, but I’ve been doing some major “change my life” sort of work (it’s going to be months of this, to basically be better able to get what I want from life).

This week, it required me to dig into my life for my greatest successes and failures.

Even though I don’t want to dwell on this part, I need to state that I do not feel at all successful, at least in the ways I desire to. Some of my successes were about friendships and relationships. One of them was learning how to swim at age 26. One of them should have been that I kept myself from sleeping in my car while I was homeless.

Coming up with a list of failures was harder than I thought it would be, but through examining those failures (losing cars and housing and jobs), I saw a theme underneath of constriction.

It was something I had focused on as a teenager. I had been turned down three times to go travel with my classmates or youth group members. Every rejection from my parents was heartbreaking.  And then it was waiting to go to college. Then I tried to figure out study abroad when I was in the throes of a deep depression.

Although I have since traveled to Montreal and Puerto Rico, my passport remains unstamped, and I only got one in 2014 when I thought I’d be traveling to Vancouver while I was in Seattle.

Going through this process got really painful when I got to my last failure, which was my forced gap year. It may be unfair to call it a failure–it was out of my control. But I recalled talking to the Dean of Admissions who personally called me to ask me where I was.

I remember taking the call in the kitchen, listening to the Dean’s deep and well, sexy, voice, and having to ask for a delay in admission. I don’t remember if I explained that I was living with a crazy paranoid father. But I did remember the shame and heartbreak of that moment. I felt myself shrinking into an abyss that seemed escapable.

But from my most painful “failure,” came my most meaningful success so far. Graduating college took 8 years, door-to-door.

If I could make it through that, I thought, I could make it through anything.

And then I made it through a lot more of “anything.” I’m sitting in the middle of “anything” right now.

It was sobering to remind myself of what I have accomplished as successes and have overcome as “failures.” I was able to reframe the failures, but the past two days of doing this, I feel very emotionally raw and spent. Couple that with being 40 and already feeling a bit underutilized for my talents, unseen, and generally misunderstood, there’s a lot of tenderness that my soul is experiencing right now.

And I honor it completely. I earned the compassion and grace that I’m giving myself.

So as a teenager, and definitely now, I feel like this above GIF. At first it was my parents grabbing my ankle when I was desiring to explore my world. And I will never fully know why.

Trips to New Orleans and Paris were allegedly too expensive, and a missions trip with my youth group and our youth pastor before he moved away–that came at the same time as my mother’s trip back to Ghana. So I was forced to be the lady of the house without much thanks or compensation.

But now it’s…”circumstances.” I’ve probably said this before, but I’m a problem that you could throw money at and I’d be solved. I’m sure many of us feel that way.

This current frustration of constriction could eat me alive if I allowed it to. I have to make my world very small so I can get through the day–fight constriction with constriction! It’s one of the sad side effects of living in the moment.

Tonight, astrologically, and astronomically, we’re going to have a new moon (at 9:57 pm EDT). It’s in enterprising Aries, the zodiac sign who definitely know what “I am” feels like.

my whole life

I am this GIF

This new moon will be in my 4th house of family and home. It’s serendipitous and timely that I am exploring my past and how a lot of it does relate to how my parents held me back for so long, even after I left home.

I’ve been through my therapeutic paces for most of my adult. And I’m grateful that I’m not sitting here stewing in anger. There are the occasional burps of pain, like what I’m experiencing tonight, but I don’t even hold them in contempt…or much of anything at all.

I’m not holding this over my parents anymore, yet I can’t say I’ve forgiven them, either. Forgiving narcissists seems like a waste of energy. I’m not seeking justice from them, though–or anyone, really.

There’s a steely acceptance of my life, which includes not having a family that really supports me, a lack of a local community, and a very tenuous housing situation. All of this I’ve had to embrace over the past 4 years which has pulverized me into a pile of humbled dust.

But what if what is really holding me back is the fear is that my miserable situation, in this unholy house, is permanent?

Is this all there is? Subsistence?

Maybe my family of origin is pretty much set. But what about the rest of my life?

I was watching Beyonce’s Coachella this afternoon and I remembered how much I wanted to go to Coachella and other music festivals in my 20s. I wish I had made my whole life devoted to the enjoyment of music so I could have put all my extra money towards going to those shows.

And I’ve gone to a lot of shows. But I wanted to go to so many more.

