Digging Up Dead Roots: An Elegy

the journey som

This is going to be a bit astrologically based this week, but I’ll do my best to explain all the terms. 🤓 It’s also a bit of a ramble, so I apologize in advance if it’s hard to follow.

It’s been tough with this Uranus in Aries transit in my 4th house of home and family. And it’s about to wrap up on May 15th. But I’ve said before, Uranus is a thug that has toughened me up.

In astrology, Uranus is the planet of insight, innovation, disruption, and surprise. Aries is a sign of innovation, impulsivity, and the spark of life. Those sort of energies have made my 4th house in my astrological natal chart kindling for long-burning, life-altering fires. It’s been destructive to my ideas of stability, of home, of history, of roots.

But fire can burn off overgrowth and promote new growth.

Fires can be a necessary part of the cycle of healthy growth. Yet it doesn’t feel like it when it’s happening.

The past few days, there have been a few blasts from the past, and I wanted to explore them, since they seem cosmically tied together.

I’ve written a lot about the chaos of living in Florida, but one thing that’s been coming up recently for me is my connection to the Church.

An Album, a Necklace, and Some Laughter

Last week, I was randomly listening to The Thievery Corporation and I was reminded of this album I had bought for this friend, Tom*, on his birthday.

In my early-to-mid 20s, Tom and I were in this Christian folk/rock/pop band together back in Chicago. He was the drummer and I sang background vocals and did some hand percussion.

Last week, though, I was still, albeit hilariously, kind of pissed still because I had gone through all this trouble to get him this album, and then he wasn’t that into it. It’s been at least 15 years since this happened, and yet my inner music snob hadn’t let go of the perceived slight.

The root of my pissyness was that I had gone through all this trouble to find some music that had more of a world beat. Coincidentally, Thievery Corp came out with a new album on Friday, and I had no idea about it previously! #synchronicity

After I had laugh about that, I thought I’d tell my Twitter followers about him, because it was one of those classic 20-something episodes where I was in some sort of strange relationship with a man.

Tom was a good guy. Kind of quiet, but a kind person.  I remembered that him and the guitarist, Stuart*(another kind and quiet person), along with so many men I met in the evangelical church, were a bit of a mess as men when it came to relating to women. Socially awkward af. I blame the Church for that (I could write a whole other blog post about this, but I am tangential enough as it is).

Tom and I had a kind of tenuous, indescribable relationship, something that was always teetering on the brink of something else.

We definitely were fond of each other, but in that circumscribed way that I think sometimes Christian men can be. It’s like they put their sexualities under glass. Don’t break until marriage!

Women do this, too, but we’re not as socially awkward as a result. There was deep caring without any sense of sexuality, yet the tension is definitely palpable.

When I had first started out with the band, I remember that we took this trip to Guitar Center. He helped me pick out my hand percussion instruments: a soft shaker, a tambourine, a rainstick, and some claves.

One Memorial Day, we went to Navy Pier to play miniature golf–which felt like a date. I’m not sure what it was. But it was really fun. I had gotten a major audience by the time I had reached the 18th hole. I almost had a hole-in-one but just missed it.

The bandleader, Andrea*, was a bit cruel about us, or whatever was starting to form. She mercilessly laughed at me for even thinking about getting with him.

Tom wasn’t as nerdy or intellectual as me. He was adorably dumb. But he was fun and kind and I felt had a lot of soul to him. Maybe that laughter had sown seeds of doubt and dissension in the end…

In a moment of restlessness, Tom had decided to go on this months-long trip across the country, and he borrowed my backpack to do it–some old Jansport thing. He sent my postcards from his Western adventures. He collected patches from the national parks he visited and gave them to me.

He had sent me this gorgeous amethyst necklace (I believe he bought it in Montana). It’s what I’d call a statement necklace now, cabochons of dark purple stones arranged like a flat chandelier.

I gave it back to him because I felt like there were some strings attached. I wish I could remember what those strings were, but I just didn’t feel comfortable.

It seemed like a big grand gesture, a declaration of love, and I wasn’t feeling those feelings in return. I vaguely remember him saying that it wasn’t like that, but I kept thinking if I started wearing it, then I’d have to explain that some guy gave it to me, and then the questions.

And this is all within a church context. Tom, Stuart, Andrea, and I all went to church together.

Maybe if someone had given this to me now, I wouldn’t feel as reluctant to accept the gift. I absolutely do believe men and women can be platonic friends.

But at the time, I kept going back and forth in my mind to accept it or to return it. I asked friends. No one thought I should keep it.

I know I hurt his feelings, even though I didn’t want to or mean to. I just wanted to remain true to myself.

I know he had gone on this trip to heal whatever aimlessness and urgency to make sense of his life, and I didn’t want to be some emotional life preserver for him.

I just wanted to be his good friend.

