Write it down, make it happen?
I’m going to spoil the end of the work-in-progress I started in grad school and worked on during #NaNoWriMo for the past two years.
The last word is dream.
Dreaming hasn’t come very easily for me for the past few years. It’s been a “just the facts, ma’am” Saturnian life. Chop wood, carry water, try to make it through the day.
Try to remember to be grateful.
Try not to drown in the bitterness of life.
Try to keep your head up.
Writing this novel started off as an assignment for my fiction workshop and as a way to understand a ghosting that happened with some guy from Twitter. It ended up being a needed escape, a needed healing, and possibly a conjuring of the life that I want–beautiful transformative relationships with others.
That last part still freaks me out, especially since a lot of it was written before things started happening in my life, but that’s part of the beauty and magic of fiction, even more so than creative nonfiction, my speciality.
I’m not sure when or where I realized how dreamless my life has been, but I’m sure when I finished the first complete draft of my novel, I realized that I don’t have many dreams of my own anymore.
I may have said this before here, but it’s a realization I keep coming back to: after grad school and writing my thesis/memoir, I felt like I had come to do what I was born to do. It was the toughest mountain to climb, a mostly solo journey, and I reached the summit.
I was done with my life’s work at age 36. And I haven’t even worked on it or published it yet.
So ever since then, I have been coming down, or I’ve been rolling down the mountain like a nonstop avalanche of loss, a loss I keep talking about even though most of it is over. That’s how trauma works. It’s also because it’s been unfathomable, even when I list everything I lost…
What matters now: I survived it all.
It was the a hefty price I paid to write my life story and to follow my dreams to become a writer and editor without much support.
So now what?
I feel like I have written this post before, because my life seems to be revolving around what seems to be a swirling empty space, the seemingly elusive domestic life that I thought would be pretty easy to obtain.
Surprise, a double Capricorn overcomes overwhelming odds in her professional life while her personal life looks like a life after a major storm.
It’s a pretty boring story that needs a re-write.
It’s all in the gotdamn timing.
Last Monday, I was talking to my long-time friend who has been my partner in spinsterdom. She and I met in church in Chicago. We used to sing together on the worship team, and we got back in touch a few years ago.
A full moon in Cancer, talking to my Cancer friend while watching The Bachelor with salt-and-pepper dreamboat, Arie. The way that dude kisses alone–it should be patented and taught…
Anyway, I knew the holidays were going to bittersweet for both of us, and in some ways, even more so for my friend. So I wanted to check in her dating adventures and just her in general (she had back surgery late last year, right before a couple of big runs for charity).
She has a big family with all her younger siblings being married, two of them with kids. I’m pretty sure all of her other close friends are married or will soon be married (she told me about three engagements over the holidays (cliche, cliche, cliche)).
It really stinks if you want to be “there” and you’re “here,” alone.
She and I are at that point where we’re pretty fulfilled people. I’ve lived a pretty full life already and I’m grateful for all the adventures Chicago gave me. I only wish I traveled more, but my life isn’t over yet.
My friend is in management in a therapist group. She has a great church, great friends, loves to run for charity–you can see all that and more in her annual holiday card.
And I don’t really mean to exalt marriage and family as “the” thing. My thing was and is writing. I believe her thing is being in service to children. I really believe you need to have a thing that has nothing to do with any life partner or spouse.
But if I have to be Jupiterian/Sagittarius about it, marriage and family is the next thing I want to experience. There are things I want to do, and maybe even need to do, in that social construct that I can’t do myself.
Can I get even more esoteric and spiritual and weird about this? I feel like I’ve met two of my kids already, in spirit.
To sidetrack myself even more, I have realized during my sojourn in Florida how little I could do without help, and how easy it was to be forgotten. There’s always an assumption that your family of origin will be there for you, especially during the holidays. It’s like an umbilical cord that is never quite fully cut.
Mind you, I’m not really comparing being single to being completely forgotten, though. I’m just layering on the lack of community part that I’ve experienced that my friend has not.
But at the same time, let me be super blunt here: loneliness kills. Even still, as a single person, you can totally have your peeps, your tribe, and not need the life-draining addition of a marriage (I’m saying that for women, since for men, it adds life expectancy).
So let me get back on track as to why I’m bringing all this marriage and family stuff up in the first place.