I had also wanted to become a doctor for most of my life. That was my obsession. My 30s involved a major course correction of my whole life, which included stopping trying to pick up a stethoscope and picking up the pen.

So now, my whole life seems to be about embracing the numinous, which is wonderful. I actually have no regrets about this development, per se. Spiritually, I feel like it’s miraculous that I ended up here at all, but I am 100% in the right place.

My parents may have been able to curtail my travels, but they weren’t able to stand in the way of my soul growth. Many times, they aided in it, for better and for worse.

So what now?

For this new moon, I want to plant seeds for a new home and family. My life seems to be pointing towards that, even if I have no idea of how I will get there and who will be there waiting for me.

There’s also this urgency to shed these old skins of shame and disappointment, to stand firmly within my truest self, to own all parts of my ragamuffin raconteur’s life.

I am whole.

It’s true–I have missed out on some amazing experiences, especially ones with my friends. And they were denied for the pettiest, most selfish reasons. It’s been a phantom pain I’ve carried for decades, my souvenirs of shame that I’m sure more people don’t even know I have.

There have been so many delays and setbacks for rites of passage that should have been straight shots–all wrapped up in bewilderment and frustration.

Why does everything take so fucking long?

So now, I desperately want to start over, and not carry any of the heartache and suffering I’ve accumulated for the past 40 years.

I moved from Birmingham to Chicago and brought my family issues.

I moved from Chicago to Orlando and brought my community issues.

Wherever I end up next, I don’t want to bring any latent issues.

Instead, I want to bring the gifts I’ve been cultivating my whole life: perseverance, wisdom, kindness, gratitude, curiosity, mirth, wonder, warmth, and an unyielding, penetrating love.

I want my life to be radically different than it’s been.

Uranus is conjunct, or right next to, the moon in Aries tonight, so I am feeling the urgency to be unconventional.

Part of that unconventionality is looking back at the good and the bad and seeing those threads of redemption that have held my seemingly disparate parts together.

So for now, I hold myself in a loose and cool shawl of gratitude. I’ve made it this far and that’s nothing to take for granted.

I have a lot of hope for this week and this year, that I can finally have my little monkey paw released so I can explore the rest of the tree and the rest of this world.

Ah, but still, that nagging fear that I’ll be stuck again…it’s nipping at my heel…and I’m not sure if my fears are founded anymore.

So all I can do is try, and keep trying, until I’m set free.

Here’s a song from Sarah McLachlan that seems to be my anthem for this year and maybe my life. It’s from her latest album, Shine On.

And here is the chorus, which really sums it all up for me.

If this is love beside me
I’m working on forgiveness
Laying the past down behind me
Letting go the ways that I’ve been hurt
Let the rivers rise and rage
I’ll try to stand with grace
If everything is love

As Aries season comes to a close this week, I hope you have been able to find your “I am.”

I hope with this new moon tonight and throughout this week, you can plant seeds of truer self-expression and self-care, that you can also shed your old, withered skins of shame, that you can more fully embrace, with a deep confidence, the fierceness and beauty who you are.

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my course of miracles

miracles

It’s always the darkest before the dawn.

There’s a light at the end of the tunnel

It’ll get worse before it gets better.

Every cloud has a silver lining.

However long the night, the dawn will break.

sigh

There are so many sayings and cliches and aphorisms about getting through dark times. And if you’ve been going through something for a long time, then these trite words may fall flat. They can taste stale and dry in your mouth, and coarse on your heart.

This month has been difficult. This year has been difficult. This life has been difficult.

And sometimes, I forget how I even got here.

So it’s time to remind myself of the miracles that brought me here…

When my mother was in labor with me, she had an adverse reaction to her epidural and blacked out during labor. The last thing she remembered was the medical staff pushing on her stomach to get me out before she went unconscious. I was due in January, but at over 9 pounds, they even thought I was twins.

My mother survived and I came into the world, healthy and whole, on Christmas morning.

I don’t know if my childhood was miraculous, but the next miracle I remember was a Christmas one, on my 18th birthday.

My dad and brother went up in his private plane for some flying. I had driven them out about an hour or two east from my our house. My mom was working that day.

But it’s Christmas, and the airport terminal wasn’t open. My dad wasn’t really thinking like a sane person at this point. So although he wasn’t into holidays anymore, he didn’t think about how the rest of the world worked.

