squirm, squirm, squirm

earth is our chrysalis SOM

It’s a long, cloudy, and tired Sunday.

It’s also, besides the creep’s punctuations of chronic smoker’s cough, a quiet afternoon.

This week, I’ll be taking a big leap faith that I’ve ever taken–and I’ll talk about what that is when I return. I’m not scared or apprehensive, but I’m not curious or hopeful.

I feel neutral and sober, tinged with a bit of swirling, ineffable disappointment (and I wish I could talk about that more openly. But I just at least wanted to mention and honor it).

This week, Uranus wraps up its seven-year-long transit in Aries, with all the upheaval and loss and discomfort that’s been brought to my home. And boy, am I glad. This sojourn into darkness has been transformative, but I’m not yet sure who I’ve become.

This uncertain, unpredictable planet moves into Taurus on Tuesday, moving into my sector of children, creativity, and romance. I am excited about that, but I also feel so tired.

Still, despite my soul’s exhaustion, I wanted to mark it with this long-awaited momentous occasion with an exploration into a possible new life.

And for right now, I don’t have much to lose, nor do I have all the answers. I just have months and months of signs, pointing me in an unlikely direction.

What’s strange about all this is how my faith in the Universe, and myself, has deepened through this strange season. There has been confirmation that this is the way to go.

I actually did a reading about this and was surprised by what I saw, mainly because it was so positive. I basically asked what was this week going to look like.

 

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This is from the Psychic Tarot app by John Holland.

Overall, that there are three Major Arcana cards means that this week is definitely significant.

The first card, Rejoice in Celebration, is traditionally known as the 3 of Cups. It’s the party with your friends card. I hope that will be happening. This card has been stalking me a little bit lately, and I’d love to have something to really celebrate, with friends.

The second card, Harmony, is traditionally known as The Lovers. I think that’s partly literal as the picture shows, partly harmony with everything, and partly about choices I need to make.

The third card, Wisdom, is traditionally known as The Hierophant. One of the things I’m exploring does have to do with higher education. But this could also be about finding my group of like-minded people (as the app suggests). I believe it’s a bit of both, overlapping.

The fourth card, New Beginnings, is traditionally known as The Fool. This is card, with the number 0 marks the beginning of the journey through the Major Arcana, which ends with card #21, The World.

I’ve seen The Fool come up a few times. The message here is pretty literal. I am searching for a new beginning, and the Universe is affirming this will happen.

Even if you’re familiar with tarot, the fifth card may be unfamiliar to you, the Heart Chakra. It’s unique to the Psychic Tarot, which has cards for all the chakras, from the red root chakra to the fuschia crown chakra.

This card reminds me that this journey will be lead by my heart. If you look at the first two cards, the color green is prominent. In the Harmony card, the hands pressed together are surrounded in a glowing green.

It seems that my heart will definitely get involved with people–known and unknown–in a really affirming, positive way this week. ETA: This tarot reading from Elizabeth Harper this week seems to echo the reading I did for myself.

Then why do I still feel so sad?

Because the distance between this reading and my current reality seems impossibly far and wide.

Enter my leap of faith (a phrase, which, by the way, stalked me for a while, too).

It could also be that today, in the final two days of this horrendously humiliating Uranus in Aries transit, I can finally cry about how hard it’s been.

There’s space to let the grief in and out.

Things right now are really bad, and that’s been a long-running theme–one I’ve become eneverated from.

It’s been strange, though. I have these moments where the awfulness of my life’s circumstances doesn’t drown me anymore. I can see myself apart from it all, not identified with my circumstances.

Even as I’m sad now, I can say that there’s still a bit of separation. I really am not my circumstances. And it’s taken a lot of work to get here, for me to be able to say that and believe it.

Yet sometimes, the absurdity of how bad things are really takes my breath away.

I still really can’t believe that I live with a racist, mentally ill, leathery bag of bones who makes my soul’s flesh crawl in disgust. And that it’s been over a year of this insanity, in my own home.

If I wasn’t so disgusted by this, I’d write it about it more, because it’s a really fucked up story, one that could only happen because people enable this terrible person.