Still, despite my intentions of integrity, I believe our friendship dissolved after that. It’s hard to remember all that happened. And I haven’t thought of Tom in probably over a decade.

If I recall correctly, Tom got married a couple of years after we had been friends. So I wasn’t off in what I was feeling.

I’m not even sure why Tom came up, besides that music can be a time machine. I had a petty hurt that needed to be healed.

But this came up probably because I did care about Tom a lot, and I knew he cared about me a lot. And that means something to me, even now. Sure, he was a brother in Christ, but he was a bandmate and friend. We looked out after each other.

And even if unresolved sexual tension creeped into our relationship like invisible kudzu, I can look back and see that it was still pure, uncomplicated caring. And somehow, years later, that seems like a hallmark of something, even if it ended with hurt feelings.

I was also reminded me of how the evangelical church can create and sustain some really fucked-up mentalities. Again, I could write a whole book on that.

Still, Andrea was right. Tom and I weren’t right for each other, but I also remembered how cruel she had been with my emotions.

One Christmas, at her farm with her husband, I was talking rapidly of this painful conversation I had with my mother. She just laughed, which made me feel terrible. I knew I was talking quickly, but I felt like I needed to get all of this out. So much had happened that week

Maybe about a couple of years ago, she and I lost touch–which was more on her end. Although I had missed her for years, because we had become almost like family, I’m at peace now.

Andrea was whip-smart, kind, generous, and a really quiet spirit–just like Stuart and Tim. But I don’t miss having my tender parts being mocked by hers.

And, of course, her inappropriate reactions have more to do with her journey than mine. She, like many others, was not very comfortable with my forthrightness and directness with how I expressed my emotions. Heck, I’m still not that comfortable with that myself.

So. I guess I told these stories to remind myself that as fucked up as my upbringing was, sometimes the way people react to me–OK, really, all the ways people react to me–have nothing to do with me…even when it feels like it does. Even when someone says it does.

It doesn’t.

I Was Never Really In

I met Tom, Andrea, and Steve at the first church I went to after I left college. The people I met there, I’m not really in touch with anymore except a couple of people, like Christina.*

On Christina’s Facebook wall, she had shared a post from someone we used to attend with, Joan*. Joan’s daughter was in an art competition and she wanted people to vote.

I went to Joan’s page to see her three children, all tween aged now. I had worried about her daughter because she had had some major health issues as a baby and toddler. But she seemed to be thriving now.

I was happy to see it, but I felt a twinge of sadness that Joan and I weren’t friends anymore–and how that was my choice. But Joan was a part of a community that I continue to venerate as the best community experience I’ve had in my life…as a Christian.

When I had arrived at our church 17 years ago this fall, I was so raw with pain and abandonment. I wasn’t allowed to return to college because my parents hadn’t paid the tuition bill, because they hadn’t filled out the FAFSA in time–again.

So, probably for that reason alone, but for many more–that church, in my mind and heart, is still the closest thing to my kind of church I’ve ever encountered.

I had learned that if I really wanted to get to know people in church, I needed to get involved. So I ended up singing and playing keys in the church, and through that I had come to know a lot of the leadership and the band leaders.

I really had loved my church. It was a church of misfits, although now, I’d just call us hipsters. But these would be the people you would never find in a typical church.

But most importantly to me, this church was centered around art. I met so many artists, musicians, and other kinds of creatives.

It was as close to heaven on earth that I had experienced.

But nothing gold can stay…

A lot of my friends at church were in the worship band together:

  • Christina’s husband, Mark*, played drums, and so does Joan’s husband, Jonathan*.
  • Jonathan and my first love, Jack*, were in a band together, too.
  • Jack played lead guitar, Joan played bass and sang, and Jonathan played drums.

So in my Facebook rabbit hole dive, I was curious if Joan was friends with Jack–and this is definitely a Mercury retrograde pondering–but I got lost in looking up other old friends including Karen*, who is apparently running for public office right now. She already holds a public office.

Karen was one of the worship leaders. I had been in her home group (Bible study) for years. She was pretty punky, adorned with pink hair and sparkly hot pink cat eyeglasses. Now, her hair is long and blond, and her eyeglasses are thin and brown.

But it’s still Karen, leading and taking care of people. Karen had been a part of the church leadership when I had first come to her church.

Before my arrival, the church had gone through a scandal–a pastor’s wife left him for a woman. Even for our little island of misfit parishioners, that was still a big blow.

How I had heard of the church was from the pastor himself, who had actually come to speak at my InterVarsity group in college. I don’t remember what he talked about, but I liked him.

I had come to that church based on that talk, but I had walked into chaos. There was more of a group of leaders running the church, which I actually liked. They were in the middle of finding a new pastor, who ended up being this tall, lanky Baby Boomer California dude.

Soon after he came on, though, the church leadership all resigned, with most of them leaving the church. Bottom line: they felt like he had misrepresented himself.