He didn’t make sure I had a place to hang out. Even the hangar was closed.

I was stuck outside in the cold. And this was the time before everyone had a cellphone. There was a payphone outside the terminal that I was able to I think leave a message for my mom.

So I had to hitchhike back to town–which I was lucky to find anyone out at all since it was the holiday, and it was a miracle that I wasn’t abducted or harmed. I called my mom at the McDonald’s near our church, and she met us there after I called her.

And although I am recounting about the miracles that have graced my life, I can’t help but note the emotion that was absent from this episode.

My dad didn’t apologize. My mom wasn’t upset. There were no hugs or tears. The people who picked me up were nice, but they weren’t horrified. I wasn’t angry or hurt.

It’s been 22 years and I fail to find any emotion about it…I only find cozy rationalizations that keep me warm and safe.

My dad was and is sick. My mom wasn’t really emotionally there for me. And I was used to getting through tough things without any sort of deep emotional resonance or identification. And maybe that’s why when I wrote about this in grad school, that’s partially why no one could find much empathy or sympathy for me.

That same year, I had to wait to go to college for a year because of my father’s increasing mental health issues. It was a miracle that he let go of the paranoid delusions holding us both hostage and gave his IRS returns as proof of income to my school. I had prayed so hard to leave while I was drowning in dysthymia.

After 3 years of schooling and battling my now clinical depression, I had to leave college because of my family’s deep spiral–mental illness, imprisonment, foreclosure, tax liens.

Even finding out that I was about to get kicked out of school was a miracle. I had decided to skip class that day and the resident head of my dorm knocked on my door to tell me that I needed to go to College Aid and figure out a way to pay my bill.

It ended up being a tense meeting with a College Aid adviser and the Dean of Students who didn’t like me because of a crazy subletter who wrote her a letter full of lies about me.

And, she was actually most likely dealing with early-onset dementia. The reason I didn’t have the money was because my parents were very slow in getting me the info I needed for the FASFA so I could get financial aid.

So from that meeting, I was able to get some student loan support, but most of the funds had been used up by spring quarter. I had owed $10,000 and was only able to pay half from loans. So, I got kicked out soon after that for nonpayment. I wasn’t allowed to graduate with the people I came into school with.

And if that banishment is a scar, it’s one that feels like a thick and long keloid, one that can kick up some phantom pains every once in a while…

(I’m mostly over it, after almost 20 years, but it definitely still makes me sad sometimes.)

It was a miracle that brought me back into school 3 years later. And this still feels like the biggest miracle I’ve ever received in my life.

The Dean of Students had died suddenly because of her illness and the new Dean of Students was an academic adviser and close buds with my academic adviser.

The resident head of my dorm was the daughter-in-law of the Dean of the College. So she, along with the head of housing, my adviser, and her husband had written a long letter of support with a lot of evidence I had to drudge up: news articles of my dad’s conviction, letters from the IRS, the foreclosure notice on the only home my parents owned.

Yes, here is the evidence of my family’s undoing. Can you forgive this debt of $6000?

I remember sitting at my computer in my bedroom, about an hour away from where my college was, reading an email from the Dean about how she was going to consider paying only a part of it and leave me with the rest (expensive phone bills).

The waiting for this answer was one of the most excruciating times of my life.

But then–good, unbelievable news: the Dean of Students has agreed to forgive the whole debt.

I went to campus to her office, to get the voucher to that I would take to the Bursar’s office. To be in that office again under happier, more hopeful circumstances felt like I was finally coming back home. What a fitting way to close a circle of estrangement and shame.

This is still one of the most surreal experiences of my life…walking, or was it floating?, to one window, giving this voucher for my debt. I felt like I was silently robbing a bank. It’s the only time I’ve held that much money in my life. I joked that I could run away to the Bahamas for a while instead of paying this debt.

I held my flight of fancy walked just a couple feet to another window and paid off my debt that had kept me away from school for three years. I graduated the following summer.

Then there’s the miracle of making it through grad school. My thesis adviser had sabotaged me by not paying me much attention with my thesis.  We barely got together throughout the whole second year, but I didn’t know that was bad.

I had my thesis defense cancelled the day before.

I had no idea that she didn’t think I was ready until I had spoken to the program director. I didn’t really have my “I was told by Apple Care” steel ovaries to raise a stink in the department. So I kept my head down, reformed my committee with the better adviser and successfully defended my thesis.