I have no idea how I’ve made it here and have kept my sanity…except I’ve been in absurdly awful places before. Yet I only started going to therapy this past February because I knew I needed to leave, that this place wasn’t going to get better.

But really, I cannot wait to never see this house or that person ever again. Yet sometimes, it feels like I will never leave…

Still, my resilience astounds and frustrates me.

I ask myself and the Universe those really useless, unanswerable questions: What have I done to deserve this? Why is this happening, still? What am I doing wrong? 

And as that reading shows, I’m not doing anything wrong. I can show you reading after reading, from me and from others, which show a way out of this goddamn mess.

Still, as I squirm in this straitjacket of a chrysalis, as I feel exhausted from pushing out this new life (just one more good push, love–you can do it…)…well, that’s it, really.

I have to keep going.

Yet today, it feels good to stop for a little bit, to rest, to have some self-compassion for myself, to let myself cry over the rejection, the silence, the frustration, the abuse, the neglect, the confusion, the going without, the isolation, the drudgery.

The not-getting-my-way.

There’s no point in appearing to be strong–and maybe there never really was.

It’s been peculiar this year, to find this newer me emerging: to have a deeper faith that this stretch of my life’s journey wasn’t a waste, to be lead by unrelenting signs, to feel my heart break more deeply without having it break me completely.

It’s strange to be able to hold all these disparate emotions and experiences, and know, really know, that it all belongs. I didn’t think this was ever possible. It’s a new level of strength and maturity that I’m so grateful for.

This Tuesday, there will be a new moon in Taurus. The moon is exalted, or the guest of honor, in Taurus. So this new moon, along with Uranus in Taurus, will be a very potent new moon, especially for making dreams and desires into physical reality. Taurus is an earth sign, very sensual, all about the five senses.

What I’ll be doing this week will be planting seeds for a new beginning and a new life.

Soon, I’ll rise from these ashes, reborn. Until then, I will mourn what never was, what could have been, and what used to be…so I can make way for the spark of life, burgeoning inside of me, waiting to be released.

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#CapricornProblems🐐

climbing SOM

Yesterday, it took about 90 minutes to be seen for a few minutes at my endocrinologist’s office. And the blame can be spread almost evenly between my doctor’s office and the endocrinologist’s.

I have PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) and I haven’t been on medication for it since at least last year. Now that I could actually afford health insurance (HMO), I’ve been trying get my health back in order.

Long story short, because of a clerical error with my primary care physician’s office, an authorization for my visit was missing. I called that office three times and got the authorization code myself. I didn’t want to reschedule.

The endocrinologist’s office was very apologetic, and I told them that thought it wasn’t their fault.

But they should have been the ones calling, not me. 💡

It took me a few hours after returning home to realize that I had overstepped my boundaries as a patient, even though I was invited to do so.

Here’s the problem, though: I’ve been conditioned to do this, to take care of things for myself, ever since I was a child.

A few examples…

I’ve advocated for my mother more than once. I wrote my dad a letter that he should treat her better. He asked me if I wanted to talk about the letter. I said no. It wasn’t a discussion, in my opinion. It was a directive.

Also, let’s be real — my dad was an imposing figure. Almost 6 foot tall, large, had high expectations, and could talk himself out of a lot of things. I didn’t feel like having a discussion with him about how he should treat his wife and my mother was a meeting of the minds — even if my parents treated me like an equal far too often.

Many years later, I called my mother’s pastor (and my former pastor) when my father had gotten her and my brother evicted from their apartment because he had been harassing staff (he was and is mentally ill). They had even called the cops on him.

I’ve advocated for myself with my dad when I wrote a letter asking him that I hope he’d pay my college tuition bills since he had been reluctant to pay for school trips and other activities. He said he would and then he didn’t.

Those are just three examples that I can think off the top of my head. Being a firstborn child, being a leader comes easily. And your parents even rely on you to be the third parent, to help younger siblings learn how the world is.

These are #CapricornProblems.

As I’ve explained a few times on this blog, my sun and ascendant are in Capricorn, so Capricorn problems are of double import to me.

If you’re a part of what I call the “Cap Stellium Kids” group, those of you who have Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune in Capricorn (which also means you started your Saturn returns last December), you will probably recognize these situations.