Joan and Mark, along with another couple that was on the worship team, Susan* and Sam*–we all looked to each other as litmus tests. Were we going to leave or stay?

We all decided to stay.

But eventually, we all decided to leave. Susan and Sam moved out to the East Coast. Joan and Mark starting meeting with other people in their homes. And I stayed for a lot longer, until about when I was back in college to finish up. That was when I had become closer to Andrea and her band, as well as other people. So that was about 3 years of my life.

The thing, though, with this group…when Jack and I got together, we both quipped that now we could more easily hang out with our friends.

It was a bit…cliquey. Lots of married couples, including his best friend and his wife, but it was also they had been established before I came on.

Jack and I didn’t last long. We burned brightly and sharply. Then he got scared by the intensity and broke up with me within a month. I still remember his best friend, Frank*, calling me within a day to tell me that. There had been so many people rooting for us…

Then after the Cali dude came on, he left church a few months later, and then he left the country. He may still be an ex-pat, I’m not sure. We fell out of touch years ago.

I learned a lot about God’s love from him…but again, that could be another long blog post.

But all of these people, with our tangled evangelical roots and our penchant for art and creativity–I loved them all, and fiercely.

These were my people.

Yet I don’t know if I ever was really in with them, if it was ever really possible to be.

All of the people I’ve mentioned here are white except Susan and Sam who are Asian American. After being banished from college, I had been really trying to find a new sense of home, and every church after this one just couldn’t fill what I found in this group of people.

All of those people are in touch with each other on Facebook, and I’m only in touch with Christina and Mark, and even that felt a little forced when I spent Thanksgiving with them a few years ago.

There’s another friend, a black woman, Shana*, that I talk to on occasion who had nothing to do with music, but she’s a writer.

I’ve thought about reaching out to these people again, and have also wondered why they haven’t reached out to me. I don’t feel nostalgic enough to rewind the tape of my life and reconnect with them.

Jack’s friends, Frank and Beth*, saw me at Lollapalooza ages ago and I didn’t want to see them. Beth said, “You saw us but pretended not to see us!”

It was true. But I didn’t understand why or how we could be friends when who connected us didn’t want to be connected to me.

They were still the collateral damage of the demise of my short-lived relationship with Jack. I was friends with them for a little bit on Facebook, but I ended up unfriending them because it just felt too weird to be friends with my ex’s friends when I wasn’t in touch with him.

The same for Joan and Mark. I had at least made peace with what happened right before 9/11. I was house sitting for them as they traveled overseas and got in a fender bender with their car. I thought they had been holding that over my head for years, but they hadn’t. I was able to clear the air with Joan about that.

But back to all these people being white…there was always something missing, even though I felt I had found kindred souls within this church. By the time I was 30, I really thought I was crazy. Why were all my relationships so short-lived within the church?

Eventually, I grew to understand that this feeling of separateness came from being a gifted adult–being an intense person and how most people are put off by that.

Yet I’m sure a lot of it has to do with whiteness, and my close proximity to it as someone who was raised as an immigrant’s child. And, and this is an asides, maybe my parents’ implicit admonitions of not becoming too American were really about ingesting too much whiteness. It’s hard to say, though.

Ultimately, there’s only so much you can stomach and there’s still this great dividing wall between you and the ones you love–allegedly in the name of Christ.

So, even now, I can’t tell if I miss them or miss the feeling of belonging to a loving group of people. And of course, I wonder if they miss me. But I think that swell season was, albeit transformative and healing, meant to be brief.

And the context of being Christians was what really bound us together, even more than music. But maybe the music we created together is why I will never really ever forget them all.

Two Taurus Men from My Childhood

Yesterday, a family friend of mine had remarked on Facebook that he hadn’t been able to publish this book of his, although it had gone to the printers. So, having some publishing experience and a graduate degree in writing, I wanted to help and offered it to him.

He reacted to my offer with laughter and reminded me that he had his own publishing company and had published 20 books.

OK, dude.

I demurred and said that I had forgotten and I was a frazzled grad student when we last talked about this. I patiently explained that I was actually thinking he’d self-publish digitally, either as an ebook or through the Kindle platform.

He reacted with that advice with a heart.

OK then.

This man has known me since I was a little girl. He’s only a couple months younger than my mother. He’s known my parents from when they were young adults in Ghana through whatever evangelical uprisings and spiritual awakenings going on in the 1960s. So he’s practically family and I respect him.

But I’m 40 fucking years old! So I was just annoyed that he didn’t take my grown ass woman advice with any sort of weight.

He saw my offer to help as an insult to his publishing experience. Instead of wanting to learn more, he just pushed me off as some know-nothing–publicly. 

FYI–Capricorns had public humiliation.

It was rude and unnecessary, but sometimes his happy-go-lucky, jocular exterior belies some obnoxious misogyny. And, well–I may be still five years in his mind.