I got caught up on my friend’s dating life–it was more of the same. Close, but no cigar in terms of spiritual connection. She really wants an “on fire for God” Christian, and I want that for her, too. If it’s that important to her, then it’s that important to God (until she says it’s not) and she should not settle.
But the woman she met back in the early aughts is not the woman I am now. If my relatively short track record of dating is any clue, both serious relationships I had were with men who were in the fringes of Christianity–pondering, questioning, unsure. I don’t think either of them are in church anymore either.
In talking to her about where I was at, all the unrelentingly cruel shit I went through since 2012, even being in this crazy house, has brought me to a spiritual plane where I need to be.
(I knew one day I’d see that, but not while I’m still in it. So I am super hella grateful for this early hindsight.)
It’s hard to learn about boundaries when everyone is respectful of yours.
It’s hard to learn about relying on the Universe when everyone has your back and all your needs are met.
It’s hard to learn about kindness when you’re in no place to really receive it or need it.
It’s hard to learn about humility if you haven’t been humbled over and over.
It’s hard to see through evangelicalism if you’re not on the outside of the church, looking in.
All the spiritual practices I have learned have been out of desperate necessity. I bought my first crystals while living with a crazy Pisces. I burned sage for the first time when I was in a shady Airbnb placement and a cop came banging on the door of a man wanted for child support. I continually reached out to tarot readers and astrologers when my life yielded more questions and confusion than answers and clarity.
So, if I had gotten married to some “on fire for God” Christian man when I thought I would (around 30), I wouldn’t be here–which, well, living here sucks. But I wouldn’t be me. I don’t think a marriage could have survived the hell I went through, that I seemingly needed to go through.
That’s really sobering, because I didn’t sign up to give up my Christian faith (or, more likely, greatly expand it). To put this in astrological terms, not only did my Saturn return revamp what I was to do vocationally, it also radically revamped where I was headed philosophically and spiritually.
And this isn’t to say I went through all this so I can finally get a man. I don’t think this was about me becoming a better life partner, but becoming a better person. My 30s were a decade of deep reinvention, and most of my relationships did not survive the changes. And, they weren’t built for that, especially in the evangelical realm with its brittle dualism.
But what I thought was an easy dream, heck, even an inevitability, has started to become multivariate and more intricate (and that’s usually the case anyway, since all dreams involve more than one person).
I can finally say, with at least partial recognition and growing gratitude: the Universe cockblocked me for a reason–for a lot of good reasons.
I shared all that–well, not all, but the gist of it–to my friend while we’re growing bored and restless and frankly, a little sad and forlorn, in the waiting room of life, waiting for the next phase to begin. It may not even be about us being ready for what we want and need, but that our wants and needs to be readied for us.
This is so easy to forget while we all have our own separate and yet collective journeys, as we drown in self-help and personal development and gurudom and advertising that’s saying that you lack this one key thing.
Most of the time, it’s really just patience and compassion for yourself, because the waiting and wanting and desiring is neverending. It’s always something….
As the dust settles on this life renovation, I can start to see who is going to to stick around (well at least who I want stick around) in this newer, truer version of my life. For now, I’m almost done battling the hierarchy of needs war and am walking into the cozy, comforting warmth of peacetime, finally.
The luxurious energy and the utmost necessity of dreams – a paradox
Dreaming seems like a luxury when you’re worried about your car being repossessed or where you’re going to sleep the next night. But dreaming is essential, because it can’t be chop wood, carry water endlessly.
Being a writer was a dream. Going to the University of Chicago was a dream. My first boyfriend was a dream that I didn’t even know could exist.
There’s got to be something else that gets you up in the morning besides that there’s this golden ball in the sky peering into your room with light which is getting into your eyes.
Last week, I went to Tarot.com and bought a past life astrology report based on the teachings of Edgar Cayce, a 20th-century American Christian mystic.
One natal aspect jumped out at me–how Mars, the planet of energy, power, action, and desire, is in a harmonious relationship (or trine) with Neptune, the planet of illusion, dreams, psychic abilities, and spirituality.
With the spiritual protection which surrounds you, together with your integrity and strong compassion, you are a practical idealist who can “dream true.”
That is, rather than being deceived or deluded by your dreams and visions, you can be guided by and act decisively upon your dream, meditation and prayer experiences. This unique quality gives you great potential for much-needed spiritual leadership in the present.