What I actually don’t want to do is explain what the zodiac sign Capricorn is about. But I will say that one of Capricorn’s problems is also one of Capricorn’s strengths — resilience.

So yesterday I was offered to reschedule, which I found to be a ridiculous notion.

This was an easy error to fix. Why can’t someone just fix it?

I had scheduled this appointment weeks ago. I’m going to be out of town in a couple of weeks. I’ve waited over a year for this appointment in terms of being insured. The time was now.

So I stuck it through. I was applauded for it, although when my blood pressure was taken, it was a little high.

Of course it was. 🙄

Capricorn is known for enduring very rough conditions in childhood while succeeding in adulthood. I may as well still be a kid since things are still really hard. Even living here has conditioned me to adapt to circumstances that needed some pushback.

Simply put, the seagoat will endure a lot of things that they don’t need to, because it comes so easily for Capricorn to do.

On top of that, because of this propensity to lead, people will start to rely on Capricorn to do all the work they don’t want to do.

Another strength that can be wielded into a weakness is Capricorn’s willingness to lead–especially when there’s a vacuum in leadership.

I felt like had to take a leadership role here at home because it was getting so absurdly unstable.

This year, I sent increasing annoyed emails, texts, and letters to the owners of this house about the actively psychotic and all-around selfish jerk whom I call “the creep” because he spent a week stalking me in my own house. And things shifted only about a couple of weeks ago after one particular pointed and angry email where I basically had to tell the owner that the creep owns the house now and that she was being unfair to me.

She acted within hours of receiving the email, finally banning the creep from smoking in the house.

I put up with a lot of shit from the owners’ lack of courage and the creep’s lack of boundaries. I spent money I didn’t need to. I gave grace when I didn’t need to. I helped another resident here multiple times when I didn’t need to.

Why? Well, it was just easier to do it. I’m here. I’m of strong mind, body, and will. Let’s just get this shit done already.

But aren’t other people here, too? Why can’t they handle their own responsibilities?

Capricorn can really trust themselves, more than they will trust others. They take pride in their self-sufficiency. People who feed into this can possibly manipulate Capricorn to, again, do the things they don’t want to do.

Sure, this is a big reason why Capricorn can be seen as controlling. But then Capricorn looks at the world, so undone and teeming with chaos. Saturn rules Capricorn, and being a child of Saturn, Capricorn loves and craves stability and order.

Especially when my world is covered in chaos, taking charge and getting things done for myself is something I love to do — and maybe, a side benefit is to shame those who refuse to do what they need to be doing.

Yet it’s interesting that neither doctor’s office yesterday felt any shame that I had to do their jobs for them.

So that’s the double-edged sword of being self-sufficient: it can end up cutting back against you.

And this hasn’t happened much in my relationships, but this sort of obstinate self-sufficiency could block love and care from others.

The Capricorn child who is left to fend for herself, who then takes pride in taking care of herself, her parents, and her siblings, may have a really tough time receiving that same love, care, and devotion from her partner, family, and friends.

Ultimately, I feel that Capricorn has to learn: just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

For me, this is a lifelong lesson with boundaries. There are so many questions that I need to ask myself when faced with someone’s dereliction of duty.

  • Is this short-term win worth it in the long run?
  • Am I training people to be lazy and irresponsible if I come in and save the day?
  • Have I expressed my needs clearly enough?
  • If I leave this alone, will the world actually end?
  • Is forcing my will here the right thing to do for me first, and for everyone else next?

I find Capricorn to be extremely willful and resourceful and have a propensity to try to solve all problems–because Capricorn at least believes he can’t.

But, he can’t.

Capricorn can be a lot like Atlas, carrying the world on his shoulders. We can also be like Sisyphus, rolling this boulder of responsibility up and down the never-ending hills of life.

But whose world is that? Whose boulder is being pushed? Is it really mine?

Additionally, we could be blocking the lessons others need to learn when we just swoop in and try to save the day. 

Tomorrow, I will write letters to both doctor’s offices and fire both doctors. I have enough of the world to carry because when I have to do your job, then you need to be fired.

Back to my housing situation…

There’s a lot of things I’ve let go of being unchanging here, like the cleanliness of the house. The microwave is disgusting, and usually this would drive me mad.