I took that personally for a minute, but just like Andrea’s laughter at my emotional expression, his laughter said more about him than about me.

Then later yesterday, I got a LinkedIn alert from another family friend that I grew up with, asking to connect with me.

I was not pleased.

Earlier this year, he had found me on Instagram and I had to block him. Before that, he had asked me to connect on LinkedIn.

So this time, I had ignored the request and said that I didn’t know him.

This guy and I, Tyrone*, had been very close for a few years because of the chaos going on in my home. His parents went to medical school with my dad, and my mom now is still very much enmeshed with his immediate family.

This relationship could be its own blog post, too, but eventually, by the time I was 25, I wanted reciprocity in terms of transparency. He refused. So I gave up and let him go because it was codependent af already anyway.

To add to this milieu of unhealthy boundaries, the way my mom is attached to him, his younger brother and sister (projecting much?), and how his parents are not as attached to me and my brother–it’s just unhealthy all the way around.

On top of that, Tyrone has some major mother issues. I don’t mean to put his shit on front street, but it seems to be a perfect storm for my mother and him to be close.

Sidenote: here’s a story about that. On my 30th birthday, I am at my mother’s apartment, sitting at the dining table that I’ve sat at for most of my life. We’re just hanging out, she and I. And she comes and gives me this Mother’s Day card from Tyrone.

I read it. Tyrone is laying this on thick, thanking her for believing in his dreams.

I sat there in disbelief and handed the card back to her.

“Isn’t that nice?” she asked.

“Yeah,” I said.

I sat there in silent pain, thinking about how she didn’t really know my dreams, let alone believe in them. I didn’t even know this was available as her daughter. Before this, the last time I was home for Christmas, when I was 25, I was in the car with Tyrone and his little brother, Terry*. I just poured out my guts about how dysfunctional my parents were, and they decided not to believe me.

I’m barely scratching the surface of the history of me and this family, but there’s some fetid, dead things I try to use as fertilizer for the flourishing of my own life.

Anyway, the last time I was home for Christmas, probably three years ago, I had a stiff and awkward conversation with him in his parents’ basement as his kids were in another room.

“So you’ve blocked me on Facebook, huh?” He looked at me with a sheepish grin.

“Yep.” I had my arms crossed and barely looked at him.

“So to make this right, I need to call you, right?”

“Yep.”

“OK,” he said, and we moved on to the other room where the kids were.

Seeing that email yesterday was triggering, but I knew that this guy doesn’t have access to my soul anymore, especially since he wasn’t going to do what he needed to do to make this right.

And really, there’s nothing to make right anymore. It’s why you can’t really be friends with your therapist. The balance of power will always be skewed towards them.

To take an astrological view of these seemingly random situations: both the old family friend and Tyrone are Taurus men, and both of them are Christians.

I’ve noticed that I’ve been on a weird journey with people who have their suns in Taurus. Astrologer Sam Reynolds just wrote a great Twitter thread on Taurus today that you should check out.

I’ve realized Taurus men can get a little too familiar with me and have horrible boundaries. Meanwhile Taurus women tend to be aloof and distant with me. And it’s Taurus season, so I’ve had this sign on my mind for a bit.

So with these two men, there’s been a bit of over-familiarity that steamrolls who I am as an adult.

Taurus is a fixed earth sign, and with fixed signs, it can be easy to get stuck in mindsets. It’s just the double-edge sword of that element.

Could it be that these men still see me as little Debbie? Unfortunately, I think that’s the case.

But here I am, now. And these seemingly random blasts from the past are not random at all.

Why Do These Strolls Down Memory Lane Matter?

There has been a lot going on astrologically which may have triggered all this somewhat painful nostalgia.

Chiron, a centaur planetoid nicknamed “The Wounded Healer,” has ingressed into Aries. I believe it did so yesterday. For the next seven years or so, we can expect some accelerated healing of all sorts.

Chiron in Aries is now squaring, or at a 90 degree, angle with my Jupiter in Cancer. Chiron square Jupiter will definitely bring up wounds with religion and philosophy.

Jupiter is in my 7th house of partnership and open enemies, and Aries rules my 4th house, so what’s coming up now are my one-on-one relationships (and open enmities) with these people and the roots of my own being.

All these old stories are here to be healed. So as cringeworthy it is for me to see old names that aren’t relevant to me anymore, it’s time to close the chapter on these collaborative stories.

And I welcome these denouements.

Another long transit that I’m dealing with is Neptune square Neptune.

Transiting Neptune in Pisces is squaring with my Neptune in Sagittarius, which is a major transit for those who are in their mid-life. This will bring up spiritual matters, what I hold as ideals in my life.

The real question being asked here: so what’s really real here, and what is just illusory?