Beyond graduating from college, that was my most triumphant moment of my life, and only 5 people were there to witness it–my committee and two friends.

And, as much as I really resent this part of the journey, during and after grad school, it’s just been miracle after miracle to not be homeless.

Staying with friends, staying in Airbnb’s. Being able to eat. Having a car for some time. Finding work. Finding new friends. Creating a business from basically nothing. 

And still, I resent it. I resent it all. I resent the alchemy I’m forced to use over and over. And maybe, just maybe…I resent having to rely on the Universe so much, for every little thing.

And now, that’s even coming down to the very air I breathe.

I resent all the loss, all the struggling, all the things I’ve been passed over, all the times I’ve been taken for granted…

I resent that I sound whiny instead of grateful. 

Earlier today, I finally was able to face the owners of this house about the stupid toilet seat that needed to be replaced after a year of asking.

And then–to deal with the person I now call the creep, this lanky, leather, nicotine-stained, psychotic thorn in my side.

All of that resentment comes up again, little infant squalling bawling resentment:

Why are my basic needs of safety not being met?

Why am I stuck in this house?

Why are they not acting quickly enough?

Is the law really that convoluted or difficult in terms of evicting people?

It’s tiring, but I have a new toilet seat and an assurance for more open communication.

But in the meantime…

I know another miracle needs to happen, is about to happen. So much here has gone wrong and worse. There’s a chaos that has been brewing and growing–which is the sign that things are about to change for the better.

“When everything is falling apart, it is a good sign that everything is coming together,” says Henriette Anne Klauser, author of the book Write It Down, Make It Happen.

She goes on to describe the process of childbirth, where the one giving birth feels like they can’t go on. It’s called the “transition,” it’s right before a child is born.

And it’s right where you’re not supposed to give up. You have to keep pushing, so this new life can be brought forth.

So I didn’t get the answers I wanted today from the homeowners. Of course, I didn’t, I think. Impending doom starting shaking at my pant leg.

And the chaos seems to just stick around like a never-ending Floridian summer thunderstorm, the kind that you can’t ever get your windshield wipers to wipe fast enough so you can see at least 5 feet in front of you for just 5 fucking seconds.

I don’t know how I can move out of here, no matter what happens with the creepy housemate, as business is a little slow.

And it’s more than just moving out of here, it’s moving out of this mess of a life that doesn’t seem to have created much happiness or joy for myself.

I desperately need to break out of this cycle of subsistence and get on with the hopefully more boring, less dramatic 2nd act of my life.

And I feel so tired, trying to fight this on my own. I’m doing what I can energetically, spiritually, practically, etc.

But under a Capricorn moon this evening, I wonder if I’m ever doing enough. Am I listening hard enough to Spirit? Am I sacrificing enough? Am I cowering where I should be courageous? How can I keep pushing–and where? In what capacity?

Where’s the on switch for the good stuff and the off switch for the bad stuff?

But there’s one truth that I need to embrace, more than more own resilience and ambition and alchemical prowesses:

Miracle-making is always a team sport.

I didn’t make it back to college on my own. I didn’t make it through grad school by myself. I didn’t stay off the streets or from sleeping in my car when I was broker than broke back in 2014 without help.

And the messages I continue receiving, from astrology readings, from tarot readings, from synchronicities–it’s going to take teamwork to make the dream work.

Yes, another tired ass cliche. But cliches are cliches for a reason–they’re usually true.

I don’t know who is going to help this time. I mean, I have some clues but… I’m definitely at that point where all I can do is dangle some hope out in front of myself, even if it feels like I’m lying to myself.

There is a Santa Claus. There is a Tooth Fairy. There is a way out of this.

And then there’s the miracle of being here at all, beyond my harrowing birth story. It’s the universe itself, and how we’re on this perfect planet in its perfect conditions and that the universe even was created at all…

If there’s anything that has been helping me gain perspective about whether I will have another smoky day in my room, it’s that this situation is infinitesimal to the bigly-ness of the universe, known and unknown.

I am made from mostly carbon, but I am also made from the same stuff that started the universe–miracle-making stuff.

It took billions of years for me to get here, and I’m not going to give up now.

I thought writing this would cheer myself up. But alas, it really didn’t. I’m not as grateful as I could be, either. I think I’ve grown tired hearing and telling of my fables of endurance.