But no one is dying, including me. So dirty it will stay until I leave.

Still, there’s a lot of absurdity here that I have to live with because the owners like money more than my customer satisfaction.

So I can only care about myself here, and no one else.

Let things fall into chaos around me. It is not my responsibility. And it never ever really was.

And of course, people will push back when you decide to mind your own business a little more. People who relied on you to be their eyes, ears, and hands will pout and put the blame on you.

Eventually, you’ll just need to walk away from it all.

So the only thing I know is that I won’t have to endure it for long. The plan this year is to move out. It’ll take some focus, endurance, luck, and a miracle or two.

But that’s one thing that Capricorn can do so well — time travel into the future and then return back and create the steps to make the future he desires a reality.

There could be so much more I could accomplish if I used my skills of resilience, and the deep I have in myself, for the right causes, for the reasons.

What dreams are waiting in the wings as I continue to focus on the wrong things? The petty things?

The needless things.

Just because Capricorn can endure doesn’t mean Capricorn should.

So sometimes, true strength and resilience requires the courage to let go, to let entropy decide the consequences, to look inward and create stability and order within oneself.

I am not responsible for the world.

So let the world fall apart and fall back together as it should.

If you liked what you’ve read, I’d love your support as a patron on Patreon. Tiers starts at just $1/month.

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“Accidental” Alignment with the Full Moon

letting go SOM

I’ve loved this song since it came out over a decade ago. I thought it was appropriate for this full moon in Scorpio that’s happening tonight at 8:58pm EDT.

There’s already been a lot of letting go.

The Full Moon in My 11th House

I kind of accidentally wrote about what the full moon was already doing to me yesterday on Twitter here. I won’t rehash all that except to say that even last week’s blog post seems to be about this full moon for me, too. I didn’t think it was really affecting me, but here I am, dressed in black (as Scorpios love to do).

I’ve also already written a lot about my 11th house in my astrological natal chart, so I’m not going to rehash that again either.

I haven’t really been focused on this full moon at all. It could be because Jupiter, the planet of expansion and moremoremore has been retrograde for a while. It could also be that I’ve gone through hell with my 11th house since 2012, so I feel like that house has been made low. Now, I’m rebuilding.

The 11th house is of friendship and community, and as I have grown spiritually, this house has been continuously transformed. The people who are in my life now seem to be keepers. Even though my community isn’t local, it is real and solid and sustaining.

My natal Uranus, the planet of innovation, disruption and surprise, is in Scorpio, so one of my life lessons is learning that people will pop in and out of my life deeply but rapidly.

Within the last two months, I’ve had at least two people do that in my life–and it’s been for the best. I can see that, even if I don’t even like losing people.

I have been more excited for Uranus in Aries leaving my 4th house of family and home in a couple of weeks (16 days, but who’s counting? ME!).

I can already feel the peace in this house and in myself–and it’s peace that I’ve actively worked toward–through meditation, prayer, candle and root work, and self-advocacy.

A Uranus in Aries Win (Finally!)

For example, a couple of weeks ago, I had a breakthrough with the landlady and the creep with his smoking in the house. I wrote her an angry email after she took a week to get back to me about smelling smoke in the house again. She texted me to say she was sorry that I was in this situation (a situation that she caused) but that I had to pay to keep myself comfortable in this house (something I had already done.

So, I fired off an angry email, basically saying:

  • I was deeply insulted that she expected me to pay more to stay comfortable in this house.
  • That the creep must own the house, not her.
  • That keeping this house safe was her responsibility.
  • That I was going to hold her to it to do her job.
  • Sorry wasn’t good enough.

A mere few hours later, she came to the house to talk to the creep. I didn’t really smell smoke after that, so I thought, hey–that email finally worked, after months of complaining.

Then something random happened here–an electrician came to our house, but had the wrong address (he needed to be across the street). I had called her to see if there was an actual issue that she called the electrician for–it actually wasn’t odd for her to call people over and not tell us.

She texted back saying that she could hear my voicemail, asking me what was up. So I told her. Then she said that the creep could not smoke on the property at all, not in the backyard or the porch or the driveway. He had to go to the stop sign at the end of our street–the house is a house away, so about a minute or two to walk.

