remembering where I’m headed

It’s Virgo season, which means a lot of us are examining and scrutinizing the details of our lives, seeing where we can enhance and improve.

And sometimes, that can be quite annoying without the right perspective.

Personally, I had a very needed reminder from the full moon in Cancer, New Year’s Day, 2017, of who I’ve become and where I’m headed.

And I only thought of this because I got a little sidetracked in a brief moment of sadness and longing.

This morning, I childhood friend of mine had posted this beautiful picture of a frittata that she had made for her and one of her best friends for her bachelorette getaway. This childhood friend is a newlywed herself.

First of all, she’s a great cook (and has her sun in Cancer), but she’s also just a great nurturing friend–one that I had to leave when we moved back when I was eight years old.

So seeing her Instagram post doubly stung. We’d never be that close because I had moved. But also, someone was getting married. Usually, I don’t care about people getting married. I had been pretty OK with being a singleton lately.

But I think the combo of a lovely family friend and her closer friend and the early morning made me more vulnerable and fragile than usual.

Back to last year…I had been frustrated on my practically non-existent dating life, but I had this revelation about where I had been for most of my life. I had been a staunch evangelical and if I had settled down and married years ago, I’d be looking at some divorce.

It’s almost as if the Universe knew I’d be someone else entirely different–someone much more like myself.

I know this blog has been about that very transition, from evangelical to, I guess, spiritualist. But it’s been a very Virgo time–it’s been about the minutia and details of what’s been going on.

Specificity is great for story, but then what is the bigger story being told here?

So after that reflex of pain that I had looking on Instagram, I had to remind myself of who I am now and what the real story is about.

Yes, most of my suffering has been financial. This month in particular is a trigger. Four years ago, I was sent packing after not being able to pay rent and losing my job. I went on a month-long adventure across the metro area via airbnb.

Sidenote: I started this blog right before I had to leave, so it’s been a record of meandering and instability. You could say that all these troubles have been an initiation.

Although I’m mostly healed from that experience of leaving a crazy home and being quasi-homeless, it’s not something I want to go through again.

This year is the first year where I even remembered that terrible time. And it’s also the first time in years that I’ve really felt unsettled and, frankly, scared of what’s going to happen to me.

At the same time, this blog hasn’t just been about all the suffering over my misfortune, heartache, and betrayals. It’s been about:

growth

And as I said last time, things are better, but it’s still really scary. I got a call today that I didn’t answer about a bill that’s past due. It put me in the worst mood, like it 2014 again, except I’m carless. So it took a lot–although it was really just listening to music–to not spiral into a catastrophizing fit.

And sometimes, spiraling is a way to cope. But it’s not a coping mechanism that was helping me today.

The dark fantasy: I will be homeless and ruined.

The stark reality: the bill will probably get paid this week and in the next two weeks, things will be stable again.

And here’s the thing about poverty–it limits your focus and your gaze. You’re reduced to worrying about things that may never happen, having Sophie’s choices over bills and your wellbeing, and being a walking a ledger sheet of money coming in and going out.

So yeah, I have a lot of compassion for myself here. Even when I look at this blog, I see the uncarryable weight of not having enough money and not having local people around to support me. And I’ve seen how I keep fighting to not have this myopic view, even if I sound terribly whiny and bratty.

Well, fuck it–I don’t care anymore about how I sound or how I may seem to others. This is my journey, my fight, my life. And I thank you for bearing witness to it, week after week.

But what’s beyond all this? *makes wild gesticulations*

If I don’t spiritually bypass or somehow make sense all the terrible shit I’ve been through, I can simply say that I really am where I need to be, as a complete person.

I can say that the things I want and need–I may not be fully ready for them.

Yes, I want to have a bunch of girlfriends to celebrate an upcoming wedding with, but if I really had to be honest with myself, I’ve been transformed.

The woman who left to go on a journey of housing instability is now someone who is even more intentional about creating what she wants. She is someone who isn’t going to wait for circumstances to be right to start following my bliss.

And that took some big disappointments for me to get here.

So yeah, I have these major goals: I want to move out of state, grow my business, find my tribe, find my person, and explore the world. But right now, the way hasn’t been opened yet…although I can see a sliver of light on the darkened horizon…a way will be shown for those desires to come to fruition.