But, I at least can remind myself that although it may take years (gah, years!), things do eventually work out. It may be not how I wanted, or when, but the cycles of struggle I endure do end in triumph (and increased strength and stamina and wisdom and grace and empathy and compassion…)

There’s a steely core of resilience that isn’t really moved by my emotion or circumstances. I think sometimes it’s the only thing that keeps me upright when everything around me is in flames or blown away as ash by the winds of changes.

So yeah. I’ve lead a remarkable, unbelievable life, and the only thing that drives me is that it’s not yet one I’m really or fully proud of.

There are so many chapters of my life that I want to skip over or cringe when I remember. There are probably many more miracles that I have forgotten…

And it’s not that there’s a lot that I’ve done that I’m ashamed of. It’s that there’s been a lot of things I’ve endured that are shameful and somewhat Sisyphean.

Although I own my full story, the threads of loss and resilience aren’t ones that I can fully value yet. Part of it is that I’m still in the middle of the story’s unfolding. I can’t see the point of the plot yet. And that’s OK, for now.

But for the most part, I’ve been typecast. And I long for a new role, a new characterization.

This is not all that I’m capable of. Not in the slightest.

To throw in a little astrology, this has been a long journey of the nodes of fate. I’ve been evolving from my south node in Aries, the warrior, to my north node in Libra, the diplomat.

I can conquer and overcome and slay all day. But there’s no one to come home to. There’s no home, period. My life has been played out on the battlefields of life for decades.

So, I’m tired. My sword and shield and armor all weigh me down.

So, I wonder…

How will I act in a home of love? What new miracles are living inside of me, like dormant seeds, waiting to be germinated? What will the fertile soils of stability grow in my life? What new life is squirming to blossom and bear fruit?

What will I look like when I’m not defined by my daunting circumstances?

I want to surprise myself…because I scarcely have a clue what will happen…

I’m sure the end to this “Florida is full of fail” chapter of my life will be no less miraculous. The writer and reader in me is wondering how the heroine will get out of this predicament this time. She’s a bit of a wily, nervy Magician. She totally has it in her.

And even though it will take some other heroes and heroines to assist in the creation of this denouement, I trust this woman to get her happily ever after.

I trust her to get home safe.

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the pushback

pushing through fear SOM

This is going to be a bit of an astrological post, but one that has been seven years in the making.

Today, I texted the owner of this house with a bit of exasperation. I have sent her daily texts, as I promised I would, about the creep who is smoking inside his room.

Currently, I have taped a towel over the vent, which thankfully isn’t blowing air because it’s too cold for the a/c. I have a towel under the door. My air filtration system sits by the door.

My first text to her, after she asked me about rent, was detailing how the creep was lowkey stalking me in my own house. That was on Sunday.

No response.

So I told her on Thursday about the smoke I was smelling and have probably been smelling for a while. This guy is just lazy and doesn’t want to go outside, which is why he was stalking me in the backyard in the first place.

I’ve texted daily about this smoking situation, as promised. So this is text #4 with no response. I’m using her millennial methods, and yet!

Maybe I’ll need to switch to Gen X methods. Right now, I don’t smell anything, so maybe she did get to him? He has no phone, so I don’t know how she would have contacted him. Maybe through the other tenant?

The stalking, actually, has stopped (at least for now). I’ve been using protective magic (yes, magic) every day and now even if I see him, neither of us shudder in fear. I just go about my business. But I rarely see him.

I bring all this up because it takes so long for me to get to a point of righteous anger, and it was bothering me. I didn’t know what to say to this woman to get her to act.

Should I just keep pestering her? Should I start insulting her? What is going to move her? I don’t like spending my precious time fighting over this, or pondering what to say.

But then I recall what was basically my first astrological reading from my friend–and this was back when I still used AIM!

It takes others trampling on your needs and boundaries to get you to stand up for them! That’s part of what’s been going on with your relationships. These conflicts are pushing you to a place where you will hopefully respect your own emotional needs.

This was about my sun and rising signs being in Capricorn, but my moon being in Cancer. They are opposite on the zodiac wheel. Capricorns are quite confident and competent, but on the inside, I’m a mushy, yet still kinda tough, crabby Cancer.

One things about Capricorns–they are very patient people. But once you have taken advantage of their graces, they are done with you, forever. I’d say that it’s same for Cancers as well. So my home situation is definitely reflective of this phenomenon. I’m patient until I’m not. And when I’m not, you will have hell to pay.