I remember my first Aquarius best friend/emotional boyfriend telling me how he was a reluctant idealist. Or did I tell him that’s what I was? However that came about, 20 years later that has stuck with me.
Dreaming can be a little dangerous and wild, and those two dear children of Saturn were a little wary of letting our guards down and letting hopes and dreams for ourselves, and the world, run amok.
And maybe we should have. We may have learned that our dreams are truly trustworthy.
In dreams begin responsibilities (a dance between Saturn and Jupiter)
It’s Capricorn season, and good ole Father Time/Saturn has returned to his kingdom, getting the lay of the land, surveying what needs to stay and what needs to be rebuilt in our individual and corporate lives.
And Saturn pulls no punches. There is no sugarcoating in what Saturn finds, whether it’s wrong–or right. Though I was glad that Saturn left the loosey-goosey confines of Sagittarius, it has not been a happy Capricorn season for me.
But Saturn isn’t really here to make me happy, but to make me better.
Now that I’m 40 (and I have to write about the mindfuck this number is next week), I don’t want to dream to simply escape the drudgery of my life. I want to dream to build real and true things because life is short.
Dreaming takes energy, and a little bit of faith and hope. I’ve had to focus on other things for so long, it feels weird to return to the waking land of dreams (Astrological sidenote: my solar return moon is a Pisces moon, so this year is a dreamy time for me indeed).
Part of me is still exhausted from grad school and the years after it–exhausted and a little afraid.
What if I dream and receive another dream deferment? Can I dare to dream again?
I had no idea what my life would be like post-grad school. Writing that thesis was the thing for me. I gave birth to the biggest dream that I have ever dreamed in my life. It’s really hard to pivot from that to think about another dream, big or small.
I knew that didn’t really want to stay in academia and that with whatever work I found, I wanted to be able to support myself. But that was it. I didn’t have a plan for it.
I had a very ambitious plan for being a child psychiatrist and my life after that. It’s a dream, although deferred and now dead, I haven’t forgotten. It was structured and safe.
But the Universe wants much more for me.
So since 2014, I’ve been a bit of a lost seagoat, wandering around in the IKEA of life choices. Capricorns and other Saturn-influenced people do not like wandering nor wondering nor being lost nor any sort of confusion.
But not all who wander are lost–at least according to J.R.R. Tolkien.
Still, even in my wondering and wandering, the things I want and desire really haven’t changed much since I wrote them down when I was 12–and ultimately, it’s having good people in my life. Besides having a connection with God, that was the basis of why I loved Christianity so much, the insta-community that seemed to occur with shared faith and values.
Jupiter, the planet of expansion and more more more, is transiting in deep-feeling and probing Scorpio. That planet has been in my 11th house of community and friendships. With this transit, it feels easier to think about the community I want to be a part of, that I am already a part of.
I want to build real and true relationships with people meant for me, even as, and definitely because, the world is seemingly imploding in rage, war, abuse, narcissism, cruelty, and neglect (or, it’s always been this bad, but we are just more aware now).
Beyond that, and those kids that keep popping up in my consciousness, and other places and people that the Universe seems to keep pointing me towards, that’s all I’ve got. That’s all I have energy to hold space for right now.
And honestly, it’s enough…for now. I’m saying that mostly for my benefit, since at times, I’m sad and bewildered that I’m not feeling that ambitious anymore.
Yet if I look back with a more discerning, compassionate eye, all that I have seen, done, and endured–it may not have equaled to fame, fortune, and fun. What it did was create a solid foundation for the good life to come–even if it scares me to say that life will be good soon.
Beyond my life with friends and loved ones–to dream, to wonder about life…there has been so little space for that. Being in nature has helped, but to just go beyond my little neighborhood, my yard, my room…
As much as I welcome Saturn’s restructuring of my life, I also welcome Jupiter’s expansion.
As constricted and bound up as I feel right now, I know I’m going to be repotted somewhere soon and it’s a little scary to think about. Where (OK, I probably know where, but still!), when, how?
And, most importantly (in true Capricorn fashion): how much control will I have over these needed changes?
Even in the face of uncertainty, my tenuous but solemn hope is that in 2018 and beyond, I can and will start to embrace a new sense of adventure and awe, grounded in experience and wisdom.