But then there’s an even bigger story: the journey of becoming and unfolding who I am. I pulled this card in a read from the Energy Oracle Card deck by Sandra Anne Taylor:

screenshot_20180909-121812_energy8828607193942416168.jpg

And this card signifies the spiritual journey I’m on. I’m going in the right direction and this place–the garden and the temple–this is where I’m headed. The lights are the spiritual support I have here on earth and beyond the veil.

The winding path has been what I’ve been focused on for so long, every little pebble and brick and weed growing in the cracks. But really, if I only lifted my head once in a while, I’d see where I was going–and how beautiful it is.

Yes, life is about the journey, not the destination. And I have been so tired of thinking about my soul’s growth–but this could also be about positioning.

That can be so tough to hear when you’re in a holding pattern. The stuckness may not be even a consequence of your actions.

It really could be that you’re on the right path. That yes, it’ll all make sense later.

Even though seeing a pretty egg dish post made me sad about where I am right now, it doesn’t mean I don’t deserve that dish, a friend to make that dish, or a celebration where that dish would be made.

It just means that if I’m here, then I’m supposed to be here.

And again–this can be, and for me has been, so hard to stomach and accept, but even five years ago, if I could see where I would be now–talking to you about astrology and tarot, about my soul’s growth, about oracle cards, about telepathy and kinds of connections with others, about all the synchronicities I see and keep seeing…there’s no way I could have known that this would happen–especially because of what I had gone through.

I had only reached out to other spiritual people–people who worked with crystals and angels and oracle cards–because I desperately needed help.

But truly–this life is what I wanted and needed.

Even though there’s a very bitter struggle just to support myself, I’m dwelling in this lush garden of me. Right now, there’s nothing and no one distracting me from hearing myself.

I’m creating businesses from practically nothing.

the magician

I still struggle to be grateful for it all because I feel like there could be so much more that I could be doing or being as a person.

One day, I’ll learn that surrender is so much easier than resistance.

But I was given a lot to heal from and sort through, including how I was raised. It never ceases to amaze me how much more parental stuff I have to work through because it’s warping how I see myself and the world. That’s part of the winding path I’m on.

So sure, where I’m headed are those goals I previously mentioned. Great goals, beautiful goals. But I’m also headed to a place where I can be more myself–more myself in ways I didn’t even know was possible or could ever even imagine.

I feel like I’m just babbling right now, but if I could sum up how I feel about it all, it’d be this in this fortune:

Everything serves to further

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resistance training

resistance SOM

I can’t remember where the thought came, but it was probably one of those fleeting existential thoughts I have every day.

Why are things so hard? 

Why do I feel stuck?

Will things ever get easier?

Things here were allegedly going to clear up yesterday, with the human trashbag taking himself out (with the supervision of someone here), since his lease was not renewed. It’s strange, but I kept hearing that wasn’t going to happen until Sunday.

The human chimney is still here.

I wouldn’t really care if it wasn’t for the stupid smoking inside, and the scary decompensation/manbaby temper tantrum that last about 21 hours near the full moon.

And he’s just a symptom. It’s the landlady who is currently in Canada doing fuck-all. She won’t be back on the 12th.

I’m not even going to check on this, because these are the constants I have. It’s not my house. The only thing I’ve vowed is that I will fight this spiritually now.

At the very least, I’m not afraid of anyone anymore. That took all year to get that place of internal solidity.

But something broke.

Like a true Capricorn, I have a (somewhat) janky knee. This month about 11 years ago, I had knee surgery. For two weeks, as the cartilage in my knee healed, I wasn’t allowed to put weight on my leg. It’s amazing what two weeks will do to a muscle. My thigh muscles atrophied.

After those two weeks, I had months and months of physical therapy to build my muscles back up.

One of the exercises I had to do was crab walk with resistance bands, like the ones in the image above. I’m sure I did a lot of other resistance band exercises. Somewhere in storage, I have a ton of them. They were exercises I wasn’t supposed to ever stop, really. But I did.

This week, I’ve been pondering about what I should be doing with my career as a writer. I’ve been feeling like I’m not going in the right direction because everything has been so hard. I haven’t been making connections to the clients I want.

Everything feels like a struggle, one I’m not willing to fight through. It feels like I’m going to hit a dead end any moment now.

And this whole blog has been one long sad song of life is has been so hard, for so long.

Those pained words are real, and for so many years, even before this blog, it’s the only true song I’ve known.