Neptune is the planet of spirituality and imagination. Pisces and Sagittarius are ruled by expansive Jupiter, so this is a very murky wide and deep transit for me, dredging up everything I believe for examination (There are other things coming up for me during this transit that I will write about later in future posts).

Here are some other questions being asked: what do I feel about spirituality now? What can I keep from my evangelical roots and what should I dynamite away into oblivion?

I was talking to a friend today about her relationship with Christ, and it was tough because I can’t even hear that name without feeling like it’s not for me. Yet I know there is some middle way for me, since Christianity is a part of my spiritual heritage.

Right now, I’m listening to Twila Paris, renowned Christian music artist and worship music songwriter, and it’s so comforting. None of my friends listen to her (she’s what our parents would listen to), but I’ve loved her music for 30 years.

Somehow, there’s some Christian music that seems to soothe parts of me that where I am not can’t fully reach. I’ve written about my relationship with Christian music, which I may publish here sometime soon.

This is all to say, I’m pretty much all the way out of church, but church may not be all the way out of me.

Where I Think I Am Now

So the people I know and love now seem to be aligned with my current spiritual journey. And it’s taken all my life to get here. We’re all very intuitively inclined, connecting to Spirit in various ways, and we are all kind–and this last part is what matters to me the most.

As Uranus finishes its tourney through my 4th house, kicking up these old and mostly dead roots, it’s a reminder of where I’ve come from. The Church was my life, the sun in my life. Everything rotated around it–my social life, especially.

But there’s been a very drastic and necessary evolution since my Saturn return. The past 10 years, I’ve learned to make myself the center of my life. It doesn’t mean that I don’t connect with Spirit anymore. As I told my friend today, I have never been more spiritually attuned and connected in my life. I don’t regret being outside of the Church.

Where I am now is trying to get out of this house–and out of Florida altogether.

On Thursday, after a week of waiting to hear back from yet another complaint about smoke in this house, I confronted the landlady in an email about her laziness and passivity with a chaotic and toxic household. It was full of a holy, righteous anger.

It seems to have shifted the energy in this home when I told her that the creep seems to own the house now, not her.

I hope it lasts, but I know I’ve known for months that I need to move out. And that’s still the plan.

But there seems to be a peace here now. I did some candle work to create a peaceful home, and it seems to have worked. I plan to do more candle work this week. To feel that empowered spiritually is something I haven’t experienced in decades, if ever.

So on a Sunday evening, where 25 years ago, I’d be looking forward to seeing my friends at church for our youth group meeting, it’s strange to look back at my younger days. I don’t really relate to that young person at all. But I am proud of all she’s endured, for the spark of life that she embodied.

Even still, I believe she was encased in fear and self-loathing. She wanted to belong so badly, because her family was so odd and decentralized.

And sometimes, although a lot more rarely, she’ll still try to maneuver her way into relationships with people who seem to be popular or in power. Capricorn tendencies.

But after I turned 40 a few months ago, I realized that within the past year, the people who have come and gone in and out of my life are the right people.

I’m in the right alignment.

I learned so much from my experiences in the church, even if it was how not be in the right relationships with people. Even still, from when I was a newborn, being taken care of my godparents, until now with the people who I talk to almost on a daily basis–I was, and am, deeply loved.

And that’s why all those losses hurt for so long. I loved hard, and I was loved hard back.

Even if the dogma and doctrine that I follow has changed, and even if most of all the relationships I’ve had in my life had blown away in the winds of time, they don’t really ever go away. I’m left with the gifts of wisdom and love.

All those people, for better and for worse, helped shape who I am today. I’ve been transformed by their love and care.

And I’m eternally grateful.

* These are pseudonyms to protect myself.

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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.

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.

If you want to give a one-time gift or monthly gift, hit me up on Paypal.

Thanks for your support!  💘

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.

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! 💘

 

go me?

2018-04-01 09.06.03

Five of Swords, from Galaxy Tarot

Happy Easter to all who celebrate! 💐🐣🐰🌄

I’m a bit tired today. It could be the incessant cigarette smoke or the full moon in Libra yesterday, or both.

I have spent a lot of my day writing already. I wrote a long email to a friend. I wrote a very long Patreon post for my $10+/month subscribers.

But before those two things, I wrote a letter to the owner of this house. I had planned on holding my rent in exchange for some needed changes around here. But instead, I decided to be a little more Libra-like and just write out my concerns in a letter than I printed and sign.

Here are the tweets I wrote today about the experience:

Kinda didn’t want to see this card today [Five of Swords, above]. I wanted to handle a situation with fiery guns blazing, which means it’s long overdue for that. Instead, I will write a dispassionate letter. Fiery guns may happen next month, though.

This is such a Libra letter of disgust. I’m just disappointed. Our relationship is a disappointment.

This is my favorite line [from the letter]:

I can’t care more about this house than you do, and I can’t care more about [the creep’s] health than he does.