I’ll write about this more for my patrons on Patreon soon, but this was a major and needed win. Unlike the past 7 years that started with a terrible move down to Florida and a lot of housing upheaval (6 addresses in 6 years), I could see the tide finally turning from the tsunami of bullshit that I had been withstanding.

Uranus really is wrapping up his tour of terribleness. It’s sometimes hard to believe, that I can be heard and responded to in the right way…when so many times, I felt like my voice was lost in the wind…

Springing Forth While Waiting in the Dark

Still, it’s been a tough month. Aries season was a bit draining. I felt like I was spinning my wheels and getting nowhere. Now that we’re in Taurus season, I feel calmer, rooted in place–within myself.

The spark of springtime lies deep within me, ready for new life to spring forth. I’m waiting for my new life to begin.

There’s been a lot of waiting.

This full moon in Scorpio, even though I wasn’t paying attention to it–there’s the themes of deep transformation and healing, of clearing out dead things, of death itself.

For the past few years, whether it was through writing my thesis, or just in reflective moments, I’ve spent a lot of time lately looking backwards, trying to make sense of my relationships with people. And through that sankofa journey, I believe I’ve been able to arrive at a new and peaceful place of reckoning.

I can separate the Chicago chapter of my life from this liminal chapter of living in Florida. Chicago sometimes feels like my glory days, while Florida feels like a litany of shame and failure.

Yet both chapters, although integral to my growth, are possibly, hopefully, the prologue to a bigger story, waiting to be written.

So much of my life has felt like I was spinning my wheels, getting nowhere, like one draining Aries season. And yet today, although the full moon isn’t exact yet, I felt really clear and happy and light.

The morning skies were clear and sunny and blue. The trees vary in color, from the lighter new leaves to the dark more mature leaves. Butterflies floated along in the light breeze.

There’s still so much undone and unanswered for. But, for once, I feel like I’m not dreading the answers, whatever they may be. There’s enough momentum that I can feel coursing through my soul, pushing me forward, towards goodness and light.

Yet under the cover of dark soil, there are things germinating inside of me, things I can’t speak of publicly or otherwise. They’re being fed and nourished by all the dead things that I’ve been faithfully letting go.

Letting Go of a Couple of Things

One thing that I let go of was that I would find my local community here. I had become so obsessed with finding my tribe or my peeps. Nothing seemed to work.

So I just stopped trying to fix my 11th house, and it wasn’t in some cosmic surrender. It was out of frustration and hopelessness. I just assumed my natal Uranus would just continue its process of rapid giving and taking.

At the very least, I’ve learned better how to be detached, to be a good steward of the people who come through my life.

Still, needless to say, I was surprised to be so aligned with what the full moon in Scorpio plans to do. I’ve been so focused on getting my business in shape so I can leave this house–it’s basically one obsession replacing another.

Yet, my 11th house, slowly but surely has been rebuilt.

For example, a couple of days ago, I told a friend that “I know I’m ready to have my heart broken, which means, I’m ready to fully love.” That’s been a huge shift for me. And it’s because I know that I have a great group of girlfriends, albeit scattered across the country and globe, that would help me pick myself back up.

So that’s another thing I’ve had to die to–a sense of safety, and Uranus in Aries has taught me that, over and over. I can only be truly safe within myself. And as someone with a Capricorn sun, and Cancer moon, that’s the axis I spin on, security.

But to have the new life that I want and deserve, to be the person I want and need to be, I can’t be safe. And I’ve been brave in so many ways my whole life, so honestly, it gets a little tiring to put on my cape, once again. But instead of for survival’s sake, it’ll be for love’s sake.

So really, that’s what this full moon in Scorpio will be about for me, to let go some more…to let the moon’s illumination show me where I need to stand up and where I need to surrender, and to show me how things in my life have already healed.

To be grateful that, at least for today, as I hold all these disparate feelings–longing, sorrow, anticipation, fear, happiness, and hope, I’m not overwhelmed. Instead, I’m left with a sense of wonder of all the unknown but glorious things to come.

If you liked what you’ve read, I’d love your support as a patron on Patreon. Tiers starts at just $1/month. 

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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.

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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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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!