But it takes a lot for me to get there.

So here comes even more astrology. Uranus, the planet of disruption, innovation, instability, and sudden insights, has been impulsive and innovative Aries since March 11, 2011 (as of this writing, that will be seven years ago tomorrow!).

And honestly, until I had written the owner about how insane it was to live here, I didn’t really understand what Uranus was trying to do.

It’s been a nightmare.

I’ve called this transit, in my 4th house of home and family, a thug. Uranus in Aries has been bodying me this whole fucking time.

And why? Just to torture me?

I had so many people take advantage of me when I had to leave my apartment going on 5 years ago.

The classmate and her awful roommates.

The crazy Pisces lady with her ridiculously spoiled Capricorn daughter.

The paranoid, Capricorn attorney from church

And now here I am with these lazy, greedy owners.

Granted, I tried to stand up for myself (feebly?) in each occurrence, but it always seemed in vain. And that was triggering, and I talked about that in my last post.

wait that's it

But maybe Uranus in Aries in the 4th house–maybe that was part of the point. A lot of this instability has to do with poverty, so I don’t want to overspiritualize the financial, emotional, and social sacrifices to get my master’s degree.

But part of the point may very well have been to have been triggered. And in this case, I don’t think triggering is something to resist or avoid, but to lean into to obtain some overdue healing.

This goes back to being a highly competent Capricorn. Uranus really checked me about that. My needs to be respected and valued always seemed to take a backseat to others’ needs.

And this is a theme.

I don’t know if my parents really planned on being like this towards me, but sometime this month, it really dawned on me how I deserved to have parents who stuck up for me emotionally–and the sorrow and grief that comes with not having that.

My being tough all the time has been an effective but dated coping mechanism, and Uranus brought me low, to shameful levels of abasement.

I really needed help, a lot. And it’s been a journey to ask and accept that help.

And ironically, this need for help made me feel more isolated. It’s only been recently (*coughs* This past fall when Jupiter, the planet of expansion and MORE, moving into deeply intense Scorpio, which is in my 11th house of friends and community *coughs*) that I have felt like I am not my problems, that there isn’t this massive wall of poverty keeping me away from the life that I want.

Deeper still, though, has been the wound of not being heard, which, again, if I had to go the astrological route, that can be shown with my Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius placement in my 12th house of healing, secrets, and endings. It’s like screaming into the void, many times over.

Can you hear me? Do you even want to hear me?

I won’t even go into how having this communication chip on my shoulder warps every relationship I have. This is really about how the wound was formed and how I’ve really not fully dealt with it.

There’s this Capricorn tendency to be conservative, to not do things unless the ROI is at least 100%. That can turn into laziness, but also it can turn into fear and inertia.

My Mars retrograde in Leo in the 8th house can also contribute to this–am I going to be willing to risk it all, or risk at all? My friend and I were talking about this yesterday. Lots of profound insights about that placement…

So, texting this owner every day seems pointless. I didn’t want to do it. It’s not even about my reputation or standing in this house.

I know she’s checked out and doesn’t care–because that’s what her lack of action shows. She just wants rent. She wants to see herself as a nice person, not as someone who ignored her own clinical training as a licensed clinical social worker to let someone completely inappropriate live in her home.

She’s in denial, and I am the wake-up call she doesn’t want to take.

But, I have to keep calling.

Why? Because, as my therapist told me, I deserve to be a fierce advocate for myself, just like I was with my clients when I was a social worker.

This may end up nowhere, the texting which may lead to calling and emailing. I promised I’d text every day until this resolved.

Beyond the promise to her, there’s a promise I made to myself to keep sticking up for myself, even if this is all for naught. It’s hard for me to understand to do something like this out of principle.

It just keeps bringing up inside of me some screaming little infant who is not being picked up.

So Uranus keeps pushing me in the chest, trying to pick a fight, so I can address this very old wound, the one where I seemingly didn’t feel safe and wanted as a baby. It’s something that keeps coming up for me when I think of my relationship to my mother and how I still don’t feel bonded to her. I’ve been pondering about this lack of connection for years.

Me sticking up for myself is the needed pushback. And it takes so much. Yes, there’s the astrological explanation–people have to get through two layers of Capricorn for that emotionally deep Cancer gooey center.