Seriously, pissing a writer off is just a bad idea. And wearing a Capricorn’s patience down to the bone means I have to eviscerate you. Somehow I only left it to “laissez-faire property management style” and not “as you know from your clinical training…”

It takes probably too much to get this self-advocated (if that’s even a word. It’s a full moon baby problem, specifically being one with a Cancer full moon. It’s one of the first things I learned about from astrology.

The hellfire and brimstone that I do not unleash is a public service. But it’s also draining. I don’t like having to do this, be the adult all the damn time.

That’s definitely a Capricorn problem, too. But this is what the full moon in Libra required of me. I kept seeing messages about this and I’m like FINE. It feels very Sisyphean and as a double Cap, energy conservation/ROI is KEY for me

Next month, though–I will talk with money.

This trips up so much parental stuff. I know that’s why I’ve been here for so long. I really have to work through it, but it’s like on an infant level, like non-verbal screaming. It’s very painful, but it needs to be healed through self-advocacy.

And yeah, all this fun 4th house stuff is addressing family root stuff. I HATE IT! 🤣 Uranus has been unrelenting. I’m ALMOST grateful for the transit.

But it’s kinda like resetting bones that healed improperly. That’s going to hurt, but it needs to be done.

And I’m not really one to spiritualize suffering or someone being a millennial avoidant greedy bitch. Like that’s more of like–yep, poverty. Nothing to spiritualize there–just to fix and be rid of.

That I get any sort of lessons from this is 1) my choice and also 2) a bonus.

It’s OK to just be like–this is awful and I’d like to stop. That’s more than enough. Not everything has to be a teacher or a lesson. We don’t live in sitcoms.

And I get it–those sort of teachings are meant to empower people who have been victimized, but it does nothing for or to the oppressors. This is a two-way street.

But really the lesson is–a lot of people are awful a lot of the time, and you didn’t deserve to be treated that way. It’s OK to stick up for yourself when no one else will. There’s nothing really mystical about that. That’s just the human condition. We hurt. We hurt others.

We all have our own agendas. I have no idea what the landlady’s is besides greed and avoidance. I honestly don’t care. But my adaptive nature and patience isn’t going to be taken advantage of any longer. That’s all I know.

I’m just venting, but I do hope that helps someone. We can get caught in these survival loops because we had to and then it’s like–wait a minute!

I can hold people accountable! I can ask for what I want! I can prioritize myself! I can call people out on their bs!

Empaths and sensitive people just get shit on and used up by narcissists and manipulators, and honestly–just emotionally lazy people…and that has to END.

There is always a fear of reprisal when I stand up for myself. I’ve had rent raised on me before as retaliation. I don’t think that will happen.

I think actually nothing will happen. And I’m not sure which is worse, to be honest.

It’s been almost a sort of gaslighting experience, the lack of responsiveness. It’s like–do my feelings and comfort and safety not matter? Am I being unreasonable to ask for a clean place to cook and live and breathe?

And I don’t come here to bitch today, actually. I want to keep this shorter than usual.

If you’re in some shit situation outside of your control, you really have to pick and choose your battles in your long war. Sometimes, you need to rest. Sometimes, you need to fight.

And that’s what the 5 of Swords is about in tarot. There are winners and losers, and sometimes it’s not worth the battle to win.

But this time, for me, it is.

I have to let go of all the conditioning I’ve had as a child and even as a grown-up that put me and my needs last, and really be OK with sticking up for myself.

And that’s where resetting the bones comes in. It’s not going to feel great for me, as someone who is empathic, to put someone in their proper place. It’s also not going to feel great for me to do this at all–because it feels like I’m not in my proper place.

How dare I ask for what I want!

I’m used to not getting my way. I’m used to advocating for others. I’m used to not making waves, even though a lot of times waves will follow me anyway.

 

So honestly, this is just me, giving myself an enthusiastic and weary high-five:

go me

He looks way more enthusiastic than me.

But go me, as I keep asking and requesting help and assistance and not getting it.

Go me for pursuing my dreams in this dump of a house.

Go me for figuring out how to find a more diplomatic middle way that may get the results I need without tiring myself out further.

Go me for facing my fears of reprisal and rejection.

Go me for knowing that I’m worth fighting for.

I’m really sorry I had to phone it in this week, but I had a lot going on, but just three more things:

1. My biz website relaunched! So if you’re looking for writing or editing services, check that out.

2. Also, I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching about religion and spirituality. Next week, I should have more energy to write about it. It’s been months in the making, and I think I’m finally ready to write about it.

3. Finally, 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!

thank you, Universe

So I read this shitty “boring memoir as self-help book” this weekend. I had bought it some time ago, hoping I could fix my life.

Well, it barely gave me anything new. If you had watched Oprah or Super Soul Sunday, you’ve already learned what this wannabe tough lady wanted to convey to her probably super rich, white, and bored audience.