But I’m tired of this dirge-as-life refrain.

But practically speaking, I didn’t want to keep thinking that I was wrong. That I’m someone who needs to be fixed.

So on July 1st, I definitely felt like a different person.

Before that Twitter thread, on June 29th, I had such a mind-blowing experience, talking to an intuitive, and I know I’m being guided to do different things. Like read tarot and astrological charts professionally.

But also, to lean into my creativity more and write more creatively. Again, someone has told me that I should write books, and I’d love to–but I’d also like to eat.

Interestingly, I did a tarot reading for a friend. She’s also a writer, leaving behind a different career.

The reading basically was this: you’re stopping and assessing what’s going on. You need to embrace this transformation and stop procrastinating.

Great. 😩

I definitely took that as a free reading for me. She and I are on similar tracks, and that reading really resonated.

My Services page went up yesterday, and it felt…like the right thing to do. I wasn’t afraid. I wasn’t expecting a lot of fanfare from anyone–I’ve gotten a few supportive messages from closer friends, which has been surprising and encouraging.

My Twitter presence seems muted at times, even though I know a lot of tarot readers and astrologers.

But that’s something I’ll be working on, marketing to the right people.

Something that keeps coming up for me lately, but has always been nagging at me–the feeling that I am not even closer to what I should be doing.

My mom told me when I was 15 or so that I wasn’t really living up to my potential. In high school, I didn’t really have the best work ethic. I silently agreed with her. And 25 years later, I still do.

And not to get back on the weepy-go-round of grief, but I have always felt held back or encumbered by things that I can’t control.

It’s always something…

Even now, because that terrible housemate is going through some stupid depressive spiral and chain-smoking in his room, I’m breathing smoke right now, for the umpteenth day.

And there’s nothing else I can do about it.

And last week, I got really sick of feeling helpless about it.

But here’s the reality: I am on my own with this–physically, anyway. I will have to wait this out (who knows for how long?), or figure this out spiritually.

I’ve had to dig deep to find spiritual resources because there aren’t any others around me.

And that’s how it’s been for a while.

So since there are no saviors here, then there’s only amor fati left–a love of fate. Loving, embracing what is, right now.

And that’s what broke–my resistance to this experience.

Yet resistance creates strength.

And that’s the thought that came to me this week, that all this resistance has created an incredible strength that I could not have possessed otherwise.

So many people remark on my strength, but this isn’t because I signed up for this (no matter what spiritual teachings that say otherwise). This isn’t some spiritual circuit training course.

It’s always been out of necessity.

And. The recurrent thoughts I have about how bad things are, they’re out of necessity, too:

I’m not going through all this shit for nothing.

There’s a greater purpose for this struggle.

This has to be used for the greater good.

Although today was allegedly going to be an Independence Day from this trash person, there was a mightier independence declared earlier.

I’m not going to be defined by my circumstances, by the lack of respect, by the lack of help, by the lack of it all.

I’m still here, unharmed. I am full of an ever-expanding ocean of self-respect, a raging wildfire of righteousness, and gale-force winds of determination.

I am supported by loved ones who have passed on and protected by angelic beings.

And there are some online friends who have been there for me, and I’m ever so grateful…but it’s not the same as being here.

Oh, another old refrain that’s not even worth dredging up again

So maybe most of my life has been me, thinking I was supposed to be walking normally, but instead, the resistance was doing some work for me, on me.

I can’t say this without thinking of all the crazy resistance bands that are thrown on marginalized people.

Why do we have to be strong when the occupants of dominant culture crumble at the paper cuts of life?

But I really can speak of my own journey. Being treated cruelly when I’ve given kindness–that isn’t my karma is it? I thought if you’re to be kind to those who are unkind to you, then things will transform.

Says the former chump. Says also a lot of well-meaning white people.

I don’t know…this all made sense when I was briefly thinking about it: the persistent circumstances that have been clipping my wings, that have kept me in this suboptimal holding pattern. And I thought it was me not trying.

Even when my mom said that to me about my potential at age 15, I was living with a frighteningly emotionally distant mother, a father who was becoming more and more mentally ill, and a brother who had his own scary behavioral issues.

Yeah. Not really the potting soil for “living up for my potential.”

So, 40 years later, and life is still pretty disappointing. So now what?

Until “then,” until conditions are more optimal, when will I start living, right here, right now?