But, there’s also just how I grew up. I’m a firstborn girl with two narcissists as parents–one of which is mentally ill–who had a younger child who is developmentally delayed. As another friend stated so eloquently, from an old saying: the cobbler’s children have no shoes.

Every day that I’m here in this house, I feel like Uranus is pushing, asking me–“Are you going to take this shit? You think you deserve this? You just want to keep the peace, huh? Can you hold still with this shit? Do you want to?”

No, no, no, no, no.

This is so painful, but it’s not debilitating. It’s just…frustrating, even when I know what part of the purpose is. It’s to toughen me up in the right way.

I shouldn’t be concerned about anyone’s feelings in this house except mine.

Out of frustration, I called out the owner’s lack of responsiveness today. It felt good, but it also was perplexing.

Why is she not taking care of this? Why is she slow with everything?

Why doesn’t she care about me?

And that question echoes back to my birth. It’s a nagging, rhetorical question that I have asked my whole life. And it’s a very sad one that no child, young or old, should ever ask.

I care about me. And that matters, a lot.

Back to the shame and abasement, though…I keep forgetting that I don’t have to stay there, that I can ask for and deserve divine assistance. The protection work I do every day has made me happier, so I am already tapping into it.

But I can do more, and I will.

I just keep forgetting to ask for help. This is a common Capricorn’s plight–helping others without thinking of ourselves enough.

Our own inner children are barefoot.

So that’s my call now–to continue to seek guidance and assistance from on high, as well as from within. To tend to my barefoot inner child. To make her some shoes.

Uranus in Aries, thankfully, isn’t going to last forever. It’ll leave Aries for luxurious, sensual Taurus on May 15th. But until then, I’ll try to learn whatever is left to learn in these last two months before the head-butting ram turns into the resting bull.

I’ll keep pushing back.

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5 Things That Are Making Me Happy Right Now

I’m writing this because the only thing that’s worth writing about, I can’t really talk about. But I’ve written so many heavy things lately, so let’s keep it light this week.

  1. Canada’s Tess Virtue and Scott Moir, Olympic gold medal-winning ice dancers sextraordinairevirtue and moir.gif

I ship them, even if they’re unsure if they ship themselves? (and look at their faces in that picture in the link, JFC!) And my wish for all of us is that we are loved like they portray love on the ice.

I could watch this GIF all day…😍

2. Laughing over my calamity

hilary duff laugh.gif

I decided that Pisces season would be a season of mirth (so far, so good). Over the weekend, I had something happen to me that was a little jarring and emotionally overwhelming. It wasn’t life-ending, though. Laughing with friends over the situation helped me to move on from those surprise feelings and it helped to bring a larger, more balanced perspective.

Life has been so dour and overly serious lately. I plan to laugh my way to success now.

Let. Joy. Loose.

3. Flax Plus Red Berry Crunch Cereal by Nature’s Path

I just had some for dinner. It’s good and good for you. Nature’s Path is great overall in terms of food.

4. My Himalayan salt lamp

I have no idea if this is really going to help my respiratory system. Right now, I’ve been having some major allergies because of the unseasonably warm weather we’ve been having here (highs in the mid-80s, when highs should be in the low-70s). But makes the room pinker. I just wanted more light.

5. Embracing all that I am

After writing about my Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius in the 12th house placement, I actually decided to get a book.

2018-02-20 22.12.05_1

It’s alright. I’m about one-fourth of the way through, but I hope it gets beyond the rudimentary psychology. I know that this astrological placement makes me work harder to connect and communicate–but it’s also better to work smarter.

Honestly, my lack of not having anything to say is mainly due to things in my life being fairly stable–well, as much as one can be when living in a crazy house. And I’m happy about that. But, I’m also trying to get out of here, grow my business, and take care of my health. It’s great to have the necessary energy and focus to do these things, too, instead of being in this painful holding pattern of survival.

I’m glad that right now, I’m not in an emotional abyss so dark, that I can’t find five things that make me happy right now.

And I’ve been there, where I had start being grateful about sunsets (my go-to) or having a toothbrush or having a roof over your head. It’s desperate gratitude, but sometimes, that’s all you have. And it can sustain.

There are other holding patterns I’m in, and although I can’t yet report on them here, I can say that the Universe has been aggressively bringing things together for me. And that’s yet another thing that’s making me happy right now.

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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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