I may never try to hate read a book again because it was full of phony baloney spiritualist schlock like:

“Fear is a choice!”

“Happiness is a choice!”

You can choose not to be depressed!

If you change how you think, then you can manifest the life that you want!

So much of that is basically just–try harder. But hey, the Universe is there to help you, too.

No mention of the systemic biases like racism, sexism, and homophobia that help keep people oppressed.

No, you should just get off your ass and do something–all with a bunch of affected AAVE speech:

“Thems is some big words…” (that’s not even grammatical for AAVE)

GIRL.

Anyway, it was so poorly organized, I don’t know how it was meant to actually give a reader real ways to change her life without getting lost in the bland pablum this woman was peddling.

I won’t mention the name, but the book has a yellow cover.

I picked up this book because, 1) I was told to (higher self + spirit guides) and also 2) I’m in a bit of a rut or transitional space, something I could been saying for the past 5 years, honestly.

Specifically, I need to increase my sales for my business so I can move out of this godforsaken house and on with my life–and also pay some bills!

As I was chatting with a friend today, it’s not a good thing to be feeling desperate when you’re looking for some answers to your life.

Sure, necessity is the mother of invention, but I think, especially in American society, that desperation can leave you vulnerable to shysters and crooks who want to manipulate into parting with your money.

So OK, I had already bought this book, so no harm there, and I was told to read this book by my spiritual team (if you will, I hate these cheesy-ass labels). I actually got some good things out of it, even if I feel a little scarred after reading it.

But the scarring is adjacent to older scars.

So much of this shit is what I learned growing up in the “faith” movement in the 1980s and 1990s.

If you just have enough faith, you can move mountains (read: get that Cadillac and new house!). It’s shit I’ve been trying so desperately to unlearn, and I basically unloaded more on myself by reading this book.

But yes–what was the good I got out of it?

For one thing, I know how I don’t want to write about spirituality. It was a very inspiring book in that regard.

But the most practical piece of advice for my life right now is about gratitude.

It’s a topic that makes me roll my eyes. It feels like such a burden–and it really shouldn’t (but I’ll get into that in a little bit). But also, it’s so on trend to have an attitude of gratitude.

Even beyond the personal development scensters, gratitude works, and it works really well.

Gratitude has some scientifically proven benefits about improving one’s physical and mental health and overall wellbeing. It’s not like working with crystals or doing rituals where your mileage may vary.

Gratitude has just been a tough practice for me, especially in the past few years. It comes and goes with my emotional state and circumstances. There have been times, though, I’ve been grateful just to have a roof over my head and food to eat because I was technically homeless.

But deep down, there are so many times where I think, life has just been so fucking cruel and unfair. I do not want to write in my gratitude journal, ever. 

And, reading that book, I was reading about a woman who was kind of a dick and ended up with an amazing life.

So then, even when it comes to money, it’s definitely not given to those who “deserve” it, because the Universe finds them to be more morally upright and kind.

These sorts of disparities leave me with some really big, uneasy questions with unwieldy, flighty answers.

Like…

Why are so many kind people being taken advantage of and this self-appointed rockstar guru is given a life that she barely deserves?

Yes, it’s a version of the classic question: why do bad things happen to good people?

That’s probably for another blog post, but I bring it up because 1) I don’t think the Universe just automatically has your back (right? should the Universe be OK with evil people?

and

2) there must be more than just acquiring things and using spirituality to receive those things.

Also

3) there’s a bigger story that we’re all a part of, and we don’t know how it even truly began or where it ends, even after death.

We just don’t know why so many things happen, good or bad, and to what degree we’re involved in those occurrences.

Whew, that’s heavy. But really, that’s to give us all some perspective here, to tether us to something bigger…

So yeah, alright–I have some major impediments to gratitude here, but a daily gratitude practice does help me live a better life, so I need fucking be grateful already…right?

Right.

Finally, the point of this post…

So from this trash heap of a book, the author suggests writing daily thank-you notes to whatever higher power you’re into.

And I think that unlocked a cage of ineptitude that I had been trapped in because when I write “I am grateful for…” there is no object.

It means nothing to me.

I have that same feeling when you have to go around the Thanksgiving table and say what you’re thankful for. Most of us can come up with something that sounds halfway decent.

But usually, I’m sitting there, stewing, thinking life is unfair–when it really is, and I’m not being an entitled bitch about it.

What unlocked for me is that by writing daily thank-you notes to God or Source, etc., there is an object.

We don’t just say “thank you” into a vacuum. We direct our gratitude to a person.

It’s something that even reminds me of worshipping and offering thanks to God, something I grew up doing for most of my life in the form of song. And now, not being in church, that part has been missing for me–that special connection to God (especially through song).