Waiting out the smoke monster is a waste of my time, of my life. It’s no way to live.

Fuck this and fuck him.

I’m strong enough to really live, instead of mourning and grieving the life that I felt I was meant to live (and this thought came up today right before I had a Reiki session).

So yes, the life I was meant to live was never alive. It was always dead. But the life I can live now, even in this dump of a home, can be real, can be full of joy, can teem with healing and hope.

I don’t have to wait. I don’t have to resist. I don’t have to settle. I don’t have to merely cope.

And this is probably why the practice of gratitude has been so hard for me. How can you tell a perpetually grieving person–a person who had high hopes for herself, who had those high hopes continuously dashed–to focus on what she does have, not what she doesn’t have?

Grief has been silently strangling for so long. It came up today during a Reiki session.  I wasn’t surprised.

But I am tired of grieving what wasn’t, what should have been.

This is the life that I’ve been given, for better and for worse. So many bitter things, I’ve had to choke down and swallow, more than the normal amount.

And my heart…goes out…to all experiences.

But herein lies…hope.

I still have so many chances to make this miraculous life into something that will last beyond my earthly body.

Right now. Because that’s all I have.

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the pushback

pushing through fear SOM

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

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

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

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

No response.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But it takes a lot for me to get there.

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

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

It’s been a nightmare.

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

And why? Just to torture me?

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

The classmate and her awful roommates.

The crazy Pisces lady with her ridiculously spoiled Capricorn daughter.

The paranoid, Capricorn attorney from church

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

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

wait that's it

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

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

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

And this is a theme.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But, I have to keep calling.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No, no, no, no, no.

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

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

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

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

Why doesn’t she care about me?

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

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

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

But I can do more, and I will.

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

Our own inner children are barefoot.

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

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

I’ll keep pushing back.

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mercurial swag

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

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

Way harsh, Tai.

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

Star Lessons on the Trickster Messenger

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mercury’s in the Lemonade or Gatorade?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mercury in the 12th House

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oof. Yes.

So how does this show up for me?

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

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

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

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

So why am I even talking about this at all?

Friendship as a Mirror, and the Fear of Seeing Yourself

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The response was succinct but positive.

I felt really…stupid.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What I See, What I (Long to) Accept

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

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

This isn’t all of who I am.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, it’s not all that bad!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So here’s what I can do instead.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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hell is living with other people

four male roommates SOM

I’ve been burning a candle all day.

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

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

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

Edited to add (6/17/18): I actually had forgotten an incident that happen before this first incident, “Condom in the Bowl”–it was during the summer between my second and third years.

The Nightmare Subletting Roommate

I sublet a room from an acquaintance, an apartment close to the University of Chicago Hospitals. I’m sure that building is gone since the hospital has expanded.

The other roommate was a Ghanaian grad student. I don’t remember his name. I just remember that he had a 10-speed with these bright colored handles.

I’m going to keep this short because this is far in the recesses of my mind, and this was a really traumatizing experience, living with a psychopath.

Besides not having any a/c in my room, this guy was a nightmare. He wrote a letter to the Dean of Students about me, and she wrote me back chiding me. I wasn’t on university property at the time and she didn’t even ask for my side of the story.

He also extorted money from me, claiming that I didn’t clean up enough. So I remember walking to the gym on campus with a male friend to make sure I wasn’t hurt or shaken down for more money.

Condom in the Bowl

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Three Capricorns

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So she did.

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

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

Pathetic kitty.

The Perfect Roommate Vanishes

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

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

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

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

A Child and an Adult

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

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

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

Tossed My Cookies

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

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

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

For the most part, it was all pretty chill.

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

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

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

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

The Aquarian fitness freak had eaten the rest.

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

But she had bulimia.

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

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

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

And, truly–we were worried about her health.

Nothing changed.

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

The Nomadic Years

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

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

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

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

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

Sorry, not sorry.

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

I was livid.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Smile and nod, smile and nod.

I deleted her phone number instead.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was the cops.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Well, I am,” I said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But they didn’t.

That brings me up to this past Friday.

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

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

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

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

That had happened, but it was worse.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A pitiful penance.

Now What? (ramblings of the present and future)

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

So. Where to?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, that’s something.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I need an invitation. I need safe passage.

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

My life is absurd.

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

Healing words. Writing as a way of healing.

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

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

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

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

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