I need to say thank you to the Universe for so many things, even when life is unfair and hard and excruciating. It’s to help me keep perspective of all the good that has happened, so I don’t sit here in a boiling vat of my own bitterness.

And I’m not just writing this down because Oprah said to do it. Definitely science is helping me to do it. But finally, after years of trying to be grateful for whatever is in my life, I can do it in a more directed and meaningful way.

So let me start right now…

thank you note

Thank you, Universe for bringing this book into my life–even if it was chock full of so much of what I don’t need.

I thank you that even though my spiritual team guided me to this book–and I feel like I need to recover from having read it–there’s still some method to the madness, that maybe something beautiful is opening up inside of me for me to share with others who really need to hear it.

Thank you, God, for the good people you’ve brought into my life, especially within the past year. Some have already moved on, but I am grateful for the light and beauty that they brought into my life and whatever good that they graciously accepted into their lives through me.

Thank you that I do have plenty of food to eat.

Thank you for bringing me to a better home where I can safely and freely be myself.

Thank you that the creepy housemate decompensated on me so I could stop wasting my time talking to him like he was sane and also hold the owner of this house more accountable.

Thank you for the chances to be more assertive for my well-being.

Thank you that the mammogram and ultrasound exam I went through on Friday came up with only cysts that will hopefully be aspirated soon.

Thank you for affordable healthcare to get those tests and low copays.

Thank you for all the opportunities that I don’t even know about yet. Thank you for all the opportunities that are available to me now.

Thank you for gifting me with grit, resilience, patience, perseverance, and a sense of humor to keep me from getting too serious.

Thank you that I don’t have to know everything, that I can ask for help early and often, and that I don’t have to do everything on my own.

And thank you, dear reader, for being here and bearing witness.

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! 

 

you are my Sunshine

the sun SOM

Hey, Sunshine–

I don’t know why you decided to pop up in disguise to my friend, but I’m glad you stopped by.

But can I say this now, with the confidence I never had when you were around:

Dude, you’re a fucking weirdo.

You must have known that I had been thinking about you–although just in passing…while I was waded in the murky marshes of Mercury’s  retrograde motion.

You really got us, man. We’re those way-too-serious Saturnian types. So you loosened our prim ponytails and lassoed us with your Jupiterian jokes.

Child of Purim, I’ve wondered if were we ever this jokey in the last millennium?

Yes and no. But isn’t that the classic answer of true-blue Maroons?

It’s that our jesting was poisonously laced with a bit of stubborn, respectful sobriety, a little too much reality.

Too much humble earth, not enough raucous light and connective illusion.

Yet once we faced it, in your student ghetto apartment–

you stood by the window, garish street lights illuminating you like some wearisome ghost of carnality, and, oh god–

I wanted to be haunted.

We chose to solemnly spoon, sighing and whimpering into a long-standing, unyielding no.

We’d live in the smothering blankets of our sticky insinuations.

But damn–did I respect you for respecting me.

And then, somewhere north along a long, dark boulevard, I saw you again, that one last time, with Neptune’s ziploc bag of herbs.

“I have a cold,” I said as we sat on my bed, looking at each other with steady eyes and wry smiles.

We both knew what that meant.

Sitting in Lula’s on a lonely, empty night, underneath those dim, white Christmas lights, eating dessert.  I was still so fucking high-strung.

I couldn’t relax into the moment, into you…

And you knew that, and you wriggled, far East and away, in your weird fishy way that drove me mad.

“calm. down.” you wrote replied to me after I wrote you some long screed of worry.

I know now you were feeling all I felt, even more than I could or even express, and how that feels like an inescapable rogue wave of emotion.

If I had only known that I was a seagoat and you were a fish…I would have swum differently…

So you showed up on Friday night in old man cosplay. I can only assume where you are now has surprised you as an atheist–

(can you even call yourself that anymore?)

Well…it’s not over…is it?

Maybe you showed up in tweed and pipe because you’re Classic that way.

And maybe that’s what you wanted, in the end, here.

I wanted that for you, too. I assumed. I fucking assumed.

And when I went to look you up, knowing you wouldn’t be caught dead on Facebook…

I didn’t expect to catch you dead in a ditch.

How banal, darling.

You always had some cantankerous old man, screeching inside of you. And you had probably seen a lot that a kid didn’t need to see, before we met in the middle of Jenny’s genius talks and in the never-ending parade of Echo and the Bunnymen t-shirts.

I knew there was more to it, to you–

And then I learned that you were mad because the world wasn’t fair. Shit, I was just as mad.

An alluring anger burned between us that could never be cooled.

There’s so much I’m leaving out here–besides that we couldn’t quite sync up.

But really, all that there’s really left to say is that you were there for me when I needed you, not when I wanted you.

So, for now, we travel endlessly on this Möbius strip of grief.

And, just so you know, I’ll never have a cold again, but it doesn’t matter now…

I just wish it did.

 

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!

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.